Magnum Foundation


Notes from the Field, Donald Weber




A friend of mine passed me a link to YouTube recently, something I usually delete upon reading. However, what caught my eye was this: 

This folkloric musicis dedicated to the United States of America’for the assistance that gives small states to have independence Kosovo is a new state in Europe THANKS (U.S.A)-and NATO Alliance

Somebody else was also thanking the United States, lone countries acknowledging very unpopular policies. On the day I flew out of Kurdistan, preparations were underway to celebrate “Occupation Day.”

War is Good* focuses on Iraq and Kurdistan in particular, but this YouTube video was made by a Kosovar folk singer praising the interventionist policies of Europe and NATO - but most emphatically, America. The sentiments in this video were the exact same sentiments from the Kurds–without America, they wouldn’t have their freedom, a little sliver of land that is theirs. But of course Kosovo wasn’t made in the United Nations. Like all quests, it was formed by our overwhelming desire and capacity to achieve our ends through violent means.

So, are there more people out there grateful for American and NATO military intervention? Can it work, does it work? I have always been interested in the nature of violence and how it is used, what is the “moral calculus” (William T. Vollman) that we use to engage in various levels of violence? This work looks at how acts of political violence are used to achieve an independence from oppressive regimes and the consequences when one engages in violence. Can we have differing ideas about violence and the uses of violence? On a politically correct level, no. But I am interested in looking at places that are defined in a positive way by the use of force.

The writer William T. Vollman wrote: “History is the result of people ‘rising up’ against oppression, thereby intensifying violence, which, even when justified, causes the human condition to ‘rise down.’”

So, to end on a positive note, the refrain from ‘O sa mire me kana Shqiptar,’ by Shkurtje Feza:

“USA, USA, for Albanians right of day, we were friends, side by side, today Kosova is so bright…”

Simone Salvo