Kevin Murray on Thu, 8 Apr 1999 18:03:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The (un)answered telephone pt 3

>From her suburban home in Melbourne, Suzie has been desperately trying to
make contact with her family in Pristina. Today, a Serb neighbour helped
Suzie’s brother make contact. The women of their family had been staying
in a house 100m from the main Post Office which was bombed today. The
mother had refused to go down the basement. According to her sister, the
walls shook and the ceiling fell down, but by a miracle they survived. 

Previously, two police had come ordered them to leave in 24 hours. Having
seen the situation from Australian television, Suzie had been adamant that
they should not try to cross the border. She also advised her brother how
he could escape being rounded up by the police. Unfortunately, he had been
injured in the process, though her family refuse to give details. Calls
are monitored and so the news is only factual and stolidly consoling. 

Suzie’s daughter recognised the bombed street on the television. She’d
been there only a month ago, visiting her grandmother. Apparently, there
are only a few stragglers on the street, but after 3pm the only people
outdoors are the ones wearing uniforms. Suzie’s brother makes his dash for
food at 5am. 

The family have now all moved to a flat a little further from the city
centre. For Suzie, it is hard to deal with the fact that there is no
prospect for them in the near future. "I never used to talk about
politics, but now I can’t stop."

Melbourne Kosovars are now thinking about taking in refugees. 4000 places
have been allocated. Suzie spoke of her feelings coming to Australia. "It
was like a dream. I fully expected to be singled out as a foreigner. But I
could walk the streets in complete freedom."

But Suzie is caught. On the one hand, she wants to share her contentment
with this impending wave of refugees. But on the other, she doesn’t want
to assist the Serbian plan of ethnic cleansing by helping relocate
Albanians to the other side of the earth. 

For more than a decade, Kosovar Albanians have lived in a diaspora that
kept in touch through video, fax and telephone. But like Jerusalem for
Jews, this diaspora was predicated on the existence of a terrestrial
homeland. What will happen if this link is cut? 


Forecast for Melbourne Issued at 0505 on Thursday the 8th of April
1999 Fine. Early morning cloud then a mainly sunny day with chiefly
light wind. Max 19

For previous instalments, please go to

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