Milosevic — the musical — plays in Kosovo

Actors perform on stage during a rehearsal of the play ‘Slobodan Show’ in a theater in Belgrade on Feb. 27. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Milosevic — the musical — plays in Kosovo

GRACANICA, Kosovo: Twelve years after he died during his trial for war crimes, Slobodan Milosevic, the one-time Serbian strongman, divided his audience again, this time as a character in a musical that made its debut on Tuesday.
“The Lift — The Slobodan Show,” written by Belgrade-based writer Jelena Bogavac, focuses more on Milosevic’s personal relationship with his powerful wife Mirjana, his daughter Marija and his son Marko than on the politics that made him infamous.
Milosevic rode a wave of nationalism to power in Belgrade in 1989 as communism was collapsing across eastern Europe. He then led Serbia through a decade of wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. Hailed by Serbian nationalists as their champion against Catholic Croats and Bosnian and Kosovar Albanian Muslims, Milosevic was seen as a brutal dictator by the West.
Around 200 Kosovo Serbs attended the show at a theater in Gracanica, a Serb enclave just outside Kosovo’s capital Pristina. They expressed mixed feelings about it.
“There’s nothing there, it’s simply a great manipulation... a political theater which actually tricked us,” said Zivojin Rakocevic, a former journalist from Gracanica.
In one scene Milosevic comforts his daughter over the poor financial state of her radio station. In another he tells Marko not to overheat the water in the family swimming pool.
Milosevic lost power after a NATO bombing campaign in 1999 and popular unrest in October 2000.
The play ends with his war crimes trial in the Hague, where he died of a heart attack in 2006.
“I’m delighted ... the point of the whole show is in one sentence, when a young man says ‘Sloba (Milosevic) didn’t get under my skin’,” said Viktorija Zivkovic, who works in a local school.
“We tried to show through their personalities what happened both in Kosovo ... and in Serbia of the 1990s,” Belgrade-based actress Tamara Tomanovic said.
The play frustrated ethnic Albanians who form the majority in Kosovo, which declared independence from Belgrade in 2008 in a move still not recognized by Serbia and Kosovo Serbs.


Revealed: Celebrity lineup who scored an Egypt own goal

Updated 51 min 18 sec ago
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Revealed: Celebrity lineup who scored an Egypt own goal

  • The debacle has infuriated ordinary fans who were hoping the World Cup would provide them with some much-needed joy amid the harsh austerity program
  • Before the World Cup, Egypt were tipped to qualify from a group that also includes Uruguay and Saudi Arabia

CAIRO: When a gaggle of Egyptian celebrities, including an outspoken belly dancer, visited the national football team’s hotel ahead of a crunch World Cup match this week, fans back home feared the worst.

Similar visits before big games in the past had led to disappointing results on the pitch, and so it proved yet again. This time Egypt were humbled 3-1 by the host nation Russia — a defeat that sent them crashing out of the tournament.

Before the World Cup, Egypt were tipped to qualify from a group that also includes Uruguay and Saudi Arabia. But after losing 1-0 to Uruguay in their opening fixture, they needed to get something out of their second game on Tuesday.

In a publicity stunt before the match, state-owned telecoms company WE flew the celebrities to the team’s hotel in Saint Petersburg. Among those who made the trip were actors Sherif Mounir and Ahmed Rizk, actress Bosy Shalaby and belly dancer Fifi Abdou, who made headlines recently saying she supported fuel hikes as part of the government’s austerity measures.

The debacle has infuriated ordinary fans who were hoping the World Cup would provide them with some much-needed joy amid the harsh austerity program that has left many people in Cairo struggling to make ends meet.

With their dreams of football glory in tatters, supporters have blamed the publicity-hungry celebrities as well as the underperforming players.

“The scene at the hotel was horrible. It’s true that none of the Egypt players came down to meet them, but their presence in such large numbers was a distraction,” said Ramy Gamal, 30, who was at the hotel at the time.

“All they care about is taking pictures and posting them on social media; they are not even interested in football. We want real fans to get behind the team, not actors and singers.”

Mahmoud El-Hussein, a 47-year-old fan, said: “What WE did was a provocation to all Egyptians. At a time of economic struggle, we see a state-owned company organize a trip for rich people who can afford a hundred trips like that.”