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Interview with Agim K.
Interviewers note - Columns of Albanian refugees marched across the world's TV screens for months. They were all going to Albania. All the world could see them.... What the world couldn't, or wouldn't see and won't see, are the Albanians going to Serbia......
Agim K. (27), an engineer, born in Pristina, is an Albanian by nationality. He and his family, flying from the terror of their compatriots, found refuge in Belgrade... I met him in the offices of Serbian Red Cross, where he was applying for help, and asked him to tell me his story. He agreed, under the condition his last name and present address not be published for security reasons.
Q: Why and when did you and your family leave Kosovo?
A: We left Pristina on Friday, 8th of October. We left because we were forced to. It was no more a matter of wanting or not wanting-it was a question of survival.
Q: Who was forcing you?
A: No matter how unbelievable it sounds, the Albanians did... You see, my father was always a loyal citizen of this country. He was born here, and respected the laws and authorities of Serbia, not of Albania; and certainly not of a terrorist organization such as UCK [Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA]. When the bombing started, UCK was mobilizing Albanian people, young and old, to fight against the Yugoslav Army. UCK soldiers were making constant threats: they wanted men to go to war, and their families to go to Albania or Macedonia, as refugees... They went from door to door; a lot of the men joined of their own free will, but there were even more of those who joined out of fear. People were scared of retaliation on their families, more than they were scared for their own lives...
Q: Did UCK come to your door, too?
A: Yes, of course they did. More than once... My father and me, we refused to join them. The soldiers said they'll shoot us as traitors, burn our house... My father answered that they can kill us all, if that's what they want, but he and his family won't be the butchers and scavengers... Finally they left us alone, saying that they won't have to kill us and that Yugoslav Army will finish the job for them...
Q: What did you do during the bombing? Did you stay in Pristina?
A: We stayed, and spent almost three months in the cellar of our Serbian friends; they had the biggest and safest cellar in the neighborhood, so all of us neighbors were hiding there with them - about 15 to 20 people. No one paid any attention to nationality, we were all humans, helping each other to survive...
Q: And after the bombing?
A: That's when the real trouble started. After the war ended, and KFOR entered Pristina, UCK came back. But they were not alone - the borders were no longer guarded, you see, anyone could come in. All the worst scum from Albania invaded Kosovo... UCK was fully armed and no one cared to stop them; they could do whatever they wanted. And they did - this time REAL ethnic cleansing was at work. Serbs were killed on daily basis in the city; abductions, rapings, burnings, threats; a circle of violence with no ending...
What can I say? You could all see that. All the world could see, if only they wanted to. Me and my family tried to help our Serbian friends, the way they helped us during the war. But we couldn't even help ourselves... To UCK we were worse than them - we were the traitors! And since we wouldn't join [the UCK in carrying out] the mass expulsion of Serbs, UCK decided to make us leave Kosovo, or kill us....
Q: When did the threats start again? And how exactly?
A: The threats started again in July, I think. First only by telephone; later they began to come to our house, at night - four or five people usually, sometimes more, in UCK uniforms. They had guns, knives... First they wanted me to work for them; I am an engineer and they needed qualified people. They wanted me to make diversions on power stations and phone lines. I refused...Then they started to break in our house several times a week, to beat us up, me, my father; my mother and younger sisters had to watch them do it, at gun point.... We had no more sleep at night; this was thousand times worse than anything Serbs did, or didn't, or could have done: our own people was torturing us because we wouldn't be the cut-throats... Still, the thought of leaving didn't cross my mind yet.
Q: Didn't you try to ask some protection of KFOR?
A: Yes, we did. KFOR said that there's nothing they can do, unless we call them while the assault is still going on... No, we couldn't hope for any protection on their part. Then later, in August and September, the situation became even worse. One night, I remember, three men broke in. They didn't even bother to put on the masks - we could all see their faces. One of them put a knife on my sister's throat. He said: "Next time I come, if I find you all here, I'll rape her in front of you and then cut her throat wide open....!" And my sister is just 13 years old.... It was then when my father said, for the first time out loud: "I think we'll have to leave, sooner or later..." Even I, who was up to that point strongly against it, had to agree with him... You see, all the time I kept thinking that the situation will get better, kept hoping there'll be some law and order finally; but as time went by I saw no improvement - just more killings, more blood... I don't care so much for myself - but my family, my sisters, that's something else.....
Q: So you finally decided to leave? But why come to Belgrade, of all places?
A: Where else could we go? Besides, we have old family friends here: I lived in their house for five years while I was studying in Belgrade. We knew that we can count on their support. So when we finally decided to leave Pristina, Belgrade was the only logical choice. I knew, of course, that some people here will look at us with mistrust and disapproval, but that was to be expected wherever we go. And anything was better than Kosovo. There was no place there for us anymore... Still, I shall never forget the day we left - it was the worst day of my life. It's hard, you know, when you have to pack all your life in one car, leave behind all you have ever known as your own, lock the house and throw away the key...
Q: Where do you live now?
A: We live in our friends' house - they are wonderful people indeed, the best I have ever met. There is simply no way for my family and me to show them how much we appreciate all their help and their support. We'll stay forever in their debt.
Q: Do you see, anywhere in future, the possibility for you and your family to go back to Kosovo?
A: I am sorry I have to say it, but no, I see no possibility for that, even in the distant future. The situation in Kosovo will remain unstable and unsafe in the years to come. There's no life there for us... Even if things do get better someday, we'll always be traitors for our compatriots. They want to live in some imaginary state, some Great Albania, and they don't even know this state will never exist...
Me, I want to live in Yugoslavia...
The Western media portrays stick-figure ethnic Albanians who freely support the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in revenge for alleged "Serbian government atrocities." But if the Yugoslav forces committed large-scale war crimes, where are the bodies? An army of NATO-organized forensic experts has scoured Kosovo for six months but they've basically come up with nothing.
This is analyzed in Spinning the Kill: Albright's
Tribunal Hastens to Save a Lie
In the interview above, Agim K. says some Albanian men joined the KLA freely while others joined out of fear. What motivated those who joined of their own free will?
In The roots of Kosovo fascism
The Nazi's were defeated but the racist movement was not crushed. It fed on the myth of Albanian racial superiority taught by the Nazi's and it adapted to Socialist Yugoslavia, working inside and outside the system and terrorizing Serbs, "Gypsies" and other minorities. This is discussed in the interview Nightmare with the Best Intentions at (http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/tika.htm )
When their power was challenged in Kosovo starting in 1987, the racist forces reacted with fury. They launched an all-out campaign, with Western support, to secede from Serbia and re-create the Greater Albania that existed during World War II as part of the Nazi empire.
The tragedy of Kosovo is that the US and Germany have brought open fascism back to full power while banishing not only Serbs, "Gypsies", Jews and other minorities but also the many Albanians who, like Agim K., believe in brotherhood. And all this in the name of "creating a multiethnic society."