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Belgrade 18 years After Being Bombed By Nato

Dear Belgrade, I love you, please don’t ever change. Having been to Belgrade twice this year, the second time I will never forget… but that’s another story. I can honestly say that the city is not what you would expect from a European capital. We arrived in Serbia just at the start of Spring. The nights were warm and the city was incredibly welcoming with great bars, cafes, clubs, and restaurants. The City center has this amazing plaza that leads through the old town to the Belgrade Fortress. The walls of the fortress are a magical place to watch the sunset over the Danube river in Stari Grad.

So you might be asking why is the title of this article about the Nato Bombing. In 1999 Nato took humanitarian action in Belgrade with the intention to end the repressive activities of the then government. Thousands of people died and were injured during the massive 78-day bombing campaign. The scares on the city are still visible with many of the buildings left as reminders of what happened. When you talk to the locals who lived through the bombings the trauma of the attacks still triggers deep unresolved emotions. Listening to people, civilians, talk about there loses is heartbreaking and at times the stories can be horrifying.

I’m asking myself why am I writing this? Living in Belgrade for a short time doesn’t really qualify me the write on this topic. But, in saying that I don’t think that sweeping the past under the carpet or trying to hide from difficult events like this to help people to understand different cultures and learn from mistakes of the past. I have been to a lot of European cities but there will always be a special place in my heart for Belgrade.

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