Vesna Manojlovic on Sat, 17 Apr 1999 11:49:18 +0100


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Syndicate: Refugees


[ daoud was working for connect (http://www.connectbooks.com/ ) in bosnia since after
srebrenica; last year he finished the book 'hearts and minds' - posters from war in bosnia;
last three months was living with me in amsterdam and last week went to macedonia to work
with international medical corpes. i don't know yet to what other list to post this.. becha]

   Subject:
         Refugees
   Date:
         Fri, 16 Apr 1999 19:52:33 PDT

daoud sarhandi wrote:

> I got here Sunday night but it wasn't until Thursday/Friday that the full weight
> of this reality hit me.  We work in 24-hour shifts in the camps and on the
> border.
>
> So Thursday morning I was on the border and in charge of one shift.  There were
> 3-4000 refugees up there when I arrived in Jazince, an hour's drive from Skopje.
> It's hard to find words to describe the scene - a scene from hell.  Babies,
> children,  pregnant women, the old, disabled, mentally retarded, crippled,
> dragging their sad suitcases with whatever they can pack in ten minutes.  Some
> still in their pajamas, slippers.  Many had been living in fear in the mountains
> for two weeks, all had witnessed the most hellish atrocities you can imagine,
> and then all were forced to sit in no man's land - a strip of mud sodden ground
> 500 metres wide between Kosovo and Macedonia under the hateful eyes of the
> Macedonian guards - as bad as the Serbs, who feel no pity, no shame, no humanity
> - little Nazis one and all.
>
>  And so we did our best.  We have brilliant Kosovar doctors.  We had 350
> patients in 24 hours.  I did my best with the local Red Cross to keep the people
> fed and with water and to keep them together.  In crowds and panic like that,
> and especially when the buses arrive,  it's not easy and the Macedonians don't
> give a shit if children are seperated from mothers, grandparents from their
> relatives.  It's insane. It's barbaric.  It's unbelievable.  The whole scene
> would make you feel totally ashamed just to a part of the human race if it were
> not for the dignity amid this catastrophic chaos - among these refugees.  I
> could go on and on and I will write about this if I can - about the smell of
> blood and tears and sweat and fear.  About the sound of 1000 children crying.
> About the Macedonians who actually force these people to go through 'customs'
> before they pack them onto buses and a new 'life'.  This is ethnic cleansing.
> And then just when you've finished with one group of heaving sighing screaming
> humanity you see another group - a whole village or part of a town move down the
> road and into no-man's land - now covered with the deris of these unwanted peole
> - with their debris and excrement.  And so you have to begin again.
>
> So far 800,000 have been ejected in this way.  One million to go.  If we don't
> succeed in stopping it.
>
> You may have heard that some refugees were mistakenly killed by NATO rockets.
> Well it may be true.  Some of the survivors were among our group yesterday.  But
> don't worry too much about that.  All those we spoke to were agreed that the Serbs treat
> them 10, 100X worse.  At least this was just a mistake.  The last thing these
> people want is for NATO to stop or they know they'll never go home.
>
> ______________________________________________________
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