Bjeshka Guri (intervistuesja)
Beqir Reshiti (i intervistuari)
Akronimet: BG=Bjeshka Guri, BR= Beqir Reshiti
BG: Can you tell us something about yourself?
BR: My name is Beqir Reshiti, professor of chemistry, an employee at this center, “Ukshin Hoti” High School in Krusha e Madhe.
BG: Thank you. Can you tell us more about your personal experience before the war started? How do you remember it?
BR: Yes. The pre-war time was difficult, the austerity was increasing day by day, so at the end of March, at the beginning of April, there were the most difficult vicissitudes. Thus, as education employees on March 21 we stopped teaching due to repressive measures. On March 24, when the NATO bombing started we were here in the village. So, on March 25, we left because of the pressure and went out into the fields, to the hills around the village, and that night we stayed in the village of Nagavc, where thousands of people were sheltered due to repression.
After the repression, we were in Nagavc village every day and they were stealing or taking money from the refugees. About 6 or 7 days there, the village of Nagavc where we were sheltered was bombed.
BG: Do you remember the bombings?
BR: The night when the bombings took place, I remember that we were awake and we heard a lot of plane sounds, we saw a big light and a noise, there were cracks in the apartments near the houses we were staying in.
There was a massacre near that house after the bombings where children were killed and dead, and as far as I know, they were alive but we could not save them.
Among them, there were our relatives who were wounded. The next day, due to that bombing, we were forced to leave for Albania, so the whole village from Nagavc went to Albania. This happened on April 2.
BG: How was the road (to Albania), do you remember it?
BR: The road was very difficult, the village was burned, and some of the people had to hide in the tractors or cars we had. We stopped in the village and buried some people who had died and then left for Albania.
The street was full of policemen, they stopped us 2 or 3 times and identified us again, and they robbed us.
As regards the weather, it was a cold and rainy night, we had people injured on tractors so we were 50 or 60 people in a tractor covered with plastic cover and we crossed the border the next day, so we waited at the border for 2 days.
Although we left, we were so sad to leave our missing people. We thought they would be somewhere imprisoned or alive, but we lost our hopes later upon return when we found out that they were killed.
Among them, there was my uncle’s son Gëzim Reshiti, a professor who worked together with me at school; Ismet Nuredini and Sami Duraku, who also were high school professors. Not to mention the 10 elementary school teachers who lost their lives in this war.
During our journey in Albania we went through Tirana, but due to the large number we were forced to go to Durrës, and from Durrës, we went to Elbasan and we spent 2 to 3 months in Elbasan as refugees.
Then we returned after the announcement of the liberation of Kosovo, the entry of NATO in Kosovo.
BG: How did you spend your time as a refugee in Elbasan?
BR: How do I explain the life of a refugee?
The conditions were very difficult there, the help was very little, but what made it more difficult for us was the anger/sadness from not finding the people we loved. Most of them were also in other places whom we found after 2 or 3 weeks. We also tried to find the rest of our relatives.
There were many misunderstandings; many people stated to have seen them in a place or another, but those people were not seen anywhere. After the war we found them dead, and even missing.
BG: What happened in those moments when you realized that Kosovo was liberated?
BR: We were happy. However, besides being happy, it was also a hope for us who had not found our relatives. We thought they were alive and we would find them either imprisoned or deported to other places. But this hope of finding our relatives was lost. We found out that a massacre had taken place here and many people lost their lives.
BG: How do you remember the first moments when you came to the village?
BR: The village was uninhabited, 90% destroyed or 100% burnt, with a very bad smell because of the people who were killed and who were not buried, and because of the street animals that were dead. It was horrible. We could not even cross those roads of our houses due to the demolition of roads, the growth of grasses and trees which made us not even know the place where we were.
Over time, we faced difficulties with the housing.
When we returned, we spent the first winter in tents, since we had nowhere to stay due to the demolition of houses; however, over time we stabilized for as much as the possibilities allowed.
BG: How do you think the last war has affected you on a personal level?
BR: On a personal level, it has been very difficult, and it has also affected our minds, our souls, and it has also been very difficult in the process of work, which took a long time, tens of years or even more, to stabilize. In some aspects even today we feel those shortcomings, that emptiness, that feeling that we will never forget.
We believe it will get better.
BG: Thank you.