Name: Young Serbian Woman
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
"You can't help me now, but you can help to future civilization
to live in peace without wars."
-Serbian Young Woman
On February 28, 1999, our team member Jocelyn contacted a girl in
Belgrade, Serbia. They were to become friends, and experience some
amazing conversations as they learned about each other's countries,
opinions, and beliefs. As a researcher for the site, Jocelyn wanted to
contact someone that lived in the area of the conflict happening in
Serbia, and to hear, from a real girl, the inside look of her country,
and her thoughts. They started to converse just as things were rising
to a boil, just as things were reaching a peak in the conflict. As
they started to ask each other questions and talk, something happened
that they both hadn't anticipated. Jocelyn saw, through the eyes of
someone living there, the true plea of the people. She encountered an
experience of a lifetime; as this young Serbian shared with her the
daily happenings, as they spoke over the Internet each day as the
This young Serbian woman's real identity will not be revealed. But
her words speak penetratingly, as she relates her thoughts, her fears,
It is one thing to be conversing, talking, as the bombing is
actually happening; to develop a friendship with someone as their city
goes under a fire of bombing and chaos. It is another thing to read of
it. Although the viewers of this site were not there, this young
woman's story is hoped to move and touch our viewers' lives as it did
Jocelyn will never forget this experience as long as she lives. It
is a once in a lifetime encounter. We hope it deeply moves others as
much as it has touched our own souls.
The following quotes between Jocelyn and the young Serbian are
excerpts from live conversations on the Internet. We have compiled the
quotes that relate the encounter.
February 28, 1999 - At this point, ethnic conflict was rising in
Serbia, and tension was boiling between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
Milosevic had ordered his army into Kosovo for supposed "ethnic
cleansing", that would last for months. In the weeks and months that
followed, there were reports of mass murder and abuse such as rape,
torture, and other awful crimes committed against the ethnic Albanians
in the Serb army's removal of those people. The Albanians had wanted
to adjoin Kosovo to the country that they migrated from years before:
Albania. But the Serbs would not allow it, and Milosevic was convicted
a war criminal later in the months to follow. At the time when these
two girls met, things were just starting to rise to the surface, but
the ignorance of the situation was at large.
Young Serbian Woman: Hi Jocelyn!! You have strange name, but
I don't think ugly, uncontrary it is interesting.
Jocelyn: Hello. Yes, my name is not that common but still
not rare in the USA. How are you? I was happy to hear that you would
like to talk.I hear that there are conflicts occurring in your country.
Young Serbian Woman: Yes. And because of that I'm not a
fan of your country. USA want to bomb my country. But, I don't have
anything against you
Jocelyn: Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. I am in a
contest this year called ThinkQuest, it's International and two
teammates and I are designing a web site called "The Global Relations
of the Many Nations". Our purpose is to educate people about issues
happening around the world, the affect they have had on people, and
what can be done, what people can do to help. We will be writing about
your country, and I would like to learn more about it.
Young Serbian Woman: OK, I will try to explain you what is
happening here, but I must warn you that I will tell you some bad thing
Jocelyn: I would like to hear your opinion, and am very
open to what you have to say.
Young Serbian Woman: I am glade to hear you saying that. I
had been talking with one guy from USA and our conversation was
dreadful. I live in Belgrade which is the capital of Yugoslavia and
also the capital of Republic Serbia. You probably heard on news that
they call us also Serbs.
Jocelyn: Yes, I have heard that they call you Serbs. I
actually don't know a lot about what is happening there, which is why I
would like to hear about it.
Young Serbian Woman: Kosovo is a province in Serbia which
adjoin with Albania. Many Albanians had migrated to Kosovo for more
than 10 years. So now in Kosovo live big number of Albanians. Albanians
want to pronouse province Kosovo as Republic so they can join Kosovo
with Albania. So they are attacking Serbs which lives in Kosovo.They
want to clear Kosovo from Serbs. My country of course was force to do
something about it. They confront them. But, USA and Western European
countries under USAs' pressure had started to mix in our solving this
Jocelyn: I see. What do you think is the solution?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, Albanian terrorist and my
country know that we can't do anything until USA is trying to "solve"
our problem. USA is supplying Albania's terrorist with guns. It is
difficult to say. There can't be solution until terrorist can do what
they want to do. Terrorist doesn't want peace.I'm not good politician
as you see
Jocelyn: All that you say is very interesting. What kind
of government does your country have?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, we have democratic government,
but with little old communism...we didn't exterminate them all. :-)
Unfortunately, our President of Yugoslavia and Serbia is communist
informal. They had manipulated with elections and that is a reason why
are they still in government.
Jocelyn: That is so interesting, and all of it fascinates
me. I also have compassion for those experiencing these conflicts. Do
you live right near everything that is happening?
Young Serbian Woman: No, I don't live near Kosovo.:-)It is
pretty far from Belgrade.
Jocelyn: I can imagine that you are thankful because of
that. What is the economy like in your country?
Young Serbian Woman: Economy is going backwards. It is
hard to find a work and is it difficult to live normal life. I have
luck that my father is very smart person and he succeeded in his
business so I can afford studying private faculty and dress nice
cloths. But people like us is very little, and rest is very poor and
they are just trying to survive.
Jocelyn: That is very interesting. Well, it has been
wonderful talking to you. I could talk for many hours, but it is night
here and I have to go to bed. Thank you so much for telling me about
you and your country. I really want to talk to you again sometime.
Young Serbian Woman: It was nice talking with. You are
very smart girl.bye for now.
March 23rd, 1999 - NATO orders air strike to begin in Serbia, but
a specific time of the bombing is not given. It is supposed to be over
Serbia's refusal to sign Kosovo peace agreement. NATO officials tell
the public that they are not waging war on Yugoslavia, but to prevent
the killings happening in the region of Kosovo. There are reports of
Milosevic, the president, sending his army into Kosovo and killing
ethnic Albanians, calling it "ethnic cleansing". The goal of the NATO
bombing for the next few days was stated to be to disarm Serbia's
military to prevent more murder. Serbs anticipate the air raid.
Jocelyn: Do you think I would be able to interview your
Young Serbian Woman: I have spoken with my family. Sorry,
but they don't want to be interviewd by person who is from USA. I hope
you understand them. USA and NATO will bomb Yugoslavia probably today
so this is a reason for this.
Jocelyn: Oh, I understand and that is all right. I am so
sorry to hear of the awful bombing.
Young Serbian Woman: It is really terrible. :-(
Jocelyn: That is so awful - you are safe and away from the
bombings, I hope?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, I don't know. Someone said
that they will bomb my town and someone that they won't.
Jocelyn: You will be in my family's prayers.
Young Serbian Woman: Thank you. You are very nicely
Jocelyn: Your welcome, you are very nice also and I hate
to hear of the terrible disputes that are going on. I just wish that
everyone could be at peace with each other.
Young Serbian Woman: Me too.
March 24th, 1999 - Tense anticipation.
Jocelyn: How are you?
Young Serbian Woman: I am fine, or better alive. :-)
Jocelyn: You were in my family's prayers last night, as
well as another family we know. I received the pictures [of your
country], thanks!.I wanted to ask you - in some of the pictures you
sent, are you in them?
Young Serbian Woman: [She explains the photos]
Jocelyn: The pics are wonderful - thanks for sending them!
I love to see people from other countries.the ones of the
children.they are adorable - it is hard to tell they are from another
country, they seem to look and dress quite "American". May I ask,
which one is your brother?
Young Serbian Woman: [She explains]
Jocelyn: He's a very handsome little boy - you must be
very proud of him.
Young Serbian Woman: Yes , I am, I love him very much, he
is my life.
Jocelyn: That is so wonderful!
Young Serbian Woman: Well, you probably feel same for your
brother or sister.we don't have different culture then yours.
Later that night.
Jocelyn: Hi! I was working with some of the pictures you
sent me, and designed a graphic with them that came out quite nice [for
the development of our site]! Would you like me to send you the
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, I would like you to send me
Jocelyn: Ok - it is just something I was playing around
with. But it came out nice. I'll send it.
Young Serbian Woman: Hey, I hear 3 BOOMs now!!!!! I must
Jocelyn: I'll be praying for you.
Young Serbian Woman: Thanks.I am so afraid.
Jocelyn: God will protect you.
Young Serbian Woman: Hehe well, I am not sure about that.
This is an irony. I am talking with you and in the same time your
country is attacking my country.
Jocelyn: Yes, it is an irony. But I still think that God
protects those who look to him.
Young Serbian Woman: Well, truly I don't believe in God.
But I believe that if it is destiny for me to die.I will die.
Jocelyn: Are you of any religion?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, here we are orthodox.
Jocelyn: Have the booms stopped?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, I don't hear them now.
Jocelyn: I wish I could help you.
Young Serbian Woman: You can't help me now, but you can
help to future civilization to live in peace without wars.
Jocelyn: That's why my team and I are designing the
global relations site. I see your time is 4:06 AM. When do you sleep?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, I can't sleep, you know the
reason. When the sun came up I will go to bed. :-)
Jocelyn: Oh, I see. Do you have a job that you have to go
to in the daytime?
Young Serbian Woman: No. I didn't go to school
today/yesterday so I won't go today/tomorrow. Would you go if you are
in my position?
Jocelyn: No, I don't think so! I'm curious, are you
talking to other people [on the Internet] right now besides me?
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, I am talking with other people
who also live in my town, we are informing each other.
Jocelyn: I see. Am I the only American that you talk
Young Serbian Woman: You are the only American person, but
I have many Serbs who live in America.
Jocelyn: I see. Are people in your country free to leave
and come as they please?
Young Serbian Woman: My country is under sanction for 8
years, so we have big problems when we want to leave our country. We
have to go to embassy of country where we want to go and we must got
visa from them and then we can to abroad.
Jocelyn: Oh, yes I see. I was talking to someone who
mentioned they will be coming to New York. Was it you?
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, that was me. But, now when I
think over , I don't have wish to go there.
Jocelyn: I understand. I wish I could talk to you all
night, but it is time for me to go to bed, so I must go now. I will be
talking to you again tomorrow. You are still in my prayers, even
though you do not believe in God, because I care for you.
Young Serbian Woman: OK, bye. Have a nice dreams and good
Jocelyn: You are so nice to talk to - have a good sleep
yourself when it's daylight. :-)
Young Serbian Woman: I will try. Thanks, and bye for
March 25, 1999 - By this time, two thousand ethnic Albanians had
been killed, and over 400,000 had fled their homes. The Serb army
continued to occupy Kosovo. Families were pushed out of their homes,
left to flee the country, where at many times they found closed
borders. Many were killed, and those that did flee the country brought
with them awful stories of abuse and violence. It was nightmarish.
In the meantime, Serbia was encountering another day of the
airstrike. People were beginning to support the jets that were going
into Serbia. Many believed that something had to be done to stop
Milosevic and the Serbian government from killing all of the ethnic
Albanians. It was becoming a mass murder. Yet the Serbs in their
homes were full of fear as the sirens again screamed, and as the booms
People were beginning to realize that this was serious. They were
beginning to think. Kosovo awoke many people, it was an enlightenment.
Many people learned from it. They learned not just the stories of two
ethnicities, but about life. About war. And about hope. It was to
affect many minds, and touch many souls.
Jocelyn and the young Serbian continued to talk. The Internet
proved to be a source of amazing conversations during these times. On
the 25th, one of her friends also joined the experience. He was a
17-year-old American student, equally wanting to hear the other side of
the story that this young Serbian had to give. The news in the states
focused on the fleeing refugees, the killings, the need for these
people to be helped. But by conversing with this young woman, these
two American students were about to see a whole different story, a
whole different side, and a whole different plea.
The identity of this other student will not be given, but excerpts
from the transcript of this live three-way conversation are below.
Jocelyn: [She introduces the American student]
Young Serbian Woman: Nice to meet you.
American Teenager: Hi! Nice to meet you too. How are
things in your area today? Were there a lot of bombings today?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, I have survive this evening's
bombing.they said that today will be more stronger bombing then
yesterday, but I didn't hear anything today.
American Teenager: That's good. Have there been many
Young Serbian Woman: Well, I don't know for now, but on
the news they said that many civilians objects was shot.
American Teenager: That's horrible. I haven't read the
news yet today, but I saw the headlines. "Blasts heard near Belgrade,
Jocelyn: Yes - I saw that. There was this one person on
the news also, a 16 year old that they interviewed who has been
corresponding with a girl in Kosovo.
Young Serbian Woman: I have just heard form a friend of
mine that NATO will bomb a headquarters of our army.well, I must ask
you both do you believe what Clinton said about what is happening
American Teenager: I believe that what Clinton said is the
partial truth --- I didn't get to see his address to the nation, but I
did hear bits and pieces. But after talking to someone else in Serbia,
I realize that what he said is just the surface of what is really
Jocelyn: I'm still pondering the whole matter of the
president sending troops to Serbia.
American Teenager: Well, basically I have been hearing
only one side of the story up until now. What is your side of the
issue? [he asks the young Serbian]
Jocelyn: Yes, and what do you think of your president
Young Serbian Woman: I am happy to hear that you have
finally hear the other side of the story. Well, we live with Albanians
for many centuries, so there is no reason to kill them now. I heard
that that our army is pushing Albanians to go to Albania, but army
didn't kill whether civils or Albanian.let begin with the story. For
many years Albanians.migrated to Yugoslavia and stayed in Yu. to live,
and we didn't mind it. If you know anything about Albanians you know
that in every family has about 10 children. So their number for years
had been growing and growing.
Jocelyn: I see - now they make up a majority of Kosovo's
Young Serbian Woman: Well, I am not sure are they
majority, but they are very close to it. And now they want to take
Kosovo and to link to Albania.
American Teenager: But didn't they have autonomy
Young Serbian Woman: No, that is a lie, the Albanians make
that lie, to prove that they are majority.
Jocelyn: I see - I heard that there was much cultural
value in Kosovo to the Serbs.
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, Kosovo has never been a part of
Albania, it has been a part of Yugoslavia for many many centuries.
Jocelyn: Do you agree with your president not signing the
American Teenager: Well, he'll be shunned (to say the
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, I do, because if we sign that
that will destroy Serbia because NATO will took Kosovo from Serbia for
Jocelyn: Well, I must inform you that every contract which
will or can sigh won't be legal, because capulation isn't in our
Young Serbian Woman: Well, unfortunately, I think he is in
a position at this point where he is going to have to sign the peace
agreement, otherwise... well... the bombings will continue. NATO won't
back down. What a great way to get a peace agreement, isn't it?
Young Serbian Woman: No, no way believe. I know that we
are small number people, but we will fight. Think otherwise, if you
are in my position, what will you do? Would you betake?
American Teenager: My goodness, that's one question... how
would signing of the peace agreement effect you in a negative way?
What do you have to loose? (.I'm not sure what I'd do, I just don't
fully understand the repercussions of signing the peace agreement for
Jocelyn: Would allowing the Albanians autonomy really be a
bad thing for Serbia?
Young Serbian Woman: Jocelyn , Jocelyn.
Jocelyn: What? I hope you didn't misunderstand our
Young Serbian Woman: You are asking me funny question.
No, no.you must put yourself in my position to understand.
American Teenager: Yes, we are trying to (that's my goal
of this conversation, actually).
Young Serbian Woman: Well, then, imagine that Canada want
to take a part of USA because in that part now live many Canadian.well
what you think now? Is that justice and is that right?
American Teenager: Great analogy. Then imagine the rest
of the world shunning you for wanting to keep it...I see your point.
And bombing you on top of it.
Jocelyn: Yes, so do I. Bombing is a horrifying way of
going about it.
Young Serbian Woman: I must admit, that my country and
government is guilt for his goodness, when they permit migrated
Albanians to stay in our country.USA has good program for this sort of
Jocelyn: Jeca, I hope you know that we just want to become
familiar with what is happening in your country, and attempt to put
ourselves in your position.You have much to say that is so interesting.
I could talk with you for hours.
American Teenager: Oh, definitely. It REALLY bothers me
that our media isn't reporting both sides of the story. They are
talking about Russia and China, but are not really getting into the
details of Serbia's point of view.
Young Serbian Woman: I am just happy to find out that
someone in USA want to hear our side of the story.What is worse the
whole western Europe is also wrong informed because of USA
American Teenager: But on the flip side of the coin, I
don't agree with the killings of the people of Kosovo.
Young Serbian Woman: Just a sec, on what killing do you
Jocelyn: There have been many casualties - the Albanians
Young Serbian Woman: .uh this is a hard job for me.well ,
I must admit that I don't know everything that was happening there, but
I know for sure that our army didn't kill civilians whether Serbs or
Albanians. They kill only Albanian terrorist.I didn't tell you, in the
time of bombing terrorist had been attacking our army.
American Teenager: I really believe that President
Milosevic attacked civilian population. Villages were destroyed,
Albanians were driven from their homes.
Young Serbian Woman: When I heard that I wanted to
explode. Well, before the villages were the destroyed, civilians had
been transfer to cities, so there were no civilians in villages in the
time of fights.
Jocelyn: I thought there were many families killed.
American Teenager: It sounds pretty nasty on both sides of
Jocelyn: Yes. There can never really be one "right" side.
War is an ugly thing.
American Teenager: No matter how the media portrays
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, the both side are always in long
American Teenager: Well.it was a pleasure talking with
you, but homework is calling, and I must answer.
Young Serbian Woman: Good luck you both.
American Teenager: Well, the same for you, you have
our prayers!. Nice talking to you both! I will talk to you later! God
[He leaves the conversation. Jocelyn and the young Serbian woman
Young Serbian Woman: Do you like politics?
Jocelyn: Well.I think it is something to learn about, as
the government and what they do is going to effect the people that live
in the country. So it is important to know about them, and about
things happening around the world.
Young Serbian Woman: Well, your country had very bad
politicians and government. They like to play world police.
Jocelyn: Our constitution is pure, and very much right.
But our government.become corrupt.
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, that is true. And you people is
very bad informed.Your constitution has many holes which provide
criminals to escape.
Jocelyn: Our citizens have freedom of will, and are free
to a point to do what they please. But when they do something that
goes against someone else's freedom, like a crime, it is not right.
Young Serbian Woman: Your country has still many problems
Jocelyn: Yes. There is still racism amongst our races.
But every race here is considered equal according to law, but not
everyone acts like they should about it, and are very cruel.
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, I know a lot about USA's
culture. We had to do seminar work about USA culture and every area of
life at our faculty.
Jocelyn: The USA has many different cultures that have
migrated into it. How about your country?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, we have Albanians in Kosovo,
then we have Roms-gipsy and we have people from Hungary in province
Jocelyn: I see. So probably not as much of a mix as in
our country. There have been many people that have come to the USA
because of all the good freedom here, and to get away from Communism
and other cruel governments. Freedom is highly valued here, at least
it should be by everyone.
Young Serbian Woman: Well, I can tell that Communism isn't
so bad as they say. We live in communism for many years and we lives
like a kings.
Jocelyn: With communism there is much government control,
and the people don't have a say. Because the people don't have a say,
they can not become a totally free and successful people, both in
economy and happiness.
Young Serbian Woman: In the past it was like that.
Jocelyn: Are you happy with your government?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, no. It is corrupted.
Jocelyn: Yes - many governments are corrupted,
unfortunately. Do people have the right to vote officials into office?
Like, do you have the right to vote who your president will be?
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, of course, but they manipulate
with voting also.
Jocelyn: Oh, I see. So you have some Socialism, when
they are elected. What do you think of Socialism?
Young Serbian Woman: Well, here Socialism is the other
word for Communism.
Jocelyn: In many cases it can be.It has been so very
interesting to talk with you, but I must get ready for bed. My friend
was very interested to talk with you also. Did you enjoy talking with
Young Serbian Woman: Yes, he is very smart boy. You both
surprised me with your knowledge.
Jocelyn: You yourself are very intelligent and smart. you
seem to have a good vocabulary, and convey your messages well.Well, I
hate to say this, but I must go now and get ready for bed. Can we talk
Young Serbian Woman: I look forward to seeing you soon. Bye
and have nice dreams.
The next day there was more bombing, and it continued for months.
They were supposed to be aimed at military targets, and not civilians.
But there were many mistakes that NATO admitted to and many civilians
ended up being killed. They had clearly stated that their targets were
not civilians, but people began to wonder about all the mistakes.
First one, then two.it seems as if people were talking about these
deaths so easily.if only they would stop and think. These are people.
Jocelyn and the young woman continued to talk for a few days after.
Although attempts were made to continue as friends, the young woman
stopped responding after tension built among the Serbs in Yugoslavia.
Concerts were held in protest, and Milosevic continued to gain his
people's support. The bombing continued.
There were over 11 weeks of bombing. During the week of June 11,
Milosevic signed an agreement, the Serbs given an amount of time to
move out of Kosovo, and the bombing ceased. Finally. The bombing was
over. It felt as if an incredible heaviness had been lifted, like a
large weight had been taken away, as if clouds had finally parted and
shown hopes for a sunny sky. For many, their hearts swelled with
relief. The bombing had finally stopped. Kosovo families could now
move back to their homes. NATO reinforcement troops were moving in to
see that all of this came to pass.
But, was it really over? Was it certain; and was it real? What
would the Kosovo families go back to? Was the danger over for the
The young Serbian woman never responded. Maybe there is still hope
that someday, sometime, she will.
The war is over, but problems are not.
But, there was one thing that happened during this conflict in the
hearts of two young Americans that they will never forget. They had
seen and experienced the plea of the Balkan people; it will stay in
their memories forever.
On to an Inside Look: Thankful to be Alive: A Cry of Happiness
Back to Yugoslavia