|PROTESTS AT HOME|
March 26, 1999
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: Over 1,500 angry Serbs and Serbian Americans gathered on Chicago's Daley Plaza this afternoon.
ANNA PAVICHEVICH: Stop bombing innocent Serbian civilians and stop bombing them now!
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: Anna Pavichevich is one of nearly 300,000 Serbs and Serbian Americans in the Chicago area, the largest number outside of Belgrade. Today, Pavichevich released some of the anger that has been building since Wednesday.
RON ALLEN, NBC News: There are reports of air raid sirens also in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: She and two Serbian American friends stayed home to watch what they had hoped they would never see.
CORRESPONDENT: The attack has actually been underway for some time.
ANN PAVICHEVICH: I thought that after years and years of, you know, being decimated and in some cases even perjured, you know, by members of the media, even by my own government, that I would be able to handle this better.
ANNA PAVICHEVICH: (on phone) Hi. I'd like to try to place a call to Belgrade Serbia.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: The afternoon was filled with fruitless attempts to call relatives and friends in Serbia and constant checks with other Serbs here.
ANNA PAVICHEVICH: Hello.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: As well as angry reaction to what they were seeing and hearing.
FRIEND: What about the women and children there? They don't care.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: To deter President Milosevic from continuing and escalating his attacks on helpless civilians -
ANNA PAVICHEVICH: Has anybody said anything about the Kosovo Liberation terrorist army? We're acting like they are invisible about the civilians. What about the terrorists?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: This is not risk-free. It carries risks, and I ask for the prayers of all Americans for our men and women in uniform.
ANNA PAVICHEVICH: And for the Serbian people that you're bombing -- ask for prayers for them.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: That evening Anna Pavichevich and her family joined several hundred others at a Serbian Orthodox candlelight service. After a lengthy service in Serbian, the bishop spoke to his troubled flock in English.
METROPOLITAN CHRISTOPHER, Serbian Orthodox Bishop: As citizens of the United States of America, we raise our voices in protest.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: After the service, the bishop spoke out against what he sees as the demonizing of the Serbian people.
METROPOLITAN CHRISTOPHER: We're painted as though we're some sort of monsters, inhuman monsters and totally oblivious to what is happening, and this is simply not true.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: Serbian Americans like Desko Nikitovic, who was part of the opposition to Milosevic until he left Serbia in 1991, say the bombing has rallied even Milosevic's opponents.
DESKO NIKITOVIC, Serbian Unity Congress: I oppose Milosevic. I would even say I hate Milosevic, and I would say that most of Serbs hate Milosevic, but this is -- this is the whole point now that we're putting in awkward situation that we all love Kosovo, there is no Serb that would let Kosovo go.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: There are far fewer Albanians than Serbs in the Chicago area, about ten thousand, maybe one or two thousand from Kosovo. They were more likely to be found anxiously following events this week in small groups in restaurants or their apartments, rather than at rallies or in services at churches or mosques.
SHABAN RAMAHNI: The bombing that's going on right now, it's not against Serbia; it's not against Serbian people. The bombing, it is -- the targets are Milosevic's military, machines, so Milosevic and his associates used the military machine for genocide and destruction of properties all over the Former Yugoslavia.
MERGIN LUMANI: I think they should pull away their troops, pull away their killing machines. They should let the outside media go in and what's going on. The latest I heard, they pulled every media that was from the West and the allies from NATO allies out.
DRITA GASHI: That's the only way to back them down, with force, because he's used to -- he's been using force in Kosovo for many years, so that's the only way to pull him down.
AL BERISHA: Milosevic would never back down, even in Bosnia. But once the United States and Western power, you know, took action, and he backed down and that's what's going to happy here in Kosovo. He's going to back down.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: What those around the table feared the most were retaliatory attacks by Serbian troops and police in Kosovo.
DRITA GASHI: I've been in contact with my grandparents today actually, this morning, and last night when America bombed, they were attacked by Serbian neighbors because they live around Serbian neighbors.
KUJTESA KASHTANJEVA: We talked to my aunt that was there and she was crying on the phone, and they are going in and taking young girls and men and who knows where they are or where they have gone or anything. You know, they said they would rather get killed by the NATO bombs than be killed by Serbs.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: Kosovo Albanian American Ana Feratha tried to keep working at the Chicago spa she owns when the bombs began to fall on Wednesday. But the tension was too much, and she was soon greeting other Albanian friends at her nearby apartment. All in the room supported the bombing but admitted that it was hard to watch.
ANA FERATHA: You watch war in your living room, and of course I watched different stuff but it's nothing like when it touches you personally. It's very hard.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: For the children, watching brought nightmares.
VARIMYR NEVZADI: I've been having horrible dreams about it, about people dying there, about more bombing going on.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: It was clear that the Serbs and Albanians in Chicago were as far apart as those in the Former Yugoslavia.
JUSEF THAQI: I believe 90 percent of, maybe 100 percent of Albanians, they I think the only solution for them is just independence.
ANNA PAVICHEVICH: Ask a Serb what Kosovo means to them, that's what it means, that when they go, they kiss the ground and they bring back dirt to have with them.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT: Even in Chicago, the tensions between Serb and Albanian neighbors continue to mount.