by Ana VUCKOVIC
Albanian woman Riva Demaj, aged 103, expelled because of the alleged pro-Serb views, is one of them. They are not allowed outside; sometimes one of them goes to buy cigarettes. Food is delivered by representatives of the international community. And, since Germans are in charge of that zone of Kosovo and Metohija, "Gut?" "Gut!" is the usual short dialog between the guards and the guarded, Serbs say.
Misfortune is not easy to measure, but the thirteen prisoners from the Seminary at least have each other, have someone to talk to. Milos Nekic, 73-years-old retired Serb literature professor, has been for already two years, therefore since the arrival of the international forces, fighting a lonely battle to preserve his family home. "I am the only Serb between the residence and the cemetery."
House number 30 (crossed over), first of all because of the wires hanging over the low entrance hall walls, traffic noise and loud music blasting from the nearby bar, immediately seems different from the other nearby houses. "The lock on the entrance door has been smashed so, even if I wanted, I could go out, I can't lock the door". On the other side of the wobbly door there are "daily" and "nightly" barricades. Daily barricades consist of concrete blocks, and the nightly barricade includes concrete blocks, a tree log, and iron bars. Every night, mostly between 9 and 11, says Nekic, a group of Albanians tries to kick the door in. Sometimes, their blows are so strong that protective concrete blocks fall off the top of the pile.
Menacing, dangerous looking stones were piled up by out host in the corner, together with plastic bottles, empty cigarette boxes, a dried onion bulb... Evidence. Exploded crackers were set aside on a separate pile. However, KFOR hasn't done anything concrete for his protection, apart from suggesting to Nekic to leave and from visiting from time to time. He was "interesting" for OSCE until about a year ago. "I decided to stay. I decided because I am Nekic, because this is my soil. Expulsion because I am a Serb is nothing new for me. It started with the Ottomans."
Offering to the rare visitors crackers (do not refuse), he explains that before going to sleep he always places the cardboard protection on the first floor door. One can still see a dusty print of a trainer sole left by an attacker on that door. Nekic lives on the first floor, as if in a cave. The second floor burnt down in a fire, window have been smashed, the roof is about to collapse. A tin sheet protects him from stones. "I fear that it may fall down during the upcoming winter." From one of the three destroyed rooms on the second floor, through "excellent quality, Slovenian made" blinds, Milos Nekic can monitor the street, the life outside.
From the yards behind the house, to which he goes rarely, it is difficult to see another human being. Especially a friendly one. The yard has been fenced off by barbed wire whose ends the professor pulls together at night. The yard is full of roof tiles, tree logs and plants. Next to the abandoned well, there is a rose bush, cacti, strawberries, there is a symbolic dog kennel. That is the spot where he burns organic refuse, while the inorganic refuse is packed in bags and waits to be removed by KFOR. In two years, he has collected seven bags.
Mr. Nekic does not intend to leave his virtual trench. "While I used to go out, I was attacked by someone in front of the post office. He told me to leave Prizren in three days." None of his relatives have been to visit for a long time, "not even the priest, although he lives 80 steps from here." He had friends among Albanians but "they do not call me and I do not call them. I do not want to put them in danger."
By the way, the professor survives on the social assistance provided by the United Nations Temporary Administration. He gets $33 a month. He could request the pension he received before the bombardment but "it's not worth it, it's $8-$10 a month." Also, he has no contact with the state institutions of the Republic of Serbia and to the question who is responsible for all this he responds "UNMiK". Nevertheless, he is convinced that the situation will improve. "Unfortunately, I don't know if I'll live long enough to see that."
How does he spend his days? He gets up at eight, goes to bed at eleven. He claims that he is not bored. He keeps busy all the time, improves security measures "just in case, to make sure I don't have to move to the basement." He spends time reading, turning the pages of a German dictionary. He cooks, takes care of personal hygiene ("I get ready for the day"), cleans up, especially damages from the previous, almost always troublesome, night, "I rest if there are no other troubles". He does not have a TV, his radio has been stolen, another one broke down. He has only one, old, pre-war radio. At night he can listen to Radio Free Europe or Voice of America. The Red Cross gave him a modern wind up radio. He does not use it. "It's a toy radio". Finally, very meticulously, he writes a diary.
Milos Nekic from Prizren does not have living immediate family members. His relatives are "in [refugee] camps or bumming around Serbia". His parents were also educators. His father, under the Ottoman rule, drew a map of Kosovo and a globe. He was never a member of any political party.
From his biography he wanted us to know that he is "Kosovac [Kosovo Serb] through and through" and consequently does not intend to leave his birth place, his inherited property. "My Serbia is here. My hands and my heart are clean. In spite of all the trials I think that I haven't shamed my home and my ancestors. Death under this roof would be sweater than to bring shame somewhere as a refugee on both myself and my ancestors. My family is one of the oldest in Prizren. All their toil and blood have been invested here, in Kosovo." He repeats: "My Serbia is here".