SPIRITUAL ZADUSZKI ON KOSOVO

22Serbs in Kosovska Mitrovica visited the cemetery on the south side of the city

Srbi u Kosovskoj Mitrovici posetili groblje na južnoj strani grada

 

“My child, don’t waste your time taking pictures, they’ve finished with us a long time ago”, said one grandma, holding an old, peeled stick.

Around fifty people gathered in front of the Technical School in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. In one hand, clenching the thin, waxed candles that were rolled into the paper, and in the other fresh flowers, just picked, smelling like life, but dedicated to mark the death.

The bus arrived around eight in the morning. Bended heads, dragging bags with hot coffee, rakija, and some food, what the deceased loved the most, they walked towards the door of the bus. There was no police escort, everyone said it was safe now.

In silence, they got out of the bus and quietly walked up the stairs to the monuments. Destroyed monuments, overgrown with darnel, without names and pictures on them. They were all looking for a place to stab a candle, for the soul of the loved ones to be cheerful for a moment or two. I watch them pull out the restless weeds with their bare hands, because the soil beneath is dry, desperate for rain, but got only tears.

“I’m going around the monument, I can’t raise it, how to put it … I do not even have the picture to kiss, they took it off …” stuttered a younger man who came to visit his father’s grave.

At the very end of the graveyard, alone and leaning on a stick, an old grandma was trying to bend and put a plastic glass in the place where there used to be a monument. She was weak, she had to do it very slowly. Then she crossed herself, whispered something and took a sip out of that glass.

“Come on, my child, come to drink something for Ljuba, that is the custom, it’s good,” she shouted when she saw me. Here’s coffee, so take some … and you want some brandy, Ljuba made it, it’s good, try … ”

I took some brandy, it was strong, a plum one, burns my lips, I can smell it.

” Before this terrible war, he died, my Ljuba, I am alone for 22 years! What can I do, I am old and alone for 22 long years … it’s a lot, my child, I do not have kids and I do not even have a monument, they demolished it, but let them, so be it. You see, here I will lay, next to my Ljuba. ”

Life goes on, but it stops for a moment. Allows people catch their breath, sigh deeply, and remember all that they have lost, those who have disappeared, but still not known where their bones were thrown. Then the soul tightens, the heart cleaves, the throat dries out, and the lips tremble. Tears slip down the dry face, which strangely wrinkles at that moment, discovering of all the horrors of the past that still lurk, grabs and drags in the whirl of the deep darkness, that some of them never come up from.

I tightened the camera to my chest and watched the demolished monuments all around me.

“Take a picture, my child, see what they’ve done to us, take a picture of Ljuba for me once again, and then whatever God gives you,” the grandmother said and went home with her neighbour to the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica.

 

 

 

,, Dete moje, džabe slikaš, sve su nam oni odavno već uzeli ”, oslanjajući se na stari, oguljen štap, izusti jedna baka, kada me je videla sa fotoaparatom.
Ispred Tehničke škole u severnom delu Kosovske Mitrovice okupilo se nešto manje od pedeset ljudi. Stiskali su grčevito tanke voštane sveće uvijene u papir, dok je iz druge ruke virilo cveće, sveže, tek ubrano, mirisalo na život, a namenjeno da obeleži smrt.
Oko osam ujutru autobus je stigao. Pognutih glava, vukući torbe sa kafom, rakijom, i po nešto od hrane, ono što je pokojnik voleo najviše, koračali su ka vratima autobusa. Policijske pratnje nije bilo, svi su govorili da je sada bezbedno.
U tišini su izašli iz autobusa i ćutali dok su koračali uz stepenice ka spomenicima. Porušenim spomenicima, zaraslim u korov, bez imena i slike na njima. Traže mesto sveće da zabodu, da se duša najmilijih bar malo razveseli, gledam kako golim rukama čupaju nemirni korov, a zemlja ispod suva, željna kiše, samo je suze dobila.
,,Kržim oko spomenika, ni da ga podignem, kako da ga namestim … Ni sliku nemam da poljubim, i to su skinuli …” promuca jedan mlađi muškarac, koji je došao ocu na grob.
 Na samom kraju groblja, u gornjem uglu stajala je jedna baka, sama, oslanjajući se na štap pokušala je da se sagne i stavi plastičnu cašu na mesto gde je nekada bio spomenik. Slaba je, morala je polako da čučne. Tada se prekrstila, prošaputala nešto i otpila malo iz te čase.
,,Hajde dete, dođi za Ljubu da popiješ nešto, valja se”, viknu kada me je ugledala. Evo ti malo kafe, tako prospi malo … a jel hoćes malo rakije, Ljubina je, dobra, probaj …”  Uzeh i malo rakije, jaka je, šljiva, peče, osećam miris.
,,Pre ovog groznog rata je umro moj Ljuba, 22 godine sam sama ! Šta ću stara sam i sama, 22 godine … mnogo je to dete, dece nemam, a nemam ni spomenik, porušili, neka im. Vidiš, ovde ću ja, pored mog Ljube. “
Život ide dalje, ali i stane na trenutak. Da ljudi uhvate dah, duboko uzdahnu, pa se tada sete svih i svega što su izgubili, onih koju su nestali, a ne zna se gde su im kosti bačene. Tada se duša stegne, a srce cepa, grlo suši, a usne zadrhte. Sklizne suza niz suvo lice, koje im se čudno nabora u tom trenutku, na kratko otkrivajući sve užase prošlosti koja ih i dalje vreba, ščepa i uvuče u vrtlog duboke tmine, iz koje neki nikada ne izrone.
Stegla sam fotoaparat uz grudi, gledajući porušene spomenike svuda oko sebe.
,,Slikaj dete, da se vidi šta su nam uradili, slikaj mi Ljubu još jednom, pa šta ti Bog da”, potapša me baka po leđima i ode sa komšijom kući, u severni deo Kosovske Mitrovice.
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