Letter to Serbia

Dear Serbia,

What have you done to Ukshin Hoti?

Where is his final resting place? What did you do to his body?

Do you remember his eyes of an ancient philosopher and his aquiline nose?

What did he say to you as he was dying? Why did you imprison him in the first place? Do you even know why?

Is he lying somewhere by a river? Are there trees as high as his soul branching out from his tortured bones?

I demand to know the truth. I also demand an apology. It’s long overdue now.

I want you to apologise for all your crimes to my people, Serbia.

I want you to apologise for kicking me out of my university without a valid explanation. Do you remember that day? My Serbian speaking colleagues were applauding as I was leaving the building. Orwell’s 1984 in my hands.

I want you to apologise to me for kicking my parents out of our home on 2nd May 1999. You told them they had 30 minutes to pack. You told them they were lucky they weren’t killed on the spot like Bajram Kelmendi and his sons.

You were so very ‘merciful’ Serbia to spare their life because my mother spoke your language and has a Slavic name.

How dare you send your paramilitaries into my family home. How dare they enter into my room and search my books!

Were you surprised to find Crnjanski and Kiš next to Kadare and Fan Noli?

What were you hoping to find there, anyway? It was only a room full of music, books and sisterly secrets.

Serbia, you know, I’m really disappointed you are pretending like you don’t know or that you don’t remember.

But I do.

I remember everything. My people also remember, but somehow collectively we are known to easily forgive.

Serbia, you know for a while I thought you could be a good stepmother. But then I saw your true face. It became a face of evil in 1999. Maybe you should take a good look in the mirror Serbia and admit you were so cowardly to kill and displace helpless people.

Serbia, you still haven’t apologised to a woman I met at a refugee centre in London. I had to hold her hand while she was telling me this:

She was walking in the forest for miles to escape your soldiers. She had her babies in her arms. They were hungry.

She then saw a jacket in the mud. It belonged to her brother. She took the jacket and she smelled it. She knew it belonged to him. It still carried the trace of life inside it.

An old jacket in the mud is all she’d had left from her only brother…

You were separating families, Serbia. You were taking men away. Do you know the exact number? I am not good with numbers. All I can tell you is that there were many.

Serbia, where are all these generals and soldiers today?

Serbia, you need to employ someone who will go door to door to these families and apologise. It will take days and months. We love to welcome guests and open our doors.

Serbia, maybe it’s time for you to answer some of these questions.

Serbia, I hope you heard Ukshin Hoti’s final words.

May they fall heavy upon your soul.

He is maybe somewhere where Constantine made his first steps, and dreamt that he would one day be an Emperor.

Serbia, your sad ’empire’ has crumbled in the end.

Serbia how do you sleep at night?

Serbia, I still have Miloš Crnjanski on my bookshelf.

Read in Albanian • Lexoje shqip: «Letër Serbisë»

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