Sekibe Morina Landovica. (interviewee)
Acronyms: BG=BJESHKA GURI , SM= Sekibe Morina Landovica
BG: Can you introduce yourself please?
SM: I am Sekibe Morina, from the village of Landovica.
BG: Can you tell me about the period before the start of the war, how you coped with the pressure?
SM: We were afraid, we had the army over our village, we were close to it, every shot we heard fell almost over our heads. From here they fired at Drenovc, they fired on every side, the whole army was stationed here in Landovica.
BG: Where have you stayed?
SM: We stayed at home all the time; we did not leave at any moment. Only when we fled that day and we remained.
BG: How many people have you stayed at home with? How was it, do you remember more or less?
SM: Yes, 4, 6, Father-in-law with mother-in-law, sisters-in-law were also there, uncle’s wife was with 4 children and uncle, and I was with two children because I had my husband in Switzerland during the war.
BG: What do you remember from that period?
SM: We stayed at home, we just got used to the gunfire, we did not run away like other villages, who ran away and came back again, we never ran away, we stayed at home.
BG: And how did you make the decision, why were you forced to leave the house?
SM: We had to because 4 Serb soldiers were killed inside the village of Landovica.
BG: Does that mean that Serbian soldiers were killed in Landovica?
SM: Yes, because they were up and came down to the village, and a villager from Landovica killed them.
Then the late Ismet Gashi, who was killed in the war, entered the house, opened the door and told us to leave because we were finished otherwise.
So, as we were, only one bag I had taken for children, because I had 2 children. We took some clothes, my uncle’s wife and I went out the entrance door, and on an uphill we went, we did not go very far, here is the house where you can see it if you want to see it.
It is not seen from here, but when we go out in the yard, I will show you, behind that house up there is the house, it is in that condition as it was, they have not fixed it.
If you want, we can go to the place where that house is located.
We just crossed the road because we were there, our house was not here.
He told us to get into the house, and said we had to run away from your houses and we just gathered. I do not know how many people we were because someone ran away from Petrova, someone from these villages here, someone there, as we could.
We sat in that house and stayed there, a tank was here and they directed at us like a mirror, I do not know what it was and they looked at us.
When this happened for the first time, my daughter turned 2 years old, on March 20 she turned 2 years old, on March 26 she was killed.
The girl was also wearing rag-diapers, because we did not have proper diapers-pampers.
The girl was up and said to me “Mom, can you remove the cloth/ diaper because it’s wet” I said mom will remove it.
My mother-in-law was saying, what a crisis and you want to change the diaper/cloth of the child and I told her let it be done, I do not want my daughter to have a rush, I want to clean her.
I cleaned and dressed my girl, she said “mom I want hot bread”, I told her that mom will give you bread.
Again my mother-in-law said if I was crazy, I told her that if we are going to go where we were going, I don’t want the girl to be hungry, so I gave her bread and while we were standing there, they started shelling the house where we were staying, the first one they killed was my 15-year-old sister-in-law. All those people that we were there, it was so crowded we were like this, like the fingers of the hand, close like this, because when they started shelling, people started running out of the windows trying to escape, so among all those people only she was hit by the grenade on the head and she fell. My mother in law started to cry about her daughter, my father in law told her ” do you want them to kill all of us”. The girl died at the doorstep, we dragged her back, we turned her over and we put a cloth on her face and we left her like that, dead, and we escaped by jumping out of the window. I told my mother in law you take my daughter and I will take my son and the bag of clothes for my son.
When we jumped out of the window and went outside, that’s where 12 people were killed and several people were injured.
I was wounded there, my daughter was killed there, my mother-in-law was killed, as well as my sister-in-law, so we saw her being killed because I was no longer conscious. I do not know who pulled me, I only know that they sent me over the water line, I did not feel any pain.
When a person from the village saw me, he was on the mountains, he grabbed his head, and pulled me into the mountain.
At 10 o’clock we left the house, until 6:30 in the evening I did not know anything about my mother-in-law or my uncle’s wife, or my children or anyone.
I was wounded, the wounded were lying on the water line, the mother of the boy who killed 4 soldiers, she did not know about her son who was killed. She removed her headscarf from her head and she started tying my wounds, saying to me “my God what they did to you” and I knew nothing about anyone.
A young boy from the village, as we were lying down, again they shelled us and a grenade hit the oak, and the oak fell on the boy’s
neck, he was wounded already and the oak also fell, on him. I no longer was afraid any more.
Sometimes later my father-in-law came, somehow through the mountains.
I told him Bac where are my children?
He said “they are up there”, I waited for a while, I did not see the children, I asked him again
Bac where are my children?
He said again” they are up there”, I said Bac, where are my children, if they have killed them, tell me don’t give me a false hope!
He said “there, Fisnik is up there”, and the boy was also wounded.
BG: So the boy was also wounded?
SM: Yes, my son was also wounded.
When later on we went up there, my son was lying, his leg was wounded, and I said ” my God, so you are also wounded?
After I saw my boy, I said “Bac, where is my daughter now”?
He said to me” further up, further up”.
I said to him “Bac, tell me where is mother, where is my daughter”?
He said that “I left your mother in law and your daughter up on the hill”,
I said okay, probably is nothing.
We stayed in the mountains there, as it was night, without any help since 11:00 when we were injured, we had nothing at all.
After nightfall, we went through the fields or the mountains, we went to Petrova village. I was carried with a harrow, with a blanket.
I did not have my husband there. My brother-in-law and one of my fellow villagers carried me, my brother-in-law carried my son in his arms, and some of my fellow villagers carried me with a blanket.
They were saying to my brother in law “is she dead or alive”?
No one believed I was alive, and my brother in law was saying to them that “yes, she is alive”.
I never knew before where Petrova was.
They were asking my brother in law “is she alive?” and he was saying “yes she is”.
I said to myself, “how come they do not know if I am alive or dead”, I did not think of death.
During that time, it was raining, and he put a cloth over my head so that it would not rain directly on me, again they asked if I was alive or dead, my brother-in-law told them that I was alive.
When we went to Petrova, a doctor, I do not remember his name, put us in a house in Petrova.
They gave us food and a doctor helped us.
Sometimes in the morning, before the dawn, they told us to leave because if you get caught here it will be bad for us as well.
We got out of there, no one wanted to let me into their house, as if I was a soldier or God knows what.
Everyone feared for himself.
We went to an aunt of my husband, and she took us in.
We stayed there 3-4 days.
Her daughter fed me because my mouth was blocked and I could not move my mouth at all. I do not know why my mouth was blocked like that, maybe I had lost blood.
With great difficulty we ate food there, and some clothes of my sister-in-law’s son that were saved, they put those on me.
I could not even move to take care of my needs, my uncle’s wife helped me as much as possible.
I had no legs; my legs were torn to pieces.
She sheltered us there for about a week, she too was scared, she was in a panic and wanted us to leave the house.
We got out of there, but we had nowhere to go, no one accepted me.
I could not move, my boy was injured, me too.
A woman with two sons, without a husband, has sheltered us. The house was big, her name was Medina, she is dead now.
May Allah send her to Paradise, for she has sheltered us inside and kept us, and she did not have enough for herself, but sheltered us.
We stayed there for approximately 5 weeks.
After the NATO bombing, we stayed there for 5 weeks.
We did not have enough food, no one dared to go out to buy, some soup, some bread, some sausage bought by my father-in-law. My son was in a hurry to eat, but the doctor told me not to give him meat to eat because of the wounds so I used to remove food from his hands, for the sole purpose of healing. My father in law used to say ” let him to eat” but I did not allow him in order for him to heal.
I removed the food from the boy’s hand with the sole purpose of healing him.
I could not walk, to fulfill my needs I went slowly, crawling like children, as the children do.
My uncle’s wife and brother – in – law helped me, he has taken care of me since my husband was abroad.
BG: How you treated your wounds?
SM: During the time we stayed with this woman Medina, a veterinarian was nearby, we only had one house in between and he through my father-in-law found out that we were there.
He found out that we were there and he was sheltering a doctor, a surgeon, Sherif Krasniqi from Prizren.
BG: In which village did you take refuge?
SM: In Prizren.
This vet came every day to check our wounds, gave us injections, cleaned our wounds, bandaged our wounds, for a week. After a week, he was keeping the doctor in his house, but he did not tell us, he told my brother-in-law and father-in-law take the daughter in law and her son and come to my house. It is my business how I got a doctor at my house, but bring them here and let him check them.
He was not saying he kept him there out of fear of being discovered.
The members of that family were always on guard so that no one would come and find the doctor at home, or find us. They were afraid that someone would tell on them, that they were sheltering us.
The veterinarian took me to his bedroom, and there the doctor checked all my wounds, Dr. Sherif Krasniqi.
He inserted some things like needles into my veins, without numbing me with anything, He removed the rotten meat like that without anesthesia because there was none.
After he cleaned my wounds, he started checking the boy, I stood there.
When he took the boy, the boy screamed because he was small. We had to shut him up because we were afraid, he would be heard, my brother-in-law’s face color drained, he could not stand the boy feeling so much pain.
I told him to wake up, I will hold him because my hands were good.
After checking the boy, the brother-in-law carried me again and then the boy from the vet’s house to the house where we were staying.
The vet helped us with food and clothes, provided them and brought them to the house we were saying. He often brought us hot bread as well.
We stayed there for 5 weeks, then the doctor did not check on us, only the vet, the doctor only instructed the vet while he came to check on us.
Then, after 5-6 weeks, the whole of Prizren was emptied, no one was left but us.
Then we had to go too because we were the only ones left.
When I fell asleep, I put the boy by the window in the corner, then me. We were all sleeping like that, in one room, my brother-in-law, my uncle’s wife, all of us in one room.
I was not afraid that they would kill me, but I was afraid that I would see them killing my son as well.
I was afraid that when they would shoot at the windows, they would hit the boy, so, I swapped places with the boy, I went by the window and put him next to me.
For 5 weeks or 6 I did not walk at all. That day they said let’s go to Albania because there is no one left.
I said oh God help me because they have feet and hands, but help me get up and walk.
Praying to God “oh God help me” I know I stood up, my legs hurt.
I called my father-in-law Bac.
I said Bac, I am leaving, because he and my brother in law, they did not want to, and I told them whatever happens to everybody else, let it happen to us as well, because we were the only ones left.
Then my father-in-law and brother-in-law grabbed me by the arms, and I walked to the station.
When we went to the station, my mouth was blocked, my teeth were blocked, my hands were numb, my legs were numb, my whole body turned numb. We got on the bus we went to Zhur I think. In Zhur they had placed some obstacles on the road and the bus did not pass there anymore.
A man from the village of Landovica displaced in Prizren was with his family in a car, when we went there, he got his son out of the car and told him “you are healthy, you are young, whatever happens to others, let it be with you as well. This lady is sick and she cannot walk, you can walk with other people on foot, she will get in the car”.
My son and I got in the car, with his wife and him.
When we went to the border of Albania, people came out to wait for their families, to watch how they were passing. There were police on the road but they did not abuse us, they stopped us to get some cigarettes, but they did not abuse us.
When we went to the border we stopped and waited, the boy crying said “where is Uncle, where is granddad. I calmed him down and told him that they were coming now.
When they came, we got together.
Again no one dared to leave the border first, I said “I’ll go first,”
I walked, with my father-in-law, brother-in-law who had my boy in his arms.
They only took our ID cards; they did not harass us.
When I turned my head and saw that my brother-in-law and my son were also allowed to pass, we went to Albania and then I walked.
Some people came because they saw me injured, I told them to leave because I could not speak, my mouth was blocked, without blood.
Some of the KFOR took us to the tents and we were checked by a few doctors. We stayed there in the tent for a week, it seems to me, without being washed, on the ground with a sponge. I did not even know about my relatives.
Just during the way, I was saying to myself “dear mother do you know where I am, what has befallen me”.
When I went to the tent, I did not know anything about anyone, where they were, whether they escaped or were killed.
My father-in-law would go out to see who was coming, who was crossing the border.
My son and I stood at the door of the tent because we could not walk because we were both injured.
He was walking a little, and I was crawling slowly.
We are both standing at the door of the tent, at one moment my son said “Mom, uncle Behxhet is coming”, my brother.
He had gone out and met Baci, Baci told him to go down there.
When I saw him, I said are you alive?
My brother found out there who was alive, who was killed and then he left.
Then we continued with some big vans, they were called Tom, a truck with a trailer, they were from the village of Landovica and they were also relocated to Prizren. They took us in their car and took us to Elbasan.
His relatives had small children, he put them all in the back and said that ” this lady and her son are wounded”, this two will get on the front, also he put his wife in the front, she was an old lady, so it was her, myself, my son and my father in law.
We rode maybe 16 to 17 hours to Elbasan, because the roads have been destroyed before.
When we arrived in Elbasan, I could not get off the truck, I was completely numb.
I came down, we went to a cousin of my husband who had gone there before and was staying in a private house.
We stayed there just one night, so as to wash up.
Then we went to the Arab camp, we were all welcomed in separate rooms, where I slept with some women from the village.
We had the food prepared there, we had good food.
We had to wash the clothes, but I could not clean them, a village woman helped me, then I gathered some strength and started to clean them a little.
The Arabs there gave us blankets, and the clothes and the doctor checked us.
We stayed there for a while; I do not remember exactly how long we stayed.
Then we returned by bus to Prizren. The first night we stayed at a village girl, we cleaned up there, we got dressed, we came back.
When we returned, the house was completely destroyed, the uncle’s house was with two slabs, it was also burned but there was nothing but hay, the hay was burned and the house remained.
I came to that state, having a body with wounds, had to wipe a room and fixed it with some sponges, we closed the windows with blankets and the door with blankets and we slept there.
My father-in-law, brother-in-law and son slept there. For quite a period we slept there, then the father-in-law started painting the house as he could.
We stayed without a roof for 2 years, we put a slingshot so that the rain would not penetrate.
Inside the father-in-law painted it as best he could.
When we returned from the war, KFOR doctors came to take us at home, they were in Prizren.
They took pictures of me; they did not dare to operate on me because there was a fear that I would be paralyzed.
Since there was no certainty, I refused to be operated on, it was better to stay that way than paralyzed.
The boy was operated.
KFOR has come to take us at home by car.
The boy’s operation lasted about an hour – an hour and a half.
They operated on him, removed the remains of the grenades and what was left inside.
When the boy came out of the operation, he was unconscious.
Then he regained consciousness and we returned home.
BG: How long did it take for your wounds to heal?
SM: From March to September my wounds did not close. Every time I sat down the wound cracked.
When I stood upright the wound did not change, when I sat down it cracked.
It was not until September that this great wound got closed.
Then, they operated on the boy and said that he would have no more problems and indeed he had no more problems.
In September, on September 16, he was killed, it’s been 20 years. In March, it was 1 year since the war started, in September, he was killed. He was in the first grade; he had finished the first grade as he started the second grade of the school year.
They run him over with a tractor and killed him, I did not know anything about that either.
After the war, my husband returned to Kosovo, he did not stay there anymore.
Where my husband was working, my brother-in-law, ran him over with the tractor.
I knew nothing. I had my daughter Festina, she was 3 and a half months, the girl was crying, I was trying to get things done as soon as possible.
We were in that house there, we had no walls at all.
And all the men of the village were watching us, me and my uncle’s wife at home.
I told my uncle’s wife why the men were looking at us, just looking at us and running away.
My uncle’s wife knew but did not tell me.
I asked Aunt Feri why they are all looking at us, have the men done something?
No, she said, it seems to you that they are looking at us, and that no one is looking at us.
A neighbor went in a yellow van, they had told him what had happened.
I said uncle Agur passed quickly by car, something happened.
She kept telling me there was nothing.
I was cleaning the dishes, my brother-in-law came and stood by me during the war, his face had turned yellow.
I said “Sejdi, what happened as your face has turned yellow”?
He was not telling me; he was saying nothing happened.
I insisted that something had happened.
He said “no, Fisnik was caught a little by the tractor”, I said “alas, did you catch his leg or not” with the thought that something always hits him in the leg.
He said no, we did not catch his leg, even if we killed him, what are you saying.
Because he too was very affected, he did not know how to react.
Nothing at all, I was saying I did not know.
A neighbor of the village came and said “come on do you want to go see him in the hospital”.
I said yes, and left to go to the hospital, as I was, sweaty like that.
When I went out to the yard door to go to the hospital, the boy’s body came.
The moment I wanted to go see the boy in the hospital, the boy’s body came in front of me.
The father-in-law carried it.
I said oh dear me, my husband told me he was dead and grabbed me by the neck.
I didn’t lose my consciousness or anything.
I went inside, we buried him that day.
SM: Thank You.
Now I have a son, the eldest daughter has the name of the daughter that was killed in the war, the son has the name of the son who died and I have a son who is 15 years old.
BG: May they have a long life.
SM: Thank You.
BG: What effects has the war had on you mentally and physically?
SM: I am not impressed by anything anymore.
If you would listen to me, you would have said” she has nothing “, I am numb, I can deal with everything at the moment I am hit, but later on they have an effect on you.
Even joy no longer feels as it felt before.
I can’t stand neither joy nor sorrow.
Even if I see a man being torn to pieces, it does not affect me at that very moment, I try to help him. I am so strong. But then, it affects me afterwards.
BG: If you do not have anything else, we can conclude.
SM: What I could remember, I told you.
BG: Thank you very much.