Memorial wall, the mosaic commemorating Albanians banished from Kosovo in 1999

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A small group of citizens gathered this Saturday in Bllac, to commemorate the memorial wall dedicated to hundreds of ethnic Albanians, who were exiled from Kosovo during the war of 1999.

Because of the anti-COVID measures, only about 50 people participated in the ceremony organized in the former refugee camp in Bllac, situated near the border with North Macedonia, which in the past expected 440,000 people running away from Serbian oppressors.

“This is the wall of our memories, representing the pain of 440 thousand people that passed by here in 1999, following the humanitarian crisis and the intervention of progressive forces to stop the extinction and ethnic cleansing of an entire population,” stated Jahja Luka, representative of a refugee organization.

“I remember the day, with my daughter in my arms, thousands of refugees walking tired, without being fed or drinking water, and me, with my daughter in my arms, breastfeeding her, during a non-stop journey,” stated Sherije Luta.

Sherife Luta is part of this mosaic, as the photo of her holding her child at the time, became a symbol of the repression and injustice forced upon the Kosovar people.

Many of the refugees were transported with trains from Kosovo to North Macedonia.

Between 1.2 million and 1.4 million Kosovo Albanians were displaced during that time.

More than 10,000 people died during the 1998-99 war in Kosovo, then a province of Serbia and 1,650 of them are still unaccounted for.

 

 

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