Ruslan Rubansky on Thu, 8 Apr 1999 14:18:32 +0100


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Re: Syndicate: (Xchange) D. Klaic: A Bridge Too Far



--- Andreas Broeckmann <abroeck@v2.nl> wrote:
> Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 20:39:33 +0300 (EEST)
> From: Heidi Grundmann <hgrundmann@mail.thing.at>
> 
> The following text reached me today from composer
> and radio-artist Ivana Stefanovic under the title
> "Letter from Amsterdam"
> 
> 
> A Bridge Too Far
> by Dragan Klaic
> 
> The Petrovaradin bridge was destroyed this morning
> at 5 am. My wife woke
> me up with the news she just heard on the BBC radio.
> I thought it was
> the newer railway/highway bridge but when I finally
> succeeded to phone to
> Novi Sad in the evening, I heard it was the old
> metal bridge connecting
> the center with Petrovaradin and the old fortress
> above, on the other side
> of Danube. Why that bridge? It was build in haste in
> the winter of 1944-45
> by the German POWs under the supervision of the Red
> Army engineers and
> a railway line was added to renew the connection
> with Belgrade, 80 km
> south. So in my childhood, with each train passing
> the ramp would go down
> and the traffic would pile up on both sides. It
> wasn't that much traffic.
> I remember the uneasiness I felt every time crossing
> the bridge even in
> the daytime: the wooden planks of the side board got
> lose and rotten and
> one could see the water underneath. I feared I'll
> step in the void and
> even sink into Danube, little as I was. In the early
> sixties, a new bridge
> was built 2 km down the river and the railway track
> was displaced too. The
> old bridge got a face lift and served all these
> years as a busy connection,
> away to enter straight into the center of Novi Sad
> from the Srem side.
> In the years before I had a driver's license I was
> crossing it often
> on foot in the sunset, going to the fortress for a
> stroll or to some of the
> inns on the Petrovaradin side with wild Gypsy music
> only to return
> in the small hours, admiring the dawn above the
> city. Ugly as it was, this
> bridge was part of my childhood and adolescence. The
> consequence of the
> bombing is that windows are broken in that part of
> town and there is
> no running water around, even the large hospital on
> the nearby hills of
> Fruska Gora, some 900 beds, is without water. This
> is not making the
> awful lot of Kosovo Albanians easier. It is not
> prompting
> the brave Novi Sad citizens to start an uprising
> against Milosevic. Of
> course not, Milosevic is stronger than ever and as
> popular as he was in
> 1988-89. Moreover, many decent Serbs will hate NATO,
> W. Europe, USA
> for the next 50 years and the self-destructive,
> obsessive ideology of
> Serbian nationalism has been fed richly by this past
> week's attacks and has
> seen all its favorite myths reinforced with new
> arguments and
> examples. If only NATO bombed Milosevic's fleet in
> the Adriatic in
> September 1991 when it started pounding Dubrovnik,
> well before Vukovar and
> the horrors of Bosnia &Herzegovina, the ongoing
> Balkan war could have been
> stopped at an early stage. If only a fraction of 1%
> of what NATO is
> spending in this campaign now has been spent instead
> to support the
> emerging forces of the civil society and the
> independent media Serbia
> would have a different future. A military escalation
> won't halt the ethnic
> cleansing in Kosovo nor speed up the return of the
> refugees. This senseless
> violence should stop at once. The politicians and
> generals have
> committed great errors in judgment. They should call
> further bombings
> off and step aside for a while. How about a
> conference with 50 Balkan
> scholars from the  Western and Eastern Europe
> getting together and
> using their collective knowledge to envisage some
> sort of future without
> war and terror, to restart a dialogue. The
> politicians can in the meantime
> vote budgets for the humanitarian aid much needed in
> the region and entrust
> the generals to implement it. We know how good they
> can be at it.
> 
> Dragan Klaic
> 
> Dr D Klaic is Professor of University of Amsterdam
> and Director of
> TheaterInstituut Nederland. e mail: dragank@tin.nl
> 
> 
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