Burhan Kavaja

Pristina | Date: October 30, 2020 | Duration: 163 minutes

The strike began. Miners of the first and second shift started coming, they started gathering, there were around 1,300 miners. I could organize 20-30 miners and not have anyone else. […] in that moment when the strike began, we had 2,500 kilograms of explosives in the mine, which could have caused a grave tragedy. 

[…] The second day began, I was able to organize meals without having to go outside. The miners had three meals a day, so that it would not affect their health, [that happened] only when we went on hunger strike and that was something else […] the second day got the attention of the media, TV and radio stations, newspapers arrived and began reporting from everywhere, so we decided to let in only Kosovo journalists and for the rest to hold a press conference.

And that’s what we decided. Until we got into a situation where ministers from federative organs proposed to give sedatives to the miners, so they would get numb and wouldn’t be able to reason and we would get them out. Of course, I wouldn’’t allow something like that, and I didn’t allow it. So, there were propositions like that also. […]

But, what isn’t known to the public is that the Reconciliation of Blood Feuds Campaign started in the mine. Blood reconciliation started there, with the request that, ‘You outside reconcile, we will do our sacrifice here.’ There were cases when I couldn’t visit them all, because the halls are 200 kilometers long, they would say, ‘Director, you didn’t visit us, we are very desperate, we are in a very bad condition’, then, ‘Please, visit us too.’

Anita Susuri (Interviewer), Korab Krasniqi (Interviewer), Renea Begolli (Camera)

Burhan Kavaja was born on May 9, 1943 in Mitrovica. He graduated from the Engineering and Mining Department at the University of Belgrade. In 1970, he was the vice secretary at the Province’s Secretariat for Economy. Later, Kavaja was appointed executive director of the Sharr Corporate in Han Elez. In 1988, he became the director of the hydraulic mine in Trepça in Stan Trg. From 1990 to 1994, he was president of the Executive Council of United Independent Syndicates of Kosovo. Kavaja was also an MP in the Kosovo Parliament and Chair of the Parliamentary Commission for Energy, Natural Resources and Industry. He is retired and lives with his family in Pristina.