The Two Personal Presents, General Ratko Mladic, Gave To Me When I Was On My Summer College Vacation in Beograd, Serbia (2002) B

The Two Personal Presents, General Ratko Mladic, Gave To Me When I Was On My Summer College Vacation in Beograd, Serbia (2002) By Jill L Starr NJ USA Read More....

I became extremely sad about returning to the United States the following day.  When returning to the apartment, Darko suggested I nap a while so I did.  I don’t remember what time it was when Darko knocked on my door waking me up.  He informed me we  were heading out soon to meet up with a friend of his named, Sharko, he wanted to introduce me. 

    We left Darko’s apartment after dusk and about ten minutes later parked nearby a beautiful green park lined with trees along the river, somewhere in Beograd. 

    Uncertain exactly where we were going, I allowed Darko and Bojana to lead.   Strolling down the narrow paved path a few feet wide cutting into a grassy hill, we headed directly towards a boat restaurant.  Traversing the small shaky wooden bridge, we boarded.  The place was empty; we were the only persons present besides one waitress. 
    We sat as follows; Darko and Bojana sat next to each other as in American restaurant booth’s and I sat alone across vis-à-vis.  The boat itself was very luxurious resembling the interior of several large boats formerly owned by the late Aristotle Onassis.  I have several books on Aristotle Onassis so I have seen photos of the interior of his large boats.  The waitress came over to take our order; there was no menu.  We verbally told her which libation we wanted; as she walked away Sharko came in.  Sharko was Ratko Mladic; he wore old faded blue jeans sagging a bit around his waist.          

    I wasn’t scared at all.  When first shaking hands with Mr. Mladic I thought quietly, this couldn’t possibly be happening; but it in objective reality it was really happening.  I’ve met many interesting people since graduating WPUNJ in New Jersey in 1997.  I personally coined the term, extreme sociologist which I consider myself.  I may not be rich, but achieved my scholarly goals notwithstanding either FDU or the New School for Social Research in Manhattan dismissing me from their graduate study programs.  Since completing my undergraduate degree, I’ve desired to better understand our world by meeting with and talking with the world’s most controversial individuals.  I believe in traveling to hidden and seemingly remote places around the world, partaking in local cultural activities for better understanding wherefore people behave as they do.

    Mladic first seated himself across from me, in a separate chair the right of Darko.  The waitress returned asking Mladic what he preferred to drink; he ordered expensive wine saying jokingly it was “two hundred dollars a bottle,” smiling.  I was already drinking an alcoholic beverage of some sort I can’t remember along with Bojana.  Darko rarely drank and sipped on something non-alcoholic.  Extolling me to Mladic,

    Darko explicated whereby I was the only American college student standing firm on grave issues pertaining to international justice insofar, the NATO and the former Yugoslavia. 

    Darko finished boasting about me to Mladic after which I in an extremely forceful forthright manner explained to Mladic my political views insofar as NATO’s breaching international law by launching military aggression against the former Yugoslavia, by bombing the Chinese embassy in Beograd, and, by purposely bombing other civilian targets in Serbia and Montenegro in 1999.  I have a film of when NATO bombed a newborn baby hospital unit in Beograd; disgraceful!  

    Mladic seemed impressed with my viewpoints on war and peace.   He was very warm friendly man; very relaxed and laid back.  He smiled the entirety we were chilling out just enjoying each other’s company and drink.  Hanging out with Mladic was no different than chilling with my other friends back in America.  I ordered another drink with Darko’s disapproval.  As aforementioned, Darko strongly disdained mind altering substances, always trying to help me overcome my craving for them.  Then, Mladic opened his wallet, showing me photos of his wife and children;  he had a very attractive family as portrayed in his wallet sized photos.  I think he missed them, perhaps empathizing to the loss I felt being estranged with my own two children for so many agonizing years.

    Like General Mladic, I possess very few photos of my own children.  The photos Mladic had in his wallet were obviously very old because his children were still very young in the pictures.  It was evident he didn’t have any recent photos of his family in many years; I sympathized with him in this respect.  After reminiscing over family photos he got up sitting next to me across from Darko and Bojana.  I let him hold my hand gently massaging it.  He kissed my hand, inviting me to spend the night with him in the hills of Beograd; I declined on account of my strong Orthodox Christian theological convictions. I admit Mladic having warm inviting hands and greatly enjoying the manner in which he touched me.  I did consider him an attractive man; yet as aforementioned I declined his invitation.

    He accepted my decision although he did ask me again; again I replied the same answer.  It was getting late and I was departing Serbia the following day in the afternoon.  Still sipping my drink, I began urging Darko to return to America with me making a life for himself teaching as a professor at a university.

    In retrospect, I now feel tremendous guilt and shame because of my advances towards Darko owing to Bojana my best friend sitting  there with me vis-à-vis.  Feeling a bit tipsy from drinking, Mladic continued making sexual advances towards urging me to go home with him.  Darko laughed seemingly thinking Mladic’s advances towards me were cute stating, “go ahead Jill, spend the night with Sharko, it’s fine…Sharko‘s a good friend of mine…don‘t worry if you want to…I promise you’ll not miss your flight back to America tomorrow…“  I continued declining the advances and when it became obvious I wouldn’t change my mind, Darko said we had to leave because I had to finish packing for my flight and get a good nights sleep. 

    We all departed identically to boarding the boat restaurant, crossing the small narrow wooden bridge; Sharko/ Mladic departed with us.  After exiting, Mladic and I stood in front of the boat restaurant for several minutes.  I began crying because I loved Serbia not wanting to leave the next day.  Mladic pulled me close to him and embracing me, he kissed both my cheeks.  I kissed his cheeks also embracing him.

    In examining photos online of the Topcider Serbian military barracks in Beograd recently, the photo scenes look identical to where I met Ratko that night.  Even the photos of the trees, walkways and benches/Gazebo and river where we met look exactly the same. I remember the shape of the trees there that night even. The scene that night when we met looks very much identical as seen in the newly released Mladic home videos.

    I wonder if Mladic did not have any security when he met me because Darko had brought me in the Topcider military barracks to meet Mladic that night; I believe he did. I would not have known the difference since it seemed merely a beautiful park.

    Darko and Bojana were walking ahead towards the car leaving me and Mladic alone.  Knowing, I’d continue crying, I broke our embrace saying “goodbye.”  Mladic promised to visit me the next day dressed in his full military uniform before I left Serbia.  I didn’t want to part; but I did.  I saw Darko and Bojana walking towards their car up the grassy hill and followed.  I walked briskly catching up with them; I was exhausted and still had to finish packing back at Darko‘s apartment.  Once more I turned and saw Mladic drive away in an old brown Mercedes Benz on its left front side.  I was surprised to see it was scratched and slightly dented.  Arriving back at Darko’s place, I completed preparations for departing the following day and fell fast asleep.

    The next day I woke up around mid morning feeling depressed so  I went for a walk to a local store picking up some things.  Returning to Darko’s, we were standing outside his apartment discussing something when I turned seeing Mladic approaching me in full military regalia.  We shook hands glad seeing each other.  Of all photos I’ve seen online, Mladic never looked better than he did then. 

    His military uniform was clean, ironed and he wore every military metal ever earned it seemed to me.  He was as honorably decorated as any of the American Joint Chief’s of Staff; even wearing his gold colored in sigma upon his green military cap.  He had many gold colored metals hanging from his uniform on the left side by his chest.  I was privileged to see him this way; I confess being impressed.

    I was surprised to say the very least.  Darko said to stand next to Mladic insisting on snapping some photos of the two of us.  Mladic placed his arm around my shoulder and I his; we both smiled as Darko  snapped some photos.  When finished Mladic presented me with a gift.  The book I posted online for you all to view, signing it to me under the alias name, Sharko thanking me for beautiful times spent together in Beograd.  We embraced and he left as Darko interjected saying we had to hurry to the airport before I miss my flight.

Book Given To me By General Mladic
Book Given To me By General Mladic

    Darko’s German friend delivered me back to Beograd airport the same manner as picked up.  There was little time, my flight was actually locking the gate and about to depart without me.  Darko ran up to someone important showing his governmental badge as I recall, asking them to hold the flight until I board.  There was hardly time for JAT to weigh my luggage; they did however inform me it weighed over the limit allowed.  Darko said there was no time to be picky about what I was bringing back to the States ; I obeyed leaving one full suitcase behind with him as to not miss my flight.  Quickly helped me through customs and the gate,  I tried prolonging our goodbye.  Darko didn’t want seeing him cry and urged me on as the Serbian flight attendant waved me to hurry.  The gate was closed up and I had to run with my carry on to board the plane.  One last time I turned briefly to see Darko; he tried hiding the tears swelling in his eyes as I. 
I took my seat on the JAT flight back home to America.  Upon reaching JFK my luggage was lost and it was delivered over the weekend to my home in Bloomingdale New Jersey.  This is what it’s like to chill with the most ruthless men in the world. No biggie really.


What It’s Like to Chill Out With Whom the Rest of the World Considers As The Most Ruthless Men: Ratko Mladic, Goran Hadzic and Radovan Karadzic (+) Confessions of a Female War Crimes Investigator 

Retrospectively, it was all so simple, natural and matter of fact being on a boat restaurant in Belgrade, sitting with, laughing, drinking a two hundred bottle of wine and chatting about war and peace while Ratko Mladic held my hand.  Mladic,  a man considered the world’s most ruthless war criminal since Adolf Hitler, still at large and currently having a five million dollar bounty on his head for genocide by the international community.  Yet there I was with my two best friends at the time, a former Serbian diplomat, his wife, and Ratko Mladic just chilling.  There was no security, nothing you’d ordinarily expect in such circumstances.  Referring to himself merely as, Sharko; this is the story of it all came about.

        THE END

Diplomatic Gift From Serbian Diplomat, Darko Trifunovic

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