The ‘Heroines’ memorial to Kosovo Albanian wartime rape survivors in Pristina. Photo: EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ.

Kosovo is Excluding Civilian Victims of the War from Historical Memory

Kosovo is excluding civilian victims of the war from the historical record by not having any memorial to properly remember them. Even when such a memorial is made, it is done in the worst way.

On Thursday, INTEGRA NGO showed a documentary named “The Monumental Kosovo of paradoxes.”  During the following debate about war memorials it was said that Kosovo was excluding  civilians from  historical memory.

During the last war in 1998/99, dozens of civilians were massacred by Serbian forces, but few memorials were made to commemorate these victims. Existing memorials and even cemeteries provide no information about the way they were killed. 

Photo: BIRN

The participants in this debate declared that squares, streets and settlements around the country are filled with memorials and monuments to war heroes, but memorials to war victims are few, negligible, and many times discriminatory.

During the debate historian Ylber Hysa stated that Kosovo should do more for the civilian victims of the war. According to him, the country should have an apartheid museum.

“Kosovo lacks two moments related to the war, an apartheid museum to witness what it experienced during the 90s and a second for refugees and the ethnic cleansing that Kosovo experienced during those years,” Hysa declared.

He further emphasized that Kosovo can take inspirational examples from other countries and employ technological solutions to memorialize civil victims of the war.

While Zanita Halimi, ethnologist, stated that memorials – the commemorative plaques for the civilian victims of the war – are not given proper attention. 

“Civilian victims are left aside with a simple plaque and there are only names, surnames and date of birth-death, but they lack comprehensive information about those victims, so the complete history of these victims is missing,” Halimi declared.

Meanwhile architect Nol Binakaj, said that the incessant memorialization of stories about civilian victims of the war without proper criteria is symptomatic of a lack of vision. 

During the debate, it was said that Kosovo should have a war museum to commemorate the biblical expulsion of the Albanians during the war in Kosovo, and a memorial to the civilian victims with necessary information about the murders and the perpetrators of those murders.

Kosovo still does not have a museum of war, whether of the exodus or the genocide, to commemorate the crimes committed against civilians by Serbian forces. Even the few museums that exist have been established and function with little or no support from state institutions.

and 03/03/2023 - 16:30

03 March 2023 - 16:30

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