An explosive coincidence

As it turns out, we were in Belgrade on 24 March, the anniversary of the day that the NATO bombing campaign began in 1999. The evening was punctuated, but not filled, with a lot of reminiscences about who went where, who was surprised by what, who called whom, and so on. Really it was more surreal than tense. On 6 April, there will be another incedniary multianniversary: the day the invasion of Yugoslavia began in 1941, Belgrade was bombed in 1944, and the seige of Sarajevo began in 1992.

So others might also be interested in reading the account by Coyu at Halfway Down the Danube which includes a reminiscence by the American poet Charles Simic of meeting another poet who bombed him from a plane when he was a boy in Belgrade in 1944, and a letter from that poet in response. If nothing else, the exchange suggests that whatever intentional effects bombs have in blowing things apart, there are some unexpected ways in which they bring people together. Which is probably not a reason to recommend them.

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