Letter from Yugo factory

Monday, 12 April 1999

Dear friend,

We are sending you letter of workers from automobile company *YUGO* that was bombed by NATO planes regardless that workers decided to make live shield around their factory. Now with factory destroyed more than 40,000 people has lost their jobs and means to feed their families. Photos and more stories about crimes committed over Yugoslavia You can find at www.aic.org.yu and www.barw.org.yu.


This night, the 9th of April, the ZASTAVA factory plants in Kragujevac were bombed. The live shield is broken through. This bombardment has inflicted sever damage to factory equipment and almost completely destroyed the energy supply complex that served not only to the ZASTAVA needs, but also for the heating of the entire city of Kragujevac: its residential houses, schools, faculties, hospitals... Yet, horror-stricken we were at the civilian victims: tens of men inside a live shield that was safeguarding the factory plants. Among the victims there were not only the ZASTAVA workers, but also members of their families and other citizens of the city of Kragujevac. What none from among us either could, or was willing to assume as possible did happen: Kragujevac has re-experienced its WW II tragedy, its citizens have again become the target of a barbarian assault. In the name of what aims did war planes take off from the once our friendly countries which used to send us the ideas of humanness, freedom, maybe the greatest treasure that we have in the modern civilisation? What has happened to all those ideas and have they been just an illusion that had dispersed at the first sound of raised arms? We, the small people, that has looked with admiration at all the great things coming from you, could nor, or did not want to accept that this was so. Haven't we, still, been mistaken? Has any one from among you give a thought to our future and the future of our children that has become entirely uncertain due to this insane act, and precisely this future we have been defending at the price of our own lives. Already exhausted by sanctions that have reduced our average monthly salary from DEM 870 to DEM 5-60, knowing that a destruction of the factory would bring into the question the very existence of ourselves and our families, we have made a desperate move: with our bodies we have made a live shield that has been guarding our factory night- and-day. We have been resolute, since the very onset of the attack on our country, and persisted in the realisation of that decision every day, not to leave our plants after the expire of the working hours, not even when the alarms would sound air strikes, thus staying round the clock by our workplaces. By night our family members and citizens of Kragujevac were visiting us, giving us support and making us these moments of painful suspense easier. In order to prevent a horrendous catastrophe that may arise due to an insane act of attack on our factory, through the media, we have addressed local and world public, giving the precise co-ordinates of the factory, and pointing at the potential losses, spiritual and material, that may be inflicted by its destruction. In our addressees we appealed to the public of NATO member countries, to the conscience of the common men in those countries. Besides by local, our appeal was published and broadcast by numerous foreign media: TV networks and news houses.

We, the ZASTAVA workers and citizens of Kragujevac, are afraid of the future standing in front of us. Now we wonder whether we have any future at all. Our children are hungry, and their eyes filled with horror. We have no more answers to their questions.

Kragujevac, 9thpril 1999


Sincerely Yours,

Belgrade Academic Association for Equal Rights in the World editor@barw.org.yu