Jasmina Tesanovic, Belgrade, March 13, 2006
Still speculations as to the cause of Milosevic’s death. The first report says he died of a heart attack. Nobody seems to want his discomforting, dissected body, filmed on camera by Dutch, Serbian and Russian pathologists, with his tissues now scattered in laboratories to prove his death one way or another.
The controversial autopsy provokes a diplomatic row, especially the lab evidence of traces of weird medicines in his blood.
His lawyer waves a piece of handwritten paper by Milosevic, delivered to the Russian embassy some hours before he died, where he claims he is being poisoned by the Hague tribunal. Knowing my ex president, I know he is capable of everything, especially lies and deception. My guess would be that even if they did find some drug in him, he would have planted it there in his own blood, through his own will, to achieve some foul goal. I do remember how he faked Serbian causes, faked Serbian victims, faked Serbian pride, faked Serbian democracy, in order to achieve power, to rule in blood and dictatorship. His language is obvious to us, who were his toys and hostages for years on end.
Even his family and his party are fighting over his corpse, this disquieting legacy in need of burial. The current government cannot reach any easy or wise decision. Probably he will be buried in Belgrade.
His indicted family members, wife and son will be granted temporary visas and permitted to entomb him in some private graveyard, while the eyes of the decent people look elsewhere. But the world media are still here, full-time and in top gear, in front of the local parliament speaking as if he were still alive, striking posthumous blows against global common sense and justice.
Tomorrow morning his son is going to Hague to pick up his father’ body. The Hague tribunal at the same time will end the process against Slobodan Milosevic, with the final session broadcast directly by B92.
Mladic and Karadzic yet to be arrested. They are the next in the chain of responsibility for Serbian war crimes in Bosnia. Without them in Hague, Serbia will stay behind an international wall of economic and political sanctions.
Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
Jasmina Tesanovic, Belgrade, March 15, 2006
Wrapped in a Serbian flag, the coffin was received by a few party members, who kissed it as if it were his hand. Some thousand followers were scattered during his last drive through town.
That’s pretty much how he left Belgrade five years ago, in half secrecy, half embarrassment. He was alive then, technically. It was a June night instead of this snowy gloomy March afternoon.
“He didn’t even pay for a return ticket from Hague,” as Serbian black humor has it. His family still owns a lot of embezzled money, too much of it to dare to come to Belgrade and answer to the court subpoena. The government and court, every hour, are giving new announcements as to whether the family will be arrested if they step onto Serbian and Montenegro territory.
It is a small war between official institutions and personality cults. Even the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church gave his opinion on humanity and post-humanity. It seems nobody much cares for Dead Slobo as a man. He is simply a hot dead potato, a Big International Deal, for what he has done cannot be undone. Convicted or not, his deeds have transformed too many lives and traced out new maps and countries.
Somehow he was left without a homeland even for his own grave. Crime has no nationality, time, or border.
Reasonably, Milosevic should be buried in an anonymous mass grave, if only that proposal would not offend his numerous victims, whose scattered, unnamed bodies already lie all over the former Yugoslav territories, without a name on a headstone or flowers from their families.
The people on the streets hardly know that he has come back, although on the trees in front of the Parliament, small posters with his smiling face have been glued-up literally in the last few hours. An old Serbian custom is to stick death announcements on the front door of your house. Some people think his home was the federal parliament, the building he was ousted from with flames and clubs on October the 5th.
I remember standing there myself, among one million people, just in front of the Parliament steps. ready to die in the stampede but not to move one step back until they all got out of their usurped seats stolen in election results.
Some foreign press are even suggesting that his body might be exposed on those very steps, before it gets buried in his hometown, 80 kilometers from Belgrade, next to his mother.
It is difficult to get rid of a dictator even if he is in a coffin, even if he is ghost. I don’t want our war children, finally seeing some traces of democratic normality, to end up like Hamlets. Or even worse, to end up like Ophelias.
Saddam Hussein is facing his trial today, but Slobo’s trial in Hague has closed. My friend Nuha from Iraq has died from Saddam-Bush politics, my mother from NATO-Milosevic wars.
Women in Black Belgrade want to put up a Hague tribunal for crime against women. This would globalize war crimes from all over the world, and unite anti-war issues.
Local TV stations are broadcasting debates, documentaries, days on end, about the fall of Yugoslavia. Old faces are once again on the screens telling us their old stories with new words. Things we knew, but which they never told us — until now, when it makes no difference. They speak as if they were still afraid to be judged by Milosevic, rather than by history and their children.
The Scorpion Srebrenica trial is entering its last phase. The names of Milosevic police from Serbia are finally being uttered as those who gave the orders for the mass executions in Bosnia, Kosovo… The big picture is getting smaller and clearer, as under a lens. The Scorpions courtroom is the microcosmos of a macrocosmos: the soldier who pulled the trigger to kill six Muslim civilians, and Bill Clinton who pressed the NATO red button to bomb the Serbian army, are both telling us how they dealt with Milosevic and his politics.
While the B92 crew was filming the entry of the coffin in the hospital morgue, Sveti Sava, a hysterical crowd of his supporters (about 300) attacked the journalists. In that very same hospital my mother died some years ago, after the NATO bombings, because of lack of medicines, and w
ith Slobo’s words as her last ones.
Milosevic’s party is honored that he will be buried in his garden under a tree as a sentimental token of his and his wife’s big romance ( for which the whole world had to pay, since he used to execute the people she didn’t like). The democratic opposition says it is barbarous to bury people outside graveyards. This little garden grave is a parody of the mass graves he created.
The wife of the murdered journalist Curuvija reminds us that Milosevic and his family are asking for sympathy and presidential treatment — although they murdered the previous President of Serbia, Ivan Stambolic, and cemented his corpse into a bridge construction.
This is not Serbian black humor. Unfortunately, this is Serbian truth and reconciliation.
His body will be exposed in the Museum of Revolution until Saturday noon when it will be transported to his garden and buried. Our previous most famous president Tito, buried his favorite wife and horse in his garden here in Belgarde; there is some structure and continuity in the Balkans notwithstanding all multiethnic bloodshed and idelogical diversities.
“Vampire” Milosevic slain, but his legacy still survives By Lazar Galic and Boris Babic
dpa German Press Agency
Published: Friday March 9, 2007
Belgrade- A former opposition activist has desecrated Slobodan Milosevic’s grave by driving a metre-long hawthorn stake into it – as if to kill a vampire – days ahead of the first anniversary of the strongman’s death on Sunday. The man called the police from the courtyard of Milosevic’s home,
where the grave is, to report what he had done, but was only mockingly warned to beware the dead man’s hand snapping from the grave, local reports said.
The self-designated vampire slayer now faces a lawsuit from Milosevic’s daughter-in-law, Milica Gajic. Had his gesture done anything to clear the suffocating legacy of Milosevic, the act could have been seen as more than tasteless foolishness.
But it has not, and on March 11, a year on from Milosevic’s death and more than six years since he was toppled and sidelined, the residue of his rule persists, although several democratic elections have passed in the meantime.
As under Milosevic, murky, mud-slinging politics, pretentiously emotional patriotism and ad-hoc governing, monopolization and “tycoonization” of the economy through nepotism and corruption remain the way of life for everyone from every-day business to the very top.
Overall, people who were in politics and business close to Milosevic are also very well off today – only very few of them were asked to explain their millions, even billions.
His Socialist Party (SPS) only elected a new leader late last year, Ivica Dacic – one of Milosevic’s mouthpieces – and qualified for the new parliament in the January elections by winning more than five per cent of votes – even if its elderly electorate is dwindling.
The SPS has scheduled a memorial service for Milosevic on Saturday in Belgrade’s Sava congressional centre.
On a genocide trial since early 2002, Milosevic succumbed to a heart attack in his cell at the tribunal’s detention centre in The Hague. His supporters accused the court of murdering him, because it had denied the self-defending Milosevic medical treatment in Russia.
Milosevic was buried in the courtyard of his family home in Pozarevac, 80 kilometres east of Belgrade. Tens of thousands of people attended one or another stage of the funeral ceremony.
The burial itself, on private property and after nightfall, was both illegal and curious.
While his people continued doing business in the democratic Belgrade, his family has been in disarray since his fall from power, even though they are reportedly extremely rich on billions of dollars stashed through a myriad of schemes and para-state businesses.
Milosevic’s widow Mirjana Markovic, a pompous neo-communist professor of sociology and allegedly as lethal for her husband’s opponents as journalist Slavko Curuvija and former president Ivan Stambolic, has been hiding from justice in Russia since early 2003.
She and Milosevic had not reunited over the last three years of his life. Their Son Marko is also believed to be in Russia, under the wing of Milosevic’s brother and Belgrade’s former ambassador to Moscow Borislav.
Known before as a brutal and reckless juvenile, Marko is also facing a possible arrest for his involvement in the billion-dollar illegal trade in cigarettes during his father’s rule.
Milosevic’s unstable daughter Marija lives in obscurity in Montenegro and is facing legal procedures because she fired several shots from a gun on the early morning of April 1, 2001, when her father was arrested.
According to some reports, she wanted to kill her father rather than allow him to humiliate himself by surrendering to police after a two-day siege of his home in the elite quarter of Belgrade.