“You forgive the blood to the youth, not to the murderer”: First Story

Raif Musa and Valdete Bajrami Musa

This is the first story in a series of ten stories about the 1990 Reconciliation of Blood Feuds Movement. The tellers are Raif Musa and Valdete Bajrami Musa, husband and wife, information technology professionals from Ferizaj, who were activists of the Movement.


Musli Avdyli holding the camera, Pleshine village, 1990;

In the photo: Musli Avdyli holding the camera, Reconciliation of Blood Feuds gathering in Pleshine village, 1990. Fotografia e punuar nga Lala Meredith-Vula.

The organization in Ferizaj… I had many friends outside Ferizaj, students who were former political prisoners, I was involved in some political movements at the time, political because I am talking about illegal [movements]. A friend with whom I spent a lot of time, his cousin and his paternal uncle’s son was also a former prisoner, he got involved in the first group, in the Peja group and he gave us the idea that you should also act, I mean, you should work something in that direction, and we gathered two-three people, “Shall we do it?” “Let’s do it.” And we went, there was a Students Union’s meeting in January, January 18, something like that, and we used that meeting, we used that meeting to stand up and propose, “We will start working as well.”

In the beginning it seemed like a game, because we had no idea and…. At first it seemed like a game and we did it there, I mean the Council was established, I was elected the coordinator of the Council, we were all friends who knew other students. And we went to the first case to challenge ourselves, we went to the village of Greme, a student told us, “It’s one case, I know about one case in the village of Greme,” they were relatives of him, and we tried to go, we went. There were students from  all around Kosovo there. It was interesting for the old man who welcomed us. He had to forgive his brother’s blood. But we didn’t have a clue of how and what [to do], but we endorsed it more in the sense of forgiving the blood in the name of the youth, in the name of the youth who were being killed at that time, in the name of soldiers who returned in coffins and so on, I mean, we used as powerful rhetoric as we could in order to convince the old man that he was not forgiving the blood for the sake of the murderer, but for the cause.

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In the photo: Valdete Bajrami Musa, Raif Musa and Syzana Jupa during Pajtimi field work.

[…] With them, the old man didn’t give us any word, but we felt the need that maybe we were too young and couldn’t really convince him, so we decided to ask the professors to join and help us. Prof. Dr. Ismail Hasani was one of those we trusted and we thought was on our side as a patriot. And I went and talked directly to him, he didn’t hesitate, he got involved without any hesitation. He joined us and we went there right after two days. Now we advanced, we advanced a little with the help of the professor, but he didn’t forgive, he still didn’t forgive [the blood]. I mean, we went there for three times, but he was only convinced  on the fourth time and forgave the blood to us even though we always told him that, “You will forgive the blood to us, not to the murderer, if you want to confront the murderer then alright, if not, then we respect your decision.” But when he forgave it, he told us, “Okay,” he said, “You decide what.” Then we decided to hold a gathering, to make it greater, because that’s what influenced the others.

We gathered in the village of Greme on March 18, the village right away… the LDK [Democratic League of Kosovo] was there, the subsidiary branch of  the LDK in the village of Greme, we went to talk, a colleague and I, to talk to the leadership of the LDK at  the municipality level and they supported us, so the gathering was organized. Around 500-700-600 people participated, it was recorded with a VHS Camcorder, because there were no digital cameras back then, and almost all the photographs I have are taken with that film camera, the cameraman used to work for the Radio Television, his name was Nazmi, Nazmi, I don’t remember his last name… Hajrullahu, Hajrullahu, he lives somewhere abroad, he returned now. I went to his house and asked him, he didn’t hesitate at all, he came and recorded and so on…. From the journalists, there was Rexhep Rifati, he was a reporter at the time. Sadik Tarfarshiku, I mean, professor Liman Rushiti, as vice-president, held speeches.  The one with the Hasani last name who was part of the LDK leadership, now he is part of the PDK [ Democratic Party of Kosovo], his last name is Hasani, he is a [Albanian] language professor, Shyqyri Hasani was part of the LDK leadership, he spoke on behalf of the LDK, a girl spoke on behalf of the students, and I spoke on behalf of the Council, I mean we presented and then continued our work further.

We gathered, we had a small office at the Technical High School, it was like a canteen, we used it as an office. We met there in the mornings and people came to notify us about various cases in the villages.