op-art radovan


Giggles. The Serbian journalist sitting next to me leans over and whispers into my ear, “This is embarrassing.” One of the cameramen—there are four—asks Draga, our tour guide, to please repeat her opening words, so he can get her on film. She complies cheerfully. The microphone crackles in her hand, strangely doubling her voice in the small space of the passenger van. Welcome to the Pop-art Radovan Tour! In the next few hours we’ll visit the places where Dragan David Dabić, also known as Radovan Karadžić, lived and where he spent most of his free time. We’ll sample some of his favorite food. I would also like to mention that this is not a political tour, so any questions regarding politics will not be answered. Giggles again. This is embarrassing. Packed with hungry journalists and bearing the outsized lettering SERBIA: EUROPE’S LAST ADVENTURE, our sightseeing van speeds through the wet streets of Blok 45, a working-class neighborhood in east Belgrade. Fine-grained drizzle smudges the view outside. The four cameramen look dejected. Drab apartment buildings huddle under drab skies, and only the occasional billboard or McDonald’s sign adds any hint of technicolor. Human shadows under shadowy umbrellas tap-dance in a silent musical. Unreal city.

more from VQR here.