I was with a group from the seminar in the lakeside city of Struga last night, for the opening of the popular Struga Poetry Festival. During the opening celebration, fireworks were launched and as they burst over head, one of my friends - a 20 year-old Serbian girl from Nis - covered her ears and said to me, "This is just like the American War. They bombed Nis, I remember it all, I was 10."
She was sort of joking with me, of course - she doesn't hold a grudge against me personally, nor really against America. It didn't seem like she had much of an opinion at all, it was just an event that happened during her lifetime.
But it's still strange for me to think that those images of American planes over Bosnia, American troops in Kosovo, and American bombs falling on the civilian centers of Nis and Belgrade in Serbia. . . well, those things happened just a few hundred kilometers away, to people that I eat dinner with every day.