*Documentaries located at the bottom of this blog*
Not only had I never heard of Serbia before I met Serbians while living in Spain, but I definitely never heard about the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999.
The following videos are absolutely disturbing and grotesque. They should also absolutely be seen and you should take the time to watch them.
Nenad, my partner, was 6-years-old and 500 meters away from one of the many bombs that dropped in Novi Sad. That makes my heart immensely sad to even think about that it could have been him or his brother or his mother, father, grandma, best friend, anyone. Some of my colleagues were up to 15-years-old during these 78 days of hell.
Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, was bombed 212 times. Take a minute to let that sink in… two hundred and twelve times. In just 78 days. Is there anything that can justify any country doing something so sick to another? Not only were bridges and communication centers bombed, but hospitals, schools, trains, and more, all marked as “collateral damage”. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed at the hands of NATO. Although there is no exact toll, the Serbian government estimates that at least 2,500 people died and 12,500 were injured.
As if bombs aren’t bad enough, another thing many people don’t know is that cluster bombs were used against the former Yugoslavia. “A cluster munition (or cluster bomb) is a container filled with small explosive bombs called “sub-munitions.” This container may be a shell, rocket, missile, or other device. Dropped from an aircraft or fired from the ground, it opens in the air and releases the sub-munitions. This scatters a carpet of bombs over a large area without any degree of accuracy.” These bombs have since been banned by the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2010. Besides the obvious and horrible short term effects of using these weapons, cluster bombs have serious long term effects too. It’s said that up to 40% of sub-munitions don’t explode on impact. That leaves these active bombs as landmines that can explode at any point in time, leaving areas uninhabitable for decades after a conflict has ended.
Just over 20 years since this horrific event took place, I’m living in a country that’s still recovering from the effects of war. There are buildings and people that still reflect the sadness of those times and I feel honored and saddened to learn first-hand what war has done to such a beautiful country and culture.