Ed. Note: the following essay is by periodic BB contributor Jasmina Tesanovic; as I format this post and prepare to hit "publish," Jasmina sends a second email: "Update: groups of hooligans have thrown stones on American and Slovenian (presiding country of EU) embassies, on police members and
journalists…several people are hurt …they are cruising town now here in Belgrade but police are controlling them…reporters are following up…"
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The Sirens :: 02.17.2008
It's starting again: the language of war is the
daily bread in
Serbia. The sirens of nationalism are turned on
again, as if nothing
had changed in the eight years after Milosevic was
Or as if nothing had changed since the year 1389
and the mythic battle of Kosovo: a myth is a myth,
a dictator who
uses the language of myths is squandering people s
as well as their lives.
Today, 17 February. at 15 hours Kosovo province
unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia.
It been ten years now since I wrote my "Diary of a
Political Idiot," a book that started with riots in
Although I've tried to stop writing that book, I
have never been allowed to. The Balkan disorder
became the model of world disorder.
I can hear the voice of my dead mother, who
away in 1999 after the NATO bombings, with her last
words: "take care of Kosovo." She didn't mention
granddaughter, my daughter, whom she loved more than
herself or me. She instead scolded me, the traitor,
severely: Kosovo is not yours and you cannot give it
away. You and your similar traitors don't have pants
on their asses and you are giving Kosovo, our
Last week in Geneva, I talked to a young Albanian
blogger. He told me: this time "independence" will
be declared for real, because it is not our
independent decision but
that of the world community. Nobody asks us
anything anymore. They just give us orders and set
Most young Serbian people have never visited
Kosovo. There is nor
reason to go to Kosovo if you are not trapped in
Kosovo already. It
is a hard place. Since the fall of national
Yugoslav radio and
television, Serbian has fallen out of use there.
The Serbs never
bothered to learn Albanian.
In Belgrade yesterday a thousand nationalists with
flags marched downtown to the Slovenian
embassy. Today, in front of the American embassy,
potential riots were controlled by the police. In
two thousand policemen from EU mission will be
deployed for 120
days until the situation "becomes stable."
Will it ever become stable? Serbian
officials threaten to downgrade their
diplomatic relationships with anyone who
recognizes independent Kosovo, meaning
most of the world. The newly
elected president of Serbia, Boris Tadic, declared
that only "diplomatic tools" will be employed
to refuse the independence, but the same might
be said of the fraught relationship of Cuba and the
which goes on for whole lifetimes.
The president of the government with much harsher
tones accused the
US and EU of robbing Serbia of its territory, after
in 1999 with bombs. High ranked Orthodox priests
also condemn the
loss of their historical
heritage. The members of the Serbian government tour
Kosovo, encouraging Serbs to stay there. They could
that eight years ago by coming to terms with the
criminal ethnic cleansing.
The last sentence in my 1999 diary was: I
hope they don't build a wall. Today I must say the
same: I hope
the Serbian population in Kosovo survives, and I
don t build a wall: them, us, their armies, our
armies, foreign armies.
After their independence declaration, they
are feasting in Pristina, while here in Belgrade it
freezing silent and peaceful. Only small groups of
hooligans are gathering under a strong survelliance
the Serbian police.
May it be a beginning of new era;
may our children never have another war with their
neighbors just because they speak a different
and have a different sign on their graves.
The Balkans have always been a multiethnic
matter who wins the battle, nobody will be able to
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Previous essays by Jasmina Tešanović on BoingBoing:
– 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
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