FROM WESTERN AUSTRALIATopic: BALKAN AFFAIRS
ALSO SEE THREE TiM GW BULLETINS FILED
CONTEMPORANEOUSLY DURING THE
"TOUR DE SERBIA:"
"Tour de Serbia" - Part I (Sept. 13)
"Tour de Serbia - Part II (Sept. 15)
"Tour de Serbia - Part III (Sept. 16)
TiM's "TOUR DE SERBIA" - STAGE 5
Then... Kragujevac - "Zastava" Factory Photos April 1999 (10 photos)
...and now - Stage 5 Kragujevac - "Zastava" Factory and other Photos Sept. 14, 1999 (12 photos)
KRAGUJEVAC, Sept. 14 - The TiM editor's visits to Kragujevac and Valjevo were organized by the members of the respective Rotary Clubs. Which is why the Kragujevac program started at about 1PM with a welcome meeting at the offices of MBM Communications in the city center. The Rotary Club president, Jovica Markovic, who runs a successful leather manufacturing business, "Koza," greeted the guests. He was also joined by Nebojsa Becarevic, the Club's secretary and director of MBM, Marko Martinovic, the chief of protocol, and Dragan Marisavljevic, a vice president. Present were also leaders of the Valjevo Rotary Club, Vigor Majic and Voja Jovanovic, who also provided the transportation for the guests to the two cities.
After that, the TiM editor and his wife toured the bombed out sites of the "Zastava" auto factory. The company's vice president, Dragan Stankovic, acted as the tour guide. Mr. Stankovic also provided the photos of the original devastation (see Kragujevac - "Zastava" factory photos, April 1999) so that the guests could compare them with the current situation and the photos which TiM took (see Kragujevac - "Zastava" factory and other photos, Sept. 14, 1999).
Besides putting out of business a leading competitor of some NATO countries' auto makers ("Zastava" even managed to crack the U.S. car market in the 1980s with its "Yugo" product, yet now the Czech "Skoda" has picked up most of its market share), the NATO bombing has also put out of work 36,000 people, and cut off heat to tens of thousands of Kragujevac residents who depended on the "Zastava" heating plant for winter heat.
After the visit to "Zastava," the TiM editor held a press conference in the city center and gave interviews to some of the local TV media. And as seems often the case in Serbia, the various media organizations are alligned with the political parties. So after one TV interview, in which the reporter tried her darndest (unsuccessfully) to get the TiM editor to say that Slobodan Milosevic is a greater criminal than Bill Clinton, the TiM editor asked one of the local hosts if this TV channel happens to be aligned with an opposition party? Bingo! "It's an SPO (Vuk Draskovic's Serb Renewal Party) channel," back came the reply.
Interestingly, like Nis, Kragujevac is an opposition-run city at the local government. Except that its leaders' party affiliations are reverse: the Mayor (Veroljub Stevanovic) is a member of the Serbian Renewal Party (SPO), while the president of the city's Executive Council (Borivoje Radic) is from the Democratic Party. But the head of the Sumadija District, which includes Kragujevac, is from Milosevic's Socalist Party (SPS), again as in Nis, where the District chairman is an SPS man (Dr. Jovan Zlatic).
After the press conference and a luncheon with the hosts, the TiM editor and his wife visited the Kragujevac Sumarice museum (see Kragujevac - other photos, Sept. 14, 1999. At this site, about 7,000 Kragujevac citizens were executed by the Nazis in 1941, including several hundred school children. On Mar. 31, 1999, one week into NATO's attack on Serbia, tens of thousands of Kragujevac citizens staged an extraordinary act of defiance which went largely unnoticed by the world press. At the site of the 1941 massacre, tens of thousands of Kragujevac citizens held an "extra (school) period," offering themseves as targets to yet another foreign aggressor.
They followed in the footsteps of a heroic Kragujevac high school teacher who was given a chance by a German officer to save his life. He refused. "I have not dismissed my class yet" ("Ja jos uvek drzim cas"), he replied, his head held high to help encourage his students with whom he was executed at the above site.
The photos from the Mar. 31 event were given to TiM by the Sumarice Museum director (the lady in the pink dress, fourth from the left, in the TiM photo taken outside the museum). She wrote on the back of the photo No. 11 from Mar. 31: "We are again the targets, and only the targets."
The director had a narrow escape from death herself, when the nearby army barracks were hit in what was possibly the first bombing of the war (on Mar. 24). The bomb blasts damaged the museum, destroying its glass dome, and toppling a heavy bookcase right on the director's desk. Only seconds before that, she was still sitting there. Then she got up to hand her secretary a piece of paper. That's when the bombs struck.
Also, check out... 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 Exhonerated by British Archives," "Green Interstate - Not Worth American Lives", "An American Hero or Actor of the Year?" (A June '95 TiM story) and/or "Clinton arme secrètement les musulmans bosniaques", "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"