i’m sorry but if you believe the u.s, great britain, france, and russia are helping the situation is syria, you have completely lost your mind.
the last time the united states tried to help out a war-torn country was in 1992 when the balkan region broke out in civil war.
their “helping” was dropping army supplies that were broken, useless, and just outdated to bosnian soldiers who were being surrounded by serbs and croats.
their “helping” was sending expired, outdated cans of food, sometimes used from previous wars, to the millions of people starving in bosnia. and just to make the muslims of this country suffer more, they dropped cans of expired pork for us to eat.
their “helping” was declaring the city of Srebrenica a “United Nations Safe Zone”. thousands of people in the surrounding towns listened to the united states, and rushed to this so called “safe zone”. little did they know, the serbs were planning the biggest massacre in bosnian history. they killed 8,000+ little boys and men in the span of few days. killing them in the woods, burying them in the ground, and then bulldozing them so no one could find them. then, they raped the remaining women of the town just to make them carry the child of a chetnik.
their “helping” was refusing to help bosnia and telling us they will keep bombing and shooting our country until we stop marching. alija izetbegović was only a few miles away from finishing off the war, defeating the serbs after 6 years of fighting. but the united states forced the bosnian arm to disband and surrender.
their “helping” was signing the Dayton Agreement. the agreement that took 49% percent of our land, and renaming it “repulika srpska” or “the republic of serbia”. this region fails to recognize bosnians and croats, sometimes refuses them jobs, and on the days where the tv holds programs for eid or srebrenia, the cable “suddenly” shuts down in some towns. and now, another war is in risk of breaking out. since kosovo became an independent nation, serbia has threatened to start a war with them to “claim” back “their” land and take the republic of serbia with them too.
the united states and U.N. left this country with little or nothing to win this war. we were given no help from anyone, and everyone was turned against us. so don’t try to tell me that u.s. involvement in the middle east will help syria and defeat isis. because they did nothing but murder the people of my country, and displace millions of bosnians. thanks for the help though.
Requested by emnat123-
Damian goes with the bat boys on a mission to kick bad guys butt in the Balkans and falls for a 18 year old girl who lives there and like stuff happens and he wants her to come back with him to Gotham (can he be like 20?)
Author’s Note: I did my best to make everything accurate, but if anything is incorrect, please send me a message and I’ll adjust it. Accuracy is important, and I would appreciate the assistance.
“Come on, Damian, smile a little. This is practically a vacation,” Dick cheered as he collapsed into his airplane seat next to Damian’s. Damian growled when his seat rattled from Dick’s movement.
“TT, I would hardly call preventing Bane’s drug empire from entering the Balkans a vacation, Grayson,” Damian retorted. He pulled out his iPod and earbuds, hoping it would be a sign to Dick to stop talking to him.
Dick was oblivious however. “Shh, keep your voice down. Remember we are undercover,” Dick warned, tugging one of Damian’s earbuds out from his ear. Damian glared at him.
“I don’t understand why we have to do this? Isn’t international crime more of the league’s territory?” Damian asked quietly as other passengers stumbled passed on the way to their own seats in the crowded plane.
“Well, yeah,” Dick agreed, rolling his eyes. “But Bruce wanted to keep it in the family since it’s Bane. He said something about responsibility, but I think it’s mostly because he’s upset with the league at the moment.” Damian hummed in response, turning to look out the window at the airport around them. He silently wished he had been paired with Tim or Jason instead, they were quieter. Tim and Jason were flying out a week later to avoid suspicion.
Luckily for Damian. Dick started talking to another passenger in
Romani, leaving Damian in peace for a moment. He placed his other earbud back into his ear as he thought about the mission to come.
Damian wasn’t excited for this mission as Dick was. He found he didn’t want to leave Gotham. It wasn’t like he had never left Gotham before since making it his home, but he found he didn’t like leaving it. He wanted to be in Gotham, he wanted to be at home. Taking a deep breath, Damian found a song to calm his nerves as the plane readied for takeoff.
After spending eleven hours in a plane and another ten hours in a car with Dick, Damian was relieved to finally arrive at the safe house. It was the first of several safe houses set up for the mission throughout the Balkans region as Dick, Damian, Tim, and Jason investigated and terminated Bane’s drug trafficking ring.
Of course, Damian wasn’t native enough to assume Dick would leave him in peace once they arrived.
“Come on, Dami. Let’s got sightseeing,” Dick begged, hopping onto Damian’s bed. Damian was trying to sleep off the jet lag.
“Grayson, get off my bed,” Damian demanded, snuggling deeper under the covers. He heard Dick sigh behind him before the covers were suddenly ripped from him. “Grayson!”
“Get up, Damian. We can sleep after we walk around some,” Dick insisted, dodging the pillow Damian threw at him. “Besides you have to stay awake, so you can adjust to the time zone.”
“TT,” Damian huffed before slowly sitting up. “I don’t see why we have to adjust to the time zone when we will be working at random hours anyway.”
Dick tossed the pillow and the covers back onto the bed. “Where is your sense of adventure, Damian? I would have jumped at this chance to explore a foreign country when I was twenty.”
“Maybe I’m not adventurous,” Damian muttered quietly to himself, dragging himself to a standing position. He was still dressed in the clothes from the plane.
Dick rolled his eyes, pushing Damian towards the bathroom while stuffing fresh clothes into his arms. “Now get changed. I want to get some sightseeing done before Tim and Jason arrive.”
“TT, I can’t wait,” Damian commented under his breath as he entered the bathroom. He made sure to lock the door behind him, enjoying the few minutes alone.
An hour later, Damian was able to lose Dick when he went home with the waitress that flirted with him. Given this surprise at freedom, Damian had planned to walk around a bit before heading back to the safe house to sleep. The city interested him in a way he didn’t expect, and besides he reasoned he was simply getting his bearings before the investigation started.
It was that decision that changed his life forever.
Damian found himself walking down a pedestrian street when he saw you. You exited one of the shops and walked towards him with a heavy load of bags in your arms. Damian found his eyes glued to you as you walked passed him without much more than a glance. You hurried down the street with such a speed, you didn’t notice the raised pavement in your path until it was too late.
Seeing what was about to happen, Damian sprang into action. He ran to you, catching you before you were sent sprawling onto the pavement.
You gasped in surprise before turning to see who saved you only to find yourself gazing into beautiful blue eyes. Damian found himself captured within your eyes as well. After a moment, you forced yourself to look away, whispering a thank you in your native language. When you saw his face twist in confusion, you switched to English.
“I said thank you,” you restated, giving him a shy smile before checking the contents of your bags to make sure everything was alright. Damian smirked at you, a thrill twirled in his gut at the sound of your accent.
“You’re welcome,” he answered, taking in the beauty of your face. “May I help you with your bags?” Damian held out his hand as you smiled gratefully at him.
“Yes, you can,” you replied, handing him half of the bags. “Just be careful, the contents are fragile.”
“What is your name?” Damian asked, taking the heavy bags with ease. You began to walk down the street with Damian matching your pace.
You smiled at him teasingly. “Are you always so forward when meeting someone on the street?”
“Only if that someone were to catch my interest,” he huffed, gazing at you with heat in his eyes. You giggled at him, blushing at his words.
“I caught your interest?” you teased back, feeling beautiful at the way he looked at you.
“Yes,”he answered simply as you both turned the corner to head down the street. “Now may I know your name?”
“My name is (Y/N).”
“Beautiful name for a beautiful woman,” Damian cooed back. You blushed even more, wrinkling your nose when he called you a woman. Since you were only eighteen, you were still adjusting to the idea of adulthood.
“And what is your name?” you questioned curiously. You guessed he was an American, judging by his accent, but you were unsure.
“Damian Wayne,” he replied, sending you a charming smirk. You both turned around another corner, stopping in front of a building with a sign in a different language. Damian could see people hurrying around inside through the window.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Damian Wayne,” you said, gesturing to the building. “This is where I was going.”
He looked at you with wonder. “TT,” he huffed, raising an eyebrow. “You live here?”
You laughed at his words, shaking your head. “No, this is where I work. We handle financial assents of foreign businesses within the country. My…” You paused, trying to find the right word. “…boss sent me out for a few things for the new client.”
“Oh,” Damian remarked, gazing at the store with investigative intentions. “Do you get new clients often?”
“No,” you answered innocently, not noticing his sudden interest in the business. “However, this client has the boss very…uptight. That is the right word, correct?” Damian nodded in reply. You smiled, proud of yourself. “Thank you for your help.” You took the bags from him. “I really must get inside.”
“Can I see you again?” Damian asked with a hint of desperation in his voice. You studied him, trying to understand his intentions. The idea of a American tourist wanting to see you again made you wonder about his intentions. You heard about Americans before.
Damian shifted uncomfortably, waiting for your answer. You tilted your head at him before giving him a tiny smile. “Maybe if you happen to be here at twelve o’clock tomorrow, I might happen to be free for an hour or so.” A smirk broke onto Damian’s face. You smiled back at him warmly, the blush still burning on your cheeks. “Goodbye, Damian Wayne,” you whispered, entering your workplace with only slight difficulty. Damian held the door before whispering to you in reply.
“Goodbye, (Y/N).” Then a moment later, you disappeared inside and Damian knew his life was never going to be the same.
“I can’t believe I spend over twenty-four hours trapped in a small space with stick-in-the-mud Tim while you were off getting laid,” Jason retorted as Tim and Dick sat around the kitchen table in the safe house, eating a makeshift breakfast even through it was almost five in the evening.
“Just because I didn’t let you drive around erratically doesn’t make me a stick-in-the-mud,” Tim protested, typing on his laptop. He paused to take a bite of toast before returning to it.
“Yes, it does Timmy,” Jason snapped back, turning to glare at Dick who was calmly eating his cereal. “What do you have to say for yourself, Dickhead?”
Dick slowly looked up at Jason, munching on his cereal. “I regret nothing.” Jason opened his mouth to reply, but Damian’s entrance into the room interrupted him.
“TT, I see the imbeciles have arrived,” Damian snorted, walking over to the sink to get a glass of water. The boys watched him with interest.
“Dami,” Dick began after trading an amused glance with Jason. “Is that lipstick on your face?” Damian’s eyes widened as he rubbed his cheek. You had just kissed him there five minutes ago when he walked you home from work.
“No,” Damian replied hurriedly, trying to leave the room, but Jason blocked his way.
“I can’t believe this. You both got laid when we’re supposed to be on a mission,” Jason scolded with a glint in his eye. “I hope Bruce doesn’t find out about this.”
A rage built up on Damian’s face that he had never really felt before. “I did not get laid, Todd. I respect women and myself enough that I will not commit a ‘one-night stand’ just for company. (Y/N) deserves more than that.” Damian froze when he revealed your name.
“(Y/N)?” Dick asked, standing up to study Damian. “Damian, are you in love?”
Damian blushed, ducking his head down while trying to fight his urge to kill both Jason and Dick. Tim was safe simply because he was ignoring the whole conversation in favor of his laptop. “TT.”
“Our little boy is growing up,” Dick cooed, pulling Damian into a hug. Damian tried to get away from him, but he found himself trapped in the corner of the kitchen.
“Let go of me, Grayson,” Damian protested as Jason snickered at the sight.
“Wait until Bruce finds out about this,” Jason chuckled, accepting Damian’s threatening glare. “He’s really going to freak out to find out his little boy fell in love during a mission.”
“Shut up, Todd,” Damian gasped as Dick tightened his hold, pulling the breath from his lungs. “Is this really necessary, Grayson?”
Dick pulled away, meeting Damian’s intense glare. “Yes, I think it is,” Dick explained. “I was always worried about you since you never seemed to feel any romantic interest towards anyone. Which is okay, but I was scared you would end up alone.” Dick pulled him back into a hug.
“TT,” Damian snorted, not wanting to reveal he was worried about it too. However, meeting you changed all of that.
“I think I found Bane,” Tim interrupted, finally looking up from his laptop to see Dick hugging Damian. “Did I miss something?”
Jason rolled his eyes. “Damian’s in love with some girl,” he explained, flicking Tim in the forehead. “Pay attention.”
Tim swaddled Jason’s hand away. “Sorry, I was trying to find Bane. You know? The reason we came here in the first place.” Tim and Jason glared at each other before Dick stepped between them to keep the peace.
“What did you find, Tim?” Dick asked as Damian stayed in the corner, rubbing the lipstick on his cheek.
“I have a security video placing Bane in one of the local warehouses, and I found some records at a local financial business that tie Bane to the location,” Tim informed, typing on his computer to place the evidence on the screen. Dick leaned over his shoulder to see.
“It looks legit, but we should investigate tonight just to be sure before we call in the local authorities,” Dick ordered, straightening to look at Jason and Damian. Damian was looking at the floor, embarrassed by the fact he had walked around with lipstick on his cheek.
“Sound good to me,” Jason replied gruffly before sending a teasing smirk towards Damian. “What about you, ‘lover-boy’?”
Damian growled menacingly before attacking Jason. Jason laughed, running from the room as Damian chased after him with the intention to kill. Dick and Tim simply shook their heads at each other before going back to planning the night’s activities.
Later that night, Damian found himself slipping into a warehouse in his Robin suit. He had volunteered to enter the building first if only to get away from Jason’s teasing. Damian didn’t see why it was so funny that he could be romantically interested in someone.
Entering the building through a opening in the roof, Damian moved silently along the rafters. The warehouse appeared to be empty, but just when Damian was about to signal the others, a scream echoed throughout the building. Damian flinched at the sound before heading in the direction of the scream.
Much to Damian’s horror, he found the source to be a young woman tied to a chair with Bane towering over her. His goons surrounded her as the woman spoke rapidly in one of the local native languages. Damian’s brow furrowed, he couldn’t fully see the woman because Bane was blocking his view.
“Bane is in the building, and we have a hostage situation,” Damian reported through his comlink. He heard someone sigh through the other end.
“Of course, he does. When does Bane not take a hostage?” Jason snorted through the com.
“Hush, Hood. What’s your position, Robin?” Dick ordered.
“Center of the building,” Damian answered sharply. He growled when one of the goons slapped the woman across the face.
“Okay, we’ll be there soon. Don’t act until we get there,” Dick instructed with a warning in his voice. Damian rolled his eyes at the tone. Sometimes Dick treated him as if he was still ten years old.
Damian watched the goon slap the woman again. This time she spoke in English. “Please, I am only a secretary, let me go. I am not a threat, I will not tell anyone about you. Please let me go,” the woman begged. Her accented words caught Damian’s interest as he recognized the voice.
As if by fate, Bane moved out of Damian’s line of sight allowing him to receive the shock of his life. Damian nearly died when he saw it was you tied to the chair. Your face was bruised, your clothes were torn. Tears fell down your cheeks as you begged for your life.
“It’s (Y/N),” Damian reported harshly through the comlink as he jumped down. “I’m going in.” He landed on top of one of the goons before springing into action. Dick’s voice cried out at him through the comlink, but Damian ripped it out of his ear.
Damian fought with a brutality he hadn’t used since he first started out as Robin ten years before. He didn’t remember how everything happened, because he was so focused with his rage at the idea that you were hurt. These people didn’t have the right to touch you, and Damian was going to make them aware of that.
Sooner than expected, the goons were lying on the ground. They groaned and bled around him, but Damian ignored them as his attention solely focused on you.
You kept your eyes squeezed shut when the violence started. Tears slipped out of your eyes anyway, streaming down your cheeks as you tried to keep your sobs quiet. Damian knelt down in front of you to cut your bonds with a batarang.
“(Y/N)…you’re safe now,” Damian whispered soothingly when you still didn’t open your eyes. “Can you open your eyes for me?”
You recognized Damian’s voice, slowly opening your eyes. Confusion clouded your face when you saw a masked man instead. “Who are you?”
Damian’s eyes widened, realizing he was in his Robin costume. “I’m…um…Robin.” You leaned closer to him while he pulled you into a standing position. He kept your hand in his.
“Damian Wayne, is that you?” you asked, the realization hitting you like a cup of cold water. He covered your mouth with his hand.
“Shh, we’ll talk about this later,” he hushed, gesturing to the door at the far side of the room. “Let’s get you out of here first.”
“Robin,” Dick scolded, running to Damian’s side. He took a glance at you before focusing on Damian. Damian stepped in front of you, hiding you behind him protectively when he saw you flinched at Dick’s tone. “You were told to wait until we arrived.”
“TT,” Damian huffed as he felt you burying your face into his back. “It couldn’t wait.” Dick glared at Damian. Damian matched his glare, and was about to say more when you slumped against his back. “(Y/N)?”
“Woah there, Princess,” Jason remarked, appearing behind Damian to scoop you up. You blinked bewilderingly for you had blacked out for a second only to find yourself in the arms of a red-helmeted man. “Don’t you pass out, you might freak your poor lover boy out.”
Damian turned his glare onto Jason as Tim dropped down from the ceiling. Your eyes grew wide as you took in the sight of all of them. You had heard of the American heroes before, but you had never seen them before. “Bane got away. He ran once Damian showed up,” Tim reported, giving Damian an annoyed look. “However, I was able to hack his computer. This is his only setup within the Balkans, however.”
“Good,” Dick replied, pinching the bridge of his nose. “At least we got something out of this.”
“I will not apologize for saving (Y/N),” Damian defended, taking you out of Jason’s arms. You relaxed within his hold, wrapping your arms around your neck. Not knowing what to make of everything, you chose to simply close your eyes and rest your head on his shoulder. “She needs medical attention.”
“Yeah, we should get out of here anyway. The local police will be here any minute,” Tim added, bringing up his wrist computer.
Dick sighed, looking at how tightly Damian held you. He knew that if he even suggested leaving you here Damian would throw a fit. “Alright, let’s get back to the house.”
“They broke into my house after my boss refused to work with them,” you explained. You were sitting with Dick, Tim, Jason, and Damian at the kitchen table in the safe house with a cup of coffee in your hands. They checked you over, judging that you only had a few bruises and a mild concussion, so they felt you were well enough for questioning. Damian protested against it, but he was outnumbered. “They blew it up after they dragged me outside.”
Damian scooted closer to you at your words, placing his hand on top of yours. “I’m sorry, (Y/N). I should have known,” he apologized, leaning into you. You closed your eyes for a moment, enjoying his warmth.
“It is not your fault, Damian. You did not know,” you soothed, opening your eyes to see the other men staring at you in wonder. You blushed, ducking your head down. “They blew up the office too, and murdered my boss.” You took a deep breath, trying to hold back the tears. “Afterwards, they took me to the warehouse where you found me.”
You all fall silent for a moment while a few rogue tears escaped your eyes. “We’ll try to help you in any way we can, (Y/N),” Dick promised, noting the exhaustion in your eyes. He made eye contact with Damian. “Damian will take you somewhere you can rest.” Damian nodded before helping you stand.
“Thank you,” you said. Your heart warmed a little when you received a bright smile from Dick.
“We are the ones that should be thanking you, (Y/N),” Dick replied, shifting his gaze from you to Damian and back again. You blushed at the insinuation.
“TT,” Damian huffed as a blush also appeared onto his cheeks. He tried to get you out of the room before anyone else spoke, but Jason’s voice followed you.
“Make sure to use protection. The last thing we need is a little Damian running around.”
Damian coughed in response while you found a smile upon your lips for the first time that day. You both walked down the hallway until you reached one of the bedrooms. Damian led you inside, guiding you to sit on the bed before he started digging through a suitcase.
“Here,” he said, handing you a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. Judging by the size, you knew they were his. You smiled at him before gesturing for him to turn his back. He blushed, following your request.
“Do all Americans live double lives?” you asked as you changed out of your torn, dirty clothes into Damian’s clean ones.
“No,” Damian answered hesitantly. “Just my family mostly.”
“Why do you?” you replied, tapping him on the shoulder to let him know you were done changing. He turned around, swallowing hard at how good you looked in his clothes.
“We do it to help people, to save lives, to protect justice,” Damian explained as you sat on the edge of the bed, gesturing for Damian to sit beside you. He took your hand before sitting down beside you. “It’s like we have the ability to help people, so we have the responsibility to do it.”
You giggled at his words. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Damian smirked at you before rolling his eyes.
“I am not Spiderman,” he protested, squeezing your hand gently. You kissed his cheek. “TT.”
Meeting his gaze, you lost yourself. The connection between the two of you burned and simmered until you found your lips locked with his. Fireworks exploded through your mind, your body tingled in a way it never had before.
You broke apart a moment later, out of breath. The desire and longing in Damian’s eyes was reflected in your own, but you controlled yourselves. Aches from your bruises reminded you that you weren’t ready. Damian had a similar revelation, choosing to stand up from the bed to create some distance between you.
He shifted around uncomfortably before facing you again with a intensity that you hadn’t seen in him before. “(Y/N), I care about you deeply.”
“I care about you too, Damian,” you replied with a smile as you touched your lips. They still tingled from the pressure of his lips.
“I know this is sudden, and you have every reason to refuse,” Damian continued. He paced in front of you, wringing his hands. “But would you consider coming back to America with me?”
You felt your mouth drop open in shock as your mind went blank. “I…I do not know,” you whispered, trying to restart your brain.
“I’m only asking, because we probably won’t be here for much longer and I can’t stand the idea of not being able to see you everyday. I literally shake at the thought of leaving you here,” Damian ranted, dropping to his knees in front of you. “I know this is a big decision, and I shouldn’t have dropped this onto you with everything you had just been through, but I can’t stop myself.”
You studied him, finding his intentions to be pure. Suddenly, your brain started working again. “I will, because I can not stand the thought of not seeing you everyday too.” A genuine smile broke out on Damian’s face as he hugged you with all his strength. The breath was forced out of your lungs, but you didn’t mind.
He pulled back after a long moment to gently push you back into bed. “Rest, I’ll take care of the arrangements.”
“But we are not leaving right away?” you asked with a slight panic in your voice. You still had to say goodbye to your friends and family, not to mention clean up the ruins of your destroyed house.
Damian paused, sensing your panic. “No, Beloved,” he said. You smiled at the pet name. “We won’t leave until we finished our mission, and even when that happens we won’t leave until you’re ready.”
“Good,” you yawned as your tiredness caught up with you. Your eyelids grew heavier with each second. “Will you stay with me while I sleep?”
“Anything you want, Beloved,” Damian responded, kissing your forehead.
Unknown to both you and Damian, Dick, Jason, and Tim were standing outside of the bedroom door. Tim had a eavesdropping device attracted to the door, and was playing the conversation to Dick and Jason on a set of earbuds.
“I can’t believe he just asked her to come home with him,” Dick cooed with a toothy grin.
“I can’t believe she said yes,” Tim remarked, shaking his head. He knew he would be the one who would be figuring out the legal procedures to getting you into the country.
“Wait until Bruce finds out,” Jason chuckled. “He’s going to flip.” He turned to Tim. “We need to make sure we’re recording his reaction when he finds out.”
“Please as if I would overlook such a thing,” Tim replied sweetly as the boys abandoned the door of the now silent room to head back to the kitchen.
Okay so I decided to write Johnlock Dragon au fic. Add your ideas, I feel like it’s not good enough so I need something more creative
Here you go a brief summary:
So Sherlock is aždaja (dragon from mythology of Balkan region, but let’s call him a dragon). Aždaje are basically dragons that live in lakes and take young and pretty girls to their lake every day, and in Balkan Mythology they are often taking princesses from the Kingdom and a knight goes to the lake to kill a dragon and rescue her, and on the end they get married (logical). Sherlock will be half dragon, not fully dragon, similar to Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle kind of half-human form.
But I was going to make Sherlock take a girl, and John (who is the knight) goes to rescue her, but then when they meet in the lake Sherlock becomes aware of his sexuality and lets both girl and John go. But the next day Sherlock takes John from the Kingdom. Days have passed and John gets rescued by another cavalier but dragon and knight fell in love. At night, John sneaks out to the lake and spends time with Sherlock. Mycroft, who is king in this au, finds that out and throws John in the dungeon. Sherlock notices that his partner isn’t arriving lately and decides to go to kingdom in order to look for him. Not knowing of underground dungeons, Sherlock gets furious because he couldn’t find his loved one, thinking he’s gone forever. In his anger, he destroys and kills whole Kingdom, including John.
The Dragon (aždaja) (Sherlock)
Lieutenant Lestrade (Greg)
General Hudson (Mrs Hudson)
The Jester (Anderson)
be free to add some ideas and characters!
would you read it?
(maybe add Mary to be ala, which is dragon of the clouds and sky and makes natural disasters, and who is also conflicting with aždaja. They could fight over John?)
My last comic had some Prussia-Germany bonding and I got messsages telling me my historical comics are neat, so I figured it’s time I make a comic about some Austria-Germany history! Now, don’t take this too seriously, as far as I am aware, there’s no grudge against Austrians from our side and this is rather an opportunity to talk about history stuff.
There’s a number of references here that I will explain under a cut! (It’s been a while since I researched all this stuff, so forgive me some inaccuracies!)
1. Belgrade’s been around the block Belgrade is seriously old, and it’s seen a few things. Belgrade is the largest city in Serbia and its capital, but the “white city” has taken many forms since the beginnings of its settlement between 50,000 and 20,000 years ago. Thanks to its strategic location at the confluence of the Saba and Danube rivers, and intersection of Western and Oriental Europe, Belgrade has been fought over in 115 wars and razed to the ground 44 times, including by Attila the Hun, who had his way with the area in A.D. 442. In 1521 Belgrade was conquered by the Ottomans, and there followed a period of tug-of war between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, who took turns destroying the city, each leaving behind a cosmopolitan legacy. Belgrade was also the capital of Yugoslavia from its inception as a kingdom in 1918, throughout the post World War II socialist era, right up until Serbia was the last man standing in 2006. Serbs are notorious for their nationalism, but many Belgraders still express a ‘yugonostalgic’ longing for the multiculturalism and porous borders of the socialist era, with their shared origins and languages (Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are more or less reciprocal, although Serbian is the only one to use the Cyrillic alphabet).
2. It has a split personality Bisected by the Sava river, Belgrade is a town of two halves: the old and the new. New Belgrade was constructed during the socialist era and the grid of blocks retains its Soviet feel. It’s definitely worth exploring the area to get a feel for this important part of the region’s history, but most of the action is confined to the ‘old’ side. Different again, on the same side of the Sava as New Belgrade is Zemun, which used to be a separate city to Belgrade—a fact its residents will not let you forget. While Belgrade proper was under Ottoman rule, Zemun was an Austro-Hungarian outpost. Nowadays Zemun is officially part of the city of Belgrade, but climbing to the top of Gardos hill or a seafood lunch at a kafana along the banks of the Danube still feels like a mini-break from the main metropolis. 3. Don’t mention the war Be conscious that most people you will talk to in Belgrade have lived through the trauma of the Yugoslav wars, which lasted for a decade until 2001, ending the pan-Slavic experiment. The violence perpetrated by Serbian forces led the fledgling post-socialist republic to be ostracised from the international community for several years, while internally they struggled under the corruption and repression of the Milosevic era. A quick walk down Nemanjina Street and you’ll quickly realize why Belgrade’s recent history remains so present in people’s minds—the enormous destruction of the Yugoslav Ministry of Defence buildings, bombed during the NATO attack in 1999, dominates the streetscape. The former Yugoslavia was sliced and diced into a collection of nation-states bound by ethno-religious borders. These borders came about after the South Slavs (who migrated from an area around the Ukraine and Poland) crashed the Byzantine party in the Balkans regions, resulting in some religious osmosis from their new neighbours. The Serbian Orthodox church is a hangover from the early Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic Croatia congregated around the Roman religion, while the Ottomans’ Islam took root in Bosnia. Yugoslavia, first a kingdom and later, after World War II, a socialist regime headed by the still widely-adored Marshal Josip Broz Tito, was the region’s attempt to reignite a pan-Slavic identity and bring the religious disparity under one roof.The post-war years have not been kind to Belgrade: although some sectors of Serbia’s economy are on the up, helped by the promise of E.U. accession, the average wage remains low and unemployment, especially among the youth, is high. The ongoing political tension has resulted in a deep suspicion of the government, as well as foreign powers such as the U.S. and the E.U., that can border on conspiracy theory. The lack of capital in the Belgrade is visible throughout the city’s urban environment—blackened facades, cracked and crumbling flagstones, and out-of-date infrastructure.4. But Belgrade knows how to party Despite the millennia of tumult, from Attila the Hun to Slobodan Milosevic, shed any pre-conceived notions of war-ravaged Balkans—people in Belgrade like to have a good time. Cafés and bars are heaving day and night, and the terraces that crowd the pavements remind you that Italy and Greece are not so far away in terms of distance and culture. Belgrade has the Mediterranean lifestyle without the coastline. Coffee is taken very seriously here, but as the sun goes down, the espresso cups are replaced by beers or spritzes (the city’s de facto cocktail). Bars are squeezed into any available space—above, on, and below street level. One of the best things about Belgrade is exploring these neighbourhood establishments, each with their own distinct character. Use your discretion and you’ll find the staff and regulars (many of whom speak excellent English) will usually be very welcoming. 5. Coffee is a serious business It’s probably not an exaggeration that for some people in Belgrade drinking coffee is a full-time job. The city was put on the drip after the Ottomans brought their brew with them in the 16th century, which explains why ‘domestic’ coffee, or kafa, bears a strong resemblance to what many people know as Turkish. The story goes that the very next year the first kafana(coffeehouse) was opened in Belgrade, in 1522.For those who find the bitter viscosity of kafa a bit much, espresso is no less of an occupation here, and is probably more common these days, with a slew of independent cafes and chain stores opening around the city. If you’ve had the misfortune of living in less caffeine-oriented places, you’ll be astounded by the quality while being bemused that menus also usually offer Nescafe. There is also a new wave of specialty local roasters fuelling the city’s addiction—Przionica is one worth checking out if you worship at the altar of the bean.6. The market is where it’s at If you want to experience the heartbeat of Belgrade, head to the green markets, held daily. The biggest is Kalenic, but you can’t beat Zeleni Venac: the crazy architecture, spectacular view, and central location. All Belgrade markets have a flea market and fresh produce section. In the latter, locals hustle their homemade specialities: ajvar, kajmak, pickled chillies, honey, and even homemade rakija (a dangerous yet delicious prospect) sold in recycled glass jars or plastic bottles. It’s common not to see any other tourists, so communication can be difficult if you don’t speak Serbo-Croat. A few courteous essentials—dobar dan (good day), hvala (thank you)—a lot of gesticulation and a smile will get you pretty far. If all else fails most vendors will write down the price for you.
7. You must acquire the taste of rakija Balkan states, despite their national pride, can’t deny that they all have rakijain common. A fruit brandy, rakija can be made from quince, pear, apricot, or peaches—but the Serbian national version (and arguably the most intense) issljivovica, made from the Damson plums that grow in abundance throughout the country (there is even a village called Šljivovica in Western Serbia). ‘Real’rakija is made from pure fruit, with no added sugar, and is double distilled—many Serbs make their own, swearing by its health benefits and drinking a small glass, alongside a coffee and sweetened fruits, for breakfast.Keep your rakija training wheels on at first with medovaca, which has honey added to make it softer and sweeter. Once you get a taste for it, work your way up to sljivovica, which is guaranteed to warm the heart (in fact the wordrakija comes from an Arabic word meaning sweat). Rakija is served straight and sipped from small vials, accompanied by a glass of water to keep you from dehydrating. For something special, head to specialists Rakia Bar for a tasting of their artisanal creations. Živeli (cheers)!8. Breakfast burek is the new breakfast burrito A proper Belgrade burek is a thing of beauty—there is a reason these things are sold by weight. The shattering crunch of layers of flaky pastry. The inevitable searing burn of the filling, punishing you for being too impatient. You tell yourself you won’t eat the whole thing but of course you do, until all that remains are stray, buttery crumbs. All over your chest. Burek are available in sweet (fruit or ricotta-like cheese) or savoury (anything from cheese, spinach, mushroom to meat) and are traditionally washed down with drinkable yoghurt—an intense combination that somehow works. You’ll definitely get the goods at old school bakery Pekara Carli: what they lack in variety, they make up for in freshness. If you’re into nocturnal consumption, Europan has a wider selection of fillings and is open 24 hours. 9. Serbian food = pork, sauce, repeat Balkans cuisine is certainly no vegetarians’ paradise, unless you are happy to subsist entirely on burek. Belgrade’s food is an edible tour of the region’s history: you’ll find Turkish-influenced kifle, baklava, and cevapcici—a minced meat—sharing the menu with Greek specialties and Austrian-inspired tortenand schnitzel, Vienna’s famous breaded pork escalope, which in Belgrade has been upgraded to become a hefty cream cheese-stuffed version which comes smothered in tartar sauce, and garnished with tomato and lemon slices forming a Karadjordjevic star—the Serbian Monarchy medal.Traditional Serbian meals are full of strong flavours. Hearty stews and basically any form of meat—grilled, cured, or stuffed with cheese—feature prominently, usually served alongside salads, bread, and condiments. Sauces are big here, from kajmak (Serbia’s answer to clotted cream) to ajvar (a spicy, red pepper paste).Legend has it the preponderance of pork originated as a form of gastronomic resistance to the Ottoman overlords. Serbian food might be rustic, but due to the fertile land and relatively late industrialization, the quality of ingredients is high, even in basic restaurants. For a lighter touch, there are several new restaurants putting a more refined twist on traditional tastes such as Pire Slow Food and Homa.You can’t leave without trying pljeskavica—the hamburger’s illegitimate brother and a Belgrade staple. Loki is possibly the only pljeskavica purveyor salubrious enough to have a chandelier and is a great place to try these curiously spongy yet delicious grilled patties. The biggest are the size of dinner plates, folded over with their edges poking out of soft hamburger buns. ‘The lot’ Serbian style includes an insane amount of garnishes—pickled cabbage, onions, chilli, mustard, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, and spicy cream cheese. This big, wet mess is best enjoyed in your darkest moment, swaddled in napkins. Pizza in Belgrade has also been ‘Serbified’ (code for adding condiments). Locals queue at all hours of the night at Bucko Pizza on Francuska Street for thin-crust slices topped with a choice of colourful flavored spreads—the mushroom dip is oddly compelling. 10. Take a breath of fresh air—and hold it Serbia has staunchly resisted kowtowing to anti-smoking lobbies—you can still smoke inside all restaurants and bars. Entering a restaurant through a smoky haze is certainly a novelty, but it becomes problematic when you don’t want to consume second-hand smoke with your meal, or at all. If you’re nostalgic at the thought of lighting up indoors (I’m convinced this explains the number of French tourists in Belgrade) this will be great news. For everyone else, the city offers a healthy quota of terraces, which give you a bit more room to breathe. If you’re spending time in enclosed spaces, take advantage of the city’s relatively cheap dry-cleaning the next day to ensure your clothes don’t bring back an olfactory souvenir. 11. In Serbia you can make your first million (in dinar) Serbia’s currency is valued pretty low compared to the Euro, making Belgrade a spendthrift’s dream as far as accommodation and food are concerned. As the economy has increased, so have Belgrade’s prices, but compared to most European cities you can eat, drink and sleep like a king, for less than a princely sum. Some of the neighbouring Balkan states are already E.U. members—to deal with the constant headache of cross-border exchange issues, you can exchange euro or U.S. dollars for dinar in ATMs, and there is also a plethora of menjacnica (money exchanges). As dodgy as these holes-in-the-wall look, with their gaudy flashing lights and post-apocalyptic vibe, the rates aren’t bad and you won’t be charged a commission. There’s not a great deal of variation so no need to shop around.
12. Here, partying is a water sport Technically it might not have a beach, but Belgrade’s surplus of river frontage means that water plays a big part in city life. Belgraders party all year round on splavs (short for splavovi)—bars and clubs on permanently moored boats along the banks of the Sava and Danube. Before you jump aboard, remember that the abomination known as turbo-folk is still popular in Belgrade (and this goes for land bars too).Nothing will kill a waterside buzz like hours of souped-up folk music, so choose your splav wisely (20/44 is one known to have a more eclectic playlist). Into a more low-key river experience? Ada Ciganlija is an island-cum-peninsula smack-bang in the middle of the Sava. For those outdoors types it has a swimmable lake, sports fields, bike paths and loads of forests, plus concerts and festivals in the summer.13. You can reclaim the city Like any good ex-communist capital, Belgrade has no shortage of abandoned buildings. These days many of them have been given a new lease on life, whether as fully-fledged enterprises or underground cultural venues. Get a taste in riverside neighbourhood Savamala, a once-thriving commercial centre, now reborn as a creative hub. Jazz clubs and gay bars are cloistered amongst ruined townhouses next to the Brankow Bridge, new cafés inhabit warehouses on Karadjordjevic Street. Further out of the city, larger spaces like former studios Inex Films have become quasi-official headquarters for various arts and cultural organisations. You can usually wander around these graffiti-covered ‘not squats’ during the day, in the evenings they often host—albeit sporadically—exhibitions, film screenings, and gigs.
14. How to be a lonely visitor in Dorcol There are plenty of neighbourhoods in Belgrade where you’ll feel like the only visitor, and Dorcol, stretching from the lower half of the old city right down to the Danube, gets my money. Locals there are notoriously parochial, and for good reason—it has the best of the old and the new. Home to one of Belgrade’s biggest clusters of historic buildings, you have easy access to the rest of the city and plenty to keep you busy close by. The former industrial zone near the river is slowly gentrifying: drink some of the city’s best coffee at micro-roastery Przionica or take a break from barbecued meats at fine dining restaurant Homa. Stately thoroughfare Kralja Petra is a one-street archi-tour, with candy-colored facades ranging from Baroque to Art Deco and charming historic frontages like San Marina Chocolates and Sava Perfumes.15. How to avoid getting stuck in the S bend Belgrade’s two most overrated streets are easy to remember: they both start with S and they intersect. Skadarska, the so-called Balkans Street, may have once been bohemian, but is now filled with competing, cacophonous Serbian bands and ersatz eateries. There are a couple of decent historic places serving solid Serbian fare, but there are fewer tourists and far better food and ambience elsewhere. Belgrade’s best known bar strip, Strahinjića Bana, is the other end of the spectrum. Basically a very long catwalk for locals and tourists, the panoply of sterile bars and restaurants, over-priced beauty salons and black SUVs is good for people watching and not much else. The good news is, walk only metres from this street and you’ll find loads of options with much more soul.16. C is for Serbo-Croat If you’re stressed about Cyrillic, don’t be—in Serbia, Serbo-Croat is usually written in Latin script as well and words in Latin script are pronounced phonetically. If you’ve got a basic knowledge of Greek, Russian, or another Slavic tongue—or you’re a language savant—you’ll probably be able to decipher some of the signs that are only in Cyrillic. You might run into problems with Google Maps, which normally puts both Cyrillic and Latin versions for street names—except where there’s not enough room on the screen. Many Belgraders (especially the younger generation or those working in retail or hospitality) can speak pretty impressive English, and even non-touristy restaurants will often have English menus. Memorize a couple of essentials to help you on your way: pivo (beer), molim (please).
17. Do the time warp One of the most enduring legacies of the Ottoman occupation, a kafana is a traditional café—the kind of place you enter and time seems to stand still, if not rewind. Although found throughout the Balkans, in Belgrade they are an institution, achieving cult status even among the younger generations. Generally tending towards the patriarchal side, it is possible to find some that have a slightly more gender-balanced clientele. Beyond copious amounts of coffee, beer and rakija, these smoke-filled dens will dish up a best of compilation of Serbian classics from fat, glistening pork sausages served with white beans in sauce to cevapcici (grilled, skinless sausages). You may cross the threshold and feel like the ultimate out-of-towner among the regulars propping up the bar, but do your reconnaissance, hold your ground and crack out every last skerrick of your Serbo-Croat and who knows, the cool kids might let you join their card game.
Can u describe the differences between regional Balkan accents? For example Zagreb, Sarajevo, Belgrade, etc
This response will cover details of dialects spoken by people of Serbian nationality, while other dialect groups will only generally be described.
In BC(M)S there are three distinctive types of speech which are commonly called “narečja”. Those are
Shtokavian is the most broadly spoken nowadays and its name is derived from question word “što” and typically its characteristics are vocal transitions from /l/ to /o/ (so masculine past forms, like pisal or radil are pisao and radio), the accents are moved from the last syllable etc. New shtokavian dialects have additional characteristics such as the four accent system and specific rules about accent positions.
Shtokavian narečje has three distinctive groups of dialects which are
Ekavica is commonly spoken in Vojvodina, central, eastern and southern Serbia. In ekavica old vocal “jat” (Ѣ) is commonly replaced with /e:/, although in some cases it’s also replaced with i.
Among people of Serbian nationality ekavica is typically spoken in three dialects:
1. Prizrensko-timočki is spoken in southern Kosovo, southern-eastern Serbia, northern Macedonia and western Bulgaria around the border with Serbia. This dialect has only one accent (short-descending), only three grammatical case forms (nominative, accusative and vocative) and it kept majority of proto-slavic sounds.
2. Kosovsko-resavski is spoken in northern Kosovo, central Serbia and eastern Serbia. This dialect has only descending accents which are moved one syllable back compared to standard language. It has 5-7 grammatical cases depending on subdialect. It often uses aorist and imperfect which are normally perceived as archaic and fell out of use in standard language.
3. Šumadijsko-vojvođanski is spoken in north-western Serbia, Belgrade and Šumadija. This dialect uses all four accents, all seven grammatical cases and has group -ao convert to -o (skako, pevo, sviro instead of skakao, pevao, svirao). It is, for the most part, used as standard language in Serbia.
Ijekavica is commonly spoken in Bosnia and Herzegovina, biggest part of Croatia and Montenegro and western Serbia, on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. In ijekavica old vocal “jat” (Ѣ) is commonly replaced with je and ije.
Among people of Serbian nationality ijekavica is typically spoken in two dialects:
1. Zetsko-južnosandžački is spoken in southern Montenegro and region of Serbia commonly referred to as Sandžak. It has two accents, long-ascending and short-descending which can be located even on the last syllable. Infinitive doesn’t have an i at the end of the word (mislit and pjevat instead of misliti and pjevati).
2. Istočno-hercegovački is the most commonly spoken dialect, and it’s spoken in the biggest part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia. This dialect has a different declination in plural forms, four accent system, often doesn’t have sound h, and ao is condensed into o. It also keeps aorist and imperfect in southern subdialects. It is used as standard language basis in Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro and was also a basis for Serbo-Croatian standard language.
Ikavica is commonly spoken in western Bosnia and Croatia. In ikavica old vocal “jat” (Ѣ) is commonly replaced with i.
Chakavian is spoken in western Croatia by 12% of Croatian population and its name is derived from question word “ča” and typically its characteristics are old accentuating which consists of three accents and words keep old Slavic accent positions, lack of dž, conditional forms bin-biš-bimo-bite etc.
Chakavian narečje has five distinctive groups of dialects which are
Ikavsko-ekavski is commonly spoken north-western and mid-western Croatia. In Ikavsko-ekavski old vocal “jat” (Ѣ) is commonly replaced with e (if in front of t, d, s, z, l, r, n which are followed up by either a, o, u) or i (every other case).
Closed ekavica is commonly spoken in the very north of Croatia. In closed ekavica old vocal “jat” (Ѣ) is commonly replaced with ẹ (however scripted as a simple e).
There is also a split based on the region where specific dialects belong which is
Kajkavian is spoken in northern and central Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Vojvodina by 31% of Croatian population and its name is derived from question word “kaj” and typically its characteristics are having 7 vowels (closed e and closed o, which are however scripted the same as e and o), in some dialects conversion of z to s and m to n at the end of the word, genitive plural doesn’t have extensions (instead of sela sel) etc.
25 remarkable things you did not know about Macedonia
It was 25 years ago today that
Macedonia celebrated independence from the failed state of Yugoslavia.
To mark the occasion, here are 25 things you did not know about the
1. That’s the ‘Republic of Macedonia’ to you
The country has had some controversy around its name, with Greece
also laying claim to the title of Macedonia for one of its northern
regions, much of which fell within the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.
The dispute is still a hot potato, which is why Macedonia is officially
known as the Republic of Macedonia and was entered into the EU and Nato
as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – or FYROM for short.
2. It’s high
There are more than 50 lakes and 34 mountains higher than 2,000
metres. It has the fifth highest average elevation of any country in
Europe (741m), behind Andorra (highest), Switzerland, Austria and
Tringë Smajl Martini was an Albanian guerrilla fighter who fought against the occupation of the Turkish Ottoman Empire of Albania during the early 20th century. She was active in the Malësia region, which is now part of Southern Montenegro following the kidnapping of her father Smajl Martini, a Catholic clan leader of the Grudë tribe. She was in an interesting heroine for that region as she was known to wear male clothing.
Due to her valiant efforts against the Ottoman Empire she is widely known as one of the most heroic women in the Balkan region, and in 1911 was nicknamed the ‘Albanian Joan of Arc’ by the New York Times. There are several areas named after her in both Albania and Montenegro.
The Archduke and Duchess Sophie leaving the town hall in Sarajevo, only five minutes before they would be shot.
In an event that is widely acknowledged to have sparked the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is shot to death along with his wife, Duchess Sophie, by a Serbian nationalist (of the Black Hand) in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on this day in 1914.
The great Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck, the man most responsible for the unification of Germany in 1871, was quoted as saying at the end of his life that “One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.” It went as he predicted.
The archduke traveled to Sarajevo in June 1914 to inspect the imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Ottoman territories in the turbulent Balkan region that were annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908 to the indignation of Serbian nationalists, who believed they should become part of the newly independent and ambitious Serbian nation.
On June 28, 1914, then, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were touring Sarajevo in an open car, with surprisingly little security, when Serbian nationalist Nedjelko Cabrinovic threw a bomb at their car; it rolled off the back of the vehicle and wounded an officer and some bystanders. Later that day, on the way to visit the injured officer, the archduke’s procession took a wrong turn at the junction of Appel quay and Franzjosefstrasse, where one of Cabrinovic’s cohorts, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, happened to be loitering.
Seeing his opportunity, Princip fired into the car, shooting Franz Ferdinand and Sophie at point-blank range. Princip then turned the gun on himself, but was prevented from shooting it by a bystander who threw himself upon the young assassin. A mob of angry onlookers attacked Princip, who fought back and was subsequently wrestled away by the police. Meanwhile, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie lay fatally wounded in their limousine as it rushed to seek help; they both died within the hour.
Ubisoft needs to make an Assassins Creed which revolves around the Balkan regions of Europe. I think it’d be cool to see how the Ottoman Empire fell since it was so powerful during Revelations with Ezio. It’d be a cool story line to see a bunch of assassins from different Balkan regions put aside their differences like Serbian, Macedonia, Kosovo, Croatia and Bulgaria join forces to overpower the Ottomans which leads to the fall in 1923. My grandparents would tell me stories of my great grandparents and how they fought along side the Macedonian Komiti (freedom fighters) against the Ottomans.
“In September 2012, I spent a day in Odžak, Bosnia, reporting a story for the New Yorker about Balkan Endemic Nephropathy, a mysterious kidney disease that only affects isolated agrarian communities in Bulgaria, Romania, and former Yugoslavia. I was traveling with my father, a nephrologist who used to study this rare disease in the late 1980s, before research was suspended by the war.
The Croatian and Bosnian endemic regions were right next to each other, but everything seemed more difficult in Bosnia. Fewer patients had access to kidney transplants. Medical equipment was a bit older. Research was impeded by more bureaucratic obstacles. The nephrologist at the Odžak hospital didn’t speak English, but had hired a translator for the day: Željko Paradžik, a young law graduate from the village of Prud. We spent the afternoon touring the endemic villages together, interviewing patients and their families, and tramping around the cornfields and wetlands, looking for poisonous weeds. Željko was so helpful and conscientious that I put him in touch with the photographer I was working with, and they later toured the region together. They even made a stop at a Bosnian monastery, where I had heard that the monks might have death records with information about the disease. Željko talked his way into the monastery so that the photographer could take a few shots of the death records, before the monks kicked them out.
Last Tuesday, I woke up to find an email from Željko about the devastation of his village, Prud, by the worst flooding in decades. (All the Balkan nephropathy regions are prone to flooding, and floods may contribute to causing the disease.) He told me that the whole region we had visited together was under water, that he had lost his home, that his three cats were trapped in the attic, and that he was planning a “rescue mission.” In the subsequent days, newspapers have carried reports of “tons of animal carcasses” stagnating in the water, and of twenty-year-old landmines dislodged by the floods. There have also been reports of unexpected solidarity among the region’s once embattled peoples—of Montenegro and Macedonia sending money, volunteers, and diving and medical teams; of the Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic donating the prize money from the Rome Masters and raising funds for Bosnia and Croatia, as well as for Serbia. It’s good to know that, even when history seems to be running in a loop, things don’t always happen exactly the same way. In a certain sense, it’s better to lose your home in a flood, than in a fire set by your neighbor. But, in another sense, it isn’t really all that different.
Over the past week, in the downtime from trying to save people and animals, Željko has been writing an account of his experiences. I hope that his moving words will bring support to his home for the long road ahead.”
Beacon Light from Odžak in Bosnia
BY ŽELJKO PARADŽIK
Disastrous floods ravaged Bosnia last week. It took cities, villages and everything that was alive and had no chance of escaping such a monstrous pile of water, debris and rain. It looked like the entire atmosphere was against us and was seeking to obliterate us. The thought of salvation was narrowly bright. This was second time the people of Bosnia had to experience something as perilous as the gory war almost two decades ago. The floods came like insatiable beasts who were determined to devour everything—we and our entire infrastructure violently chewed in its mouth.
With their meager defenses, Bosnia’s small communities were hit hardest, especially in the areas surrounded by rivers. When the water wound up in the small municipality of Odžak—a plain area in the North crossed by two large rivers, Sava and Bosna—we were stranded and alone in our fight. We had no means for handling the power of the water, no way of corresponding so as to receive help. We were cut off from others as the two rivers were cataclysmically plunging in with great velocity, along with the water from the rapidly harrowed places in the higher parts of country, which had been hit first.
The long-term consequences are bleak in this place of frail budgetary and industrial infrastructures. Our plight initially received no media coverage, and the situation was mostly in hands of locals and some scarce help from a rescuing team from Croatia. Without anyone to blame, news simply travelled too late. Once the cry was heard, everything had become one big lake.
In my village, Prud, located along two rivers, we felt like cats in a bag that were about to be thrown into a river to drown. We were minuscule before this ancient force. Ground was melting away like ice, and armies of debris took us down. Then the water conquered other villages: Zorice, Vojskova, Dubica, Novo Selo, Osječak, Ada and Svilaj. It hit the neighboring city of Bosanski Šamac in the Republic Of Srpska. All of us were refugees within hours—thousands of people now homeless, sick and socially endangered. After a hectic evacuation, we were embraced and given improvised shelters by the kind people of Odžak, and those in nearby towns that had not been ruined by the storms.
We began to count the human casualties. The majority of the wildlife and domestic animals were drowned. The hospitals were full and staff and supplies insufficient. After three days, Odžak began to get outside help as news slowly spread.
Due to the fact that the Posavina region (comprising Odžak and Orašje) is an area of rivers, animals and forest, there is a great risk that deadly diseases could reach epidemic proportions, given the smothered animals, insects and high temperatures. Most of the water is still there. People are eager to return to their homes, yet the water destroyed dams, bridges, roads, electricity and houses. Resuming normal life seems impossible. The people of Bosnia have once again suffered a collective psychological shock, and many of us are simply too old to begin to build anew without a strong system to reach our hands to.
On this day 15 years ago, a US led NATO attack bombed my country of Serbia for 78 days. This illegal and out-of-line action resulted in 1000s of deaths for the Serb people and the Albanian population that was meant to be protected. The “Alliance” bypassed UN charter and law under a “humanitarian” pretext and launched an aggression that caused a much larger catastrophe than it averted by destroying countless lives, butchering and killing men, women and children under the claim of collateral damage, crippling the economy by destroying state-owned businesses unaffiliated with the war, leaving millions across the entire Balkan region homeless and/or jobless, and leaving countless people affected through either having a person close to them killed or someone they know be killed. The rest of the world watched through their CNN’s and Fox News’ as one of the most biased, lie-filled and unjustified war-reporting took place without any consent for those in the midst of it.
What history tends to agree with is generalized facts. Facts that come to a consensus among a majority. Bombs didn’t and won’t solve anything. What should be considered by American foreign policy reformers is a drastic change in protocol to deal with other nations when foreign territories face times of violent crisis without having to resort to military measures. The current number of civilians being killed due to US intervention around the globe is simply too high to continue using the same strategy of bombardment and ground attacks. Diplomacy needs to be exercised to a much greater extent. It works.
The bottom line is that Serbia was fighting on its own sovereign soil against ethnic forces unlawfully restricting civil liberties to the Serbian population in Kosovo. A country cannot invade itself therefore, the very notion of Serbian citizens forcefully required to leave Kosovo is illegal in itself. Peaceful resolution just as easily could have been achieved through diplomacy and patience. Having 12,000 casualties, 300 schools, libraries, over 20 hospitals and at least 40,000 homes either completely destroyed or damaged is not something that should be forgotten so easily.
Most of the Balkan region has been affected by floods of catastrophic proportions, which have so far claimed at least 20 lives. This figure is significantly higher according to some sources. The flooding has crippled Serbia and Bosnia, as well as Croatia as of yesterday. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and more then 250,000 homes remain without power. Most sources suggest this is “the biggest flood ever recorded in Balkan history. We are still not fully aware of actual dimensions of the catastrophe.
The magnitude of this natural disaster, still unfolding, is indeed frightening and the lack of reports about it in the world mainstream media comes as a big surprise.
It seems the major world media still treat floods in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia as "secondary” news.
Um you're catholic but you reblog muslim stuff?? Kay that makes sense.
Yeah. I’ve explained this before, so pay attention because this will be the last.
I am Catholic. My dad and his family are Catholic. Look at my name– my last name is as Catholic as it gets. My mom’s family is Muslim; her family has Turkish ancestry. Albania (and the rest of the Balkan region) was ruled by the Ottoman Turks for ~500 years, by the way. I was raised with both religions, so I respect both religions and cultures. To reject my Islamic ancestry would be to reject my identity. Although I am Catholic, I believe that Islam (a peaceful religion) has many teachings that anyone can apply in his/her daily life; however, I only believe and follow in the Catholic faith.
The image of the Balkans as a kind of internal Other, or semi-Other, has a special position in the context where some European countries are members of the EU while others attempt to obtain that status. The Western Balkans are an ideal replacement for the former Balkan Other (the Balkans as a whole, Southeastern Europe), essential for maintaining this kind of otherness: geographically speaking, the Balkan countries, candidates for EU membership, are undoubtedly part of Europe and it is where they belong historically and in terms of civilization (these are constant ideological features emphasized by both European and local politicians), but they have a lot of work ahead of them before they can become “European” or part of Europe. On the other hand, within this ambiguous space and within the political, ideological and cultural context “in which some countries’ Europeaneity is given, while others have to work for it” (Hammond 2006, 8), discourse on the accession of the Western Balkan countries i.e., the region that has been traditionally understood as Europe’s periphery in need of supervision, guidance and training provided by the West, appears as an ideal arena for the shaping of a new European Orientalism.
To all those pundits and pseudo-activists exploiting the image of three-year old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi washing up dead on Turkey’s shores for their own agenda, and who still despicably believe in some sort of an “organic uprising against a brutal dictator” in Syria, in spite of all the overwhelming evidence that proves otherwise, let’s be unequivocally clear:
Had it not been for Washington, the illegitimate Israeli entity, the GCC, the Erdogan-Davutoglu regime and colonialist European states arming, training, funding and sending Takfiri lunatics to besiege and terrorize the people of the Syrian Arab Republic, not to mention partaking in criminal NATO interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, there wouldn’t be any refugees fleeing their homelands in search of a life free of war and terrorism in the first place.
So wake up and smell the conspiracy, this isn’t a “refugee crisis” but this is rather part and parcel of the Zionist-Imperialist project to balkanize our region. And the only genuine and effective forces standing at the forefront of fiercely combating this scheme are the Syrian Arab Army, Hizbullah, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Yemen’s Ansarullah.