Never would I have imagined that the United States, the only country I can call home, would end up having anything in common with Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia.
I made my first trip to the Balkans in summer 1994, when I hopped onto an Italian ferry bound for Albania, the most isolated and impoverished country to emerge from behind the Iron Curtain. The following winter I traveled to Serbia. I had my first journalistic breakthrough with an article in The Wall Street Journal Europe.
I kept on returning to the Balkans, covering the last peaceful demonstration against Serb rule by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians in 1997 and the NATO intervention into Kosovo in 1999. For reasons that are still unclear, I was kicked out of Serbia and barred from reentering until Slobodan Milosevic was deposed a year later.
Problems Sink In for Serbs
“Now it’s back to reality,” says Teofil Pancic. “Reality is neither peace nor war. It’s the depression of realizing you’ll go on living in a society like Milosevic’s Serbia.”
On US Patrol to Stem Kosovo Chaos
“I know this has been going on for about 600 years,” says Spc. Daniel Atchison, an Indianian with a slight drawl. “Sometimes it confuses me. These people lived next to each other for years, and one night they decide to burn their neighbor’s house down, just because he’s Serb or Albanian.”
Where Kosovo’s Ethnic Lines Are Drawn Most Starkly
During NATO airstrikes, Serbian forces raged through the city, expelling Albanians and torching their homes. Today, only women and children venture to the Serb side of the river.
Grand Hotel Pristina: Where Guests Tote Guns, Cameras
Once Serif Turgut was attacked by a mob of Serb demonstrators in front of the hotel. A receptionist came out to rescue her, joking, “We can give up Serbia but not our guests.”
A Family Who Crossed Kosovo’s Ethnic Divide
When Milka Jakupi first met her husband in a Belgrade movie theater in 1966, Yugoslavia was still a country where love mattered more than ethnic background.
Tables Turn on Serbs in Kosovo
The three frightened Serbian Orthodox nuns steered their four-wheel drive up a steep gravel path to their isolated hilltop monastery. The sight that confronted them brought tears to their eyes.
Muslims Exit Serbia in ‘Soft’ Ethnic Cleansing
Belgrade’s repression of Sanjak Muslims began with a show of force. Serb tanks crouched on the hills overlooking Novi Pazar, while irregular soldiers roamed the narrow streets.
The Private Security State
In November 1994, retired Air Force Col. Ron Hatchett received a mysterious phone call from a man who once supplied the Afghan Mujahadeen with 10,000 mules. The caller offered Hatchett $100,000 to spend six months advising the Bosnian government.