Earliest political memory of the day #59

epm-59I grew up in former Yugoslavia. Tito, the socialist leader of the post WWII Yugoslavia, died on the 4th of May 1980. I was 7 years old at the time. While I would have already experienced many socialist events and customs prior to this day, his death is the one which I remember with most clarity. My Mum and I were visiting her best friend. I was playing with other kids on the street in front of her house. I remember being called to go back indoors and not wanting to go. They had to tell me that Tito died and that I have to stop playing and leave the street. I understood that it was unseemly for us to laugh and play as someone has died; I already experienced family members dying and the distress it caused. I could also tell that the adults were rattled by the news. Despite Tito being omni-present in all our lives, I didn’t know what to make of it. I just remember wanting to continue playing. That memory sits as the first bead on a string of political memories which followed and led to the wars in former Yugoslavia which started 11 years later.

Any thoughts?

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