Die Botschaft, die die serbische Propaganda transportierte, lautete: Die NATO attackiert die Zivilbevölkerung, die NATO will Serben töten - von Igballa Rogova
Die Leute waren glücklich, weil sich etwas tat. Zur selben Zeit waren sich verängstigt. Wie auch immer, sie hatten keine Angst vor der NATO, vielmehr vor der Polizei. Sie alle fürchteten, dass sich die Serben an ihnen rächen würden, was sich als wahr erwies. Am ersten Abend der NATO-Luftangriffe wurde um halb acht Uhr abends der Strom abgeschalten, bis zum nächsten Morgen. Das war das Allerschrecklichste an dieser Nacht. In dieser totalen Finsternis unterließen es die Menschen, Kerzen anzuzünden. Die Polizei sollte nicht bemerken, dass sie in ihren Häusern waren.
Wir haben viele Erzählungen darüber gehört, dass die Polizei mitten in der Nacht auftauchte und nach Menschen suchte. Einer von ihnen war der berühmte Anwalt Bajram Keljmendi. Er und seine drei Söhne wurden aufgegriffen, am nächsten Tag fand man sie tot am Stadtrand von Pristina.
Weil es weitere Berichte und Gerüchte über Menschen gab, die aus ihren Häusern entführt worden waren, machte sich in den Haushalten Angst breit. So auch in meiner Familie. Wir begannen, uns zu organisieren. Wir legten Nachtschichten ein, zwei oder drei von uns hielten Wache. Wir starrten auf die Straße, bis der Nächste die Schicht übernahm.
In den folgenden Nächten wurde die Polizei immer gewalttätiger gegenüber der albanischen Bevölkerung: Sie marschierte in Dörfer ein, warf Leute aus ihren Häusern, mordete, trennte Männer von Frauen und zündete ihre Häuser an. Die Angst wurde schlimmer. Wir hörten immerzu dieselben Geschichten: Auf der einen Seite waren die serbische Polizei und die Paramilitärs, die Hand in Hand ethnische Säuberungen durchführten. Auf der anderen Seite die serbischen Zivilisten, die die Stadtbewohner drangsalierten und erpressten. Plünderung und Einschüchterung herrschten vor. Vermutlich war ihr oberstes Ziels, die Albaner zu vertreiben. Dennoch entschieden sich einige von uns zu bleiben. Darunter meine Familie und ich, wir warteten ab, was der nächste Tag bringen würde. Wir hegten die Hoffnung, dass Milosevic den Friedensplan nach vielleicht drei Tagen Bombardement akzeptieren würde. Diese Hoffnung und der Glaube daran, dass sich die Situation bessern würde, bekräftigen unseren Entschluss zu bleiben. Auf der anderen Seite glaubte die Mehrheit der Bevölkerung, dass Milosevic niemals aufgeben, sondern bis zum Ende kämpfen würde.
In den Städten startete eine neue Einschüchterungswelle. Wieder waren es uniformierte maskierte Männer, die ihre Autos vor Wohnhäusern parkten. Kurz bevor sie explodierten, liefen sie weg. Das passierte in Pristina zwei oder drei Mal. Die Menschen konnten sich kein Essen kaufen, weil die Polizei die albanischen Läden dicht gemacht hatte. Oder, was auch häufig vorkam, die Fenster waren eingeschlagen und die Lebensmittel geplündert. Die albanischen Geschäfte waren also plötzlich leer geräumt, während in den serbischen Geschäften im Staatsbesitz nur noch serbischen Bewohnern das Einkaufen erlaubt war. Ich ging nicht einkaufen, aber meine Schwester. Am ersten und zweiten Tag gingen die Leute noch einkaufen, aber dann änderte sich alles: Die Diskriminierung begann, und meine Schwester, eine Albanerin, konnte nicht mal mehr ein Geschäft betreten.
Wir begannen also, das Essen zu rationieren. Wir aßen weniger, wir organisierten uns - teilten die Mahlzeiten sorgsame ein, aßen Übriggebliebenes, teilten mit unseren Nachbarn. Das ging weiter und weiter. Weil alles so knapp war, begannen die Leute, einander zu helfen. Wer etwas mehr hatte, gab denen etwas ab, die auf diese Situation nicht vorbereitet gewesen waren. Wir teilten beides, Mehl und Essen. Aber meistens Mehl, weil wir plötzlich kein Brot mehr kaufen konnten. Die Bäckereien, meist von Albanern betrieben, waren ja geschlossen worden, die albanischen Läden wurden demoliert oder eingeschlagen. Trotz all dem waren die Menschen durch ein sehr starkes Solidaritätsgefühl miteinander verbunden.
Als die Luftangriffe der NATO begannen, ging nicht nur die Elektrizität aus. In Pristina, oder in manchen Teilen der Stadt, wurden auch die Telefonleitungen gekappt. Es war sehr schwierig mit Menschen, die am anderen Ende der Stadt wohnten, zu kommunizieren. Dann begannen sich Gerüchte auszubreiten. Gerüchte, die jeder zu hören bekam, aber niemand überprüfen konnte, weil sich niemand nach draußen traute.
Am ersten oder zweiten Tag der Bombardements blieben die Leute bis Mitternacht draußen. Als die Luftangriffe aber fortgesetzt wurden und der Groll gegen die Albaner stieg, blieben die Menschen in ihren Häusern.
Ich setzte keinen Schritt vor die Tür. In den ersten drei Tagen verließ ich ein paar Mal das Haus, dann nicht mehr. Ich hatte Angst und fand es besser, drinnen zu bleiben. Einige Kommunikations-Kanäle blieben erhalten: Wir schauten BBC - wenn wir Strom hatten. Wer Batterien besaß, hörte abends Radio. Die Strategien der serbischen Staatsfernsehens waren unglaublich: darauf ausgerichtet, die Feindseligkeiten serbischer Bürger gegen die Albaner anzuheizen. Aber nicht, indem man sie aufforderte: „Randaliert gegen die Albaner!". Sondern durch das Ausstrahlen von Lügen im Fernsehen, vieler Lügen. Zum Beispiel die Geschichte über das US-Informationszentrum, dessen Hauptsitz am Stadtrand war. Die Polizei räumte das Gebiet, bevor sie es zerbombte. Nach einer starken Explosion stand das ganze Gebäude in Flammen. Die Nachrichten berichteten aber, dass die NATO das Gebäude in Brand gesetzt hätte.
Die Botschaft, die die serbische Propaganda transportierte, lautete: Die NATO attackiert die Zivilbevölkerung, die NATO will Serben töten... (Igballa Rogova, 1999; übersetzt von Maria Kapeller)
I Am Alive!
People were happy because something was going on, and at the same time, they were scared. However, they were not afraid of NATO, but rather of the police. They all feared that the Serbs would take revenge on them, which turned out to be true. On the very first night of NATO air-strikes, there was a power cut that lasted from 7:30 p.m. until morning, and that was the most horrible thing that night. In the complete black-out, people refrained from lighting candles so that the police would not see that there was someone inside.
We have heard a lot of accounts about the police coming at night and looking for some people, such as the renowned lawyer Bajram Keljmendi, who was among the first ones to be led away. They’d seized the lawyer and his two sons, and the next day the three of them were found dead on the outskirts of Prishtine.
Because of similar stories and rumors about people having been abducted from their homes, mounting fear could be felt in all the households. That was also the case with my family. We got organized and formed night watches so that two or three of us would be on guard, watching the street until the next shift took over.
In the nights to come, the police forces became more and more oppressive toward the Albanian population: they would go into villages, throw people out of their houses, conduct executions, separate men from women and set fire to their houses… That exacerbated fears. We listened to such stories all the time: on one side, there were the Serbian police and paramilitaries engaging in ethnic cleansing hand in hand, and on the other side, Serbian civilians harassed and pillaged the city dwellers. Their main objectives were plunder and intimidation. Presumably, the ultimate objective of those actions was to make the Albanians leave. However, some of us like me and my family, had decided to stay and see what the next day had in stall for us. We were hoping that Milošević was going to accept the peace plan after, say, three days of bombing. That, and also the hope that the situation was going to change, reinforced our decision to stay. On the other hand, the majority of the people thought that Milošević would never surrender and that he would fight to the last.
A new wave of intimidation started in the cities – again with uniformed masked men who would drive cars along the streets, pull up in front of apartment buildings and run away from them before they exploded. That happened in Prishtine two or three times and the people who lived in those not able to buy any food because the police had shut down the Albanian stores or (which was also frequently the case) their windows had been smashed and all the food had been taken. So the Albanians’ shops had suddenly been emptied of food, while the state-owned Serbian shops had suddenly been turned into places where exclusively Serbian civilians were allowed to shop. I did not go shopping, but my sister did… On the first and second day, people went shopping, but then things began to change: discrimination started and she, being Albanian, could not even enter a shop…
We started rationing food, eating less and organizing ourselves in different ways – planning our meals carefully, eating leftovers and of course, sharing food with our neighbors. And this went on and on. Thus, because of the shortages of food and other items, people started helping one another out and those who had bigger supply stocks shared them with the others who were not prepared for that kind of situation. We shared both flour and food, but mostly flour, because, all of a sudden, we could no longer buy bread since the bakeries, mostly run by Albanians, had been shut down. Their shops were not only getting closed, but also destroyed and smashed up. However, people were bound by a very strong feeling of solidarity.
When the NATO air strikes began, not only did the electricity go off, but the telephone lines got cut in Prishtine – or in some parts of Prishtine. It was very difficult to communicate with people living on the other side of the city. Then some rumors began spreading – rumors that everyone could hear but no one could check out for themselves because you did not dare to go to the source and find out the truth. On the first or second day of the bombing, people stayed out until midnight, but as the air strikes continued and the drive for revenge and resentment towards the Albanians increased, people decided to stay inside.
I did not go out. I went out a few times during the first, second or third day, but not after that. I was scared and I reckoned it was better for me to stay in. Some communication channels still remained: we were able to watch TV – BBC – when we had electricity and whoever had batteries listened to the radio because if you had batteries, then in the evenings… The strategy of the Serbian state TV was unbelievable: aimed to fuel the animosity of Serbian civilians toward Albanians, not by simply telling them: "Go on a rampage against Albanians", but by presenting various lies on TV, a lot of lies. For example, the story about the American Informative Center, whose headquarters were at one end of the city. The police cleared that area before shelling it. A strong explosion was heard and the whole building was then on fire, but the news said that NATO had set that building on fire. The Serbian propaganda, the way they addressed their people, the messages they kept sending to them were: NATO is attacking civilians, NATO wants to kill the Serbs, NATO is hovering over Serbia because they want to kill civilians…
When did I realize that? My first neighbor was a very poor Serbian woman who lived with her three sons, and we used to help them – we would give them some money or some food from time to time and we’d always maintained good neighborly relations. So I thought I would pay them a visit and check on them, as I always used to do, every month. I wanted to express my solidarity, even during wartime. However, she was terribly upset while we were talking and she kept saying: "NATO is attacking us and not you, they are against us. All they want is to kill us all!" She believed that story, like all Serbs did, of course, and went on saying: "NATO is attacking us." I tried to explain to her, but she was terribly tense, and when I told her to try to relax, she said: "I’ll tell you why I’m upset. The Serbs have told me that I shouldn’t be talking to any Albanians." I said: "All right, I am leaving; I have just brought you some money so that you can buy a few things for yourselves, and if you happen to find some cigarettes, I’ll give you money to buy some for us, too."
So, all the journalists had been expelled and the telephone lines from Prishtine were partly disconnected. In spite of that, ever since the first night, my feminist friends from Belgrade regularly called me. They called the women in Prishtine as much as they could in order to find out what was going on. And every night that I had a call from Belgrade, we would talk and they would jot down everything I told them and e-mail it further. That network was very powerful, because it was the only independent source giving news of our reality. During those conversations I was also informed, but their support was far more important to me. Every night, Lepa used to tell me: "I love you. I care about you. You must be strong…" Through them, I knew what was happening in Belgrade and how panic-stricken the people were – especially the women – and that they worked round the clock trying to help them out. It must have been on the second or third evening when Lepa said: "I have to call the women’s groups in Sarajevo and find out how they coped with that fear in war." This is how our network Sarajevo–Belgrade–Prishtine worked and it was very powerful. Speaking for myself, I can say that I could feel their support and love, and that made me happy but, also, sincerely speaking, worried: what if someone found out what they were doing – they would be in danger. Because anyone who was against the regime was treated as an enemy of the state. They were doing a great deal already just by calling me and asking me how I was. I remember Šešelj saying in his speeches: "Our enemies are America and Women in Black." He said that on television, and Women in Black is indeed anti-regime oriented, and he insisted on them being our enemy several times. That is why I was worried all the time about what would happen to them.
The situation remained unchanged every night: we would organize guards, continuously watch down the street – we put up curtains and peeped through them… Every night we heard bombs falling very near Prishtine because NATO targeted the places where the army was stationed. Military police began inspecting apartments and throwing people out by force in order to accommodate troops, so the apartment blocks in Prishtine were con- their barracks, but in Albanian civilian apartment buildings. They used that strategy in order to hide. They would position their tanks in the schoolyards or in the streets, and hide away their ammunition from NATO planes wherever they could.
Fear was mounting and people were saying: "This part of the city is empty now, because the army is here." Everyone was on the alert, and I cannot describe my feelings in the ten nights we spent waiting for them to come, fearing the moment when that would happen. I never slept longer than two hours, because I couldn’t. I thought that they would be there any minute and I could not calm down and go to sleep because I did not want them to come while I was sleeping, I wanted to be prepared.
It happened on the tenth day. Through a small hole in the curtain we saw three policemen at the end of the street throwing out a family and saying: "Tell all the neighbors that we’ll be back in thirty minutes." Our neighbor left with his family, the frightened children were crying as they were leaving and saying: "They will be back in thirty minutes, you’d better leave too." We were standing at the window and did not go out, because we had decided to stay until they came. Perhaps they won’t come, we thought. Maybe we reacted that way out of fear, but the whole street had decided to get organized and to leave if they came to chase us away but, if they didn’t, we would stay. We’d agreed to do that.
Two or three hours went by… We thought they might not come after all… But then… Then, the police appeared on our street too, with automatic weapons and masks on their faces. I could see that those who were not wearing masks were terribly young. We waited. Then we heard banging at the door. We decided not to open the door and to let them think we had left. We stood still while one of us was watching them through the window. They could not see him from outside. The police went to the next door, and that was our Serbian neighbor’s apartment. She opened the door smiling, we watched everything – and that Serbian woman, to whom we had always been good neighbors, told the police: "There are people inside." For me personally, that was the worst moment in the whole situation. Why? – I wondered. I say it was the worst moment because I was so sad that this was happening; we used to be neighbors. The policemen were very angry and shouted at us: "Why didn’t you open the door?" We tried to appease them and said that it had been out of fear and panic, and that we were not aware that they were knocking at our door. Anyway, we were composed and did not resist, and how could we have? If you resisted, they would tell you: "Go inside and we’ll talk later." I don’t know what that meant, whether they killed you or what… Anyway, we did not protest, but we decided to stick together with our neighbors and not to be separated. As I was walking down the street, I turned back and looked at the house, and that site, which I will never forget, was like in the Second World War movies when the Nazis lead away masses of Jews to the railway station – it was that picture. We walked together in a line while other lines of people streamed in all the time and the line became longer and longer as we approached the railway station. All the way, the police were watching us to see whether anyone was going to try to escape. While I was walking down the street, I kept looking back at my house to see if anyone was going to move in immediately or if it would happen later. Do you know who went straight into my house? My Serbian neighbors, they went in first. I was terribly grieved; I have no words to express my sorrow.
I felt as if I did not know where I was going, pretending that everything was o.k. and I was just taking a walk, although I had no idea where they were taking us. When some people tried to escape through side streets, we heard shots being fired and I don’t know what happened to them. And if you barely turned around to see what had happened, the police would yell: "Don’t look!" Or they would shout: "Faster, faster!!!" And fear weighed upon us all the time…
We were worried because of my mother, who could not walk. I saw other old people with blankets on their shoulders, disabled people in wheelchairs, children… It was horrible, all of them were moving in the direction of the railway station. When we arrived, although I’d thought we were many, the masses that we saw there were immense… I’d say there were thousands of people, ten or twenty thousand, I can’t say…
It seemed to me that the whole city had gathered there, in that spot, but more and more people were pouring in. We were surrounded by police forces and could not leave. They were not standing near the masses, but they were deployed on top of the neighboring buildings with sniper guns. The area we had been directed to was an open-air space rather than a proper railway station; it was an area where goods are taken down, and we stood there waiting for a train.
It started raining, and we were out in the weather. Everybody was trying to shield themselves from the rain and to protect the women and children and the elderly. Once again, solidarity prevailed in that huge mass of people who were helping one another and saying: "here, take this, I have an umbrella."
The train came in and once again I had that picture of the Nazis and the Jews in front of my face, because the police were pushing the people into the cars – freight carriages that were already packed full, but they kept pushing them anyway. Many families had already been separated there, because of the tumult and the huge crowds.
I forgot to say… while we were waiting, night fell and it got dark in that unlit terrain. Three women gave birth right there! The newborn babies were also carried into those freight cars… Later, we heard stories about old people dying on the train. All that pressure was terrible…
The journey from Prishtine to the border took longer because we were first taken to a place where a Serbian military or paramilitary base was stationed and we were kept there for one hour. We could hear the voices of drunken Serb policemen all the time, shouting and singing: "We have killed all the Shiptars!" Everybody on that train was terrified. They thought: "This is it… they have brought us here to be killed." People panicked… Everyone was scared, but my greatest fear was that they were going to take away my brother. People were panic-stricken at the thought that they might separate the men and take them away. The police showed up, not during that stopover, but while we were moving toward the border and they behaved differently with different groups. We were ordered to hand over our money, on the train. We were tired and exhausted and we had no idea where they were taking us, and because of the rumors going around, the panic increased every time the train stopped. We thought they were going to take away the men and leave behind the women and the children.
When we arrived at the border, the train stopped and they made us cross the state border and enter the neutral zone two by two. "Two by two along the railroad tracks, otherwise you’ll get killed since the whole area has been mined," the policemen said.
That was the next morning, at sunrise, but it was still dark when we arrived in the neutral zone between Yugoslavia and Macedonia… Thousands of people were sitting in that field.
While we were walking, I thought that it would be easy to enter Macedonia and I began to feel excited because I was finally able to breathe, after all the terror we had gone through. Those were mixed feelings and I was reluctant about whether to rejoice or… Shocked at the sight of those huge masses of people, I forgot about joy and wondered: what in the world is this? That scene frightened me. From the very moment I saw those people, I thought: they are going to leave us here, who knows for how long? When we arrived in that zone, people were trying to find a place where they could sit down and rest in the open air. It had been raining all the time, not hard, but the grass was wet and we had light clothes on, so if you sat down, you felt even colder and I did not want to sit. We did everything we could to keep our mother warm; with our bodies we protected her against the cold... I decided to walk around to see what was going on and warm up a bit. I saw weary, tired-out people. As the situation continued, I could see strong people being crushed, like it had all been well-planned – at least I thought so. Everything was clear-cut there, the strategy to break people down: physically, mentally and morally, and I could see that happening – I saw staunch people, both women and men, break down… It was hell… and raining all the time, we could never get dry, sheltering ourselves under plastic tarps all the time to get away from the rain…
I said to myself that I could not simply sit there, and that the least I could do was to talk to people, to show that we cared for one another and that our fellow citizens were capable of mutual support. I began visiting the people who were sitting in small groups, asking them how they were doing, and if they were scared, and then we would engage in a conversation. We greeted and supported one another. We would exchange sentences such as: "Yes, we are tired and exhausted, but the truth is that we are alive and that they cannot kill all of us…" After all, this is only a temporary situation and we will all go back to our homes, where we were born and where we grew up. The best times for those conversations were the evenings, when people gathered by the warmth of the fire, surrounded by complete darkness and terrible cold. We would sit around the fire in silence. During the day, everyone was running around looking for something, either to find bread or plastic covers, because they had realized that this was going to last and decided to get organized in some way: to protect their children, and so on. That is why those exchanges in the evenings were so special. Then you could spend time with your children, and children…
On the fourth day the sun came out and the children finally emerged from their tents sad, frightened and hungry, and I went up to them and asked: "Which sports do you like?" They answered that they liked basketball, football, etc, but they couldn’t play any of these games there, without a ball and a place to play, so I asked them: "And what about gymnastics?" They accepted readily and I also needed to get warm somehow. We did gymnastics, we jogged and engaged in activities that preserved our spirit. A lot of children joined us while their parents watched, smiling. It was so great to see that in spite of having spent four days in mayhem, people were not completely broken-spirited. Their spirit was preserved although they were mentally worn out, but they manifested their resilience. Because, until that day, no humanitarian organization was allowed access to us except for one that distributed bread and milk. However much they might have planned to crush our spirits, it did not work and that became crystal clear on the fourth day. People kept wondering: where is the international community? Why aren’t we getting any help?
And the police… I couldn’t bear the way they were treating us. We had been driven out forcefully and greeted in the same manner! There was violence everywhere and I asked: "What are you people doing here?" I meant that the Serbian police had expelled us and the Macedonian police did not want us there.
As of the first day, I realized what was happening: those people clearly had no way to get out of that place, because the whole strategy was that people were leaving at the rate of two per day, instead of fifty or a hundred. And when I saw that, I wondered how long it would take for the thousands of people stationed there to leave: two weeks, a month, were they ever going to get out of there? I called humanitarian organizations and told them that we needed help, but they were not allowed to come in. I saw people freezing, and hungry, and children crying, but not even journalists were granted access. It was clear to me right away and it made me terribly angry because they had resorted to air strikes to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, whereas the humanitarian catastrophe was taking place right before my eyes – it was exasperating.
I was so furious I wanted to scream and manifest my anger loudly. Catching sight of a man with a camera, I ran up to him, shook him by his shoulders and said: "Are you a TV crew? Look what’s happening! Where the fuck is NATO? We are having a humanitarian catastrophe here! Where is the international community now???" Of course it wasn’t his fault, but I simply had to take it out on someone. He understood my revolt… Feeling relieved, I went back to my mother and asked her if she was cold. She answered, with her ever-present sense of humor: "What do you think?" Then the TV crew appeared – I wonder how they managed to push through at all, because they had no permission for that but they wanted me to talk. I recounted how we had been expelled from our homes and forced to leave, and how we were confronted by force again when we arrived there… At that time, I blamed both sides, but my growing concern was that if I was the only person giving a genuine account of what was going on, I could be persecuted. I was worried that I might be putting my life in jeopardy by telling the media the truth.
Then you two arrived, bringing us food, cigarettes, sleeping bags and umbrellas – it was so good just to see you there together. But when you’d left, I realized how tired, worn out and frightened I was – much more than before, and I thought about it: I had been freezing all the time and trying to convey my energy to the people around me… If I could somehow isolate myself somewhere, I might be able to recapture that energy from nature: from the mountains, the trees and the rivers, but I did not have that moment of solitude with so many people swarming around me. I had no privacy and could not regain that energy. On top of that, all the people who needed guidance kept coming up to me and asking me what to do next. On Saturday evening, on the fourth night, I had to admit to myself that I had no more energy to give out and that I was feeling empty and frightened. Since it had finally stopped raining and the night was clear, I was able to get more sleep. Not only had I had something to eat, but I also had a sleeping bag. It was like spending the night in the Intercontinental or Marriott, like a hotel suite, compared to the previous cold and rainy nights with only one blanket to freeze underneath. The next morning, I walked to the place where I’d been told to wait for the people from the organization who would get me out of there. Starting at five a.m., I walked around and waited until one or two p.m. – I can’t remember exactly, and all that time I watched those worn out people. And they were more and more numerous as the trains kept coming in, and every new group had a new story to tell. Practically all of the groups reported women giving birth and old people dying of exhaustion on the train. And, every time, the police harassed them all over again. In one convoy, for example, police officers walked through with plastic carrier bags, ordering them to throw their identity cards in. They were doing that in order to destroy evidence that those people had been expelled from those areas, in case they returned some day. And while I was waiting, on the fifth day, for some people who were going to help me get out, who were going to give me the badge of their organization, I watched the worn out faces and thought it was a plan to crush people morally and mentally, so that those who managed to get out would never ever think of going back.
Eventually, they arrived. I was given the badge of an aid organization and was supposed to move towards the gate that was controlled by the army and the police… I was nervous the whole time, and I was supposed to speak English and pretend to be a foreigner in front of them. And I kept saying out-loud: "Oh, shit… Look at this… My goodness…", so that the policemen would not realize I was Albanian. And I could not believe my ears when they told me: "It’s over, let’s get into the car." As soon as I entered the car I started crying, and I cried and cried, and poured out all that I had bottled up. But at the same time I was sad and overwhelmed by mixed feelings. Those were tears of joy because I had gotten out, but, at the same time, I was grieving because of the pain I had gone through and because of the people I had left behind. All of a sudden, in that car, it dawned on me: "I am alive!" That strange mixture of feelings was so powerful that I cried all the way to Skoplje. (Igballa Rogova, 1999; übersetzt von Stanislava Lazarević)