Baez bucks up a shattered Bosnian city

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The Independent Online
WINDING UP a six-day visit to Sarajevo with indelible memories of a people who will not surrender, Joan Baez gave a closing concert for about 800 grateful people packed into a tiny cinema. She joined local performers in singing 'Sarajevo, Love of My Life', rendered in Serbo-Croat and bringing tears to the eyes of residents who say they'll remember that she was there when it counted.

'There's no way to imagine the devastation, the shattering devastation, of a city - or the fortitude of these people,' the folk singer said. Ms Baez gave two big concerts and a dozen impromptu performances and visited all the city's landmarks, including the damaged Holiday Inn, where she danced on a table until it broke. 'All of a sudden I felt the table collapsing, and I didn't care, I didn't care at all,' she said. 'It seemed somehow almost appropriate to fall on our butts in the middle of a war.'

A YEAR after being ousted as President of Afghanistan, Najibullah lives in a fortified flat in a UN compound in Kabul, watched over by security troops from the former secret police department that he once headed. The prisoner is said to pass his time studying the Koran and watching satellite television, courtesy of the United Nations. All but forgotten by the outside world, he resides in the Office of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan and Pakistan, next door to the deserted French embassy.

Although the shura, or council, that elected President Burhanuddin Rabbani in 1992 demanded that he stand trial for war crimes, the government has not acted. 'From the point of view of international law we have no right to take him out of the UN office,' a presidential spokesman said.

Although the once-dreaded 'bull' has free rein of an extensive garden, he is seen as little more than a bull in a trap, snared in the quagmire of Afghan politics.

THE FIRST Albanian ambassador to London for 54 years was due to arrive last night. He is Pavli Qesku, a translator of books from English to Albanian. The last ambassador, Dervish Duma, gave up his job in April 1939 after the Italian invasion of Albania. But the family continued to represent the country in London through his son, Alexander Duma, the Honorary Consul. Anglo-Albanian relations were restored in 1991.

NOT VERY sporting, some would say. Kim Jong Pil, chairman of the Democratic Liberal Party, and nine other officials teed off at a country club near Seoul at the weekend, apparently in defiance of President Kim Young Sam's wishes.

President Kim, a golfer himself, gave up the sport in March as part of an austerity campaign. He had the practice range removed from the presidential mansion and urged officials to stay at their desks rather than indulge in a sport seen as symbolic of the privileged. He further cautioned against spending too much time on the greens, where bribes could be easily arranged.

The President's stand has boosted his approval rating to more than 70 per cent in recent polls. His party chairman has apologised for the weekend outing, saying he thought the anti- golf stance had been relaxed.

PUBLICISING his new album in Madrid this week, Gary Glitter noticed some changes since his last visit to Spain, 20 years ago. 'The censorship was terrible,' he told El Mundo. 'They made me translate all my songs to them in advance to see what I was saying and they made me dress like an office worker. No platform shoes, no sequins, make-up was out . . .'