People let freedom reign in Yugoslavia

Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2000

Slobodan Milosevic didn't fall. He was pulled down. He was pulled down by the quiet vote of the Yugoslav people. And when the pugilistic leader refused to accept defeat, the people got louder, taking to the streets to validate their votes. The clear majority winner of the presidential election last month, Vojislav Kostunica, now should consolidate his control.

The passionate scene Thursday and Friday in Belgrade was reminiscent of one played out not so long ago in other Eastern European capitals where similarly brave citizens marched for democratic freedoms.

The takeover of the parliament building by the Yugoslav people was symbolic. Even more important was their capturing the government-run media.

As the new president, Mr. Kostunica has promised that from now on state television will be open to differing viewpoints. Free speech and press are keys to making democracy work. And this nascent democracy has much work to do. ... The region's ethnic rivalries may not be over. Foreign troops remain in Kosovo. And the future of Montenegro as part of Yugoslavia is in debate.

However, once a legitimate government is installed, Yugoslavia can be embraced and aided by its fellow nations. To the Yugoslav people, congratulations. The Free World celebrates with you.

-- The Dallas Morning News

Oct. 7

Is war necessary to broker

lasting peace in Mideast?

Must war precede a lasting peace settlement

in the Middle East? The warfare exploding in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in numerous Arab-Israeli towns in the past week suggests so.

The villains, victims and hostages are many in this tumultuous episode between Palestinians and Israelis. The war's booty is no small treasure: Jerusalem.

Criticism has come from both sides that the other's leader could have taken action to stem the violence. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak could have stopped (Israeli opposition leader Ariel) Sharon from visiting the holy site. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could have restrained his police from shooting at Israeli armed forces.

But both men are under pressure from militant elements in their populations not to cede too much on the question of Jerusalem. Arafat also is being squeezed by Arab leaders in other countries.

Barak and Arafat did agree, during discussions this week in Paris with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, to order a troop pullback from three locales that have been flashpoints -- though it's not clear that alone will bring peace to the streets. They left Paris after differing on who should conduct an investigation of the fighting.

-- The Columbus Dispatch

Oct. 7

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