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.