Jasmina Tesanovic, Belgrade, March 13, 2006
Still speculations as to the cause of Milosevic’s death. The first report says he died of a heart attack. Nobody seems to want his discomforting, dissected body, filmed on camera by Dutch, Serbian and Russian pathologists, with his tissues now scattered in laboratories to prove his death one way or another.
The controversial autopsy provokes a diplomatic row, especially the lab evidence of traces of weird medicines in his blood.
His lawyer waves a piece of handwritten paper by Milosevic, delivered to the Russian embassy some hours before he died, where he claims he is being poisoned by the Hague tribunal. Knowing my ex president, I know he is capable of everything, especially lies and deception. My guess would be that even if they did find some drug in him, he would have planted it there in his own blood, through his own will, to achieve some foul goal. I do remember how he faked Serbian causes, faked Serbian victims, faked Serbian pride, faked Serbian democracy, in order to achieve power, to rule in blood and dictatorship. His language is obvious to us, who were his toys and hostages for years on end.
Even his family and his party are fighting over his corpse, this disquieting legacy in need of burial. The current government cannot reach any easy or wise decision. Probably he will be buried in Belgrade.
His indicted family members, wife and son will be granted temporary visas and permitted to entomb him in some private graveyard, while the eyes of the decent people look elsewhere. But the world media are still here, full-time and in top gear, in front of the local parliament speaking as if he were still alive, striking posthumous blows against global common sense and justice.
Tomorrow morning his son is going to Hague to pick up his father’ body. The Hague tribunal at the same time will end the process against Slobodan Milosevic, with the final session broadcast directly by B92.
Mladic and Karadzic yet to be arrested. They are the next in the chain of responsibility for Serbian war crimes in Bosnia. Without them in Hague, Serbia will stay behind an international wall of economic and political sanctions.
Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
Jasmina Tesanovic, Belgrade, March 15, 2006
Wrapped in a Serbian flag, the coffin was received by a few party members, who kissed it as if it were his hand. Some thousand followers were scattered during his last drive through town.
That’s pretty much how he left Belgrade five years ago, in half secrecy, half embarrassment. He was alive then, technically. It was a June night instead of this snowy gloomy March afternoon.
“He didn’t even pay for a return ticket from Hague,” as Serbian black humor has it. His family still owns a lot of embezzled money, too much of it to dare to come to Belgrade and answer to the court subpoena. The government and court, every hour, are giving new announcements as to whether the family will be arrested if they step onto Serbian and Montenegro territory.
It is a small war between official institutions and personality cults. Even the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church gave his opinion on humanity and post-humanity. It seems nobody much cares for Dead Slobo as a man. He is simply a hot dead potato, a Big International Deal, for what he has done cannot be undone. Convicted or not, his deeds have transformed too many lives and traced out new maps and countries.
Somehow he was left without a homeland even for his own grave. Crime has no nationality, time, or border.
Reasonably, Milosevic should be buried in an anonymous mass grave, if only that proposal would not offend his numerous victims, whose scattered, unnamed bodies already lie all over the former Yugoslav territories, without a name on a headstone or flowers from their families.
The people on the streets hardly know that he has come back, although on the trees in front of the Parliament, small posters with his smiling face have been glued-up literally in the last few hours. An old Serbian custom is to stick death announcements on the front door of your house. Some people think his home was the federal parliament, the building he was ousted from with flames and clubs on October the 5th.
I remember standing there myself, among one million people, just in front of the Parliament steps. ready to die in the stampede but not to move one step back until they all got out of their usurped seats stolen in election results.
Some foreign press are even suggesting that his body might be exposed on those very steps, before it gets buried in his hometown, 80 kilometers from Belgrade, next to his mother.
It is difficult to get rid of a dictator even if he is in a coffin, even if he is ghost. I don’t want our war children, finally seeing some traces of democratic normality, to end up like Hamlets. Or even worse, to end up like Ophelias.
Saddam Hussein is facing his trial today, but Slobo’s trial in Hague has closed. My friend Nuha from Iraq has died from Saddam-Bush politics, my mother from NATO-Milosevic wars.
Women in Black Belgrade want to put up a Hague tribunal for crime against women. This would globalize war crimes from all over the world, and unite anti-war issues.
Local TV stations are broadcasting debates, documentaries, days on end, about the fall of Yugoslavia. Old faces are once again on the screens telling us their old stories with new words. Things we knew, but which they never told us — until now, when it makes no difference. They speak as if they were still afraid to be judged by Milosevic, rather than by history and their children.
The Scorpion Srebrenica trial is entering its last phase. The names of Milosevic police from Serbia are finally being uttered as those who gave the orders for the mass executions in Bosnia, Kosovo… The big picture is getting smaller and clearer, as under a lens. The Scorpions courtroom is the microcosmos of a macrocosmos: the soldier who pulled the trigger to kill six Muslim civilians, and Bill Clinton who pressed the NATO red button to bomb the Serbian army, are both telling us how they dealt with Milosevic and his politics.
While the B92 crew was filming the entry of the coffin in the hospital morgue, Sveti Sava, a hysterical crowd of his supporters (about 300) attacked the journalists. In that very same hospital my mother died some years ago, after the NATO bombings, because of lack of medicines, and with Slobo’s words as her last ones.
Milosevic’s party is honored that he will be buried in his garden under a tree as a sentimental token of his and his wife’s big romance ( for which the whole world had to pay, since he used to execute the people she didn’t like). The democratic opposition says it is barbarous to bury people outside graveyards. This little garden grave is a parody of the mass graves he created.
The wife of the murdered journalist Curuvija reminds us that Milosevic and his family are asking for sympathy and presidential treatment — although they murdered the previous President of Serbia, Ivan Stambolic, and cemented his corpse into a bridge construction.
This is not Serbian black humor. Unfortunately, this is Serbian truth and reconciliation.
His body will be exposed in the Museum of Revolution until Saturday noon when it will be transported to his garden and buried. Our previous most famous president Tito, buried his favorite wife and horse in his garden here in Belgarde; there is some structure and continuity in the Balkans notwithstanding all multiethnic bloodshed and idelogical diversities.