Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia visited the exhibition "Defense 78" of the Ministry of Defense and the Army of Serbia, dedicated to marking 20 years of the country’s defense from the NATO aggression.
This interactive, multimedia exhibition is organized by the Museum of the City of Belgrade and the author Dusan Jovovic. It is supported by the Military Museum and the Museum of Aeronautics while valuable contributions are also provided by the Serbian Army units.
Adviser of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, Ivana Anic Curko, recalls that during the NATO aggression, she and her colleagues would spend 24 hours on duty, actively working to accept all internally displaced persons from Kosovo and Metohija and provide care in collective centers.
- We already had refugees in collective centers. In Surdulica, for instance, two people were killed in a collective center when the town was targeted. In Novi Sad, where we had two collective centers, bridges were destroyed, so we used barges to cross the river. The Commissariat was devoted to provide care to these people, to accommodate internally displaced persons and restore faith and hope, let them know that they are not abandoned, that we are there to help them, as we still help them today.
Ivana recommends that especially younger generations visit this exhibition to learn how their homeland was devastated and bombed without a decision of the United Nations Security Council. The horrible crime was committed against the country and no one was held responsible to date.
Petar Andjic from the Commissariat added that the consequences of the tragic events during the NATO aggression will be felt for a long time in Serbia.
- Out of all the things destroyed, most have been restored. However, unfortunately, lives of the children and soldiers killed could never be restored - said Andjic, adding that 20 years ago it was unthinkable that 19 rich and powerful NATO countries would dare to strike at such a small country.
For Lazar Pejcic, the strongest impression was the room filled with photographs of children killed in NATO aggression. As a child of a pilot, Lazar himself learned what the fear for life meant in 1999.
- My father was a military pilot. I remember that every time he came home for several hours and then left again, I was anxious if I would see him again. Of course, there were sirens all the time. We lived near Batajnica, which was often targeted. More or less, we lived in the basement for those two, three months - said Pejcic.
The exhibition "Defense 78" is divided into eight parts, which clearly testify to events in Yugoslavia which preceded the NATO aggression. The abundance of printed, audio and video material, as well as original exhibits, are a unique guide to the interpretation of NATO aggression against Yugoslavia.