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This time it is for real. Time and again the world was reminded of this going to happen. The Albanians- the Muslims are going to be the victims just like the Bosnians. The worse is not over yet . The big powers like to flex about and show off their diplomatic muscles. One reason why Serbia suddenly clamped down violently on the Kosovans is precisely because of the labelling of the Kosovan Liberation Movement as a terrorist organisation by the Americans. Yes the Americans, those self appointed villain determinators. It seems Serbia read the news as a signal to go ahead to exterminate the movement. We have heard this before.

The Europeans are going into the same routine sending warnings and at the same time flurrying diplomacy as if there is still time. They seem impervious to the implications and consequences of the Butcher of the Balkans's actions. Mr Milosevic was primarily responsible for the genocide in Bosnia. He instigated the killings under the name of Greater Serbian nationalism. He was let off and was not even indicted. The powers that be seems unconcerned with the effects onto Macedonia and throughout the Balkan lands. Is it because militarily the Muslims are weak and practically push overs so the conflict will be contained as a one sided affair albeit with the media hyped brutalisation and human suffering.

Muslims must be better prepared this time round. Refugees stuck in the hills and cold freezing mountains should not only induce tears and heartbreak within the ummah . We must push our organisations and persuade our leaders to launch bids to avert the crisis. Let it be known that the turning point to the Bosnia conflict came after the US started cruise missile attacks on Serbian positions which ended up as a US sponsored peace treaty. But not many knew that there was a high profiled meeting of some OIC Muslim military Chiefs of Staffs in Kuala Lumpur at that particular time. Be it coincidence or not, such a historic and unprecedented meeting might have just convinced and triggered the affirmative US reaction.

Whatever the case maybe, humanitarian efforts should be undertaken to save the Kosovans. At the same time we must expose the Butcher for what he is. We ought to move our leaders and organisations to bring about such intervention. Bosnia must not be repeated.

Hamdan Muhammad Hassan

16 March 1998.

[Currently, he is a Senior Civil Engineer at the University Science of Malaysia. He is involved in youth activities with the Muslim Youth Movement in Malaysia. He is also the Secretary for the Muslim Staff Association in his university.]

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