BELGRADE – Everyone here’s been very nice to me, but my first lecture happened to fall on the 11th anniversary of the onset of the NATO (mostly American) aerial bombardment of Belgrade, which a few people mentioned. 3.24 is their 9.11 – except that the bombardment lasted 78 days. The city runs sirens at noon every year to commemorate the day. Professional people – authors, musicians, scholars – have told me stories of huddling in their basements, their knees giving way from fear, making their way to the grocery store through the rubble of buildings, having to forego cancer treatments because the hospitals could only handle emergencies. I don’t know much about the politics behind the engagement, and almost don’t want to – though Noam Chomsky considered the NATO attack unconscionable, and I tend to trust him more than anyone. But there’s got to be some way to resolve international disagreements besides dropping bombs in crowded downtown areas, terrorizing civilian populations, and leaving wrecks like these behind, which I photographed down the street from the music school I’m lecturing at:
(Can’t get the second image vertical, for some reason.) My theoretical complicity in this as a citizen (and Clinton-voter!) is painful to contemplate.