Bjeshka Guri (interviewer)
Xhevdet Sadiku (interviewee)
Acronyms: BG=Bjeshka Guri, XHS= Xhevdet Sadiku
BG: Can you introduce yourself please?
XHS: professor of history at the gymnasium “Ukshin Hoti” in Krusha e Madhe.
BG: Can you tell me more about how you remember the period before the war started?
XHS:- Before the start of the war, as it is known, the educational process was not held in schools, we were forced to work at home-schools. Day by day, the situation was only getting worse because the then-government was taking over, everything Albanian was starting to be isolated, teachers were followed, and when the schools were closed, we had no choice but to return to our home-schools.
BG: Can you describe to us how that process went?
XHS:- The process, in terms of our work has gone very well, but slowly it was noticed that the government wanted to do its own thing and the situation slipped towards armed conflict.
On the scene were the KLA fighters who did their best for the benefit of the people, but finally the government mobilized all its power through the police, then the paramilitaries and the army, and finally the war began.
BG: Can you tell us more on a personal level, where you stayed and how you decided to leave?
XHS:- Throughout the situation we were in the village, we were mobilized to take care of the village, then the families, but finally on the critical day when the Serbian military police forces came, on the afternoon of the 27th, paramilitaries came by truck, they raided the village burning, killing, looting and we had no choice but to retreat to the upper part of the village where there was a large crowd of people as in our village, there were also people who came from the surrounding villages, who had previously been forcibly removed by the Serbian government and in that late evening at 11 o’clock, even though it was not the moment, we had to do the impossible, leave the families and I, with 70-80 Krushians, managed to escape just so that the worst would not happen to us in the presence of our families, we went to take refuge in the village of Mamusha.
We stayed there for 2 or 3 days, and after the Serbian police and paramilitary army came there, they took us all out to the center of the village, organized by trucks, with tractors, forced us to get in there by force and forcibly removed us to Albania.
Along the way there were big problems, we encountered people killed, animals, everything and it was said at that time that these refugees somewhere at the entrance of Prizren, are being detained, are being taken, are being sheltered in gyms, in different gutters. Out of fear, some friends and I jumped out of the truck and took refuge for 3-4 days in Prizren.
In Prizren, I communicated by phone from a relative of mine with my brothers whom I had abroad. They informed me that my parents with approximately 100 other Krushians are the first generation to cross the border into Albania.
In that case, we did not have a reason to stay in Prizren anymore and with some friends, we took the road to Albania. Again, with trucks, a large crowd that came with people from Mitrovica we crossed the border, so we left for Albania.
And in Kukës we met the family for the first time, from there we moved to Tirana until the moment came to return in June to Kosovo.
BG: How was the atmosphere in Tirana and Kukës?
XHS:- The atmosphere has been very bad. Because everything we saw, and everyone we encountered, had nothing to see on their faces except sadness, great grief for the lost, for family members. We were aware of what they had done in the village, the massacres and in those moments, there was no way to comfort us, because we knew. At the first contact at the border crossing we met residents of the village who had come out earlier who asked us what had happened. We knew what had happened but it was not the time to express the reality but to somehow comfort them with some good words, that it will be okay, that they did not kill them all, but the reality was really bitter because we knew what they (Serbs) had done in Krusha.
BG: How do you remember the moment of Kosovo’s liberation?
XHS:- The moment of liberation was a great joy for all of us, a great victory because we could not wait to come to our homeland, to return even though with great wounds, with great losses, but it was a real victory of ours because returning home it was more than a victory.
BG: Do you remember Krusha the moment you came back (how it looked)?
XHS:- The moment we returned, we returned to Krusha… what to say, the village was in complete silence, everything was burned, scorched, without people, nothing worked.
The smell of war was still there and, in the moments, when we entered the yard everything was dead, everything in the yard had been burned, the houses, the clothes, the books I had had been piled up, set on fire and burned all. So, we had to start all over again in those difficult moments for all of us, but still we had high hopes that the return will work itself, and so slowly we started to recover ourselves and restore our lives.
BG: What do you think were the effects of the war on a personal level?
XHS:- On a personal level, the war has left great consequences because when we remember those we have lost, close family, cousins, then killed colleagues, teachers, professors, this was a great loss that has left real consequences in our lives.
But, nevertheless, we had to overcome these for the sake of the children, the youth, the homeland, to recover and start all over again.
BG: Thank you!