FROM BELGRADE, SERBIABALKAN AFFAIRS
Belgrade 1. The Day NATO Killed Journalism, And Other Serb Stories
Even Poisoned - Another NATO Bombing Legacy
The Day NATO Shot at Journalism
Other Serb Stories
BELGRADE, Apr. 24 – One year ago this weekend, on Apr. 23, 1999, right after the TiM editor had returned home to Arizona from the bombed out Belgrade, NATO committed the “mother of all crimes” when it comes to injury to truth and liberty. This unholy alliance that claimed to stand for freedom and democracy bombed the Serb TV studio in downtown Belgrade, killing scores of technical and administrative staff.
One year ago today, we brought you a dramatic eyewitness report about the carnage at the Abardareva Street studio by Marija Mitrovic, a Belgrade resident who lived a 100 meters (110 yards) from the bombing target.
One year ago today, we also summed up this NATO strike as follows:
“TiM Ed.: It
tragically fitting that NATO, formed as a defensive organization 50 years
ago to the day, should mark its anniversary with an attack on freedom of
speech as well as on innocent civilians in Belgrade. Now that all masks of
civility have fallen, everybody can see the new NATO for what it is - a
mass murdering New World Order juggernaut, or a North Atlantic Terrorist
Organization, as some Belgrade protest posters have depicted it.”
Well, today, one year later, this writer walked over to the site of this heinous crime. A bronze plaque with gold-plated names of the victims etched on it marks the entrance to the newly rebuilt Serb TV studio building. Underneath the plaque, laid on a concrete ledge, four urns with fresh flowers added to a feeling that one was standing in front of a shrine, a new “wailing wall” perhaps for the truth-loving journalists around the world.
Two young girls, probably in their late teens, stood in front of me and the plaque, silently reading the names of the victims. Fearing that I may not remember them all, I snapped a picture.
“No pictures!” a man who looked like a civilian security guard said, waving his arms animatingly as he stepped out of the building.
“Too late,” I thought, putting my camera away without saying a word.
“Why not?” one of the girls asked the guard innocently. She never got an answer. The guard looked too bored to do it, probably sensing himself the ludicrousness of the rule.
(During the war, some of the guards at the various Serb media outfits were also very hyper about the sight of cameras in and around their buildings. Given that such civilian targets eventually became free game for NATO’s target practice, the guards’ zealousness can perhaps be understood. But getting excited now, one year later, when someone takes a picture of a plaque, is a symptom of paranoia, reminiscent of the old Tito communist days. It could also be a sign of a siege mentality that is besieging the Milosevic regime).
I climbed up a small hill back of the TV building, and took some more pictures of the new and the old (ruins) Serb TV building from the high grounds of the Tasmajdan Park, as well as from the nearby children’s theater.
Right next door to the theater is a small Russian church, dwarfed by the gigantic Sveti Marko (St. Marco) Serbian Orthodox cathedral, just to the south of it. But faithful Christians should not get fooled by the size of the dwellings in which people worship.
When this writer was a young man, spending a part of his youth in this Belgrade neighborhood, the small Russian church always seemed somehow closer to God than the huge Serbian cathedral. Perhaps that’s because every Easter (and this is the Orthodox Christian Easter week, with Easter Sunday falling on Apr. 30), despite the communist rule, there was a Russian choir that performed beautiful Orthodox church music at this time of the year. The Russian church being as tiny as it is, we, the neighborhood kids as well as other Belgrade residents, used to sit on the Tasmajdan Park grass above the church enjoying, what we thought was, a free concert.
There was no music today. Not even church bells. In fact, the doors to the Russian church were locked. So this writer walked over to the St. Marco cathedral next door, whose doors have always been open. Even during the communist rule. It’s just that not many people ventured in those days.
There were not many more people inside today than way back then, in the 1950s and 1960s. Or is it perhaps that almost any number of faithful would seem a trifle in the vast expanse of the cathedral? But one thing was certainly different. Back at the time of communism, only older people dared go to church. Today, more than three quarters of those worshipping were under 30 years of age (see “Thanks to NATO, NWO, Orthodox Christianity Is in Revival in Serbia, Russia,” TiM Bulletin 2000/3-3).
I felt like saying, “thank you, NATO.” Instead, I said my prayers, kissed the icons, gave a donation to the church, and lit a large candle for the souls of the slain journalists.
Ironically, as I crossed the Aleksandrova Street (the former Boulevard of the Revolution - by the way, just about all major Belgrade streets have now been renamed to the old, pre-communist era names; ‘twas about time!), I noted the Czech tricolor fluttering in front of the Czech Republic embassy in which Madeleine Albright spent some of her childhood. Her Dad, Mr. Korbel, an avowed Serbophile till his death, was back then a Czech ambassador to Yugoslavia (see “Da Bull”).
Yet, 50+ years later, here was Madlenka Korbel a.k.a. Madam Halfbright, waging war on TV stations of her fellow-Slavs, who sheltered her and her Jewish family from the pogroms. Her Dad is surely turning in his grave. Furiously.
Walk along the Embassy Row
After an interlude for some business meetings, I continued the trip down the memory lane, retracing my steps from last April, when I walked along the Belgrade’s “Embassy Row,” the Kneza Milosa street, taking pictures of the then defaced NATO countries’ embassy buildings.
Today, only one embassy’s facade remained defaced. In fact, it looked worse than it was a year ago, with some new expletives added since that time. It is the embassy of the United States of America (stand by for some “then and now” comparison photos when we get a chance to post them at our Web site).
What was once the largest diplomatic post in Belgrade, now looks like an empty shell, a dwelling as decrepit as any abandoned Bronx tenement building. Its hollow innards symbolized the New World Order, and emitted the “Sunset of the West, Sunrise of the East” tune, overpowering even the Kneza Milosa street traffic noise.
Diagonally across the street from the former U.S. diplomatic mission, however, the Canadian embassy looked spick and span. All wartime graffiti have been cleaned up. All broken windows have been repaired. Ditto re. the nearby German embassy.
But looks can be deceiving. Moral blemishes on these and other NATO governments, all Washington’s quislings, may take decades to wash off, if at all. The sooner they start repenting, however, the better. The cleanly scrubbed facades of the Canadian and German embassies suggest that the governments of at least some NATO countries are getting that message.
Kneza Milosa Friends
After an unseasonably warm week, in which the temperatures sometimes exceeded 28C (81F - such as today), gray clouds started to gather from the West this evening, just as this writer was finishing his photo-inspection of the Belgrade Embassy Row. It was high time to grab a taxi and run for home.
But after unsuccessfully trying to flag down a cab during the busy Belgrade rush hour, suddenly a whole row of cars stopped right in front me, honking their horns, and otherwise behaving as if a car in front of them had a green light, but wasn’t moving. Finally, I looked back, only to recognize an old friend, whom I had just seen earlier in the day, too, and who was now running toward me. He had evidently noticed that I was stuck for a ride, stopped his car, got out of it, and ran toward me, signaling me to jump in. I did.
“It was God’s will, I suppose, that we shall meet again the same day, after not seeing each other for so long,” I said.
“Indeed,” he said, laughing and nodding in agreement.
As my friend drove me back to my hotel, I recalled with an eerie sense of divine intervention an incident that took place one year ago at exactly the same part of the Kneza Milosa street, except in the opposite traffic lanes. Here’s an excerpt (see Day 68, Item 2):
writer visited Serbia in late April, he had a similar experience, though
with a happier ending. One of
the three highway bridges near Novi Sad was still standing at the time. As
we approached it after a brief stopover in downtown Novi Sad, the driver
crossed himself, and asked everyone in the van to say a prayer. Then he
gunned the vehicle across the bridge.
Half way across
Europe's longest waterway, his eyes glued on the roadway ahead, "De
Gaulle," the nickname which the driver, a tall wiry Serb, earned for
having lived a few years in Paris, motioned to the right.
"This is where the missile hit," he said.
Indeed, the damage
was extensive and obvious, though the bridge was still standing. Back
then. It no longer is. A couple of weeks later, NATO came back and
finished the job.
No wonder many
taxi drivers in Belgrade have crosses hanging under their rear view
mirrors, having to cross the bridges across the rivers Sava and Danube
numerous times every day. Only under the crosses, of course.
"DeGaulle" almost caused an accident a few days later right at
the Kneza Milosa exit off the Gazela bridge in downtown Belgrade.
As this writer was walking along Kneza Milosa street to take
pictures of the bombed-out Interior Ministry buildings (see the photos at
our Web site - http://www.truthinmedia.org/Kosovo/photos-rsd.html), a van
suddenly came to a screeching halt on one of Belgrade's busiest streets.
Several other vehicles behind the van also hit the breaks. But it was the
van's driver, and not those behind him, who kept honking his horn more
frantically than a Manhattan cabbie might during a presidential visit (see
"Taking a Little Bite Out of the Big Apple").
When I finally
looked up to see what all the kaffafle was about, I recognized "DeGaulle,"
my Budapest to Belgrade driver from a few days earlier. "DeGaulle"
seemed so happy to see me again, that he jumped right out of the van, ran
across to the sidewalk to give me a big hug. After I returned the hug, he
ran back to his vehicle.”
The Intercontinental Taxi May 9, 2000
Ever seen an Intercontinental Taxi? I have. Today, April 24, in Belgrade. He was black with brown whiskers. He was warm and cuddly. He was loveable and huggable. And he was stretched out on the rug at the entrance of Belgrade’s arguably best hotel, which has recently also acquired an unfortunate notoriety as the place where Arkan (Zeljko Raznjatovic) and two of his body guards were murdered last January.
“Whose dog is this?” I asked the friendly staff at the reception.
“I have no idea. He just appeared one day.”
“He just appeared one day?”
“Yes. Along with other dogs, too.”
“With other dogs, too?”
“When the bombing started.”
“What happened then?”
“Guess the dogs got scared. They can sense danger, you know, before we the humans, can (for proof of it, see “Man’s Best Friend Proved His Worth as Dog of War”). And so, during the air raids, we the hotel staff, would go out into the parking lot to wait out the danger. And all these dogs came out of nowhere to join us. Guess they felt safer being with a ‘man friend?’ Anyway, some of them stayed to this day.”
“Does this one, at the front, have a name?”
“Yes. We call him ‘Taxi.’”
“So this is your Intercontinental Taxi?” I joked.
“And who feeds him?”
“We do. The staff.”
Well, no wonder Taxi looked so happy and contented sprawled on the Intercontinental’s rug. All fun, no work.
I didn’t have the heart to explain to the kind hotel staff the meaning of taxidermy, though. Hope they never get to learn it while taking care of their Intercontinental Taxi.
BELGRADE, Apr. 30 - After receiving gratifying feedback from some TiM readers about the above Taxi and other stories, and a request from one young lady from Ohio who said she wanted to see what this dog looked like, the TiM editor obliged, taking several photos of him on Good Friday (they will be posted as soon as they are developed and scanned).
In the process of doing it, however, and talking about the stray dogs with the hotel staff, the TiM editor discovered a darker side of the story. In fact, parts of it are quite gruesome. But we'll let you follow it through the following dialogue between that Ohio reader and the TiM editor in Belgrade:
The Storm from the West
“Going for a quick jog before the rain comes,” I waived to the hotel staff, as I walked out the door a few minutes later.
“Rain? What rain?” asked a hotel reception clerk.
“Trust an Arizona nose when it comes to rain. We get so little of it that we can smell it from miles away.”
About half an hour later, as the first drops of rain fell on the parched Belgrade ground from the stormy sky, I marched into the hotel lobby, slightly out of breath, but still mostly dry.
“What did I tell you?” I said to the staff grinning, while taking my (now superfluous) sun glasses off, and drying them off with my T-shirt.
It didn’t take long before a few drops of rain turned into a full-fledged thunderstorm. As the bolts of lightening struck downtown Belgrade, and the roar of the thunder shook the building, I was reminded of another storm, a year ago, which the residents of the Serb capital cheered. Because it saved lives.
Here’s an excerpt from a TiM Bulletin filed from the same hotel a year ago, right after the Pancevo chemical factory was struck by NATO, releasing a huge toxic cloud (see “Angry Skies over Serbia”):
attack against a Pancevo chemical factory was a case in point (see above).
The NATO bombs caused huge fires which released toxic fumes into the
atmosphere. This afternoon,
as your editor returned to Belgrade, a plume of black smoke was visible
from 50 miles away. And even now, at about 3PM GMT, the black toxic cloud
is clearly visible over the northeastern Belgrade suburbs from this
information, Pancevo is about as close to downtown Belgrade as Central
Park is to the World Trade Towers in New York. […]
TiM Ed.: And the
people who committed this crime, not only against humanity, but against
nature - Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder,
Madeleine Albright, Sam Berger, William Cohen, Wesley Clark, and other
NATO leaders, have the nerve to talk about "genocide?"
As if echoing our condemnation, a powerful thunderstorm is rolling right now over Belgrade. Fortunately, the wind is from the southwest, thus driving the toxic cloud away from the city. What NATO has attempted to do, God is evidently undoing.”
Thank you, God, for giving the TiM editor a chance to write this Bulletin one year later. And happy Easter 2000 to all earthlings opposed to tyranny and crimes against humanity and life in general, such as was the murder committed 2000 years ago, on Good Friday!
If he could speak, I am sure that even the Intercontinental Taxi would second this. Instead, please accept his lazy, docile stretch on the hotel rug as a sign that life is still winning over the Evil Empire of the New World Order.
P.S. In a more down-to-earth example of God’s revenge, one year ago, getting gasoline in Belgrade was like pulling hens’ teeth. Now (thanks to the Russians?), most gas stations are well stocked up. More importantly, at about 18 dinars per liter (about DM 0.80, $0.53 per liter), petrol is now cheaper in Serbia than in most of the western NWO vassal countries. Such as in Hungary, for example, where it is about DM 1.20, $0.80 per liter. Or in Austria, where it is DM 1.40, $0.93 per liter).
So after almost nine years of genocidal western sanctions against Serbia, guess what countries’ citizens are flocking into Serbia to buy cheaper fuel and smuggle it across the border? The western NATO quislings, of course.
Is it the Slavic version of the “Montezuma revenge?” Lucky for them, most western Euros, like the "Gringos" in Mexico, won’t even know what that is. Until it hits them... J
Also, check out... “Berliner Zeitung” Disputes Racak “Massacre”, CIA and KLA Ties, His Disgrace, Artemije, How Gen. Clark Misled the World, Death on the Danube, Reverse Fascism, Racism of the New World Order, Death of the City, Cavorting with the Enemy (Albright), Toward a New Multipolar World in the New Millennium, Stitching Together the New World Order Flag, Chinese Embassy; Slovakia; bin Laden and Bosnia, Criminals Return to Scene of Their Crimes, Truth in Media Statement on the Kosovo War, "Wither Dayton, Sprout New War?", "On the Brink of Madness", "Tragic Deja Vu's," "Seven U.S. Senators Suggest Ouster of Milosevic", "Biting the Hand That Feeds You", "A Balkan Affairs Potpourri", "Put the U.N. Justice on Trial", "International Justice 'Progresses' from Kidnapping to Murder", "Milosevic: 'A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery'...", "Kosovo Lie Allowed to Stand", "New World Order's Inquisition in Bosnia", "Kosovo Heating Up", "Decani Monastery Under Siege?", "Murder on Wall Street", "Kosovo: 'Bosnia II', Serbia's Aztlan", "What If the Shoe Were on the Other Foot?", "Serb WW II General Exonerated by British Archives," "Green Interstate - Not Worth American Lives", "An American Hero or Actor of the Year?" (A June '95 TiM story) and/or "Kocevje: Tito's Greatest Crime?", "Perfidious Albion Strikes Again, Aided by Uncle Sam", "Lift the Sanctions, Now!" (1993)
Or Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "Chinese Dragon Wagging Macedonian Tail," "An Ugly Double Standard in Kosovo Conflict?", "NATO's Bullyboys", "Kosovo: Why Are We Involved?", and "Ginning Up Another Crisis"