A cup of coffee at Mira's
(It was sweet to us! To them, alas, it was bitter:)
After a week long convalescence from a severe attack of reporter madness (i.e. delirium journalis), caused by chronic lack of sleep and mental bluntness, your favourite reporter from the street (streetwalker, in short) returns with your favourite column. But the return was by all means forceful! The yesterday's action of the breakthrough towards the residency of our supreme ruler succeeded completely. So, after the students of the BU had assembled at the Plato, the procession started, following the familiar route through Terazije and Srpskih Vladara streets and turned right to Kneza Milosa. In that street, having reached the embassy of the friendly Americans, it was stopped, as has already become customary (never have we, as a people, disobeyed the tradition...). BUT! At the rear of our procession, near the building of the Republic Government, a group of students separated from the others, a group especially gathered for the purpose of reaching the house of horrors by an alternative route and, finally - until the end, making a tour of the Belgrade taboo zone in the Tolstojeva street. After the disjoint, they headed towards the train station, escorted by the, by all means most courageous and organized security team - the DELTA force (accompanied by the two members of the Student University Medical Center, Igor & Nidzo). First it was suggested that the students should walk to the final destination; however, immediately afterwards, a different idea was accepted - a tram would be taken to the Fair; from this point the student mission would continue on foot. And so it was done. A hundred and fifty students boarded an empty "number twelve" and, having passed a full bus of special units, two patrol cars and one van, without being spotted (the windows were steamed up, and we were silent - he, he), landed by the Fair. Meanwhile, most of the members of security from the force already mentioned, began the secret scouting and preparation of the terrain for the students to reach their destination. Having boarded two automobiles (eight occupied the seats and one the luggage compartment of a 'lada' and eight packed themselves in a 'ford'!) they proceeded to the twilight zone (Dedinje) and started beavering away. Reminiscing the agents in the spy films, they scattered about the terrain and investigated it professionally, marking all locations with obstacles (read as - with club alert). Thus they made a significant contribution, without which this action could have by no means been brought to a successful end.
Meanwhile, the procession, almost tip-toeing, ran across the streets, and slowly, inaudibly, made its way to the finish line. The tension among the students could almost be touched. Each participant in this brave action was aware that this could all have a very painful turnout. Nevertheless, the fright only motivated us further to finish what we had begun. None of those who joined the group gave up on this unforgettable adventure. As we were making way through the numerous streets and alleys of Topcider and Dedinje, the people observed, at an awe, the stretching procession, 20 to 100 meters long, (depending on the width of the streets and our speed) which paid their neighborhood a visit. In one of the shady streets, the procession stopped (for the n-th time) to develop the plan further while a patrol was sent to investigate the accessibility of the next one. Only had they walked a few meters in that street, when they ran into the two members of the horror in blue. Interrogation began immediately (the security looked a bit suspicious in their uniforms) with questions such as "and what are you doing here"; "we are walking a little, you know" etc, when a small group of approximately ten teenagers armed with poles arrived, because they heard that an unfamiliar "team" broke into their territory. Maybe they even saved the situation at that moment, for they drew the attention of the boys in blue from our "agents". They took advantage of yet another salutary coincidence, a bus arriving at that moment, and exclaimed that, actually, they had been waiting for it for a half an hour (oh, that transportation). The bus stop was some 300 meters lower down the street, though, but, in the general hassle, the members of the beating forces of Belgrade didn't manage to take notice of it (despite everything, they are unable to do too many things at the same time). Thus the patrol returned, and the breakthrough continued by a different route. After a short conference in the middle of an illuminated crossroad (one of the few errors we made during that night) the procession continued, and after a few turns we stopped by the elementary school "Stevan Nemanja", where we waited for the security on wheels which had a hard time finding us. Previous to this, we had learned about the announcement of the radio Index that a certain group of students headed for Dedinje. The same radio gave out a false information (as their reporter was in the procession with us) that the students were located near the hospital Dragisa Misovic. According to the testimony of one of the members of the security, the police forces, previously disposed at various points on Dedinje, all rushed towards the hospital at once. Since this security member, being a member of the patrol, had caught a glimpse of the situation (having heard the news on the car radio), he claimed that never in his life had he seen so many police cars in one place (according to his words "the entire street was blue").
The action was continued and soon afterwards, after a path between two houses was passed (we will not mention which ones), we entered the Tolstojeva street, only 200 meters away from the sinister castle (we could already smell the coffee). After a few houses, we spotted a patrol car on the corner between the numbers 29 and 31, somebody gave a sign, and the violent assault began, accompanied by the deafening noise of whistles, singing and shouting (a tenant, from about 1 kilometer away, said that he could hear us as if we were in his living-room). Finally, we were stopped on the same corner before the house number 31, the farthest frontier of the student invasion on the castle of the wicked dictator. A brisk intervention of the police forces followed, them crowding us from both sides. We were pushed from one end to another, because they couldn't grasp just where we had come from. At the end they told us to take the road which brought us there, but they again lead us to a passage we hadn't used before. Accompanied by threats and nervous gestures with their clubs, because they are probably be severely rebuked (Badza, Badza - how lazy you have become), they played shepherds and directed our way. While we were returning, we ran into the infuriated and angered first man of Zloba's* security, the notorious Senta. After he had spilled numerous curses on our account, he rushed with his cure through the student procession. Most were on the sidewalk, secure, but one of the students, in the general uproar, stumbled and fell behind the BMW. I found myself beside him at that moment, and accidentally observed, in despair, the lit reverse lights. Fortunately, the car stopped only a few meters ahead of us (I grabbed him, pulling him away), or you wouldn't be reading this article now. At one moment we were surpassed by the policemen in their vehicles which soon stopped by a little forest. Many grim clubbers exited the vehicle, and I thought to myself that we would get beat up after all (for there was nowhere to run), but they only conveyed us in the direction of the city center. They got so carried away, that they would not even allow those who lived along the way to depart. We finally reached the tram tracks by the BIGZ publishing house, where we entered the first passing tram and drove back to the train station (naturally, "protected" by a police car). At the station we (half the team) changed our means of transportation, entered the "number two" and got off on Kalemegdan. All the way to the Plato we were singing the newly invented tune:
it's off to Sloba's we go,
to 31 we came you know,
hi-ho, hi-ho, hi-ho
Having stirred up the entire Knez Mihajlova street with singing from the top of our lungs, we brought our little war to an end at the Plato - pure victory, no casualties. LONG LIVE THE STUDENT PROTEST!
*Zloba - malice