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Serbia: Belgrade Blog Roundup

From portraits of the city soul that abound in details of daily life to corruption allegations and the latest riots that occurred at a basketball game, find out more about this Balkan metropolis.

Seriocomico posts this picture of Belgrade on Flickr
Belgrade, Nov. 2005 – by seriocomico

Dule Nedeljkovic writes about an ordinary morning in Serbia's capital (SRP):

Winter has finally arrived to Belgrade. At least, it looks like it. My dog was squalling when I came to the front door of my flat. I was carrying a big commode while questioning my decision about buying it. Last night I [started snoozing] with [Impression of the Week show] on TV. So I forgot about my dog’s needs. He took it well as I broke his basic rights. To make it up for him, I was taking him three floors down by hands while whispering some sweet things into his ear. Unnecessary. He pooped in front of the building entrance steps next to our flats’ council president. Luckily enough, I had a tissue, so I took his droppings just hundred of meters to the nearest garbage bin. In the meantime, he started chasing a cat. He was missing in the action. I was searching for him all around for about an hour. I got sad because he disappeared…

Access.denied posts this photo with Flickr
“One of the many pretty but dilapidated buildings in Belgrade” – by access.denied

Lionsgate speaks up about his nostalgia for his home city and the people as a reply to the post about love (SRP):

[…] [Dating] foreign men and women? Hmmm… I tried it [before] […] in one country overseas. I concluded I didn’t belong there. Yes, people are more open-minded abroad […], and they are (more or less) friendly, [which is good].

But I would always feel like I missed something in Belgrade. I may have passed by the person who has been there my whole life from Vuk to Gardos, but I couldn’t see her. I haven’t bumped into her in the boulevard crowd or checked her out at the Danube wharf while she was biking…

Nevertheless, this is a personal feeling, to feel you live 10,000 km from Belgrade, to think about that person far away, in your hometown, and she moves around 7-8 km which I've described…

I am going to have a cup of coffee in Venice… [at the Belgrade cafe]

Radio Maria posts image on Flickr
Belgrade – by Radio Maria

In an emotional and funny essay about one of Belgrade's many clubs and bars, Tanja Jakobi proposes a 25-percent decrease in cigarette smoke and improving the conditions of public bathrooms. All that for the Tramvaj (Tram) club. Petar concludes (SRP):

Tramvaj is great club for blues [music]! Live gigs, really good ones. Yes, it is smoky inside! Yes, it is crowded! Yes, guys play awesome blues! The atmosphere is relaxed, that’s true, too! A cool place. Although, if cigarette smoke disappears, I guess I would miss it a bit… It all gives some kind of an added feel to it, damn it. Fuck the blues gig without a smoky [aura]. […]

Ian peric posts the Saint Save temple photo on Flickr
St. Sava Church, Belgrade – by ian_peric

On her Desperate Serbwife blog, Brooke posts an open letter to the Belgrade City Manager:

Dear City Manager:

I don't know who you have planning your street constuction in the City but I think you need to have a little talk with him or her.

I have seen countless streets and sidewalks in Vračar, Dorćol and Stari Grad that are in perfectly fine shape – without potholes, cracks, buckles, ništa – being dug up and reconstructed – and usually ending up in worse shape than they were before the reconstuction. Meanwhile, there are streets with serious problems (potholes, sections missing) that never receive any repairs – and they are usually just parallel to the street being re-done. I don't pay income tax in Serbia, but I pay VAT through my everyday purchases and I have certainly given enough in parking tickets and towing fees to have earned the right to be angry about how money is being spent on road construction in Belgrade.

I'm all for improving the roads in this town because they certainly need it. The construction at autokomanda is a welcome use of taxpayer funds and the plan for a new bridge to replace the aging Pančevo bridge is a good one. But I'm not in favor of tearing up of perfectly good side streets. It's a complete waste of everyone's time and money.

I am really starting to believe what some of my cynical friends say about how the government just does things so that citizens think they are taking action. Citizens are not stupid (even the ones who barely speak Serbian). We know a waste of resources when we see it.

If I were you, I would review your plans for re-construction of the city's sidestreets. Go visit some of the streets yourself and you'll see that they are in fine condition and whomever is in charge of roads for the city is fooling you into believing that he is really accomplishing something.

And, then, after you realize how much money is being wasted, redirect it to higher transportation priorities. I have a few ideas. Instead of spending money on digging up perfectly good sidewalks and resurfacing streets that don't need it, put the money towards more parking garages. God knows that the entire city is in desperate need of more parking. Better yet, send all the men, money and equipment being wasted on sidestreets over to autokomanda to help them finish the job faster. While you're at it, perhaps you should have a little chat with the head of the roads department about the amount of alcohol being drunk by the construction guys – I think there is a reason that the newly resurfaced roads are worse that the previous ones…

I don't fault you for trying to improve the living conditions in Belgrade, but somehow the priorities for projects has been messed up and I encourage you to step in and fix it!

Brooke – resident of Belgrade

Anonymous comments:

[…] we need more people like you in this city and everywhere else. cheers!

Ivan:

You should know that most private road construction companies doing the work are owned by the mayor's relatives, friends and campain contributors (Bogdanovićevi kumovi, as we keenly refer to them). In fact, one could trace probably about 80% of city's investments to the same dozen or so companies, all close to the democratic party. […]

Bg Anon:

[…] The topic you alluded to about the men reconstructing the streets was one touched upon by B92 last week. Their team ‘spied’ upon a group of workers at seperate locations in Belgrade. The men arrived and no work was carried out for hours and they had all manner of excuses when confronted about it. B92 then went to the city manager to present him with their report. He was not a happy bunny and lashed out at the TV station.

The city manager Stanojevic actually, (unless he is in foul mood as he was with this report) his door is pretty much open. If you were to request a meeting – perhaps after sending him this / a letter he might give you a reply in person. Of course he might never do the same for an ordinary Serbian citizen but an American… better chance. […]

Milica:

Dear Brooke, that's great. Serbia needs a bit of American energy and optimism. A useful word to know is HOHSHTAPLER (German in origin, but very much used in Serbia) — meaning a “wheeler-dealer,” a person trying to take advantage of other people (or of his position). Good luck, and thank you from all of us who care about BG.

Sericomico posts this picture on Flickr
Belgrade, Nov. 2005 – by seriocomico

Riot Porn reports on a disturbance which occurred during a basketball game:

Riot police try to stop fans rioting before a basketball ULEB Cup game between Red Star Belgrade and PAOK Thessaloniki, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006. The fighting broke out after fans of Red Star's local rival, Partizan, showed up to support the visiting Greek team, police said. Four fans and two police officers were injured. […]

Lucija writes about her day in Belgrade:

“Alone in a crowd” defines my day yesterday. The day started off with a hellish bus ride into work. After waiting a strangely long time for my 83 bus to arrive, I boarded with a large crowd of people. With each stop we picked up more and more people, leaving me hanging on to an overhead bar just a little too high to be supportive, practically sitting in he lap of a silent old man. Each time the doors opened I heard people saying “samo malo” (meaning just a little space) and kept thinking to self, I don’t even have “samo malo,” what are they thinking. Then a guy sitting behind the old man stood unsteadily stood up from his seat and somehow managed to knock off the cover of the over head light so this plastic beam hit me in the head. I burst into laughter, but was met only with a crowd of straight faces.

After my three hours or so of work I headed to the pool for a swim. The pool is Olympic sized, but people swim the short way, which is still probably the length of a normal pool. Despite its huge size, the pool was packed and completely absent of lane ropes to guide the mayhem of swimmers. It was crazy—bare limbs splashing every which way. I walked in and had no idea where I would fit, so with some hesitation I just hopped in and started swimming. Each lap was an obstacle course of other swimmers. It was exciting but so chaotic. People must get kicked in the face daily. I felt lucky walk away, goggles in tact.

2 comments

  • Ano Nonymous

    Serbs should join with Bulgaria. We are now to small to survive.
    What will we be? A Slavic Lichtenstein dominated by Albanian, Greek,
    Romanian and Jewish reptiles? We were on the wrong side in 1913.
    Ignatieff was right at San Stefano. The South Slavs are the REAL
    Macedonians. The steam bathing cattle of Mokosh must unite to stampede
    over the reptiles.

  • Angelia

    Is anything there right now?
    I was wondering if someone could translate?
    Evo ti Sipak ???

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