|DIARY OF JASMINA TESANOVIC
April 19th, 99 - 5 p.m.
Today is the anniversary of Chernobyl: I remember how hysterical I was about the disaster, I remember how the official TV didn't want to tell us the truth about the level of radiation, in order 'not to create panic'. I remember walking in the rain with my daughter which later I learned was extremely radioactive: I remember wanting to die or kill somebody for that. I also remember common people calling me mad for taking that kind of stuff seriously: as well as today, the madwoman in the attic. I wish my fears didn't come true: ever since 91 I feared of this today, bombs and war on our territory, and I was a madwoman in the basement, without faith or space. Now I am the madwoman in the attic, watching the planes, dreaming safe in the basement.
The shops here are still full, the green market is rich, but people are speaking about radioactive vegetables, more and more. They are also speaking of future without bread, water or electricity. No visible signs of that yet, only fears. The only visible lack are still cigarettes and petrol. and of course peace.
I am sick, I know I shouldn't be. In 93, when we were under heavy sanctions, without medicines, I remember my mother, a chronic asthmatic saying: 'well, now we shouldn't get sick until the sanctions are lifted.' And we didn't. Children were having operations without narcotics, children I know were dying of leukemia because the medicines couldn't cross the Hungarian border, old people were committing suicide unable to buy their medicines and live decently... Well, the best way is not to get sick, as my mother, a doctor by profession, ordered us.
I still could buy a strong antibiotic this morning when I woke up choking with pain and fear of this new illness: it was symbolic, the physical impediment of speech, I was silent, silenced, I was writing down my needs as a testament. I remembered the dying Freud with throat cancer, emigrating in 1939 from Germany to England. And I decided not to let it happen to me. I we have to leave, we will leave all together, as Albanian refugees: I won't leave my men behind to fight somebody else's cause: they are my men, and not just chess players of a Nation-State.
The famous NATO star Jamie Shea, said we , Serbian citizens,
feel safe with NATO bombs: we don't stop working when
hearing the sirens: well maybe we don't stop working
but that is for other reasons, because the work has
to be done not because we feel protected. I don't feel
safe with the NATO or any other bombs, NATO being the
only ones I know: I don't feel safe without bridges,
in a boat, on a horse , on a bicycle, against NATO
airplane; I don't feel safe without schools, universities,
libraries, against highly technological NATO countries.
I am not afraid, not anymore, we are beyond good or
evil by now, but my legs simply tremble, when I hear
the NATO or any other planes with bombs above my head.
April 27th, 99
Last night I switched on TV: on ten channels we had the same program, the official news, the ones whose building was destroyed by NATO: the same news the whole day. Between the news we had films and music, different on each channel, but all united every now and then by the same pictures of war.
Then I saw my friend Viosa on BBC, an Albanian from Kosovo: a human rights activist, a doctor, a beautiful woman. She was telling all the atrocities that happened to her whilst running for her life from Pristina. I started crying, her story I know since she left and some other of our feminist friends, I guess it is not the story in itself. It is her: she has changed, her face has something of a person who will never laugh again, be superficial... I suppose , mine too, if I dared look myself in the mirror. I remember when with Viosa and many other women we went to Zagreb on a feminist conference in 96: she was taken off the bus by Croatian authorities, together with other two Serbian refugees from Croatia and entrance visa was refused to them only. The rest of us didn't want to go on, but we did, feeling lucky we, Serbs, entered finally Croatia. The Serbian refugees never got their visa, never got back to their homes: that was the practice of the official policy of 'The return of refugees' but Viosa got it. Her only problem at Croatian border was that she was an Albanian: not a Serb, or a Croat.
I remember being stripped at the Hungarian border in 93-94-95, because I was a Serb. And in other countries. But some of the parts of Viosa's story go beyond it, I feel deep down my stomach that it can happen and is happening to everybody. Notwithstanding the nation but related to a place and a policy: and I am afraid.
Last night, an enormous blast, as if round the corner: again the ex central committee: I don't even know what's inside today, but for some reason, you can hear it more than much closer targets, when it gets hit.
We called our friend and relatives, checked we are alive and went to bed: as NATO generals say, we feel safe with regular bombs, or our politicians, we must work even harder with NATO bombs.