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Sunday, August 5, 2012

In His Own Words-Part 2

Welcome to the final installment of my interview with Dez of The Hollywood Spy.  You may remember that one of the reasons that I chose to do these interviews with Miroslav was to give him an opportunity to tell some of his own story in his own words.

One of the things that I find most striking about Miroslav is his gentle spirit.  As a Serbian, Miroslav survived the horror of the NATO bombings of his country in 1999 and despite this experience he has emerged as a man who is capable of love and who desires peace above all things.

I've had bad days before, bad years even but I have never faced anything like this. So I had to ask him. "What were you doing on the day the bombs began to fall and what was it like to see the world around you destroyed"

Here is his answer.

The bombing itself started suddenly and unexpectedly for us here in Serbia. Most of us didn't even know that somebody was going to be dropping projectiles over our heads.  I was at my first year in College and didn't know that the White House in conjunction with NATO were planning an attack on my country. If someone had told me that this was going to happen, I would not have believed them.

When the first wave of bombs hit I remember people running around scared, screaming in the darkness of the night. They wanted to get home to their children and loved ones.  My friend called me that evening in a panic, begging me to take her to the train station and to go with her to our hometown so that when the bombs killed her, at least she would die with her mother and her sister. The train that evening  was filled not just with hundreds of passengers but also with utter silence and complete darkness. The lights were shut off so that NATO bombers wouldn't see the train and destroy it and kill everyone on board.

The bombing lasted for three or four months and the attacks were always done during the night which was designed to increase our terror.  As soon as darkness would fall, the air raid sirens would be heard and it would be another sleepless night in the bomb shelter for those people who were fortunate enough to have access to one. We lived without electricity for months which meant no lights, no cooking, food rotting in the fridge, no water for bathing, no computer-nothing.

We learned that the bombing campaign had been titled Merciful Angel and to those of us who were living among the dead the name sounded bone chilling and bizarre.  They didn't drop bombs just on roads, bridges and army barracks, but also on schools, hospitals, nurseries and residential homes. Bombs destroyed businesses and factories that employed hundreds of thousands of workers and left them with no way to earn money to feed their children.  I still remember a 3 year old girl who was killed by an American pilot who dropped a bomb on her house while she was sitting on the potty in the early morning hours. I remember a father who was running away from a bomb with a baby in his arms and they were both killed instantly. I remember when NATO dropped a bomb on a train filled with innocent civilians-women, young people, grannies, children, students and parents were massacred in the bombing. These human beings are called "collateral damage".

But it is not over.  Serbia has one of the highest rates of cancer in the world and it is difficult for a woman to carry a pregnancy to full term. This is due to the large number of uranium shells that remain littering the landscape.  And many people from foreign countries who come to visit us are shocked to see the ruins of both modern and ancient buildings standing as silent sentinels to this horror. These buildings have not been repaired because there is no money to repair them and we are still struggling to find economic security for ourselves.

In our previous interview I mentioned that Miroslav is a bakery chef as well and I promised a recipe for one of his cakes.  With anyone else it would seem odd to end an interview about death and destruction with a cake recipe, but not if you know Dez. So let's end this on a positive note with a recipe for his Bombanana cake.




For the batter:  Mix 2 cups of buttermilk (you can substitute with fruit or yogurt or sour cream) with 1/3 cup sugar, 0.6 cups of sunflower oil and a teaspoonful of vanilla.  Mix in 2 cups of flour and a teaspoon of baking powder.  Next add 100 grams of melted chocolate.  Pour the mixture into a square baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Cut the cake lengthwise into two parts.  Crumble and mash one part into fine crumbs and mix this with 3 or 4 ripe mashed bananas. Stir until you get a creamy mixture. Spread the mixture over the remaining half of the cake and top with a layer of banana slices. Place this in the fridge and allow it to cool completely. 

While cooling, prepare the chocolate topping: Melt 100 grams of chocolate with 1 tbspoons of milk and 2 tbspoons of rum.

Pour mixture over the cooled cake.

Dez will be in later today to answer questions. It's Sunday an I have to attend Mass, so I'll be in later as well.  Have a good Sunday all.

63 comments:

  1. That cake does look delicious, which seems like an odd way to start a comment on a post about the senseless death and destruction of a people, but I had to get it out of the way.

    I have a friend who lives in Serbia, and I should ask her about things like this. She feels pretty strongly about the bombings, and I didn't know just how bad it all was. That's just not right. There is no justification in the world for bombing like that, and then to call the operation something like that? That's just so wrong. But I'm glad that, much like my friend and her boyfriend, Miroslav wants peace above all. Nothing like that should ever have to happen.

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    1. yep, Mark, that would be the biggest wish of all of us in Serbia too: for something like that never to happen to any country in the world.

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    2. Thank you Mark. It's one thing to see things on the telly, but when you hear it from someone you know and care about, it takes on a new reality and it becomes personal rather than abstract. If we accomplish nothing else with this, it is that people see the victims of this bombing as human beings and not as numbers.

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  2. WOW!!!! Makes you think! Totally agree with Mark's comments, above.
    Like the look of the cake too.

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    1. It does. I thought back to what I was doing in my life while my friend was experiencing this. I was working, had plenty of money, was happy and largely unaware of what was going on in Serbia. I'm so glad that I've gotten to speak with someone who had this experience.

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  3. Dez has so much to say that I can't help but love him, after everything he's experienced and went through it's impossible to not be able to, just wow like Rodger says.

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    1. Once you get to know him and know how he likes to maintain a positive spirit and to make other people happy, you can't help but love him.

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  4. I have met a couple of people from that area who lived through the horror. War is a crime..no two ways about it.
    Cheers
    paul

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    1. it's always a crime, Paul!

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    2. We are of an age Paul and we were both taught that WWII was the war to end all wars. Things like this aren't supposed to happen anymore, but yet they go on and on. I think we would all agree that it should stop.

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    3. and it is about to happen in Syria gain :( A huge number of our citizen was just evacuated from there, and they say the rebbels are actually paid mercenaries from other countries brought there to start what will later on "justify" the NATO or American intervention there....

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    4. The Hubby picked up on a news thread a few days ago and it looks like the decision has been made to bomb Syria. I'll talk to you in an email about how paid mercenaries were used in the 1970's to justify the murders of 100's of Filipino families and to ultimately put Marcos into power.

      The propaganda machine is already up and running to get people to believe this is a right thing.

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    5. it gives me creeps, Anne, it gives me creeps..... and imagine all the American citizens who will believe it's for a good cause....

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  5. I love the cake! Seems quite the treat!
    My French teacher was from Serbia. Now I know why she had to visit her mother so many times.
    Collateral damage my lead pencil's lead. Politicians are today's collateral damage.

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    1. if only the politicians could be the victims of all the evil they put us through :(

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    2. That's well said kbud. The politicians of the world sit at ease in luxury and order the deaths of hundreds of thousands and even millions of people. It did eventually destroy LBJ after Vietnam. He died a broken man who was eaten with the guilt of what happened in Vietnam.

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    3. speaking of guilt, one of the American pilots who bombed Serbia killed himself later on eaten by guilt, after he saw that the targets he shot weren't a video game ones, but real kids, women, innocent men... A lot of soldiers who did this have guilt syndromes later on....

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    4. I watched a documentary on WWII and many of the pilots now suffer from horrible guilt. They said that at the time they didn't realie the extent of the loss of life that happened when they dropped bombs in cities and in the country side. They were so far away from it in their planes and when they found out, it was horrible. I've heard the same thing from soldiers in Vietnam and many have committed suicide as a result

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    5. the sad thing is that their guilt won't bring back to life thousands of their victims :(

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  6. Annzie, you've made some mistakes in the recipe, hope nobody will try to bake the cake using those nubmers :P

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    1. Bloody hell. If you get a chance email me the corrections and I'll make changes.

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    2. it's 100g of chocolate, not 10 :)

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    3. I'll fix it now darling.

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  7. Collateral damage is just a stupid phrase for those idiotic politicians so they can make themselves feel good over putting money in theirs and the greedy corporations pockets. To name it that is stupid too, but as always the other side always think they are in the right, creating a war where none is found. It has been that way forever, just some idiot higher up who sits in their cushy chair, forces some issue to happen, gets a bunch of blinded mooks all rilled up and then they can get away with anything, like dropping bombs on innocent people. Someone should drop a bomb on them and be done with all this war crap.

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    1. The term is a horrible one because it reduces people to 'things' and it makes it easier to avoid guilt over killing innocent people. When war occurs it's always a shame because too many people die and when the decision is made from afar by someone who lives safe and sound in wealth, it's more horrid.

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  8. What a terrible story, its sad that you so easily forget about the horrors of war, when they're not on your doorstep.

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    1. yep, especially since most people in the USA viewed it from their comfy armchairs as if it was some kind of film or a video game :(

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    2. I was oblivious at the time to what was going on and that's shameful. Wars used to be something that an entire population of people knew about and lived with an awareness of the horrors of war. That is a thing of the past and yes it has become entertainment. And that is a crime.

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    3. yep, the media is now used for leading wars and for erasing history and modifying present times :( And above all = for some serious brainwashing....

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    4. So true and tis the reason that I've eliminated it from my life.

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  9. First, thanks for sharing the recipe dear...it looks delicious ~

    Second, hearing your story made my hair stand on edge...I can't imagine the horrors or what you have gone through during those years....and yes, some soldiers have suffered trauma and depression after killing innocent lives ~ it goes on and on, but the effects are damaging ~ I admire you all the more for living your life in a positive way ~

    Thanks for sharing this ~

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    1. thanks for stopping by, Heaven.
      And thanks for your, always, kind words!

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  10. Collateral damage is sanitized term used so that the pols who order the attacks don't have to think about bodies blowing apart, families being destroyed and lives ripped apart, forever changed. They use it to justify their wanton destruction, dismissing people entirely. The term makes people sound like so much excess material, not even human.

    I live in a neighborhood that had a heavy Serbian influence and many of the kids I grew up with had relatives that were injured or killed. I never understood why we were attacking in the first place and still don't. Bombs are a very last resort, only when their bombs are coming at you, weapon. We wouldn't be so quick to bomb if we could look at the people we would be killing.

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Dez. And to end on a positive note, I do love the look of that cake and will have to get the recipe to my sister, who is the baker in my family.

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    1. that's the point, Melsy, most of the modern world has forgotten that in all these war games it's about humans not about video game characters or something you watch on TV.

      Glad you liked the recipe as well.

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    2. Thank you so much for stopping by Melissa. Your comment is spot on and it is encouraging to know that there are people who think like you do in the world today.

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  11. Your optimism and strength never ceases to amaze me, my Dezzy!! You are such a bringer of love, peace and light and after all you have seen and been through - how do you move past it all? How are you able to forgive so freely?

    I would love for you to start sharing your recipes every so often on your blog too! Maybe a Dezzy Desserts kind of thing?? =))) Yummy!!

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    1. Because forgiving is the only choice.... otherwise you become the same as them.

      I did have a plan of opening a baking/cooking blog, but never have enough time to do it. I do publish my recipes over at Facebook.

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    2. That was one of the first things I asked him. How do you forgive and move on. I don't know that I would be capable of such a thing.

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    3. It's true, Dezz, if you can't find it in your heart to forgive than it gives that person (in my case) power of you and can turn you black inside. Forgiveness is a powerful tool; it's cleansing....

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  12. I am shocked and stunned by what I have read, I feel so many emotions and I guess we, well I do sometimes, that real people get involved and the innocent suffer.

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    1. thanks for understanding the point, PANZER!

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    2. It is easy to forget the human cost when something like this happens so far away. And the ironic thing is that with computers and media the world has become more connected. Yet we miss stories such as these from people who lived them.

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    3. Yes, we do miss stories like these. So many innocent lives are taken for the sake of "the cause", which is absolutely heart-breaking.

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  13. maybe if more people like Dez spoke up about war like this and more people listened we'd have less of it. Someday, maybe.

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  14. sorry so late...long day at work..nothing like that first bit...oh my...it is hard to fathom you know...and that you came out on the other side still with heart for peace...intense read...an honor to get to know you a bit more....

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  15. It is a devastating effect of war that the worst horrors are not heaped upon the ones who start war, or commit atrocities. The internet allows private citizens of both countries to meet and share experiences.

    I read your interviews Miroslav and my heart hurts for your country, your people, and yourself. All of it seems so senseless. I also read accounts of soldiers who were injured in war, sent home and are never the same due to physical or mental incapacities; of families suffering from the death of family members who died in service to their country.

    People are people, and it is hard for me to read such accounts, and know that my fellow countrymen are responsible for some of the destruction. But I'm also sad for all the soldiers - on both sides - that are just following orders, that are doing their duty to their country, and in the preservation of their way of life.

    Politicians should be shooting/bombing each other instead of innocent civilians. If the leaders of our countries had to suffer the effects of war, perhaps they would come up with another solution to differences. For us civilians - and the average soldier - there is no right or wrong, there is just cause and effect. I hope someday to live in a world that does not conduct politics with violence on the very people they are trying to protect.

    I am so happy that you survived your ordeals Miroslav, and that I was able to meet you through your interactions as Dezmond, our Hollywood Spy that "loves you and there is nothing you can do about it." When I see this now, I will think of it as your statement to Humanity, and not just a cutsie catch phrase.

    I'll leave you with this song Dezzy. While it is probably not as lovely as all the all the links you have left me from your homeland, it speaks my heart better than my words can express.

    Live, love, and laugh Dezzy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KFAa40kZ30

    .......dhole

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  16. I was just a kid.. my parents didn't shelter me from these things but if I didn't ask, it wouldn't be brought up. I never knew more than this, not this much on this specific act.. I've hated war for many reasons for many years, and each time a story like this reaches through and pains me I feel my opposition grow stronger.

    I'd rather not say I hate war or the purpose of the military, though. I find it better to simply counter them all by loving and exposing peace.

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  17. Thanks for sharing these experiences. I feel sorry for what you and the people of the balkan have gone through in the ninetees. I was pretty young, but I still remember when all this started. Me and my parents were shocked and felt down, because we have been to ex-Jugoslavia quite some times for holidays and always had a good time with the people we met there.
    I still remember playing with a boy called Dario on my second holyday at the age of four. We didn't understand each other, but we were playing together about two weeks and my parents told me that we both cried when their vacancies eventually finished... I hope he got through all this unharmed.

    What I actually find very strange in these times is, that though we see those terrible pictures of war from all around the world every day, still lots of people cry for offensive actions against other nations (for example Israel & Iran). Will humanity ever learn to be respecting, tolerant and stop being power-crazed?

    Regards,
    Mojo

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    1. probably never, Mojo, there will always be some evil in the world :(
      Hope your friend Dario went unharmed. Tourists usually love coming here, since we love having guests and love to eat and party :) While they were dropping bombs on our heads back in 1999. we danced and sang on the main bridges and held concerts there so that they couldn't bomb them. None of the Western media reported about us crazy people singing on the bridges with enemy plains above our heads.

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  18. That cake looks yummy! I just met a Serbian young man who recently moved to my town. He's not very taken with American food. I'll ask him if he knows of this cake. If so, I'll make it for him :-).

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    1. ah, yes, the difference between Serbian and American food is humongous :) Glad you like the cake. He probably doesn't know about the cake, since all my cakes are my own invention :)

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  19. There is no way that going through an experience like that I would come out as sweet and positive as dear, sweet Dezzie. I got chills reading that. I have been through some stuff, but I can not even imagine that kind of terror. How lucky we are that he spreads his happiness for us to share every day!

    And that cake!!! Oooohhhhhh myyyyyy....I am totally trying to make that while on vacation!!

    xoxo

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    1. and may I just say that Annzie left out a lot of emotional details from the story which was even more chilling.
      I demand you take a pic of the cake if you decide to make it :)

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  20. Reading this I feel as if someone just ripped off the top of my skull and let in a ray of truth. The bombing of Serbia received very little news coverage here in the United States at the time it occurred. Now the bombings are not talked about at all by our media. This story must be told.

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    1. yep, it was a nightmare - someone is bombing you and their people back in their country don't even know much about it. Imagine the horror.

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