But, to the inhabitants in the Balkans, the attacks are real. Aleksandar Beric is experiencing war from the other side. He started out with a few emails to an American friend in Galesburg who was checking on some relatives. Through her, he has since answered a wide range of questions for us in depth. The following dispatches present a different view of the bombing and the situation than what we hear or read.
Greetings from Serbia! There are no war operations in our area yet (including Erdevik also) Novi Sad was attacked several times. No information about human casualties. In this very moment I can hear sirens for the end of the danger.
We are all confused. CNN lies many things about us. They have silence for truth. They said nothing about losses of NATO aircraft. Our military units shot down two airplanes in Srem. It was not far away from Erdivik and people saw that. At my home I watched CNN and SKY News. No word about it.
They published that the Serbs killed 20 people (Albanians) and some teacher in front of children. Albanian children were avoiding school for a couple of years. Albanians from Kosovo didn't want to see their children in school with our kids. Believe me, they didn't start their own school in the middle of the war.
Clinton and Blair make excuses for NATO airstrikes. That's why they are saying lies about us. Kosovo is a part of Serbia for centuries and we'll defend it no matter who is the attacker. We (and you) are proud people with twelve centuries' history of defending wars. Please, at least explain to your friends that we are not animals, just people like everywhere else.
Here I am again. [Air] strikes are off for a while. Finally got used to sleep for hour from time to time and to get relaxed. What can I tell you? We are under aggression. U.S. Air Force & Albanian terrorists on ground. If we talk about humanitarian crises, well, now it is on. We are bombed through nights. Daylight is kind of nicer part. People are hiding in basements and hideaways.
Good our construction style is different than in States, so our houses are mostly standing if bombing is a mile [away]. Tonight two Tomahawks missed TV studio in Pristina and have fallen on a settlement. I guess they want to shut our mouths up. But truth will survive. I'm so amazed Americans swallow all that is served to them by government. No critic minds. Well, this is bad time. Do you think that Germans believed Adolf 'cause they are all Nazis or because Hitler had good propaganda?
What can I tell you more? Windows are shaking, I wake on every sound similar to sirens. I even dreamed air attack. And what woke me from nightmare? Air strike sirens! Damn. Tonight we shot down F-117 bomber. But what makes me glad is that there are more and more protests in world by common people and I think if anything makes this barbarism stop that will be voice of common people. I have to answer few more letters, now I have some peace time. Love to all , keep smiling.
From: "Aleksandar Beric" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 14:09:49
Greetings from Serbia!
I received e-mail with some questions. I hope that Norm Winick is your good friend. Send this mail to The Zephyr, please! If they want to publish it, the only condition is to publish my email address under the text as well. I want them to know that I'm proud I'm Serb! Please, check the text (you know, Tarzan English...).
Your cousins in Erdevik are well. I haven't seen them since February but we are in touch (phone). Danilo don't go to school, Dragana was ill but she is OK now. Although they are kids they understand everything. There is no smile on their faces. We all pray for our peace and your health! Sincerely Aleksandar.
At first, let me introduce myself. My name is Aleksandar Beric. I'm a radio DJ and a journalist as well.
I'm 25 and I graduated History in Novi Sad (bombed also). I live in Sremska Mitrovica, 70 kilometers (about 45 miles) west of Belgrade.
Here is some information for you that you are interested in.
1. People in Yugoslavia, not only the Serbs, do not hate American people. We are very angry and furious with your president and his politics. Many answers for you here will be questions in fact. So, ask your friends or cousins if they would like to bomb some people or country so far away. Do we endanger your borders or national security? As we know, your Mr. President deserted during the Vietnam War. Now, he tries to make your new Vietnam. Is it gonna be a fine Easter present for American youth? Of course there are various opinions here. The Albanians are satisfied with NATO attacks but not completely.
They want you and other NATO members to be there in Kosovo. Would you like to see some (for example) Chinese military units near your border in Texas? Would you like to be told: "The Mexicans have majority in Texas so they want to separate and if you don't want to give them peacefully we'll bomb you!" I repeat: we are not angry with American people! You have to think about your President! Serbia is not Monica! To be polite I'm gonna leave out some adjectives for him and his NATO friends.
2. Every normal and healthy man knows that violence is bad. So ALMOST everybody condemns NATO air strikes.
We are all against war, anytime or anywhere. Nobody is neutral. NATO actions are saluted by Croats, Moslems and Albanians who live in our country. Why is that so? The answer is hidden in history
The Serbs had their own state in 10th century. It was founded in the Kosovo area. For next 400 years it became a modern country, a center of civilizations. In 14th century powerful Turkey attacked Serbia. The final battle was in 1389 in Kosovo. There was no winner. Soon, Serbia lost its independence. The whole rest of central and western Europe was thankful because Serbia stopped Turkey in its progress in the middle of Europe. Other Europeans did nothing to help us in the final battle or later.
We were lonely in our efforts to achieve freedom for almost 500 years. Finally we succeeded with some help from Russia. Turkey left Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia so we were free at last but not for a long. New powerful kingdom.
Austria (Germans) tried to conquest us. We said NO again and it was a start of World War I. Russia helped us again. So we became eternal friends. During that war we were allies with France, England and USA. Russians gave us guns, medicines, food and (unfortunately) communism. 20 years later Hitler tried to change European map. Serbs (Yugoslavia) said NO again. We were bombed on April 6, 1941. As you know well, Germany's allies were Italians and Japanese. In Yugoslavia their Nazi allies were Croats, Moslems and Albanians. So the battles started. Croats killed more than 500,000 Serbs in Jasenovac's camp!
Due to organized massacres during the WWII (1,600,000 victims: Serbs,Jews,Gypsies,etc) Croats are not minority in their own country, in Croatia. Moslems in Bosnia were also against us while we were against Germans. Croats, Moslems and Alabanians made religious war against Serbs. Evidently, it's not over. Sorry, we'll never be Catholics or else. Let's go to Kosovo in WWII. "Ethnic" Albanians also made massacres to make themselves a majority there.
They didn't make it. Do you know who helped them later? Communism. After big war we (Serbs) were told there was no God, we had to forget our national history, we had to be Yugoslavs. Ask the Serbs from USA who moved there after 1945. Also, we were learned we had to forgive them Moslems, Albanians and Croats especially) everything. We had not even to mention that "war things" because of "brotherhood and unity." Now you know why we don't like each other. Nobody is neutral. Let's go to Kosovo again. After the WWII, Albanians made pressure on other nations in Kosovo. They made their narcotic industry (INTERPOL knows that) using that unworthily earned money to buy Serbian private properties. OK we were selling them and that is our mistake. But you have to know that everybody who didn't want to sell his house had big problems with Albanian chauvinists. Democratic policy was also developed. The project of Great Albania went on. In WWII Italy promised them such a state, but you know history of Mussolini, don't you? Albanian tasks were:
a) to move Serbs as much it is possible.
b) to make children as much it is possible.
Same thing is in the Western of Macedonia.
3. There are NO neutrals. If there are some inhabitants in this country who think this is not their war then the answer on your question is in your question.
4. We all think that this action is NATO action led by USA. "World Policeman" that's how people call USA.
5. My area is minimally damaged. We try to live normally. Stores are full and opened. Worry is not absent but there is no panic. It is hard when you know you have aircraft flying above your head. Will they drop their "cargo" on your head or you will be "lucky" today? People are very angry with NATO. Morality is very high. Many of us are not President Milosevic's fans but now you have 10 million Milosevics in this country!
6.-7. It is very hard to solve these problems. At first NATO must stop to bomb us. If it continues it is just matter of time when will Russia involve. That means new world war. I hope I'm wrong. International community must find a way to convince both sides to talk not to war. You must realize that Kosovo is a part of Serbia and all we are ready to die for our sacred land. Albanians must realize that we won't let them separate. They can live in Serbia and Yugoslavia with all rights just like all other nations. Separation no way!
8. I think that there are three big powerful sides in the world: USA (NATO), Russia (with Ukraine & Belorus) and China. Whole this NATO operation is made for some other aims. NATO's goal is to make another step approaching to Russia. The answer on this question is between these lines. Think about NATO's excuses for this operation. They don't care about Albanians or about Serbs or some other "small" nations. We are just a territory for them. France, Spain, UK, Italy, Canada (members of NATO) have the same problem like Yugoslavia has separation! Is Quebec going to be bombed in the future? Think about it! I have more questions than I have answers. Just like you!
9. Actually I'm not from Erdevik. I live in Sremska Mitrovica. It is a capital town in Srem district with 50000 inhabitants. Erdevik is peaceful village 15 miles western of Sremska Mitrovica. Erdevik's wine is famous in this part of Europe.
It was not under attack yet!
From: "Aleksandar Beric" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Serbia Is Calling
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 22:55:
Information for Norm Winick. NATO lost another aircraft. It fell down in Republic of Srpska (Pale, serbian territory in Bosnia). My sources in France confirmed this but CNN, SKY News & ABC News said nothing.
P..S. You have an excellent website.