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<nettime> Kosova: The Ghost Towns (fwd)
Geert Lovink on Sat, 10 Apr 1999 18:31:13 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Kosova: The Ghost Towns (fwd)


Van: Indira Kajosevic (by way of Peacenet Balkans Desk
<pnbalkans {AT} igc.apc.org>) 

>KOSOVA: THE GHOST TOWNS
>
>By: Shqipe Malushi
>
>Another Thursday, and my boss has placed yellow flowers on my desk. I was
>surprised it felt soothing for a moment, as his words came from his office,
>"FOR PEACE" he said. Then he handed me an envelope from his two boys 9 and
3
>years old. "Here they send all their savings," he said. "For your children
>in Kosova. They care" I took the envelope with the gratitude and sadness.
My
>children of Kosova, I whispered, who never were beggars... My children of
>Kosova now need every little helping hand... Oh! How grateful I am for
>little hands that are reaching out to touch my frightened little children
of
>Kosova.
>
>It's late and my street in New Jersey is empty. The houses have happy faces
>in my street from where comfort smiles through the windows of different
>shapes and sizes. Behind the doors people are resting from the long day of
>work. I walk slowly looking at these houses, trying to see happy people
>inside. The sky is filled with stars. I walk slowly trying not to think,
why
>think I am numb, I don't feel. My heavy legs drag as if they were of metal,
>I continue walking toward my home. Then the voices start pounding from the
>inside: screaming, crying, weeping... Faces line up one after another...
>Great grandparents dead long time ago, are asking me for their graves...
>Mothers in panic are looking for their children, everywhere fire, houses
are
>burning... I want the fire to stop... I want the scream to stop. I cry.
>Stars are silent. I ask them to stop the pictures, to stop the voices, to
>stop the cries, but the stars continue to be silent. I walk as if I am dead
>among the stars of my city, no house smiles back at me. No house comforts
>me. Am I alive? I ask myself. Is this a dream?  The darkness becomes heavy,
>I only have two blocks to walk but it seems endless. Nothing moves and the
>spring is in the air, it's warm, the front yards are green. The dogs are
>barking. I walk and the street keeps stretching ahead of me.
>
>The towns in Kosova come back in my heart. The streets are empty. The dead
>bodies lie all over streets facing the ground...  Faces with no eyes, some
>with no hands no heads, no legs... Chopped to pieces... Stop it, I cry,
stop
>it... But the cry echoes... ." I want to live, I want my blood back... I
>want my life." The dead bodies say. I hear them, I feel them they are there
>inside of me, and they ask me for their life back.  The towns have grown
>quiet, not a living soul anywhere they are gone pushed under the gun to
>leave... Those burned alive are nothing but a smoke... I see faces of women
>whose eyes have become stoned from the heavy metal rapists... Over their
>bodies has passed the heavy artillery, nothing alive is left in them except
>shame...   "They killed my babies," I hear, "five of them, five of them all
>at once, why do I have to live." They were 13 and under.  "They cut my
>friend with the chain saw," G told me. "Piece by piece and then they raped
>his 11 year old daughter and her mother and burned them alive."  A
>journalist's voice echoes from a bad connection overseas "there are two
>girls, 10 and 11 years-old. They scratch their faces, pull their hair and
>cry, endlessly cry. They have been raped but they don't know what that is.
>'Big men with guns did something, it hurt' they say and continue to
>endlessly cry."  I see the night has fallen in the towns of Kosova. No one
>moves. It's dark; the windows of the few houses left have sad faces. Behind
>there perhaps some people are hiding. Frightened eyes are looking toward
the
>door, when the paramilitary will march in, kill, rape, and burn. No one
>breathes. Again from somewhere children voices cry in unison... I want my
>mother, I want my father, I want my mother... I walk, and my hands are
>trembling.  I pass through the towns looking for my people they are not
>there, I call them by names, and they are not there... The dead bodies hear
>me... They ask me to wait, because on midnight they will wake up and walk
>with me around the towns helping me to find my people... They will call
from
>the graves and from the depths of the heart of the earth, they will call
the
>names of my people and the other men with guns and tanks with masked faces
>they will be frightened by the sound of my dead people, and will flee
>because they can not carry them in their souls... They always run away
after
>killing blaming the others... They will flee like wet mice who haven't had
>enough of eating the human flesh, and they will watch my dead people
dancing
>in the middle of the ghosts towns... Dancing and singing their songs and
>calling the names of my people... They will see how strong they are and run
>away...
>
>Nothing moves in the ghosts' towns of Kosova; nothing is left there. No
>pictures of the days, when the towns were filled with happy voices of the
>children who knew how to dance and sing... No books left to hear the
stories
>of our grandparents, who taught us how to keep the word of honor and
>endlessly give to our friends... No clothes with rainbow colors that made
>our women beautiful like the spring time... No smell of the home made bread
>that gathered us together to rejoice and celebrate our love... Nothing but
>smoke, cold and darkness filled with chilling voices of the crying
children.
>Kosova, my land known for its suffering, a place misused as a cradle of all
>the troubles was once a place of tradition and my dreams.  A place where
the
>mountains reached to the sky and the song of a shepherd echoed all the way
>down to the towns filled with joy. A place of the wild rivers running
>through the land with the sound of music. Kosova, once was the most
>beautiful place on earth, with its fields with red flowers and smiling
faces
>of the people, who used every moment to celebrate life.  Children where
>happy during the summers and winters, their laughter filled the narrow
>streets of the cities and people seemed strong.  Each house then had a
>character, a face, and a secret to tell. Each house was filled with the
>people who gathered every evening to tell stories and to dream about the
>next day, not wondering far beyond their world. The cities were small with
>the brick houses, and each city was known for something special.  Peja, my
>hometown, was known for the strong individuality. For the parties and
>excitement, and for the bread with the grilled sausage at breakfast. Or for
>the girls singing during the celebration of the spring season.  Gjakova was
>famous for its weddings and their brides, merchants and intellectuals.
>Gjakova with ancient cobblestone streets offered a hideaway into another
>world, so different from other cities, a mysterious world.  Prizren, an
>antique city, was known for style and afternoon tea, kindness and
>hospitality, rising like a fortress in the midst of Kosova.  Mitrovica, the
>city of love, was known for its unity, hospitality and sharing.  Prishtina,
>was a center for the youth where the university spread its wings to the
>happy students who learned how to challenge life and build their future.
>Prishtina was a city filled with theaters, movies and performance places
for
>entertainment. As Kosova grew bigger and bigger, so did my people, so did
my
>people. And many other cities smaller than those I mentioned above grew
>together with its people holding life for them for decades.  I finally
>reached my home. It is empty as if no one alive lives there anymore. I
asked
>the stars tonight as I walked, where are my towns of Kosova. Silence no
>answer was heard. I wonder do stars come out still in Kosova or they have
>killed them too?
>
>The City of Dreams
>
>White walls
>Made of thousand skulls
>Of the people, whose eyes
>Stared in vain for a
>Living soul.
>
>The doors, heavy
>From the bones
>Of the century-old beatings
>Stood closed
>For a long, long time
>Before the dead city.
>
>Suddenly a sound of carriages
>On the cobblestones
>Echoed through
>The daylight in birth
>As if coming to find
>A moment of truth
>
>A woman in red
>With stars on her head
>Chased her stallions
>Faster and faster
>As she entered
>The city of dreams.
>
>The doors made of bones
>Opened before her
>Letting her inside that city
>For which she had cried
>And called for so long.
>
>She walked around the walls
>Touching all the faces
>Wiping all their tears
>And fears
>Of forgotten people
>Who waited for eternity?
>To hear a lullaby.
>
>Not a sound was heard
>As she walked around
>Touching the walls
>Gently singing
>As the city closed its doors
>While she called
>Oh! My people, Oh! My people.
>
>Copyright 1999 Shqipe Malushi.
>(Shqipe Malushi is an Albanian/American poet/writer living in New York.)
>(212) 675-4380 ext. 351
>E-mail: Malushi {AT} Aol. Com; or shqipem {AT} mediainfo.com


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