Violeta Ivkovic

FRIENDS

INTRODUCTION
1. Masha – aged 11, my youngest daughter. Excellent pupil, too mature for her years. Her dream is to live in Australia in peace. 2. Sonya – aged 13, my middle one. Represents Yugoslavia in diving. Won a few medals. Her dreams are to win a gold at the Olympics, see a concert of the Back Street Boys (and to fall in love – again). 3. Milosh – aged 19, my son. A student. I hope he still has some dreams. 4. Ivan – my late husband. The man of my life. Died in a car accident in August ’98. 5. Dona – the most faithful dog in the world

My friends from the Electronic mail 1. George, Tanya and Vlada - left the country in 1993. George is an expert in
computers. Tanya is an unemployed social worker. Vlada is the best pupil in class. They live on Malta, and plan Canada. They don't plan to return to Yuga.* 2. Olga and Vlada - left the country in 1992. Olga is finishing her PhD and is one of the most popular obstetrician on Malta. Vlada is studying architecture. They don't intend to return to Yuga. 3. Ruth and Albert - Maltese - my friends. They'd really like to see this country. 4. Ana and Gojko - left the country in 1989. Ana, my relative, is a lawyer, Gojko is a successful businessman. They live in America, periodically in Canada. They don't intend to return to Yuga. 5. Dragan and Helen - left the country in 1992. Dragan is the director of a Swiss clinic in Gabon, in the heart of the jungle. Maybe they make short trips to Switzerland but not to Yuga. 6. Nada and Eftychios - Nada went to Cyprus a long time ago. Eftychios lived there already. Nada is a sociology teacher at university, Eftychios is an architect. They adopted two of our boys, they can't adopt the whole Serbian people. 7. Bogdan and Slavica - left the country in 1993. Bogdan is an architect. Slavica an art historian. They live in Italy. They don't intend to return to Yuga. 8. Jovan and Aleksandra - left the country in 1992. Jovan is the director of the Swiss EDU Center, Aleksandra a Web site designer. They don't intend to return to Yuga. 9. Abigail, Kyle and Daniel - twelve-year olds - the friends of my little girls Sonya and Masha

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Yugoslavia 2

Date: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Subject: PROLOGUE The computer, in itself, is an ideal toy for adults. In a sophisticated way it gives the illusion that you are doing something terribly important and mature, but basically you are playing all the time (the child in us), you are doing what you like and having tremendous fun. The same applies to E-Mail. For years, I have been corresponding with friends who, back in '90, '91, '92, '93,... split from here, with friends I made abroad, but also with people I have never met and who, I am convinced, I know better than their nearest and dearest. All those people are not writing to Violeta. They are writing to themselves. This is an electronic diary that puts up with our thoughts, fears, feelings, events that we are unable to tell those closest to us for many understandable reasons. An E-mail correspondent seems real, familiar, but at a safe distance and has no influence on our cruel reality, so we need not resist the urge to say something we would never dare to say in direct contact with a person. Why do people make love more freely in the dark? This form of communication lessens the fear that we have bothered a person with our stupid problems - the longer the message - the happier everyone is. We have no obligation to justify ourselves, apologize or pretend. Whoever doesn't like it will throw our message into the recycle bin and no one will be offended. V

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EMANATION or gently rocking the boat 1 Date: Saturday, March 20, 1999 11:38 PM Subject: Someone is waiting for Godot ∗

and someone for bombs... This is to console you for a start. Sleep peacefully till Monday. And then we'll all know. I'm not worried. Humans are strange creatures, they get used to everything. I'm more concerned about my CD of Pink Floyd skipping a note than anything else. I keep thinking we're the most perverse people on this planet to whom this kind of stimulus gives real sexual satisfaction. I don't know how else to explain it. It seems the only thing that sticks. Think of that pick of the ecstasy!!! All kinds of people have come down from those big mountains into this anus mundi. With them they brought their habits, customs, they didn't even wipe their feet when they stepped into Belgrade. That's why nothing surprises me. I'll only be sorry I didn't have enough time to go and live with people for whom the epitome of good manners is not to take off their shoes when they enter your house. I won't discuss the Yankees now, they're not my theme. It's pleasant - the radio stations are still playing good music, this morning at 8:30 I was swimming in the pool, the children were so good that as a reward they tidied the house. A moment of weakness - since the beginning I've wondered, and it disturbs me, whether Ivan in fact was lucky and as usual got off easily. Call me VLY

The character from Samuel Beckett’ s drama: “Waiting for Godot” 4

Date: Sunday, March 21, 1999 6:45 PM Subject: Nebulous things

I spent the entire day in nebulous negotiations and meetings which I shan't go into because I love you. I know you're worried, even Ruth cried us to run (her brother works for the military, by the way). I asked her nicely to put a word for us and gave the address that he should miss. Hey, how long do you need to reply?

MY COUSIN ANA'S QUEST FOR HER ROOTS Date: Sunday, March 21, 1999 7:49 PM Subject: Don't

settle for any place. Ours could have been the right one. Don't give up so easily, generation. A propos the rain, the home and heart, I agree. But it's nicer where there's sun. In that American "wilderness" over there you've forgotten how much surroundings mean. Surroundings in the house, the environment, in the bus, it's all important. The same as if you put on lipstick when you go out. For your own sake. The world won't change because of us, that's clear to us. But we can adjust it a bit to ourselves. You turn your head if it's yak, smile if it's nice. It's not correct, by heaven, that we're all the same. And people should behave like that. I'm not being defiant or nasty, I can be a very nice little creature, but not to everyone. We all invest, don't we? Why not receive nice things in return? There lies the philosophy of living. We don't do everything we do to suffer and be unhappy. Thank you for sharing thoughts with me. And that is because we both made an effort.

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FEELING THE PULSE Date: Monday, March 22, 1999 10:01 AM Subject: You succeeded

in not waking me, you witch. The pager didn't beep at all. I subscribe for another 10 hours, I send letters, and then your message arrives. Of all things! I don't read our newspapers, I don't even watch TV. As the Red Indians said: "It's never too late to shit your pants." There's talk of mobilization, but I'm not even certain about that. It must be true, otherwise who would be down there. How are our people reacting? Like this. Last night a female friend of mine I haven't heard from in a hundred years phoned me, we talked for half an hour and didn't mention a word about Kosovo. Finally we arranged to go to the theater because it would suit both of us to see a nice performance and after go to a coffee shop and have a little chat!!! I don't know if to you this looks like ostriches burying their heads in the sand. Someone has trouble trying to get money as fast as they can, and that's it. My house is as clean as a new pin, after Athens the night before last, for the first time Masha and I seriously rolled up our sleeves. I have ten tins of sardines from the last panic, I'm just arranging with Milosh, for us to go after his classes to the supermarket and get all the most expensive things we like, and otherwise can't buy. Payment on a check in a month's time. Ha, I'll pull a trick on them!!! Today I'll pay in an additional subscription for the Net, I paid the telephone and that's enough from me. I hope most sincerely (had I known, it would have been my New Year wish) that we'll be able to communicate without interference. Could be fun! And as a male friend from the old days called me last night, this evening I plan to go out, so if Holbrooke goes home empty-handed, there's no guarantee what I'll be up to this evening. I always knew what my last wish would be.

Gently rocking the boat 2

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Date: Monday, March 22, 1999 10:03 AM Subject: D-day

The time has come to say goodbye. Are you in the mood for the intellectual onanism of your dear friend & cousin? Well, I won't. I've a feeling you'll have a surplus even without my wishing it. How does one accept these events in life? I can't hear... Be brave, we've had all sorts of things, this was missing for us to complete our own evolution. Generations? Or does this have to do with mankind? Shall we attach more importance to ourselves than we deserve? I won't, I promised, look after me so I'll last longer for you. VLY THEY ASK ME HOW I ESCAPE Date: Monday, March 22, 1999 9:25 PM Subject: I just

heard our reply to Holbrooke. I'm ready to go out to hit the town. I think I won't think about bombs tonight. And tomorrow, with a hangover, my head will be buzzing anyway. VLY Date: Monday, March 22, 1999 12:35 PM Subject: Advice

Please, ask Olga whether, if I have to, I should give the children valium. xxx

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Date: Tuesday, March 23, 1999 3:43 AM Subject: Here I am

I drank Armagnac, listened to good music and talked about nice things. Sweet dreams VLY PANIC Date: Tuesday, March 23, 1999 9:59 AM Subject: Re: what shall I write to you?

Calm down. Nothing can be done. I told you everything can go well, i.e. for them to destroy the airport and a few military targets, and finish it all. I'll be writing. Subject: what shall I write to you? > Every sentence of mine at this distance can sound ironic. I am > completely hysterical since this morning and realize that I'm panicking. Am I exaggerating >I just don't know. I'll write to you later. > Regards Tanya

Date: Tuesday, March 23, 1999 9:09 PM Subject: Re: bad!

I've just come in. I'll get in touch when I think of what to think. Subject: bad! >What do you think? I'll be on the line, contact me if you're in the house. T.

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IN VIVO - PHASE I Date: Tuesday, March 23, 1999 11:40 PM Subject: Here we go

I hope you won't be mad if I write to you "globally". The only reason for that is because I'm afraid there won't be an opportunity for individual letters, and currently you are only interested in what's happening to all of us. So, while our side doesn't cut off the electricity and the connections (it doesn't mean we're in bad shape, they announced they would do it from 21:00, perhaps this letter will pass). Tanya, your third message has already arrived. Don't be annoyed, but I can't tell a lie: they just declared that the war could break out any moment, they can cut me off in seconds. Don't worry, if I don't call, that's the only reason. Half way to Washington the Russian turned the plane back. The term was 4.00 in the morning. However, the first wave was a warning and relatively safe for us civilians. There's a pause for taking off one's pants, and then again, etc. The bigger problem remains retaliation for not fulfilling patriotic duty. We'll see what the announcement really means. I'm sending the post because Tanya is impatient. P.S. Take this as a report, I feel well, I went swimming, the meal was a success and the children filled all the bottles with water. The neighbors suspect I'm buzzed (I'm not, I swear), because I just keep laughing. The situation has reached the point when you choose whether to whine or scream with laughter. You know my crazy option. VLY Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 12:04 AM Subject: I'm here,

but the natives' calls are hindering me, as well as the busy line, everyone's on the Net. I see, George, you call like Milosevic, only when the going gets tough?! And you want to sleep: well, you can't. Here I am again. Isn't it cool to get so much mail??? Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 12:20 AM
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Subject: Me

I sent Milosh to get batteries for the radio and some candles!!! He hasn't returned, so I'm worried. Currently there's no more music on any radio station, they just keep babbling. For Ana: Here, I've just heard from Mica and Lilly and asked if it was inappropriate to call them at the crack of dawn. The latest news is at 1:30. I won't even be able to doze, and I'm still tired from last night. New joke: What's the phonetic similarity between YU and Iraq? The capital cities begin with a B. The presidents' names begin with an S. And both countries have gone to the D. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 12:25 AM Subject: It's more and more

Difficult to get a connection. Despite my great desire to be a live reporter, it's becoming increasingly difficult. The girls are sleeping, Milosh is out on a spree (let him), and Tanya has just sent news that military action has been approved. Wow, there'll be sex. V I'm on the line Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 12:31 AM Subject: Here I am

Milosh is calling, there are policemen on every corner. He's five minutes from the house and he doesn't dare come. Joke: The policemen's cap fell off, he lifts it, puts it back on his head and says: I'm putting it on your d....

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Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 12:35 AM Subject: Here's Dragan

The pager is beeping that you too have joined the game. This is strip poker... We'll be in touch, I don't switch off from the Net anymore, even though I didn't manage to pay in for more hours, f...me, I'm slow. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 12:43 AM Subject: The sarma*

is still simmering. I should be shot for having disconnected. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 1:04 AM Subject: It's a good thing

that I can write to you while I'm waiting to make contact. Be patient. I'm not the only idle granny doing this. In the meantime, I called some people on the telephone. Man, when will I get a connection. In fact, I'm horribly afraid of the first sound that will wake the children. If only I could hide them in a little pocket. Just now, the kids on some crazy station wished me a peaceful night, without "precipitation". I love these children, they have spirit. Yes, Tanya, you assume rightly, I can't log in, this pager means a lot. Oh brother, I do love you for being with us. George, when will we sit on the shore and drink beer again? I've put the wine and mineral water beside the comp, when she starts crawling the children will be surprised at what's happened to maman (this is for Dragan, the francophonic part of our fugitives, f... the state). Don't worry, everything will be OK. I don't know what happened, at one moment the radios were jammed, now everything's OK. Vl

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Traditional Serbian meal 11

Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 1:16 AM Subject: Seeking

a charming and serious employee of Eunet-provider, who wishes to establish a genuine relationship with a lonely and attractive (attends aerobic classes) widow with three children. Boy, oh boy, oh, we'll fuck NATO!!! It's not mine, I swear... Yesterday the cops were beating some boys. While they were beating them, kids were shouting: "Never mind, NATO'll come and get you." The time has come when threats come true... Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 1:19 AM Subject: Come on, write

at least on the pager. What's new? I am scared. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 1:37 AM Subject: They couldn't care

about precipitation. If 21st century technology is so mouldy that they can't drop bombs because of "cloudy weather", they really are not even for a crooked p... Sorry, but I'm a little angry, I don't know what's wrong with me. I'll stay on the line a little longer, if you've been patient to wait for me. If not, we'll be in touch tomorrow. I'm only worried these connections don't get cut off. This way I'm not alone. Listen to this: music is playing, it's warm in the house, the kids are asleep, Milosh (hopefully with a girlfriend), the sarma smell is reeking all over the house, and me with a Bombardier!!! What more can one want? VLY

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Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 1:48 AM Subject: You made me see

This very moment I realized that it's all the same where we are, and that we can't escape from what we are. And I wish you all serene thoughts, pleasant dreams and good fun. Work on my wishes. Disconnect until further. I don't hope for any more attractive calls. VLY Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 10:21 AM Subject: Good morning jazzers

I almost feel guilty they didn't hit us. And I was prepared so nicely. However, it's never too late: a fine and sunny day has dawned, I never noticed earlier that the sky above Belgrade was so blue. Sonya and Masha have gone to school, and I sincerely hope Milosh has finally lost his desire for university. I'll call if there's anything clever to say. V Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 4:07 PM Subject: Re: maybe I'm consoling myself

Just to drop you a line. I didn't sleep the whole night and I'm now going just for a nap. Here, people are guessing either tonight or the weekend (Saturday). I'm in a hurry, because I'm on the line, and it's hard to get through even during the day. We'll be in touch. I bought candles and batteries. The "sarma" was a success. V Subject: maybe I'm consoling myself >but I've convinced myself that everything is a joke! I think nothing will happen and > this reason is one or the other, whatever. We'll be in touch again soon. T. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 8:59 PM

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Subject: THEY'RE ON THEIR WAY

I hope the lines will be good Vly Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 9:24 PM Subject: Pants

What happened last night was a harmless test. They've just let the sirens play. There's still electricity, music on the radio, TV. How long do they need to reach us? My pants are shaking. I hope you'll hear from me. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 9:35 PM Subject: Mira, Tijana and Zoki

(neighbors) are coming. I have whiskey, ice, batteries and candles. I hope the agony won't last long. I gave the children some valium. Vly Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 9:39 PM Subject: OK

I received the message. That means the E-mail is working. I wonder how long the pause will last. No panicking. Pour the drinks and keep your fingers crossed.

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IN VIVO - PHASE II Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 9:47 PM Subject: They hit Novi Sad, Podgorica and Pristina

Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 9:49 PM Subject: It's really cool

this American product - whiskey. I have guests, and feel a little better, until they set out in this direction Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 9:50 PM Subject: Maybe

This was only a "rap on the knuckles", and they won't any more. Imagine that dream!!! Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 9:56 PM Subject: Probably

the provider will be overloaded, don't go to pieces if you don't get a message. Here, the party's in full swing. I'll try and get one of the children (while we're having a ball) to try to get through. Wartime education, let them learn something. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 9:58 PM Subject: They are targeting Belgrade

We don't hear anything yet. They hit Rakovica *

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Industrial suburb of Belgrade 15

Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 10:15 PM Subject: Yes, Tanya

I'm writing in a fear we don't lose the line. We hear nothing. At Helen's the phone is constantly engaged, it's normal, people are talking. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 10:18 PM Subject: Belgrade

Rakovica, Avala, Batajnica*. It's still peaceful here and we hear nothing. I'll be in touch Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 10:35 PM Subject: Here we are

Ana, I hear you are on the line. Confirm. For now we're OK. Mica's line is engaged, which is normal in this situation. We'll be in touch, Sonya is on duty for getting through. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 10:42 PM Subject: You won't believe

how morbid and stupid a person can become: Sonya went off to get the mineral water (iced). We really are a hardhead. I'm thinking of you, you mean a tremendous lot to me. If we get through this, I'm visiting you - one after the other. Prepare the fun.

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areas in Belgrade 16

Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 10:46 PM Subject: Your news

is silly Tanya, you really are an old cynic. A hole in the roof!!! Did they go back to base to fill up? Write Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 10:53 PM Subject: They say

that Rakovica is in smoke. I'm a little worried about Mica. But it's always engaged, so I hope they're OK and that they're only calling. Helen's is constantly occupied. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 10:55 PM Subject: Helen, call your sister

she has shit her pants Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 11:01 PM Subject: Get in touch with your families

Ana, Mica can't get you on the cellular. Everything is OK so far. Except that they haven't got water. They are sipping cognac (unpatriotic), celebrating sister’s birthday, Clinton sent her a real present. They send their best wishes. It's still engaged at Helen's, I sent her an E-mail Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 11:07 PM Subject: We got one

Our side says they shot down one plane and three rockets. Is it possible!!! We are defending ourselves with all our strength, military targets in Montenegro attacked, Novi Sad is in shit. Yeltsin is accusing them, he's asked for an urgent meeting of the UN. I don't know what he was waiting for till now. The old bastard, he wants a bigger loan.
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Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 11:19 PM Subject: Me

I don't know what to write. Have they set out again? We've come through the first phase of stress, now we're going on. The children are dragging the yogi mattress to sleep in my "cellar", where the computer is. We are all in one heap. Mira and Zoki have gone, they haven't the nerves for this, and I am not exactly a good hostess, I keep coming down to contact you. Two friends of Milosh are here, with a full house, my heart is full. It's still engaged at Helen's. That means they're well. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 11:24 PM Subject: Ukraine

Has revoked its decision on non-activation of nuclear weapons (how many oa and n-a). They tell us to switch off everything. Well, I won't. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 11:26 PM Subject: Confirmed

that there are no victims anywhere Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 11:28 PM Subject: Are you nuts?

What volunteers? Boys are dodging the draft, and I'm more like an a sort of accomplice. Receive message and confirm reception. Oh, this is not tragic at all, so far. I have to break off to call friends. I'm waiting for you.

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Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 11:41 PM Subject: The lines

it seems are blocked. I can't get anyone. My Sonya has gone to sleep. I love her. Tranquilizers don't agree with the sportswoman. Man, if the Russians help us, look after your own butts. Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 11:47 PM Subject: Give

some signal, I can't get anyone in Belgrade Date: Wednesday, March 24, 1999 11:54 PM Subject: The children have gone to sleep

I'm no longer getting any messages on the pager, so I'm waiting for chance mail. This is yak. The music is still OK, all of them American hits. A parody par excellence. Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 12:27 AM Subject: They say

the tel. lines interfere with the radar systems, that's why there are no connections. And the pager is dead too. I hope we shall hear from each other. A state of war has been introduced, whatever that means. Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 12:33 AM Subject: The connection has been cut off

with Gabon, the message has returned to me twice that Dragan did not receive the mail. We are still OK. Ana, has Canada gone to the f...d....as well?

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Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 12:39 AM Subject: Belgrade*

I just received your messages. Don't worry. We are all together, and I hope the BOOMS won't last long. We actually haven't heard anything yet, but the stress is the same. I'm on line from the last night with my friends abroad. Sometimes I think they are in worse situation then we are. We still have an electricity and water, but the most local telephone lines are cut off. I hope we will keep in touch. If you don't receive messages, it may only be that I can't get through. Don't worry, pls. Love V Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 12:51 AM Subject: The danger

is over. The siren just wailed, it almost woke the children. I'm going to sleep, until it sounds again. Ruth wrote, and she is frightened too. Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:04 AM Subject: Ciao

There's no chance of getting anyone on the local line. I'm still grateful to hear from you through the net. Tell your friend there AREN'T any victims, only people are in a panic, they say tel. lines are interfering with our radars, and they are all engaged. I'll try to get them a little later. I saw Gojko, but we didn't have a drink. He owes me that. Don't worry, once again, I'm not keeping to any order, you'll understand which message is for which person.

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All the original English written letters are marked in italic 20

Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:10 AM Subject: Generally

viewed this went well, we even fucked a plane of theirs. You know what I think about all our mistakes, but my stomach is churning because my children took a long time to go to sleep. Here, this is what I think of them... I only want peace, granny!!! Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:14 AM Subject: For good night

A drink before going to sleep (the drunkard in me says), we'll be in touch tomorrow. This was relatively painless. The lines are still dead, but I ask you to believe there are no victims (they are not lying) TANYA'S (and other's) INSOMNIA Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:15 AM Subject: Sleep

if I get yours (unlikely) he'll call. This is really fun. How did George's film do? Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:27 AM Subject: Tanya

go and sleep, we'll hear from each other tomorrow Greetings to the movie-maniac, he refreshed my evening with watching a film while - so many expensive bombs are dropping, and nothing has happened to us Boy, oh boy, oh...

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Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:34 AM Subject: Here they are again

The air raid sirens. I was just planning to sleep Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:36 AM Subject: Write,

it's getting hot. There isn't that much whiskey I can't drink while waiting for Mr. Bombardier. And I hoped they'd reached an agreement. I read too many fairy tales when I was little. Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:59 AM Subject: You're sleeping, eh

And they're pounding Pristina and the surroundings with all their might. I can hardly wait to get used to it, so that I can fall asleep. I assume that they are continuing to Belgrade, so far it was smooth (for us). What can I tell you? It's still calm, but even silence is not what it used to be. And the sky is clear above Belgrade. I left a message for Mrs. Zora on the answering machine for her to call by E-mail or somehow. It's difficult with the connections, and I'm still amazed that they're functioning. But, how are you in that boring peace??? And look at all the fun we have. Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 2:10 AM Subject: Greetings to Olga

She needn't worry about her mother, there's no chance of me getting her, They are telling us to switch off everything. I'll have to wait till the shit is over, then call you. I obey the recommendation, take out the safety fuses, don't hurry to call me, this is going to last. VLY Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 2:21 AM
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Subject: Maybe

my computer won't go bust. I'm staying with you till further notice. I know they are flying towards us, the whole town is in darkness. The pager is beeping I'm sending a message Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 2:28 AM Subject: How can I sleep

when I'm waiting for the little shits. I have no idea what is happening on the global level, here it's a mess. How long do they need to fly here? I believe not even the Americans are liking this, three planes fucked, we're better than the Iraqis (listen to me, perhaps it's the normal cheering spirit). We're waiting, it really is unpleasant BREAK Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 2:40 AM Subject: Pause

between other calls. I'm reporting "in vivo" on an air raid operation by the NATO forces. Our people abroad are frightened, but I doubt they are as much as we are. In a few minutes another wave of bombs is coming, judging by appearances much heavier than the previous ones. I am trying to think as little possible about it and am putting every ounce I have into reporting. I gave the girls (poor little ones) half a tablet to calm them and they're sleeping in my room downstairs, on the yogi. Milosh is here with his friends and we're trying to have a good time. Of course, I managed to go to the aerobic class, even to take a shower, so I feel almost like a human being. The telephone lines in the city are dead, everyone is engaged for hours. I hardly got through to you. I can't believe the Net is working without a hitch the whole evening, and that I can log in immediately, it is, obviously the only good connection. In view of the sensitive bombing situation, I am avoiding emotions. Call me and look after yourselves.

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VLY ...CONTINUE Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 10:30 AM Subject: Stand by

I'm waiting for something to happen and then to call you. I'll try to sleep. These two little mice are snoring under the effect of the pills for lills. Milosh is eliminating some beers with his friends. I, think really, this has reached the absurd, and I have no influence. In our good, old times better things were done. Sirens again 9:30 in the morning. I've only just got up. Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 10:33 AM Subject: And the sky is clear

as never before. What's on your news broadcasts? The UN? And the Russians? Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 10:49 AM Subject: Yep

Judging by CNN, U2's and Stealths are flying over us to estimate the damage. There won't be another raid till tonight. The sirens are horrifying.

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Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 12:30 PM Subject: No one's announcing anything

but Batajnica was pounded, even though they promised they wouldn't until tonight. I'm going to buy mineral water, although it's a state of war! If only this ends well, do any of them know who Nostradamus was? Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:23 PM Subject: Re: Call me

My pager is no longer beeping. They've finished this series. Didn't you get the previous reports? -----Original Message----Subject: Call me >What is happening. They say they are bombing New Belgrade? Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 6:08 PM Subject: I know

People can still go over the bridge. The telephone lines (local) have gone bust, Net is still working. I slept this afternoon, although there were attacks. But we heard nothing. Probably they sound the alarm as soon as they see the planes in our air space, so they don't know whether they going for Belgrade. I watched the press conference on Sky News. They're serious about this, it's clear. Tonight we anticipate a long and sad night. Mica called me on his cellular, because he can't on the phone at home. He is well, only the tone of our voices is the same. He knows Ana and I are in touch, and tells her not to worry (or at least let it be within the limits of dignity). Here they don't mention the victims, not even the music is like it was yesterday on the radio. I haven't the nerves to listen to this kind of news. They will pound us till he signs, which he won't. As far as I can see, only a collective death warrant has been signed.

25

I just heard that the heaviest attacks are expected from 6-8, with over 600 targets. And Milosh has gone to the gym, how could I stop him, we'll go mad. He says, he'll be quick! Maybe all the links will be cut off, I'm thinking of you. VLY Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 8:13 PM Subject: They've taken off

6 B52's from Italy five minutes ago. The target is Belgrade, most likely communications, water, electricity. I'm afraid we won't be able to communicate much longer, I'll try while there's electricity. Don't worry. VLY Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 9:46 PM Subject: Hi, there

They've been pounding for an hour already, but we don't know where. They ordered us to switch off the lights (which we did). There's still some whiskey from last night, so we're making merry. Milosh, Zoki and Tijana with her boyfriend, Sonya and Masha in the garden, looking at the stars from the swing. They're playing local band and their "Angel, behold your home". Lucky us. Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 11:25 PM Subject: Lively

The first, promised fierce strike didn't throw us off balance. Mica told me in a resigned voice that he watched a plane flying low above his head, after a minute he saw a mushroom above Batajnica, and nothing happened. He says: if he had something more powerful than a machine gun, he would shoot it down. He angrily asked me what kind of farce this was??? One could feel the detonations in Pancevo (they're finishing off what they missed, pardon,

26

what they didn't carry out well, Vozdovac *, numerous barracks and suchlike. There's still electricity, Mira and Zoki went home, my girls have fallen asleep, (Sonya refused to take a tranquillizer), Milosh is spending tonight with a friend. You just can't believe that in some way we're living quite normally (given the circumstances). I'm afraid that I will leave you soon and snuggle into bed with my little rats, until it explodes so loudly that it will wake us. VLY Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 11:59 PM Subject: But maybe

your sources of information are more precise. Now they announced a fresh item - 4 in the morning. I'm going to sleep, in my track-suit and with my makeup on. Bear up like heroes, as Gojko said. VLY Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 1:19 AM Subject: Very much so

they've set out. OK, This is it. It's almost impossible to get through, I'll hold the line open for half an hour, because I didn't manage to pay in for the hours (the post offices aren't working). We're all still cool, we're left with domestic mineral water (that's what the Serb within me tells me), and are waiting for the shit. We know everything, even before you; A quarter of an hour before take off from Italy, they tell us the bombers have taken off, the number and where they're heading for. The kids are sleeping (God be with them), Milosh is out as he should be, I have been trying so far to get through to any of you on the phone - unsuccessfully. I only got Italy, but the line broke off quickly. Heavy bombing is expected tonight, who gives a fuck, say I in a refined manner, I forget what else I wanted to say. I'm sending the message and staying on open line, VLY
*

Residential area of Belgrade 27

Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 1:24 AM Subject: Hi there

Girls are asleep, we are expecting a new wave of bombing around 4 o' clock. Don't worry for us, we are going to survive, both mentally and physically. You know me by now. Love you all (including pets) Vly Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 1:34 AM Subject: I'm afraid

to switch off the connection, who knows whether we can get through again. I'm waiting for your thoughts, it's calm here (I'm jinxing). Here, to pass the time, I'm sending you a letter from Ruth and her children: Dear All, glad to hear you are still hanging in there. No I did not read Nostradamus, what does he say? Do I win the National lottery? If I did I would send you the money to come and settle here!!!!!!! Don't expect miracles. Keep hoping that some one will get some good sense and find a solution to all this craziness. Hello it's Kyle, How are you? Is everything under control? Hope everything will turn out to be fine, so we will meet each other soon. Write soon lots of love Kylexxxx, Hello Sonya and Masha it’s Daniel, did they bomb Belgrade? I hope you are all O.K? Please come and visit us again. Write to all of us when you have the time. Bye Love Daniel xxxx Dear Sonya and Masha, It's me Abigail, I heard on the news about the bombing, I hope it will stop soon. Today we had sports day at school and I won a medal, Kyle won two and Daniel got one.

28

Tomorrow is our last day at school before the Easter holidays. On the 7th of April we are going to sleep in school for two days. Remember we had a sleep in when you were here. This time it's a Drama activity. I hope it will be good. I am looking forward to it. When are you going to come over for a holiday? Soon I hope. I have to go now as it is very late and tomorrow I will be too tired to get up. Write to me when you have the time and I hope you will have peace again... Lots of love Abigail, Micha, Chimpa and Snoopyxxxxxx I miss you. This is for my children. They are as I always wanted them to grow up: without a restricted feeling of borders, cosmopolitans, for their hearts to lead them through life. Perhaps they will have that chance again. Never will I agree that everyone is bad except us (you should hear ALL our programs). Clinton is really a moron, but even the drunkard Yeltsin doesn't enchant me. As for ours - no comment, I still want us to go on writing to each other. Call me. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 1:37 AM Subject: Sleep

They won't come before 4. I mean, reeeally (with a drawling Belgrade accent), who can, fuuuucking (again Belgrade accent) wait? Now, off to bed, as uncle Slobodan would say VLY

29

Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 2:28 AM Subject: Nice:

This arrived from my provider, whom I cursed the whole evening because I didn't manage to get through: Dear User, In a situation when our country is under attack by the forces of the North Atlantic Alliance, Eunet Yugoslavia is unable to ensure the uninterrupted work of its billing service and technical support, because of the safety of its employees and difficulties in moving about the city. Realizing the importance of Internet as a tool for information and contact with one's closest relatives and friends, the Eunet Yugoslav collective has decided to enable its users in every way to continue to use the services of the global net without interruption. Therefore the credit for entering a minus will increase for all users from the present 30 minutes to a total of five hours. In keeping with the situation as it develops, we shall find other ways to prevent our users from suffering because of the inability to prolong the time to get on the line. You will receive information about this and everything else we consider important to inform you about through the E-mail or it will be put on our homepage at the address http://www.eunet.yu We would like to remind you that you can always check the remaining time on your order at the address http://www.eunet.yu/vreme.html We also remind you that you can use mail and news services in the lite regime as well, in which only one third of the time spent on the line is calculated in the account. As for technical support, we request you to seek the solution to eventual problems arising in work at your end at the address http://www.eunet.yu/doc/pomoc.html All the segments of the Eunet Yugoslavia network are functioning without interference, and our technical team is on duty at the Network Operating Center and is always alert to any needs.

30

We sincerely hope we shall be able to return to a normal regime of operation as soon as possible. We wish you and your family all the best. Ana, I'll call your friends immediately in the morning, I think it's late, and a turbulent night lies ahead for them. Tanya, there's no siren, we know everything. It'll be 4 in the morning. I'm going to have a good sleep, I've ordered a waking call at 3:30 so as to wash and makeup. VLY Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 9:45 AM Subject: A relatively

peaceful night has passed for us. We heard and felt nothing. Are they keeping us for dessert? Here, there's no information about what's happening, of course. But on all the channels they are playing patriotic songs. I must ask, is there any word of possible negotiations!!! I'm still sleepy, sorry for the stupidities. I'm calling. George, this afternoon when you come home from work I'll try to connect on ICQ, let's make it 6. OK? VLY Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 9:47 AM Subject: We're all well

Has your computer gone bust (again)? Thank the Gabonians they are on our side, I kiss their black buts. Confirm reception. Violeta

31

Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 10:15 AM Subject: Re: I feel better when

I realized that my pager is now receiving your message of last night. Technological cretin. We'll be in touch later V -----Original Message----Subject: I feel better when > your message arrives. Now I'm going to the shops and to do something. I've abandoned >all the normal ways of life like all my friends here. Have a rest > today a little. TLY Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 12:53 PM Subject: Obviously false

alarm. I was preparing lunch, I'm sitting in the garden, drinking mineral water and reading a decent book. I have a blue sky, sunshine and 18 degrees. Today my telephone bill arrived!!! And I though it was distasteful in wartime. Again an error of judgment. There are fewer goods in the shops, nevertheless I hope this won't last forever. I can hardly wait for May, to celebrate the most beautiful 42 years. I have a slight cramp in my stomach in anticipation of the sirens. Believe me, I will forget all this very soon, never, never will I remember it. Now I'll call Ana's friends, if I'm able to get through. I already told you the local telephone communications were tragic. We'll be in touch V Date: Thursday, March 25, 1999 2:12 PM Subject: Hi here is Belgrade

Hi Abigail, Kyle and Daniel, How are you? What's new?

32

I'm glad that you care about us. We are hanging on somehow. They are bombing around the Belgrade. But, they say that tonight, they are going to bomb bridges and aerodromes in Belgrade. Unfortunate we can't come to Malta soon. But we can talk by computer. Lots, lots of love Sonya xxxxxx Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 5:13 PM Subject: The sirens are wailing

they started out just when I heard something about 48 hours brake. We're staying on the line. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 5:31 PM Subject: OK

I broke off for a moment to fix my makeup. We'll see if this is the realization of yesterday's threats about the bridges, water, telecommunications and suchlike. Dragan, I'm writing to you at the hospital, I don't know whether your comp has started working again. Ana, this morning I heard from two of your friends (the first on the list), they'll call you. Your parents were with us for half an hour, and send you their best wishes. The children are in the house, it was a fine day so they gave themselves a break and went off on a spree. Milosh has a girl friend visiting, we're not alone. Mira and Zoki won't interrupt their lunch, when they finish, they'll join us. It's too early for me to have a drink, and I'm still on domestic fizzy water. VLY

33

Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 5:34 PM Subject: Continuation

I'm sending the letters one by one in case the electricity fails. You know the instructions: don't panic, we'll call as soon as the lines are working again. Sonya is sitting beside me and commenting. Masha is talking back. I didn't tell them about that joke of ours: Boy, oh, boy, oh,...NATO. Here, now they know, but they're well-bred children so they don't dare sing patriotic songs. I'm holding the line open all the time, as soon as you connect, I'm here. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 5:35 PM Subject: The Cubura* HQ

is going on the Internet to see if today's target is on the map Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 5:42 PM Subject: It says

on CNN that the third wave is in progress, whatever that means, and I'm frightened that it doesn't bode well. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 5:44 PM Subject: How come

Tanya that there's nothing new, when we've had all possible sirens and when it was announced that the B-52's took off? Read it on W3.

*

Residential area of Belgrade 34

Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 5:57 PM Subject: For

now we know they were striking Avala and Vozdovac. Call us so we aren't alone. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 6:01 PM Subject: Hi

Nada, sorry I didn't log in regularly in calling. I thought it was better not to disturb you. They've just started the third wave of attacks, slowly making a circle towards the center. Now they bombed Vozdovac. I'll be on the line. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 6:05 PM Subject: First of all

the blast opened the window. I called a friend who lives there and she says there was a detonation. It was some barracks there, I didn't even know it existed. And anyway, Studio B has confirmed it all. You must know: the targets are clear and precise. The chance of them falling on civilian facilities is the same as a flower pot falling on your head when you go out into the street. Allow me to believe that. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 6:06 PM Subject: Re: Report what you know

It's confirmed, it was a barracks, don't worry -----Original Message----Subject: Report what you know

35

Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 6:16 PM Subject: Your people are well

We heard from each other just now. Helen tells you to stop being hysterical. Sweet little sister. They are well, sitting at home, don't worry. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 6:19 PM Subject: They say

that what happened with Vozdovac was a rumor, fools Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 7:08 PM Subject: I seek you*

Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 7:35 PM Subject: It has passed

The raid has ended. There are no reports on the damage. George I'm waiting for you on chat. My number is:34706876. I didn't get round to reading through slowly, so I'm still wandering. Leave the mail if you want to talk. I'm also sending Ana an ICQ, so we can talk Best wishes to all, V Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 7:59 PM Subject: Here they are again

I was just thinking of having a shower, and then go on ICQ. I must prepare the children's supper. These sounds are killing me. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 9:23 PM Subject: Really
*

Idiom used as an invitation to "chat" - over the modem, in this concrete case the "ICQ"

program

36

these flyers are boring. Nevertheless I am prepared, ready and all set to greet them. Every time I think: the electricity and water will be cut off, so after the alarm I'm happy that that isn't the case. But I know that will happen too. This evening there are no guests, we're alone the children and I. We're not going to the shelter, we decided together on that the very first day. We consider that that is beneath any dignity. It's "only" the second day, and believe me, it seems like a decade has passed. As soon as the sirens sound the alarm, Sonya and Masha know the order of things: they close the shutters, leave the windows ajar, switch off all the unnecessary lights (we never switch off the lovely red lamp). Milosh refuses with resignation to obey these rules, and I understand him completely. He still sleeps in his bed in the attic, I don't want to force him to come down. The children have just had supper, but we don't feel like food or anything. So, the first night we all slept together in a heap, dressed. Then I gave the children each half a pill for lill, today they refused (they're not addictive like mum). Sonya regularly writes a diary during the air raid alert, and I don't intend to peep into it, which I might do in a different situation. Maybe you want to know our news, which, otherwise, I don't listen to. They raise the tension terribly: And so, our side says: some 30 elementary and secondary schools in Serbia have been hit, a monastery in Kosovo, about 10 civilians have been killed, not a word about military losses. And we struck off 2-3 planes of theirs every time, boy, oh boy, oh... Apparently humor, even the sick one, has died out, which I regret. If one knew the end of this, I mean how long it will last, everyone would breathe more easily. Fear doesn't kill so much as uncertainty. Our boys are being mobilized, Milosh is dreaming of the crowds of free girls in Serbia. On the news there's as much bread as your heart desires but the shelves are empty, a liter of gasoline is 4 DM, taxi-drivers aren't working, there are few automobiles on the streets because people are saving petrol, I don't know what for. I'll call you if you've written, this is just to give myself some relaxation. The pager has started working again, one of you has sent me an E-mail, so I'm logging out. VLY
37

Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 10:56 PM Subject: Tomorrow is

Sabato. George, for now my pager is working. Let the message through this morning, if you're not working, so we can try again. This evening I'll give up ICQ. I think that in the morning the lines will be less loaded, let it be around 10 o'clock, so you can drink your coffee in peace. It's still peaceful, except that the siren has sounded an air raid alert. Have a good sleep, may the bugs bite you. Ana, did you receive the chat program? Dragan, do you want one, and have a group (session)? VLY CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE INTERKIND

Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 11:27 PM Subject: Detonations

Brother, they can be heard for the first time. This is for sweet dreams. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 11:30 PM Subject: They smashed us

and the sirens never stop. Our windows aren't broken, but everything blew open.

38

Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 11:32 PM Subject: And the computer

is blocked I'm trembling all over, the children are sleeping Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 11:37 PM Subject: I'm here

OK. They're fucking us really hard. Definitively. My hands are numb while I'm typing. I'm sending the mail at once, shit Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 11:39 PM Subject: Do you know what

I feel like a human being only while I'm writing to you, probably that's why I'm surviving all this. They are still bombing, but the detonations were never as loud as this, everything is crackling. I'm still shaking, thank you, my back is stiff and my brain is signaling failure. Date: Friday, March 26, 1999 11:54 PM Subject: Ana!!!

Do you at least have a connection. now I know why I couldn't log in for so long, somebody was trying to get through on the phone and that interfered with the log. I must log off temporarily, people are calling. VLY Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 12:38 AM Subject: If only

we try to get in touch with each other. It looks as though the lines have broken down. They fucked the Military Hospital, the Military barracks at Banjica, Galenika *, released toxic gases that are spreading who knows
*

Pharmaceutical factory 39

where. I haven't got a rag with soda bicarbonate on my face, I don't intend to wake the children and wrap them in sheets. I've opened a bottle of white wine (the whiskey was emptied before its time). Milosh is here with a friend and is not breathing (he swears). Call me if you're there. Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 12:56 PM Subject: I can still move

Let's scrap ICQ this evening, I feel breathless somehow (I don't know what the matter is with me). We'll write. I've stopped trembling, I'm not even numb. The rose of the winds is spreading in the direction of Batajnica and Sremcica (somehow that's supposed to be good). You disappointed me with the confirmation on the release of toxic gases. I hoped it was only our misinformation. Fuck it. Slowly but surely I'm beginning to realize that I'm a creature living in a world of lunatics. Starting from our great leader, who is managing in an enchanting way to lead a whole nation to death, to the sex maniac Clinton, and all the other idiots involved in this filthy job (am I right?) I am angry, and I am. I'm with you till you get bored. Problem: I'm not allowed to smoke, I'm poisoning the environment!!! Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 1:40 AM Subject: Re: Did you

What are cluster bombs? -----Original Message----Subject: Re: Did you Violeta Ivkovic wrote: Did you hear that the Americans are planning to try out the 5 th generation of weapons on us. Tell me it's a rumor. VLY

40

They certainly won't announce that here even if it is true. We received a message that they used cluster bombs which are banned. And the Pentagon is surprised why we're not defending ourselves. George Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 1:52 AM Subject: I don't know myself

Radio Belgrade won't tell you much. But, OK, listen if you think it helps. I'm waiting for another 2-3 minutes for your replies, then I'm going to sleep, I think we'll be huddling all together tonight (first I have to throw out the SDP Dona (SDP=Serbian defense dog) which has already been sleeping beside Sonya's bottom for three days now. Maybe this is the end (hilarious, isn't it?) VLY Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 2:01 AM Subject: Re: it can't be that they'll continue

Let me sleep, you bug. How intimate we become until we felt bombs, chemistry, stress, etc... I’ll write early in the morning. -----Original Message----Subject: it can't be that they'll continue > for tonight it seems to be over. don't accept this as reliable >information. Be careful all the time. We love you T.

41

Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 2:25 AM Subject: Re: Bad news

Thanks, nevertheless I'm going to have a nap -----Original Message----Subject: bad news > this second they announced that they're continuing tonight. Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 2:27 AM Subject: Re: their words

It's not, we expect that. Vuk* said that this is a new Hiroshima. Off I go, a naturalized (hmm) Japanese to bed with the children. I'll call tomorrow, if the lines are operating. Subject: their words >I wish it were misinformation HOW ( IF) ONE DEFENDS ONE'S COUNTRY Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 8:31 AM Subject: Good Bombing

We're all fine. I mean all those you know. I'm drinking coffee, I'll call. Hit the embassies VLY Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 11:02 AM Subject: Me

I'm moving in slow motion. Our side doesn't respond to the fire, so as to wait for the second and third wave (the one when everything goes to hell). Otherwise, they'd discover them. I guess so. That's me - the military expert. Sremcica was once whole. There are an awful lot of civilian victims, although
*

Vuk Draskovic, one of the opposition leaders 42

we don't admit it. We're contaminated, Vuk was right when he compared this to a modern Hiroshima. I hear that the next targets are communications, I fear it'll get worse and worse. The sirens are late: first you hear the bomb, and only then the wailing. I'm sending this off, and will call again if you're on the line. And the embassies? VLY Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 11:43 AM Subject: Re: Violeta!!!!

Here I am. -----Original Message----Subject: Violeta!!!! >I'm waiting for you on the line! J Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 11:44 AM Subject: Re: They're starting

Don't use headings like this in future. I am brave, but leave it. We'll be in touch later. -----Original Message----Subject: they're starting > to fuck me with the connection, I'll wait for you a little longer, then I'll try later. > Be a brave girl, we'll fuck them at the demonstrations. H.

43

Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 11:45 AM Subject: Re: Good morning, Belgrade

Give them a good beating. -----Original Message----Subject: Good morning Belgrade > I hope you had some rest. I have just got up. On the news there's mainly >no information at all. You already know everything before us. It looks as though we'll have to buy another TV and >computer. My turn never comes because of the rest of the household. Tanya is constantly on the line and > at the same time receives your mail and talks to people at home. See what >technology means. Here, the news is distasteful. The whole day they keep showing the Siptars* on >the Macedonian border. The Security Council rejected resolution 12:3 >(Russians. Chinese, Namibia). The Pentagon has announced that this is the beginning. Every day >they shout that they've hit > only 20% of the planned targets. I fear it'll be like Monika Seles > who was 14 for 5 years. The Maltese here are full of understanding and >sympathy. They will probably be at the demonstrations too. > We must go. To protest is the least we must >do at this moment. >George and Tanya love you. Vlada says me too. Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 12:01 PM Subject: I heard

someone knocking on my door last night. I asked: Who is it? He says: Tom (ahawk) Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 5:50 PM
*

Local name for Albanians who live in Yugoslavia 44

Subject: STEALTH

Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 6:40 PM Subject: Re: See about my people

Wait a moment, I can't even have my drink. It's stopped but the alert is still on. Mira, Zoki, Tijana and her boyfriend are here, and my Chinamen. We bought the last bottle of whiskey in the supermarket. Don't worry this is only the beginning. While the lines last, we'll call. And even then it doesn't mean we're not here any more. Be patient and - make love not war (at least you can). I've changed my adhesive strip and now I feel well. And there's water to take a shower. -----Original Message----Subject: See about my people > Phone them if you manage, that brother of mine is not calling. > Cheers! Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 6:45 PM Subject: Get up!

Ana, for goodness sake, wake with the new news. You Americaserbos are a sad lot. Here, everything's exploding and you're still in the sack. We are lively, and are gradually getting used to such strikes. It's shit, that's what it is. I bought some Italian salami, olives, and thus we are celebrating the arrival of NATO "modestly" in the family circle. Call, or urge them by persuasion or force not to cut off the lines. Helen, there's no need for alarm

45

Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 6:47 PM Subject: Call me

my sole windows on the world. Have you worn yourself out demonstrating? Run home, as if bombs were chasing you, we need normal communication. Did you smash at least two windows on the embassy, asks my neighbor? VLY Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 7:28 PM Subject: Re: I know they're striking

I curse your Flaming Sun there at sunset, how can you do it “peacefully and with dignity”? How do you "hope" that "maybe" we'll see the film reports? We shall see them 1000%. -----Original Message----Subject: I know they are bombing > Here they also announced they were bombing. Today we were out the whole day but I manage at >other people's houses to open my post and read the mail. We went to >the demonstrations >in front of the American embassy. There were about 250 of us and it was peaceful and dignified. I was one of the chief cameramen and >I hope sometime >to send you parts of the film. This evening we'll be out, but >at a friend's house sitting at the computer too, listening to the news and other sources of information. >We are constantly with you in our thoughts. save the whiskey, you never > know. Tanya loves you. Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 7:31 PM Subject: Re: We're here

Zoki says left of the “London”. Didn't you hear again?

46

-----Original Message----Subject: Re: We're here > report what is happening and from where you can hear the detonations. Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 7:35 PM Subject: Western misers

We don't save whiskey, that's what you western misers do. We also have happy pills, but whiskey goes better with a tomahawk, stealth etc. What do they say on the friendly stations of CNN, BBC, SKY ? Have they decided to finish us off or do we have time to make some ice? Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 7:40 PM Subject: Re: don't play around

Fuck Christine, we're on the Net and we're having fun, and she's panicking. Joke, it's deadly serious, so Mira, Zoki and I have just voted to finish off the whiskey with dignity (Mira is frightened, so she's drinking beer). The decision was passed unanimously. -----Original Message----Subject: don't play around >you're the only one during an attack from whom I can >find out something. the others only call later. Why don't you ask for credentials >instead of Christine A? Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 7:46 PM Subject: Come on, all the others

The notion of relativity has just been clarified, Their 20% of damage to us means 238% for us. What shall we do about that? We don't have ticks yet, we're philosophizing, and you're only giving us the cue. Some more whiskey, and we'll sing the familiar: Boy, oh boy, oh.... Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 8:36 PM

47

Subject: Closing time

The neighbors have gone off to eat beans, we'll probably sleep in a heap. Everyone is frightened. We know what's coming. We fucked the hedgehog in the ass. Thanks for all the moral & other support, you know what I wish for you: happiness, gaiety, health and crazy fun while life lasts. VLY and the other shitters. Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 9:03 PM Subject: I'm waiting on the line till there's an explosion

The alert is still on, and we expect trouble. I'm afraid we'll lose contact because of a break in communications. This Eunet provider, they turned out to be great with this bonus. If we survive, the first thing I must do is to pay in for more time. VLY Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 9:34 PM Subject: The connection

breaks after two minutes, which is correct. Others also have the right to hear from their people. My brain isn't working, only my stomach. And until recently I was convinced I consisted of more than just naked instinct. Here a terrible wind is blowing, I don't know whether that's good or bad. It'll bring us a Tommy right to the front door. Today they showed us the film "Wag the Dog" with Dustin Hoffman. He was better in "Rain Man". In the shelters people argue for and against this policy (is that what it's called), drunken fools they don't know how to distance themselves and go to the madhouse "proudly" when this passes. All kinds of things are happening, and let your girlfriend tell you something. The truth is the following: When I asked George what cluster bombs were, the reply was: the ones the Serbs used in Croatia. The Americans are immature, but they have nothing to do with this; I still hold to the principle that it isn't the people who are bad, but

48

the leaders (they all have the same qualities). We currently have the bad luck to be led by a sick leader. Ana, even your Mira believes he's right. Objectively, there are few people now who say we haven't driven them crazy, that they can't do anything to us. When everything is over, there'll be at least 10% who will continue the tradition of the “heavenly nation” *. By dint of circumstance I found myself in this environment. And I know we lost our virginity long ago, even though we were offered a condom, a contraceptive, a wedding in a church, whatever, but NYET, we've stood by our irrational principles to the end, that no longer holds water ever since Spielberg's "Close Encounters" But here not many people watch good films, read good books or listen to good music. Fuck it, what more can one say? They're bombing us, I'll try to connect. VLY Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 9:48 PM Subject: It's hard

Crackle, crackle, white path....(you know that dirty one) Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 11:40 PM Subject: They've taken off

the B52's from England. I hope the children will go to sleep by the time they reach their target VLY Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 11:43 PM Subject: Fatigue

of the mind and body. I'll try to get some sleep before they arrive, and if they wake me, I'll log in.

*

The term used by state-controlled member of Academy of Arts, for the boost of nationalism

at the beginning of Milosevic’s rise to power 49

Maybe this will finish by the weekend, so you can go off to work in peace, and we into our new, never the same, lives. VLY Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 9:46 AM Subject: Re: Reply to all your very welcome E-mails Good bombing, sorry, morning. I'm cooking at this moment. Write you soon. LuV -----Original Message----Subject: Re: Reply to all your very welcome E-mails >Dear All, >Today was another day following what is going on in Yugoslavia. There was a protest march in >Floriana today just in front of the U.S and British Embassies. >Luckily it was a peaceful one. The one organized in Rome >however turned rather violent. I suppose it's only to be >expected. >I know that we are involved in all this by chance but I do not regret it, >what I do regret is the >fact that we cannot do much from here except write to you and keep you >informed of the little things >in life that we are able to enjoy (so far!). perhaps something like this >will bring us to our senses >that we must not grumble about silly things in life. Life is far too >precious to throw away, you might >never know what will happen next> >Abi is looking over my shoulder and she would like to write a >few lines to >the girls.............. >Dear Sonya and Masha,(Milosh too!), >my brothers and I were watching the news today and we saw what was happening in Belgrade. >Are the bombs being dropped very close to you? Is your school still open? >Tomorrow Alberta, Matea (my new friend) and I are going to be on T.V. We

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>are going to watch >a quiz show and are going to be part of the audience. It should be fun (I >hope).After Easter >we are going to have that Drama Live-in, this time we are going to act, try >make-up and sing. >It is really stupid that I should be writing about having fun and you are >worrying about being bombed. >Give my love to Dona. Our dog still tries to get away from Chimpa (the cat) >she really hates him, >poor thing. All they do is sleep, eat and do their dirty business in the >garden, What a life!!!!!! >Good night. Try to sleep well. I will say a prayer for you this evening >maybe this bombing >will stop soon. >Love Abigailxxxxxxxx >I'll continue now... >I have a bottle of champagne which I shall keep for the next time we >meet, WHICH WILL BE VERY >SOON, No talk of giving up I hope. True, God knows what you are going >through and we can >only give you advise but I want to see some of that Serbian strong will >everyone has been >talking about, only this time let it be some positive strong will!!! I >My brother has not been >called up for duty >yet. I hope he will not be as it will break my heart knowing that there is >a member of my family >arming planes to fly over you. what we have heard so far is that Phase >three has started. Now >the bombings are going to be directed at the troops. When will this end? >I'll say good night and hope to hear from you again tomorrow. >We will pop >that champagne you just wait and see. >God willing, till tomorrow. >LOVE RUTH XXXXXX

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Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 9:47 AM Subject: Re: 1:0

Good bombing (this time for us) It's that stealth from yesterday I'm writing while cooking the lunch. The alert is still on. It's always on. -----Original Message----Subject: 1:0 >This one was really shot down. They must be showing it to you over there. Here, the news is on all the stations. They speak of nothing else. This > is probably the last thing they expected. God forbid that it's American. > I hope this has pricked them a little and they take a break tonight. Boy, oh boy, oh, we fucked NATO. >George Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 9:48 AM Subject: Re: Cretin on the line

You're wish came true, we did the impossible. We saw the invisible. I'll write when I cook the lunch. We're constantly under air raid alert. -----Original Message----Subject: Cretin on the line > I can't sleep. Dragan is already burned out, so today > he has "already" managed to fall asleep. We hear nothing new on the news, > I think I'll take a lill pill especially if there's no new letter >from you; What's happening to my people? Only Dusko, knows how to use the comp >I believe he's at home. >I wish you a peaceful night, I think they said the weather conditions were "worse". >Go and put some ice. Love J. Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 11:07 AM Subject: They're

awful, these sirens. This morning they targeted Surcin, Batajnica again, Jakovo and the Rakovica factory. We did take out a stealth, maybe I'd be

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proud if I wasn't afraid of retaliation. Tell me what the public reactions are to this in America. It's cloudy here, I don't know if that affects them, apparently not much. Most of us slept last night, even though they felt the detonations. I told you a person gets used to everything. Oh, if we could only sleep through all of this. I'm calling, although this has lost its initial "charm". You have got used to this, like us. I'll write when there's something new. VLY Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 3:54 PM Subject: Belgrade full of song

Are they showing the rock concert on your stations? We are definitely crazy people. Milosh has gone, they promise to hold concerts every day on the M&E square. Since I'm already here, let's have fun. The square is packed, Bajaga, Rambo Amadeus are playing. Whatever happens to us, this is definitely a precedent in the world since Jesus. The concert started during the air raid alert, everyone is wearing a target badge, if I were a little younger (and more naive) my adrenalin would rise. Proud of these madmen: actors, singers, rockers, the first in Eastern Europe ever. This is certainly utopia, but do you have better advice? (Well, I do, but I wouldn't like them to arrest me). This morning they set fire to a kiosk that belongs to some honest Siptars who have been living and working here for 15 years. They had the best goods. The thing I wrote to you about in October and what horrified me is slowly beginning. I haven't given up my convictions. Ruth wrote to me in despair that she was praying for us. Tanya your mother called to give us support, say hello, she loves you a lot, but she's afraid that if she says that to you you'll get into a panic. She'd like to go to the concert, maybe we'll see each other there in the next few days. Helen is OK, and dad too. Ana, Mica & Comp. they're still carrying on, though Lilly's been wiping a 5 cm thick layer of dust about the house all morning. Let's not be naive: contamination in this ass of a Serbia is quite enough to finish off the job. People know that, but while we're moving it'll be "in the rhythm of a dance"...

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We still haven't reached the third phase (we know about it too). Zoki dug up another whiskey. I'm preparing the ice. It's important to stress that we don't use bad booze, no matter how "united" we currently are. God bless the Whiskey. People, is it just me, or does this look like the thoughts of a dying person? Do you remember the film "All that Jazz"? My favorite actor Roy Schieder, who looks so much like Ivan. VLY Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 8:02 PM Subject: Good evening

I slept from 5. And I thought I did that job last night. The pager woke me up with you on the line (you are waking me again - reproach) The alert has been lasting for hours, the second phase is in progress, for now it's peaceful in Belgrade. Was the concert on TV? Are they still stuttering about the stealth? Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 8:07 PM Subject: Still on the line

I should pay in more hours on the Net, I don't know how. I've got one more hour + the promised bonus of five hours, but when they're so fair, I'd like to pay, and feel easy. The night is really horrible. The whole city is in darkness, the street lamps are out, and the people are economizing in a disciplined manner. That is if they don't "catch" us Milosh was out on a spree and flew home on a Tomahawk. When he passes Dona he always says "Bite the bomb, hold it!" Crazy fun. I'm sending this while the line is clear, it's difficult to get one. VLY Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 8:09 PM Subject: Refreshment

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The girls are pouring fresh water into the bottles. This one is 4 days stale. We are washing like never before, hygiene is at an enviable standard. Sonya is reading (NOT a book, but Email), and tells you not to worry and to call. I'm breaking off till your next message. Masha sends her love too. Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 8:43 PM Subject: Thanks

for the warning. If those are B52's starting out, they won't be here before dawn (they fly slowly). We are preparing a welcome at my place. Mira and Zoki are coming. The “Tigers” * are not a media rumor. There's a little truth for you over there. I'll stay on the line to wait for your answer. Do you know which ones took off and where they're going? The sirens didn't go off now, the air raid alert has been on since 4. VLY

*

Notorious Serbian paramilitary formation 55

Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 9:41 PM Subject: I'm writing

while I'm waiting for a connection. Milosh is a little down. We all have our ups and downs, the child went off to the bath with a lemonade and a book, I hope it'll liven him up a little. I haven't the time to think about how the kids feel, it's all happening so amazingly fast, we don't have much time for thoughts. Here's the connection. You see how little time there is. I'm sending this. The messages are arriving linked together, because I'm writing briefly, I'm still afraid the line will be cut off. Date: Sunday, March 28, 1999 10:04 PM Subject: For what

Tanya should I collect my strength? Zoki asks are American SEALS coming to pull us out and that's why there's so much optimism on your part? I'm scared to death when I see the heading of the subject on the pager. I've been trying to log in for ten minutes. Please be careful what you put in the subject. The sirens are wailing, I'm going for whiskey. I'm breaking off and sending this Violeta loves you Date: Monday, March 29, 1999 12:33 PM Subject: G' morning

I got up with a hangover at 11. I drove to the market for a sack of potatoes. I only just left the parking lot, which I should have paid, and 5-6 planes flew over our heads. Boy, oh boy, did I press the accelerator!!! I didn't pay the man, they'll arrest me and shoot me, with the luck I have. I feel terrible, thanks for asking. Because Pristina, I hear in the street & market, has shrunk, do you know what's next? VLY Date: Monday, March 29, 1999 5:05 PM

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Subject: RE: Malta interview

Agreed. Regards, V -----Original Message----Subject: RE: Malta interview >They'll call you between 9:30 and 10:30. That's the duration of the program. > Regards, Jovan > -----Original Message----Subject: Re: Malta - interview >I'm on the line. I accept the offer and thanks for your confidence. >Please, specify the time of the call, seeing that I'm on the Net all night Regards from Belgrade > Violeta Ivkovic > -----Original Message----> Subject: Malta - interview > Dear Violeta, > I am writing to you with a proposal for you to join in a live broadcast of the Maltese Net-television. For tomorrow's main political program on NETtelevision from 9:30 to 10:30, A debate has been scheduled about the NATO attack on Yugoslavia. Taking part are a Yugoslav lady - and an Albanian journalist. We would do a short interview with you on the telephone. They will call you on your telephone number at the arranged time. I think that you would help us a great deal, because with the Saturday protest we managed to win over the majority of Maltese for our cause. I don't know how much influence this has on what is happening, but it's worth trying. A big campaign is in progress on the Internet now in which the Maltese community has an important place. I will also inform you about that. Awaiting your reply. Best regards, Jovan Date: Monday, March 29, 1999 5:26 PM Subject: Re: Call

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Here I am, on the line. I sent a message that I accept the interview (and why not). I'm listening to music and being cool. -----Original Message----Subject: Call Date: Monday, March 29, 1999 10:50 PM Subject: Everything

is OK. The air raid alert is still on. They're taking Kosovo apart, and they're leaving Belgrade apparently for the end. Tomorrow the Ruskies are coming with an "Indecent proposal". I fear that most of all. Ever since my mother spent 5 years in political prison because of them, I don't trust them at all. Of course, we are still hoping. That's all we can do. VLY Don't be mad because I don't write intensely like in the beginning. I think that, if I survive, I'll have problems with finding a job: I hate the sight of the computer. I'm disgusted with everything. Uncertainty is killing my nature. Date: Tuesday, March 30, 1999 9:47 AM Subject: Just

to drop you a line: we're all well. Admittedly, a little more lively than otherwise (we've acquired various ticks). For the first time in the last 6 days I know they won't bombard us: Primakov is here. Let's see what the brother Ruskies have to offer. I'm thinking of you, V

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Date: Tuesday, March 30, 1999 10:01 AM Subject: Re: Belgrade

Let's have a short briefing, since we have time. The procedure is as follows, if you agree: I won't say anything about politics. Only how people in Belgrade feel. Is that OK? If you have any proposal, call me. Regards, Violeta -----Original Message----Subject: Belgrade Violeta, Here’s Aleksandra. Jovan and Pedja, who are taking part in the program, are preparing the appearance. I am the secretary now. They send you the following message: Please be ready at 21-21,30. If they don't call you till then, phone 227-050 that is the studio, they will connect you to the director and you will be linked in. Pedja will welcome you. I hope this will succeed. look after yourself. Regards Alex Date: Tuesday, March 30, 1999 4:46 PM Subject: Weather forecast

cloudy with heavy “precipitation”. I'm waiting in fear for the report from today's meeting between Primakov and Milosevic. Is the door ajar for new negotiations? SKY and CNN are still talking about refugees. Today the scientists announced a sad item: the power and amount of the bombs dropped so far is equal to the force of an atomic one. NATO only distributed it all around Yuga. Our tourism is ruined. And maybe we'll be the first mutants on our planet. I'm thinking about how I'll paint my nails on 50 fingers (of one hand). This was to cheer you up. I paid in the hours on Net, so you will continue to enjoy my company.

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VLY Date: Tuesday, March 30, 1999 8:34 PM Subject: Re:

I'll call you immediately after linking in to Malta TV -----Original Message----Subject: Re: > Just as I planned, I went straight from the airport to the demonstrations. The Americans >looked at us with curiosity, surprised at our nice, peaceful faces. >My impression is that the end of all this is in sight, the Americans won't send troops and the bombing >can't last a long time, at least not in Europe, this isn't the Iraqi desert. No one >can watch the tearful faces of the Kosovars any more, Americans don't like being woken up in the morning with pictures >like that, especially when their own personal interests are not involved. >Ana loves you Date: Tuesday, March 30, 1999 11:36 PM Subject: I've been unable to get a connection

for half an hour. It's almost impossible to log in. The pager is beeping from Malta, and I don't know what the reaction is to my five minute report from Belgrade. I'm aware that this is tiny, but it is the only thing I could do. Malta is miniature, but it still is Europe. I'll call as soon as I get a connection. Oh, you are cool, you people overseas VLY

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Date: Tuesday, March 30, 1999 11:40 PM Subject: Tell me

how it turned out. What are the reactions? Sincerely, I love having joined in at the end of the program, even though I might have to pay a colossal tel. bill Regards from singing Belgrade Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 12:28 AM Subject: I've just

heard that as of tomorrow they start the loveliest, third phase of attack: the risk is great, most probably we'll be left without connections (I paid in the hours on Net for nothing). We set some six conditions. It looks as though it's too much for them. And, believe me, we've had enough too. For the uninstructed: III phase means: bridges (good bye Branko bridge, it was nice with the students on it) *, other communications, everything that they think can increase the exodus of the Albanians. etc. I'm truly trying to be pro, but I feel sick. This definitely is not proverbial: the mountain shook, the mouse was born My Maltese have just said there is hope, that maybe doors have been opened for negotiations, 15 min after that, I heard this news. Cheerful. Chins up people, coz' we're scared shitless. VLY Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 12:55 AM Subject: Comments

Dear Violeta we have just come home because we watched the program at a friend's. You were wonderful. The only thing they can do is think it over, because no one can contest your statements. This program went in our favor. If everyone did as much as you, and even less, we would manage to restore a dignified life as we deserve. In the program were Pedja, Azem (a Siptar from Albania) and
*

Protesters clashed with the police on that bridge in 1991 61

a priest who talked in Maltese but they translated him for us after. He mentioned the Pope who is against solving problems by force and the use of the media in the Vietnam war. Pedja spoke well. The Albanian spoke as one would expect him to, but he was civil. The presenter was discreetly in favor of us. You were the only one who really said anything. They didn't give you accreditation for nothing long ago. There's nothing new regarding news. You probably know more than we do. The whole message of the meeting in Belgrade was: Stop attacking and we'll allow in some troops. So much for now George loves you Dear Mrs. Reporter Of NET T.V, I could not believe my ears when the presenter on NET T.V said that Violeta Ivkovic was on the phone from Belgrade. We were all very proud of you. Especially when you mentioned Sliema and Hamrun. I just happened to turn it over to that channel, it was fantastic to hear your voice again. you sounded so close and yet so far away. How did NET T.V manage to get your number We are still following what is going on. Everything seems so jammed at the moment. I thought with the Russians visiting Milosevic, there would be some news but apparently the Germans were not too keen on the outcome. We also heard that petrol is getting rather scares. How are you getting along? Are the children reacting badly to all this? As usual I shall turn on the computer again before I go to bed just in case you read this message this evening and decide to answer it now. Good night RUTH xxxxxxxx

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Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 1:22 AM Subject: Here, I'm just

waging a war against the media. Currently they're saying that bombs have been dropped that prevent communications!!! Maybe that exists too. I'm still resisting. George, fuck sleeping, call on the ICQ. I'm trying to log in. Milosh asks if it's atomic!! My little moron, mummy kisses his three foreheads VLY Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 2:02 AM Subject: OK

As our American friends say. If I log in now and send this mail, that's it. I'm dead beat, I'll try to call you as soon as it's possible to get online (look at me, the optimist). Off I go to sleep, and let the explosions blast away, if I had Ivan, I know what I'd do. Think of the situation: you're lying down, and you're waiting for the impact of the bomb to work for you… Jovan, this is not for the public. Here's the line. I'm sending. VLY Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 2:10 AM Subject: Do you know what,

I'm going to sleep before the going gets tough. Even this is a boon getting a connection. Yak... I don't know what to tell you. You're great, all of you with your silly demonstrations, programs, efforts. This is beyond us. We are thinking of you and you mean a great deal to us. VLY

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SEVEN + eighth day

Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 7:32 AM Subject: A bad night

It's no use, I didn't sleep a wink. This is unusual, considering that I do sometimes manage to get a night's sleep. Maybe the III phase finished me off. We are suffering from delayed reaction here, slow motion (it seems it's on a nation-wide basis) The Americans have no idea what phases are, they should learn from us: euphoria, depression, our adrenalin has been up for seven days already. Here it's no longer important when you sleep, eat. I've drilled the girls, they can do everything on their own, sometimes better than me. Sonya blurted out something yesterday, and I said: "How does that concern you, you behave as though you're 30, not 13." For that I got it straight in the eye: "Mummy, I am 30." To make things even shittier, last night I went to the neighbor’s, he has a satellite dish, to hear how it is with the poor Albanians, I was waiting for the call from Malta, it was pitch dark in Belgrade. I hurried home, I couldn't see farther than my nose and I fell over at the front door. Right on my knee, it's swollen like a loaf, the children put ice and a bandage on it, but it hurts, the pain is shooting. I am unlucky, I'll be on crutches for the most interesting part of the bombing. I expect the lines are now free, for days there was no chance of logging in. The children and I alternate, we all keep pressing "enter" when we pass by, and when it beeps, we all race together to get to our "headquarters". This little room and this computer is everything to me. My husband, my friends, my hope and comfort. I might even cry if I go on like this. As for crying, I haven't yet seen anyone at all weeping, it's strange. You can see an angry person, or a sad one, we're all chronically gray in the face, but no one is weeping. I'm going under the shower. Another thing: we've never taken so much care about hygiene as now. We bathe twice a day, we wash our teeth like the Yankees (what is the matter with me, I keep talking about them), I keep renewing my cream and makeup. The people are shining with cleanliness as never before. Ana: Your people are well, Lilly was in the bath when I called (you see!)

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Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 7:37 AM Subject: Sirens

will destroy me. I've started chasing my own ear to bite it. VLY Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 6:00 PM Subject: Belgrade

Just to tell you we're well. The air raid alert lasted all day, nothing can be heard. We already know they're waiting for the night. We also know about phase III, most probably we shan't be able to make contact because those bombs obstruct communication systems in a radius of 2 km. Today I received a disturbing Email from Jovan, however, what can we do; If they start, we have ice. Today I felt like a complete moron while I was putting adhesive tape on the windows in the lounge, so we don't get cut. Mira, Zoki and Tijana are coming, we're not alone. Ana, I heard Mica a moment ago, they're well. The only miracle that can save us is public opinion. Is there any? Dragan, as things now stand, you are in the safest place in Gabon. Take care of yourselves. VLY Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 9:20 PM Subject: Really

I have no more strength. The shit has evidently hit the fan. If the connection breaks, I can't try to get through for another two hours. You know the historical one: ”I love you too.” * Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 9:23 PM Subject: Still on the line

*

Sentence that Milosevic said to his supporters at an instrumentalised rally, afterwards often

used as a joke 65

Tanya, I've thrown the others out of the game, what's left for me to tell them any more. They're planning to hit the bridges, railways, TV, anything, I feel ill from the noise. If only it were quieter at least, because of the children. Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 9:25 PM Subject: Ruth will

call you. I gave her your Email. Explain to her if you can the power of the media. This is nonsense, I didn't sleep, I can't and I know I need strength. General panic has set in among people who have satellite TV Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 9:26 PM Subject: In fact

I'm waiting at least for another message from you, and then I'll switch off. The children are watching cartoons. We're all here. I don't know whether I feel like the company of anyone this evening. Date: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 9:28 PM Subject: Still on the line

As for Easter and the idea of sparing us on that day, they dropped bombs on Iraq tagged with: Happy Bairam. I'm not joking. Date: Thursday, April 01, 1999 8:57 AM Subject: Good morning

A fine and sunny day has dawned. For now, it's all quiet. Just to give you a call. I hear our hackers got up NATO's ass. I'm going on the Net while it's early. Let me know if there's anything intelligent (not bad news, I can't on an empty stomach), VLY Date: Thursday, April 01, 1999 9:41 AM

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Subject: What do you think

of our metro station? It's 50 m deep They've just switched off my pager "because of the unpaid bill"!!!! V Date: Thursday, April 01, 1999 11:05 AM Subject: There are no

more Petrovaradin * nights Date: Thursday, April 01, 1999 12:37 PM Subject: Suggestion

Ana, now go like an American and demonstrate because of 3 soldiers. Your people sent greetings and ask if you finished the job in LA. Violeta loves you Date: Thursday, April 01, 1999 5:24 PM Subject: What does this look like

to you. Sloba has signed some agreement with Rugova, I don't know what yet, I'm watching cartoons. Are there any reactions in the world as regards: 3 Americans, Rugova, the Russians?

*

Part of Novi Sad, accessed only by bridge 67

Date: Thursday, April 01, 1999 9:29 PM Subject: Herald of bad luck

Just as Clinton ended his speech, the sirens started wailing. They really did compliment each other, all in the style: You are great, no, you are... He was chattering on like a seal, over there across the great puddle, encouraging his people. I mean, really... Tanya, the messages don't have to be in an order, although I think it indicates the time when I put them in the Outbox. It's not important, they're meant on that day, for that day. Here we've learned to live "on the short term". This morning I was so happy when I woke up, probably because I woke up at all. All in all, the end is nowhere in sight. Sloba and Rugova signed some agreement, but not a word was mentioned about this on the foreign TV's. DJUKA IS IN BELGRADE WHICH IS BEING BOMBED DJUKA'S WIFE IS IN AMERICA WHICH IS BOMBING BELGRADE HE WANTS TO SEND HER AN E-MAIL AND HE HATES THE COMPUTER Date: Thursday, April 01, 1999 9:50 PM Subject: Aid

If you received this message at all, it means you've mastered sending and receiving mail (both operations are simultaneous), so that I needn't keep you on that. You wipe the messages by clicking the desired (message) in the Inbox, when it goes blue, you press the button "DELETE". In order to definitely eliminate "deleted items" for always from the folder where it is sent after being erased you click that folder, press the right key on the mouse, and then press delete once more. The right key in principle can always be used, it's easier. Ask what you want to know. So as not to bother with Email addresses, if by default the computer does not insert after receiving the mail, and you want to answer the sender, do this:

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Select the sender's message in the Inbox. Click on the "Reply to Author" option in the top menu. A new message window opens with the address to which you want to send it. And then you write, and write, then send, you know the Send. Be careful, if you want to swear at someone, don't click the neighboring folder "Reply to all" by mistake. In that case everyone gets the same message. Have you fed the dog? And crossed the bridge? Take care, V ON THE TITANIC AT THE START OF THE THIRD MILLENIUM Date: Friday, April 02, 1999 1:16 AM Subject: George & Tanya

It's hopeless tonight. There's no chance of logging in. Maybe it has something to do with the lasers that are wandering round Belgrade. If I don't succeed, I'll send the post in the morning, the lines are less loaded. Sleep well. VLY Date: Friday, April 02, 1999 1:19 AM Subject: Envy

did you see the bags under Clinton's eyes? We still wear makeup. Date: Friday, April 02, 1999 12:13 PM Subject: Here is Sonya

Hello everyone. How are you? What's new and what are you doing? I hear Vlada and George demonstrated. How was it? As you know, we are all OK. Mummy is making lunch, Milosh is sleeping, and Masha is watching TV (the news). It's a fine day outside. Right now I'm angry

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with mummy because she won't let me go to town to the Square (where the concert is) while the air raid alert is on. I won't bore you any longer, I'll write another time. Sonya loves you a lot Date: Friday, April 02, 1999 1:53 PM Subject: Words of consolation of my friend George

Re: If they bomb the bridges you can't do anything about that. You can't defend them. This must pass. Now I received the mail about the windows. It encouraged me that you're thinking logically. It's not funny but it's not the end of the world either. They are working on spreading fear. Fuck the bridges. We'll build new ones. Be selfish and think of yourself and the children. Internet is going underground. It won't be fucked so easily. Tell them to fuck themselves, make some coffee and sit down and watch “Hair”. Much better than domestic war movie. George loves you Date: Friday, April 02, 1999 8:13 PM Subject: I'm trying

now it doesn't even accept the password when I log in. We've all gone mad, even the server. Date: Friday, April 02, 1999 8:31 PM Subject: Paranoia

if only those bombs didn't fly over our heads that interfere with the communications systems This is terrible Date: Saturday, April 03, 1999 12:02 AM Subject: I'm taking advantage of the situation

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while I'm on the net. it's quiet here. We're sitting and considering tactics on how to profit. We are all OK. Mica called me, he's gone to sleep, he's had enough. Strike public opinion, VLY Date: Saturday, April 03, 1999 12:04 AM Subject: It's still cloudy

Sleep well, dream of the Belgrade you remember Date: Saturday, April 03, 1999 1:35 AM Subject: Shit

They fucked the republic and federal Ministry of Interior Affairs, the first I saw on the SKY News report, What sort of war is this???!!! I went crazy!!! Date: Saturday, April 03, 1999 6:13 PM Subject: It's Sonya

Hello everyone! How are you? What are you doing and what's new? As you know we're all O.K. Mummy is making coffee, so I'll use the chance to write to you. Yesterday I was rather angry with mummy because she didn't let me go to the concert, on the Square. But when I heard that a bomb exploded nearby last night, I immediately thought the better of it. Outside it's a lovely day, it's peaceful since this morning, without an air raid alert, so I'll go out by the school a little. Lots of good wishes to all of you. P.S. Write to us and tell Kaca to call me if she has time. Sonya loves you all Date: Saturday, April 03, 1999 8:44 PM Subject: It's Sonya

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Hallo again! I heard on news that it's getting better. Last night they bombed two police stations. Now they are coming from England to Belgrade. On news they said that NATO is maybe going to leave the Belgrade alone. Write to me soon!!!!!!! Lots of love Sonya Date: Sunday, April 04, 1999 1:31 AM Subject: And

what can we expect after our tragic media campaign in the past years. We never had better TV clips than now. Did we need all this for people with spirit to express themselves on our media? Look, our TV clips are good (even CNN shows them). The poor correspondent from LA was reporting. He says, it's terribly hard to change our media image in the world, after so many failures (I wonder that they didn't cut him off). We made a mistake, that's what. We had the chance, but rigid, self-confident, hardheaded as we are, we didn't use it in time. By the way, did you know: the word Slav means slave the word Serb (in the phonetic and linguistic meaning, and even in Russian history means - warrior) This finished me off. VLY

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Date: Sunday, April 04, 1999 2:28 AM Subject: Helen

please, while I'm still on the line, everything can still turn out as it should. please, be as beautiful and good and clever as until now. Write me your African stories. Violeta loves you Date: Sunday, April 04, 1999 2:32 AM Subject: I'd rather not have logged in

Letter from my Helen from Gabon, they took away her brother: Right now I'm not in the mood for chatting. Dusko was called up to Army. I called mother she says they tried everything but there was no choice, other than highly unpleasant ones. I am for him to be with his own people and for everyone to rebel against shit even where they stopped two years ago, but I haven't much confidence in those who are shaping his destiny now. We didn't collect clay pigeons from Slovenia either. Oh, I don't want to start swearing because that's all you need, I'm writing myself in as absent till further notice. Look after yourselves, I wait for the day when I'll embrace you Love Helen Date: Sunday, April 04, 1999 12:46 PM Subject: Oh, we're well

But what happened last night inspired me to make a barbecue. No joke. Helen, I can't give the details, but there's no more reason to worry about Dusko, than you worry about all of us. I'm not consoling you just like that, you know what I'd tell you. VLY

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Date: Sunday, April 04, 1999 8:43 PM Subject: Target

Mira, Zoki and Tijana came to lunch. Sonya's coach and her friend from diving were also here. We made a pile of food and everyone just pecked at it like birds. However, we sat in the garden, and the sun warmed us a little. We had the illusion, for a moment, that everything was all right. Now it's half nine, the sirens have sounded the alarm. We await each night with anxiety. It's increasingly difficult to share my thoughts with you. I'd like to get rid of them myself. We'll be in touch, VLY Ana, Mica says he tried to hide under the carpet, when it exploded over their heads last night. They are somehow in an awkward position, so they hear and feel much more than we do. It doesn't mean they're in a strategically important i.e. dangerous place. Only it's unpleasant near Sremcica, Banjica, and so on. Tanya, this evening I heard from your dad. The old ones were out all day, and by God Helen too. Helen, your parents are well, they say don't worry. Date: Monday, April 05, 1999 4:17 AM Subject: 'morning

I didn't sleep, though it was quieter than yesterday. They only bombed the airport and Rakovica a little. Sleep, keep your strength. VLY Date: Monday, April 05, 1999 12:52 PM Subject: George,

Why aren't we the headline news on foreign TV any more? I'm afraid that's not good.

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Date: Monday, April 05, 1999 1:40 PM Subject: Unreliable

information that it'll all be over by Sunday. Poor us, what can that mean. I still place my hopes in common sense, that it's never too late for an agreement. This is terrible here. Date: Monday, April 05, 1999 8:49 PM Subject: Hallo!!!!

Hallo everyone!!!! How are you doing? How are Snoopy and the cats? We are great for now. My brother is O.K too. He was truing whole day to teach Dona how to byte a Tomahawk. We are not going to school, but our teachers must be on duty. We are all day out, but near the house, so if sirens start we run home fast. We are not in the basement.There is one channel that is showing the best cartoons ever seen. There are all on English so we are practicing it. I like the jokes very much. We have the new transparent: -Molder, the truth is here. Lots of love Sonya and Masha Write to us soon! Date: Monday, April 05, 1999 9:01 PM Subject: 13th night

the sirens have sounded, Sonya wrote Abi a letter, now it's my turn. I was dead beat all day, because I didn't sleep. The attacks are becoming more intense, and it's no lullaby. For now they're precise, if that's any comfort. It's terrible, it's lasting a long time, there's no solution in sight, all in all, my heart is beating all day. We no longer feel like sedatives, or drink, imagine what we've come to. Let's wait till that Wednesday to see what fate the planet will decide for Serbia. All night I stared at CNN, SKY till 5 in the morning, trying to grab at

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some little straw. Our priest finished me off me when he said that Jesus suffered too. I can't brother and I don't want to be a new Jesus, I thought one was enough for the world We'll be in touch tomorrow VLY Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 12:57 AM Subject: I'm waiting for a connection

and I can't resist not lashing out: there are no more links with Novi Sad, Goc * has gone. BK has taken over transmission so program I, II and III go through it. I've had enough. Did I boast that all the providers are connected to the main link, so now we're surer of getting connections. If you can't hear me, Walpurgis night has begun. I'm going to sleep, the planes are humming, it's yak. I'll put a plaster on my mouth, rope around my neck. VLY Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 12:59 AM Subject: Oow

the explosions. Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 9:29 AM Subject: Good morning to you

I see that you're at a nice low. And I was counting on you. Let's forget the saying: these Serbs will survive. I'm content even with less: my Friends will survive. As for our nation, everything's clear; genes are genes, as a mongrel what can I do when I got stuck in this kettle. This morning the first news on our TV was that we'd finished the planting season, and only after that what had been bombed. No comment. As I hear, and that is less and less, the transmitter on Cot was bombed, so Vojvodina no longer has a program. And some more odd places, mainly in Serbia. Last night we were convinced that
*

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they were squashing Belgrade, but obviously they're in no hurry. Here we're playing new Russian roulette: who dares go over the bridge. Last night I had a good sleep, I feel a little better, and cherish the hope that the meeting on Wednesday will change something for the better, today the Speaker of the Duma is coming, in any case, the agony can't last forever. VLY Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 10:27 AM Subject: Here, we've survived

Sincerely, we anticipated a worse night in Belgrade. But Serbia!!! We'll be in touch Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 10:56 AM Subject: I'm saving the country - I've decided

I've got work. See what Jovan sent me, perhaps you too can join in from your angle. Write that you're always in contact with us, how you experience our and your own fears. Ana, again, did you get the Emails? We'll be in touch VLY I sent this Email through to several addresses. Call if you need some help. Regards. Jovan -----Original Message----> Dear colleagues, > As you may know, I am from Belgrade. I have been living in Malta for the last 9 years, which more-or-less coincides with the period of Milosevic's governance. During the last three months during the bombing campaign in Yugoslavia I went into a self-imposed isolation. I decided on

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this on the first day of bombing when a friend asked me if I was for Milosevic or for NATO. My answer and the accompanying explanations that I was neither for Milosevic or NATO did not satisfy him. I concluded that any attempt to understand a time of war with rationality is useless. Things will develop as the warlords choose. I am currently picking up the "ashes" of > a) my belief that diplomacy is and should be the only way to solve problems in international society, especially complex ones; and > b) my belief that democracy, human rights and the rule of law are universal principles that can provide the most fair framework for organizing human activities. > The suicidal policy of Milosevic and his cronies put the citizens of Yugoslavia, both Serbs and Albanians, in a miserable situation. Although I have been involved with the opposition movement to the Milosevic regime over the last 10 years, I have been asking myself if I (we) could have done more to stop this catastrophe. > Unfortunately, we have not managed to convey the message that the Balkan crisis was more a product of the "landing" of the communist elite than of "historical hatred", which has been used as the main excuse and fuel for the policy of communist-turn-nationalistic elite. Western leaders slowly came to dance according to the tunes of those leaders, the most

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prominent of whom have been Milosevic and Tudjman. Instead of promoting individual human rights and democracy, the west supported one local national rulers against the other. What is the profile of these Balkan leaders? Most of them are not comfortable with democracy and the rule of law due to their communist past. They managed to destroy the solid middle class who was well established in Tito's time and to make "Latin American" social structures based on an extremely rich circle of cronies around the dictators and a majority of pauperized population. Those who did not want to accept this left the country. Close to half a > million young and educated people > The only criterion to be accepted as "freedom fighters" and "promoters of human rights" was to be against Milosevic. I hope that it will be easier to dismantle those leaders from the Balkans who developed their credentials by declaring themselves against Milosevic than their colleagues from the "cold war" such as Mobutu, Pinochet and Suharno. > What could have happened had the West supported the small but potentially strong democratic opposition in 1990/1991? This is a counterfactual question, but it carries practical relevance for present and future developments. Europe missed a unique opportunity to stop the "Balkan cycles", where peace is considered as a break between two wars that should

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be used to prepare for the next war. In these Balkan cycles the key is rule of power not power of rule. Another characteristic is that nations that have power terrorize those without power. Examples from the history of the Balkans are numerous, including many from this decade. Once Muslims and Croats got the upper hand they did the same to Serbs as the Serbs initially did to the innocent Muslims and Croats. The same sort of thing is now being repeated by the KLA. Various justifications could be found for revenge, but these explanations do not help stop the bloody circles of Balkans history. Children on trailers, be they Serb > or Albanian Muslims, will grow wit > Tito left in his legacy a solid basis for this transition. In Tito's time educational and cultural policy was pro-Western. The middle class was developed. In the early 80s the economy was almost at the level of Spain and Portugal. It is not widely known, but Yugoslav industry produced a super-sonic airplane, which has been done by only 11 countries in the world. The production plant was, paradoxically enough, in Mostar - Bosnia. At this time there was a good possibility of transforming economic/cultural prosperity into a modern western democracy, for example, through gradual integration into the EU. The last Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, Ante Markovic, tried to do this. After he lost crucial backing from the

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West he was easily fired by the coalition Milosevic-Tudjman. Had he succeeded in his reform the developments in the Balkans could have been completely different. Changes in the center, like what Andropov-Gorbacov did in the Soviet Union, could have made the transition of > the Balkans towards democracy less > This approach gained a more comprehensive conceptual framework in the mid-90s with Holbrook's "realist" approach of tolerating Milosevic. Any opposition to Milosevic's power was if not discouraged at least not supported. During demonstrations in 1996 Holbrook openly suggested to demonstrators that they stop the demonstration against Milosevic because demonstrations were "too risky". Of course he did not care for the demonstrators but for the potential risk to the power of Milosevic that could have undermined the Dayton arrangement. This policy provided many promoters of conspiracy theory with strong arguments. > While we were demonstrating on the streets of Belgrade in 1996 we knew that Milosevic's next move would be Kosovo, as we know now that his next aim could be Montenegro or Vojvodina. All of the crises, from Slovenia to Kosovo, could have been prevented in Belgrade. The current debate in European headquarters is still focused on a distorted dilemma:

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realist vs. idealist. Paradoxically speaking, in the Balkans this dilemma does not exist. A purely realistic approach to the crisis in the Balkans should be based on the promotion of human rights. Unlike other regions where promotion of human rights is considered a threat to social stability (Asia, Middle East), in the Balkans the promotion of INDIVIDUAL human rights and rule of law is the only way to achieve stability. When will the Western governments realize this? > Another reflection on the main promoter of this crisis Milosevic: > While Milosevic crime is obvious and indisputable it is still unclear who should punish him. The biggest victims of his policy in terms of death (even statistically speaking), material destruction and lost pride are Serbs. The Serbs were the first against whom Milosevic sent tanks (9th March 1991 - anti-communist demonstrations in Belgrade). If there is any justice (recently favorable concept in rhetoric of some leaders), the Serbs should punish Milosevic. My hope is that this will be done in a civilized way. Civilized punishment of Milosevic would have also the symbolic importance of ending his era of brutal and uncivilized governance. > If there is any fairness in international relations, it is not correct for Serbs to end this century with the stigma that they have

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acquired over the last 10 decades. At the very least, they should be given a chance because of the more than two million Serbs who died in this century fighting on the side of the Allies. Serb's catharsis should start with taking responsibility for the harm done to other nations in the Balkans over the last 10 years. The international community does not have to do much. It could help the Serbs in this painful process by not "supporting" Milosevic through the collective punishment of Serbia (sanctions, isolation, etc.). Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 4:46 PM Subject: I keep forgetting

Ask Olga how my hormone plasters agree with contamination VLY Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 5:52 PM Subject: Belgrade

At one point our connections were cut off. You can't believe how much the telephone means. We wait for the evening and what will happen next. VLY Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 7:10 PM Subject: Switch off from the Net, I can't get you on the telephone.

Date: Wednesday, April 07, 1999 11:03 AM Subject: Belgrade

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Is it possible to send you this letter via E-mail, and then for you to forward it? It's simpler, the lines are tragic, we try for hours to log in, Regards, Dear friends, This letter won’t have any political notation, since I’m an ordinary person, ordinary mother of three children. I’m not going to bother you with dilemma who is right or wrong. I presume you already had enough of it. We, adults know very well that there are not pure black and white in this world and that fantasyland only exists in Hollywood. Last night was the 14th night of bombing, of fear, of our children’s dreams demolition. You saw us singing and dancing. It is our shelter from what’s happening, from our stressful thoughts. It is not true that we are not afraid, it doesn’t mean that we are not desperate. Sad true is that we don’t have much left. The only choice in this absurd situation is to choose how to die. This choice is something that no politician in the whole world can take away from us. Few days ago, we’ve heard very discouraging report from our scientists. So far, the total quantity of dropped bombs is comparable to three nuclear weapons. Only, this time, that power was spread all over Yugoslavia. Each Serb, Montenegrian, as well as Albanian received more than two hundred units of radioactive substance. We are contaminated already. And probably our neighbor countries. It is obviously too early for the main news like this. Our country is burned, our hearts are wounded. Regards, Violeta Ivkovic, Belgrade Date: Wednesday, April 07, 1999 12:33 AM Subject: April 6 has passed

they'll fuck us. They blasted Pancevo, and different places. But what "the objective eye of the camera didn't record, didn't happen", as the renowned CNN woman-journalist said. Outside is the smell of burning, and they "keep

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beating about the bush" until it explodes above my head, and as Mica says, I'll hide under the carpet. The children are finally asleep, the neighbors went home resigned, I made a bacon sandwich, so whatever God wills. I'm afraid, I'll stay awake until I log in, which means till the morning. I really am a persistent idiot. I see you writing to me, the pager is beeping, but come on, we're all saying the same thing. The pants are slowly dropping. VLY Date: Wednesday, April 07, 1999 8:47 PM Subject: Evening report

I was always a pacifist. I never even dreamed that sirens would sound the last post. It's a sound we can never get used to. The humming of planes over our heads, like in a beehive, is horrific. And when a bomb explodes - we're simply paralyzed. The children had dinner, watched cartoons. A girl friend of Milosh was on a visit till a moment ago, she's terribly frightened because they live near National TV. Yesterday I invited them to sleep at our place, to make it easier for them, so I assume she came to scout the situation. Seeing that she left, she probably concluded that we haven't a shelter. However, she put me out, so I didn't get to close the shutters, open all the windows, move the curtains, have a shower and repair my makeup and - open a bottle of white wine in time. Since to all appearances we shan't go to Kovin * to get off the alcohol (because of the bridges), I've given up serious spirits and sip wine and mineral water. The neighbors come at around 10, and then we start cursing all the actors in "this filthy crime". Then a bomb goes off and silences us. And we say: "Just for this shit to end." We part at around 1-2 like deflated balloons. Someone even gets some sleep, I mainly try to log in once again without success, because you mostly beep me at night (on the unpaid pager, which still works, probably because of the "situation"), then with resignation I fall into a dreamless sleep. The cretin of a siren sounding the end of the air raid alarm wakes me around 8. Then I go on sleeping for another hour, peacefully. Sonya dreams of Ivan every night (and I blame him for everything), she dreams that they cut her up, raped her!!!
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I'm going to listen to the evening report on CNN and SKY. Today's briefings, like most, are like somnambulism. And the idiotic questions reporters ask!!! I'm only interested in what they've devised for us tonight, to be ready. VLY Date: Thursday, April 08, 1999 12:31 AM Subject: It's not

the HQ, but Nemanjina 9, that building across from the federal government. Date: Thursday, April 08, 1999 10:39 AM Subject: Alive & well

I'm in a hurry to take Sonya to her training. Since they don't heat the pools, for inexplicable reasons, they have a dry training session. The coach thought up a good thing. And I'll try to organize aerobic exercises in my home, even in the garden, there's room. A singing and dancing nation, without a doubt!!! VLY Date: Thursday, April 08, 1999 7:45 PM Subject: Ciao

Masha on the line. I'm on duty while mummy is watching CNN. Regards to all Masha Date: Friday, April 09, 1999 1:52 PM Subject: I'm fed up

with everything: CNN, our news, the computer. I'll get over it. This morning the cop who distributes the petrol coupons was weeping and working. We're a sad lot, we are. Not even the police are what they used to be. There's nothing sticky to hold on to any more. Because you no longer understand jokes, this was one.

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On SKY they're talking of Russian warheads aimed at the NATO members. How much more money do they need? I see China too wants to make use of this. We're the fucking chip in this poker game. VLY I'll call this evening. Date: Friday, April 09, 1999 2:39 PM Subject: The line broke off,

so I'll bore you a little more. These days I've been reading Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain. All in all, the guy is nothing much, for teenagers and the infantile. His Alchemist wasn't bad, but the following happens to me: In each sentence I see this situation, it isn't bad for bombing. It simply relaxes one. It wasn't my lifestyle, but times have changed - I can't choose. Each old song reminds me of what is happening now. Not even the pictures on the wall have the same meaning any more. On the shelf I see those splendid American bestsellers, I bought the last one in Athens (the thickest), then I realize I'm looking through them. Edgar Allan Poe, J.D. Salinger, Steinback, Oscar Wilde… until 15 days ago I could have sworn by them like the Bible. Everything smells different (not a figure of speech), everything gives off some inexplicable feeling like before a cataclysm. People experience this situation in different ways. But, generally, at least in my surroundings it's like this: In the morning we're as though someone pissed on us, someone collects the courage to watch the news (I would, but I'm keeping my eye on the line, the "NATO fascist aggressor and evil occupier" has trimmed me down to 58 kg). Then, we imagine we've washed off the contamination with long showers, we dress up and set out to achieve new "wartime victories": cooking (more rarely), tidying, dusting (if that's called dust) and suchlike. We have lunch, we sleep, around 5 it starts getting dark before time. The adrenalin leaps (useful for psychologists) around 7 in the evening, before the sirens. Then freshening up, new makeup, the children get supper and are glad no one is telling them to be quiet any more, they go outside "till the siren". We still bring reserves of alcohol to our meeting place (lucky me), last night Mira brought a cheese pie, my cousin and his wife came, it's crazy. We were all desperate

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last night, almost disappointed the sirens didn't go off at the usual time, around 8. They were an hour and a half late. We cursed the fuckers for not keeping to protocol. Just when we'd acquired the Pavlov reflex. Then they start bombing, we guess where, in the meantime we've become merrier fools, we don't give a fuck. Last night I went to bed at half four, standard: the last CNN news, logging (unsuccessful) into Net and - darkness. More or less, that's how we spend our days. Until we're left without even the little money, food, drink, cigarettes we have, what was hope? Yesterday I was fed up, so I told these friends of mine: "What'll happen tomorrow if my children have no bread, and I know (state TV told me), that you have a kilo of flour left? How will I behave? Shall we share it, or will I hate you? War, people, is an unprecedented dog. Political marketing interests me as much as our "successful planting season". Let's try to log in. I've tried to spoil the evening or morning for you Americaserbos. VLY Date: Friday, April 09, 1999 2:49 PM Subject: I forgot

a silly detail. The birds have gone mad these days, probably because of spring. They scream, cry and twitter. When a bomb goes by or a plane silence. Then they go on again. Hell of an observation. Date: Friday, April 09, 1999 3:05 PM Subject: You

should see how I try to "cheat" the computer trying to log in on 15 different lines, connections. Then I click Cancel, and I don't mean it seriously. Here, maybe I tricked it.

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Date: Friday, April 09, 1999 4:52 PM Subject: Re: help

I have no ideas, Let him continue, like all of us. Perhaps we'll achieve something together. I'm still very suspicious: few of us are like we were before the start of this madness Regards V -----Original Message----Subject: FW: help >I received the following message from Bojan in Belgrade. Any ideas? Regards. Jovan Subject: help >Dear Jovan, I did something on my own: I applied for UNIX free sites, collected addresses and sent about 10000 mails. Of course in the message it wrote that they gave their vote against the war in Yugoslavia. In less than 36 hours I received over 170 messages, I constantly receive messages. Americans write, ordinary citizens teachers, humanitarian organizations in India, ask me how they can help concretely. Please give me advice, what to send what to reply...I keep all the letters and they can be published somewhere if necessary. According to my estimate about 70% of people are against the war and condemn it. Please answer me as soon as possible Miladinovic Bojan student of transport engineering Belgrade Date: Friday, April 09, 1999 9:51 PM Subject: Hallo

Dear Abigail, Kyle and Daniel,

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This evening is our Good Friday. On Sunday is Easter. We paint chicken eggs. First mummy dyed eggs, but we did not have any colors to buy. Instead of that, she boiled eggs with onion leaves. They are yellow. Masha and I are going tomorrow to paint them with temperas and water colors. I started with my trannings and I am not so willing to go. I think I am afraid. I will go to sleep now. Good night to all. Lots of love Sonya Date: Friday, April 09, 1999 10:09 PM Subject: Good night

I went to aerobic, I'm tired out. I'm going to sleep, there aren't even any guests. Nada, I watch CNN and SKY because we can only catch that on the satellite, not because I like them. It's the only way to hear what is in store for us, and I like to be informed. Gabonians, it looks as though your satellite has gone bust, maybe the Russians are using it? George, repair the comp. The pager is beeping that a letter has arrived from resourceful Tanya. One more "log in", then off to bed. VLY Date: Saturday, April 10, 1999 8:53 AM Subject: Good shoot

Pedja's speech in Valetta was just what suited the mood there. Jovan, maybe my friend from Malta, Ruth will call you. She's trying to get visas for my two little girls. She says every detail helps, she also mentioned my reporting from Belgrade. If she needs help, a recording or whatever, help her, please. For everything you want to know in that connection, call George and Tanya. Thanks, V

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Date: Saturday, April 10, 1999 9:06 AM Subject: G'morning

Last night we listened to the detonations, all around. Here, they say "our antiaircraft was firing". There's no more news. All we needed was this darkness. Ana says, American journalists have finally begun to ask the right questions. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Russians. Man, never has this country had so many marriage offers: Finland wants us to join the EU, the Russians, want us to join them, and we just won't!! We belong to ourselves, we don't like anyone. If we go on like that, we'll become an old maid, who nobody will want any more. Well, according to the wooing so far, the Russians have the advantage. All they have to do is bring us "flowers", maybe we'll fuck too. Ooops, a slip of the tongue. VLY Date: Sunday, April 11, 1999 11:27 AM Subject: Good bombing

Alive and nervous. We heard some more positive voices on radio Europe. We're still hoping. VLY Date: Sunday, April 11, 1999 1:20 PM Subject: Re: CHRIST IS RISEN!!!

We share the same wishes. It means a lot to us that you're with us Violeta -----Original Message----Subject: CHRIST IS RISEN!!!! HAPPY EASTER!!! We hope the next one is more peaceful and happier. Regards, Sale and Jovan Date: Sunday, April 11, 1999 1:59 PM

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Subject: For your eyes only

Ciao Ana, It's a long time since I wrote to you personally. But times are like that, there's little of it for tenderness. You have no idea how much you mean to me, far away, there. Here, every fool has his own fun, I've found this as a form of comfort. With you, somehow, I feel I'm not here, while we're together I have the illusion that I too am protected. I'm using you, borrowing your feeling of safety, the false sense of peace you have. I know it's equally hard for you. There's nothing worse that being powerless. Permit me not to feel that, it's what I need least at this moment. I steal bits of your freedom through these letters, the crumbs of your nights without these horrible sounds. Don't cry. The essential thing is not what I feel, but that I send Sonya and Masha to a safe place. So Milosh and I can breathe more easily. This is only a battle, only a job that has to be performed well, thoughtfully and professionally. You didn't think maybe that with the first bomb I'd go to the devil. LyV Date: Sunday, April 11, 1999 10:11 PM Subject: Angry Sonya

Hallo again!!! How are you? How are your brothers and animals? We are all O.K. We are all angry in the house except Dona. She is sleeping all the time. When we go to bed, Dona comes in my bed. Tomorrow I have training. Like I said, I am not so happy. I was so happy when I heard that your mother is truing to get the visa for Masha and me.Today is our Easter. We are truing to be happy and not sad. We have some of friends here. Now we are listening the music and eating. It is cuter outside then the other night. I am not going to bothering you any more. Good night and write to me very soon. Lots of love Sonya

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Date: Monday, April 12, 1999 9:25 AM Subject: Everything's all right

They only finished off the refinery in Pancevo. As soon as our side says everything is as it should be, that the people in Pancevo should not panic and that "the wind is blowing in a favorable direction!!!!!", it means nothing's all right. The first radioactive rain is falling here since the beginning of the bombardment. VLY Date: Monday, April 12, 1999 11:00 PM Subject: No one knows

who's giving who a worse time (everyone knows but we're patriots). They announced on STB, from the Information Center that the smells that are arriving are the result of the rose of the winds from Pancevo and we shouldn't panic. Put cloths with soda bicarbonate on your noses, relax and enjoy. While I was coming back from the neighbors who are two houses away from me, it was flashing and whistling above my head. And the Yankees say we're not at war, that they like the Serbian people, that they're really sorry. Today a passenger train set out from Greece, they targeted the bridge, they didn't plan the train to be in that place at that time. Bad luck, isn't it? F... VLY Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 10:36 AM Subject: Everyone's

all right. I haven't much to say. I thought - they've flattened us out, when there's more. All of this is horrific. I can hardly wait for the "Marshall plan", how new & pretty we'll be one day. VLY Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 1:10 PM Subject: Up-down

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I'm hurrying to "join in" the briefing of Madleine and Ivanov, all they're waiting for is for me as so to resolve the situation on the global level. Tanya, I don't feel like writing when there's nothing intelligent to say. Today Ivan's old friend dropped in unexpectedly and returned a debt I didn't even know about. Wonders do happen, nevertheless. Now I can send Sonya and Masha if Ruth gets the visas. She's working on it for all she's worth. Poor thing, if only she'd known what was in store for her with friends like this, she wipe us off the map. Otherwise the atmosphere here is yak, in every respect: above and below. VLY Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 8:21 PM Subject: Masha on line

I'm on duty on the Net tonight. Mummy is doing important business. I've learned Email although I wasn't interested earlier. I'd rather play, but they say this is war. Last night they bombed a lot, and Sonya and I woke up. Mummy said the printer neighbor was working and that's why there was so much noise. In the morning we heard they had bombed us. Sonya annoys me because she is in puberty, so mummy says. I'm only 11, so nobody asks me how I am. Mummy will call as soon as she arrives. Masha loves you Date: Wednesday, April 14, 1999 10:59 AM Subject: Daytime too

I was just driving the girls off to their friend, when the bombing started. Yesterday I thought, they haven't left the house for 20 days, during the day it's peaceful, but also cloudy. I knew I was unlucky. Maybe it was because that Russian arrived, just to let him know what they thought. I'm shaking all over, Sonya was screaming in a panic for me to collect them, and I told her to wait there a little while and "enjoy" the company. While I was driving them, on the way I noticed various factories, bridges, I didn't even know how many there were in our city. We'll be driving for another couple of days, while

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there's gasoline, and after we'll go jogging, it's healthier, they say. Yesterday I went with Sonya to pool, to swim during her training session, like it would relax me. And I was swimming like that, swimming, when something exploded. I jumped out, shouted to the coach to get the children away from the glass (you know the pool is all in glass). I was sick of it all. After they told me it was thunder. We've forgotten there are natural phenomena that are noisy. George, yesterday I talked to your people, Maca was asleep. I only said hello. She's still working and she doesn't like bridges. And I thought psychiatrists didn't have phobias. I'm going to do some housework, at least for another hour and then I'll collect the children. If they hit something else till I bring them back, I'll flip. Yes, Milosh sleeps like a log. Not even bombs wake him. VLY Date: Wednesday, April 14, 1999 7:48 PM Subject: All present

The one this morning was only an "accompaniment" for the Russian. True Nemanjina and the surrounding streets were suddenly left without water, but we won't hear about it till tonight or tomorrow in the news. It doesn't surprise me that they're not telling, at least 10000 people would crowd around to look at the crater. Oh, we are strange people... VLY Date: Wednesday, April 14, 1999 8:38 PM Subject: I see

the Gabonian satellite has gone bust again. Dragan's mail returned. Jesus, what would they do if they were in Yuga? Yesterday morning Olga's Vlada called from Malta. Among other things, the child asks what our morale is like. The people's.

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Obviously he doesn't yet know that morale is an abstract thing, you can't catch hold of. And we're in dire need of something concrete. Here's an example: This morning, after I drove the girls to friend, I filled the car with people who'd been waiting in vain for the bus. I'm driving, they're all going to town tired out, we grumble tentatively about the situation. I ask: "Did you see Djoka Balasevic, the musician, at the concert?" Yeees!!! They begin to talk, still cautiously. Then I say again, the Che Guevara inside me: "And did you hear him say that he would sign anything himself, even if they hated him for the next 100 years?" How the people (5 + me - wartime, what can you do) started shouting: Bravo, he said it, that's the way, and f... the others). I reached home satisfied, my little revolution succeeded. Admittedly the sirens and "breaking the sound barrier" that can smash the window panes quickly brought me back to reality. So much for "morale" while bombs are dropping on your head, while your country is being destroyed and burned, while children are screaming louder than sirens, while we dream horrific dreams, while we slowly but definitely lose the ground under our feet, our self-control and selfrespect. One thing is certain: if it goes on like this, we'll become a ship of fools that should be torpedoed out of mercy. Something must happen, anything. Date: Wednesday, April 14, 1999 8:51 PM Subject: And just

As I was thinking that they wouldn't: "Attention, attention; air raid alert in Belgrade, the enemy is operating over Belgrade. Like every evening, slowly and without panic go to your shelters. Follow the instructions: switch off the gas, the electricity, pull down the blinds, remove the curtains, take your documents, a bottle of water and go to the nearest shelter. Wait for further instructions from the City Information Center. End." End, say I as well. VLY BELGRADE 2009

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Date: Wednesday, April 14, 1999 11:55 PM Subject: Don't surrender …ever

Nothing is solved, there's hope until something different happens. Take care. Right now, it looks as if Africa is the safest place in the world, but you never know. I don't much like America (it's synthetic), and Canada is boring, so you're left with Australia maybe, like far, far away, but a decent alternative (they've got kangaroos, koalas, some surviving natives and maybe still a little soul). Set out in some direction, Malta is a cutie, which one bomb can sink. Sorry for the allusion. However, we continue to make fun, tomorrow I'm going to meet a fantastic translator who's offering me a job: never were there so many films being translated. The type is somewhere around our age, a professional, only I need at least five-six hours for a third rate film - I don't have the routine. But at least we have fun. We'll drink a capuccino and criticize everyone. Vky (for a change - Violeta kisses you) I think it's already crossed George's mind that our letter-writing is not constructive, that you're already off balance as it is. So as not to spoil our computer and our relationship, come on, try to view all this as someone special who has the chance of experiencing something that only perverse fools dream of. Life is much more than what we expected. Look after yourself for me Date: Thursday, April 15, 1999 7:59 PM Subject: 7:20

Good evening. You're tired, I know, like all of us. Today I spent a pleasant morning in the Students' Culture Center with my former translator colleague, who works on BKTV. It was a useful meeting, now I'm certain my theory is 99% correct. However, that's not so important now. It'll last some time more, we must reckon with that. It would be wonderful if I could transfer the girls to Malta, the precision, control and calculation till now can't last forever. What always frightened me most was my own chaos and letting the reins slip out of my hands. Nothing happened by accident - not Aleksinac, nor the train, nor

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the poor people in the refugee columns (they are poor people even though they are Siptars, there's no place for hatred now, we're all victims). Everything is so logical, so expected and inevitable. The problem lies in "our" bad calculation, from the start we played poker with a bad hand. That's our lot. It'll pass, that's certain, in a month or two at the most. And there is no World War III, which is rather comforting. And don't ask me anything else. A moment ago I heard from friends in Novi Sad. They live about 100m from the bridge that was destroyed, they spend their nights in the cellar, there's no glass on the windows, they don't see an end to this madness. We ended the conversation, there was not much to tell, and the sirens started there. Now, they'll start here. I didn't watch satellite today. I can't do that to myself. Spring has arrived, everything is budding outside (admittedly, rather quickly), I'm trying to steal some time and trying to gain some peace of mind. When you get the time, read that Coelho, that's us. How did I come across a book in which God requires the hero to do battle against God himself so that man can prove himself that he exists, that God and he are the same. Oh, I'm not going crazy, I swear. I used to read, but I didn't show off. I'm not philosophizing, I'm sick of the philosophers around me, the only thing is that time is shorter, every day has a particular specific weight, every night it's own strange sense. You don't need pot to elevate yourself to this (non)sense. I'm not joking when I say that what we're experiencing is something quite different from the ordinary criteria of values, reasoning, notions. So much for spirituality. The materialist (equally respected) part of my personality still jumps every time a bomb explodes, at the sirens, my hands sweat, I make the utmost effort to control myself not to drink any alcohol before supper. There are no more jokes, the Slav spirit has gone to the dickens.... Forgive me.

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Date: Friday, April 16, 1999 8:47 PM Subject: Peaceful night

there are no sirens. It's raining, so they're late. Last night our madmen shot down a tomahawk above the city, they destroyed a man's house. Our people are standing on apartment blocks, on the streets, cheering for all they're worth. It's obvious there still aren't so many civilian victims as to make people believe this isn't a joke, nor that we're winners. Only on the lampposts there are more and more obituary notes. April it seems in the right month for dying. I'm waiting for news from Ruth. A week has gone by, if everything is regular and without intervention, it'll take another week and I'll know what will happen with Sonya and Masha. Everything else is the same as yesterday, the day before. Only a shade worse. If the children get visas, I wonder what I shall do and which route to take to get them out of the country. Now that's equally dangerous, if not more, than sitting in Belgrade. Definitively we're no longer headline news. I see it in the exhaustion of my own material. Date: Sunday, April 18, 1999 1:27 AM Subject: Fw: Belgrade2009

I haven't had such a good laugh in 25 days and nights VLY -----Original Message----Subject: Belgrade2009 Open up it isn't a virus. Tanya and George: Subject: Belgrade 2009 My dear, I hope you saw the subject and you know which year it is. We are well, it's almost normal during the day but they are bombing at night. Yesterday we celebrated a little jubilee: they hit the headquarters for the fiftieth time. The glass above the front door fell out again. Dad said that he would put it back once again, and the next time we'll put concrete. Everything is much easier

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now, when I remember 1999, while they still had rockets and planes, then it really pounded. Then they changed to striking with dynamite from the planes (how we struck back with slings) and finally they're striking at us with spears and axes (of the best make). Otherwise we have enough water, every time it rains we collect it in a little barrel. As for food, now it's spring and there's narcissus. For lunch yesterday we had a lovely soup of sparrow, boiled garden weeds with cat fillets. We drank wonderful wine (of unidentified origin), and finally treated ourselves to narcissus cake with a little mud (instead of chocolate). This morning I walked around the city. The trench of our main street is full of people, and there were some events in the Center hole. The worst thing is that I get wet every time because I have to swim the Sava river. Otherwise, in the crater at down town they placed some kiosks so now it looks much nicer. It's good that lamps are not needed at night because everything is lit up from that third atomic bomb. It's a pity they dropped the fourth on France, so beside no more France, there'd be more light for us at night. Otherwise, tomorrow is the payment of the second half of the pension for November 2004. Mum says to give both stamps for food. She saw lovely cat halves. Otherwise, there's almost nothing new, it's much easier working in classes with 7-9 pupils in each. it appears the radiation has done its work, so the pupils are better. Olga has to go on an excursion with her graduates, probably they'll go to periphery to see the biggest crater in the Balkans. I'm sorry the Russians and Americans killed each other, so we've somehow been driven to the sidelines, and the sea level must be a little higher since America sank. Our best friends left in time, now they're on the island of West Belgrade (the only thing is they're at war with East Belgrade, they want independence for their island with 213 inhabitants). But not even wars are what they used to be, there are no more big stones. Every day we watch TV (we have an old frame, so every day someone else stands behind it and it looks like a real program). As you see it's not so terrible, write and tell me how things are on your little island. I'm OK, which cannot be said of the glass on my house. Many regards and I hope you and your people are also well!

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Date: Tuesday, April 20, 1999 9:20 AM Subject: Belgrade girl

I feel "missed" this morning too. VLY Date: Tuesday, April 20, 1999 11:27 AM Subject: The local spies

reported to me that last night schrapnel broke off a part of the wall in Celjska (two streets away from us). That was our AAA! VLY Date: Tuesday, April 20, 1999 11:54 PM Subject: Midnight

Nothing clever, I'm only trying unsuccessfully to log in. My long lost son has returned to me, he looks poorly. I feel sad looking at these children of ours. We talk and he says that from tomorrow he's turning over a new leaf and to wake him at 12:00!!! I said: half twelve, so that we agree half way. Sloba and Clinton could learn something from us. VLY P.S. Things aren't at all good in Montenegro. Is there any end to all this? Date: Wednesday, April 21, 1999 4:50 PM Subject: A man who is missed is a happy man

Slow it but surely we're all losing the will to write. If this goes on for much longer, the world headlines will be that penguins are a threatened species again. This would even freshen up our media. And since we talking about the media, you heard about the bombing of the former Communist League building, now the Slobodan Milosevic Center. The worst is that the workers in one of the TV stations there, guess whose, were "on duty". They're all kids of about 20 who worked like slaves for a $100 monthly wage. Tijana refused to

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go "on duty" on Radio "S", which was also there. Horrible. In this, both the opposed media resemble each other - neither one nor the other give any reports. The people who are organized to go out onto the bridges, write down their names when they step onto them, and wipe them out when they leave. Other clay pigeons replace them, and so it goes on. It's all become politicized, none of the enthusiasm from the beginning of bombardment. The nights have become longer, the days shorter. People hear alarming news from neighboring countries, things have reached boiling point. All that's left is to wait for Friday and see how the new Russian proposal fares. If nothing comes of it, then we have to say goodbye. Yugoslav Airlines links are not functioning, so I had to pull strings to reserve tickets for Sonya & Masha for next Thursday. If the visas arrive, we leave on Tuesday. I'm leaving it to a Bulgarian friend to pack them onto the plane, and I return by the same bus. If the visas don't arrive, I'll see what else I can think up. I saw some neat, cheap little ropes in the shops. And there are nylon bags as well, rat poison... Did you ever take note, earlier, of the expression that American children sleep "like angels", and ours "like they were slaughtered"? And then we're surprised at what happens to us VLY Date: Friday, April 23, 1999 8:44 PM Subject: Stories

are circulating around the city that tonight will be terrible. Like, Clinton is angry because not everyone responded to the invitation to attend NATO's 50th anniversary so he threatened: If it's like that, then watch the fireworks in Serbia. And he allegedly told the Greeks that he would "unleash" the Turks on them if they don’t calm down. And so, I came back from aerobic (that still exists), had a shower and decided not to go anywhere out of the house. At first we thought of the metro, but we literally haven't got the strength. We can't sink any lower than this, what did I teach my children all these years. Sonya and Masha are watching a film with their friends, Milosh is somewhere in the area, and he also made it with my aerobic teacher, the rascal is taking advantage of the situation. He's better, evidently wartime romances exist. Off

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I go to Mira and Zoki until the going gets tough, and then to CNN and SKY, Radio Europe, our programs, I need another five television sets. However, I'm not worried, soon we'll be left without electricity, so we can abandon ourselves to daydreams. VLY Date: Friday, April 23, 1999 8:46 PM Subject: I simply forgot

A friend from Frankfurt called me this afternoon, he told us to take care and that he loves us. I don't know how he went off, he has a green card, he's left for America. I was happy. They say exit costs $15000 Date: Saturday, April 24, 1999 11:33 AM Subject: Oh, we're well

Last night they spared us (Belgrade), and I had a good sleep. But this morning, there was an explosion, the sirens started wailing. It seems they've changed tactics. However, Helen, here's the answer to your question: Sonya and Masha must be enrolled in St. Martin's School, a grammar school, to continue their elementary education, one of the more expensive on Malta. The reason is simple: To get a visa. If they enroll them in state, cheap schools, it has no effect on obtaining visas. This way, the children are not considered refugees, but are only being educated in elite schools, like all the other foreign students. It's good that it's the end of the school year, so the last three-month term has to be paid. I don't know what the price is, but, fuck it. We'll collect it somehow, and the Maltese, ours and theirs, will see about the rest. Once they enter, they shouldn't throw them out any more. This is what I'm hoping. It's my job to get them to Olga, Tanya, Dole and Ruth, the mother of Sonya's friends from elementary school, whom we've been in touch with. In fact, they were supposed to come to Belgrade in June (irony). I don't know why that arrangement no longer stands!!! Milosh cannot get out, he is over 18 and under military obligation. And that means - neither can I. I do not intend to leave him (which finger should I cut

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off). And not only because of him: imagine me at 42 as a refugee. Do I look like that to you? Don't ask me about the price, I've decided -and that's the end of it. If by any chance things turn out well (ha), I'm continuing with my plan: to sell the house and set out for Malta. I even found two potential buyers for the house. That price, probably won't be like before the war, but I hope it will provide us with enough money so as not to wander around some collective shelters. If, on the other hand, everything goes badly....., and Sonya and Masha are on Malta, I even consider that a success: they're not the first or the last to grow up in orphanages, and become good people. I sent a letter to that effect to our people on Malta, and with this practically stipulated their departure with that. They have the obligation to them until the outcome of this mess (whatever it is). After that, the only obligation is to obtain from the Maltese government, some sort of residence permit. Which isn't impossible – Malta has a big heart, that’s why I love it. The girls would first be with Olga, Tanya or Ruth, they'll settle it among themselves and share the burden. I understand them, they all want to help, but they don't know how. I plan to send all the jewelry by the children, which isn't much, but that's all we've got. I also have money for the tickets, regardless of that. Milosh and I will survive, like everyone else, at least as far as money is concerned. So, that's about it. There are no visas yet, I'm still waiting, each week I delay the trip, and the roads and bridges are being destroyed, Nis and Pirot (which are on the way) are being bombed, but that's another story. VLY Date: Saturday, April 24, 1999 11:30 PM Subject: Just to drop you a line

My neighbors have gone home to bed, we watched Taxi Driver on TV. They're not broadcasting the news, they say, for technical reasons. Suspicious. However, everything is suspicious today, we've become real spies, prophets, ten versions in circulation, and I'm afraid there's only one possible one. But, not to be gloomy at all costs. There is something nice too. Well, I can't remember what at this very moment, but there must be.

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Yesterday they skipped us, so now we expect double. I slept like a log last night, and another three hours in the afternoon, and I still feel sleepy. It would be nice if a person could escape into sleep, although I don't meet such lucky people. It's half twelve, they skipped the earlier one, it'll be around 2 in the morning. Oh, I can't watch those morons at that summit, I hope it makes them sick. OK, I know ours are not saints, but that hypocrisy has exceeded all good taste. This has become a real private war, against one man: why don't they challenge him like proper English gentlemen, and not fuck up the whole country. What happened to the television is horrible, although the previous day many who refused to come to work were fired. There are two sides to the medal, the only thing is that currently this one with the bomb on the reverse is more painful. Maybe I'm wrong, I'm a little confused, I tune in slowly, I don't react to jokes. I'm going to sleep, my soul is asleep. VLY CATHARSIS Date: Sunday, April 25, 1999 11:35 PM Subject: I've had enough! April 25,1999 Bombagrade My dears, I hope that Sonya and Masha's status will be settled tomorrow, then at least I don't have that burden. The truth, in fact, is that I shall die of grief when they go, but that is the next problem I have to come to terms with on my own. In a situation like this, I strictly keep to that Red Indian golden rule: - you know the old one. I don't know how long we shall still have a telephone connection, I would like to say so much to you, but I don't know how. Eloquence is not a craft that is appreciated today. You more or less know everything from the E-mails. I know I sound confused sometimes, but I feel better when I unload my thoughts to you. I've not gone mad yet, there are worse cases. So long as I have a motive, first my girls, then Milosh, I'll be well. I've fixed my priorities according to the logic of things,

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and my heart helps me in this. I'll try everything in my power to use the respite, if it comes, sell everything and get myself with Milosh over to you. At the same time I'm negotiating the sale of the house. We know precisely what is to follow, only I couldn't talk about it over the Net: An invasion of land troops is expected in about a month. From Hungary, of course. That's why they bombarded Novi Sad, they're cutting off links and communications. There'll be rivers of blood, but it is planned to last briefly (27 days). And whoever survives. They will try to minimize the victims, which is good and bad. It's bad because they'll keep bombing us from above till we're exhausted, and it's good because we'll be waving not white flags, but our pants if necessary. Only not to have a new II World War Srem Front *, where the most of our intelligence died. Land troops are the worst option, although one that is even worse is open - civil war, to which Montenegro is closest, currently. One shouldn't have the illusion that this will stop just like that. Of course, it's still possible Sloba may withdraw, which is the least probable, because his back is against the wall, and then such people are the most dangerous. He doesn't have much choice, and suicidal as he is, he'll take this whole nation into the grave with him. By the way, few are left (only those who have to) who are for this shit. Even the interior is sick and tired and says that the fate of the Serbs is again being planned by Herzegovinians, Montenegrins, in a word, anyone. And the Serbs have been fucked. Mira’s party has taken over all the media, we've returned to 1945, the programs are horrific, Mira personally is writing the news. All the generals have been dismissed who were his people, but sufficiently reasonable to point out the absurdity of this war. Here and there Vuk makes an appearance with some more liberal thoughts, I'm surprised they didn't cross him out like that editor of independent newspaper. There are JUL (Mira Milosevic party) and SPS (Slobodan Milosevic party), who are organizing - as a must - the guarding of the bridges, concerts and other events to which they take the clay pigeons hoping for another National TV variant. That was a scenario directly by our authorities. The day before that, when it was reported that they would bomb National TV, many people refused to come to work. Not only were they fired, but they were put on the black list which grows longer every day. The
*

Front in World War II with horrible casualties on Serbian side

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propaganda in this country is identical to Hitler's from ‘39, but literally copied children of 14 with identity cards!!! Of NATO and the rest: they miscalculated. The initial plan was to bombard us a couple of days and degrade and destroy the importance of the UN, as well as to become the legitimate policemen of the planet. However, that was not enough: the hard line prevailed that wants Yugoslavia to be an example to future potential dictators. They won't permit anyone to oppose the interests of the NATO members. If they're stubborn - they'll get the same or worse. We in fact have the luck to be the first. Don't laugh, it's the cruel truth. All the world media are reporting on us, public opinion, they're careful about civilians, as much as possible (do you know how many bombs have been dropped, and there are no more than 1000 dead, and that's mainly due to our planting them there, National TV, Kragujevac). Every next country of this model will accurately be scorched, and no one will breath a word about it. I don't know if I helped you realize the shit we're in. I believe that by dint of circumstance you're currently bigger patriots than us. The fact is that never has a bigger nonsense happened: when the planes fly and the bombs drop, we curse Sloba, not NATO. I know this sounds like the ultimate blasphemy, but all the people I know, those I associate with react like that. The NATO bombs are only the direct consequence of a mistakenly conducted 10-year policy (remember for an instant why you're where you are). But, enough about politics. History is written by the victorious, no one is innocent. Both those in the west with their affection, with their nice makeup, get on my nerves, they're all the same shit. The only thing is they're stronger, and this one has decided to save mankind - it's his last trump card: Serbia is no longer at issue, we'll sacrifice it for the well-being of the whole planet which NATO wants to occupy!!! How cheated we are. Tell me, please, how would you react to such moonstruck ideas. Otherwise, the program mostly shows footage of his bombed residence, fuck National TV and the other poor wretches!!! And you should hear the commentaries. Listen to this: This is the subtitle beneath the film report: - Last night the criminals and fascists of NATO furiously attacked the residence of our president and the supreme commander of Yugoslavia. The President and his family… were not in the house.
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The one with three dots is not mine, but the original, possibly to create a dramatic pause. And this has gone on for days, the only thing that changes is the time when they bombed them. I've told myself that's enough, and again I started frothing. All those grannies and grandpas who regarded their candidate with adoration now roam the streets out of their minds and whine over their own butts. Well, I'd tie them to the bridge. Here, truly, it's enough. Just to add that our poor soldiers have no bread to eat, they crouch in trenches for days, they let them go home so as not to get lice and to have a bite to eat. And that is the army he is counting on to look after his butt. I grieve to see those children, sacrificial lambs, with terror in their eyes. Some of them are in Belgrade, in the schools, sports centers, museums (that's when they bomb the schools). They don't know where to hide them until hand-to-hand combat. As the father of a friend of Milosh said: “I'm a reserve officer. I have a company under my command. I'm going to war, only I'm keeping two bullets to take out those above me, and try to save the children.” There's no John Wayne in this country when it's most needed. Date: Wednesday, April 28, 1999 11:40 PM Subject: What's new?

Vuk handed in his resignation. He says he spoke in his own (my) name, not in the name of the government, and thus disgraced the same. We're as “united” as never before, we all have the same goal: “to fight the aggressor and defend the country and farther afield”. In Libya Lilic had successful negotiations!!! I'm waiting for the bombing around 2:00, then to sleep. Sonya is 13 on May 8, my teen. She's a proper young lady. The threats of sports sanctions are worse than the bombs for her. Does anyone of you know which Internet site announces what they're going to bomb? Here, (miss)information collected on the Net is circulating. Otherwise, it appears we shan't be on the line for much longer, the Americans are threatening with all their might to switch us off. It really is no joke. VLY

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COLLATERAL DAMAGE Date: Friday, April 30, 1999 4:31 PM Subject: Mistake

last night we were a "mistake". The neighbors and friends I "welcome in" the bombing with are left without their house, two bombs exploded 20 m away from our home. Their five bags are in my house. It's all they have left in life. Violeta loves you. Date: Saturday, May 01, 1999 6:39 AM Subject: My Dawn

Milosh and I have just returned from spending the night with Dragan's sister, who is close by, and yet far enough from this tragedy of ours. Sonya and Masha went to a friend's (far from here), I'll bring them back today. I didn't have the strength to sleep here (although they did bomb our town last night). I still tremble, I didn't sleep last night, and the day was one of the most stressful in my life (I thought something like that no longer existed). Mira and Zoki are well, except that they're in deep shock. They are at Mira's mother's house, their things are with me (I mean the bags with some pants and suchlike). Their company moved all the furniture that was left to their work place. They're still digging, boring that crater 3 m away from their house. The foundations are fucked, it's uninhabitable inside. And you know what that house meant to them. To build it, they spent years under bombardment in Iraq, to have another bomb destroy all of it. Luckily Tijana was in New Belgrade, with her boyfriend. We don't know what they'll do now. The old part of my house has cracks, but it looks as though it won't fall down. Even if it does, it can go to the devil. Yesterday they spent the whole day inspecting the surrounding houses (inside, I mean, the people from the police and other services). I swore at every single one of them, to ease my feelings, although they were all extremely polite. Possibly that's a comfort. It's still awful for me to write about how it looked. I was "out" for about 15 minutes, I don't remember a thing, except what they told me. Neighbor "saved" me when I

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raced towards Mira and Zoki's house and I didn't even register the water that shot up into the air and then flowed down the whole street. I knew we were all right, I only saw the horror 20 m below us, and that there was no house across from M&Z. Everything was shattered, the whole street, screaming, smoke, chaos, destruction and some other unfamiliar sounds. Five minutes after the first two bombs (both hit the same spot), another detonation was heard, on the corner of Marulic and Maksim Gorky streets. "The Golden Ram" restaurant has disappeared, those scenes you saw on CNN where the man is talking, whose family was thrown out of the window by the blast. Two houses next to the restaurant no longer exist. Milosh was in the neighborhood, he saw it fall near us, he didn't even know if our house was involved. That brought me to my senses (it's the all clear siren - I'll bust it, I swear), I realized there was more. We got into the car (nothing happened to it!!!), and Dragan drove us all to his sister's (Dona too). He arrived in a second, in shock. Tijana called out of her mind, I lied even more that we were all well, not knowing what had happened to Mira and Zoki. Luckily they called from a neighbor's (it was impossible to go on the street because of the torrent of water), I don't know for how long, it was like an eternity. Within two minutes of the detonation the fire engine, the police and the ambulance arrived, but the neighbors already pulled out the people from the demolished houses. It's not clear to me how, because it was pitch dark and smoky, there was a crater of 5 m in diameter, torrents of water, deep holes in the earth, asphalt, ruins. The police shouted to us to run, that the bombing was not over. They collected whoever they could (whoever let them) and moved them away. It's not clear to anyone, that not a single window was smashed, not even at M&Z, that no one was killed. I'm still treading on the plaster that fell off, I'll clean it up today. Luckily the bombs didn't fall directly on the houses (in our, Vardarska street), but on the road. The little girl whose groin was ripped by schrapnel and her mother were sleeping two gardens away from us (it skipped us). She lost a great deal of blood, she'll probably be all right, Everything still smells of burning, phosphorus (they say they were phosphorus bombs). The one that hit the restaurant still hasn't detonated, so they're carefully dismantling it. I'll call, VLY

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Date: Saturday, May 01, 1999 9:12 AM Subject: Details

no less important: 1. Now the crater is 8 m in diameter, and 5 m deep. I'm just waiting for M&Z's house to fall down. The external walls are intact, but not inside. The foundations have been shifted, the tiles driven upwards right up to half a meter inside. I'm waiting for my former neighbors to come for a coffee. 2. Yesterday I took them a bottle of Ballantine to celebrate their moving out. Mira says: "You rascal, you could hardly wait for a reason to buy whiskey." 3. On CNN, they said they were targeting the transformer station below our house, but missed. It's the local transformer, you know, the one that buzzes at night. It's mindless, still less anything to do with a military target. 4. That night, Milosh's friends flew into Sonya and Masha's room a couple of minutes after the explosion, without thinking of the danger. 5. Milosh just keeps saying that we're the luckiest people in the world. 6. I doubt it. 7. Nothing has been what it used to be for a long time. But, it's only now that I've begun to realize it. Date: Saturday, May 01, 1999 7:57 PM Subject: Comforting

I'm frightened, but tonight I'm staying at home. We're afraid wherever we are, nothing and nowhere is safe any more. There've been a lot of mistakes lately. Sloba let the Americans as a sign of good will. As for me, he could let them some more. The children will stay with friends till tomorrow. VLY We'll be in touch, don't worry Date: Saturday, May 01, 1999 10:25 PM

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Subject: Piss

on the Pentagon. They're lying. Two exploded in Vardarska street. Five minutes later, another on the corner of Maruliceva and M. Gorky street. Most probably a mistake, but in the coordinates. How can they admit their computers make mistakes. Or, there was something here we don't know about. Date: Sunday, May 02, 1999 9:23 PM Subject: Just

to "brief" you that we're well. This morning I went to the shop with a smile on my face, through the street that was ploughed up. Probably the people thought I was one of those who'd flipped. And I just realized that I was a very fortunate person!!! The way of thinking, criteria, comprehension under these circumstances deserves a special story. Mira and Zoki were at my place today, since "our" bomb they've spent every night in the shelter. I told so many jokes that in the end they were screaming with laughter (desperation). It isn't at all clear to me how they survived. Here, in the neighborhood everyone is sleeping at someone else's house, the street is deserted and dark. I'm relying on Murphy's law. If there's a repeat of that night, he's a very serious man. And that is a new piece of knowledge. We're slowly getting back into shape, only I can't overcome the trembling inside me. I brought Masha back this morning, Sonya stayed with her friend, and Milosh is around the neighborhood, with his friends. I know all the news, but I don't believe anyone any more. It's not the end even when they say it's the end. We're looking after ourselves (mentally, the rest is in God's hands). Date: Monday, May 03, 1999 3:50 AM Subject: Romantic

3:20 AM. The electricity is back. We'll see till when. Never was the sky above Belgrade so romantic as on this night. Only the moon and satellites.

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VLY Date: Monday, May 03, 1999 4:50 PM Subject: Let's be in contact

while the connections are functioning. The electricity vanishes, then comes back. An hour ago here the telephones were dead, now they're working. I'm taking advantage of the situation to call you. The NATO program appears on TV ART from time to time. There's a story circulating that Chernomyrdin went to Bill with an ultimatum. You know the one: Nostradamus & Comp. For us it's more or less the same shit, but I'm concerned about you. We'll see which program they prepared for tonight, while the Russians make up their minds, we get fucked. The un-detonated bomb on M. Gorky and Marulic contained 1.5 t of explosive!!!! I sending this off, I'm in a hurry. I know I made you happy with the good news and now you feel easier. Where's your sense of humor, you haven't become totally westernized, have you? VLY P.S. They have buried my crater, and it was so cute. Date: Monday, May 03, 1999 5:35 PM Subject: And this is news

The little girl who was hit by schrapnel in Vardarska street, a house above us, has died. Milosh & his friends brought some good drink, they won't let me have any, they say, I'll bark at the planes. Date: Tuesday, May 04, 1999 12:53 PM Subject: If the Net is working-I'm here

This morning Masha waited in the bread queue. I waited my turn for the month of May coupons worth 20 liters of petrol. I waited for an hour, and when my turn came I felt ill and fainted. Then they brought me round, gave me the coupons and I went home happy. Afterward I realized what happened to me. No one told me it was over 20 degrees outside, and I'm still living in

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the time before the bombing, when it was cold. You know: jumper, jacket, winter shoes...The people in the queue were very kind and very sad. Since one pays for the coupons (2 dinars) and cretin that I am I forgot to take some money, the men in front and behind me each gave me a dinar, so I settled my debt to the state. There are queues for gas, I gave them a wide berth: everyone was smoking in the queue!!! I have electricity so I'm cooking, Mira and Zoki are coming to lunch. We're still moving out their things. Last night the planes were humming away like mad, Masha and I were annoyed so we went to bed earlier. This is the first night in the last 40 something days that I went to bed before 11. I'm going to watch Sky, CNN and hear how they've reached no agreement. Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999 4:15 PM Subject: I went...nuts

I was just about to write you a letter, when the power was cut off. This evening I'm going to a party at M&Z (the friends without a house, in the shelter). We're taking deck-chairs chairs, eiderdowns, a battery radio and vodka - we still prefer whiskey, but we're saving. Off I go to live it up!!! VLY Date: Friday, May 07, 1999 7:46 PM Subject: Let me be

I'm losing my nerves over various political fools, I'm making Sonya a cake for her birthday VLY Date: Saturday, May 08, 1999 9:17 AM Subject: CHINA

They bombed the Chinese embassy. I foolishly thought World War III would start with the Russians! Sonya had a fantastic firework display for her 13 birthday from NATO.

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VLY Date: Sunday, May 09, 1999 9:41 PM Subject: I'm taking my time

to write this letter to you. Yesterday we had company the whole day, and Sonya invited some of her friends. My friends and family came mostly. This was the first birthday without sandwiches, but we had a nice time. Not even the siren spoiled the pleasant event to get together and criticize till we passed out. You know who most of all!!! The previous night was fierce. Had it not been for the little bombs in Vardarska, I'd say it was the worst. But, from the start, I've been aware that every next one would be worse and what is happening today, is already out of date tomorrow. That's probably why I feel sick writing each detail. Luckily Milosh and his friends were here, my girls and Sonya's friend from training. We listened to music on the battery radio (City radio, I already mentioned that this is the only station with normal music), and had fun. We had the romantic light of a petroleum lamp, which stinks like the devil. When the explosions started, four rockets one after the other, I thought it was about a hundred meters away. We all hid under the bar (where would it be safe if not there). Every time my knees shake and that is the only manifestation of fear. I really am annoyed, but it's no use. When they hit the Chinese embassy, we couldn't believe it. We still wonder at their actions, like fools. Milosh and I fell asleep around half three, and at three everything began to shake again. Only the windows were shaking: WUUUW, we knew they were "hog" bombs, not rockets. Each of us can already qualify as a war expert, we know everything. As for the negotiations, nothing is clear to me any more except that they go on and on and there is no end in sight, and they're smashing us. Last night they hit the post offices in the interior, they have no more telephone lines. One time I thought they wouldn't hit them, because of themselves, now nothing surprises me any more. It was peaceful here tonight, and even if it weren't, I'm so tired for want of sleep I couldn't care less. Of course I still want to send the children away

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from here, I haven't lost hope, but I'm reconciled to the possibility that nothing will come of it. I'll stop while there's still electricity. VLY Date: Monday, May 10, 1999 9:28 AM Subject: Sorry

I have less and less strength to write. And when I realized this morning that the sirens didn't sound the alert the whole night, I couldn't believe it (I waited for them till 2 in the morning). This was the first night since the beginning of the bombing without those beastly sirens. Yesterday our friends came, I felt so sad and depressed in the evening. Probably because of Sonya's birthday. I no longer have the strength to spend hours trying to log in in the evening, and so I write in the morning, without waiting "in the queue". And I know how much our words mean to you. I think none of us live normally any more: neither us, nor you over there. On Radio Free Europe apparently there is an end in sight. I don't dare to hope after all this. What happened to the Chinese embassy is an unheard of precedent (but what in this absurd situation is not a precedent). America will pay them and that's that. Certainly more than us, they stuff us with bombs. We'll see what will happen. The end must come one day. Believe in that. Patience is a quality worth gold. Oh, I do like it when I'm clever like this. Your Violeta loves you A MID-SPRING NIGHT'S DREAM Date: Monday, May 10, 1999 9:40 AM Subject: My dream

In the first night without sirens: I'm dreaming that the bridges have been destroyed in Belgrade. My Milosh has been left somewhere in New Belgrade, and we are on this side. I'm walking in the direction of North-West with the children trying to find a boat that will carry us across the Sava river. There's nothing anywhere. We pass

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beside demolished buildings, the Headquarter where there's a man still lying without legs. The river has risen and is muddy. Somewhere beyond Ada I tell the children we have to swim, that we're good swimmers and we'll get out on the other bank. I encourage them by telling them that I swam across the Danube a long time ago, not to mention the Sava. We go into the water. I don't remember the end. Date: Tuesday, May 11, 1999 12:26 PM Subject: It's exactly noon

I drove Sonya off to Visnjicka Banja, my life was almost cut short beside the bridge. Masha is at folklore, Milosh is in the gym. If only I could keep them under a glass bell, but they wriggle. Apparently things are getting better, I won't say anything yet. I'm going to drive some things for M&Z. I've stopped my afternoon drinking, I can't stand it, it's been going on for weeks. I know that kind of anesthesia leads nowhere. VLY Date: Wednesday, May 12, 1999 7:40 PM Subject: Masha on the line

Ciao, how are you? I'm calling because mummy has nothing to say. Here everything is as it was, only they've started to bomb us during the day too. Sonya and I have given in our school reports so that we're waiting for the results. Dona has started to go to aerobic with mummy, and they have a great time. Is Vlada doing well at school? Call us as soon as you can. Best wishes from Masha. Date: Thursday, May 13, 1999 4:31 PM Subject: Embargo

on the Internet. The American government's demand to get us off the Net has become official. However, everything depends on the European providers, who, judging by our news, are protesting. If they don't agree to exclude us,

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we'll remain in touch until they finish off the telephone connections. If they agree, it was nice being with you. It'll be boring for you. Joking aside, they've started daytime bombing, which to some extent is easier to bear. But they still go crazy at night. We're still waiting for the visas for the girls, the rest is the usual timetable: bomb - waking up, bomb - lunch (there's still food in the shops), bomb cards, yamb, chess (no one has the nerves for reading and such intellectual activities), and to end a bomb - harsh nights. I'm thinking of you. Hold on, it must end some time.

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RED CROSS Date: Friday, May 14, 1999 8:49 PM Subject: The connections

are working. it's correct that it isn't simple to switch us off the Net, but if they bomb the telephone lines, then it's useless. Milosh annoyed me, he took my "forbidden" T-shirt for training. He's worse than the bombs. So, you see how we still live normally. Last night, because of May 13 (Police day) I expected a bigger mess, but it passed relatively safely. Sonya came to me, we're all together. Mira and Zoki are at her mother's, to be more exact, in the cellar every night. I can't convince them that it's useless. I miss them at night, but we see each other every day. Today we went to the Red Cross and each received: 4 bottles of cooking oil, 2kg of sugar, 1 kg of rice, 2 kg of beans, 1 tooth paste, 2 bars of soap, washing powder and 4 rolls of toilet paper. They deserved it as demolished, and I as a self-supporting mother of 3 kids and "damaged". There were only 4 families who bombed (sorry) this single ration. Frankly, I expected a whiskey, but fuck, nothing came of it. Oh, it's amusing, there's no doubt about it. At night I watch films (they show splendid ones, everything they wouldn't dare show otherwise), at midnight I listen to Radio Free Europe, just to be universally informed, I fall asleep at 2. I mainly sleep through the bombing at 4 in the morning, except when the windows shake. I wake at approximately 9, I even get to sunbathe on the veranda with a book. Nothing has changed so to speak. During the day we're rather afraid of cluster bombs, but so far they haven't been dropped except in Batajnica. Clinton, Schroeder and Sloba set out hunting elephants. They find a mummy, daddy and baby elephant. They kill the old ones, take off their tusks, but decide to spare the little elephant. Like, they'll take turns keeping watch at night. First Clinton, the second third of the night Schroeder. The baby elephant is OK. Finally it's Sloba's turn to keep watch. They wake up in the morning; the little elephant is nowhere to be seen. The two are amazed and ask Sloba where the baby elephant is, what happened to it. Sloba says: What baby elephant?

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You don't understand. Whose fault is it that you're not here under this sky of ours. Date: Sunday, May 16, 1999 9:03 AM Subject: Need help Hallo, It's me again! I am listening the music and waiting for my friend to call me to say me if she is coming to my house. Next Saturday is my mother's birthday and I am thinking what to buy her. Can you help me? Write me today if you can Lots of love Sonya Date: Monday, May 17, 1999 7:41 PM Subject: Connections

I collected a little energy. It's evening, I had a shower after aerobic and feel slightly better, probably. Today I was not myself. I'm not sad, unhappy, I've simply had enough of this shit. Almost for two months we haven't been living, we've been imitating life, waiting for it to pass and for something to change radically. Well, nothing has happened, either way. You say people don't write, nor do they to me. Only Ruth and you keep in touch. It's not normal to live like this, for you or us. I'm not angry, of course, there are fewer and fewer words that are worth anything. Their company refused to help M&Z with building, oh I have no strength to write. They could have lied to them for an indefinite time, like: we'll see when the war ends. They were shit, and still are. They finished them off, and then these two finished me off, by extension. What NATO hasn't done to us, we'll do to ourselves. It's easier for me when I'm furious and angry, but I'm feeling less and less so. Tomorrow I'm going to the theater with a friend. At the Cross, and in the other theaters too there are splendid daily performances free of charge. I want to try that as well, probably it helps at least for a short while. The initial fear to

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leave the children and the house has disappeared, now it doesn't matter any more. We've all become fatalists. I know how much you're thinking of us. I love you very much. It would be nice to have a cold beer on the shore. VLY Date: Monday, May 17, 1999 8:54 PM Subject: You reply

arrived amazingly fast, so that's something nice. I just wrote to Ruth, when you came through. I installed the ICQ (it's a pest, every time when I log in it asks if I want to), but I haven't the nerves. The girls handed in their school reports and will get their marks, and that's that. We couldn't care less about them improving their marks. Masha is excellent and Sonya bust a couple of marks, reckoning that she had time, but we still couldn't care less. It'll soon be nine, then time for the sirens. For days Belgrade has been peaceful, which frightens us even more. You're frightened when it's bad, you're frightened when it's good, you think, now they'll punish us. The sight of that bombing of the refugees was horrible, I can't even write about it. Our side should be withdrawing, and these are bombing them like nobody's business. I think Blair is second on my list. Oh, the beasts. Of course you didn't agree to look after a little child. You used to be silly, I can imagine what you're like now. I don't believe in positive alternatives of a solution. I think they all know what the end will be except us. And the Ruskies and the Chinks are such prizes. God the whole world has gone mad. I'm going to the neighbors' to watch the news, we'll be in touch tomorrow. I torment my neighbor verbally till it hurts, he's polite, so he must tolerate everything. But, I've succeeded, my little victory: he's changed his view. And who wouldn't after arguing with unfuckable me.

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Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 8:16 AM Subject: Milosh

flipped. At 7 in the morning he woke me to tell me he was going to listen to the examinations at the faculty. I almost killed him. He even asked me to kiss him before he set out, as if he were going to pass the exam!!! And I had slept off and on. I had just got to bed at about 1:30, the AAA (our anti – aircraft artillery started), they stopped, then NATO (you know what that is). They can really go to hell, a person can't even sleep. To end, the icing on the cake, Milosh with his enchanting smile, probably thought he was doing something sensible. And in the afternoon there's no sleeping, I made an appointment to go to the theater. Oow! I'm going to wash and then start off the day. Outside the weather is yak, I shan't be able to sit on the terrace and breath in the fresh contamination. VLY Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 11:57 AM Subject: How to survive 1. Today I bought the first strawberries this season. You should see them: the biggest ever. The reddest ever. The only smudge is that iron taste of them. Suggestion: add more sugar then usually. 2. When buying roots (you know that red roots for the salat you are buying in Malta only in the plastic bags), you ask a farmer on the market to sell it with the leaves on it. Then, when you wash it in several waters (with soda bicarbonate), you also wash the leaves. Then you cook it, mix it, add some milk, salt and (or) milk cream and serve it as potage. 3. When buying a fish, buy only frozen one, since fresh is not eatable. 4. So, if you are not vegetarian (I like to see them now, wondering and searching for not contaminated food, ha, ha), you can buy all kind of meat. BUT, you always ask for the pork, chicken or beef executed before the bombing. You may think it is not a good meat, that it is an old one and that you could poison yourself. Wrong conclusion. If you buy a fresh one, you will be poisoned.

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5. Buying imported bananas, oranges, lemons, etc. is not suggestible. That fruit is fine, all right, but your organism needs to adapt. Start now, before it is too late. Otherwise, if you overprotect your body, you will find yourself as a unique person, that furthermore could lead to the other unwilling consequences. 6. When drinking water - do not. There is no way to save yourself, but you can use your imagination: buy mineral water from our spas, believing there are no bombs in water sources. Domestic beer and wine are made of the same domestic water. The best you can do: drink whisky, stay healthy. Yours very healthy friend, Violeta Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 9:36 PM Subject: A splendid performance

They had to bomb us for Sonya to go to the theater. She is thrilled, she's going tomorrow as well. We watched "Kathy and the Hippopotamus", by a Spanish author, sweet. They ad lib with topical jokes the moment when the sirens go off in mid-performance (they flew over our heads for half an hour and bombed Rakovica and Batajnica). The end is in the manner: - And where have we arrived now? - In Kosova, the most explosive place in the world! From now on, when I'm not at aerobic, I'll be in the Belgrade Drama Theater, it's worth it. VLY Date: Wednesday, May 19, 1999 10:34 PM Subject: Here's a partisan soldier for you

They played the siren to us. I sat down here in our little shelter, I let Guns & Roses play very loud and am enjoying myself. I don't want to hear anyone or anything. The children are watching some film, they went to the theater alone today. They said they didn't like the performance that much, but they weren't

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discouraged, they're going with me tomorrow. Today they went to school to see their final marks. Both are excellent!!! I understand about Masha, but Sonya can't believe it. There are some good things in this war. Lectures have begun for Milosh, he attends regularly and debates with the philosopher, he likes that best. It seems like he's already passed that exam. This afternoon the draft man came for him. He said, it was only for Milosh to report in for the records. I made some coffee, we chatted like human beings, I was sorry for him. We were polite, he couldn't believe his ears, only Sonya & Masha wanted to hit him. When he noticed, I explained to him that they didn't like him because he had come for their brother, he smiled sadly and said: "Shall I write that he isn't here?" Oh misery, everything is so miserable, I'm so miserable I have no words. And it was a nice sunny day, enriched with Chernomyrdin's arrival, everything was promising, this ruined it all for me. I painted my nails blood red, that's how I feel. The girls came to tell me they were pounding away outside. I can't hear and I feel good. I'm listening to an arrangement of "Knocking on heaven's door". At the beginning of this shit I wrote to you that everything had acquired a different sense. It appears that after two months I'm missing a little intimacy which I always cultivated. The state of war simply does not allow you to switch off or withdraw; everything is somehow communal, general, tragedy and pain, tears and laughter. It's not a time for individualists of my type. I'm thinking of you, and hope you're still prepared for a bit of chat of this kind. must have convinced you that I haven't gone off my head. VLY Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 10:34 PM Subject: I

have no idea about the border closing with Montenegro. They say nothing. I know about the soldiers. Yesterday I was at the theater again, you're right, I don't know when to stop I'm intemperate. The girls are at their friend's of the center of town, Milosh is receiving penicillin for tonsillitis. In the recruiting

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office they only took down his name. I'm going to the hairdresser's, to be pretty for my "16th" birthday VLY Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 1:22 PM Subject: Definitely

but definitely I'll become a real drunkard: Milosh has gone for his injection, Sonya and Masha are visiting, I'm cooking a home-made soup, frying chicken, everything's cool. No one is coming today, my leg aches (I earned some new bruises during the bombing, I jump like mad when they start pounding, I regularly knock myself) so I don't go anywhere. I wonder whether to go to the theater, but I don't feel like going to get the tickets at two, and the children aren't here to go and collect them. And so, everything is as it should be, I'm drinking mineral water with lemon and singing on a sunny day. Man, did it explode!!! The sirens broke down (again), the planes flew low, the telephones were ringing (the girls and Milosh to check whether we're alive). I almost burned the potato chips. And what next? Of course, my knees continued to shake, then, after some hesitation, I quickly grabbed the (traitorous) vodka from the freezer, I poured it over the lemon left over from the mineral water and downed it in one gulp. And it's only noon!!! Yesterday in the theater I met a friend from primary school who is an actor in the Belgrade Drama Theater, we sat in the club before the performance to have a drink, and like, it made sense. After three vodkas, they could have shown me a tragedy, I would've laughed my head off. And that's how it's been for fifty days already. And I was so proud that I didn't continue the family tradition of uncontrolled drinking. I am seriously afraid this war will continue, among other things because of that too. VLY

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Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 9:08 PM Subject: Exercise in the obvious

Evening is falling, Milosh is doing press-ups in his room (and he's only just come back from the gym), Sonya & Masha are not coming back till tomorrow. You cannot imagine how the notion "tomorrow" sounds in this environment. Till yesterday, it was an ordinary word, unimportant, just a definition of time. For 50 days we haven't been waiting for tomorrow. We've learned automatically, instinctively that only the "now" exists, fierce, powerful, dangerous. The prospect of welcoming a new day has been left to a higher force. In the moment when planes fly low over our heads, while the powerful Tomahawks fly at some 20 meters from the roofs of our houses, while guided missiles hiss by which you can see and apparently almost touch, it's up to you and (or) your philosophical skill to convince yourself and those dear to you that we shall live to see that great, glorious "tomorrow". That is why tomorrow in Belgrade is no ordinary thing. It's huge, bigger than centuries, bigger that all past time. Everything that has passed, WAS, what lies ahead might not come. That is why "tomorrow" is so important and precious. Ha, how clever I am. One can see the influence of theater (meaning culture). Date: Friday, May 21, 1999 9:19 PM Subject: I made a mistake again

and am writing in the evening. Now it'll be some time before I get through. Meanwhile I found a remedy against the sirens: let the CD on the computer play very loud, I can't even hear my own thoughts, let alone the siren. I have a new hair style, here's the connection, ciao. Date: Saturday, May 22, 1999 10:25PM Subject: Me

alive and well, I am 42, I have guests, but no electricity. Date: Sunday, May 23, 1999 6:34 PM

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Subject: I'm thinking

of going to Kotor resort (Monte Negro) where I went with the children last summer. Lilly has invited me to set off around June 1 st, she says it's (relatively) peaceful there. In any case, the future doesn't bode well. It's lucky in all this tragedy that it's summer, they threatening to start the school year on August 1st, because of the heating. That means, a long, cold winter lies ahead. If we do go to the coast, it's almost half way to the West! What an optimist. Then, I don't know if Milosh could go with us and the roads are unsafe. Again, there are plenty of rumors and I hear that Shea saying that preparations are being made for ground troops. If they do that, we're past tense: both them and us. I'm not interested in the farce about negotiations, it's anything but serious. We have electricity on and off, but only us of all the people I know. Many haven't had it for 40 hours already and loads of people have no water. it's terrible. Tell me what you think about my idea for Montenegro. VLY Date: Monday, May 24, 1999 9:17 AM Subject: The bakery is working!!!

Don't ask me: no one else has electricity, water, you see that I have at least some luck. If we decide to travel, we shan't until we see what the situation is like. Me and my luck, you have smiled upon me. I tell George that the Siptar language is easier to learn in Kosova. Right now Milosh is at the recruiting office, and at a medical examination. About 10 coaches are still traveling each day to Kotor. It's not correct that visas are required. I'm writing quickly, if there's electricity, I'll be calling this afternoon. VLY

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Date: Monday, May 24, 1999 10:42 AM Subject: It's starting

phase 4 of this shit. They've just announced that the bakeries can't supply enough bread because of the power cuts, and water shortage. We have flour. I was calling various people just now, some have been without electricity and (or) water for the second day. We're connected to the bakery, but since cisterns are bringing water, there'll be no water for a while. Bicycles are not the best transport means for sacks of flour. Tanya, are we beginning at least a little to look like Belgrade 2009? Don't disappoint me, you see us inevitably walking into such a future. I heard Clinton just approved putting communications and the Internet out of operation. My knees have been shaking since 7 this morning. I ran to the market which is slowly becoming emptier, baked, cooked, as if it were the last time (it's not a figure of speech), I typed out a letter to you, the system's already failed twice because of low voltage. Summary: for us the real war is only just starting. I don't even dare think of the winter, it's never too late to shit my pants. Mira and Zoki have arrived, we're going off to cry together. Date: Monday, May 24, 1999 10:42 AM Subject: Me

We've gone through everything and concluded that we're in shit up to the ears. Milosh dropped in for 5 min to tell me that the psychological evaluation was unsatisfactory and that he had to go to a psychiatrist at the Military Hospital. This isn't at all normal. I feel like three pieces of shit, I don't know what to say. The climax was when Milosh said: "But I didn't lie at all". I have nothing else to write.

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Date: Tuesday, May 25, 1999 1:24 AM Subject: It seems

they have temporarily stabilized the power supply. Tomorrow I'm calling your people (this evening it was late, and now it's much too late) to have a bath or cook, they can choose, and maybe they'll get both since they're your people, I'm not charging a fee yet (today there were 2 for a bath). I was at M&Z's to listen to radio Free Europe, and I came home to wait for the bombing. The girls again went off meekly to Visnjicka Banja, Milosh (now already declared mad) is waiting for the bombs in a cafe (100 m from the house, he's not that crazy, it's in the basement). Now it's almost half two, the AAA is rattling away, which means that someone is coming. It's awful when you're alone, but it doesn't help even when you're not. In the beginning it was easier, I write, they bomb, it didn't even occur to me there would be no electricity. Now, I'm only waiting for them to definitely finish off Obrenovac and the remaining parts of the interior which I have never heard of before. NATO had to come for me to learn geography. A Sarajevo man and a Belgrader are chatting about our war, about who had a worse time and so on. The Sarajevo man finally had to back off: "Oh, it seems that it was a little easier for us; at least we didn't have to sing". Date: Tuesday, May 25, 1999 10:45 AM Subject: Has

Clinton fucked the Net? It's the first day that a letter hasn't arrived. Call if you manage so I will know VLY Date: Tuesday, May 25, 1999 11:20 AM Subject: A joke Intelligent missile flying over Belgrade with a CIA map in hand. Stops at the iron door of a shelter and knock at it. People inside so afraid that can not say a word. Missile is knocking harder. No

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answer. Now, obviously pissed off, missile shouts: C’mmon, I just need your confirmation if this is a way to Novi Sad!!! Date: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 9:19 AM Subject: Oh

Last night, five minutes after you finished the chat, I talked to your sister. We had a good chat, now she knows that when there's no water or electricity she can count on me. Of course, on condition that I have them. Milosh went off this morning for another talk with the psychiatrist, I'm waiting to see what diagnosis he'll bring. I do love him, he alone is normal. I slept last night from 10 till this morning. I don't remember when that happened to me last. I feel as though someone hit me on the head with a sledge-hammer. Yesterday they were bombing in the middle of the day, I sat in the garden, reading a book and enjoying the bombing, I think this week will be crucial, at least regarding diplomatic efforts. Chernomyrdin is coming after talks with Talbot and the Finn with (I fear, but also hope) the last peace offer. We'll see what happens. Jackpot question: Which river flows ABOVE our bridges? We'll be in touch V Date: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 4:50 PM Subject: Lunch for two

For a month Milosh has been saying he feels like eating calamari. Before the war while Ivan was with us, we had the habit of going to a restaurant for lunch sometimes. Today I took advantage of Sonya & Masha being away at their training session, so the two of us went off alone. This morning he visited the psychiatrist again, the social worker (Tanya be proud, your profession agrees with him in everything). The conclusion is that tomorrow at 14:00 my son and I go together to the psychiatrist. I know the story, it's familiar: they'll probably put me on therapy, and let him alone. Joking aside, I don't see there's anything wrong and "sick" in his replies that he DOESN'T like anyone

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ordering him around, that he DOESN'T like war, that currently he has NO idea about what to do, and even if he did he CAN'T do anything. In the restaurant, the following: - Have you fried calamari? - Let me check...Yes, but unfortunately there are no more boiled potatoes. - Chips will do, even better (say I, idiot, future psychiatric case) - But, madam, you didn't understand, there are no more potatoes at all. - Good, it's not important, give us only the calamari and two salads, any kind - There aren't any, madam, of any kind (waiter, moron) - Well, don't bring us any kind, but whatever there is. - There's nothing, but we'll find a slice of lemon..... There was more, but you won't believe me. And so, it was the best lunch in the world. Tomorrow you'll have great fun reading what happened at the shrink's. VLY Date: Thursday, May 27, 1999 9:42 AM Subject: Just let me scream

I'm sick of everything. This morning the sirens went off again at 9, the night was bad V FLEE Date: Thursday, May 27, 1999 5:11 PM Subject: THEY GOT THE VISAS

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Date: Thursday, May 27, 1999 5:11 PM Subject: Sonya & Masha are arriving

on Monday, 31.5. The plane is leaving Budapest at 1:40 afternoon. I'll write if there's electricity. Date: Friday, May 28, 1999 3:05 PM Subject: The girls are going

Only Sonya and Masha got visas for Malta (and another 100 Kosovo Albanians). Don't ask how, I can't believe it myself. We set out for Budapest at 9 in the morning, on Monday they have a flight for Malta. I'll call as soon as I get back. Milosh has been released from serving the army for a year as "emotionally immature": they also gave him a number. I'll write in more detail when I finish a pile of things (for example: the terminal in YU Airline is not working because there's no electricity, I'm not going to Bulgaria because they don't allow you in without proof that you're in transit e.g. plane tickets, they killed two women again on some bridge towards Nis.... VLY Date: Saturday, May 29, 1999 9:54 AM Subject: To my friends

It's incredible that I have electricity. The damage is really big. That's why I'm just writing a little, I keep thinking the connection will break off. This is the last minute for the children to go. So far it wasn't so terrible for them, they're children. If nothing is done at the negotiations, and if we disregard the possibility of ground troops entering, it'll be ugly. I don't want to frighten you, I know how you feel, but we must face it: there won't be any water, except in small amounts, electricity also, it means no bread, there's still food in the shops but there's no money (even pensions have been halved), and even if everything stopped now, this winter will be horrific. Bathing in the rivers, cooking on wood whoever has a garden, heating will depend on how resourceful one is. As soon as the shit stops, they'll withdraw the few goods

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from the shops and introduce rations. There are queues already for bread (few people have money for anything else). I'm happy and sad at the same time. I know this is salvation for the two of them, but not being able to see them any more kills me. Then I think, maybe they'll never forgive me for doing this. They must know one day that everything we did was only in their interest. There's not much room for emotions, I've been trying to suppress them for two and a half months so that I could function. I would like them, if possible, to have blood tests and a basic examination because of contamination. They know everything else themselves: braces, glasses, Sonya's spine exercise. it'll be good for them to go to summer school and meet some friends. But: you must not let them to be without discipline. Olga, thank God, knows all that herself. I'd like them to be with Tanya, George and Vladica, but let them be free to have friends of their own age. Nevertheless, Tanya, take it on yourself, and let it be an obligation, for them to go to the beach with you once a week, or wherever. I beg you and Olga to talk to them A LOT. Don't allow them to suppress their emotions. Luckily Ivan and I trained them to be independent, as though we knew. When I get back from the trip, I'll try to talk to Ivan's former employer and ask for the stipend they gave to be transferred to the account on Malta (he can, if he wants). That would at least help you a little. I'm thinking of selling the house now to someone who has an account abroad, to set aside money for the children. I'll see what I can do. They have money for the summer school which Dragan sent, but I know what all the rest means. My lodger no longer pays the rent, there's no work, but he gives me something here and there when he gets some. We'll survive, it's no problem. I'm leaving $ 200 for Milosh and myself, with the children's fares and transport paid, it's all I had. To them I'm giving money only for the visas. Olga, don't forget about the jewelry, please. Fuck jewelry when life is in question. You'll see what there is, if it ensures the next school year (meaning visas too), don't hesitate for a moment. We'll easily buy some more beautiful and older things if there's an opportunity. This is no time for stale sentiment. Violeta loves you Ana, as for me, the war is over the moment Sonya and Masha board the plane.
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Your cousin V Date: Saturday, May 29, 1999 10:25 AM Subject: Hi Hallo Abi, I am glad that I would see you soon. And I am glad that I will be there for your birthday. But there is one problem. I am going to leave my friends here and I am sad about that. Just to say hallo. Now I must say bye to my friends. See you soon. Lots of love Sonya Date: Wednesday, June 02, 1999 9:58 AM Subject: Home, sweet home

Just to let you know that Sonya and Masha arrived safely on Malta. I shan't bother you with how I got them to Budapest, it was a real adventure. Thank God, everything went as it should. We hope this madness will end soon. I'm thinking of you VLY Date: Thursday, June 10, 1999 1:17 AM Subject: My dear

wartime friends, If this is really the end of the war, it's good. But I want you to know that in this city of ours no one is joyful, no matter how incredible its sounds to you. We're all like deflated balloons, and deeply sad in our hearts. Thousands of soldiers - children have been killed or wounded. Over 2000 civilians have been killed or maimed. Multiply these (non)figures by at least 4

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family members and you'll get the number of people who will suffer till the end of their lives. That is our victory, that is what we fought for. You meant a lot to me all this time. VLY

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