Valdete Idrizi (1975), civil society activists, Mitrovica
Valdete Idrizi: You know, the day, for example, because one can feel every possible feeling in the Independence day. Starting from happiness, first of all, Kosovo became a state. Starting from fear, because it became a state without the North, and we lost that part. Starting from fear of what would happen, because we knew that the North wouldn’t accept our independence that easily, and there are still Albanians there and they will suffer from it, and one day they will also be expelled. Starting from that, somehow I felt guilty to be totally happy. You know, such a bad feeling that you couldn’t be totally happy for the independence.
At the same time, it was everybody’s dream to see Kosovo’s independence being declared, on the other side it wasn’t full, you couldn’t be happy. For example, I drove around with my car all day, together with my friend and colleague, through the crowd, seeing flags and shouting. And, we were happy but afraid at the same time… and constantly on the phone with those in the North. I mean, not only with Serbian colleagues, but also Albanians who were there, because we didn’t dare to be fully happy. On the other side, we said, “Is it normal for us not to be as happy as those in the other cities?”
We went to Pristina. You know, there was a totally different atmosphere there. Because here, you couldn’t even go near the bridge, nor shoot or be so happy. As for every liberation day. We don’t even have a liberation day to celebrate here. And when we went there, somehow, we kinda felt jealous. On the other hand, we were happy because people should be happy, but we also felt guilty because we couldn’t be totally happy. I cried as a child and that is why I am saying that I cannot describe it otherwise, because I felt everything on that day.
And I don’t know. You return home and back to reality. Did anything change for us? Nothing. The other day, after the independence declaration, you still weren’t able to return home. There were still incidents. Hope still existed. I mean, if we return again, I mean, everything we did, we did it for the people and with the people. Since life didn’t get better and independence didn’t improve the quality of life nor…So, however the euphoria continued and the expectations… for us there was no change. At all. I mean…
And this is the fear we experienced that day…maybe it [independence] will happen without that part [North]. And today, for example, even though the human relations have improved, there are not so many incidents, there are a lot more people coming and going, I mean Serbs coming to the South, but however, it is another reality. It is not the same as everywhere in Kosovo. There is still the fear that something can happen to you when you go to the other side. I don’t know, it is still here, the impossibility to return to your home. There where you always wanted to return. I don’t know. But at the same time, we don’t have the luxury to give up and be pessimistic.