In the summer of 1989, when Slobodan Milosevic withdrew Kosovo’s political autonomy, I was across Yugoslavia on an achingly beautiful Dalmatian island, in search of a Herald Tribune. Let me explain.
Ten years ago, a trip to the island of Brac, in what is now Croatia, meant that for the few weeks I was there, I was essentially dependent on my host, a native speaker, to interpret the world for me. There were no English-language magazines or newspapers in the town’s kiosk, nor was there cable television—no CNN, no Sky News. Sometimes during these visits I was so starved for English that I would watch old John Wayne movies with Serbo Croatian subtitles, just to hear Wayne pronounce the English words. But the lack of English wasn’t the real issue. The lack of outside news—or uncensored news—was the real source of my anxiety. Even at the apex of glasnost, a haphazard censorship still covered Yugoslavia....
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