The Day After
The day after: the streets are suspiciously clean. The local government has taken care to obscure the shame of the rioting, because obviously, it has echoed around the world and Serbia is once again the leading news in the foreign press.
The Serbs, with their legitimate right to mourn for the loss of Kosovo, were transformed into vandals who loot their own city. They broke into many foreign shops, stealing off with the foreign branded goods, made by those powers which gave away Kosovo. It's a greedily practical turn to the famous "inat" and spiteful defiance that Serbs generally offer the world community.
Images and footage of the broken windows, burned flags, demolished embassies, and drunken teenage patriots is cruising the world on YouTube. Our newly elected president, who wisely and rather obviously retreated to Rumania during the ruckus, asked for decent behavior and peace last night.
Other participants of the rally have no such regrets. The truest "heroines" of this charade are two young blondes filmed by candid camera and posted on YouTube in a long snippet called "Kosovo for tennis shoes."
These wannabe global consumers are relentlessly looting sports clothes from broken windows and dragging them in heaps through a town in chaos.
I am not surprised, although the spectacle of aggressive teenage girls seizing loot at "total discount" while coordinating on their cellphones is like my worst fears came true.
And not only mine. Today on the streets I saw the worried faces of local people who survived the night of the "popular rally" in deep anxiety. Some other young girls -- they obviously didn’t loot for shoes -- were talking in low voices: there were not enough police. We are done.
The American embassy evacuated much of its personnel, the German, Slovenian, and Croatian embassies closed today their consulate departments.
No visas for bad Serbs, who shun the world to be swiftly shunned in turn. Police have arrested 190 people. The impressive damage to the town is still being estimated: burned cars, destroyed traffic lights, burned apartments, smashed shops. Five hundred people were hurt, mostly Serbian riot policemen. One Czech citizen is in critical condition.
Last night during the escalating violence my friends from Italy, Norway and Kosovo phoned me: Nora from Kosovo offered me her own home if I don’t feel safe within Belgrade. Nora admitted that it sounded nonsensical, but it was a sincere offer.
One group of dissident Serbian students from Belgrade wanted to join in solidarity with students in Kosovo for a Kosovo rally. The peacemakers weren't allowed into Kosovo, though, being "potential troublemakers."
There is one known fatality: a severely burned body was found inside the vandalized American embassy. He has no name, no face and is probably a Serbian hooligan overwhelmed by his own arson. The latest victim of a lethal myth.
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Previous essays by Jasmina Tešanović on BoingBoing:
- State of Emergency
Jasmina Tešanović: Kosovo
- Christmas in Serbia
- Neonazism in Serbia
- Korea - South, not North.
- "I heard they are making a movie on her life."
- Serbia and the Flames
- Return to Srebenica
- Sagmeister in Belgrade
- Jasmina Tešanović: What About the Russians?
- Milan Martic sentenced in Hague
- Mothers of Mass Graves
- Hope for Serbia
- Stelarc in Ritopek
- Sarajevo Mon Amour
- Killing Journalists
- Jasmina Tešanović: Where Did Our History Go?
- Serbia Not Guilty of Genocide
- Carnival of Ruritania
- "Good Morning, Fascist Serbia!"
- Faking Bombings
- Dispatch from Amsterdam
- Where are your Americans now?
- Anna Politkovskaya Silenced
- Slaughter in the Monastery
- Mermaid's Trail
- A Burial in Srebenica
- Report from a concert by a Serbian war criminal
- To Hague, to Hague
- Preachers and Fascists, Out of My Panties
- Floods and Bombs
- Scorpions Trial, April 13
- The Muslim Women
- Belgrade: New Normality
- Serbia: An Underworld Journey
- Scorpions Trial, Day Three: March 15, 2006
- Scorpions Trial, Day Two: March 14, 2006
- Scorpions Trial, Day One: March 13, 2006
- The Long Goodbye
- Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
- Slobodan Milosevic Died
- Milosevic Funeral