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As John Locke believed, I too believe the ?right of revolution? has but one meaning and that is; that the people in a society have the right to choose who will represent them in government. They have the right to elect another government or leader when the one originally in control is not doing what is in the people?s best interest. We call this right ?democracy?. A recent example which best illustrates this is the election in Serbia where President Slobodan Milosevic has allegedly lost the election but is refusing to turn over power to the newly elected official, violating every principle of the ?right of revolution? or democratic selection process.

In order to fully understand what is happening we must examine historically the event leading up to the election. Reporters and politicians have touted the Serbia-Kosovo problem as being the result of ancient ethnic hatred but that is not the case. The people of this region lived together peacefully for centuries and any conflicts that have arisen amongst them were based not on ethnic origin but on other things like class and ruling party, just to name a few. In the late 1980?s, Slobodan Milosevic came into power in Serbia. His first actions were directed against Kosovo Albanian dominance in the province. He removed virtually all of the Albanian?s rights, their leadership role in government, their party, and their parliament. He further removed their control of their Albanian-language library and the administration of their school system. This was the classic case of human rights violations. Milosevic took away their right to govern themselves and as a result, he gained the attention of the United States Congress under the interest of human rights. Annual human rights reports submitted to the White House by the Department of State read like a prison record when it came to Serbian abuses of the people of Kosovo.

When the Serbs took control, they sought to consolidate their hold on lands in eastern Bosnia as well as a section of northwestern Bosnia where large Serb populations lived. They also selected as their target a narrow corridor of land that connected the two regions of Bosnia that they controlled. Once in control, they began campaigns to rid their targeted regions of other ethnic groups such as the Albanians in Kosovo. Murder and assault were some of the options but the Serbs also relied on rape as a means of ethnic cleansing. It was these events that caused the military invasion by NATO based on humanitarian and war crime issues.

What has transpired in the last two weeks is that the Serbian people have voted in a democratic election therefore exercising Locke?s ?right of revolution? in a peaceful manner. However, President Milosevic has no intentions of stepping down. As one reporter from CNN explained it ?It?s not as if Milosevic, an indicted war criminal can just retire to some village and write a book of his memoirs, the day he is out of office he is dead?.

The last chapter to this ongoing feud in our day and age has yet to be written and I believe the next few weeks will be possibly very dramatic and even resemble a fate such as Hitler?s or worse. The question to really be asked I believe is do the people have the right to revolution and if all life is equally valuable does anybody have the right to kill?


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