Amanda's guides Dusan Cavic and Dusan Saponja 

Amanda and the 48 crew brave the Serbian capital's sub-zero temperatures to meet some of the people in Belgrade who are driving change, in this country struggling to find its place in the world since the fall of Yugoslavia.

Amanda's guides are local journalists Dusan Cavic and Dusan Saponja, who work for the successful independent TV, radio and internet station, B92.

The youth-orientated broadcaster started life as a small pro-democracy student radio station and was a vocal opponent of Milosevic's government.

We visit the network's new studios, and talk to B92's founder and editor-in-chief, Veran Matic, a man Milosevic tried to have killed.

Refugee slums in Belgrade
Elsewhere in the capital, Belgrade's recent violent past is all too evident, and not just in the form of crumbling buildings targeted by the 1999 Nato bombs.

We find that war still impacts on everyone's lives. From the Roma refugees who fled from Kosovo, to singer-songwriter and activist Rambo Amadeus, whose anti-Milosevic stance saw him banned for five years, to the turbo folk singers who sung the music that defined Milosevic nationalist calls.

We also meet Dusan's mother who grew up under communism and watched her eldest son flee abroad to avoid conscription.

We learn that the recent transition to democracy has not delivered on its promises: the gap between the rich and poor is huge, corruption and cronyism still rules, and illegal work is an unfortunate option for many students graduating in a time of chronic youth unemployment. 

Turbo folk singer Jelena Karleusa and Amanda
make headlines

Eight years after Nato's bombing of Belgrade forced Serbia's nationalistic president, Slobodan Milosevic, to withdraw troops from Kosovo and end the ethnic cleansing of Albanians, the whole region waits nervously as the UN Security Council deliberates Kosovo's status.

It is one of the most charged decisions in UN history. If Kosovo is granted anything less than independence, the Albanian majority will be dangerously disappointed. 

But if Kosovo does achieve independence, those who voted in January's election to hold on to 'the cradle of Serb civilisation' could prove difficult for the Serbian state to control.

This former state TV building was hit by a Nato bomb

After suffering years of US sanctions and political isolation, many Serbs believe the only way to revive the struggling economy is to join Europe.

To do that, Belgrade must surrender indicted war criminals like General Ratko Mladic – and accept whatever decision the UN makes on Kosovo's status.

We meet the clairvoyant Mr Scanner, who predicts Serbia will agree to that future.


This edition of 48 will be broadcast at the following times GMT:

Saturday 4th August 14:30, 22:30; Sunday 5th August 02:30, 12:30; Monday 6th August 00:30, 07:30; Tuesday 7th August 06:00, 13:30; Wednesday 8th August 11:30, 19:30; Thursday 9th August 05:30 Friday 10th August 03:00, 16:30; Saturday 11th August 06:30

Watch this episode of 48 here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

 

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