Diary

Vesna Goldsworthy

The broad new motorway which used to connect Central Europe with Greece and Turkey was eerily empty when I took it last autumn. On the fertile Vojvodinian lowlands between Belgrade and the Hungarian frontier, the freshly ploughed fields were dotted with pieces of twisted iron, sculpted by Nato pilots during the bombing campaign. At one point, an oil refinery has been turned into a group of half-melted steel toadstools; at another, the broken arch of a bridge across the Danube points curlicues towards the sky. The charred skeleton of a building flashes by every now and then. The approach to Belgrade is signalled by occasional sightings of crowded and dilapidated buses on suburban lines, but it no longer announces itself by that yellowish glow against the night sky which normally heralds places of this size.

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