Truth in Media Activism: Letters to Editors

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Oct. 16, 1998


Embarrassed About Such "Serbs"

Re. "What It's Like Being a Serb?," a NEWSWEEK article (10/19/98)



Phillip Esposito, Letters Editor


New York, NY

(e-mail:; fax: 212/445-4120)


Subject: Letter to the editor Re. "What It's Like Being a Serb" (Newsweek, Oct. 8, 1998)

Dear Mr. Esposito,

Being a Serb must not be such a great hardship for Mr. Zoran Cirjakovic as he would have us believe ("it's embarrassing being a Serb these days," he writes). After all, not every traitor (a term I borrow from his column) is given a full page in NEWSWEEK to pour out his scorn over his native country. And a few of its neighbors, too (Greece, for example). Nor sent on jaunts around the world where he pretends to be somebody else, like a Bulgarian or a Croat. Presumably, he is being paid for all this by NEWSWEEK?

Now, can you imagine an American, say Col. David Hackworth ("Hack"), a former NEWSWEEK defense editor, and the most decorated living U.S. soldier who was forced into virtual exile in Australia because he publicly criticized the Pentagon brass in the early 1970s over their conduct of the Vietnam war, saying such things about America as this "Serb" is spouting off about his own native country? I can't.

Despite all the injustices he had suffered at the hands of the U.S. government, can you imagine someone like "Hack" saying, "it's embarrassing being an American these days?" I can't. Ever. Although Americans have as many legitimate beefs with our government's conduct these days, as Mr. Cirjakovic has with Serbia's. It is one thing to disagree with the politics or the politicians; it's an altogether another matter to say you are ashamed to be what you are.

I suggest NEWSWEEK send Mr. Cirjakovic out on his next assignment to the Bronx or Brooklyn. Much cheaper than flying him out to Morocco or Burma. He may find in these mixed New York ethnic communities as much intolerance (or tolerance) between blacks and the Jews; between the Hispanics and the whites, as he did in his native country. But I bet he'd have a hard time finding a black who says he is embarrassed of being black. Or a Jew who is embarrassed of being a Jew. Or a Hispanic who is embarrassed of being Hispanic.

Which is why I am embarrassed to learn that there are such "Serbs" as Mr. Cirjakovic. As I was that there were such "Americans" as Bill Clinton, for example, the Vietnam draft evader who participated in anti-American demonstrations in November 1969 in London in which American flags were burned. Like Clinton in England, holed up thousands of miles away from Bosnia - in Tangiers, Morocco - Cirjakovic now claims that his "Bosnian cousins overran Srebrenica and slaughtered its menfolk."

To which I say, bull! I happened to be in Bosnia, and near Srebrenica, in July 1995. And I saw no such massacres. But I did see dozens of buses laid on by the Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic taking the Srebrenica (Muslim) civilians to safety in Tuzla (a Muslim-controlled town in Bosnia). Which is why I offered to testify at the U.N. War Tribunal at the Hague. Twice. No takers. Guess the truth is not such a prized commodity at this kangaroo outpost. Nor at NEWSWEEK, it seems...


Best regards,

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Bob Djurdjevic

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Also check out..."You Were Wrong About Gen. Perisic", "New York Times' Kosovo News Manipulation""Plus, Another Kosovo News Cover-up""Embarrassed About Such 'Serbs',"  "Put the UN Justice on Trial""Another Wall Street Bailout, Another Main Street Sellout", "Does WSJ Dance to Wall St. Bankers' Tunes?""Clinton Fiddles While Milosevic Burns""Let the Bombing Begin?  Not!" , "What's Good for the Goose..."  and "Journal's Rotten Apples" (Wall Street Journal); and "Stock buybacks: Wall St.'s Duping of Main St.", Business Week).