Going To Speak “Better” English Thanks To Emanera

When I made my first video with Luna that I put here, an American guy commented on Facebook, saying “Karl has to learn to speak English“. True. Four years ago, I spoke no English/American at all. I had no schooling in English, I just decided to learn it on my own to begin writing in English on my Serbia’s Ambassador’s website.

Now that I’m meeting more and more people (tourists, ambassadors, foreign journalists) my bad spoken English is really a big problem. So, last week I was searching on the internet for an English school, and I came across Emanera‘s website. Guess what! You can mix holidays with business! I mean you can learn to speak English (think I’m not so bad in writing it) in beautiful and sunny places. Fantastic! So, I and Luna went to Emanera’s office and there we met Sinisa.

He told me that Malta would be a great place for me to improve my English, in the beautiful Maltese resort of St. Julian. OK! Then he asked me “What are you doing in Serbia?” I handed him my business card, and we had a brief discussion about my work. At the end, he decided to support me (and Luna) and is going to pay for our one week vaccation/English course. “It’s our “donation,” he said. Oh my god! Again, Serbs are more than generous.

So, in the end, I found the best English school ever, and I and Luna are going on holiday, too. Thanks Emanera – not for giving me for free this course, but for your great idea, mixing learning foreign languages and holidays. Check out Emanera’s website.

Why So Many Lies? The United States And Serbia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (on behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States) congratulated the people of Serbia as they celebrated Serbia’s National Day this February 15. Hillary Clinton went on to say that “The United States and Serbia have a partnership based on mutual respect and built upon more than a hundred years of relations between our people and our governments.” I see this as a political statement. What is far more interesting is the ‘true’ story/history.

On February 15th (Serbia’s National Day), the WalesHome put up an article written by Royston Jones, a Welsh political activist, about Serbia’s history. It looks at the events that have shaped modern Serbian attitudes, and takes a closer look at “more than a hundred years of relations between U.S. governments and Serbia”. The story is fascinating, and I highly recommend listening to it. Here are two excerpts from the WalesHome article entitled Serbia: the shame of the West but you should read the whole thing:

As late as 1998 the US State Department had the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) listed as a terrorist organisation. The very same bunch of drug-traffickers and gun-runners whose leader Hashim Thaçi was then being lionised by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with his gang promoted as freedom fighters, posing in front of the cameras and promising to go fight the Serbs. (Posing was what the KLA was best at, it did very little fighting.) And as we all know now, the KLA also ran a lucrative organ harvesting business from Serb civilians they kidnapped and butchered.

Why so many lies? Put quite simply, the West (again, mainly the US) had an agenda based on geopolitical considerations. The Soviet Union was breaking apart. The Cold War was over and Eastern Europe was in turmoil, with every Ivan and Istvan wanting to be a capitalist and to drive a Merc. The one remaining obstacle to the eastward advance of Western ideas (and goods) was perceived to be Yugoslavia led by Serbia, which despite the strained relationship under Tito, was now rediscovering older ties with its Orthodox cousins in Russia. Ergo Yugoslavia had to be dismembered and Serbia itself weakened.

He went on to say that contrary to what you might think, Serbs ‘these barbarians’ have fought in defence of their land and their people:

Given that on more than one occasion they have come close to total annihilation as a people, we should not be surprised that when threatened Serbs fight back with everything they’ve got. But their struggles have invariably been defensive. Whether fighting medieval Turks or 20th Century Germans the Serbs have fought in defence of their land and their people. It was the same in the 1990s when Yugoslavia was broken apart.

Why the West – yes, again the USA – chose to misrepresent the situation has been explained. The dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the support for Croat neo-fascists, Albanian gangsters, and possibly even foreign mujahideen who came to kill Serbs, is one of the most dishonourable chapters in recent Western history.

Again, don’t just read these excerpts, read the whole thing.

A Serbian Dinosaur In England

Image Credit Flickr User bobfranklin

There’s a fascinating article over at Kuriositas.com talking about a dinosaur known as Luna Park which can be seen in Southsea, a seaside resort located in England. The Dinosaur was originally made in Serbia:

Although Southsea is now home to Luna Park she was originally made in a village in Serbia and shipped over to the UK piece by piece. The artists drew on the assistance of the workers of the Zastava car factory in Kragujevac to realize their dream. Underneath the polyester shell is a rigid steel skeleton which supports the weight of the dinosaur.

It’s worth reading/watching the whole thing. Fantastic pictures.

(Funny) A Safe Work Environment In Serbia: No Germs In The Office Fridge

Last week, Carolin Vesely wrote an interesting article over at The Globe and Mail, pointing out that the typical office fridge is teeming with so many germs that some studies have concluded you’d be better off storing your lunch in the staff washroom. It seems that it’s a big problem in Canada and in the United States, but apparently not in Serbia where companies don’t overfill the office fridge and keep it clean.

Photo by Dragan Babic – Company: Superawesome – Location: Novi Sad, Serbia.

A Tiny Serbian Village, An American Brass Band, A Film

A new feature film “Brasslands” by the meerkat media collective will showcase an ensemble cast of American band members and Guca villagers who each bring a unique human story to the larger story of the power of music to reach across political borders. This is a movie about music, but just below the surface lie the human stories that play to this Serbian soundtrack. “Brasslands” explores a moment when music becomes the universal language across political boundaries. Watch the extended trailer below.

Number of tourists in Belgrade increased by 5%

According to Jasna Dimitrijevic, the director of the Belgrade Tourist Organization, the number of foreign tourists visiting Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, has increased in spite of the crisis. The number of foreign tourists visiting Belgrade increased by 5% in the first five months of 2009 as compared to the same period of 2008, while the number of foreign tourists in other European cities dropped by 11 to 20 percent.