Dejan Sretenovic on Wed, 24 Mar 1999 12:51:03 +0100

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Syndicate: Belgrade report

Dear Andreas and all,

We expected the first attack last night, but it did not take place.
Maybe tonight? The bad sign is the arrival of CNN's Christiane Amanpour
in Belgrade. Believe it or not, life goes normal in Belgrade. There's no
panic, no fear, no rush for the goods or visible preparations of any
kind for the attack. This paranormal state of normalcy indicates deep
apathy and hopelessness of the Serbian people. Anesthesia. There's no
general mobilization except for the antiaircraft fire reservists. The
federal government has declared the "state of immediate war danger" last
night. But, who cares? TV Kosava, which editor in chief is Milosevic's
daughter, played an American movie last night. TV Pink, pop culture
television, played historical drama "The Battle on the Kosovo",  full of
pathetic national rhetoric and mythology. We heard the same rhetoric
yesterday at the Serbian parliament, but now Albanians and Americans
play the historical role of the Turks. The only question is: who is
going to play the role of the Serbian prince Lazarus who was killed in a
historical battle.

No one can predict the further development of the situation, with or
without war, but obviously, the repression over media, political
opponents, probably NGOs will expand. The arrest of Veran Matic and the
shut down of Radio B92 are the first signs of the terror we are facing
now. Does it mean that for the sake of the Kosovo problem solution,  USA
and EU will turn a blind eye on the repression in the inner Serbia? It
seems so, but it could only produce the new "Saddam Hussein effect".

But, there's still some Serbian sense of humor. Graffiti on Belgrade
wall: Columbus, fuck your mother curious.

Dejan Sretenovic
SCCA Belgrade