CRIME AGAINST HISTORY AND A CRIME AGAINST TRUTH
Ad-hoc Committee to Stop Canada's Participation in the War on Yugoslavia
Press Conference of April 10, National Press Theatre, Ottawa
Statement of Michael Mandel, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York
I am here today because I oppose what NATO is doing in Yugoslavia. It
is not only a terrible crime against humanity, it is a crime against
international law and the Charter of the United Nations, it is a crime
against history and a crime against truth.
It is a crime against humanity because by now there is no doubt that
these devastating, cowardly attacks by NATO have made a tragic situation
infinitely worse. There is no question in my mind that NATO and all its
governments -- including our own -- are far more responsible than the
Serbian army and the KLA for the death and destruction in Kosovo and
Serbia, and above all for the suffering of the refugees.
It is a crime against international law and the United Nations Charter,
because, as almost all experts agree, wars not undertaken in
self-defence and not authorized by the United Nations are illegal, as
they should be. There is no such thing as an exception for
"humanitarian war", and even if there were, there is every reason to
doubt NATO motives, given the predictable anti-humanitarian effects of
the bombings and given America's history of purely self-interested
violent aggression, for example in South East Asia and Central America,
to mention only the non-controversial examples. I do not feel safe in a
world where such a brutal power (one of the few remaining death penalty
states in the world) is free of United Nations restraint.
I cannot see how Judge Louse Arbour can indict Arkan without also
indicting Clinton, Chretien and Axworthy.
This is also a crime against history. In the cynical and revisionist
instrumentalization of the Holocaust and in the cheapening of the notion
of genocide to justify this aggression. As a Jew I feel particularly
strongly about this. How can anyone seriously compare the Serbs to the
Nazis? The Nazis did not separate women and children and put them on
trains to send them out of a war zone, they did it to exterminate us.
And the Jews did not have a liberation army that wanted to separate a
part of Germany. We did not commit hundreds of political assassinations
or make war against Germany. Hitler was not the head of a fourth-rate
local power trying to hold a disappearing country together. He
conquered Europe with the most powerful war machine on the continent.
If only they'd kicked us out of the countries they conquered! No, they
hunted us down to murder us one by one -- not in the hundreds but in the
And worse, the world did not just stand idly by. It locked its doors --
the U.S. above all but Canada too -- to Jewish refugees during the
entire period of the Nazi terror. For reasons of racism and
anti-semitism. In fact, if there is any analogy to that period at all,
it is in our shameful reversal of the promise to bring in the refugees
we ourselves are creating -- apparently for strategic reasons that once
again put our self-interest before those we claim to be helping.
Fourth, it's a crime against truth. And here I'm talking about you, the
media, for printing every self-serving NATO rumour as true, for
"manufacturing consent" as Noam Chomsky puts it -- the same Noam Chomsky
whose articulate opposition to NATO's war can only be read on the
Internet because you won't print it. There's another story to be told
here and so far you're not telling it. If truth is war's first
casualty, the media seems to be the artillery. You have shown
yourselves so far to be little more than a propaganda arm of the
Pentagon. THE END
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