Serbia Belgrade 2002.09.20 - 09.21

Chinese Embassy

From the collapse of the Soviet Union to the early 1990s, Yugoslavia splintered into the republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Macedonia, and Yugoslavia. Only the provinces of Serbia, Kosovo, and Montenegro remained as Yugoslavia. Montenegro voted to remain with Serbia as part of Yugoslavia. The Albanian majority in Kosovo wanted independence. By 1999, Serb leader Slobodan Milošević began military action to remove Albanians from Kosovo. In response, NATO (though in fact, mostly the US) bombed Serbian government, military, communications, and power facilities between March and June 1999. All targeted Belgrade buildings were destroyed. Other buildings having nothing to do with Milošević's government were also destroyed. One of these was the Chinese Embassy.

As of March 14, 2002, Yugoslavia no longer exists. Kosovo is governed by the United Nations. Serbia and Montenegro, though united in spirit, have different governments, currency, and visa regulations. Much of Belgrade is rebuilt or undergoing reconstruction. Only the Chinese Embassy remains as a bombed out carcass. The building is kilometers removed from any Serbian target. It sits in the middle of residential apartments. Its exterior looks like it could be nothing other than a Chinese Embassy. (See photo below.) The US admits the mistake. The Chinese want the US to rebuild it. The US refuses.

On our travels, we see the US pouring billions of dollars into "anti-terrorist" activities. What does this really mean? Kyrgyzstan got US$10 million for the US Air Force to use one of the Bishkek Airport runways to fly over Afghanistan, drop bombs, and return to reload. Uzbekistan got more millions for the US Air Force to use the airport in Tashkent. US special forces are training and arming governments in dozens of countries to kill. Billions and billions of dollars towards killing. And the US media seems to have the entire US population convinced that the entire world outside the US is dangerous and contaminated by an omnipresent evil, that of the 6 billion people on earth, only the quarter billion in the US are somehow more safe by spending billions of dollars on military activity. Wouldn't it be nice to see just one headline where the US spent some of its money to improve some international relations? What would a new Chinese Embassy in Belgrade cost? 2 or 3 million dollars maybe? And how about a US official visit to China to pay respect to the embassy people killed instead of Mr. Potato Head telling the Chinese that they should be more American? Wouldn't that be a refreshing change from the continuous instillation of fear propagated by CNN and other US media every hour.

Chinese Embassy is typical Chinese-nouveau cinderblock construction with blue ceramic roof. The front has little perceptual damage other than blown out windows. The rear is where the bombs hit. Inside is a burnt mess of concrete rubble.
High above Belgrade, overlooking the Danube River is Kalemegdam Citadel. The walled fortress and green parks look untouched by war.

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