Last night I was out late with some of my new friends from Madness Hostel. We met up at Trg Republike and then walked over to Kalemegdan to enjoy the view. Next we went to Club Magic, a packed bar hidden behind and inside a shopping center with cheap drinks, excellent service, and a very enthusiastic disc jockey. Our last stop of the evening was another underground club called Van Helsing which was less busy and had a cover charge of 150 dinar, but had a very nice back room. At about 2 am, I had enough of the party and went back to the hostel to crash.
In the morning, I relocated to Manga Hostel. The hike across town is getting easier every time. After settling back in, I had a coffee, chatted with the staff, made some lunch, and watched The Village from the hostel’s DivX cd collection. After the movie, I had another coffee and finally started to wake up. I took advantage of my brief surge of energy to start working on my Fulbright IIE grant that I have allowed to lay fallow since I arrived here in Serbia.
I was particularly inspired to write by today’s news. The US State Department has demanded a private Israeli developer cease construction of an apartment complex in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. Prime Minister Netanyahu has rejected this move as a violation of Israeli sovereignty to which the state and the contractor will not and should not conform. With the Obama administration’s increasing pressure on Israel to freeze all growth of Jewish communities outside of the country’s pre-1967 borders, it seems that he has finally pushed Bibi too far. As far as he is concerned, dismantling ad hoc hilltop communities is one thing; limiting construction in the capitol is quite another.
I have a lot more I can say about this, but I will reserve the energy for the remainder of the grant proposal. One could not ask for a better example of how, when push comes to shove, Israeli ethnohistorical claims to the land can take precedence over appeasing powerful patrons. Still left to write is the actual research program and timeline, along with a personal statement. At least my grant writing deadlock has finally been broken.
After two very late nights, I am hitting the hay early this evening. Tomorrow I’ll get back to work on the grant and make phone calls to the polling agencies and political parties with whom I have yet to schedule an appointment. This is my last full week in Serbia and I intend to make the most of it. Good night and good luck.