Cry, the Beloved Countryrnby Alex N. DragnichrnThe Yugoslav civil war will turn out to be, from the long perspectivernof the American experience, a mere dot on thernhorizon. But for a small part of the American landscape—thernAmericans of Serbian descent—the twisted portrayal of thisrnwar, by politicians and the media, will be painful and difficultrnto bear for a long time to come.rnAs a Kansas mother and public schoolteacher and her husbandrnwere listening to the morning TV news, which made referencernto “bombing the Serbs,” they were interrupted by theirrnthree-year-old who asked; “Will it be safe for me to go outsidernto plav?” The mother was of Serbian ancestry (although notrnthe father), and the child took the threat personally, hi thernChicago area, students of Serbian ethnic background were toldrnby their teachers that they would not call on them until “theirrnpeople” stopped doing those terrible things in Europe. An oldrnman in New Jersey who immigrated from Serbia searched inrnvain for a support group or a legal defense fund to help him dealrnwith anti-Serb taunts. And those Americans of Serbian backgroundrnwho have sought assistance from the American RedrnCross in sending relief supplies to needy persons in Serbia havernroutinely received the cold shoulder. There is no end to suchrnexamples.rnThe media and the American political leadership have succeededrnin poisoning the attitudes of Americans toward Serbsrnand Serbia to such an extent that it has embittered Americansrnof Serbian descent. The parroting of insidious Serb-bashing byrnteachers and study guides, including publications for studentsrnthat deal with current events, means that the indoctrinationrnhas reached young unsuspecting minds in the schools. Stu-rnAlex N. Dragnich is a retired professor of political science whornhas written widely on Yugoslav history and politics. His mostrnrecent hook is Serbs and Croats: The Struggle in Yugoslavia.rndents whose mothers are Serbian but not the fathers have beenrnable to hide their ancestry, but children whose father’s namerngives them away are on the front line of a propaganda war. Ofrncourse, the anti-Serbian diatribes have also found their echo inrnbusinesses and places of employment, and even social and religiousrnsettings.rnOne example of the school scene is the World Newsmap forrnthe week of August 31, 1992, distributed to schools by thernWeekly Reader Corporation. It features “Bosnia under Siege,”rnwith anti-Serb allegations, such as “Serb troops invadedrnBosnia,” engaged in “a campaign of terror,” and that some ofrntheir “actions remind people of Nazi brutality.” Then, underrnthe title “What Would You Do?” there is a listing of suggestedrnstrategies, among them “bombing military and other targets inrnSerbia.” Moreover, students were asked what would they do ifrnthey were the victims of brutality, and alternative actions werernposed for them: “Would you leave?” or “Would you try to fightrnthe Serbs?” No hint whatsoever of a civil war.rnThe Time Education Program for September 14, 1992, titledrn”Current Events Curriculum: Reading and W’riting SkillsrnCurriculum,” while referring to the Bosnian civil war, asks thernstudents: “Besides the whole slogan of ‘ethnic cleansing,’ whatrnother Serbian policies are frighteningly reminiscent of thernNazis?” And “how is the response of the outside world differentrnor similar to reactions to early Nazi policies against thern)ews?”rnThe Teachers’ Edition of Scholastic Update for March 25,rn1994, has several articles dealing with Bosnia, among themrn”Why Should We Care?” Among other things, the Serbs arernblamed for the Market massacre in Sarajevo in February 1994,rnwith no reference to the fact that United Nations investigationsrnhad failed to identify the culprit or culprits. The article speaksrnof Bosnia as “one of the worst examples of genocide in modernrn22/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn