- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 25, 2003

‘Scotland the Real’

Frank McAveety is a proud Scot, who unabashedly promotes Scotland’s heritage of tartan, bagpipes, scotch, misty highlands and islands, and all the other images that grumpy elitists dismiss as so much nonsense.

“It’s an endless debate,” he said of Scots who love their culture and those who are embarrassed by it. “But I think any other country would kill for those symbols.”

Mr. McAveety, a member of the Scottish Parliament and minister for tourism, culture and sports, sat yesterday in the wood-paneled library of the British ambassador’s residence, wearing a new kilt woven in a tartan pattern designed to honor the Smithsonian Institution.

He was preparing to help open the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is featuring Scotland as well as Appalachia and the West African nation of Mali.

The museum also is releasing a collection of Scottish music, called “Scotland the Real,” on its Smithsonian Folkways label.

Mr. McAveety led a delegation of 120 musicians and artisans who have turned part of the National Mall into a wee bit of Scotland, which includes a re-creation of the famous 13th green of the St. Andrews golf course.

“This is living history,” he said.

Mr. McAveety noted that the kilt is becoming more popular among young men, who wear it to weddings, soccer matches and other occasions.

“The kilt defines us in a world where everything has become homogenized,” he said.

Mr. McAveety also hopes to entice more Americans to visit his country.

“American tourists are one of the most critical in our tourism industry,” he said. “They spend more per head.”

He hopes the festival will show that Scotland is a “must-see, must-visit destination.”

At the dedication ceremony yesterday, Mr. McAveety read a few lines from contemporary Scottish poet Robert Crawford, who wrote:

“So I have gathered onto myself all the loose ends of Scotland

And naming them, and accepting them, and loving them and

Identifying myself with them attempt to express the whole.”

Milosevic and Croatia

A former U.S. ambassador to Croatia provided key testimony yesterday in the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic.

Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith said Mr. Milosevic commanded Croatian Serbs in their rebellion against Croatia from 1991 to 1995. The testimony helps the prosecution case, which accuses Mr. Milosevic of directing the uprising.

Croatian Serbs “would not take any decision without [Mr. Milosevics] approval,” said Mr. Galbraith, who served as ambassador there from 1993 to 1998.

He said the Croatian rebels were “completely dependent on Serbia,” which Mr. Milosevic ruled during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Mr. Milosevic is on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

He faces an additional charge of genocide in the Bosnian civil war.

‘Rummy-gram’

Some ambassadors in Washington have coined a word that attests to the influence of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.

One diplomat told Embassy Row that Belgium was the first country to get a “Rummy-gram.”

Belgium, the home of NATO, got the message quickly after Mr. Rumsfeld threatened to block spending on a new headquarters for the Atlantic alliance unless the government in Brussels changed a law that allowed a plaintiff to charge President Bush with committing war crimes during the war in Iraq.

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said this week that his government will reform the law to make it more difficult for such cases to be brought against foreigners.

Under the reform, either the victim or the accused must be a Belgian national.

The diplomat, who asked not to be identified, said the current law, which allows war crimes lawsuits against anyone in the world, was being “misused by leftists.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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