Serbian-Americans feel effects of Yugoslav war
June 1, 1999
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Southern California is home to 45,000 of the more than one million Serbs living in the United States.
Many of them are horrified as they watch televised reports of NATO bombing sorties that could be targeting their friends and relatives.
But their fears don't stop with bombs.
"I feel that I don't have a voice in this country," said one U.S. citizen from Serbia.
"I am scared that what happened to the Japanese during World War II can happen to me because I just happen to be of Serbian ancestry," said another.
Bill Dorich, a journalist for the Serbian-American press, said he is treated like a pariah.
"I have had two hate crimes (committed) against me. I have had 14 death threats," Dorich said.
Serbian-Americans also say they feel betrayed as they watch their tax dollars buying bombs to drop on Yugoslavia.
The Serbian-American Association for Peace has decided to try to raise awareness of the suffering caused by the war.
"Make them aware of the horror and terror that the nation of Yugoslavia is going through these days," said one member of the group, while handing out pictures of the bombing aftermath during a recent strategy session.
The group meets weekly to plan ways to get their message out. They rally supporters to bombard Washington with faxes, maintain Web sites and hold protest marches.
Radon Popovic said he felt guilty at first to be staying in the United States. But now he feels he is on the front lines of the information battle in America.
"I can do much more by being in the United States and spreading what I think is the truth," Popovic said.
Every day since the NATO bombing began, dozens -- sometimes hundreds -- of demonstrators have gathered in front of the federal building in Los Angeles to protest the war.
Even the children are affected by the Kosovo crisis. Thirteen-year-old Milos said it is hard to be a Serb in a U.S. school.
Whatever backlash Serbs are feeling, their first priority is to halt the bombing in Yugoslavia.
As they hold demonstrations across the nation, Serbian-Americans vow they will keep up the pressure until their adopted country stops bombing their homeland.
On Memorial Day, Clinton appeals for Kosovo support
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
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