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In 1999, I visited a country called Yugoslavia. It no longer exists.
It was run then by a man named Slobodan Milosevic.
While visiting Novi Sad, the second largest city in that former country, I took a long cab ride with a guy named Milorad.
The city had suffered significant NATO bomb damage months earlier -- bridges destroyed, the TV station knocked out.
Milo told me what is was like living under the Milosevic regime.

"Imagine if the Ku Klux Klan had taken over your country, your media," Milo said.
"That is what it is like here."
I wish I could say I had difficulty imagining that. We drove up a bluff southwest of Novi Sad, overlooking the city. He wanted to show me the destroyed TV station.
We got there and my jaw dropped.
A huge office building, gutted, the HUGE broadcast tower toppled, twisted.
I got out and prepared to take a photo.
Suddenly, Milo yelled at me.
"Wait! Wait!"
I turned around and saw two burly men approaching in uniform.
The security guards politely escorted us back to their pill-box outpost.
After a few phone calls, I was given the name of an Interior Ministry official from whom I would need permission to take photos of the destroyed TV station.
I retrieved my passport and press credentials from the guards, and we drove on.
It struck me as odd to have to have government permission to take a photo.
Milo told me he once studied history at the university in Novi Sad.
"I don't hate anyone because they are a different color or different religion. We are all just people. Besides," he said, "I am not what they call a 'clean Serb' -- My mother was a Croat, so it is difficult for me to be told I must hate someone just ecause they have a different heritage."
Despite the hardships Milo was enduring under the Milosevic regime -- which was subject to U.N. sanctions at that time -- he remained optimistic.
The regime's bankrupt policies were crumbling.
He could see a post-Milosevic era on the horizon.

I visited Serbia a couple years ago, and the difference was indeed remarkable.
Milo and people like him finally broke the hold of the extreme Serb nationalists.
Not that the political struggle there is over. It is NEVER over.

So, I offer this as an alternative cabbie story.
The moral of this story is DON'T RUN AWAY!
Confront dictators! Build a people-power movement. I was a bit concerned about the cabbie stories posted by Maccabee that seemed to suggest it is all hopeless, it is worse than a dictatorship, RUN AWAY!!!! I won't run! I am going to stay and fight!

Originally posted to EZ writer on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 12:29 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Bush doesn't allow the photographing (0+ / 0-)

      of the caskets of soldiers... if we dug I bet we could find more examples...

      But you're right... This country is worth standing up for..

      "Let us not be conservative with compassion. Be generous with compassion."

      by ilyana on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 01:14:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm staying, fighting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sui Juris, Lisa Lockwood

    My Home, My Country.  Torturers and traitors to the Constitution will be exported to Iraq to clean up their mess.

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it - Aristotle

    by gatorcog on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 12:37:03 PM PDT

  •  Thanks EZ (0+ / 0-)

    a few days ago i wrote this comment

    I grok'd ya and enjoy the reparte-- hang tough

    One house MUST be won by The D's or the country is FUCKED.

    I'm serious as a heart attack about this: I don't plan to live in the US in five years if the trendlines continue.

    Followed by this:

    ... attempt to portray the progressive left as the radical reactionary force in this country... our position about leaving the country has been mulled over considering family, personal, professional and practical matters including how the inertia of the system alone can justify refraining from what could be characterized as a chicken - little response to poor short term outcomes. Even so, such an occurrence as an emboldening victory for the right(though QUITE improbable) would seal the deal for me. I'll short sell and move to  Euro's and gold futures every nickel I own. We are on the cusp of a global conflict for fossil fuels in which the turn to the right in Japan today does not bode well. Unless we reverse course and move towards stabalizing relations in the Middle East and South America or are certain of Russian largesse while we move towards sustainable energies, the US will face dire consequences the likes of which have not been known in our history.

    I have read your insightful posts EZ for over a year and have always been enlightened. I can remember you'd be the first to pick off developments long before the were in circulation. I, like the name of Carvilles book, am "Stickin" . A personal request: have you heard any thing lately about what Murray Waas has been up to or  Tice's appearence before the grand jury recently????

    WIN ELECTIONS or Buy Guns.

    by Robert Davies on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 02:09:55 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this diary, EZ writer ~ Greg Palast (0+ / 0-)

    is in trouble with the government for photographing an Exxon plant. I think he was doing a documentary on Katrina victims, and was there to investigate, what almost seems like 'the internment' of Katrina victims near the plant. So, things have changed here quite a bit in the past few years.

    But there are postive signs that this country can turn around imo. The American people are beginning to wake up and I hope that the first step towards a complete turnaround will be the Dems winning in November .... we have a way to go, but that would be a good start. Thanks again for an inspiring story. I can't imagine living in a country completely run by the KKK, so your cabbie friend did put things in persective for me.

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