|DIARY OF SLOBODAN MARKOVIC (EXCERPTS)
March 26, 1999
It's 01:32 here in Belgrade. Air warning sirens announced the end of NATO air-raid on the city two hours ago...
I live some 5 km east from Belgrade downtown and, from my apartment on the 7th floor, I can see so few lights I can count them w/o any problems (less then 30).
Belgrade is *totally* in darkness. And I mean it! There is no street light, no blinking neon banners, no light in houses and apartments. Darkness everywhere... No clouds, no lights, only half-moon is shining over city.
Totally amazing, scary and claustrophobic decoration... Too bad you need to have bloody war situation to experience such a view...
March 28, 1999
Yugoslav government declared "state of war" in whole country on the first day of NATO attack, and while it lasts, police and army have much larger authorizations than before.
That is also why many independent radio and TV stations in Serbia were so easily banned last week (Radio B92 in Belgrade, Radio 021 in Novi Sad, Soko TV in Soko Banja). I suspect also that almost all Albanian newspapers were banned in Kosovo after start of NATO strikes.
There is no way anyone can protest against these bannings because during "state of war" all public gatherings are strictly forbidden. I cannot imagine consequences of possible pro-B92 protests in Belgrade. Police brutality could be unimaginable... not to mention possible fast and SEVERE court verdicts in these cases.
April 1, 1999
The bridge over Danube in Novi Sad, the capital of Serbian northern province of Vojvodina, was destroyed early this morning in NATO air-raid.
Nobody was killed, but my girlfriend's friend who lives only couple hundred meters from that bridge says it was horrible experience. It's really hard to describe her tone over the phone this morning... All she could say is that she was sleeping and in the moment of explosion all glasses on her house windows broke into million little pieces. Everything was shaking so badly I thought house is going to crush on me, she said.
I think that destruction of bridges in capital cities is totally senseless... I suspect the main intent of NATO was to harm only citizens of Novi Sad, because NATO generals know very well that army engineers can build floating bridge for army vehicles in less than an hour...
I'm just afraid that this could be an ouvertire for similar destructions in Belgrade... I hope I'm wrong...
April 3, 1999
Tonight, about 00:45, NATO missiles exploded in Belgrade's downtown. That is the first air-raid on Belgrade downtown since April 6th, 1941, when Nazi German airplanes bombed Belgrade, marking the start of military occupation of Yugoslavia.
The targets, this night, were administrative buildings of Serbian and Federal Police in Kneza Milosa Street.
Right behind those buildings (some 30-50 meters) the largest medical complex in Serbia is situated (Clinical Center of Serbia).
Cruise missiles exploded less than 50 fucking meters from the biggest maternity hospital in Belgrade. All newborn babies and their mothers were immediately evacuated (who sane could think NATO will strike so near the hospital buildings).
CNN immediately started to transmit Serbian National TV's program with images of nicely burning buildings, but cut off the transmission when pictures showing hospital evacuation appeared... Until now, no one knows the number of possible casualties...
I simply cannot believe that somebody can issue an order for missile strike on a center of one European capital with more than 2.5 million citizens. I simply cannot believe that such an idiot is breathing air on this fucking planet.
April 6, 1999
Early yesterday morning, about 04:40 am, NATO attacked Belgrade again.
Judging from some Pentagon officials previous statements and the targets of this attack, it seems that it was one of those air-raids aimed primarily to "frighten Serbs".
Smells like a revenge to me... Like someone was really angry because NATO strikes didn't (like some magic wand) brought peace to Kosovo and found out that citizens of Belgrade are guilty for that... :-(
Well, let's see those *mean* objects that were hit last night:
On a 2 km square field, there were some shooting ranges, sports terrains, sleeping house and one dining house. Nothing more, nothing less. During the time of former SFRY, my relative from Croatia served army in those barracks. He was there for one year and he didn't passed any special training - just standard infantry stuff: getting up at 5 am, eating, jogging, shooting, going out for a walk, sleeping...
So, 700.000$ cruise missile or a bit cheaper aircraft bomb, hit early this morning those barracks, totally destroying only - dining house. On the TV I even saw some potatoes and onions scattered all around... The only real victim of this attack was my primary school. All windows, on all floors broke and some walls cracked.
NATO, this was personal!
April 6, 1999
Oh, yes. It was a special night... *very special* night... First, around midnight, NATO airplanes striked on Aleksinac, a little town of miners in south-eastern Serbia (200 kms far from Belgrade). The target was this time - the town itself.
Hospital and trauma center are seriously damaged. Twelve (12) civilian buildings are totally destroyed. Flattened to the ground. Not one military target was hit, because there are no military targets in Aleksinac. Window glasses broke on almost every house in this small town. Until the time I write this (05:20) there are 5 confirmed death civilians, more than 20 wounded and many more beneath the ruins...
Around 03:00, Novi Sad was the target for the second time today (around 22:00 oil refinery in Novi Sad was hit). Guess what was on the menu this time? YES! You got it - the last remaining bridge in one piece over Danube.
This time, someone decided it's enough and Yugoslav army's AA defence crashed the plane, before pilot fired his rockets. Catapulted pilot landed in Novi Sad's suburbs. So, nothing new in Novi Sad except a little ecological catastrophe in one of its suburbs near the oil refinery... but who cares, right?
Yesterday, I saw on TV couple more crashed bridges and rails, this time in central Serbia. I think I start to realise why NATO is doing this. They are probably preparing the occupation of Vojvodina (northern Serbian province) from Hungary. Downing bridges in central Serbia is probably aimed to disable the reinforcements in case of Kosovo occupation... Looks nice on paper... Soon, everybody will forget why NATO started this whole operation and whole Yugoslavia will be occupied by foreign troops for the third time in 20th century...
Wait, don't tell me, I know! That's *only* because of Milosevic, and many people will have to die (no matter the nationality), just because they happen to live in Yugoslavia, in this unlucky moment of Time, breathing same air as fucking dictator who will die from natural cause, NOT from NATO bombs.
Did someone mention "humanitarian catastrophe"?
April 8, 1999
Last night, before midnight, I heard a loud explosion in Belgrade. Few moments after the explosion anyone in Belgrade could hear the screaming sound of NATO airplane flying over... A big, thick, cloud of smoke was growing over the very centre of the city... This was one of the strangest targets - long time abandoned old civilian administrative building in Nemanjina Street 9. For those who visited Belgrade, it's the street which leads from Main train station up to Slavija square.
I think that THE REAL target of this attack was nearby Army HQ building (evacuated and empty since first day of NATO attacks, BTW). It is funny to notice, but NATO pilot missed the crossroad!
YOU BLOODY IDIOT! Army HQ is situated on the second crossing from the train station NOT on the first one, damn it!
So, idiot missed the target, but dropped 900 kg monster only 100 meters far from St. Sava's Hospital, full of people in critical condition after survived stroke, heart attack and other cardio-vascular problems... not to mention the block of civilian buildings 50 m from the hit building...
April 11, 1999
In a recent article forwarded to <nettime> mailing list, one passage catched my eye:
"[Tony] Blair himself has made clear that the war against Milosevic's Serbia 'is no longer just a military conflict. It is a battle between Good and Evil; between civilisation and barbarity'."
Well, I guess that the following can be considered as - "civilisation".
Crvena Zastava factory in Kragujevac was hit yesterday. This factory is the largest one in whole region and more than 38.000 workers directly depend from its existence. So, they have organised 24h "human shield" in the factory. That was the top news in the first days of NATO strikes, so NATO officials knew that the factory is full of people 24h a day. But, who cares, right? Yesterday, missiles hit the factory wounding 120 workers (8 of them are in very critical condition). That was totally unnecessary act of violence, because NATO missiles didn't hit the ammunition and weapons production sections of the factory, but rather marginal car assembly section.
Two days ago, NATO missiles flattened to the ground one ski centre on the Zlatibor mountain. Yugoslav Olympic Committee Ski Hotel is totally devastated and three civilians (guardians of the empty hotel) were killed on the spot. Gosh... is THAT supposed to be yet another Serb-frightening action?
Yesterday, the victims of savage Prishtina bombings were buried, also. Apart from that, some 100 more people were also buried - for the second time (because one NATO missile hit the graveyard damaging more than 100 graves, two days ago).
It seems that NOBODY in Yugoslavia can rest in peace, anymore... :-(
April 14, 1999
Cool! NATO hit in the very centre of the problem - I can already see Milosevic so badly hurt, he is now half-way to resignation:
"A NATO missile smashed into a passenger train in southeast Serbia Monday, killing at least 10 people and injuring 16 others, rescue officials said. The missile, which hit shortly before noon local time, cut the train in two, turning two cars into smoldering wrecks and damaging two others. Rescue workers told Reuters they had pulled nine burned bodies out of the wreckage and found another corpse in a nearby river".
Judging to some US official's statements (Albright, Clinton) I can see that NATO will make sure we don't get bored here in Yugoslavia.
"The efforts are intensifying..."
What a great way to "stop humanitarian catastrophe" and "bring peace to the Balkans".
|These exerpts from the diary of Slobodan Markovic were selected for the Kunstradio program "OTHER VOICES - echos from a war zone" by Gordan Paunovic. They were were translated into German and read by Christian Scheib.
The CD of OTHER VOICES will be published on March 22, 2000 - the anniversary of the beginning of the bombing of Jugoslavia.