That was the phrase used throughout the world after World War II in reference to a horrendous act of state-sponsored genocide – the Holocaust. But while people declared that never again would the world watch passively as thousands or millions of people were murdered, that ideal has been discarded time and time again.
Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Burundi – these countries were the sites of the systematic and government-organized murder of millions of people. The rest of the world stood on the sidelines and watched the murders, collectively wringing their hands and bemoaning the human tragedy.
The world is watching events replay themselves in Kosovo. It seems to be too busy with other things to pay attention to the plight of the Kosovars. Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes under the Serbian government’s policy of ethnic cleansing. Those who decide to stay are under constant threat of attack from Serbian troops. Thousands have been killed or simply “disappeared.” The use of rape as a tool of war continues to be popular among Serbian troops. And with winter’s approach, thousands of refugees face the real possibility of freezing or starving to death.
But as the plight of the Kosovars goes on, the world averts its attention. The United States is more concerned with the president’s sexual escapades. Europe can’t act on its own without endless consultation and negotiation. And the murders in Kosovo continue.
It is time for the world to focus its attention on what continues to go on in the Balkans. Thousands of deaths, tens of thousands of refugees and the suffering of millions of people demand that we not look away as the tragedy of Kosovo continues unabeted..