Jasmina Tesanovic sends along this powerful account of her experience in Belgrade on International Women's Day:
Code Pink/ Women in Black, Belgrade
Sunny freezing day, 8th of March; at ten sharp we
spread our banners in front of the US embassy in
Belgrade facing the marines with machine guns and few
startled visa seekers: Women Say No to War, Code Pink,
Not in our names Not with our Money, Women in Black
...Security gets nervous but since we were on the
other side of the street they can only warn us not to
take any photos of them: we don’t, we take photos of
our beautiful selves; it is International Women's
Day. A pretty girl approaches us:" Please, I am
looking for this very famous hairdresser somewhere
here. Dressed in pink and black with fuzzy hairs and funny
eyeglasses we must seem the right people to ask.
- Who are you, she wonders
- We are women for peace
- Are you against Americans
-We are against all military
She gets it in a second: careful gals...they will
shoot you from the windows from all sides like
pigeons and she runs away...
Not really; two women are entering the US embassy to
meet the political matters person and deliver him
the signatures we collected for the "Women say no to
war" Code Pink international action. The meeting goes
on for 45 minutes: the embassy person is eager to
convince us, he claims he read everything about Code
Pink and Women in Black initiatives but he still
thinks that peace can be brought by weapons, that
powers like US have moral issues to intervene...
Oil as blood trail, is that a moral issue?
Did you protest when NATO bombed you, he asks
No Bush, No Saddam
No NATO no Milosevic
Back on the streets, to the Russian embassy: Niet, not
working day, says the sleepy single guard...
We have a letter to deliver, we women for peace, we
protest against Putin who fights the Chechens and
hosts our war criminals...
Ha, says the guard, speaking between Serbian and
Russian give it to me, I deliver tomorrow.
No machine guns, no security, no official reply or
Russians do not even fake democracy as Americans do.
We rush to deliver a press conference on women who
write against war, it is well attended, but the press
has questions, we have them.
In the republic square, a performance follows ;
international banners, lots of cameras and a personal
security squad led by an elderly policeman not in
uniform. He claims he is in charge of our safety and
seems proud of it. Until recently police were are main
source of danger though. Winded chinese baby dolls
are squeaking in the middle of our circle
symbolizing the forced birth of a nation. Some male
onlookers are sulking but in silence.
Then we march the local streets of Belgrade to the
parliament. We are shouting Mladic to Hague, More
condoms less religion, Crime has no nationality...At
the front door of the parliament a woman delegate is
waiting for us: we are delivering two letters to the
officials; one a women's security resolution and the
other against financing the war criminals in Hague.
Both ignored for months on end by the parliament.
These are hot days in Serbia, only two days ago the
major leader and accomplice of the Serbian criminal
regime Milan Babic, now witness of the accusation
committed suicide in prison in Hague. Seems like
ordered suicide and Hague neglect.
The same day in the major film theatre in Belgrade
"Grbavica" a film on war rape in Bosnia directed by a
Sarajevo woman featured by a Serbian actress was
screened: the theatre was full, the police were
everywhere, few nationalists tried to intervene with
insults and provocations at the beginning but were
thrown out and the show was an utmost success. The
film won the first prize in Berlin film festival this
year, Belgrade managed to cope with that.
There are two kinds of globalization we conclude at
the Women in Black network workshop; a good one and a
bad one. When war and war crimes are committed in our names by
different kinds of war fundamentalists, it is a bad
one; when we gather together all over the planet to
make sure they will not get away with it, it is a good
one. Crime has no nationality, time or place border.
Warriors of the world beware, women of all colors are
everywhere...We don’t want your flowers, we demand