Danijela

Age during the event: 27
Location: Bela Crkva

What were the worst sounds?

I was in Bela Crkva at the time so I had a very different experience than everyone in Belgrade. Because Bela Crkva, as a place close to the Romanian border, couldn't really bombed. There was a huge military base within it, so if Romania wasn't near, it would have also been a target.
I had the personal experience when the warning sirens for air hazards would start. The closest encounter was the detonation in Vršac. Generally, in life, I can recall every moment with clarity, I can describe what I felt. I go back into that moment instantly. I was sitting in the dining room, staring at the window and it shook. And after that they informed us Vršac was hit.
Every time I would hear the sound of the siren, my stomach would shrink and nervousness would overcome me. That's that feeling of anticipation. You don't know what, but something is going to happen once they've alarmed you. What if you are currently a target? All you do is think about what could happen. I was going through that feeling at the time-especially since I was carrying a child.

What were the calming sounds?

Only the 'Smirela' siren. (The siren used to notify the end of air hazard)

Was there any music that shaped this period? What did you listen to often?

For me personally, the time period was marked by Disney's animated films. Because they were being aired 24/7. My association of the bombing is all of the possible fairy tales. They were doing anything to calm the people down. There was a lot of music, concerts. Everything was happening in good order. So they would relax people. Personally, it did hold my attention.

What do you think of the remaining ruins? What do you think should happen to them?

When I pass by them, they serve as an association. They really bring me back. And they remind me of the time when it all happened. People have forgotten about it. More or less, they don't look back. But when you pass by them, it reminds you and you get the creeps. Since they're located in the centre, it really got me thinking whether they should be changed or not. Because on one hand, they're an eyesore, but from the other it's a reminder of a truly difficult time. I came to the conclusion that they should remain as they are. So they can remind us that we mustn't forget. That war had taken some lives and they remain a memorial of that time. I wouldn't touch it.

What would you like people who don't know about the bombing to know?

I would just like to covey the feeling to them. I don't know exactly what I'd like them to know. Just that we are humans, same as they are. There's nothing to say really, just to implant the feeling in them for five minutes. Because, even though I'm explaining it to you, it doesn't conjure up how it was exactly. The feeling of helplessness, the feeling of uncertainty against which you cannot do anything. You're just a chess piece, if you move to a good location you might be able to save yourself.

What is one of your most important memories of the time?

My brother was working in the military barracks, he had to be there the whole time. Hence, the fear I experienced was because I was worried about what would happen to him. Complete uncertainty. The army spread across the forests. And my brother, because he was working on the radio station, had to guard the barrack and inform them. He was a literal target.
I constantly wanted to show solidarity with him. To me, it was disgusting that I had to be someone who has to protect themself, while he cannot do the same. They were constantly telling me that I have to protect the child I'm carrying. People were hiding in shelters. I was continually told to go inside, but I would go out into the yard out of protest. I would sit and stare at one spot and think about how now I am equally as exposed as he is.
That is the moment in which we share this. My destiny; now to sit here in support. During those three months, he received one or two phone calls with us. My mom then told him 'Come on please, talk to your sister to bring some sense to her. She's constantly boycotting, she doesn't want to hide. That way she protects you'. So he asked me to hide, at least because of the baby, but I didn't want to.