Letter from the Balkans
After Tito, the Laundry
- Our correspondent finds a corner of the Balkans where peace and stability reign—alongside contemporary angst.
Excerpt: Slobodan Milosevic’s successor, Vojislav Kostunica, drew cheers at his 2000 victory rally in Belgrade when he proclaimed, “I want to see a Serbia that is boring!” Though he never named his role model for Serbia, Kostunica may have had in mind Slovenia, a Balkan neighbor 300 miles to the north that too was once part of Yugoslavia but has lately done a better job of staying out of the news.
Slovenia hasn’t known war inside its borders since 1991, when ten days of fighting ended with 66 Slovene casualties and the withdrawal of Serbian forces, leaving this northernmost of the former Yugoslav republics an independent nation for the first time in modern history. You won’t find UN or NATO troops patrolling the small towns and rural villages that dot this hilly, New Jersey–size country half-covered with forest. . . .
About the writer: Freelance journalist Wes Eichenwald, a native of Queens, NY, has been reporting on southeastern Europe for various publications since he moved to Slovenia in 1996. From 1985 to 1987 he edited and published four issues of Boston-based ’zine X It Out. His latest publishing efforts are on display at www.pogoer.org.