expat blogger

living in Serbia

Friday, June 25, 2010

the Bomb

March 25, 2009
This morning a little before 7 AM I woke to a loud "BOOM!" that I thought shook me, I felt it in my stomach, I think. At first I thought I had dreamt it because Milan didn't budge, but then I heard loud wailing in the hall and and lots of commotion. I said to Milan, "Did you hear that?" He said " Yes, it was nothing go back to sleep". I couldn't. I went to the door and listened to the wailing and yelling, and smelled smoke. I went to Milan.... "Get UP! Something is going on. and I smell smoke!" He got up and went to the door. and then went back to put on clothes. told me to get some stuff together in case we had to evacuate, and then went out to see what was going on.

I started to get our passports and money and thinking what else should I get... There were so many thoughts in my head, and I was panicking. WOW, I thought I was cool in times of stress before this. maybe it is because I feel so vulnerable here. Not understanding the language makes everything scarier!! Seriously, I can't imaging being a reporter in another country when Bombs are going off. I have a lot more respect for them now...

Milan came back, he told me a bomb had gone off and someone was killed. Go back to bed. I said, "Are you serious?" And he said Yeah. Like this happens everyday and it's no big deal.
(Updated- I know now he saw a horrible sight and probably was traumatized. he also didn't want me to be more scared so he kept the terrible details to himself. More details below in the March 27 update.)

As I lay back down beside him, he told me it was a Judges Apt. that was bombed and now I am wondering what is going on in this town. There was a bomb that went off here last year while we were in the US that killed another Judge in this town. Seriously, this is crazy!

Milan said that when he went down he sa a man or woman being taken out of the building with blood on his or her head. I don't know if there were any more casualties or injuries and wish I could find out. but I will wait til a little later and go to a cafe to find out what went on. I didn't take any pictures.. this is not the time to play tourist. But I am interested in seeing what it looks like downstairs. The bomb broke the hallway light fixtures. I saw some neighbors cleaning up from my doorway. (March 27- I know now that what I saw below from my doorway was the cleanup from the bomb. I can see their door from mine. If I had opened our door to look out when I got up and was just listening at the door I would have seen Everything.)

Not to be overly paranoid, but I am not eager to be the American in a small Serbian town, the day after the anniversary of the US bombing Serbia. There was a bunch on the news about it yesterday. We used cluster bombs in densely populated areas that I am told are prohibited from use in war. Many Serbs, understandably hold a grudge. I think I wish I was from a more neutral country.

I was thinking about going outside, but decided not to. can't sleep now, but I am very tired and understandably shaken.
Right now I feel like I could use a cigarette even though I don't smoke.

I actually have a bunch more stuff to write about, but can't think to write about it right now. Maybe, I should try to sleep. It has been an hour and a half since the big bang... I can still hear it in my head. WOW
Thank God I am OK and Trust me I will be Thanking HIM!

Update. a few hours later....

It is now a few hours later. No one is allowed in or out of the building til "CSI" comes from Beograd. Everyone will have DNA samples taken and I imagine we will be questioned. A cop came by to ask us questions and told us what was going on.

I am at a loss, not understanding the language.. Our phone is ringing off the hook and Milan is talking to a bunch of people. Baba and Deda called, friends and family who hear about it. Everyone is calling because we are in the building. I am not sure who Milan heard this from but, apparently they bomb was under the doorstep or something and when The Judges wife came out she must have bent over to check it out and BOOM! IT was soo loud. It echoed through the stairwell.Milan saw her being carried out. I just stayed in the apt. and peeked threw the door.
It was chaos and confusion. I couldn't understand anything. I could hear a man crying, I imagine it was the husband of the woman who died. He was understandably inconsolable.

Please pray for the family of the victim.

Another update...
Milan and I were able to leave a little while ago and I finally got out to go to the store to get the things I need. As I walked down the steps, I saw where the bomb exploded. It is diagonally from our door one floor down, so I can see that door from mine. No wonder it was so loud. IT was really close.
There are holes in the wall and door and it just looks scary! I am kinda glad I didn't look out when it happened. I would have seen too much.

Just now when I was coming home I saw two men waiting at the door as a young man came out. I imagine he was the son, though I know nothing about the family.

It is so heartbreaking to see something like this. I hope I will never see anything like it again.

While I was out I learned that After last years bomb here that killed a high court judge, all the high court judges were given police protection. The lower court judges, that can only give fines and 6 month or less sentences were thought to be safe. Until today.
Also Our building is primarily made up of employees of the town, including other judges and police. I think that maybe from now on there will be more protection here. As of now. there are Police posted at the door and only the people who live here are allowed in.

Probably more to come...

March 26 I found out that the bomb was actually a grenade attached to the door.
I talked to Milan and he didn't want to tell me how bad it actually was. He didn't want me to be more frightened. He had seen the woman who had been killed and she was covered in blood and much of the front of her was destroyed. Her face and stomach were a mangled mess. He was probably traumatized and just wanted to go sleep it off. He said he had seen the officer carry her down the steps and she was so bloody that she kept slipping. I saw the officer today at the post office today at the post office, and he told me the same thing.

I walk past the door where the bomb went off every time I go out. it is a very sobering to look at. The door has been washed. I saw our cleaning lady scrubbing everything yesterday after... But the wholes in the wall stretch all the way down the hall to our downstairs neighbors door who is diagonally across from where the bomb when off. we are Just One floor above him, and because the stair well is only protected by a steel fence cage there are a few little holes in our door too.
The walls here are made of concrete and the divots left by the granade are fierce, even across the hall. I can only image what Milan saw when he looked at the dear, poor woman who opened her door at 6:30 AM to have a bomb go off in her face, literally!

Please pray for the remaining family and friends. The victim is survived by her husband, a son and a daughter. The family name is Lukic (pronounced Lukich)
Looking down on the parking lot, the Police car and the front of the building that was taped off, no one allowed in or out.

the door where the bomb went off. You can see where the poor woman was standing. There are no holes in the door. she got all the shrapnel. Even though the cleaning lady did a lot of cleaning, you can still see how bad it was, and blood still stained the wooden threshold.
This is a paper on the door with the funeral information posted as well as a picture of her. I would have liked it to be clearer, but felt rude taking pictures where someone had been murdered. I just took it quickly and was on my way.

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