Sunday I spend my to do some sightseeing in Zagreb as a real tourist (One of this nice extras by the way that as tourist (in principle I am one) I don't have to pay on the trams, that means when they controlled my ticket (I didn't had one) in the tram and I had no of course (who is selling them ?), which I tried to explain in English, the controlled nearly cried it out, a outsider in the tram, and he thank me for coming) with Vesna as a real tourist guide, who showed me around. But probably I did not act as a real tourist, I cannot help but at this moment, I am really hungry for war facts and philosophies. What would happen as…?
I can imagine that it is a little boring for Vesna and my other friends here to answer all my questions. Sitting on a nice old garden in springtime, looking over the more richer part of Zagreb (were the villa from [[Tudjman]] is standing) talking about the winter and the bombings, blackout periods, about the nights they have to spend in the shelters, the air raids on daylight, during which more people were killed in traffic accidents than by the bombs (she showed me one of the bombed out houses), all the traffic lights and other lights were put off in that period (the system made it impossible to shut down at air raid, so they put it of for the whole period of the air raids). Nevertheless, really understanding it was next to impossible for me (I said that I would have stayed outside, but when I heard a big explosion during the nice walk (probably one of another drunken soldier that coincidentally fired his riffle); I automatically look for a place to hide, as nearly everybody did. This feeling is probably only understandable for people who really have been under such situations (a big different between the peace activist in Serbian and in Croatia and now Bosnia).
During this walk, recognizing the war signs was a lot easier as the day before. After a while you can't look anywhere without seeing nice macho soldiers with their camouflage uniforms, basically trying to tell their lovers and friends how huge heroes they are (the worst uniforms are those black ones from one of another private militia (HOS), whom has their headquarters nearby the station, they look a lot like NAZI SS troops). Or little children playing war games in miniature uniforms, or the sandbags which are everywhere protecting the basements of the houses, some of them already are green of little plants inside (they often have used transparent plastic bags), but most of them have been falling down and are now blockading the pedestrian paths. For the rest it looks like a poor but normal city. The average income went down from about 1500 dm two years ago until 150 dm now, prices however went up to western standards. The morning was however full of war, I just wanted to install my modem and other equipment in the Green Action office when somebody came in screaming that the situation in Sarajevo could exploded any moment. The night from Saturday on Sunday the parliament building was occupied by all kind of people demanding new elections. Serbian militia, surrounding the city threatened to move in. As reaction, tens of thousands of people went to the parliament buildings to protect it. On that moment snipers started to shoot from the roof of the Holiday Inn Hotel on the other side on the street, persons were killed but most of them stayed in front of the buildings. Sorry but on this moment I started to realize the trivial actions we have had in the Netherlands, all the high serious squatting actions suddenly became so unimportant if I compared it with all those activists in and around the parliament building. Vesna managed somehow to phone with friends in de building and son afterwards a fax came in from Sarajevo.
Now I am looking (1 o'clock in the night) at Yutel television from Sarajevo showing the fights in and around Sarajevo, by now I start to understand some of the stories they are telling, but honestly, I cannot imagine that this is all happening a few hundred kilometres away from me. I had planned to go to Sarajevo this weekend, but that will probably impossible; trains and busses stop to run. Moreover, to come there you have to pass the Serbian troops, which probably will not attack me but certainly, my Croatian and Slovenian friends are less fortunate. Somewhere in the next weeks I will go with Vesna to Beograd and Osijek to discuss some joint activities around Osijek, a town I hope to visit in the coming weeks, we have to travel to Budapest first, since all means of public transport between Croatia and Yugoslavia is blocked. In addition, I hope to visit the island of Vis, a highly militarized island, from which most of the inhabitants has left. Some of the persons of the ARK (Anti Ratne Kampanje (AntiWarCampaing)) just returned and they told me from there plans to start to rebuild ecological and peace villages on this island. It would make an ideal place for i.e. Ecotopia. (On Vis there use to live over 10.000 people, mostly fisherman of course, but when the Yugoslav marine made there basis there to protect the country against NATO aggressors (VIS lays as it were in between Italy and Yugoslavia in front of Dubrovnik) most of the people left, now about 3000 of the original inhabitants are left over, the rest live in the states where they formed a very strong Yugoslav community on the west coast).'Talking of ecological villages it reminds me that I have discussed with me-and more people this idea to rebuild the destroyed villages in the war zone at least 79 villages and cities are totally destroyed (some even much worst then Osijek). People are reacted the same on this plans, it is a good idea and with help from the west it could be done. Especially good would be if we could bring youngsters from Serbia and Croatia, together to rebuild this destroyed area, like youngster from France and Germany did after the second world war in Verdun (later this project became the international known volunteer organization SCI (Service Civil International)Later in the evening I visit a meeting of working group of Green Action Zagreb who are busy writing a book about the environmental destruction of Croatia by the war (they are still looking for funding for the English publication by the way). The fact that I will stay for a month is seen as a very positive point a kind of more permanent link with west and the rest of the world, I nearly are feeling guilty that I have to leave in a few weeks from now. In addition, I hope that somebody somehow will take over my place here, just to bring back some hope.
The help from the west so far was only money, which is still badly needed, almost everybody is more then broke and so are the organizations of course other countries in Europe suffer under high economical crises, but for one of another reason it can be said that Yugoslavia had to pay the bill of the revolutions in the other Eastern countries. Up to two years ago, Yugoslavian had the good trading situation between the East and West block and got a lot of western aid. This is now gone, and over the last year most of the people lost their trust in the EEC (nevertheless the majority thinks that joining the EEC is the only solution for the future)