Gavrilo Princip and Two Girls

In English, in French, in Italian
In the former Yugoslavia, there used to be a joke about how to tell the difference between a Serbian and a Croatian girl. If you tell Croatian girl she is pretty, she smiles. If you say the same to a Serbian girl, she scowls.

Well, in 2013, smiling Croatia joined the European Union. In the same year, scowling Serbia, after much heavy diplomacy and a traumatic change of national policy, managed to became a valid candidate for a membership process that will have Serbia in the EU probably by 2020. The two girls, the scowling and the smiling one, will finally belong to the same political arrangement again, just like they both used to belong to Yugoslavia, before they ruined it. Nowadays they are divided by a heavy border, even though the rest of the world can’t possibly tell these two girls apart unless they offer them a compliment.

When dropping by smiling Croatia and scowling Serbia, one notices similar changes in their ways of life: the roads are better, there is more order in public spaces, buildings have facelifts and paint-jobs, and the restaurants serve nicer food. But when speaking to the Balkan locals, those in the EU or out of it, one hears about the darker side of EU integration: less local power, less money, less identity.

Serbia these days has truly weird, ecstatic politics. The current Prime Minister belongs to the party of Slobodan Milosevic, the deceased malefactor who brought war to the Balkans in the 1990s. Despite that, there’s serious talk that he might get the Nobel Peace Prize together with the Albanian leader because of the Kossovo negotiations. He remarked with startling frankness: I made that war, so I am the one entitled to sign a peace treaty.
More

La Vita e’ Bella

NATO bombings in Serbia/Kosovo
The Diary published by Granta

La vita e’ bella

Even though I wrote this years ago, even though I am not a futurist or a pessimist, I did not expect this kind of development of events: after all this time, after such an experience, history does not, unfortunately, walk with big steps as Zoran Djindjic, our killed president, hoped…

On 24 March, 1999, NATO begin air strikes on Yugoslavia.

26 March 1999, 5.p.m.

I hope we all survive this war, the bombs: the Serbs , the Albanians, the bad and the good guys, those who took up the arms, those who deserted, refugees going around the Kosovo woods and Belgrade’s refugees going around the streets with their children in arms, looking for non existing shelters, when the alarm for bombing sets off. I hope that NATO pilots don’t leave behind wives and children whom I saw crying on CNN as their husbands were taking off for military targets in Serbia. I hope we all survive but not this world as it is. I hope we manage to break it down: call it democracy call it dictatorship. When USA congressman estimates 20 000 civilian deaths as a low price for the peace in Kosovo, or president Clinton says he wants a non harassing Europe for American schoolgirls, or Serbian president Milutinovic says that we will fight to the very last drop of our blood, I always have a feeling they are talking about my blood, not theirs.

And they all become not only my enemies, but beasts, werewolves, switching from economic policy and democratic human rights to amounts of blood necessary for it (as fuel). Today is the second aftermath day: I went to the green and black market in my neighborhood, it has livened up again, adapted to new conditions, new necessities: no bread from the state, but a lot of grain on the market, no information from the official TV, so small talk among frightened population of who is winning. Teenagers are betting on the corners: whose planes have been shot down, ours or theirs, who lies best, who hides best victims, who exposes best victories, or again victims. As if it were a football game of equals. More

Syria/Serbia

I have little new to say about my 78 days of humanitarian bombing, but my experience might be new to the people of Syria.

In the Orwellian days of 1999, Serbia was being blown up for blowing up Kosovo, officially a part of Serbia. So one can see why the Serbia of the 1990s is offered as a model for a military intervention in Syria.

I wrote a diary in my attempt to make some sense of the situation, when citizens in Serbia were living in the internal repression of the Milosevic regime. The international community was keen on isolation and sanctions for Serbia, while global entrepreneurs profited by the disorders by selling us black-market diesel, cigarettes and weapons. I was among the traitors to our patriotic military, but I was also a legitimate target for the NATO airplanes, who, after all, planned to overthrow the regime through making life impossible for the population. More

No Life in Serbia

In English, in French
He woke at five in the morning with a gun in his hand. There is no life for us anymore, he said.

Then this man, sixty years old, an exemplary father and husband, “a hard and diligent worker, a citizen”, shot his son. He shot his sleepy and dumbfounded wife, who had scarcely understood his last declaration.

He continued his armed assault by opening the doors of the neighboring homes of his close relations. He shot them in their heads as they slept. All in all, he shot thirteen victims, including his mother and a child of two. More

Ten Years Without Zoran Djindjic

In English, French
I met Djindic before he became “the” Djindic. He jumped over the office table and shook my hand when our mutual friend introduced me as a feminist, ironically. I remember, too, that afterwards, whenever he would meet me, he would shake my hand in a feminist leftist way — but not ironically, on the contrary, seriously amused.

Later on, when he became public domain, we no longer met privately — only randomly. He was the most important Serbian politician of the 20 century, who managed to step into the 21st, who toppled Milosevic, who was eventually killed by state mafia resisting his progressive steps toward a modern Serbia.

- History marches with big steps, he once said, when his daughter was just born and we sat at his place in his small apartment. He was regretting his lack of time for a private life.
More

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 87 other followers

%d bloggers like this: