21 February 2008

Greetings From Serbia - US Embassy on Fire

Okie dokie, I'm completely exhausted and unnerved and now I'm all paranoid thinking my internet usage is being monitored (thanks KMac) so brief blog tonight.

As I've been writing, Kosovo has declared its independence from Serbia and it's about damn time that the international community has recognized it (they tried it a while ago to no avail). I firmly believe that Kosovo has a right to its independence given what it has suffered and really, what it continues to suffer through the Serbian government. Today there was a very large rally organized by both the State and teh serbian Orthodox Church. People from all over Serbia were bussed in for this 'peaceful' protest and they numbered over 150,000. It was not peaceful.

(courtesy B92)

To give the majority of participants their due, most of them stuck to the rules. They went to the rally in front of the Parliament then marched to the Sveti Sava church to participate in a candle-light service. Only a handful broke the rules. Like the damage suffered by the Slovenian embassy on Sunday night, the Croatian, American, and Turkish embassies were all sacked. Amazingly, there were no police guarding any of the buildings tonight and protesters tore right into the American embassy. They broke windows, I think they tore down the flag, threw furniture out the windows, and started a fire inside. There are no confirmed reports that a dead body has been found inside the embassy, believed to be one of the protesters.

I would have loved to have seen the look on my boss's face when I called to tell him that they were burning down the American embassy. I told him not to worry about me in my confinement here. If I got too hungry I'd just eat the chocolates that I bought for the office and drink the three bottles of absinthe that I bought as gifts.

I want to thank everyone who is already praying for me. While this is by far not the most afraid I've ever been in my life (in general or for my self) it is definitely not pleasant. And while it may sound cheesey, please keep in your minds and prayers the people of Serbia. A lot of the dissenters and protesters here are my age and younger. They don't remember what it was like under Milosevic or Tito; when there was no milk or bread in the shops; what happened to the people when they protested against their government in the 90s. Hell, most of them have probably never even been to Kosovo nor were ever planning on going there. The people here who need thoughts and prayers are the rational ones. The ones for whom tonight has been depressing and disappointing. The ones who have seen their country come as far as it has...only to regress tonight. Keep them in your minds and do not judge them on the basis of the few. The majority of people I have met here have been very open, welcoming, and generous.


Deutlich said...

thanks for that. it was insightful and informative and I appreciate it.

Kim said...

Didn't mean to leave you paranoid, just a bit more aware was all. Many prayers for you and for peace throughout that region are being said this evening. Hope tomorrow is uneventful. If there's anything I can do, let me know.

Elena said...

OHHH MY Goodness. You are witnessing History in the making but I know it must scary out there! You are in prayers!