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World March Blog
4 November 2009

Belgrade

We spent 2 nights in Belgrade at a reasonably good hostel near the train station.  At the last minute there seemed to appear a plan to divide the group into two, so 9 of the team (not me) set off at 9:00 am to a place called Jagodina, where there were activities for the World March at a primary school, while the rest of us were to stay in Belgrade and go to a press conference.

It was a sunny morning, although cold, and we walked from the hostel to the press conference venue which was a museum of cinema not far away.  At this cinema they had organised a special series of films to be shown on the theme of peace and nonviolence.

As we made our way to the museum we turned a corner and right there in front of us was a ruined building that had been bombed back in 1999 and left without being restored.   Apparently it was a military building but it was a shock to see this awful symbol of such a recent war.

I got chatting with Nicolas, our guide to get us to the venue, and started asking him about life in Serbia.  He told me that people are nostalgic for the times of General Tito who ruled after the end of World War II until his death in 1980.  In those days Yugoslavia was a respected country, a leader of the non-aligned movement, people could travel and the standard of living was better.  Now it is something shameful to be a Serb in the face of the international community and visas are needed to go anywhere.  He also told me that Serbia is keen for European Union membership but they are against NATO membership.  He also told me that the people believe that you can’t have one without the other.  Even this is his understanding, and I can’t believe this is right (if anyone knows for sure then please tell me).  What a huge blackmail!  You can’t gain access to European Markets the same as other countries unless you arm yourself to the standards required by NATO.  If it’s true then it’s shocking and shameful and it must be denounced and made known.  After all, Ireland and Sweden aren’t in NATO.

Sadly, only 1 journalist came to the press conference, so we did the presentation and then all headed off to find a coffee shop with internet connection and I spent the day working.

In the evening there was a dinner and the guys came back from Jagodina delighted from their day’s efforts, while the rest of us felt a bit deflated after our experiences in the other countries.

Things got worse after dinner as Camilo and Manu took a taxi but Manu also had Roberta’s rucksack to take back to the hostel.  They got into a heated discussion with the taxi driver after he tried to charge them twice the usual price and they stormed out of the taxi leaving Roberta’s rucksack behind!  Of course that was the last anyone ever saw it…  :-(  Sadly, the laptop had most of the video footage on it…

This morning we woke up and it was miserable weather with snow.  I just have the feeling that Belgrade didn’t like us very much…  Happily, Jagodina saved the World March in Serbia.

Now, we’re in Bosnia and Herzegovina – two countries in one!

More tomorrow.  Big hug,

Tony

P.S. It always amuses me being overseas when you see the attempts made to print things in English for the benefit of the tourists yet they don’t bother to ask an English speaker to check it.  See below…

4 comments to Belgrade

  • Bee

    Wow Tony congratulation! thank you for your effort!
    A lot of peace !

  • don’t let Serbia get you down, Tony! they have seen heavy times lately, and apparently still haven’t recovered completely. jubilant greetings from a gentlemenes in Praha! lovelars

  • Carla

    Hope you have a better days in Bosnia and Herzegovina :-)
    How is the weather there? More or less cold than Belgrade?

    p.s: geez, the intention was good, but the result :O ”gentlemenes” sounds a bit strange :-PP…

    See u in the next post :))

    hugs from Mozambique

  • emo sweet-angel :)) (jelena trifkovic)

    well…. im from belgrade.. and i will give life if you wont for you guys (p.s. kill myself).. SERIOUSLY!!

    i hope that you all will come again ;) i looove you all :) (p.s. pleease come again)

    its more than you think how much are hearting us that whats happen to us (yugoslavia..a and serbia)…. :(((( ….. well… if you ever come again… i’ll be yous first person that you’ll see on Airport :)) thats the promise ( i I swear) :)) i soooo damn love you guys…. and i think.. WHOLE SERBIA LOVE YOU :)) …. but please come to Belgrade Arena :)) … not to jagodina XDD xaxa… becouse im from belgrade :))

    and.. people who love tham as i am.. please add me on facebook :)) … http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=179628668094#/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000336678910

    or to msn… trifkovicka@hotmail.com

    p.s. i loooooooooove you all!!!!!!! <3 <3

    p.s. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3