To the Mayor of the Municipality of Gjilan, Mr. Lutfi Haziri.
Pristina, November 6, 2017
Through this letter, we express our concern about the displacement of the monument dedicated to the Fallen Fighters (1941-1945). Considering the commitment you have shown to saving the historic memory, we please you to rethink the decision for its replacement.
We are a collective of researchers of different generations, nationalities and competences, Oral History Initiative, whose mission is the registering of life stories that are correlated to the biggest events in Kosovo. Our research work is closely related to the past, memory, history and dealing with the past. In any way do we have ambitions to simplify history, but in the contrary, through the documentation which we make accessible for everyone through our online archive www.oralhistorykosovo.org, we try to encourage a critical report on history. As such, we actively contribute on adding shades and complexities to historic stories.
The displacement of the monument dedicated to the Fallen Fighters (1941-1945) in Gjilan, the message of which is the fight against fascism, is a concern for our organization. As a decision, it can be perceived as a tendency to review the history and as a direct intervention in the collective memory. The original name of the monument is Bartja e të Plagosurve [The Carry of the Wounded], while from the people of Gjilan it is known as Ushtari i Panjohur [The Unknown Soldier], there is no document to prove such a name, and this makes us understand that the community always had a personal approach and way of referring to the monument. Located in the center of the city of Gjilan in 1964, made out of concrete and conceptualized with modern ideas of the time, this monument hasn’t only registered the modern art tendencies in sculpture, but has also played a crucial role in the development of the culture of commemoration in public space.
Considering not enough research has been done on the history of World War Second in Kosovo and the fact that historic narrations in this environment still have a questionable status, we consider that this monument can take new life and turn into a good opportunity to talk about what happened during the War in Gjilan.
This public address from the Oral History Initiative expresses full support towards the civil initiative Kartoni i Kuq [Red Carton] based in Gjilan, who have clearly articulated their revolt towards the displacement of the monument for the Fallen Fighters (1941-1945) from the city center, and have vocally expressed the emergency to save the cultural and historic heritage of the city of Gijilan.
For these reasons, we please you to rethink the decision for the displacement of the monument. Kosovo needs more history, not less!
Oral History Initiative