BBC Summary of World Broadcasts - November 21, 1988, Monday

Comrades, no meeting as big as this has been held in Belgrade since its liberation. The last time such a great number of people, united by a great idea, gathered in the streets of Belgrade was on 20th October 1944. At that time the people in the streets of Belgrade were celebrating victory in the war and, at the same time, went forth to the great battle for the reconstruction of a war-devastated country. At that time, just as today, members of all Yugoslav peoples and nationalities assembled here in togetherness.

Comrades, many of you here remember how in those days nothing was difficult and how people felt that everything was easy and possible in freedom. It is in this freedom t hat the citizens of Belgrade and of our entire country have succeeded in accomplishing much. Today, angry because of the crisis in which we have found ourselves, we are inclined to forget everything good and worthy which we have ourselves created and created with joy. It is true that we have halted on the road to the society to which we had aspired during the revolution, but it is not true that we cannot create that society, that we must renounce that road. What we have to do is to change many concepts and many people in politics to make our life better. We shall accomplish this through a great social reform, which we must carry out.

The most important thing that we must resolve at this time is to establish peace and order in Kosovo. There is no more urgent task for Serbia, nor should there be any other more pressing task for all of Yugoslavia, because the solidarity of the Yugoslav peoples and especially of Yugoslav workers have always been their greatest and strongest characteristic. It has been manifested in the assistance which we have extended to oppressed peoples, the working class, and even individuals throughout the world. For this reason, it is difficult to explain why this solidarity has been late in manifesting itself to a greater extent, more quickly, and with a greater love when citizens of our own country have been concerned. The long absence of this solidarity with the boundless suffering of the Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo constitutes and incurable wound to their hearts and to the heart of all of Serbia.

But this is no time for sorrow, it is a time for struggle. This awareness captured Serbia last summer and this awareness has turned into a material force that will stop the terror in Kosovo and unite Serbia. This is a process which can no longer be stopped by any force, a process in the face of which all fear is weak. People will even consent to live in poverty, but they will not consent to live without freedom, at least not the people gathered here and the people in Serbia, to whom I myself belong, and therefore I know that they only can live in freedom and in no other way. Both the Turkish and the German invaders know that these people win their fight for freedom. We went into both world wars with nothing but the conviction that we would fight for freedom, and we won both wars. Now we have the unified LC stances on Kosovo and we shall implement them energetically to the very end.

We shall win the battle for Kosovo regardless of the obstacles facing us inside and outside the country. What I mean here are mixed up conclusions; secret meetings; confused announcements; negotiations carried out at restaurant tables; (?unscrupulous) interpretations of Yugoslav reality in the world; alleged ambiguous, but in fact hostile, statements to the press; a host of petty and dirty tricks aimed at pacifying a people great in heart if it cannot be frightened. Therefore, we shall win despite the fact that Serbia's enemies outside the country are plotting against it, along with those inside the country. We are telling them that we do not frighten easily, and that we enter every battle with the aim of winning it.

We have never waged unjust and dishonest battles that would be to the detriment of other peoples. The people, all citizens regardless of their nationality and profession, are at the head of this battle for Kosovo. And there is no battle in the world that the people have lost. The leadership has little choice there it will either head the people and listen to their voice, or time will push it aside and its existence will be recorded in history only briefly and only for bad things.

Nobody should be surprised that all Serbia rose up last summer because of Kosovo. Kosovo is the very centre of its history, its culture, and its memory. All people have a love which burns in their hearts for ever. For a Serb that love is Kosovo. That is why Kosovo will remain in Serbia. That will not be at the expense of Albanians. I can tell the Albanians in Kosovo that nobody has ever found it difficult to live in Serbia because he is not Serbian. Serbia has always been open to everybody to the homeless, to the poor and the rich alike, to the happy and the desperate, to those who were only passing through and to those who wanted to stay. The only people Serbia did not want were evil and bad people, even if they were Serbs.

All Albanians in Kosovo who trust other people and who respect the other people living in Kosovo and Serbia are in their own country. I ask them now to rally against the evil and hatred of their own chauvinists, because they bring evil not only to Serbs and Montenegrins, but also to their own Albanian people. They embarass their people in front of the entire world, shame it before its children, and offend its dignity. For the sake of all this, I call on the Albanians throughout Kosovo and say to them that Albanian mothers and fathers should tend to peaceful dreams, calm schooling, and carefree games of Serb and Montenegrin girls and boys instead of militia and army units. This is not just because such division of care is more efficient, but because it is more humane, more honest, and because it is more appropriate to socialism and the ideals for which we in Yugoslavia all strive.

Now let us remind the Yugoslav peoples, the working class, young people and communists that half a century ago even Spain was not far away. Many people then went to fight on its barricades against terror and hatred. Terror and hatred run riot in Kosovo today, and Kosovo is in our country of Yugoslavia.

In the fight against evil in Kosovo, it is not necessary to sacrifice lives, as was done in Spain. One need only make an oath, which we Yugoslavs already gave each other in 1941, that in unity and brotherhood we shall share everything, both the good and the bad, as well as victory, injustice, and poverty, that we shall build a new better world.

Comrades, the day after tomorrow, a conference of the Serbian LC will open here. This conference is devoted to reforms. The reform which we need to carry out concerns great social changes which should take place as soon as possible. The most important changes should take place in the field of economy. These changes should raise the standard of living of all of society and every individual. As far as the political system is concerned, the changes should establish unity in Serbia as a republic, and its equality with other republics in Yugoslavia.

The reforms should improve and remedy everything that is of importance to people's lives prices, medical care, education, and the information system. They should facilitate a more successful and freer development of sciences and arts so that our culture can reach other countries and peoples and contribute to the progressive changes in the world. They should contribute everything in society, especially in politics, being done openly, and so that people compulsorily and regularly bear responsibility for the results of their work. This is a great programme and we shall achieve it if we remain resolute and united as we have been in the last few months and here today.

This kind of reform represents an expression of the needs of the working people and citizens of Serbia. The leadership of the republic understands this reform as its obligation to those who have elected it. This reform will lead to changes which should be implemented throughout Yugoslavia. I am convinced that in the coming months all Yugoslav peoples, all citizens of Yugoslavia, will findstrength to overcome differences, intolerance, and clashes, that they will jointly and in a fraternal way succeed in preserving, renewing, and developing their county. Tito's Yugoslavia is the result of a struggle, work, and love of all Yugoslav peoples and nationalities.

Today, when Yugoslavia is experiencing difficulties, we should all raise our voice together, rouse our hearts, use our brains and unite our forces in order to preserve our country. Yugoslavia was created in a magnificent revolution by Yugoslav communists, the Yugoslav working class, and Yugoslav peoples. Yugoslavia will not die at a conference table as its enemies hope.

Yugoslavia was created through a great struggle and will defend itself through a great struggle. Long live socialist Yugoslavia, our country! Long live free and a united SR of Serbia! Long live Belgrade, capital city of our country which is always open to all good people and to all progressive ideas! Long live courage, with which always fought for freedom and justice! Long live all comrades gathered here at the meeting for brotherhood and unity, for Yugoslavia, and for better days!

SOURCE: Yugoslav TV, Belgrade home service, Titograd, Novi Sad, Pristina 1206 gmt 19 Nov 88
Text of live relay of speech by Slobodan Milosevic, President of the Presidium of the Serbian LC, at the confluence of the Rivers Sava and Danube

Copyright 1988 The British Broadcasting Corporation
Posted for Fair Use only.