With War's Traces in His Soul, He Still Hopes for Peace

By Kusari, Ylber | National Catholic Reporter, October 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

With War's Traces in His Soul, He Still Hopes for Peace


Kusari, Ylber, National Catholic Reporter


Why am I in this class? I asked this all the way back to the dorm from class. I was shaking like a leaf, ready to break down and cry, full of pain, but also rage. I had such mixed feelings. I did not want to go back with those kids who knew little about real life, yet were proclaiming how they want peace for the world. And who is this professor who is calling my country's savior, Bill Clinton, a hypocrite? To me it was the class that was a bunch of hypocrites. Determined, I decided I wasn't going back there. However, next Tuesday came and the clock was ticking. Instinctively, I grabbed my notebook and told my roommate, "Time for class. Let's go."

The reason why I didn't like the class was simple: It is scratching my wounds. It makes me look back, dig into my memories of war and look at them from a different perspective. It makes me go against the beliefs I was raised with. I was at a point where I either had to defend my beliefs and completely shut myself off by ignoring everything people in the class said, or I could expose myself to new ideas and beliefs. The first choice was easier. The second was confusing and painful. I had had enough pain in my life, and that was because I hadn't had a choice, but this time I could choose. I didn't have to suffer. However, I chose the hardest way again.

Being a war survivor changes your perspective completely. Living through a war--or, better said, surviving a war--is an unfortunate, unique experience that shapes your personality and your attitude toward yourself and the world. When you're exposed to such a great terror, such injustice, pain and brutality for no reason, your life takes a different direction. Being a statistic, a number in the long list of "war casualties" or "collateral damage," is something that will definitely leave traces in your soul.

I grew up knowing fear, fear and fear. Those people called Serbs hated us Albanians and were killing us because of our language, religion, tradition and history. For years, the hatred was accumulating and along with it, the conflict was escalating. There was no such thing as a diplomatic peaceful solution. Too much blood was shed, too many innocent lives were taken and too many hearts were broken. People wanted revenge. Revenge was what kept people alive in that cruel world for years and years. The war escalated into this fusion of madness and hatred where reason was gone and violence prevailed once more in the bloody history of the Balkans region, where people's lives seem predetermined from the minute they arrive into this world. We were oppressed by Serbs and we wanted escape. We wanted an end to the oppressive regime. That day came and we could finally breath the free air.

The war left Kosovar society with a weak foundation, ready to tumble and fall, a traumatized nation that on top of experiencing 10 years of a systematic, oppressive regime had to experience a real war with bombs dropping out of the sky.

I came to realize that the international community could have solved the problem in the beginning with diplomatic means, and not neglect a country of 2 million people for a decade, coming to the rescue 10 years later by using their latest sophisticated missiles and artillery on civilians under the pretext of "humanitarian intervention," saving our lives by killing the others. …

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With War's Traces in His Soul, He Still Hopes for Peace
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