Tag Archive | "War"

Palestine Then, Palestine Now


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From David Anthony Hohol…

Anyone who knows me, or has been a reader here on RELATIVITY OnLine, knows this writer’s thoughts on what has happened  in the past and continues to happen now in Palestine.  How it has all unfolded since 1948, right up until today, is the ultimate example of the so called leader’s of free world picking and choosing to intervene, to blame, to define and to manipulate international affairs with only their own benefit in mind. If it were another part of the world involving different players it would be called genocide, apartheid, occupation, or even terrorism. While the international community has greatly shifted in its stance over the last decade, popular opinion does little to instill change. Perhaps, it is a start however.

I came across this photograph today. It seemed to say it all.

20140714-221749-80269159 (1)

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Killing Machines


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2577From David Anthony Hohol…

Humans have always had a thirst for killing. On a grander scale, the near instinctual drive to annihilate civilizations appears to have been a part of the human experience from our earliest days. By extension, there have always been the makers of death and destruction, those who have labored and profited from the production of tools and weaponry built for the sole purpose of killing.

I came across an interesting website that presents a unique perspective on killing machines. Details, facts and figures about today’s gunsmiths are shared in an original, artistic, philosophical and at times, humorous manner. The information shared is not often discussed, but nevertheless a matter of public record. The video below reveals the stunning CEO salaries of  the weapons-producing corporations. All the salary figures in the video are from 2012. The website’s about page states the following:

The Cluster Project is an online collaborative artwork that surveys the thriving universe of cluster bombs, drones, nukes, and the casual acceptance of civilian casualties around the world. To find the artists involved in each work, locate the project in the ‘bombs’ page and select ‘makers.’

The site brings into focus the fact that terrorist attacks make a small contribution to the world’s murder count and more tellingly, that corporate, state-sponsored weapon production companies are the originating root of most all killing.

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Kenya’s Challenge


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Former Somali transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed (L) shakes hands with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (R).

From South Africa Corespondent Hassan Isilow…

Is the Kenyan government paying a price for deliberately not intervening earlier in solving the Somali crisis, which has been ongoing for two decades? This is the first thought that came to my mind last week, when suspected Al-shabaab sympathizers hurled grenades at innocent civilians in Nairobi. One would expect Kenya to have intervened in the Somali crisis, as early as the 90’s, because the two countries share a boarder and an ocean.

Besides Kenya also has a long history of friendship and co-operation with Somalia. While another, factor bonding the two nations is the large Somali ethnic population which occupies Kenya’s entire north Eastern province. However, when former Somali president Mohamed Siyad Barre, was over thrown in 1991, Kenya turned a blind eye on the brewing crisis in neighboring Somalia. Several years later the situation became worse in Somalia, with different warlords battling for leadership. Kenya did not intervene in preventing the crisis from getting worse.

As a result, Kenya today receives thousands of Somali refugees. There have also been reports of arms smuggling from Somalia into Kenya, which are allegedly to be responsible for increased crime levels in Kenya. If Kenya had intervened earlier in the Somali crisis probably Kenya would not be paying this price today?

As far I remember Kenya has only been playing quiet diplomacy on the Somalia crisis. The biggest role Kenya has ever played was to provide a mediation venue in Nairobi, where different warlords and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), came together to discuss the way forward. I acknowledge this mediation effort, but I think Kenya could have done better by sending troops into Somalia at the beginning of the crisis, which I believe would have prevented the situation from getting out of hand.

As I write this piece today, the clock seems to be ticking for a fully fledged war between the Kenya government and Al-shabaab fighters in southern Somalia. This is after Kenya recently deployed her troops in southern Somalia to pursue suspected pirates and Al-shabaab who entered into her coastal territory and kidnapped an elderly French woman. The woman latter died while in custody of pirates. This incident scared off many tourists from visiting the Kenyan coast which is one of Africa’s main tourist destinations. Tourism being one of Kenyans main foreign exchange earner (Forex), the state had to act by sending troops into southern Somalia to combat the Al-shabaab fighters and pirates. To many this was a bold move; although Kenya should have taken this decision several years ago.

If Kenya had deployed her troops in southern Somalia way back, probably Al-shabaab would have been history by now.

Regardless of the above, the Kenyan government should also observe human rights as it embarks on its mission of fighting Al-shabaab inside Somalia, because on Sunday Doctors without Boarders (MSF) reported that an internally displaced people’s camp had be bombed by Kenyan military. Three people were reportedly killed and 52 injured, mostly women and children. Kenyan police officers have also previously been accused by human rights groups for raping female Somali refugees crossing into Kenya. The Kenyan government should act harshly on any officer implicated in sexual violence. Finally the Kenyan police should also stop victimizing Somali refugees living in Nairobi’s suburb of Eastliegh, because not all Somalis sympathize with Al-shabaab. The continued victimization and extortion of money from these people will instead create more radicals.

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Inside Gaza – Lest We Forget


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From Palestine Corespondent Falastine M El-Ghezawi…

Time is merciless, moving forward no matter what the cost. But time is also about renewal and hope. Two years ago at this time, the people of Gaza began to slowly dig themselves out of the destruction laid upon them at the cold and pernicious hands of the Israelis. It’s hard to believe two years has passed. When I close my eyes and think back, it seems like only yesterday.

There was no warning of the war on Gaza before it happened. Things were calm and everything was going normally; at least normal for Gaza. There was a lack of the usual – medicine, milk, diapers, even electricity – but we have long suffered to simply acquire our daily needs. I certainly didn’t expect anything horrifying.

Three nights before the attacks began, I had a dream. I saw a fearful butcher with a sword in Gaza central market, his clothes covered with blood, bones and flesh. I wanted to pass through and was terrified. He pointed, blood dripping from his outstretched finger, and told me to leave the market through the opposite gate. And so I did.

When I told my mother about the dream, she explained the butcher was the angel of death and the sword and blood symbolized the massacre that was yet to come. Him asking me to leave meant I was going to pass through the horror of the Israelis ungodly attacks on Gaza alive.

In the midst of my law degree, we were sitting through a university lecture when my friends and I heard the bombing. One of my friends joked that we better escape fast before the Israelis placed a case against us. We all laughed, but left quickly. We tried to call our relatives to check on them. It was hopeless, as they had already paralyzed our communication network. All phones and computers were rendered useless immediately.

The school day was just ending and the streets were full of terrified children. The bombing intensified and soon it was chaos. I could think of nothing but my four children. I tried to calm down a little girl who was screaming in fear, but she didn’t hear me, her hands over her ears. Ambulances and police cars were everywhere, medics didn’t know where to go or who to help; dead bodies and wounded were suddenly all around me; blood soaked the streets.

Surrounded by explosions, fires and chaos, I didn’t know how to reach my home. I wondered if I would find my four children, my brothers and relatives safe. I also wondered if I were killed, how my children would manage. The smell of death was everywhere and I could think of nothing else. Amidst the chaos I eventually found a driver who would stop to pick me up. I prayed along the way for my family’s safety. It was the longest ride of my life. I thanked God when I found them alive.

I never thought the attack was going to continue beyond a raid. Raids, you see, are commonplace as bursts of gunfire and bombings to remind us we are indeed all prisoners in Palestine under the oppressive boot of Israel is simply a part of life here. I wondered what Israel hoped to achieve from this attack beyond the inhuman suffering already caused by their illegal blockade that had left Palestine almost dying. “We will put Palestinians on a diet,” Israel said. I asked myself, “Will the Israelis take pride in a victory over an imprisoned, exhausted, and malnourished populace living in near squalor?”

The people of Palestine were without any supplies whatsoever, and we couldn’t provide anything except our local vegetables. And even that couldn’t last for long. Our family managed ourselves with peas during the war. We stood in long lines just to get some bread, but food wasn’t the biggest concern, when compared to thousands of homes riddled with bullets. Within only hours many lay in ruin. We had nothing to inform us of what was going on except radios. Even at the best of times we had problems with electricity, but now we didn’t even have fuel for our generators.

Days passed heavily, planes and heavy guns never stopped, ambulances worked day and night in areas they could reach. It all drove me mad. I didn’t allow my children to leave home, because I was afraid of them being hurt, but also I didn’t want them to see parents crying for their dead children.

We have lived under Israel’s occupation for a long time. With the first and second Intifada, we thought we’d seen the worst. I didn’t forget the blockade of Palestinian refugees camps in Lebanon that still exist today either. No matter what has happened however, the Israelis always end up proving they still have even worse in store for us.

The New Year’s Eve sky looked like burning bombs. I wondered if there was anyone even thinking about Gaza in the outside world. Do we live alone with Israelis on this planet? Why has no one moved to stop her savage aggression? My heart grew weary.

People were calling for clothes and food on the radio round the clock. I thought the least I could do was share some clothes, blankets, pillows and pots. In the end, I shared everything I could. I watched people doing all they could to help others and still the onslaught continued. Schools, pharmacies, UN and Amnesty International buildings, even hospitals were attacked.  The situation at hospitals couldn’t have been worse. Simply closing their wounds as quickly as possible, most of the wounded then left the hospital immediately to call for blood donations. There weren’t even blankets to cover the dead bodies of hundreds of children, women and men and no graves in which to bury them.

Many of us were forced to both cook with and drink unhealthy water. Candles soon ran out and we had nothing to light a cold winter night’s darkness. Within hours there was no room in the hospitals. Over the radio we heard again and again how Arabic and international efforts were being made to stop the Israelis latest crimes against us, but we knew Israel would never respond except to its own racist tendencies. Their extreme desire for the killing, humiliation and destruction of all things Palestinian knows no end. This much I know to be true. This much I have lived everyday of my life.

In the last days of the attack, my family’s neighborhood was bombed while I was on the phone with my mother. I heard a missile hit the next building. My mother hung up the phone and with some of their neighbors quickly went to my uncle’s home, making it out on time. Just two days before the war ended, my children insisted on going outside. I accepted as things had calmed a little, but suddenly changed my mind. No long after, Israeli bombers dropped two missiles killing two neighborhood children playing just where my kids would have been had I let them go. I was grateful for a while, but this feeling turned soon to pain and guilt. Two mothers lost their children and I cried for them, as well as the many other mothers out there who suffered the same fate.

After the Israelis withdrawal from our beloved city, we found ourselves living in a wasteland. Many neighborhoods and roads that were once there, were now simply gone, wiped off the map. As an added insult, many of our oldest olive trees were pulled out of the ground. In the end, Gaza became one large homeless shelter. People stayed in camps, having not so much as a pot to cook in, children lost their books, toys and clothes; so much was lost.  The next day however, I witnessed a strange and wonderful thing. With the Israelis gone, markets opened in the rubble to offer people with what little supplies they had. People were shaking hands, helping each other however they could, there were smiles and tears, there were stories of bravery and tales of woe. I knew at that moment that we were still alive, that Palestine lived on and that she would never be defeated. We didn’t win the battle against the Israelis and in the end, how could we? But we didn’t bow either. Try as might they couldn’t make us kneel.

I walked home from the market that day filled with pride and I knew deep in my heart that Palestine would never give up the fight.

Looking back now, I saw two opposites unfold throughout the war – destruction and survival. It reminded me of our great poet, Mahmoud Darwish, who indeed was the essential breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging. I can think of no better words to end this piece than his.

I BELONG THERE

I belong there. I have many memories. I was born as everyone is born.

I have a mother, a house with many windows, brothers, friends, and a prison cell

with a chilly window! I have a wave snatched by seagulls, a panorama of my own.

I have a saturated meadow. In the deep horizon of my word, I have a moon,

a bird’s sustenance, and an immortal olive tree.

I have lived on the land long before swords turned man into prey.

I belong there. When heaven mourns for her mother, I return heaven to

her mother.

And I cry so that a returning cloud might carry my tears.

To break the rules, I have learned all the words needed for a trial by blood.

I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a

single word: Home.

-Mahmoud Darwish


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Paradise Now


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Terrorism is the nightmare of our time and the ready made fuel for political melodramas of Hollywood and beyond.  The more we see of it, however, the less we know or understand. From the simplistic inclusion of the Arab bad guys in movies like “Iron Man,” to the textured character study of Pakistani culture in a film like “A Mighty Heart,” the answer to the question why is often left unanswered.  Take  suicide bombing; who embraces it? What can lead an individual to such an action? “Paradise Now” answers these kinds of questions, but in a way that the audience might not expect. A gripping, poignant, powerful drama, the film draws its greatest strength from its unremitting determination to explain rather than justify or condemn the act itself.  For those of you who haven’t,  please track down “Paradise Now” and watch it. This Academy Award winning film is an important piece of work made by the people closest to the matter at hand. It’s the kind of film that will change you, the kind of experience that stays with you long after it is finished and most importantly, it will allow you to understand in way you never have before.

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I’m From Abu Gharaib and I’m Your Neighbour


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From Larry Wohlgemuth…

It’s bound to happen. Eventually someone who served in Iraq or Afghanistan will move into your neighborhood, maybe even next door, and you’re going to wonder. You’ll wonder whether your children are safe, and what’s going to happen to your property values. But you’re going to wonder.

It was never part of the discussion when Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush were assuring us that we needed to become a nation of torturers to be secure. Those from the pants-wetting crowd jumped all over it, although lacking the intestinal fortitude to visit the local recruiting office and sign up themselves. But it begs the question, what will you do when a torturer from Abu Ghraib moves in next door?

We’ve had some experience with this, groups of people who’ve not always been welcomed everywhere. Blacks, Latinos and other minorities have historically known they were not wanted in certain neighborhoods, but this is different. These will be men and women that we’ve used as so much cannon fodder in another war to loot and plunder that we’ll be kicking to the curb. And that’s exactly what we’ll do.

We experienced something similar after Vietnam. I know, you’re going to talk about how we treated GIs, spitting on them in airports and things like that. Rest assured that the people doing that were FBI agents who had infiltrated antiwar groups and served as agent provocateurs to discredit peaceniks. It was known as Operation Cointelpro and was investigated, censured and allegedly shut down by the Church Committee. Allegedly. By and large people had nothing against Vietnam vets until IT started happening, and IT will happen this time, too.

What is IT? IT is posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and it’s estimated that 35% of the veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan will experience this debilitating malady. After Vietnam, and as the number of veterans who experienced PTSD grew, the government worked hard to keep their stories from us. However by the mid-1970s it was clear we’d brought home a group of young men who were irreparably damaged. We had no idea of the extent.

It started with increased amounts of domestic violence and spiraling divorce rates among these veterans. Alcoholism, drug addiction, and violence followed a large percentage of them wherever they went, and nobody had a clue as to why. Finally the VA put a name to it; posttraumatic stress syndrome (later changed to post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD), and said it was a reaction to their combat experiences. Americans’ attitudes towards these men changed rapidly.

Soon they were not welcome anywhere, which really was okay with them because they preferred solitude or to hang out with each other. But the incidence of violence continued to grow, and we read stories about men who picked up guns and shot up their families or their workplaces. Our discomfort with that war was soon replaced by our mistrust of its veterans, and men hid the fact of their service, which only made the problem worse. It was an additional resentment on top of all the other horrors they had faced.

Now we have a new group of soldiers coming home, similarly damaged, that will try to reintegrate into society and live some semblance of normal lives. Their desire will be made more difficult as the reports of veterans behaving violently multiply. We’re already seeing stratospheric divorce rates, and last year 6000 veterans of this war committed suicide. The question is not if this new generation of veterans will explode, rather when it will happen, and it appears that it will be soon.

As someone who’s experienced PTSD personally I know their struggle. You can keep the lid on it only so long, but if you stuff it down the eruption is more violent when it finally comes out. One million eight hundred thousand men and women served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 35% of them are ticking time bombs walking among us, and even moving in next door. As the violence increases and is more publicized we’ll see a growing intolerance of them just like after Vietnam. The additional pressure to keep from acting out will only increase the probability that we’ll see even more violent outcomes in the future. This problem will be with us for more than a generation.

So you just got a new neighbor, someone fresh out of the killing fields of Afghanistan. He looks like a normal guy, but how can you tell? You’ve heard news stories about violent and antisocial behaviors, and even shootings, and you’re not sure what to think. Was this guy an “interrogator” at Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo? Is he one of the guys I’ve seen on the YouTube videos? Are my wife and children safe around him? What will happen to my property values?

Sadly these are legitimate questions. It’s through no fault of the veteran that he’s in this position other than he chose unwisely and joined the military. They are damaged and destined to create more carnage before it’s over. Fortunately there are a effective therapies that did not exist in the immediate aftermath of Vietnam. Let’s hope the government that worked so hard to create them works just as hard at fixing them, and doesn’t just throw them into prisons to rot.

6000 suicides. It’s already happening. What will YOU to if one moves in next door?

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Non-Lethal Weapons


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army_taserFrom Special Guest Richard L. Scott…

Niccolo Machiavelli writes in the 1532 book The Prince that a conquered republic must be entirely reduced because history proves anything less works against the victor. Carl von Clausewitz would agree, and in the 1832 publication On War he asserts that any attempt to disarm an enemy, rather than destroy him, is a mistake. But in The Art of War (Delacorte Press, 1983), Sun Tzu suggests the epitome of skill is to subdue the enemy without fighting. This debate continues today. Some assert a nonlethal approach to warfare is foolish while others argue the U.S. can conduct aggressive military campaigns while also working to control levels of violence. So who’s right?

Proponents of nonlethal weapons acknowledge the term “nonlethal” reflects intention, not capability, and posit nonlethal weapons might effectively reduce noncombatant death and collateral damage and bridge the gap between lethality and show of force. Opponents argue some nonlethal weapons are biological warfare and inappropriate for use against any population. Thus far, neither President Obama nor the National Security Council (NSC) has weighed in on the debate or issued a formal policy on nonlethal weapons. In 1996, DoD issued Directive 3000.3, “Policy for Non-Lethal Weapons,” and although it is a well-intentioned effort, support by the president or the NSC would provide a significant boost for nonlethal weapons proponents.

Today’s nonlethal weapons cover the spectrum of tactical applications and include chemical and biological agents, electroshock devices, acoustic devices, optical munitions, blunt or rubber projectiles, traction modifiers, nets or rapid-hardening rigid foam, radio frequency or microwave technologies, computer viruses, noxious smells, and acoustical interference technologies. These types of weapons are found in any number of operations including communication- and information-control techniques, psychological warfare, and disrupting target command-and-control capabilities. However, once deployed, knowing who controls nonlethal weapons might be as important as understanding why and how to employ them. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have recorded electroshock technology used as a method of torture in at least 76 countries, including the U.S. and other developed and underdeveloped countries. Watchdog groups like the HRW and the International Committee of the Red Cross have strongly opposed the proliferation of nonlethal weapons, even going so far as campaigning to have them banned. However, it is the nonlethal weapons user’s intent, not the tool itself, that can be problematic; there is no shortage of objects that can be used as an instrument of torture or ill will.

Terrorists would welcome any device that might further their efforts. How much more effective would a terrorist be if he or she were armed with the capacity to apply traction modifiers, nets, or rapid-hardening rigid foam against first responders in the vicinity of a catastrophe? If envelopes laced with Anthrax powder can shut down a federal building, so could terrorists releasing smoke into the ventilation system of a federal building or on an airplane while in flight. If the U.S. government can blind, dazzle, and disorient those it holds captive, it can be expected that terrorists might try the same.

Now more than ever, servicemembers understand the types of wars being fought and the enemy they are facing.

Ground forces are expected to demonstrate maturity and discipline and feel confident handling their weapon systems, but confidence can only be attained as a result of training. Only through familiarization, qualification, and testing and simulations and exercises will ground forces feel confident employing nonlethal weapons. Senior military officials need to consider the ramifications of sending servicemembers armed only with lethal weapons into tenuous environments laden with political, economic, social, infrastructural, and information challenges. Nonlethal weapons allow for intangibles that lethal weapons do not.

Given the likelihood that irregular warfare will dominate operations in the near-term, nonlethal weapons might support U.S. efforts to demonstrate restraint and reduce the catastrophic effects associated with lethal weapons. Servicemembers understand the types of wars they are fighting and the enemy they are facing. In an age when stories and images are transmitted in real time all around the world by way of cell phones, satellite communication, Internet access, and 24-hour news outlets, this issue is paramount. When combined with well-trained and well-placed servicemembers on the ground, nonlethal weapons could have a profound effect on how wars are fought.

Rich Scott is a resident of Belton, Texas. He is a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and currently works as a Fire Support Officer for the 21st Cavalry Brigade in Fort Hood. He Can be found on Facebook .

 

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Who Should America Invade Next?


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A YouTube comedy classic here, as random Americans on the street are stopped by a fake news reporter who is in fact part of an Australian TV program geared towards making fun of the United States. Yes, these morons  may have been cherry-picked and anyone who gave an intelligent answer to the questions asked were probably  left on the cutting room floor – but its still both funny and revealing to watch such epic levels of ignorance.  As a side note, it also shows how a guy like George W was re-elected for a second term as well as the future base for Tea Baggers.

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The Kite Runner


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The Kite Runner, based in the international bestseller by Khaled Hosseini,  tells the story of an Afghan refugee turned writer, many years removed from his struggles to arrive in the United States,  who is overcome by an eruption of memory from his days as a child in Afghanistan. At it’s core, the story is about an upper-class 12 year-old Afghan boy named Amir, who horribly betrays his childhood friend Hassan, the son of his father’s house servant. Years later, Amir takes the opportunity to atone for his actions with a tremendous act of courage. Powerful, haunting, and unforgettable, the film takes the audience  inside both a country’s history and culture, placing a very human face on the tragic tale of Afghanistan; a country that most only know from caustic headlines and brief nightly news installments. Even the the most stoic of viewers will have a hard time not being moved by RELATIVITY OnLine’s latest DVD recommendation. Skip the latest formulaic retread the next time you’re looking for a movie to watch and try something a little different. You won’t regret it.   

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Yesterday’s Yugoslavia


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vigilFrom Sinisa Boljanovic…

On March 24, 1999, NATO forces began attack on Serbia and Montenegro. The bombing went for 78 days. A few thousand people were killed, many buildings, bridges, railroads, roads and factories were destroyed. Also, many people still experience mental and psychic effects of the fear they had been through.

Ten years later, Serbian bloggers are reminded of those terrible days. Below is a selection of some of their journal notes and recollections from the beginning of the war, translated from Serbian.

Dejan Jovic posted this entry:

Today NATO’s forces have attacked Yugoslavia from air, from submarines and warships. The attack began at 7pm. The first wave lasted 2 hours. About 20 targets are hit: the Police Academy in Novi Sad, airports in Batajnica and Danilovgrad (Montenegro), several barracks around Pristina and around Nis as well as factory shops of Crvena Zastava in Kragujevac. The second wave began about midnight and it is still going (now it is 00.45. (Yugoslavia declared the state of war. The last night Veran Matic was arrested and B92 was closed. Now only national stations and agencies can broadcast. Journalists from countries which are members of NATO, including BBC, can report only by phone. Twenty-five journalists have been arrested temporarily so far and one is beaten. Because of all that, there are very little video reports but it is absolutely clear that the attack was very very strong. […]

[…] Milosevic says that he is for peace and agreement. It is not possible to appraise why he says that – whether because he wants to inform NATO that he is ready to withdraw himself or because he wants to justify a lengthy war. In this moment it seems that he can’t withdraw himself very easily. I don’t know how he could be more cooperative with the West after this bombing, if he couldn’t do that before it. Also, people are much more anti- West than they were several days ago. [The West] forgets that Milosevic is a legally chosen president and that he is not without support of voters like Saddam Hussein.

News at 1 am. Russia and China condemned aggression. Russia asks session of the Security Council. For this attack, Clinton and Blair condemn Milosevic directly. Clinton compares Kosovo with Bosnia and mentions hesitation in the first and second world war. India condemned action of members of NATO because they ignored the United Nations. India also says that NATO became an instrument for realization of goals of ethnic separatists and that could be the case in the Kashmir […]

Angie01, in her blog titled ”Notes of Madness”, wrote:

[…] In the evening I come out on my spacious balcony and smoke. I notice some unusual and big star which is very near by me. I don’t know from where it is here. I’ve never seen it before. I call my family. Everyone feels uneasy. No one know what’s happened.

A little later, I talk on the phone with my sister from the bathroom. In the middle of a sentence there’s a strange sound.

She asked me what that was. I don’t know. “What can we do now?” she asked. I don’t know. I go to see. I open the door. And then I hear zvvviiiiijuuuu. The red-yellow light filled the room. Then there was an explosion. It was strong, destructive and full of dark forebodings.

Everyone is frozen at the moment. And then one more bomb explodes.

You can hear screaming all over the hallways, people are running, children are crying. You can hear people calling over the floors.

Neighbors ring our doorbell. They said that we should go to the bomb shelter. […]

[…] Girls are throwing up inside. Some old women faint. My neighbor squats with a baby in her arms… there is no air, there is only stench and fear. Everything has changed in 20 minutes. […]

[…] A neighbor, a refugee from Bosnia, arrives. He said that he came for us. And he added that the bomb shelters were not suitable for those bombs. If they were hit, they might turn into tombstones over us. And we leave and never come back there.

This is how it began. […]

Readers commented on Angie01‘s post. Here are some of the comments:

Vidomir Pavlovic:

I was sitting 100 meters away from the barracks in Sremska Mitrovica when a rocket whistled over my head. It was ghastly…

Then one young woman was killed. She came out right after the detonation to see what happened, to see where the rocket hit. She was about 1 kilometer away from the barracks and was hit by shrapnel. It pounded into her head or breast. I forgot. But she was dead on the spot, on the balcony on the first floor. She had just moved into that flat…

She had two little children…

Bili Piton:

One doesn’t know whether one hates more those who bombed or those who caused it.

Sybil:

[…] The maniac [Slobodan Milosevic, then president of Serbia and Montenegro] has burdened us with the bombing by 19 most civilized countries. The biggest disappointment after the bombing was that he kept his seat and Kosovo was lost. It would have been better the other way around. […]

Pix3lchick:

[…] Sadness, hopelessness and depression because of fact that, after 10 years, he [Milosevic] is still alive through the current ministers’ statements, in which they says that the bombing happened because of false accusations of ethnic cleansing. (From where did the refrigerator trucks come to us?)

Jasmina Tesanovic wrote in her blog titled “La vita e’ bella” (‘Life is beautiful’):

March 26, 1999 – 5 PM:,

I hope that we all will survive this war: Serbs, Albanians, good and bad boys, those who took weapons, those who deserted, Kosovo’s refugees who are roaming through the forests and Belgrade’s refugees who are roaming the streets with children in arms and running to find the nonexistent bomb shelters when they hear the sirens. I hope that NATO’s pilots will not leave their wives and children forever. I saw them on CNN, how they cried while their husbands were preparing to attack targets in Serbia. I hope that we all will survive, but the world will not stay the same. […]

Sinisa Boljanovic is a blogger for Global Voices. Born in the Socialist Republic of Serbia in 1975, Sinisa spent his teens amidst the horrors or civil war and adulthood brought with it the NATO bombings and a struggle for survival.  A blog reporter and humanist, RELATIVITY Online is thankful for his contribution.

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