(ED NOTE: Essay by Jasmina Tešanović, who writes as I prepare this post, "The situation is still underway — lootings all over town are reported on my blog, and the number of the participants today in the rally might be much bigger than previously believed. I dare not go out in the streets to take photos." Image courtesy of this blog.)
The Mourning for Kosovo
9 a.m Morning, a big silence in the streets: even some
schools will be closed because of the planned rally in
the afternoon, 5 p.m.
Buses from all over Serbia are coming into Belgrade
city. The buses and trains are free, state-organized for people to
come and perform the big show with the official title "Kosovo is
Serbia." This is the motto that runs constantly on
national TV channels.
My friend from inner Serbia wanted to come to Belgrade in a free
ride, to have a coffee with me and then go back home. But then, maybe
better not to be seen around you, he said, you are a notorious Woman
in Black, somebody might hurt you.
The official organizers, meaning all Serbian political parties
except for the 5 percent dissidents, all claim that Belgrade has to
show its real face: that of a calm dignified Serb. And what about is
calm and dignified about the busted
MacDonald's, burning embassies
and window-broken shops with foreign names? Those are nothing
compared to the loss of Kosovo, justify our high-ranked officials on
almost all tv channels.
My father lives behind the Parliament, while I live next
to the biggest church in the Balkans. The official rally starts
in front of the Parliament where Kostunica the premier
will give a public speech, and it ends with a prayer in the
church. They estimate that all the streets in between will
be full of people, just as crowded as Belgrade was during the
toppling of Milosevic in 2000, or the Djindjic funeral in
2003. I attended those two events, it was my
conscience, it was my duty. This particular
rally I will omit,
although I am curious and I would love to see their faces.
On the stage it will be the usual crowd, really: Serbian prominent
nationalists , like the world famous film director
Kusturica and the president of Bosnian Serbs Dodik
maybe somewhere in the crowd. The war criminals are
hiding in the massive crowds too: Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.
Rumor says they are both in Belgrade now.
Before the rally began, I crossed the
square in front of the Parliament. A lot of half drunk
teenagers, turbofolk fans, and the sad, miserable and angry people
used to see in Milosevic rallies. It is a
lovely spring day, but instead of relaxing I trembled:
what if something goes wrong and massive violence bursts out? Who is
responsible now for riotous damage to our lives and property? Nobody
and everybody, really; Kosovo Albanian
or Serbians apart, Belgrade itself is the only place at
I hear phrases on TV such as "Kosovo is the heart cut from
the body of Serbia," and also lamentations about how much money was
lost there, for instance in coal mines. These seem
sums for such a poor province — who lost
those investments, I wonder?
A big, nationalist, screaming speech by our prime
minister. I don't remember ever hearing Kostunica so angry,
loud and pathetic, like an aging rock star, this
guy who hardly ever addresses his people. He is
calling various world powers bad names
and condemning the fake state of Kosovo, almost publicly cursing
them. And extolling the Great Serbs with their pride and honor.
Now Putin is a Slavic hero. He swears oaths, uses words like life,
death, Serbs, brothers, freedom, blood and all that; here in 21
World famous stars are here too: Novak Djokovic the
tennis player speaks like a robot on the screen, saying
he will never let go of Kosovo. Emir Kusturica the
interrupted his movie in US and came to
speak live in Belgrade. The prime minister calls him a
Serb — actually Kusturica has changed his name from the
rather unl-Slavic "Emir" to "Nemanja," the ancient Serbian king.
The swaggering film director speaks against the local
traitors and calls them "mice." The mice would be us, me,
Women in Black. He says he doesn't not believe in Hollywood
myth but in Kosovo myths. Why embrace myths at all?
In the meantime, on my blog, which I put up to follow
the news in the city: Turkish and Croatian embassies
attacked, a Nike shop looted. Where are the police?
They claim this is the biggest meeting ever held in Belgrade.
Close to my home, the
hooligans are in some pitched
conflict with the police. Should I remove my name
from my own door? No; when things really get bad in
Serbia, the police arrive in company with the hooligans.
The American embassy is attacked right now, 7 00pm, no
police around there; the reporter sounds really afraid as he
reports the smashing and burning.
The German bank in downtown Belgrade is attacked too:
gosh this is like during the NATO bombings, but in
Tonight at 2 am it will be a full moon eclipse — Earth
Moon and Sun in alignment, a perfect excuse for
Right now I hear that the American embassy is
broken into and burning with Molotov cocktails.
The TV coverage
reminds me of when people looted the
parliament to topple Milosevic.
The newly elected president of Serbia is right now in
Rumania. He avoided this rally in the last minute,
even though his party has backed up the rally.
The country may be on the verge of a state of emergency.
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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