19

One of my friends from Serbia reminded me on her Facebook post about one sad anniversary: today is 19 years since NATO bombed Serbia over Kosovo. Sometime in May of 1999 she and her soon-to-be-husband made a 10 minutes video of how their friends, me among them, reacted to what was going on around us. Bombs dropping, people being killed.

Video is in Serbian so most of people who visit this blog won’t understand a word 🙂 But I can translate what I had said: One day, when all of this is over, our lives will be terribly boring… Scroll to 2:01. I am performing an Iaido kata and then I say the sentence that made me famous 😀 😛

I was asked once to explain what I meant with that. Of course, now after almost two decades, I can’t say that my life – and for that matter, the lives of many of other friends I have – is boring. Far from that. But it reflected a general feeling me and my friends had during bombing. We were angry, sad, annoyed, all at the same time. And we couldn’t change anything.  Years later, during one of my visits to Japan, one old member of martial arts styles that I am practicing, told me to come to Japan if ever again there is a war in my country. Not that I would do that, of course, but it was just a proof that I have friends among Japanese people and I was grateful for that. I had a chance to experience something terrible and lived to tell, so I am grateful for that, as well.

From Hagakure: “Master lttei said, ‘ ‘If one were to say what it is to do good, in a single word it would be to endure suffering. Not enduring is bad without exception.” “

Back then we were all a pawns in a much bigger game. And as every pawn, we were expendable. I was reading news when during 2015 ISIS destroyed ancient monuments, protected by UN laws. And the whole world condemned that. But when in 1999 and 2004 ethnic Albanians did the same to Christian monasteries in Kosovo – some of them as old as 500 years – most of the world applauded. Or, in best, turned the blind eye. The history of Serbian and Albanian enmity is not from yesterday, it lasts for centuries. But I am too lazy to go deeper into the topic at the moment. Everything is on line and in publications, if you are interested it is just a Google away.

These days I just don’t care as much anymore, beyond remembering. Did enemies win? Maybe. I like to think they didn’t. But nowadays, I like to do things that make me happy: martial arts, hiking, travelling, photographing… Life is short.

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4 Responses to 19

  1. Adele Brand says:

    Having spent a couple of months in the vicinity of an ancient and wonderful Serbian monastery in Croatia, I have some small – very small – idea of what must have been lost in Kosovo. Irreplaceable. As for the human cost to those terrible years, the magnitude of that is still hard for an outsider like me to grasp.

    Life is indeed short. I am glad that you are able to be happy now.

    • Darko says:

      I was lucky that no one I knew died in bombing. However, I lost one of my best friends in war in Croatia and that’s more than enough.
      One Serbian poet described the war in one of his songs: “The first one hit is saved; all the rest of us are eternal hostages of a nightmare”.
      I decided that time to move on was long time ago. Nothing could be changed right now and not by me for sure. Life is short.

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