Two letters by a Belgrade woman (Maja Nikolic). The first
one depicts the bombings of May 20th. The second one
describes the popular mood on May 25th.
1. A crazy party
My dear friend,
Here I am, alive and healthy, lack of sleep, with my nescafee in front of
me. I checked electricity, phone connection on my Panasonic, wow, all is
fine, my Mac is working. I can light that Gauloise, now.
Well, my friend, we had party last night. Like all parties in Belgrade,
it started just before midnight. They know we are night birds, so they
don't want to bother us during the day.
It started when planes scratched my roof, with big roar, wrooar, and my
dear friend, you know my beautiful apartment is in the penthouse, with
that fantastic view on all potential targets, few tv stations, the only
remaining bridge on Danube and others, less important.
Then it all started, with that long wrooar, a huge fire-work, and me, running
from one window to another watching and all excited, and the sky, oh, the
sky was burning, stars flying, stars falling, red, yellow, white...my
friend, burning on all four known sides of earth, east, west,south,
north...Artillery, implosions, explosions, long live anti air craft
defense. Boys were working hard, I could feel it, and hear
it and see it.
Bastards were running away in their planes and throwing their huge bombs
wherever, and then it wasn't the night anymore it was the day in
midnight. White and red sky, my windows and doors shaking, trembling,
ceiling was waving, oh, what a rave. Our artillery, their bombs,fighting,
who is stronger. That party lasted three hours, not very long party, but
believe me, it was really wild party.
And on the TV a movie,some romantic movie, Horse Whisperer,
R. Redford was kissing C. S.Thomas, kissing and kissing, not aware of
fire-work behind their heads, ha, ha what a beautiful distorted
reality. Everything is shaking, flashes all around, and he was kissing her
So, after three short hours, the party was over, and me, excited from
screaming "come on boys, burn their tails", with adrenalin in blood, I
drank one, two, three drinks, and felt asleep calmly, for four long
hours. That crazy siren started to scream in my ear at 7 in
the morning. Why don't they switch on that siren at 9, who
cares is it alert or not, is our sky free again or not, let us sleep!!
My dear friend, here I am sitting and giving you a report about crazy
parties in Belgrade, just to make you little jealous, I know your life is
calm and boring, just to give you a little excitement.
Music on my radio is loud, and in this moment is that old song, I think that
fellow Black,...no need to know and hide it's a wonderful, wonderful
stupid song just struck me in my head, fuck that dj, he didn't deserve
his salary, what a song for early morning after wild night.
Switch him off. We need something more powerful.
2. Everyday life in Belgrade, may 25th.
I can not generalize people's feelings, but one is sure.
NATO expected that our rage will be directed against our
president, but it is contrary, nobody's thinking of him.
We are all very enraged toward NATO, specially towards
America. That is because they are hypocrites, they are
always repeating that they have nothing against the people
in YU, they love us, even that old cow Madeline
Half-brihgt repeats that message in Serb language, like a
parrot, on the TV program they transmit from their planes,
you know, to inform us. But they are bombing bridges 600
km away from Kosovo, food factories, hospitals, water
supplies, electricity supplies telling that those are all
military targets. People here are not so stupid, they know
they want to make our life hard is it can be, considering
that then we will start a civil war, throw away our
president, and welcome NATO as rescuers with open hands.
But, their psychology team is very bad and stupid, who
will go to fight with our police when the bombs are
falling on our heads, when we only fight to survive, when
I have to wait for bread or sugar for an hour in a row, I
have no need for demonstrations, I can only blame NATO.
More, we haven't invited them, they came breaking all
international laws by the name "humanitarian angel".
You are probably interested how ordinary people feel and
live. I must say that people on the streets are much
kinder between themselves than before bombing. Everybody
is pretending nothing is happening, people go to work,
although almost nothing work and there are no salary. We
all have some savings, we are used to make savings, last
ten years. It was always some unpredictable situation, and
we are used to leave some money on the side, just in case,
well the case came.
Yes, of course we help each other, in small things mostly.
Just a little example, cigarettes are precious. You can
buy them very rare in shops, they bombed our two tobacco
factories, and there are imported cigarettes but they are
very expensive. I can buy them, but my mother can not, oh,
we all smoke here, I know, I know, bad for health, but who
cares now. If somebody ask you for a cigarette in cafe,
you will give of course, or for example, the daughter of
my mummy best friend, she doesn't smoke. But she just
happened to be in one shop in the moment when they got
cigarettes. She bought a 10 packs for my mother. She just
remembered her. So, people are solidar to each other in
those small everyday's things, well, we are all in same
shit, sorry, sometimes I don't speak decent words, like
When I didn't have electricity last few days, I told you a
friend of mine [...], he always had it few hours
more than me, lives next to the hospital and they are
priorities. I went to his place to cook something small
for children in any time day or night, in the moment he
got energy, he just phone and says [...] "come here,
I just got it".
When you walk through the streets, you would never say
that we are in war. Streets are full of people, during the
day only, sitting in cafes,walking, all nice dressed,
chatting, joking, but the problem is all our talks are
about this situation. Do you have electricity, do you have
water, did you manage to buy bread this morning, did you
sleep last night, was the detonation near, all practical
problems. Then, talks about global politics, who will
sign, who will not, what is Russian role, we all became
experts in politics. And finally jokes, i heard so many
jokes last period, I can not remember all. The sense of
humor is on high level. few days ago I saw some graffiti
on the wall, and I laughed and laughed. One: NATO
SURRENDER!!!! (come on guys, you are going to kill us
all)!! ; Dear president, you were not at home, when we
needed you the most. ( it is about bombing his residency);
Sorry, we didn't know it was invisible ( this is about
F-117 the invisible plane we shoot). And I heard so good
joke yesterday, Do you know how a Serb man feels in the
morning when he wakes up? Missed. And a Serb woman? Missed
twice. Well this word "miss" in our language has double
meaning. "miss" can mean for example you missed a goal in
football game, so the bomb missed. And "missed" can mean
that he done nothing worth in his life.
[Here I am snipping a very interesting but perhaps too
personal paragraph on everyday life of a Belgrade woman]
People are somehow bored with all this, 60 and something
days is not small when you have a tension day and night
and pretend everything is fine and normal. Some of my
friends ran away at the beggining, some just few days ago,
some who ran away couldn't stand there and they returned.
We all wish this to end as soon as possible, nobody is
thinking of tomorrow, you know that old movie, Gone with
the wind, and at the end Scarlet o' Hara is crying and she
says, "I'll think about that tomorrow". It is sugar movie,
but this sentence on the end explains perfectly our
behavior. But everybody is terrible enraged by NATO and
West, and if they try to use ground forces I think that
they will have a new Vietnam. Every old woman on the
street is prepared to take a gun and shoot at least one
soldier. I don't share that opinion, but it is most
common, and you asked about ordinary people. Before the
war we had all kinds of western products here, from food,
wardrobe, technics....and yesterday I saw commercial on
TV, selling something, saying: "none of our products are
made in NATO countries", I think it was for Nokkia
cellular. Well it is stupid because we still have all
those products here. The problem is only food when there
is no electricity, you know bakeries doesn't work,
refrigerators, and it is great problem with water, so
shops don't work....no food.
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