After yesterday’s Croatian atrocity stories, I was curious to hear Serbia’s side. Our Belgrade guide blamed politicians for stirring up tensions between different peoples in order to break off a little piece of their own to rule. (Pretty much sums up human history doesn’t it?) Slobodan Milosevic, she said, orchestrated the attacks on Croatia. The Serbs finally got so fed up with him that a million gathered in protest. When the military refused Milosevic’s order to fire teargas on them, he decided
not to “contest” his lost election after all.
We Americans were the attackers in Serbia, and Belgrade is a shining testimonial to the advantages of being bombed by the US. Our Serbian guide was much more cheerful than yesterday’s Croatian. She pointed out a number of buildings bombed in 1996–all military targets destroyed without damage to civilian buildings next door. She imitated the sound of our Tomahawks which, along with red lights, made them easier to dodge. Kids liked to tempt fate by lying on strategic bridges, but when we decided to take a bridge out, we struck in the wee hours and sent local officials ahead to ensure a clear coast. I’ve read that civilians watched the show from lounge chairs on their rooftops, believing that our bombers never made mistakes. They were wrong; our precautions failed to prevent 2,000 civilian casualties.
Poor Belgrade’s strategic location has kept it in the crosshairs for most of its history. The city has been decimated some 44 times. The moat outside their historic, red brick fortress is full of cannons and tanks from various conflicts–just the overflow from the war history museum.
Our evening dance performance included great costumes and a lot of moves similar to the Russian kick-squat. One dancer locked his legs around his buddy’s waist and swung in a circle as the buddy turned. The scant clearance between his head and the pillars on either side of the dance floor had me holding my breath. Fortunately the stunt came off with Tomahawk precision.