Log Cabin Chronicles

"Bad men, good men, and soldiers"

A CHILD'S KOSOVO PRIMER

CHARLES PAPARELLA

So, anyway, boys and girls, once the President had finally tumbled out of the briars and the brambles, and got up and dusted himself off and realized he really wasn't hurt at all, he found out there was a very, very bad man in a faraway land whose dangerous armed men were out rounding up the country-folk and shooting them.

"This cannot be!" said the President, in righteous indignation. And he and the other presidents got together and told their own dangerous armed men to climb into their dangerous armed airplanes and drop bombs on the bad man's soldiers, which is what people like to call dangerous armed men.

So the men climbed into their airplanes, and they flew very, very high over the bad man's country, and they dropped powerful bombs on the city of Belgrade, which is also one of the oldest cities in that part of the world.

It is so old that it has been bombed before, many times. And somehow, each time, it has survived.

That's probably because there aren't just soldiers living in Belgrade, there are people, too. And those people love their old city, and every time someone blows it up, they build it back again.

But each and every time that someone drops bombs on them, they shake their fists up at the sky, and yell bad things at the airplanes, but the soldiers in the airplanes are so high up, they can't hear them.

If they could hear them, they might feel differently about dropping bombs on them.

The river that runs through Belgrade is a river famous for its beauty, the Danube. Everyone has heard the famous waltz named in honor of that river, the one that goes "ta da da da da, da da, da da." (Yes, that's the one.)

The other night, a news report said that one of the main bridges over the Blue Waltz Danube had been blown up by the airplanes. Earlier that day, we had seen videotape from Belgrade of city residents holding hands from one end of the bridge, to the other.

Maybe, before the bombs were dropped on the bridge, everyone had gone home to eat supper.

Maybe the soldiers in the airplanes looked down and saw all those people standing on the bridge, and flew down there real low and yelled out the window:

"Everybody get off the bridge!!! I am going to drop some bombs on it!!!

Maybe it was a different bridge. Maybe it wasn't, and maybe all those people who were on the bridge holding hands got their heads blown off when the bomb hit it. Or they were thrown hundreds of feet into the air, coming down into a burning mass of twisted metal and concrete. Or maybe they were lucky, and landed unconcious in the Blue Danube, where they drowned.

And maybe, somehow, a little Albanian refugee child, shivering in the rain in a valley hundreds of miles away, was a bit warmer, and a bit happier, that the soldiers blew up the bridge in Belgrade.

One thing's for sure, though, boys and girls: way on the other side of the world, in America, where the only thing that matters is what's on television, everybody is glad they blew up the bridge in Belgrade, because it means they don't have to hear about Monica Lewinsky anymore.

Charles Paparella is editor of The Shore Journal, an outstanding electronic publication based on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Make sure to drop by for a visit. You'll be glad you did.


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Copyright © 1999 Charles Paparella/Shore Journal/4.99