Friday, March 23, 2012

bombing Serbia

When the USA (NATO) was bombing Serbia, I happened to be teaching at the University of Toledo.  As I recall, it was even known then that the bombing included civilian targets.  Bombing hospitals or radio stations is a war crime.

At the time, I happened to have a book with a picture of a Belgrade street.  It looked to me like many other European cities.  And, I could not imagine bombs falling in such a city.  Yes, I know that during World War Two, bombs fell in European cities.  But the image was one which my imagination resisted, and could picture only with protest.

I photocopied one of the pictures of a city street in Belgrade and put it on my office door.  I may have written something vaguely "anti-war"; I don't remember.  I probably wrote something because otherwise the picture wouldn't have had much meaning.

Now, I was teaching philosophy, as it so happens, and I had an office in the basement of the building where the philosophy department was located.    (My teaching position was very precarious, and I had it only because  I once held a better position and my former colleagues had intended to help me.)

Philosophy is a subject which, one would have thought, is supposed to take one away from provincialism and nationalism.  However, it seems that in reality this is not the case.

After my photocopied picture of a Belgrade street went up, someone scrawled a nationalistic and imperialistic remark on it.  (I don't recall exactly what it said; you can imagine.)  The remark expressed anger or outrage and probably was vengeful, but plainly defending the use of violence, and supporting the bombing of Serbia with great enthusiasm.

In all probability that remark was scrawled by  a philosophy student, possibly by someone in the Philosophy MA program....

Anyway, I say all this because I've just heard a nice discussion of the bombing of Serbia and recent attempts to destroy the country through privatization:

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