Monday, July 17, 2006

Vicenza and Kosovo

It's strange how many Americans really don't know about what happened in Kosovo. Even people who are politically active and aware don't know more than the general idea that somewhere in central Europe some sort of clash went on. They seem to know the important words - Serbia, Albania, Milošević - but the details are lost. Kosovo isn't part of our national mindset somehow.

Kirk went to Vicenza in November of 1998. The massacre in Racak was discovered in January, 1999.

Before that he used to call me every night. I usually didn't sleep in our bed when he was gone - just camped out on the couch with the phone beside me. He didn't always get to call at the same time, but we always got a chance to talk at least a little. The kids were usually long since asleep in bed, the dark and the snow hushed everything down, focused it all on his voice over the telephone. He would describe what he had done - the latest on Klaus the Evil Danish Dude, the new French guy who was rapidly becoming Kirk's best friend, the small details of his day.

Christmas he got to talk to everyone. The kids could thank him for the things he had sent from Italy and describe the toys we had discussed but he had never seen. He told us about spending Christmas and New Years with a group of guys from the UK and the commonwealth. It took him three days to recover, he said.

He didn't talk about any increase in concern or tension, but he wouldn't have. That sort of thing was unspoken. We just talked about small things, connecting every night.

And then the massacre was discovered. The conference at Rambouillet took place, Yugoslavia refused to sign the agreement.

Then the world changed.

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