I never realized how unsafe I felt living in the US until I left. That’s something that came as quite a shock to me, my friends, and definitely my family. I think a lot of them still don’t believe that I truly feel that way and still think it’s some sort of desire to associate more with the places I’ve been. But that’s simply not so, I genuinely do feel that way.

Nenad, my partner, and I went to the movies last weekend and saw “Hotel Mumbai”. I can honestly say I’ve had nightmares the last three nights and it is just hard to explain that movie with any other word except disturbing. A true story about a terrorist attack that took place back in 2008, at the end of the movie I clearly thought to myself, “I’m so glad I live in Serbia”. That was an interesting moment for me. It was a moment that I consciously realized the way I subconsciously feel.

Serbia has crime but not random, mostly organized crime, regardless of what you’ll read online from US government agencies. In fact, I just looked it up and it says:

“Exercise increased caution in Serbia due to crime… Organized criminal activities such as car bombings and assassinations by shooting can occur in all areas at any time.” – US Dept. of State

What? This confused me so much that I actually laughed out loud. That is absolutely ridiculous. No wonder my family and friends felt a small fear inside of them when I said I was moving. In the words of my Serbian coworkers, “We don’t have money for that shit.” My American boss also thought this was funny, as he lives here with his wife and three kids. After we got a good laugh we realized how sad it actually is for such a beautiful and warm country to be branded to over 300 million people with that sort of reputation.

It angers me a bit that America paints that picture of Serbia, which is such a wonderfully peaceful country with resilient citizens. You can Google “Terrorist attacks in Serbia” the way I just did, and you’ll find nothing. Nothing at all, nothing in the news, because there is nothing to find. Furthermore, look it up on Wikipedia, the last-mentioned attack is in 1988….1988. EDIT: It’s come to my attention that people believed I was quoting Wikipedia as a reliable source, and I can see why that conclusion would be drawn. However, the reason I mention Wikipedia is not that it’s a reliable source, but because even that has nothing on it, something that’s uncommon. Wikipedia has information on everything, or so it seems to me.

Serbia is a country with an immense amount of potential that’s, unfortunately, lacking support from other superpowers in the world. Serbia applied for admission to the European Union in 2009 and has since completed all requirements put forth by the EU, yet still finds itself searching for acceptance.

The Chicago Tribune recently published some shocking numbers regarding homicides since January 2019. There have been 109 deaths in 3 months, that’s only 22 fewer than all of 2018 for them. How can anyone look at numbers like those and not fear their surroundings? In the year 2017, the state of California had 1,829 homicides. I understand that Serbia has 7 million people and California has 40 million, so I went ahead and compared them as if they were the same, solely based on population. That would mean that Serbia would have had 328 murders for the year 2017. It had 36 murders.

Nation Master is a website that uses sources like the CIA Fact Book, UN Agencies, OECD, etc in order to statistically compare two countries. You can check out the comparison between Serbia and the United States on average there, where you’ll find information on violent crimes, drugs and fear of crimes, among other things.

I now live in a place where I don’t fear riding my bike home at 11 pm. I don’t feel anxious in large crowds. I don’t worry about possible attacks at popular events. Those may sound silly but those were fears I truly had in California. I didn’t attend concerts, festivals, or anything like them because I felt like there was a chance something could happen and I didn’t find any of it to be worth the risk. It’s crazy what a small world it can be, that when an attack happens in a country-western bar in SoCal and you know one person who was there, and he has three friends who just died. That stuff scares me beyond words. Sure, things can happen here in Serbia too, or anywhere for that matter, and it’s always important to be careful, but the risk is nowhere near as high and I feel far more comfortable with my surroundings.

Serbia is nowhere near perfect and has a lot of corruption within its government, as you’ll see from the peaceful protests that have been happening every Friday night for three months now. Yet, America is not perfect either and it’s so important that we don’t box ourselves following blindly.

Nothing kills more humans in this world than the desire to fight for the ones you love and the things that you believe in. If only every country believed that all countries and their citizens are as important as their own.