"No fascist languages," he responded in Serbian.
I was offered coffee and asked for Turkish. Dragisha said I'd get Serbian. It tasted Turkish to me; it was very good. Dragisha said Serbian-language education was a hoax and the government was traitorous, but the people of Macedonia were good. He said he was most concerned with the integrity of Macedonia, which is threatened by NATO, Albania, and Bulgaria, and the KLA, which is operating in Macedonia. He said more and more Macedonians were joining the Yugoslav army as volunteers, because the Macedonians were basically good people who realized they were related to Serbs, and only Serbs can save them. He also said that he works just across the border in Kosovo, as the marketing director of a large building-supply company, and he goes to work every day.
"Is there anyone left there?"
"Do you mean Albanians or Serbs?"
"I meant people."
He laughed. "Sure, there are lots of people left."
"And what about Albanians?"
"Those who are loyal citizens are still there. The rest are running away from NATO bombing. But the Serbs can't leave, because they don't have a motherland in reserve, like the Albanians."
I was relieved to end up in the company of my friend Vlera. But, as luck would have it, she and Ardi came with another friend, Bekum, a 30-year-old Skopje Albanian businessman.
"Where are you from?" asked Bekum.
"Moscow," I said. "I'm sorry."
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