Mali Zvecan….Veliki Zvecan…The name does not matter. The tragedy of the Serbs from the burnt and robbed villages is what counts. They stopped in the vicinity of South Mitrovica, with bundles. What can these householders who have been acquiring their property for half a century put now in this bundle in 10 minutes.

– An icon and a rug – said Milica Savic (62) from Slatina near Vucitrn.

– Me an icon, censer and incense – added Jelisava Jacackovic…

Mali Zvecan, unfinished houses in a lamella, three lamellas, earmarked for those whom “The Storm” dislocated from Croatia. They stopped here, the new exiles, on the hill. March this year, down the hill, they have nowhere to go. Up the hill, to the sky, just to stretch one’s arm.

– I love Serbia. I have my brothers there. But I don’t want to make them trouble. Do you understand? Maybe you don’t….I’m a guest there, here I am closer to my home – spoke Milica Savic in one breath.

And the home doesn’t exist any longer. Everything burst into flames.

– Take the rug…take it as a reminder. This is what remained from my property – Milica offered us the rug. A moment when the whole body shuddered. When the lungs were tight in the heart. These people have been acquiring a household for years.

– The soldiers came, Germans. One of them took me by the hand, like this. He said: “Come on, just go…” Shall I take something from the cellar, I asked. We haven’t got any time, replied the German – testifies Milica Savic about the drama of the expulsion.

– There were 46 houses in Slatina near Vucitrn, before 1999. Only eight remained until March 17.

– We fought to stay. We didn’t make it. The Albanians struck. They kept hitting Goroljub Janackovic with a shovel. He is now in hospital. They told me “We will slaughter you, no one can see it…”

The lamella on the left, Mali Zvecan – on the door “Moved in. Family Andjelkovic. Veliko Svinjare” is written. We rang on the door. The children Philip (5) and Ivana (4) opened the door. The boy spoke, as if an old man did.

– My cow was left tied. And the dog on the chain…I keep dreaming of my home. I loved the tractor, and the dog. The tractor more.

These children had no toys. That is why they don’t miss them.

Radoslav Mihajlovic has earned his pension in Trepca. He was a brigadier in the zinc unit. Two houses remained in Svinjare.

– It’s not only the houses. It is my 42 years of work. What I have lived to see now – lists the man. He spreads his arms. – I would return, why not. But, where?

– Even on the wasteland, if necessary, but only with our army and police. Only with them – Radoslav Mihajlovic from Svinjare and Milica Savic from Slatina speak in one voice.

– There’s Kosara! She is coming back from Slatina – someone said. People turned towards the woman who was coming. The journalists are not important at this moment. The most important is for these people to hear what Kosa saw in Slatina. This woman talked an UNMIK policeman into taking her to the village. She came back with a broken flush tank.

– Only this…I have only found this flush tank. Everything is burnt, plundered – Kosara said.

– Why did you take it with you, Kosa? When you look at it, your heart breaks – Svetislav Savic told this woman.

– Let it break. That’s why I took it for – replied Kosara.

Veliki Zvecan, unfinished houses still, the plaster smells. This is the new address of the expelled Serbs, most of them are from Svinjare. Only room walls. The people coated the walls with styrofoam. The beds are from styrofoam. The mattresses arrived just yesterday. Marija Mihajlovic said – We all experience the same.

In one room: the Jovics: Ljubisa, Slavica and their children, Marija (19), Miljan (17), Milan (9).

– We have resisted for five years not to leave – said Slavica. – When everybody emigrated, we stayed. The children went to school in transporters. Until the train started going, soldiers accompanied them. Then they traveled without escort. We sweated to make our household. Every brick full with sweat. Look what we got into now. There is nowhere to cook, nowhere to wash. Where am I to marry off my sons, where to marry off my daughter, where to greet.

The elders climb up the stairs, one of them on crutches. The crutches beat on the concrete. This echoed, to the very brain. Mitar, Gorica, Marija, they can hardly walk.

– We are grief-stricken – said the old woman. – My son became psychically ill. And how wouldn’t he when thinking of what we have lost. The house, the tractor, the plows, centrifuge for honey, beehives, bees, and the mill.

An aged man pressed half a loaf in a plastic bag. He stood dumbfounded. He had nothing to say….A scream of the householder could only be heard.

– If you go to Svinjare, can you get my dog out please? Its name is Bibi. Just the dog – little Milan said.

– My diploma from Medical High School was left – added Marija. The voices collided. Grief of the homeless people rises up to the sky.


No one visits us, no one to tell us what they will do with us. We can’t go on like this, and we have no where to go – said Ljubisa Jovic from Svinjare. They send us words not to move from these apartments. What apartments are we talking about? Walls, concrete above, concrete underneath. Without electricity, without water. I understand, I understand everything, if they could only tell us where are we to go. They inform us that these are personnel apartments, that people have decisions for moving into them. Whose personnel are we? Personnel of misery, that’s whose. Let them tell us also what the solutions are. I don’t know, does Covic know about this. If he doesn’t, let him come and see.

 By Milena Markovic, March 25th 2004 Vecernje Novosti

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.