INTERVIEW WITH: HALIL, SADRI & ZYLE UJKANI
In April 1999, Halil and Zyle Ujkani’s two sons, Mahit and Shaip, went missing. Halili’s brother, Sadri, also lost two sons, Faton and Shkelzen. The third brother, Zahit, who has since died, also lost his son, Nazim.
The five young boys, as soon as they saw that Serbian forces are burning the surrounding villages, they left the house all together on the same day, knowing that if they remain in the village and Serbian forces come, the chances to survive were very low. They left with some officials of LDK from Mitrovica, whom Halil was sheltering in his house.
Halil, Sadri and Zyla, who were forced to leave the village few days later, tell their experiences during war time and odysseys of their post war endeavours to trace their children who they never saw anymore.
Halil Ujkani, Sadri Ujkani and Zyle Ujkani: Narration in conversation
Halil: I am Halil Ujkani, son of Sinan. I am born and grown in village Vinarc. I have worked for Trepça’s Combine for 40 years and 9 months until just before the war, when they expelled us. I am kind of retired. I am married in 1959. I have four sons and one daughter. My oldest son is called Refik, then Shaip is next, and then Ferid and Mahit, whereas daughter’s name is Sadete. My sons completed secondary school and got employed. The oldest one was employed in industrial chemistry, there with me. He worked until the time we were expelled. The daughter completed nursing school and she is working in the hospital. Two of our sons, Mahit and Shaip, have been taken, they have lost them. The other two sons who were at home left to Germany. They are there for 20 years. The oldest one is married, and he has two daughters. The second one is not married yet. Here I am living only with my lady. Just before a war we were living together with other brothers, 35-36 family members. Each of us is living in our own houses. I am living here in our old yard. Others are not far from here.
We were four brothers and three sisters. Two of my sisters are alive whereas the other one has died. Even one of my brothers, Zait, is dead. One of his sons is missing also. Zahit died two years ago. My brother Sadri and I are here. The third brother is in Germany. He was engineer, electro-engineer. We all own our houses.
We used to have good life before the war. We had a good living, we were together but our family was full, the youth were working, going to school. We had everything. But during the war everything was destroyed. Both of my sons were working even my daughter was working in the hospital.
My father was retired. After I got little older, he died. My mother never worked. She is dead, too. My brothers are married and they have children. I am married in 1959. Then we used to have good weddings, big ones. When I got married it was gladness. My third brother said: “its relay fun?” because there were around 300 or more guests. My wife’s name is Zyla, she is from Drenica, village Prekaz. I have taken her from there and we have had a beautiful life until now. Now is little difficult, only two of us. We have had good conditions, good living. But the war came and destroyed us.
Initially I was expelled from work in 1992. We were all at home, but they have kind of retired us. We all stayed at home. In 1999 when the war started, the president of Democratic League of Kosovo was a professor named Latif Berisha. He was killed in his house in Mitrovica. They have announced that whoever belongs to the leadership of Democratic League to get and shoot. The deputy president of Democratic League, his name is Faruk Spahiu, with two of his friends, I have sheltered in my house for around two months. Until when the war came on 15 or 16 April 1999, when Serbian forces entered in our houses. Just before the forces arrived, our sons left from the house. The ones from League left together with our five sons; two of my sons and three of my brothers. My brother wanted to give them some money. But the one from Democratic League, Adem Pantina, told “we have enough money, no need.” The son said: “we are going uphill in Germove, across Iber. If there is nothing, we will come back, we have the binoculars, and we will observe you from there. If you are in troubles and get up, we will continue.”
Before the forces arrived, five of villages were collected here in our village, they are called Vinarce, Gushavc, Çaber, and they did not want to leave, just to stay here. Each house was sheltering over forty people. We have sheltered the people who escaped from there. But the next day when paramilitary forces entered in our neighbourhood, there down they have wounded some and two were killed. And to us they have told that we have to go to Albania. We left to Albanian. That road was a bit difficult, we went to Segllobare, whole family that remained. My wife, my daughter and me. My brothers with their children and everybody who was there. We had tractor. There were around 40 members. On tractor were my parents, children, a neighbour with his wife and son, my brother’s father-in-law. The tractor was full of people and covered with tent.
When we left to Albanian, we had no clue where our sons are because they left and we did not see them anymore. We left two or three days later. Our sons have noticed that here is no future for them and left to a village called Broboniq. From Broboniq to Kuqiçte and then to Kotorr and there they slept over and had dinner. Over twenty people gathered and later to leave for Albania or join our army, we don’t know what happened further. They met Serbian military forces. That place is called Dreth. There they were immediately surrounded and taken. They say that no shooting was heard or anything, but they put in the car, and as they say, from there they drove to a village Velibreg.
I had my apartment in Mitrovica. A Serbian was my neighbour. He told me that Shaip stayed over there with some Albanians. They dropped them out there and have taken to … they said to Pozharevac. From there if they have killed them, are they alive or in the prison, we know nothing about them. The missing for who we do not know anything are Shaip and Mahit. Refik and Feriz were in Germany. Luckily, we had some of our sons in Germany. Because I lost two and my brother two also. And son of another brother, also. This makes five. The ones that were in Germany are still alive. However, the ones that remained here, five of them are gone. We don’t know if they are alive or dead. Two of them were of age 17 and other two of age 19. Shaip was of age 33-34. They left holding a blanket because our house was full of displaced people from all around. Our sons were sleepless, we just gave them blankets to each of them.
Sadri: all of them left from here, because ours were coming to sit with the ones from LDK and talk with them. They sometimes went to downtown but there things got worse. However, this Adem Beqiri from Pontina said: “Uncle Sadri, they came close to our house and burned everything. We cannot go back there. They came here and should go somewhere.” Then, they have talked with the guys that they want to go somewhere. That night blew in Çaber. The oldest son, second son Shaip, with their friends went to help them. Where could they go only with one automatic? Still they went there. We noticed that the hell is coming in our way. I was preparing the tractor.
When Shaip came, they already agreed so, they left. We have prepared something, they have taken some cookies, boiled eggs, and blankets, same as military used to have, because it was necessary when night falls. They have dressed some clothes to be warmer and left. They crossed the river Iber and climbed to uphill. They just past, the survived for ten minutes from that black car that was driving around, all of them could have been ambushed there on the street. There is a long road to Germova. From there they went to Broboniq. They slept over there for a night. From Broboniq they left to Kotorr.
Halil: Kiqishtë, then Kotorr.
Sadri: Yes, they went through Kiqishtë, but did not stay there. They went to Kotorr. There they stayed at one Haji. They were around 20 people…
Halil: yes, 24 has said.
Sadri: because there were some others. At that time, they have had cabbages with meat. We are grateful to him, he welcomed them. At 12 and half they prepared to leave but the old man said to them: “Young boys, if you listen to me, don’t go because this is war time. It won’t be like this forever. Russians and NATO came just to attack them…”
Halil: “run to forests”, he said.
Sadri: “go around and then continue.” They all decide to walk, because all of them were sought from army. I feel sorry for them who went with others that were sought by government (Serbian government), they all were young, but it happened. Mine were two, Faton and Shkelzen and two of my brothers, Shaip and Mahit. Also, the son of another brother, Zahit. He and Shkelzen were of same age. His name was Nazim Ujkani.
My tractor did not start. I was the last one to leave. I thought they are going to captive me together with children and to kill us all. But it started and left. We thought that all these five villages will be burned altogether, there where TransKosova was.
Halil: In Zhabar.
Sadri: this became very big. It was said that all these five villages are going to enter there. But they have had their own plan. In each curve they were by three-four of them and were saying to us “that way, this way.” When we were back from Skenderaj, they have killed three people in Lubovec. I was on tractor, other were covered and could not see. When we reached at Shipol, police have stopped me. Only I on tractor and other were stopped behind.
Halil: he was driving tractor, whereas us behind the tractor.
Sadri: They asked for money. I pulled out my wallet. Three days ago, I have had received my pension. They were a lot of money but worthless. I throw them on hands. They thought they are German marks, they were happy. When he notices, he was waving me, but I did not stop. And we continued like that in rows from Mitrovica to Skenderaj’s direction. We drove on the roads as they directed us. Because it was a convoy. But when we reached at Proni i Keq, where splits to Nis, to Skenderaj and the other road takes to Peja, they returned as back. There was a post block. He has a gun, but he did not pull it to shot me, but he took a pickaxe and run into me. What could they do, as soon as he would hit me we could all felt down in the stream.
Halil: we were four families on tractor.
Sadri: man is afraid up to some level but later is not anymore. But God stopped him, and we did not stop the tractor. And we passed. Then we went like that, searching us one by one. It was raining and windy. They send us back to Serbobranë. There was a school. It was full of cars all over. I thanked God that we survived. There we stayed for three days. We thought that they are going to let us go to Albania but why they sent us back, I don’t know.
Halil: the border was closed, no more.
Sadri: then, they put three people there, allegedly to guard that place there. They called my brother. A guy from our village, called Muja, one from village down there, called Rasim, to guard and not to let out, police called them three. They were smart, came back. He was there outside with police. I was with old man. He was sick. He felt in tractor. He was 95 years old. Some people came and told me “Sadri, police captured Halil and they are not releasing him.” They came in, he remained there. Thanks to God that no police car moved around there otherwise we wouldn’t be here. They would have put in the car and God knows where they would have taken him. Then my daughter was five years old, now she is in Sweden, she is married. She graduated in faculty and she has good life. I said to her: “my daughter, go take your uncle and tell him to come inside.” She went and cached him. They did not let him. He tried but couldn’t. She came back and said to me: “Dad, they are not letting him.” I said: “Go and hold him by hand, and don’t release his hand. Drag him.”
Halil: She was holding me by hand.
Sadri: I heard once when they swore on him. One of them said: “You killed my brother.” Maybe his brother was killed during the war and he looked alike Halil with moustache. I don’t know anymore because I was a bit far. But thanks to God they let him inside and them went away. Next day we received the order to go back. We went back, I have loaded.
We left for home but they did not let us. At Zhabar, said “Vinarci cannot go.” They were killed, as Haji said, father and son, some were wounded. Some houses were burnt but not completely. They wanted to burn others. We returned in Zhabar to a friend, my sister is married. We returned there for one or two nights but we remained for two months in Zhabar. Sometimes we approached our village, my brother saw houses burning. His house was burnt but he was not enough even for his, mine was not burnt almost until the end, and said to me: “at least that one is burnt, we might live on it.” I said: “it will be burned also. I hope we are fine because that is not a problem.” The next day it burned. When he approached, he cried, he did not cry for his own but for mine yes. I said: “don’t you worry my brother because it’s not a …”
Halil: our old man and lady were still young, though they could live there.
Sadri: there we have stayed since. When NATO came, it resulted, the citizens came out there. There was a son-in-law of my brother, the one that his son is missing. He is professor in Tavnik, no one was in his house, and everybody left. We entered in his house. Zhabar was burnt, you could not live there anymore. We went there and settled; we had some things but we were thinking about our sons: “Where did they go? Where are they?” the ones from other brother were calling from Germany: “Anything new? From Albanian also. We used to say “We know nothing”. We had no news that they were caught.
I was staying with old man whereas the brother was dealing with investigations, in Mitrovica. He said: “No one heard that anyone is killed. No shootings. They took them, put them in the cars and have taken to unknown place.” It was a man called Ismet…
Halil: …from Mikushnica
Sadri: he was professor, a Bosnian has known him. He told. They let Ismet and Faruk go. They were in group with our sons. They were ambushed. They burned all the reflectors all over. And they surrounded from all sides. They caught. These two were in a bush and did not find. When they left, they did not hear any voice at all, then they got up and went to a village, directly to a house of a Serb.
Halil: In Zubin Potok. In Koloshin.
Sadri: Haji, seems not in Koloshin, little far away. Somewhere in Vokne.
Halil: No, no, they came from Kotorr to Dreth. From Dreth the returned back and they thought that went to Albanian, but they lost the road…
Sadri: No, no, they split from them after ours were caught. They wanted to go back in the same road they came, and they went to a Serb’s house. This Ismet together with the one from Democratic League, Faruk Spahiu. They felt on them. And when they were ambushed, that Bosnian knew Ismet and put them in the car and drove them up to Germova, at Upper Vinarc, there where that restaurant is. He stopped and said: “get out!” The Bosnian was in police uniform. They got out and went to a house in Upper Vinarc. They stayed overnight there until four o’clock.
Halil: in basement because the house was burning… they were in basement.
Sadri: at four o’clock they went to Broboniq and they survived. This is what Ismet told us. They came home, started working and everything runs normally. But ours are missing. This Ismet told that one of them from Democratic League got tired and felt down. Shaip has taken him from arms and took him to that base.
Halil: they held him for two-three hundred meters because he could not stand. They held on their arms.
Sadri: until they were ambushed. The left to that road where the fate took them. Until they felt on army’s hands… this Faruk later became mayor of Mitrovica… one day we were standing in front of post office, and said to him: “Faruk, how come you survived and our sons are gone?” he said: “Believe in God I have told them there here is no chance but only the fate we remained there. We stayed there until they loaded, no gun was shot, no noise or nothing. They loaded them in the cars, and I don’t know where they have taken them.”
Halil: and they say that they have taken them there where I said.
Sadri: my brother knew his neighbour and his wife used to work at us in Lobriant.
Halil: that neighbour is called Aleqki Bole, we lived in same building for 30 years.
Sadri: he went to ask him, he replied: “Halil, I have seen Shaip with a group of Albanians at the school Haxhi Sulejmani” then called “Sveti Sava”. There he was. I have tried, I wanted to take them…but I didn’t dare. Because I was with them, how could I take? He saw them all there, even others, but he knew Shaip because he was taller and apartments where close to each other. Then he said “I left but I know they said that they are taking to Aleksinac or Pozharevac, but I cannot know where they have taken to.”
Halil: the old man from Kotorr, who welcomed them, he has taken them to cross the border to Albanian. He was walking in front and others in the back. Up to when they were ambushed. He jumped in a bush and covered his self like a rabbit. They took them but did not know about him. He said “they did not find me because they came back and took them with cars.” He got up but did not meet them anymore. The one that took care to take them at the other side, came back home. The other two lost the road and went to Zubin Potok. There they got caught and from there they took to Vilibrege. There in Vilibrege the police interviewed them and there that Bosnian who saved Ismet, put them in the car and went to Koshutova.
When we reached in Broboniqë, there we heard in the radio that 25 Albanian are caught.
After the war, we looked for our sons. We have been organised with the association “Zeri i Prinderve”, we have an office. There is no place we did not look for them. In Prishtina, all the time, as soon as something happens, we always go. There is nothing. Only words. But God has a great power. Those 19 years will pass, they are somewhere decayed. Believe in God it is hard, I don’t think they are alive somewhere. However, as parents we still have some hope. Until we find out something. Recently they found one. He was our friend. They have mixed them. Upon they found one in the grave, the other one was found.
Sadri: I said: “I hope we find them alive, if they are lucky”. But only bones, I hope we never find them. They bring different kind. I am convinced that they bring bones from animals also. We don’t know how many graves were opened, take one and bring another one.
Once, together with my brother and a man from Pontina we went to a man in Gjakova. Allegedly he has some connections with Serbs and said” “we may find where they are alive”. We went and entered a contract. Five thousand euros per person, 10 thousand my brother and me ten thousand, five thousand another brother and 5 thousand the one from Pontina. Each of us by 5 thousand for a member. We have waited and waited. We went for several times. Cheatings.
Halil: yes, he is a clerk in Gjakova but he is connected with Serbs. Allegedly he can find them and said: “the Serb is asking for money.”
Sadri: when you are in need you go everywhere, even to your enemy. We collected the money and took to him. We have waited for some time. He wanted to have all the money. We said: “Hey man, we lost our men. For God sake it will be on this day, the other day” My nephew from Germany called him from there and said “I have taken your address and everything, don’t you dare to be foolish.” We let it go for two weeks, three weeks and finally understood that there is nothing. When we went there, he gave us back the money.
Halil: as I thought it was only a cheating. But when you are struggling…or your spirit or money.
Sadri: when a man is struggling, goes anywhere. Someone has told to my father-in-law that a Bosnian can find the missing persons. He went to that Bosnian, we knew nothing. He said: “200 euro per person until are found. He paid 1000 euros for our five sons. That Bosnian came one day as he had a friend in Kçiq. When we went there he said “look, man, there are some in Shac, Reznik. Their last name is Ujkani, too. They have been slaughtered there in their house.”
Halil: they are called Ujkani, too.
Sadri: We are not related. That Bosnian made the connections. When we went there, resulted that they are not ours but from Reznik. So, we went everywhere. The association that is here, they can do nothing. They pushed a lot. With photos, every time we have gatherings, we hold these pictures.
Once they came in Koshutovë. There were some women also, the ones are elected by assembly and government. They paid the restaurant in Koshutova. They paid us lunch. We had a discussion. Round table. I spoke a bit latter. I said: “We lost our men, two of them are my sons. Today, if I am asked would you like to find your sons or Serbs to come? I wouldn’t want to find my sons only Serbs I don’t want to be here. I don’t care. But up to date your works was useless.” They did not expect this from me. They hugged us when they left.
Regarding to our institutions, shame on them. None of them showed interest. The issue of missing person to go to Brussels. Who is obstructing that is still where it was? Is it more worthy a thing than a human? When you don’t care about souls of human beings, how come you think that goods or money are worthy? 1600 are still missing? Likely they are lambs and sheep and not humans.
None of them found some time and say: “thanks to the country, the war for everything.” To come and see how we are, do we have incomes? Thanks to God, we never suffered, I hope we will never suffer. We have had our own goods, we used to work, and we never stopped, day and night. All of us worked at Combine. At least, president is nothing, prime minister is same. Should have come and visit is and ask: “how are you, are you missing them?” because they are five men from same home, believe me it is not easy, if they would be birds let alone men! Two of them were students, other in secondary school. The oldest nephew owned a store.
I will not forgive this ever. I hope God will judge because I cannot forgive this and is not right. Even if my brother would be, I would say: “Brother you did wrong.”
Zyle: I don’t feel that my family is dead. Five children. I always think they are alive because we found nothing for them. We all gave our blood for them. They aren’t found anywhere, that blood did not match with any of the bodies found. I always think they are alive but in the prison. But maybe they are working slowly. They are not interrupting their issues even the foreigners. They receive their salaries and don’t care if people are suffering. I feel that they are all alive. Because no one said that they are dead. This Faruk Spahiu came. He went there in Koleshinë. When they let him go, we were staying in Zhabar, because we didn’t dare to come here. He explicitly said that they have taken them there, they put a light on them and caught. The ones who were in ditches survived. But here no one, they have taken them, loaded and took somewhere. I don’t know where. I am still hoping that they have taken to prison all of them. I grief. I pray every time. My heart always feels that they are alive, I pray…
When the war of Shaban Polluzha happened, I was two-three years old. My uncle lost in that war and one cousin. The cousin was back. I don’t know for how long they have kept them there. My uncle died.
They are working very slowly. We don’t live one hundred years. I am eighty. For these eighty years thanks to God I am fine. My heart is weak, I cannot talk long. My blood pressure goes high as soon as I get mourning. We kind are forced to watch the TV because we need to hear a word. I think is better not to watch because I get sorrowed for all the people, everything I watch is bad.
Halil: on the Independence Day I have seen the parades on TV. I am 83-4, I told to my brother how much I grieved and was struggling. I went to balcony, smoked a cigarette, I thought maybe it will go. I could not stop myself crying, it was so hard for me. However, the parent remembers everything because 20 years have gone. Now if we are alive, they will come, if death did not catch them.
Sadri: the second son Halil was at the store (grocery) working. Shaip, my son, is next, Faton was on second year of Faculty of Machinery. They made some recordings at Mitrovica’s Faculty. We though they are going to complete, because they were capable. To get a job in the institutions. But they were not lucky because they had that experience. Their friends, Emrush Ujkani, he was in same class with my son Faton and Mahit. Today, he is smart guy, politician. They have taken him very soon because the government noticed that he is capable, they educated him abroad, he has experience and practice. He is good guy and hard worker. When we see their friends, it is hard for us.
Faton enrolled in this school in Gushavc. Then secondary in Mitrovica. He loved to have driving licence. But he felt once. He never loved to live abroad. We could have taken him abroad because we had other guys there, but he did not want. The day he left, he was kind of hesitating but they noticed that it was no life with us here.
The last day we saw him, he had a jacket, I will never forget. It was with wool inside, whereas outside like rain protector. Also, he was wearing winter shoes.
But Shkelzen was younger. They, Nazim, my brother’s son and son of Haji were on third class in gymnasium. Shkelzen was very friendly but he was not much interested in school. However, our guys did not go on wrong way. The oldest son, who today is in Prishtina, he works. He was unusually capable, he was enrolled for mathematics, but he had to go to Germany because they did not let them here to study in private houses. He requested money for passport and said: “Daddy, it’s useless here, they don’t let us. On one way we go to school, a man from Maxhera let her house to use as school, the way back they smash us on the face.” It’s really useless.” He was capable. But he managed to get something, thanks God. He was in Germany and then was back. Other are still in Germany. The come only during half semester.
Halil: Shaip completed economic secondary school. He got employed in the organization Lux.
Sadri: Shaip completed secondary school but here they built a store and worked there. He was very hard worker. He used to live in the apartment. He came rarely at home. No one ever complained about him.
Halil: Mahit was wise, quiet. He was going to school still. It’s not because they were our children, but they were well educated. Upon the school ended they came home directly. On their free time they played football.
Zyle: Up to this year my old man was holding but this year he is weak. He cries a lot. He is grieving. Happy independence to all. I hope we enjoy it. When I see that youth who survived the war, because they are Albanians, Muslims, I am happy for them. He cries a whole day long. He was grieving and couldn’t speak and said to me “Call my daughter”. I had to call her and she came to calm him down. This is our life. We are hoping on God.
Halil: the day they left, Shaip was wearing a jacket, leather like. Other things, pants, shoes, I don’t know.
Zyle: one side was red and the other side was white jacket, woolen like. It was white. It was two sided. I remember this for Shaip.
Halil: I don’t know what Mahit was wearing.
Zyla: We gave blankets to each of them. The small ones. We thought they will cover their selves wherever they sleep.
Sadri: For Shkelzen, I have to ask his mother. I know Faton had that jacket, he turned it over. It was woolen. But for Nazim, my brother’s son, I don’t know what he was wearing, because they left quickly, they just took some belongings. We were concerned here. the house was full of people. That day I did not even say safe trip. Believe me, not, I thought they are going and coming back. I did not even think that I will not see them again. That time his mother hugged him and kissed on both of his cheeks.
However, we are used because during the World War II, in 1946, the old man together with other twelve persons, was place in the line to be killed, no dresses, it was night of orthodox Christmas. The whole leadership of Drenica was there. But when God wants to save you, he can do it. Hey were almost naked. Some with shirts and some only with underpants. They started to beat them. Believe me that when I was taking him a bath, I could notice the mark from automatic behind his shoulder. They put in the line to kill. He said: “before they put us outside, my hands were un-cuffed, I couldn’t do myself, but God released them.” He was concerned if they see him. The military could have beaten him. He had curly moustaches. He said: “he took me from moustaches and dragged.” After the put in the line to kill. The collection of clothes it was almost two meters as they were undressing them before killing. They got each of them to take them outside. “When we went out – he said- they did not notice me that my hands are released because I was holding them tight. When I stepped outside, I pushed him and throw to the other side. They felt down and I run. The snow was up to the knee, no shoes.” Now the hospital is built there in Bair. There the prison was. I want to say that we have suffered with generations from them.
However, war has many things. If they are alive, I would say “get a job, or complete school, if you can.” Now Faton is over 30 years old. But very often I think that even they would be alive they will be useless because for 20 years they were in their hands.
Halil: At least to see them alive, as my brother said, I would say something else: “God leads you only on the right way.” I will not ask from them anything else. If they get a job maybe they can complete the school somewhere private.
Sadri: I hope they are alive otherwise if they don’t go to school is fine. They can continue working the field. They are not alive, no way… “Is not laying only that one from Gjakova who is Albanian, but also that Bosnian. To the government to say: “show some interest, look what is going on. Let us know because for twenty years we are neither in land nor in heaven. Let us know something about them, where are they.” We knowing nothing, the government is existing, this is not right.
Halil: we always go when something is going on. We go to Prishtina. I always say: “I will never forgive this to our leadership.” Our children are gone but they did not take the measure they supposed to. We are in that organization with Bigram Çerkini, he is efficient activist. Even Xhyla is engaged there, me too. No other organization in Kosovo works harder than ours. We can do nothing more. Whereas, to our government this enter in one ear and come to the other. For twenty years they weren’t found, for God sake it is hard.
Sadri: I would plea to government, from the land up to the heaven, just to search for them, because from us they have taken them alive and they have to bring them alive. And we are exhausted of graves and graves. Leave the graves. If they are in graves, where? Nobody says: “We are searching them for alive.” Only dead. Why dead? Look for them if they are alive and if they are not alive tell where the dead are.
Halil: in that last meeting we had, they have told us “Why aren’t you looking for alive?” they have taken them alive and we are requesting them alive. No, they are not alive. The dead one does not awake. However, they have taken them alive, and want them alive, as my brother said, let’s go to Rashka, to Pazar or anywhere…
Sadri: nothing comes out.
Halil: they found massive graves. They work and find some but not others. For God sake, I am a parent, still is better to have his grave rather nothing. But still I don’t know what kind of bones are, where from or whose are.
Now is the end. From Serbia, in dialogue, we are requesting them alive. To request them alive. They said: “no alive but here are the dead bodies.” It’s better to search for them if they are alive because they are looking for dead bodies, but they are not”, the Serbs may say this. The one who is dead will not be alive anymore. He is decayed. They are making the conditions for Serbs to have lives with them. We go at the graves, a place at Rashka, they were just looking. I could not go there for two or three time, I couldn’t because I cannot stand. Ours were just looking. In Pazar same, but in this way as they are working it won’t happen anything.
Sadri: for God sake, I never imagined that our sons but they are gone. As the saying says “there is no wedding without guests”. There is no war without casualties. Whoever had to die, died. We have still men and we will not be without men. But for us it’s hard because the youth is gone. This makes for us harder. At least to have something enlighten. Now is better but not as supposed to be. Our men are gone, and they are not working properly. If they would have worked properly, we wouldn’t be like this, would have been different. This is what concerns me. A lot of money has been invested here. It was taken everything and went everything. We always wanted to have our state. We got it. But now we have border at the bridge of Iber. Can you believe it! Believe me there is no Kosovo symbol in the north, nowhere.
(This story is part of “Living with memories of the missing: Memory book with stories of family members of the missing from the last war in Kosovo”, implemented by forumZFD program in Kosovo and Integra, in cooperation with Missing Persons Resource Centre, with the support of Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Rockefeller Brothers and Swiss Embassy in Kosovo)