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The Refugee Was Born Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Sindorela Doli, Serbia Jul 22, 2004
Human Rights   Opinions
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The Refugee Was Born There are words that you never want even to hear or to exist, never mind to experience. One of those I experienced by myself, and I’ll tell you my story:

I was sleeping in the shaking of the bus, while driving on holed roads of northern Albania, in my ears were coming unclear words and sounds – Albania, Albania, sport, meetings, the war, refugee - recalling in my mind the cries of people, the children screaming, the shootings and humiliations by uniformed people. Serbs showed us the way toward Albania, while, we, some pulling bags through dusty roads, some pushing pushcarts with elderly and ill people, some without or with half shoes, were walking on an indefinite road until our arrival to the border which divides one nation, and Albanians in two parts for last 55 years.

For my family it was a dream to even to get close to this border, but it was impossible to pass it and to go to the other side, where the half of my family remained years ago, having no right to see or to meet each-other. Now we were going there, expelled and chased as animals. History was repeated in the worst possible manner.

The campaign of chasing Albanians beyond the borders started in the spring of 1998, when Serbian government forces of Milosevic’s regime and paramilitary forces of Arkan (blessed by Milosevic as well), started to burn whole villages and towns of Kosova, especially in its western parts, forcibly expelling people towards Albania. All the documents refugees had, were burnt by police, to wipe every evidence of Albanian existence in Kosova. When NATO started its bombing campaign against Milosevic’s forces, Serbs started a huge campaign of massive killing and ethnic cleansing. During 74 days of bombing, Serbs chased end expelled nearly a million of Albanians beyond the borders in Albania and in Macedonia, causing the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe after the Second World War. More than 10,000 ethnic Albanians were killed during only two months, almost five thousand were missing, and some thousands sent into the jails in Serbia as a war hostages.
On the other side of the border, our brothers were waiting for us. Their faces were showing a mixture of happiness upon seeing us alive (many men were separated from the colony of refugees and were killed before our eyes, before the eyes of mothers, children, and sisters), and sorrow because we were going there as a refugees. It was hard to face with such eyes looking at you like that.

I was frozen and totally lost, out of mind…. I jumped from my seat and saw some of my friends stopped laughing and looking at me wondering what’s going on. We were a group of youngsters going for a friendly meeting between young people from Albania and from Kosova... It was, in fact, the dream of all Albanians, which if you would dreamt of this dream in past, you would have been sentenced to jail, by Serbs. But that time passed. My people use the phrase “past-forgotten”, but this was not the proper case to use that phrase. This never will be forgotten, not only in Albanian history and remembrance, but in the Balkans’ history and in the world’s history as well. This was a human tragedy and the precise name of it was “refugee in your homeland.” When did it happen? In the eve of the 21st century, when all the world was talking about the unification of European nations, in the century of civilization, but unfortunately, that same century was starting its age with a macabre war between human races, as if it were at the time of the Inquisition, or some wild age!

In my town, in Gjakova, some 500 people were missing and to this date, mothers are seeking with hope for their loved ones to be back home, only to find no sign of half of them, while some 200 human remains came back in plastic bags, five years after the war.
Why can we not take part in this positive sense of removing borders, part of tolerance? The aggression between people should disappear with the experience of removing of this illness, or healing from it, and as a result, the hatred will disappear, because the notion and theory of aggression is born out of, and influenced by, the experience of war, which we, Albanians, had the bad fate to face, obliged to bear on our shoulders the name – refugees.
Thus, the understanding each other should be the art of confidence, the most important for inter-human relations, the most needed ever between nations, the only one that can help us in building a human society: more developed and more progressive.

It was a good feeling to meet our brothers and sisters speaking the same language, who had the same blood, and the same visions for the future, to be sure that the history cannot be turn back and cannot be repeated.

We went together to the streets and places, now called “Kosovars Square,” the places which during the refugee days we went expecting to met each other and to learn or hear something from our loved ones that remained inside, in Kosova.

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Sindorela Doli

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Antony Felix O. O. Simbowo | Dec 29th, 2004
War war war!? When will mankind ever be civilized? Some insightful thoughts you have there. Keep it up.

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