Momčilo Trajković

Čaglavica | Date: February 5, 2019 | Duration: 176 minutes

The new building was inhabited by the old Serbs, old Serbs of Pristina, old Turks and old Albanians. They had houses where the cinema is now, previously Omladina Cinema, do you know that settlement now? And, when those buildings were built, they were, since they were old houses, they gave apartments to host the owners of houses and they all lived in that building. Everyone was settled in that building. I was the only one and another journalist, we were, like this, to say from aside. All the others were… they simply transferred all of their settlement to this building: the old Albanians, the old Serbs, the old Turks. And that was very interesting. When I arrived there, as they got used to sitting in front of the gates, in front of the house there to talk… that mentality and this custom was transferred to the building. They also put benches there, there was coffee, everything… this building was different from all. And so people were close.

Since I was in a position, I and some Stihović, I say… someone from Novobrdo, one Albanian was the director of this nursery garden, Vitia, yes. I remember, Vitia. I was a functionary at that time, I was engaged in politics, I do not know how much you know… I was the Executive Secretary of the Committee […] And he comes to me, ‘What can I do for you, for you, comrade Trajković?’ That’s it. I say, ‘Listen, come on, look, take a look in front of my building where I live, people are so, you know so good. Go on and do it, plant some trees.’ And the trees now, I do not know if you know when you go before that tunnel down there are those buildings. All of these trees are… yes, that was my plan, I asked for that, and it was planted for me. No one knows that, people who lived there know. Otherwise, others do not know. That’s how it happened, that… the forest just ahead of this building.

Erëmirë Krasniqi (interviewer), Kaltrina Krasniqi (Interviewer/ camera)

Momčilo Trajković was born on November 5, 1950 in Čaglavica near Pristina. He earned a law degree from the University of Pristina. He began his  career at the Provincial Secretariat as an advisor for foreign affairs. During the years 1966-1989, he worked as an Executive Province secretary at the Executive Council, followed by two years as a Municipal Committee secretary for two years. From 1993, Trajković was the director of the agricultural cooperative “Ratar” in Laplje Selo. After the 1999 war, he was engaged in the resistance of the Serbian Movement. Today, he lives between Čaglavica and Belgrade and in his free time performs traditional Serbian music.

Momčilo Trajković

Part One

Erëmirë Krasniqi: To begin with, can you introduce yourself, give us some basic information, where were you born, name and surname and your earliest memories, your family, etc.?

Momčilo Trajković: My name is Momčilo Trajković, from father Aleksandar and mother Milica. My father is from here, he was born right here, where we are having this conversation today, where I was born as well as my youngest brother and two sisters. I am the first one, two sisters and then the brother. And we grew up here, we lived here, I live here today. My father was an agricultural technician, fieldwork, and he would often work throughout Kosovo. For example, he led the planting of orchards in Uroševac, it was called Mladost [Youth], and I remember when I was little, out of respect for him, often when those from Uroševac, Mladost, carried the fruit, they would drop by here to leave several crates for my father out of respect for what he used to do once.

My mother is from Laplje Selo, that is a nearby village here, Milica. Both my father and mother are from the families of partisans and that was the reason they got married around the year of ‘50, in February, in the month of January-February. They got married then so that I would be born on November 5, 1950. I finished primary school here, the first four grades here in Čaglavica. From the fifth until the eighth, I went to Laplje Selo in the school down here. After completing the eight years of schooling, I enrolled at the School of Economics and I finished the High School of Economics.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Can we talk a bit more about your childhood, in more detail?

Momčilo Trajković: Of course.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: So that we don’t go so fast there.

Momčilo Trajković: I remember because my father was an agricultural technician, I said fieldwork, he was working for some time in one veterinary sta… the agricultural station, somewhere towards Koljovica. That station was there, and we also lived there for a while. And that photograph, the photograph I have given you, is from the time when father and mother had brought me to the photographer to have me photographed as the first male child. The first child, I am the eldest.

Erëmirë Krasniqi:  Where? In Pristina?

Momčilo Trajković: Yes, yes, that is in Pristina, at some photographer. That, I wasn’t asking around, but I know that existed in Pristina. And I remember, my mother was telling me then… from that part, I remember that my mother was telling me that we used to live there and once she made lunch from a turtle, she says željka, željka is used among common people. She was preparing lunch from the meat of a turtle and I remember that from the story, not that I remember eating it or not. Surely I ate it because I didn’t even know what it was about, but that’s the way it was.

Then we came back here again, lived here, we were very, very poor, we weren’t rich. My late grandfather Stavra, father of my father, he had been to America. He had lived in America until the ‘18, for seven years. From 1911 until 1918 he was in… no, he was in America, in Chicago, until ‘19.  He spoke English because he had worked, he had been there for around ten years. When he came, he had earned a lot of money. However, something terrible had happened to him, he gave part of the money to a friend to transfer it, and that friend, part of the money that he had earned working there, he simply took and never returned. And he had a lot of problems because of that, he even got ill later and died somewhere around ‘37.

My father was born in ‘21. My grandmother is from Dobrotin, from Lipjan, now near Dobrotin Lipjan, and she used to talk about my grandfather who was, for whom she waited for eight years. When Grandfather went to America, my grandmother was engaged to him {touches his finger}, he asked the grandmother to marry him. However, when Grandfather came back American, simply, he still had a lot of money, he was a different man, a modern man, he wasn’t a peasant who had left this place. And those were great troubles, that is what remained from my childhood, and later when I was talking to Grandmother and Father, we were talking about that in the whole family.

Grandmother was tiny, not to say ugly for a woman, but one tiny woman, she wasn’t… Grandfather was a burly man and she wasn’t for him, as some would say. And Grandfather tried to leave her and marry our neighbor here now, she lived across the street. Then the cousins intervened and in some way calmed down Grandfather and he married Grandmother. And with her he had two sons and four daughters, she gave birth to six children. However, her husband died in ‘37. My father was 14 years old when his father died, and he was the eldest and four sisters and one more brother and old grandmother. Not an old grandmother, a woman, she wasn’t old then, a woman.

And then, although they had enough land, they had a problem because somewhere before the First World War, after the death of this grandfather, the house was caught in a fire and the whole estate burned. The damage was so great that the village brought help so that they could live. However, and afterward they moved on, but despite that, they never managed to get back on their feet in the way they had been before. And that is why after the war we, when I was born, Father was a fieldwork [technician], we weren’t raking in money. We were even in great poverty. I remember that life from my childhood, that house that was here, it started over there, it finished there. It had two rooms. In one room horses and cows, and we were sleeping in the big room.

[Interview got interrupted due to technical difficulties]

Especially then, there was a big strike in America, and then they… and because of that strike, they imported workers from Europe streikbrechere,[1] who went to replace those. However, my grandfather had gone before the strike and many from here, many people from Čaglavica had gone before the strike. But, during the strike there was an attempt by a certain amount of people to go there and replace streikbrechere, the strikers,  streikbrechere, to call them strikers.

I have in my book, published the photo of the old from here… how, not Šerafin… I will remember. Rista, Rista Mitić, who went to America, he went twice to America and got to Chicago twice and they sent him back twice. When he arrived in Chicago, because he had brothers there, brothers came to… no, no, he came to New York. The brothers came from Chicago to New York to wait for him and send him back. All the streikbrechere who were to replace the strikers, send them back.

That is how old Rista went twice to America and he told me, a month on the ship, he says, “A great ship was there.” Cattle on the first floor, that was because he was traveling for a month, something needs to be eaten, it was those steamboats. The first floor cattle, the second was a warehouse and goods, the third floor people {describes with hands}. People go there. And he says they went from here…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And where did they take that ship?

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And the ship, where did they?

Momčilo Trajković: I’ll explain it now, they went from here. They went to Skopje, because the  Pristina-Belgrade rail didn’t exist, nor did Pristina-Niš. Instead, they went from Kosovo Polje to Skopje, from Skopje to Niš and then up to Belgrade and in Belgrade again with the trains and they arrived in Bremen in Germany. Bremen was a port where they embarked, from Bremen, there he was saying that, “They part from Bremen, sail for a month to arrive there.” That’s it, that is what I remember. That is interesting.

When Grandfather, my grandfather returned here, my father was different from all our people here. These people of ours, autochthon Serbs are really, really to say uneducated and they have that mentality, a weird mentality, a mentality of people whose main weapon is perseverance. Thus, they can put up with anything you want, they can put up with, and that is why they survived.  They are still here today after everything that has happened, the autochthon Serbian people stayed because they know how to endure. Troubles, problems, they go over all of it and weather through. They endured the Turkish period, thus these people never moved from this place, the greatest displacement was after ‘99. So… before ‘99, they didn’t migrate.

Here, generally in Kosovo, I don’t know how much you know, Serbs lived in Kosovo, they still do around the big cities. Everything that surrounds Kosovo’s cities are Serbian villages. Here, take for example Čaglavica, you have Kosovo Polje there that was mostly Serbian and Crkvena Vodica in Obilić was Serbian, Serbian in terms of its population present [there], Ugljare, Bresje, you have Kuzmin there you have Dobri Dub, then you have Preoce, Laplje Selo, Čaglavica, Gracanica, Matican, Ajvalija is a mining place, later it became a place where Albanians came. So, all the surroundings, you want Gnjilane, in Gnjilane all the surrounding villages are… Silovo, Partes, all the villages are… so, Serbs lived in those villages. And why did they? In Prizren as well as around Prizren. Ferizaj too, Peja as well…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And why didn’t they live in the city?

Momčilo Trajković: The city was, the city was, outside they lived mostly in the mountains, Turks lived in the cities, the cities were Turkish. And then, which, Serbs and Albanians those were craftsmen, craftsmen were few, few families lived. And that was that Serbian and Albanian part and mostly Serbian, the smaller Albanian part lived in the cities. And in order to… because Turks had to collect that kulak[2] of theirs, they had their own ćipćija,[3] that’s how they called the people working for them. All of them were, all of the Serbs who had received the land here on which they were working. That wasn’t their land, that was Turkish land and this land where we are, all of these were Turkish deeds. Serbs, and also Albanians, but I am talking about what I know better, even the Albanians didn’t have their land of origin because the Turkish occupation lasted for 500 years. But,  aga[4] Turk, he has the whole, the whole Čaglavica is his, he has his servant, his servants, his ćipćija who work for him. They give him, I don’t know, a part in the end. And so.

Eh, when we, and the Albanians, those autochthon Serbs and Albanians, they got the land when, when Kosovo was liberated from Turkey. Then every aga, that every servant, Turkish ćipćija Serb, and Albanian that land on which he worked on, he kept that land for himself when the Turks had left. Thus, that was, in that way, originally in all the deeds, only after the Turkish deeds, before the Turkish deeds, there is no evidence that it was in someone’s possession. That is how people used to live, only later cadasters were introduced, deeds were introduced, in order to know whose land it was and how.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: What did the Serbian community do the most?

Momčilo Trajković: With agriculture. Serbs were in agriculture and cattle breeding. Albanians were mostly in cattle breeding. So, Serbs lived here in this part on the fertile soil, this is fertile soil, it’s a shame when one sees all those buildings and houses built on the most fertile ground. You know, no one asks where to build, they just go and build. By the way, in the book of Atanasije Urošević, somewhere after the Second World War, he visited these places and carried out a population census, and for my family, he says that there are no data where we came from in Čaglavica because Čaglavica is a new settlement.

Čaglavica was from the 18th century, 1700… Čaglavica came to life after the Second Great Migration of Serbs. Thus, it originated in 1737, the Second Great Migration of Serbs was, after the Austro-Turkish war. Then, when Austrians went, that was the Second Austro-Turkish War, the first one was 1688, and 1690 was the First Great Migration led by Čarnojević, that is how our history tells it. And when Austrians went to attack Turks and to banish them from this part, Serbs from Raška up until here rose and took the side, the side of Austrians, to free themselves from the Turks.

However, Turks came both times… no, no, ok. Both times Turks came somewhere up to Jankovic, up to Eljez Han, that’s where Austrians came and then came back. When they were coming back, they didn’t think about the people who stood by their side. Everyone who took the Austrian side, everyone was killed and that fear led to the Great Migration of Serbs from here. So, this happened twice, and a third similar migration was in 1999 when these people trusted Milošević,[5] that he was going to solve the problem. Thus, these people turned out to be naïve thrice and suffered. They suffered three times.

Then my family, according to that, since I am investigating, dealing with that. My family, they call us Stašići here, our original surname is Stašić and they call us Stašić, that is our family. Here there are Terzići, here there are Lazići, those are the tribes in the same way you have fis,[6] that’s the same with us. When you come here and ask Stašićovi, who are the Stašićovi, they will tell you, “Who?” We also celebrate slava,[7] two, we have two slava. Thus, Saint Đorđe on November 16 and Đurđev Dan on May 6. Those are slava and preslava, those are summer and winter slava. Following that and the fact that we are Stašići, I came by the data that we actually came from the vicinity of Klina, so from Drenovac nearby Klina. Do you know where Drenovac is? Eh, Drenovac, we came around a thousand… after the Second Migration, 1737. Then it was…

Otherwise, in Čaglavica are all the tribes of Serbs who came here from Javor nearby Istok or from the place… so, the greatest number of people from that area came here. And that is why I confirm, we have the surname Stašić, in Drenovac the whole village is Stašići, they celebrate the same slava as we do in Čaglavica, they all came from that part.  So, I assume, I cannot confirm, but I assume our origin is from Klina, so from Drenovac nearby Klina.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Do you have a brother and sister?

Momčilo Trajković: I have, I have a sister. I am the eldest, the second sister, the third sister and a brother, the youngest. Sister lives near Umag, in Buje, Buje near Umag, that’s where she lives, she has a family there, that’s where she got married at one time. The other sister lives, she lived in Pristina, now she lives near Vrnjacka Banja in Vrbak nearby Kraljevo, near Kraljevo. Just yesterday, the day before yesterday, I was sleeping there, I went to see my sister. And the youngest brother lives there {shows direction with his hand} but he has a house in Belgrade, that is in Barevo, because here everyone sort of, after what has happened, made some sort of a backup and unfortunately, often people go.

I am trying to, as much as possible… now there is this Albanian who came here and now I am a Serb and from here to… and across the street [there are Serbs]. And we are trying to come to some agreements, there is no need to… Thank God if we have some fields, we’ll sell them, but we don’t have to sell the houses. I can’t, I have an apartment in Belgrade, I can’t live there. I am there for two days, and on the third day, I run away and come here. Because I have children up there in Ušće, my wife is currently up there, normally I and my wife live here. Children come when they can.

One daughter got married in Belgrade to a colleague, she was a journalist, first for  BK Television, and she reported from here for B92, she was in television, she worked for B92, and then she got married to that colleague with whom she worked  and now she is with S Radio in Belgrade, she is the main editor of the informative and political program and a journalist and a speaker.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And what kind of village was Čaglavica?

Momčilo Trajković: Čaglavica was one… just want to say that I have a younger daughter who got married here in Čaglavica and they moved to Niš, they live there and son…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: We will talk about this later as well.

Momčilo Trajković: Čaglavica was an interesting village, hard for a life. Why hard? Here there is no so-called good water, there is no drinking water. In Čaglavica, as I remember it, there were two wells, three, one was here across where is now this new neighborhood Swiss Village, there was one well there and we used to go there in order to get drinking water. The other well was there in the village center, and the third well was at one peasant’s who had a private business and had a well in his backyard. And everyone, so in order for everyone to have drinking water, we all went to the wells.

And there is even a story that Mother, when a daughter wants to get married, cursed a daughter, “Da Bog bude da se u Čaglavicu uda” [May God make her marry in Čaglavica]. My mother had a habit of saying that she had overstretched her arms while carrying water, the whole life carrying  water. Because we have the well here, but it is salty, saltwater. And it doesn’t allow for soap, it cannot be used for washing. Only the cows could drink it, the cattle could drink it, but all the showering, washing, all of that needed to be, water needed to be carried from the well. And now you can imagine how many houses there are, they all go there and wait in line to get some water.

Then Čaglavica had heavy mud, that mud was so sticky. That is chernozem, heavy soil and is like a glue when the rain falls… it was horrible. Here were, here there was no pavement, there was none, I remember that, no pavement. And the fences were, do you know what thorns are? Thorns, those were fences, and later came fences, and then… Serbs and a certain number didn’t have walls, that is not typical for Serbs as it is for Albanians, the walls, and so on and so on. But in one part where the landlords were, there were [walls], Serbian landlords had them, they had huge gates and walls. But this wasn’t a case among others. Only later did the fences come. I remember that there was no electricity here, I remember when lamps were here.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: When did electricity arrive?

Momčilo Trajković: Well, in the ‘60s electricity came and I recall that. Otherwise, this road, before this one, the road that led to Skopje, was built by an army and in Čaglavica there was a barrack, and few people know about it. There was a barrack in Čaglavica right where Swiss Village is now. And that well I remember when the Army built that barrack because of the well, because of the good water and then the well half in the barrack, half on the outside so that the villagers can take the water. And that army was there for several years until the road was built, was finished. That road went, the earlier road led to Laplje Selo if you know, this time towards Laplje Selo. And later this road that now leads down to HIB Petrol was built, what is the name down there. That is the new road that led to Skopje, and this road led to Prizren. That is the old Prizren road.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: For how many years did you live with your family?

Momčilo Trajković: Well I lived up to ‘83-‘84 until I got an apartment in Pristina, and then I lived in Pristina.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And in prim… where did you go to high school?

Momčilo Trajković: In Pristina, School of Economics. Where Xhevdet Doda [High School] is, there was the School of Economics previously, where is now the Cathedral, was once the School of Economics. I went there for two years, and then the School of Economics was transferred here where it is now, I mean Agricultural across the Adem Jashari Barrack, the School of Economics was across the Barrack, I finished four grades there. After that, I enrolled in law…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Did you commute?

Momčilo Trajković: Of course. I commute every day. And we were either… what is the name of that hospital, Rezonanca, yes? Using that hill and over, down there the brook and we climb down across the river and come to school.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Which river is that?

Momčilo Trajković: It’s Pristevka. It’s covered. It’s Pristevka into which River Maticka flows, Maticanka, Pristevka and then they continue to flow towards Sitnica. And it flows through Ugljara, goes to Bresje and flows into Sitnica. We were in ‘60, in ‘56, my father was working in Stimlje and then, because he couldn’t travel, we here alone… then, two sisters, the youngest brother wasn’t born yet and we go to live in Stimlje, because he was working for a cooperative, Stimlje cooperative, agricultural cooperative. And I was going to the first grade of primary school I started, up there on the hill there is a school in Stimlje, there is a church and a school. Then, I don’t know what is [there] now. Church and a school and I remember that I saw the church from the classroom’s window and there I started, started to… only the first semester.

At the end of the first semester, I get ill and so does a classmate of mine, her name was Danica, from diphtheria. Back then, you know, there was no healthcare, there was none. And they transfer us to the hospital in Pristina. Infectious hospital, the infectious hospital I don’t know whether it is still there, somewhere near the rail and up there somehow, Dragodan over there, below. Eh, that’s where they took us. And I remember, since it was crowded in the hospital, I and that girlfriend sleep with our legs touching each other, she [has] her head there, I [have] my head over there {explains with hands} that’s how we were sleeping, children. How old? Seven years, not more. And one morning, these nurses come and take her, carry her away. I ask, “Where are you going?” He says, “We have to give her a bath.” However, poor girl, I found out later that she… I was afraid that they were going to give me a bath, you know? I was timid, how? And I find out after a few days that she actually died. And they took her like that and carried her away. And I remember Danica and her father later and so on, and so on.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And how did you survive the illness?

Momčilo Trajković: I don’t know. I don’t know, I survived in the house they… and after that father had decided that we come back to Čaglavica again. And I continued the second term of the first grade in Čaglavica, where the Cultural Center is, that is, back then there was the school and that’s where I went to school.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: What did your mother do?

Momčilo Trajković: My mother was a housewife. Housewife, wife, husband in the field, she [was] alone with us. And I will never forget when that house of ours was burning, this… turkey-cock and there… afterward the cows came out from that other room, so we could expand a little, right? And, the stove was in that small room, and the other was a bedroom. And my mother [wanted] to close that chimney with cloths {shows with hands}. And she went to Pristina, we started a fire while playing children, I was little, we go into the bedroom when I see smoke inside. And then it starts, I turn on the light bulb, what light bulb, everything is smoke you can’t see (laughs). And I remembered the way we, the way we… well, we were all rescuing together, pulling the blankets, to get the quilts out so that they do not burn. But someone from the neighbors came and closed it. That was interesting to me.

We had, this yard of ours was, was full of plums, an orchard of plums had hundreds for sure and between them, mother planted some potatoes, then brooms, you know what brooms are? And our toy, because those were toys then, no? I was, I made a tractor and a threshing machine out of potatoes and a broom. Put the broom and then you take the potato, one and the other, you make wheels {describes with hands}… eh, now you take a rope and over there for tractor and now we pick that grass and I do like tractor does brrrr {onomatopoeia} and sisters and brother like the machine vuuuu {onomatopoeia}. Up to this day when we get together, they talk about it, that was the most interesting for them…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Was religion part of life?

Momčilo Trajković: No, it was, religion was forbidden back then, it was not… I know that slava were celebrated in secret. For a long time… they permitted it later. The Communists didn’t allow  slava to be celebrated. You could celebrate May 1, November 29, those were slava that we all celebrated. I am sure that even Eid wasn’t celebrated, in the same way, that slava weren’t celebrated which… At the very beginning, communism was quite rigorous, a bit later they became more lenient but it was like that.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: You have a church nearby, right?

Momčilo Trajković: They started building one church, but that is not finished. That church spoke the fate of these people. The church is built by those who leave. You know, someone who leaves, builds a church, that wish to stay. And that is… that portrays vividly misfortune of this people. Firstly… instead of the church being built in the village center, these who rule do not allow it, because the plans are for this [area] to be Albanian one day. Before the church behind the Cultural Center where Thaçi built… I heard recently, I didn’t know he was there, that he has a residency in Čaglavica. On that spot where he has built, has built a residency, they were planning to build a church, but not now. However, that man sold it, there was an argument. But then they didn’t allow it across the Center, nor there where the playground is, but they, there was such pressure that the church started [being built] in one corner.

And the church usually stands, as well as the mosque in the center, where the center is. And so everything cooled down now. Thus, the church at the corner, people uninterested, and the authorities, the state started building the church. Never, I don’t know how it is with a mosque, but in order for a church to live, for a church to be alive, so to be respected, people need to make it, people need to feel the need to make it. If they don’t feel the need, if someone builds them a church, they can build the most modern church, it will remain empty. And that’s the fate, so I said it, the church that was made by those who left. So what is going to happen, what is the fate, will some things turn out, and for the better, to stop, I don’t see it for now. And that is pretty tragic.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Can we go back to the ‘80s when you went to high school in Pristina, something more about that…?

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Is that high school, right?

Momčilo Trajković: How?

Kaltrina Krasniqi: When you went to Pristina, you got a job or…?

Momčilo Trajković: I got a job in ‘78, but I was living here, we had a house here, father, brother, I got married in ‘72, I got married when I was 22 and then I was working for the Executive Council of Kosovo, I was… I worked in a ministry, it was a secretariat then, something like the Ministry of Labor.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And what did you study?

Momčilo Trajković: Law. I finished law, Law Faculty in Pristina. I graduated from the Law Faculty here and then I enrolled in international law in Belgrade.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And why did you decide to study law?

Momčilo Trajković: I don’t know, I loved it, it suited me. Everyone would, when I was little, they would say, “Here comes this lawyer, here comes this lawyer.” (laughs) And yes, my father was an orator, my father was… incredible, these people of ours are not great orators, not great orators as for example eloquent Montenegrins, people from Peja. Montenegrins, man that gusle[8] variant {explains with hands}, they study Njegoš[9] with gusle and then they can say whatever they want, you know, they just add and connect. And these people of ours here are not orators, I was, my father was different from the others. Because my father grew up, until he was 14 years old with an educated father. A father that saw the world. Thus, this left a trace the most, because my father was the eldest and [it left the trace] on him the most. And I got it from my father. Got it from my father to get along and to simply know what I want, right?

Kaltrina Krasniqi: You have studied law in Pristina, did you come to Pristina or you were still living here?

Momčilo Trajković: Yes, yes, I was living here. Us… Čaglavica is famous for dairy. Thus, Čaglavica fed this part of Pristina, Aktaš, then there were no others, Sunčani Breg that didn’t exist. Aktaš from the traffic light up to the hospital here, Čaglavica was feeding the people. I will tell you, and my family carried the milk. I, when I started studying, notebook in my pocket and I go, go to university. And my mother carries milk in the same bus (everyone laughs). You know, I am a young man in puberty, how can they see me carrying some milk? Peasant. I will be something else. And… what did I want to say? And my father tells me, “From tomorrow on, you take the buckets and carry milk. Mother will go with you tomorrow to show you our customers, in which apartments and where. Otherwise, leave the house. Both you and your mother cannot go. Since you already go there, bring it.” And what to do, I have to! My pops displaced me from the house. He wouldn’t kick me out, I was already afraid then, right.

And I remember my mother took me, and took me… I see one beautiful lady, I am a kid, adolescent, how old am I? 16-17 years old, how old was I? I was that old. I can’t wait to go and see that beautiful lady tomorrow (laughs). I read at the door Liliana Ivanović Çavolli.[10] I come and she is still sleepy, that robe you know, opened, I look. And that was Liliana Çavolli. Liliana Çavolli, I met her there for the first time, I and Liliana later became friends, friends, I was into music, I was singing and she did. I brought her to Čaglavica to sing, we were great friends. I told her that she was the first woman to excite me. I apologize (laughs). She says, “Who?” I say, “You.”

[1] German: Streikbrecher, the speaker uses the term to refer to the workers who went to Chicago to replace the workers on strike.

[2] Kulak stands for a rich peasant. It originally refers to independent peasant working in the Russian Empire.  

[3] Ćipćija refers to landowners who rented their land in Ottoman Empire period.

[4] Beg, spahia and aga are Ottoman titles. Beg or bey (great), Ottoman provincial ruler but also, when included in the last name, a sort of honorary title.

[5] Slobodan Milošević (1941-2006). Milošević’s ascension to power began in 1987, when at the Communist League of Yugoslavia’s Plenum he embraced the cause of Kosovo Serbian nationalism and immediately afterwards became President of Serbia.

[6] Fis is the Albanian exogamous kinship group that like the Latin gens includes individuals who share an ancestor. Fis can be defined as a patrilineal descent group and an exogamous unit whose members used to own some property in common. Membership in a fis is based on a common mythical male ancestor.

[7] Slava is a Serbian Orthodox traditional celebration of a family’s patron saint. It is celebrated annually.

[8] The gusle is a single-stringed musical instrument and musical style traditionally used in the Dinarides region of Southeastern Europe, more specifically in the Balkans.

[9] Petar II Petrović-Njegoš (1813-1851), commonly referred to simply as Njegoš, was a Prince-Bishop (vladika) of Montenegro, poet and philosopher whose works are widely considered some of the most important in Serbian and Montenegrin literature.

[10] Liliana Çavolli (1942-2015) was a Kosovo-born singer, known for her interpretation of chansons and entertaining music. Also, she was a radio host for the Radio Pristina.

Part Two  

Momčilo Trajković: I built that marketplace, the market in Pristina in Ulpiana across the new post office, I built that market. Then, for quite some time they were calling it Momina, like me, Momina Pijaca [Moma’s Market]. I built it while I was the manager of Ratar in Laplje Selo, I was a manager then. I went… we invested around one million marks in that market and after the war,  the mafia came and took it away from us. It’s our property, they took the market away. Now I am trying to get it back and here, for 20 years we cannot get it back. We are, my workers, we made it. We made these shops, stands, we lived from that. Because then I, when I came as a manager, it was in ‘94, I decided that these people shouldn’t only sow wheat and corn, but I wanted for us to go into that extens… intensive production in vegetable farming. Those photos, I should find them here, they are here…

For the first time in the history of this village, it star… By the way, this area is suited for vegetable farming, but they are all… there were a few vegetables. Čaglavica used to produce vegetables on the River Pristevka down there, now when you go there where the new road is and then where the river is. Our gardens were there. We had our gardens and it was a huge production and they supplied Pristina. In order to water it, they would make a winch and then a horse comes, turns around and the water comes out, goes and waters the tomato, pepper, cabbage and so on, so on. Thus, Čaglavica is well-known for that. And that part next to the river used to be our land.

And then I, when I came as a manager, decide, because I have some friends in, near Backi Petrovac, they are into vegetable farming, from Vojvodina. And there I saw them and asked them to come and help us. And Slovakian women who live there came. That Backi Petrovac, that part around Novi Sad, Slovakians live there. Then they came here, like because of the business, they were sleeping at our people’s homes, they came with those special dibbles and that is… they were planting peppers. The whole, the whole hill was filled with peppers, tomatoes and potatoes, 30 hectares of potatoes.

And then we, when we started the agricultural busine… vegetable farming, then I asked those from the Municipality to give me space, and they gave me space where we built the market and then sold the vegetables.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: You are talking about the market in Ulpiana?

Momčilo Trajković: Yes, about the market in Ulpiana, that is our market. And I am telling you, they call it Momina Pijaca. They were calling it [like that] for a long time. And then after the war, they removed us. And then we acted upon that, we dictated the price because the market mafia is one of the strongest mafias. I got to know that when I started doing this, I didn’t know what that was. I go there, they come and buy the stands, rent them for a month, rent them for a year.  And, and they started buying, driving somewhere and the prices, tomato, pepper, extremely expensive. And when we started producing. When I fill it, when my people fill the tractors, they fill the tractors up every morning with vegetables and go to the market. And we set the pr… for example, they sell it for one euro, we sell it for 20 cents.

And the mafia falls and they start threatening me and I face them. And by the way that market mafia [is] Albanian, because Albanians deal with that advance sale, there were no Serbs in the market neither then nor now, they weren’t in that advance sale. And some dangerous mobsters when they saw that I am not giving in, they come one day, my head office was in Laplje Selo that’s where my office was. They come to me and say, “How much does it cost to buy your whole production?” And I say damn it… I say, “Come tomorrow.” So that I can calculate all of that. And every year they were buying the whole production from me.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: One moment, was it a public enterprise?


Momčilo Trajković: It was a public enterprise then, yes. They buy the whole production. Everything… we don’t go to the market anymore. They come and load it, we only collect it, they carry it away. When they take it there, we charge the tax because it is our market. So we made an excellent alliance with them. Otherwise they… then they also [lowered] the prices for a bit. They balanced with prices for a bit because as soon as you have a monopoly on, then you can do whatever you want. And that’s how it was with that market.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And in which years was that?

Momčilo Trajković: It’s in ‘94, 5, 6, 7, 8, until the bombardment.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Aha, let’s go a bit earlier?

Momčilo Trajković: Let’s go.


Kaltrina Krasniqi: You came to Pristina in ‘83.


Momčilo Trajković: In ‘83, I moved into the apartment in Pristina in Dardania. And otherwise until then…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: How was it in Dardania in ‘83?

Momčilo Trajković: So look, that was, that building was new. New building and in it were living, inhabited by old Serbs from Pristina, old Turks from Pristina and old Albanians from Pristina. They had houses where the cinema is today, before it was Omladina [Youth] Cinema, do you know, and that neighborhood, now those buildings. And when those buildings were being built, they, because the houses were old, they gave the apartments to those householders and they were all living in that building. Everyone populated the building. Only I and one more journalist were, we were, to say it like this, different. All the others were… they simply transferred the whole neighborhood into that building: old Albanians, old Serbs, old Turks. And that was very interesting.

When I came there, since they are used to, to sit in front of the gates, in front of the house and talk there… that mentality and that custom transferred to the building as well. Both, they put the benches there, you can drink a coffee here, everything is (laughs)… that building was different from the others. And this is how people were close to each other.

Since I had a position, I and some Stihović, I say… one from Novo Brdo I think, one Albanian was a manager of this plant nursery, Vitija, yes. I remember, Vitija. I was an official, I was in politics, I don’t know how much you know… I was an executive secretary at the Committee of Pristina, and you know it was a time when if you had such a position then everyone would respect you, especially those who didn’t have any positions.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: When did you start doing that?

Momčilo Trajković: In ‘86, in ‘86. And he comes to me, “What should I do for you, Comrade Trajković?” It was like that. I say, “Listen, go and look, check out that in front of my building where I live, those people are so, you know, so good. Give someone to make, make, plant the trees.” And those trees now, I don’t know whether you know it, when you go, before that tunnel down, there are the buildings. All those trees I did on… I, it was my plan, I requested it, it was planted because of me. No one knows that, those who were living there knew it. And the rest of them don’t know it. That’s how it came to life, that… forest, simply, in front of that building.

And then here they, there were no problems at all. Everywhere they planted, somebody would come and take it out, and here they, they protected it, watered it and that grew up. It’s such a park today that it’s simply unimaginable. It’s that part of Pristina which…

Then I, I spent a little time in the house, because I was working. I came into politics in ‘86, 36 years old, I was an executive secretary of the Committee in Pristina, and then the Secretary of the Committee in Pristina and then I was, I became the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia. Thus, Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia. What Kosovo is today, that is small, it was Yugoslavia then, it was a powerful country, it is not [like] Kosovo or Serbia today.

Deputy Prime Minister of the great, great Yugoslavia, like great Yugoslavia. For example what Dačić is in Serbia, that was me approximately.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: How did you get into politics? How was it to be involved in politics at that time? What did it mean?

Momčilo Trajković: It was a crucial time, difficult time, time of discord, a time when the state, the institutions didn’t have an answer to a problem, to people’s problem.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: That started in ‘81?[1]

Momčilo Trajković: It started in ‘81 after the Albanian demonstrations in Pristina. Since, according to the Constitution of ‘74,[2] Kosovo was everything but a state. Albanians led, it was approximately as it was now during communism, it was like now. Considering also that what Belgarde is today, not Serbia, but Yugoslavia, is now America. There were communists then, and now they are nationalists and the ballist.[3] Thus, only the ideology has changed, otherwise, it is the same.

Since there were always more Albanians in Kosovo, they had everything in their hands. And they have been always choosing their Serbs, like they are doing now… now Vučić took away that so they don’t choose. Those who were Thaçi’s Serbs have now become Vučić’s Serbs. In a certain time, there were Serbs who served those Albanian politics, Albanian Communists. And if you are good, you can go, if not… it was like that. However, Milošević had his own Albanians later. That is the formula, that is the formula, and it’s simulated like that, the relations are simulated.

And people say, “Well, you see, Brotherhood and Unity.” But Brotherhood and Unity was one great simulation, simulation was among the elite. There were not many simulations among the common people. Among the people, people didn’t think much about Brotherhood and Unity, people thought about the relations between the neighbors. Albanians and Serbs have always lived next to each other, but never against each other. It’s that. And Albanians and Serbs were never fighting, even now after what happened in ‘99, Serbs and Albanians weren’t at war. The war was between some crazy armies. Thus, the people, the people only got hurt. People were a consequence, a victim.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: How was it at the Executive Committee at the time when it had Albanians?

Momčilo Trajković: Albanians ruled back then, it was, it was, I went there in ‘86. Then there was Mahmut Bakalli,[4] Fadil Hoxha[5] up there in Belgrade, so everything, they had it. They are Communists and now they have Serbian poltroons around them and now they are acting out Brotherhood and Unity. And they represent… it was Tito’s policies, he had the best intentions for it to be. However, you know that the water clears up from its spring and everyone had to pay for that…

After ‘70 and… in ‘68, after ‘74 when Kosovo receives the Constitution, when it becomes almost everything, not like exists, but it’s not a state. It’s not a republic but it’s autonomy as if it were a country, they organize demonstrations in ‘81. And Serbs are anyway, there are some Serbs, Serbs thought that, since it is Serbia, they should be, they are Serbs, and they should be in charge as well, you know. And that was somewhere around until ‘66, after the fall of Ranković, a different time comes. Those who Ranković wanted to be imprisoned, they come to light and starts, now the balance starts.

Creation of that Communist option. By the way, Montenegrins, Serbs so it goes from Tito, Tito is neither a Serb nor a Montenegrin but tempo, Dušan Mugoša, Miladin Popović. They created the Communist Party of Albania, you know. Mugoša, Popović, Miladin Popović and a certain number of Serbian Communists, they created it, they chose Albanian Communists. Who is going to be their partner, it was Fadil Hoxha, Xhavid Nimani,[6] Mahmut Bakalli. Mahmut Bakalli later, Velli Deva, that was the old group.

That Boro Vukmirović and Ramiz [Sadiku] were in that group. They were, they were murdered. You know how that was. And it all happened until ‘66. After ‘66, since they are like today, they took their positions in ‘45 those who were in the woods. Partisans. Those who were in the woods, came to power. Now is the same UÇK,[7] it’s the same, I am only saying that there are different ideologies. Those who were in the woods, doesn’t matter how much you know, what is important is whether you were there or not. Either someone wants to testify, to lie for you that you were there or you weren’t there.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Where were you in ‘81?

Momčilo Trajković: In ‘81, I was working at the Executive Committee of Kosovo. I remember, I remember it of course. I will tell you that. You could feel that, I was working at the Executive Committee of Kosovo, I had one friend, I won’t mention him, Albanian, a great friend of mine {puts a hand on his heart}. I don’t know where, I am saying this because there is no, I don’t know, what that can turn out to be, right, except that you use this with good intentions. But I don’t want him to have anything to do with that.

We were working together in the same office. First of all, they barely accepted me, it was very hard to find a job as a Serb, very hard to get a job. I applied to that Secretariat of Labor of Kosovo, for the position of  expert assistant, lawyer. I sent the documents and I didn’t serve in the Army and the response comes before the Army to me, because I was the only one who had applied, saying, “You can’t, you were rejected, your request has been rejected because you didn’t have any competitors.” Can you imagine, and because there were no other competitors, they reject me, I write a complaint and go to the Army disappointed.

It was in ‘77, around the month of April, June, no, no, in June I went to the Army, it was in May. And I come back from the Army in April ‘77-‘78, April 28 and before that my wife calls me and tells me, “The decision arrived, they are asking you to go to work.” They were considering my complaint for a year, I was in the Army and when I came back from the Army, straight to work. When I arrived there, a friend of mine a supporter of Rugova, from Peja, your [guy], got a job on the same day. I and, we sit here, work, hang out, a bit older than me, he is four years older than me, and [we were] young, I was 28 years old then, we were young.

And me, now some information came to me about him, it was said that he participated in the ‘68 demonstrations, and back then, if you were a participant in the ‘68 demonstrations, all  doors were closed for you. However, he came here from Peja and got a job here and came in. And nothing, I find that out and now we are sitting, talking, I know, he doesn’t know that I know and so on (laughs). However, I saw in him a good, good true Albanian. I will never forget when he (laughs) we saw each other recently and I always say how, but he was funny.

It’s weird, those those folk tales, legends, Albanian anecdotes, they are incredible. Only one day when you think about it, you can see where you are (laughs). He says to me, hear this out, believe me, I don’t know what I should swear to. In 1978, he told me while we were having breakfast there, sitting, drinking coffee, says, “Momo, let me tell you a joke” “Go on,” his name is Selim, “go on, Selim, talk.” He says, “Two Albanians are talking in the year 2000…” I swear to my mother (laughs) this is what the man told me, he told me this in ‘78. “Hey,” says the neighbor “come over,” he says, “Let’s have a tea,” and the other one says, “I would gladly but I am waiting for one Serb to cut some wood for me” (laughs and claps his hands).

Since then, Serbs don’t cut wood, but how much the situation has changed, how much it has changed, he told me that and once more he told me always, always when it rains, I think of him. He says, “What a huge head you have, every time you pass under the electricity, it cannot miss you.” The rain has to fall on the head and always when it does, I think of him, saying, “Selo, you were right.” However, I never told this to anyone, because, because we are, and I am like him. I am an open-minded person, I have an attitude, I love my people, love, I don’t hate others, I love and respect. I have a lot of friends and I saw that he was like me.

And later I am sitting secretary of the primary organization of Confederation of Communists there and I make, I don’t know, I had said something there, you know how it used to be back then. Because they are waiting in the corner for what you will say (laughs), right away, right away, the meeting of the party. I, and now he says let Selim schedule, at first Selim doesn’t want to schedule a meeting. “Meeting, what, about Moma, go away,” he says. And then one day, the meeting had to [be held]. And they started to attack me… and when Selim stood up (laughs), says, “Shame on you, how is it possible? Well, I am with Moma every day. The things that you are saying, that is not true.”

And like that, Selim and I became… my father loved Selim very much, here we came to him, he loved him incredibly, not to say as much as me. For sure he loved me more than Selim, but there, Selim to tell you today, he loved Selim greatly. Because Selim is one true supporter of Rugova. True Albanian, that true Albanian, who, who should be respected. Not a common Albanian, but, well Albanian to respect. Thus, he is a man of character,  moral integrity, openness and respect, that’s it.

And, I am Albanian, I, my people this, my people, and we that, always talk about that, and always with, with such man one can, you can talk much better than with those who are acting out some Brotherhood, Unity and so on, and so on. And then, when I became the Deputy Prime Minister, I start telling one story of mine and Selim, Selim didn’t like it. And he got mad at me. But now I will tell you another thing. It is very interesting, until now I, only tonight, I won’t cry, I will try not to cry. I become the Deputy Prime Minister in the Government of Serbia…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Which year was that?

Momčilo Trajković: It was ‘90. Then, since the Albanians are leaving jobs, the police leaves, Albanians leave. Serbia decided to suspend  autonomy, and I am at the head of those policies. Thus, I am at the head of the policies in ‘90 when Serbia decided to suspend  autonomy.  And I come in, my office was in Belgrade. And then the decision was made for my office to be both in Belgrade and Pristina. I was a good friend with Jusuf Zejnullahu.

Jusuf Zejnullahu was the last Albanian supporting Milošević. Have you heard of Jusuf Zejnullahu? He was Prime Minister then. He was the last Albanian who in some way, when Milošević called me to appoint me as the Deputy Prime Minister, I told him, “That will be our final end with Albanians.” Because [there were] a million and a half Albanians, Serbia doesn’t have anyone to enforce its policies and appoints a Serb. So that is the end. I say we, because of that we don’t want to, we don’t want to say now, “Here, take the republic!” We said that to Milošević.

I was sitting with Milošević like I am sitting with you, for a year we were extremely close. Until we had a fight. I had a conflict with him later on and then I came as the manager of the cooperative. From being the Deputy Prime Minister to being a manager of the cooperative. And I come to Pristina and everything, for things to calm down, to see what to do next, but no. Albanians don’t accept {waves his hand} those kind of Milošević’s policies and leave, confront, at the beginning. And now, I come to Pristina.

My office is on the second, on the second floor of that building {shows with a hand} where the Parliament is now. Now the Government is in that big building, but it was there before. And now they are asking how everything is going on, I come, how the things are in the building, first of all, where the services are, where the ministries are, what is the situation. And every day, I am receiving the report from the service. Because I am the Deputy Prime Minister, that is a powerful man. The police, everything is under my control, I have it all. And I come one day, I received the report, everything, how  things are in the building, “Everything is okay,” [he] says, “There is just one, one who is making a problem. “Who is making a problem?” “Some Selim Nikçi.” {claps with a hand}.

He says, “They want to [throw him out].” I say, “You can’t touch him. I will talk to him.” And nothing, later I tell my secretary, and Selim [was] there in the office where the two of us used to work, yes (laughs). I tell Selim, I mean, the secretary, “Give me, call Selim for me.” She calls Selim, he says, “I am not coming.” Good. He says he is not coming, he is from, there from the Working Service, State Security, this and that. I say, “No, leave him, I will go there.” And I get up, look (smiling). I go there, in the office where the two of us have been working together for so many years (laughs).

He gathered the Albanians, those who work {moves his hand in a circle} there, some Heset Mazrekaj, who was, what was he, he was a public attorney, Heset Mazrekaj. He was Sema Uka, little lawyer, one little, one, he was up to the lock {shows the height with a hand}. Selim says when this Sema comes in, and Selim and I hired him here, he says when Sema enters, he opens the door {waves his hand suddenly} as if some big man is about to enter (laughs) but, he says, “Well look at you,” he says, “Up to the lock, you open the door” (laughs). And I come in, “Good afternoon.” They are silent.

“We don’t accept you, we don’t want any contact”  {waves his hand}.  “We don’t accept the Serbian policies.” I open the door, one step back and I say, “Pu pu pu {onomatopoeic}, I am not a deputy minister, here, I am not a deputy minister, I came here as your friend, Moma Trajković.” We are sitting and talking, I tell them, “You see what time [has come], these are huge decisions, you cannot stop this. Do your job, I am here.” Because we were working together. “I will protect as much as I can. You do your job, come to work, go.”

Okay, we sort of agreed there, I went, and since, every, every Thursday government meeting in Belgrade. I have to go there on Thursdays… I come again, on the desk [there is] a report, who is making a problem? Selim Nikçi (smiling). I say, “Don’t touch him. Don’t {waves his hand} touch him.” I go again, when I came for the third time, I received a report that Selim Nikçi {waves his hand} was sent away to his home. Since you know, you can be the Deputy Minister and President but the services have the assessments, you know, they don’t wait for some of the politicians to react, they react.

They react simply due to protection and Selim is [sent] home. {deep breath} Oh dear Lord, and what now I, what now [we are] like two brothers, two brothers you know and now I, I am now Selim’s executioner. Not me personally, but the policies {points to himself}. Whom should I… I call Selim in order to see him. He has some green old Stojadin,[8] I go with my official car until one point, from there I will go out and walk and then we will talk in your car. And right there in front of the building, he used to live where I was living, we stop. I get out of the car, walk for a while so that they don’t see me, you know. I sit in his car and we are sitting, we start talking.

“Are you insane?” I tell him. “Your wife has left the job” or she was made to leave it, now I don’t know what happened. “You have left the job” {counts the examples on his fingers} “How will you survive?” “I don’t want to be a traitor of my people.” This is what Selim told me.  “Who is the traitor of your people, come tomorrow, come to work. I am there. Sit there, be there for a few days, go. If somebody asks, I let you,” and I left. Nothing, we were crying together then, me and him, we cry together, I am telling you (smiling), just crying like two friends. We are friends, close friends, my father loves him as much as he loves me, you understand. By then my father had already died, my father died in ‘86, two months before I got into politics, my father died.

And my father, he really wished for his son to be successful, the poor man didn’t live to see what happened to me later, how was and… and I thought Selim would come. Never did that dog {points with his finger} like this under quotation marks “qen” [in Albanian: dog] he didn’t come. It was that, and later when we were in the street, when I go on the one, when he sees me, he won’t meet up with me. During the war, since I helped a lot of people, they know it, I won’t say it now but, during the war, [I helped] a lot of people, first in my building… {waves with his hand} But then I was Milošević’s opponent, I was Milošević’s opponent. I am, I left Milošević, left in ‘91.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: What happened?

Momčilo Trajković: Well, we fought over Kosovo. I disagreed with democratic processes there in Serbia. I was a powerful man, thus, I disagreed. Otherwise, I should have become the President of Yugoslavia, I was pre… prepared to be the President. In my book {points in a direction}, that’s written, [there are] shorthands where I was recommended as a member of the Presidency of Yugoslavia. And when Lilić was the President of Yugoslavia, in fact, I was supposed to be the President of Yugoslavia.

I left Milošević, I told him, “Listen, I am going to graze in Čaglavica. My father has left me four hectares of the land.” And I left him and never saw him again. And then I became the manager of the cooperative, everyone was wondering is it possible. And then since we had no other means to support us, I opened a kiosk in the center of Pristina. Right across the Grand, below Avala. I had a kiosk at which I was working. And work, the kiosk was working  during the night.

[Interview got interrupted due to technical difficulties]


Kaltrina Krasniqi: So, you opened a kiosk where?

Momčilo Trajković: Yes, Avala. That is one, KEK is now where, down there, {points down with his hand}. That plateau where, there, but there we had it all until after ‘99, until the month of June, when they took it, took it away from us, stole everything. And I was so, but okay, and then I helped a lot of people during the war.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Don’t talk until the war, let us talk about that for a while, you were, how do you say that, you were in a position.

Momčilo Trajković: Yes.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Important official. How was it for you, what was the atmosphere when all of that changed? At the beginning, you said it was a Communist state…

Momčilo Trajković: Well, from the Communist, from, from nationalist-communist Albanian, it became nationalistic Serbian politics, afterward Milošević came. Then Milošević came.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: How did you feel when your friends were fired or were?

Momčilo Trajković: I am a witness to that. In the beginning, Albanians, in order to oppose Milošević’s policies, they were leaving their jobs. The police, no one forced the police to leave, Kosovo’s police then. They were leaving the police. Demonstrating against policies. However, later, I was already in a fight with Milošević. We were, for example, I was in a huge conflict with Miloševć and some Kecman, who was somewhere in June, not June, but September, I think September 3 when there was a general strike of Albanians. He was closing, putting  locks on  stores.

Albanians didn’t come, they were striking, the lock you know, {shows with a hand} for the first time I fiercely opposed it. I told him, “You can’t.” And I remember, I gave a statement, at Tanjug, I gave a statement fiercely, I criticized it. And then they came after me, they came, those, those who were recently with Albanian Communists. For instance, one Papović, university president Papović, he is a child, child of Dervish Rozhaja. Dervish raised him as a professor and as a communist. For him to come out as one of the most determined against Albanians. I left after that, and afterward it began, and then the expulsions came, sure.

Then, then it, it started. And it came, people were expelled from work.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: So, you were there in two very important, important moments in ‘81, and you were very young.

Momčilo Trajković: Yes, then I was, I got diabetes then. Here, for example, since then I am diabetic, blood pressure, I am sorry. Since then I have blood pressure, I will never forget it.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Do you remember that day?

Momčilo Trajković: How can I not remember, I and Selim were going. We got a task, we got a task to go and calm down the demonstrators, to prevent. Yes, it was exactly, yes. The Party gives the task, and Selim and I go there. And when we came into that crowd, Selim begs me and says, “Please, don’t say a word of Serbian.” It was in ‘81. “Don’t speak Serbian,” you know. And really, I was quiet, I see someone because he has to, no one, no one, no one was honest enough to dissuade you. Nor could they dissuade you. You should go and convince people who are already into something like that.

And that was it, it was one, one really confusing situation. Then, Albanians were trying to justify it, [saying] that Serbian State Security Service had organized it. I think that makes no sense. Firstly, at that time, Serbian Communists, leading Communists and Albanian Communists were brothers. And Tito, that was Yugoslavian, it wasn’t Serbian politics. It was Yugoslavian politics then. Demonstrations in ‘81 weren’t calmed down by Belgarde, that is Serbia. There wasn’t even Milošević then. But the Federal Police did it.

Stane Dolanc and in Ajvalija was huge, huge barrack of the Federal Police, which was. And Slovenians and Croatians from all the republics and provinces were there to prevent it.  However, justifying that, well, you will frequently find, this excuse that they were doing it, that Serbian State Security did it. I think that is not true, it is not true that Serbian State Security was oriented in that way and it wasn’t in charge. The Federal State Security was in charge, who had everything in control. And that was, and it sued because that was right after Tito. After the death of Tito, it was finally, I mean somehow…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And then you had a task to talk with the students?

Momčilo Trajković: Yes, a task to go, to go there. I, that is why Selim told me,  “Don’t speak, don’t speak Serbian, speak Serbian.” But, but it is, it is therefore, the importance of the state, importance of the institutions. As soon as you come down to this, it’s over. Institutions weren’t functioning, I will tell you more, for example, the problem was in the system itself, system was, the system of separatism in Yugoslavia, so then and Albanian separatism, and Slovenian and Croatian were in institutions. The Constitution was, Constitution in ‘74 defined such relations, and the Constitution wasn’t enforced as it should have been in order to prevent. Thus, who is guilty, the Constitution from ‘74 is guilty and his lack of enforcement, because, if that constitution was enforced in the right way, it wouldn’t have come to that. And so, the institutions weren’t functioning, and then they started fighting with the people, with misguided people.

I remember if a child writes down KR [Kosovo Republic] on the desk, Albanian kid, student, writes KR on the desk, right away whole families isolate. I rose up then, I have a discussion about that, “With traditionalism against separatism.” What is it about, in fact in that way you deliver, expand that movement. Institutions must exist, let us see what that is about. So, that is, that is, that was the problem. And that is, that is, to be honest, we have to be honest here. I talked with Azem Vllasi recently, and he is now, then saying that, he is saying that now.

That Albanian Communists were never sincere during the formation of Yugoslavia. Albanian Communists are in my every, even the Albanian Communists, as well as Albanian nationalists, they had a task to do what is today. Maybe not in a way how it came to be but to create it. The goal was the Republic of Kosovo, and from Fadil to Azem they were, they were fiercely against it, lie fiercely against it, in fact, when all that was over, they were all bragging how they all participated in creating that kind of politics.

Thus, there were no, there were no sincere relations in that. That gave a chance to Serbian chauvinists and nationalists to say, “You see what this is about?” And for them to offer nationalistic Serbian chauvinism as a response to separatism, and neither of them are solutions. That is, that was the problem {slams his hand on his leg}. Now, because that is, that Prizren League,[9] that is set up. Like all, all nationalistic, nationalistic movements have their goals. In the same way, the Albanian nationalist movement had their goal.

Politics, Tito managed to, Tito managed “to buffer” it {waves his hand} in some way. But Tito didn’t have a system, Tito’s system was himself. The moment he was gone, they were gone, and the system was gone, institutions were gone and then it had to fall apart greatly. But unfortunately, it fell apart in blood. What happened in Bosnia, what happened in Croatia, what happened in Kosovo, that is a big tragedy.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And your children went to school in Dardania?

Momčilo Trajković: Yes.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Was that school divided into two…

Momčilo Trajković: Earlier when they were going, it was, and later it was divided.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Yes.

Momčilo Trajković: It was later divided but later, once at the beginning they were going together. Together, well that was never together, it was never together, but it was, there was some sort of tolerance. I was in econ, I encountered Albanians for the first time when I was in high school, in high school. That’s when I first, until then I, I lived in Čaglavica, Albanians have never lived there.

And that’s a big problem, why haven’t I learned the Albanian language, and yet I live here. Thus, when I was, when I was in high school, Albanians were studying in Albanian then but they, we had pre-military training, that they, we were studying that together in Serbian {waves his hand}. It wasn’t obligatory for me to know the Albanian language. Albanians were at least, in that pre-military training, or when they go to the Army, you know, when they go to the Army, they learn a language. Me as a Serb, it wasn’t a requirement.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And was that strange for you?

Momčilo Trajković: Well, it wasn’t strange for me, it wasn’t strange. That’s Yugoslavia, Serbia and that is, that’s how I, that’s how I have imagined it, you know. And then I encountered Albanians more seriously at the University. In the ‘70s, but then, when language was a means of fighting one another. Then they, then it started that Albanians don’t study Serbian, and Serbs don’t study Albanian. Then it was, there was discrimination already, the well-known demonstrations at the Faculty of Law, I was there in ‘71. You know…

So language was a means of fighting. And then, incapable like that, of communicating using the language you go to institutions in which, yes Serbian is respected in the system, respected. You know, there is a translation here and there, but one who knows Albanian, who is bilingual. Albanians know both of them, they have a reward, I don’t know, you get it in your payment, it is rising in that way. But a Serb who knows both of them, and for him as well, but there were fewer Serbs who knew both Albanian and Serbian.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And why do you think that was the case?

Momčilo Trajković: How?

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Well, because of that, for example, Albanians were mostly studying Serbian although they had schools in the Albanian language…

Momčilo Trajković: Well, they were, they were in the Yugoslavian and Serbian system. They were, they are far. They were for all this time, since the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, they were oriented towards the Serbian language. Serbs were not oriented in that, especially Serbs who, like us. I, I am, now I am going to talk about, please, to come back to Orahovac, to tell you, it is very important for this part and for Čaglavica. To see what a great friendship that was.

And as if, so the pre-military training, so that is, those were the sessions that were preparing one for the military, before the military. So we are all getting ready, but it’s all in Serbian, it wasn’t like, it was like that, it was an advancement. Thus, I encountered Albanians in pre-military training, we were together in one class, Albanians and Serbs, and that military officer gives us a lecture on weapons, on the Army, and so on. When we go into the Army, into the military, Serbian is spoken there, that is Croatian, that is now  {waves his hand} Montenegrin and so on. Slovenian and so on..

Thus, Albanians and all non-Slovenes, they had to learn [it] in order to communicate with a Slovene state, with institutions. But they could communicate on a local level in their language and so that was already a problem. And…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And tell me, what was the atmosphere in the ‘80s? Did the situation change after the demonstration in ‘81?

Momčilo Trajković: Well, since then. Then, then it starts, those are simulated fights against Albanian separatism. It’s the year ‘81, separatist movement showed in that way, those are political judgements. You know, what is now, that, the others will they are different, {waves his hand} I am speaking now from that aspect, today, I can speak in a different way about it, but how was that looked upon at that time.

That is a separatist movement that wanted to take advantage of Tito’s death, to push this, to ask for a republic and so on, and so on. And now, the Federation of Communists, the central committees are discussing it, however no one touches the essence of the problem, you know. What I was talking about a moment ago, so they simulate that fight, however, on the other side, that, that nationalism, even when it is alluring, that, when it talks about how unjust it is, how you know, to win the masses. Since it wasn’t successful, unsuccessful fight of Communists, at that time, {raises his fist} Yugoslavian, Serbian, Croatian and these Albanian here against separatism, here among the Serbian people, dissatisfaction awakes.

Thus, those who were [there] in ‘81, certain number of people were convicted, the situation is like that, those who created everything, and it’s still like that. And then a little compromise appears when they, when Mahmut Bakalli and Fadil Hoxha fell down, when Azem Vllasi, Azem Vllasi and these new Communists, young Communists took over the old Communists. They blamed them for being for separatism and supporting it, and they will somehow make the situation better. However, they couldn’t improve the situation. And then it appears, Serbian movement appears, Serbian resistance and rallies begin, populism. Thus, suddenly populism comes on. And I form as a politician during the populism.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And do you remember this from ‘87 when Milošević came to…?

Momčilo Trajković: I will tell you know. Because, about that, I talk about that, I, I, I appear as the politician at the time when people, Serbian people appear on the surface, when, until then everyone was silent. People will not be silent, and then, silent, {coughs} and then from a good intention, to really point out to the problems, Serbian nationalism, those nationalists take advantage of that position, that people are in the streets and then they come in.

And it starts, and goes to another extreme. So, all of a sudden you have, instead of solving the problem, you have two extremes. Until yesterday Albanian separatism, demonstrations, who is not satisfied with what he has, and he has a lot, that is not put down, that provokes the other side who is kind of dissatisfied with the Albanian side, in fact going to another extreme. Enters into, into institutions, like, pressures institutions that that bring Milošević on the surface and further on what happened proceeds.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: That wasn’t considered separatism at that time when Serbs were somehow with  that…?

Momčilo Trajković: Serbs are not separatists, so, you know separatists are those who want to separate part of the territory {waves his hand}, you know that. And these were, these were unitarians, they are unitarians, they are, they want the province to be abolished, to be uniquely Serbia. You know, not to have an autonomous province because you know, like, like the other extreme. And those two extremes have created the problem. And then, then it appears, then the Albanian resistance appears, that, and there is, a huge role, a huge role historically had, had Ibrahim Rugova, whom I personally knew.

[1] On March 11, 1981, a plate was broken at the student canteen expressing dissatisfaction with poor student conditions, after which many students joined flipping tables. The event sparked a widespread student-led demonstration. The demands for better food and dormitory conditions was emblematic of the Albanian demand for equal treatment in Yugoslavia.

[2] The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution was the fourth and final constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It came into effect on 21 February 1974.  Kosovo and Vojvodina, the two constituent provinces of Serbia, received substantially increased autonomy, including de facto veto power in the Serbian parliament.

[3] Balli Kombëtar (National Front) was an Albanian nationalist, anti-communist organization established in November 1942, an insurgency that fought against Nazi Germany and Yugoslav partisans. It was headed by Midhat Frashëri, and supported the unification of Albanian inhabited lands. Members of Balli Kombëtar are referred to as ballist.

[4] Mahmut Bakalli (1936-2006) was a Kosovar Albanian politician. Bakalli began his political career in the youth organization of the League of Communists of Kosovo, eventually becoming its leader in 1961. As he rose through the ranks, he was elected to the Central Committee of the party’s Serbian chapter, and to the Presidium of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia’s Central Committee.

[5] Fadil Hoxha (1916-2001), Albanian Communist partisan leader from Gjakova, who held a number of high posts in Kosovo and Yugoslavia, including the rotating post of Vice President of the Federal Presidency, the highest leadership post in Yugoslavia under Tito, in 1978-79. He retired in 1986, but was expelled from the League of Communist on charges of nationalism.

[6] Xhavid Nimani (1919-2000) was a political figure of the communist period. Born in Prizren, he joined the Yugoslav communist movement in 1941 and was a member of the party’s politburo for Kosovo in 1948. In 1961-1963, he was the party’s organizational secretary in Kosovo and, from 1963-1966, was a member of the Executive Committee of the Party in Serbia. In 1967, he became vice president of the Yugoslav Federal Parliament. From 1974-1981, he was president of the presidium, i.e. President of the Province of Kosovo.

[7] Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës – Kosovo Liberation Army, was an Albanian guerrilla paramilitary organization that sought the separation of Kosovo from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia during the 1990s.

[8] Stojadin, popular nickname for the car Zastava 101. Zastava 101 was an automobile company located in Kragujevac, Serbia, that produced cars based on Fiat for the Eastern European market. The company has become the branch of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2014.


[9] Alb. Lidhja e Prizrenit. Alliance of Albanian beys founded in 1878 as a reaction to the decisions of the Treaty of Santo Stefano and the Congress of Berlin which redefined the borders of the Ottoman Empire and neighboring countries. The League asked for Albanian autonomy in the Ottoman Empire and awakened demands for self-determination.

Part Three

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Do you remember Albanians protesting in the Parliament in ‘90?

Momčilo Trajković: I was inside.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: (laughs) Tell us about it.

Momčilo Trajković: Yes, I was, you have, you have it on YouTube, my speech there.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And what were you, what were you saying?

Momčilo Trajković: You have it, there I said, “There will never be the Republic of Kosovo.” I said it like that, but before that I had said, you know what, there, then is when the core showed, the intention of Albanians showed. Of the Albanian movement, that meeting shows it all. Thus, I was a deputy prime minister of Serbia, under no, under no conditions I could take part in that meeting. But still I came to clarify some things. And there is an explanation in it.

So what happened, then they required the change to the Constitution of Yugoslavia, Constitution of Serbia and Constitution of Kosovo. Albanians, that group in the Parliament, they start, they want to form the committee in that meeting in ‘90, in order to propose the changes to the Kosovo Constitution. But it won’t take part in any changes to the Constitution of Yugoslavia and Constitution of Serbia. Thus, in order to change the Constitution of Kosovo, the Constitution of Yugoslavia and Constitution of Serbia must be changed first, and then you change the Constitution of Kosovo.  However, they ignore that.  And there I tell them, “You are right.”

But one group made that, I don’t know it now, no, I know it now, no, I won’t tell it yet, I have to be silent for another year, because I pledged. I pledged, I know who made it, who wrote everything, I have. And they move, they want to make the Constitution of Kosovo. “We are not interested in what is there.” I say, “You can’t, you can’t, you don’t have the right. If that’s what it is behind it, that your intention is hiding, and that intention is that you want the Republic of Kosovo.”

And then I said that the Republic of Kosovo is a military aim. You can’t have the Republic of Kosovo peacefully, except if you take guns, beat Serbia and then get a republic. It’s there, everything is there in my book, it’s a great book. It’s one good document, I was, who has it, a lot of Albanians have it. I gave, Baton Haxhiu has this book. I told him, “Read the book, call me to have a talk in your studio.” He never called.

And the late Demaçi[1] was, he wanted to talk with me, to have an interview, he did an interview earlier. I told him, he wanted to record everything, he went live with everyone, he wanted to record it with me, not only to talk live. “I can’t go there and then you cut it after, I want this, I want that.” So, that was the problem, it was shown then that Albanians as a response to that from ‘89, when the clause was changed, Amendment 49, then I wasn’t, I wasn’t there then.

And then there was Vule Jukanov, Hashim Jukanović, they openly show what they want. I was saying then, “You can do whatever you want, but there will be no Republic of Kosovo.” And, today, I, regardless of what is and where is, Republic of Kosovo in that variant, in the way it wants, won’t happen. A compromise must be made, here, compromises whether the Republic of Kosovo, if it comes {waves his hand} to delimitation, and if the northern part of  Kosovo goes to Serbia, so it is not a republic in that, in that original sense in the way they want it, it can’t happen. And that is why negotiations are needed.

And here we are, where we came, now we’ll see how this will turn out. Thus, that street declaration, I know who wrote it. {looks in the camera} Albanians didn’t write it. It was written by a service, here, here let me tell you, security service, and it was announced over, it was represented by a group of Albanian delegates who worked for the service. That is known by those who were in Kaçanik, they say that the Constitution of Kaçanik, originally it was written, written by those who want monuments now. It was written by a service.

Service, state security wrote it and sent them to Kaçanik. Imagine three, four security services, military, civilian, Yugoslavian, Serbian, Kosovar, and they are having a secret meeting in Kaçanik. They had sent it there to, to work on that. Why, I can’t talk about that right now. I have sources, I was, I didn’t take part in it, but I know, I have the information, I know what it is about. I told that to Fatmir Limaj, Thaçi, I did. Do you see, are those two dates celebrated? The July 2 Street, July 2, and which September? When is the Constitution of Kaçanik, ninth, no? When is it?

Kaltrina Krasniqi: It’s not familiar, this July 2.

Momčilo Trajković: No, July 2 is…


Erëmirë Krasniqi: The Constitution of Kaçanik.

Momčilo Trajković: No, July 2 is the declaration in front of the Parliament. And this, the Constitution of Kaçanik is in September, now I don’t know which September. You see, this date is so important that I don’t even know it, you don’t it, it’s not known. And Fatmir told me to, when I told him, “What are you celebrating, do you know who wrote that?” And he tells me, “Well, these are looking for the certificates of service.” Now, he tells me they are looking for the certificates of service.

Thus, that, since that conversation of mine and later when we, or when we meet up, I open that question. Maybe July 2 is more celebrated in a way, but July 2 is an important date and the day of the Constitution of Kaçanik {points a finger} is an important date in the history of Albanians. However, both of the dates were invented by the service. And that’s the whole, the whole problem and that’s why it’s not celebrated. It is not celebrated because of that, there you see, but now we’ll see if  July 2 will be, you know what it means.

Was July 2 commemorated last year? Were you following that?

Erëmirë Krasniqi: No.

Momčilo Trajković: Well, you didn’t follow it since, it was like earlier, I don’t know which was commemorated, (laughs) July 7 in Serbia or July 13 in Montenegro or July 4 in Yugoslavia. That is not celebrated, that is not celebrated, why, {beckons his hand} because they know, that’s when Milošević went too far. Made some moves that later cost him. I know it very well.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: When did you decide to go, to quit the Executive Committee?

Momčilo Trajković: What Executive Committee? Well no, then I was chosen, I was chosen. I was, I was sent to Kumrovec, to the School of Politics. I was sent…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: ‘90? No, no, no, we are talking about ‘91 and the time when you were in conflict with…

Momčilo Trajković: Milošević?

Kaltrina Krasniqi: With Milošević, how did you decide to resign, how did you do that, was it your decision?

Momčilo Trajković: That was, that was. Milošević had one group here, it was called Božur, Kecman and that company who was disciplining Serbian politicians. And they wrote against me and against Toma Sekulić, Toma, I don’t know if you know who Toma Sekulić is. He was one, one great man, a good friend of mine. They accuse me and Toma Sekulić of working with Albanian separatists. How? They claimed that I will, what was the name of the president before, after Enver Hoxha?

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Ramiz Alia?[2]

Momčilo Trajković: I give Kosovo to Ramiz Alia and Ibrahim Rugova, to me there is, to give up Kosovo, and how I am secretly meeting with the Serbian opposition, with Vuk Drašković and the rest of them. They accuse me, and I am a deputy prime minister, and at half past seven, they are reading it in the news. You know, when they are reading it at half past seven, I know that Milošević and his wife, they approved that. Because I know how the politics work. And I call him, by the way, we weren’t officially addressing one another, I was informal with Milošević when we, he and I were talking.

“What was that?” I ask, “What was that in the Journal yesterday?” He says, “Well, nothing, come on…” “Well, how come nothing?” I say, “Come on.” By the way, I was at his house, opening the door with a leg, when I pass by, I only greet the security, no one stopped me. “Shall I come” I say, “shall I come to you?” I was there in the Serbian Parliament, and he was here {shows the direction} he was across the road. He says, “No, I am busy.” First time he told me he had been busy. I come down there, without any questions, by the security, I go enter to the secretary, he comes out.

Says, “You have come?” “I have come.” “Come on,” he says, “Inside.” I come inside, he tells me, I ask him, “What is, what is, how can you, to me yesterday in?” “Let it go,” he says, “let it go, that is not.”

[Interview got interrupted due to technical difficulties]


“Come on,” he tells me, “well, I have to… ” he says, “to you and that Toma Sekulić,” says Milošević, “To you and that Toma Sekulić I want to say…” “What do you have to say?” “Sit down!” I sit down. He tells me the following, “You have fuck {waves his hand, pointing out that it’s a curse word} ed up yourselves, you autochthon Serbs, like Šiptari[3] in ‘81, you started talking too soon.” Since Toma Sekulić and I were, after I don’t how many decades, the first more serious autochthon Serbs who had some functions. Because these people were most frequently ruled by Montenegrins.

Thus, in Kosovo, let me tell you, in Kosovo, in Kosovo, the power was divided among Montenegrins, then Montenegrin Albanians, and only later autochthon Serbs. Since the people’s movement in Kosovo, that Partisan movement was led by Montenegrins, they were leading the movement. Autochthon Serbs were reserved from all of that. Even before, they were even put a distance from the king, from the monarchy. They were longing for it more than being brave because they were, I told you, the main weapon of this people is perseverance.

They were enduring, and when they were supposed to go in, they were always reserved and didn’t go into the movement in masses. Like, that National Liberation Movement, Partisan movement. Who went into it massively? Montenegrins, although they, but those were immigrant Montenegrins, immigrants in colonization. They with, with the immigration of Montenegrins and Hercegovians here, the Communist ideology was also settled. Chetniks’[4] ideology also settled but not to that extent. Since they are merciless, they fought against each other so that the Chetnik movement that was small, weak, was destroyed there. And what is left is the Partisan movement.

Thus, even after the war, I said, that’s when they created the Communist Party of Albania, they chose that Enver Hoxha, Ramiz Ali and the rest of them to be the leaders of that, that Communist movement. They had chosen the group of Albanians led by Fadil Hoxha to be the representatives of the Communists, Communist and Partisan troops. And up until ‘66, Montenegrins exclusively ruled this area together with the group of those Albanian Communists.  When in ‘66, when the conflict between them broke out, when it was with Ranković then everyone who was leading it, mostly who was leading it, they were the heads of Udba, the police, foresters, committee secretaries, all Montenegrins.

Because they were participating like now UÇK is, because they were participating in that movement. Autochthon Serbs were neglected, they weren’t massively involved in that movement. They were neglected and it was starting to, emancipation of Albanians started, but not of autochthon Serbs as well. Albanians and autochthon Serbs have been living together for centuries here, under similar or the same historical, economical and social conditions. However, the emancipation of Albanians came from Tito’s policies, that is Communist policies, that is Montenegrins’.

And Serbs are emancipated just because Montenegrins were leading  politics and the very fact that they had already been educated, Serbs were emancipated. People, in essence, these here, weren’t included in the emancipation. So you had it eman… a sudden emancipation of Albanians started, but a sudden neglect of autochthon Serbs, representing the twenty-five percent. Five percent or up to ten percent were colonial Montenegrins. And twenty-five percent autochthon Serbs whom no one took care of.

If I {points to himself} tell you that I am the first intellectual who graduated from university in Čaglavica, three kilometers from Pristina, then you, you have the answer that, during that time, Albanians really advanced in emancipation. Because Tito’s policies wanted that, that is the policies they had led, and Toma Sekulić and I were the first more serious politicians among the Serbian autochthon people. The careerist Montenegrin option couldn’t stand it, it couldn’t understand how some autochthon Serbs could be better than them.

And then it, then it was transferred to Milošević. Toma Sekulić was the first to oppose Milošević. I supported Toma Sekulić and that support of Toma Sekulić cost me.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And how did he oppose?

Momčilo Trajković: He was, he opposed him, for example, here is what I am going to tell you, I introduced Toma Sekulić and Milošević to each other. I met Milošević in ‘86 and Toma, and introduced Toma Sekulić to him in ‘88, two years later, in April ‘88. That is very interesting you see. And one day Milošević tells me, “Come on, bring me, bring me, let us meet that Toma of ours.” And one day I, during the evening visit we agreed to arrive in the evening, Milošević still doesn’t have firm power, Federal State Security is there, they follow him, what he does and so on.

And we go there, I don’t know, I think ninth or tenth floor up there in  CC [Central Committee], that big building in Ušće. We enter, come to the Secretary, Milošević comes out, I say, “This is our Toma.” And now we are going towards that hall, Toma Sekulić asks Milošević, they see each other for the first time, “President, how are our things going?” Toma asks Milošević. He says, “They are going,” he says, “Excellent, everything in our favor,” he says, “It’s going excellent.” Toma, it’s, and we all sit and he, and he says to Milošević, remember this, Albanians will understand this very well, “Kosi ago, ali pazi da ti kiša otkos ne uhvati.” [Mow it ago, but beware that the rain can ruin what you have mown] You know what that means?

To mow the land, but be careful if the rain falls and you have mown, it was all for nothing. And Milošević was intelligent. He wasn’t very educated, Milošević. He hasn’t read many books in his life but he was intelligent. He tells Toma, “Listen, Toma, I’ll answer you in Knjaz’s verses, the following is written on the monument of Knjaz Miloš in Požarevac, “Hero, young hero, you can go here or there, but I am going right into the life or death.” Then I saw it where it was all going. Milošević didn’t really like that, for someone to tell him something like that for the first time, you should work, but be careful and don’t let it be in vain.

Which is exactly what happened to him. What happened to him and what he had said, so then, that is in my book, it is, I quoted. That was the first major conflict. The second conflict was when, the old square, the miners in the old square. Rahman Morina was the President of the Committee, and Toma Sekulić was the Committee’s secretary. Thus, the two of them were a tandem.

Then the miners wanted Rahmanov’s, Ali Shukriu’s and Husamedin Azemi’s resignation. And the meeting was organized, Suvar organized it as the President of the CC [Central Committee], organizes the meeting of the presidency. That, I was writing, I was speaking to Azem recently, they don’t know it, don’t know it, it was a long time ago. And since Rahman, since Rahman was working, Rahman is not going to Belgrade but sends Toma Sekulić as his secretary, as his deputy. And Toma goes to Milošević, he stops by so that they can go together to the meeting of the CC presidency.

And now, Sloba Milošević tells Toma, “Toma, you know how we are going to present, we go there, support, no, no, we don’t agree to resignations, they cannot pass.” However, Toma tells him, “Listen,” he says “Sloba, but I think in a different way.” “What do you think?” “Well, I think that we shouldn’t cut relations with all Albanians because of the three Albanians. I think that they should resign and go” {loud sigh}. “Are you insane?” (laughs) this Milošević tells Toma. “I think like that.” And back and forth, back and forth, those up there, the meeting was waiting for the presidency.

And they went there together, and he thought that Toma wouldn’t say it but that he would change his mind. And when the meeting started up there, Shuvan, Račan, Kučan started. By the way, I was with Račan, and today I am a personal, until his death, I was his friend. He was a principal at the school, in Kumrovec, I was, was at that school. Then we were there, we became friends. And when the meeting had started, everyone was discussing, Toma Sekulić got up and repeats this. He says, “I think they should resign. Because of the three Albanians, we won’t abolish our relations with the Albanian people because of the three Albanians.”

The meeting was prolonged, Milošević didn’t have any support, and during that time, Milošević called the people in the center in front of the Assembly Committee. The people came, it was ‘88, and one thing led to another, who supports him, Borkovski supported Milošević and that, some Renovica, Renovica, what was the name of that from Bosnia, they supported [him]. And then, while the meeting was going on, Milošević called Borislav Jović and Raif Dizdarević, I don’t know if you know them, you have heard about them. President, he was the President of Yugoslavia, to go and talk to the people. The meeting was prolonged for an hour. And Milošević wraps up with the meeting, Milošević goes there to the meeting and then, that’s when he said, “I will arrest Vllasi.”

When they said that they want to arrest Vllasi, arrest Vllasi, it was that day. And Milošević said then, angry with Toma Sekulić, he said, “I will arrest Vllasi.” And what will happen, no one will believe it since I was, I was very important Milošević’s man whom, whom he trusted a lot and he asked. He didn’t always listen to me but he asked. He called me, half an hour has passed since that meeting, Milošević calls me into his office because I was in line with him. And he cursed my mother. He says, “What is this?” I say, “What is this about? What is that?” “What do you mean what is this about? I put my life in danger and that Sekulić [behaves] like that. You brought him to me, you…”

“What happened, man?” “He supported,” he says, “Račan and Kučan and Šuvar” {sigh of disbelief}. It was weird for me as well, I think he overreacts, it was not, still, it was a specific time. Later in the evening, Toma comes from Belgrade, I go to him and ask him, “Hey Toma, is it true?” He says, “True.” I wrote it in my book, he was, while he was alive, the book was published. He agreed to that. That was the second big conflict. And the third conflict was when the strategy for Kosovo was being made, Milošević’s. Peace, democracy, and when Milošević wrote in that strategy to bring back one hundred thousand Serbs, do you remember that?

He wrote that, that programme, for peace, democracy, for Kosovo. CC [Central Committee] adopted it, CC-YU, everyone adopted it. And there he writes that, in that programme he will, Serbia will do it, that and that, among the other things, it will bring back one hundred thousand Serbs in five years.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Bring back or bring, bring back from where?

Momčilo Trajković: To bring back, Serbs who immigrated, to bring back to Kosovo. One hundred thousand, for…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: When did, when did Serbs immigrate?

Momčilo Trajković: Well, they were always immigrating, firstly one hundred thousand Serbs here, they couldn’t return under, Tito’s policies had forbidden the return of colonial Serbs who had come before. They came to the Albanian land and one hundred thousand couldn’t come back. That was, that was, and now he says, “I will bring back one hundred thousand Serbs.” And we were, it was Toma and I. Milošević called us in Niš, it was where the working group was. We went to talk, Toma and I disagreed with that.

We told him, “You can bring back one million, but nothing should be written there. You can only irritate people like that.” He, no, and he left it. When we were in CC [Central Committee], since Toma and I were members of CC [Central Committee] Serbia. At the meeting, Toma comes out again and says, and in front of the whole world says, “That should be erased.” And that was the end. And then, since Toma and I, autochthon Serbs, since we are a bit tougher people, we think differently here, here everything is ours.

And that is why he told me that opposing him, we autochthon Serbs screwed up like Šiptari in ‘81, we spoke out too soon. Thus, like Albanians sooner maybe, they needed to wait (laughs) in the same way we were supposed to wait but no, we screwed up and so on, and so on. And I said, I asked him, “Have you ever read Rakić, Milan Rakić?” You have heard of Milan Rakić, Nušić Branislav, they were consuls in Pristina. Then Janićije Popović, famous intellectual from Gračanica. Then Grigorije Božović, famous author, poet.

“If you have read them, then it should be clear to you why are you and me are discussing Serbs in Kosovo. If there wasn’t for autochthon Serbs, we wouldn’t have this conversation today, they would all leave long ago and the problem would be solved.” And I say, “Listen, my late father has left me four hectares of land.” No, before that he told me, “Come on,” he says, “come on, go make peace with Kecman, with that fool.” That boxer. What an influence he had on Serbian politics, that Kecman. He disciplined some of the Serbian politicians who were not, who weren’t, who were in positions. He says, “Go make peace with him and we move on.”

I told him, “Listen, Slobodan,” I told him like this, “Listen, Slobodan Milošević, my late Aca Trajković, he left me four hectares of land. I am going there to graze.” And I stand up, he, “Stop!” I go on. “Stop!” I grab the door handle, I take it, he says, “Stop!” And I turn around. And he tells me, “And I thought you were ready for the highest positions in this state.” And I opened the door and murmur to myself (laughs) I leave, and we have never seen each other again.

We had more disputes, what to do next with Kosovo. I and Toma had a different view. However, he that, he didn’t want to listen to it. And the very moment he separated from us and when he accepted the other policies of that Montenegrin careerist group, then he ended up where he ended up. And I had one conversation with him before that. I had one interview of mine in NIN,[5] that interview from NIN is in my book. Every year, I had two interviews in NIN, and to have an interview in NIN, you know, I don’t know whether you know much about NIN. It is a powerful political magazine, and you have a person who has interviews twice a week, twice a year.

I had it then, and I said back then, “Don’t look away from us, from Kosovo.” And then I announced it for the first time, it was on the second of January, I gave it in December, at the end of December, it was published on the second of January in ‘92. That interview in which I announced my quarrel with him. That I disagree, the fact that he let the clerical workers from Kosovo, people for, for Papović wrote “Serb in the wrong, great Serb at the wrong time,” when he was supposed to be a Serb, he was conspiring with this Rozhaja, he listened to everything he had to say, you understand.

He was his guide. When all of that was over, now he started to be huge, when he was supposed to be wise now, when wise, when you were supposed to find a common tongue, he becomes a great Serb. And, and so they were, those, those, then they have cleaned everything that was left from Albanians, they have cleaned it, and everything was like that.

[1] Adem Demaçi (1936-2018) was an Albanian writer and politician and longtime political prisoner who spent a total of 27 years in prison for his nationalist beliefs and political activities. In 1998 he became the head of the political wing of the Kosovo Liberation Army, from which he resigned in 1999.

[2] Ramiz Alia (1925-2011), successor of Enver Hoxha, the last Communist leader of Albania and the first democratic President (1991-92).

[3] Šiptar/i Serbian for Albanian/s. This is a derogatory term for Albanians from Kosovo, to distinguish them from Albanians from proper Albania, Albanac/Albanci.

[4] Serbian movement born in the beginning of the Second World War, under the leadership of Draža Mihailović. Its name derives from četa, anti-Ottoman guerrilla bands. This movement adopted a Greater Serbia program and was for a limited period an anti-occupation guerrilla, but mostly engaged in collaboration with Nazi Germany, its major goal remaining the unification of all Serbs. It was responsible for a strategy of terror against non-Serbs during the Second World War and was banned after 1945. Mihailović was captured, tried and executed in 1946.

[5] NIN is a weekly news magazine published in Belgrade, Serbia. Its name is an acronym for Nedeljne informativne novine which roughly translates into Weekly Informational Newspaper.

Part Four

It collapsed, I left it, then I was abroad, then I formed the Social Democratic Party of Serbia. After Tucović, I am the next President of the Social Democratic Party of Serbia. On the third of April, third of April ‘93, I was chosen to be the President of the Social Democratic Party of Serbia. I left {waves his hand} Milošević and formed my own group and started the Social Democratic Party of Serbia. Then I met with Bishop Artemije, and I was with him for ten years.

We were inseparable until April 2, 2000, when we parted. And we also parted politically. So we have traveled the whole world. We were talking at all the great parliaments of the great powers, at the American Congress, at the State Department, at the British Parliament, we were talking at the French Parliament, at the Bundestag, at the Russian Duma, there is no place where we weren’t talking. We met with Clinton, with Albright, with Kofi Annan.

I was talking, well, I thought that I was the first politician from Kosovo who was speaking at the Security Council. Both among Albanians and Serbs. {waves his hand} And later they were all, and Rugova, and they were all later, everyone was talking there after me. Then I was, then, so one turbulent life, a turbulent career of a man who came out of, came out of the room, one room in which we were all sleeping, and in the other room, horses and cows were sleeping (smiling). You see how that is, how that is, how that is possible. When I was at the Security Council, since my late father loved to, we were talking very often, so he would say, “Son, I see you understand it, why don’t you get into the politics?” Thus, I got into  politics when I was 36 years old. So I started here and there, he died on the second, now is, it was 33 years since his death on Saturday. And on the second of April, after two months, I go into politics.

And he, poor guy, didn’t know anything, and when I was speaking at the Security Council, that horseshoe {points with a finger}, you know how it looks, that, where they are sitting, where Dačić and Vučić are sitting, that is on the other side {points with his finger in another direction} sits (laughs) but where Dačić sits, used to sit, and Vučić. {points down} On that presidency chair, I stood up, and now all the ambassadors were sitting. I crossed myself, {crosses himself} you now, I cross and that big mural over there. I cross and I say, “Pops.” I tell my father, “We have climbed to the top of  global politics.” And for me, that was really, those people are looking (smiling), you know.

“We have climbed to the top of  global politics.” So, here, how can one, one man who carried milk (laughs), who lived here in the way he lived, what a road of ups and downs that is. I was, twice I, I came in ‘91, thus I got into a conflict. Climbed to the top of global, I mean, Yugoslavian politics. I was, thus, a powerful man, powerful. After Milošević, I was the most powerful. Maybe the Minister of Internal Affairs was more powerful than me.

But why, because to Milošević, Kosovo, Kosovo made Milošević, and he made me the leading figure of Kosovo. It means that it is, {waves his hand} but I lasted shortly. If I had, if I hadn’t done it, I would have been to The Hague for sure. Šanjović replaced me, who, later from Kosovo, Šanjović led politically in Serbia. Thus, God, a bit of wisdom and a bit of God, helped me. But I am sure, even if I had stayed, I wouldn’t have been doing what I was doing. Because who I was, I showed that during the war, when I was helping people. Almost always I was afraid after the war, afraid.

If I had been really afraid, I wouldn’t have gone, but, to someone, it wasn’t all the same when I was going through, when I was going through Ravnik and Podujevo, nothing was unusual for me. But Besinje, you know where Besinje is? It’s here now when you take, right away, Besinje {points the direction} Devet Jugovića, Besinje, yes, Prugovac. And there, during the war, before let me say, approximately ten years ago I, I went late, I am going to Belgrade, I didn’t buy some sudžuk[1] to carry it. And I stop by in a shop in Besinje, on the right side {points to the right} there is a shop, in the evening at 11 o’clock.

To buy, I go inside, only me, one [guy], one guy working at the cash register, and that guy following me. And I was always afraid when I was passing there. Somehow it was (smiling). I bought it, took everything, then I come to the cash register, that one says, “Trajković?” “Yes.” “Is that you?” I say, “It’s me.” “Listen,” he says, “you gave me cigarettes during the war.” I remember, I remember it. He says, “Not to me, but” Baca[2] Bajram or Shaban Dragusha, I think it was Shaban Dragusha. Baca, he was an older man. “And believe me, Trajković,” he says, “here where we were, since you are a famous man.” And they are talking, you know Albanians are now talking, considering (laughs) various things.

“When they mention you in negative sense,” Baca says, Shaban or Bajram, I don’t know, it’s Shaban jumps and says, “People, don’t talk like that, it’s not like that.” {beckons with his finger} And he told me, and what happened, during the war, I went to Belgrade, with my car and when I arrived in Prugovac one group of people, women, you know they were tired, {waves his hand} they were tormented by those, they took their tractors. That is, their petrol had disappeared, {waves his hand} and they were all crouching there. And I, they were on the left side, {points to the left with his hand} I was going to Belgrade, on the left side.

And I come to them, open the window, don’t get out of the car. “Mirëdita!” Mirëdita!” When people saw me, I saw the color in their faces change, they don’t know if now I’ll machine gun {simulates gun shooting with his hands} bam, bam, bam, it’s done. It was terrifying, I swear to my mother. “How are you people?” I [said] in what I know from Albanian, “How are you people?” I say, “It will get better, it will, this will pass as well, and everything will get better.” I had a box of cigarettes, otherwise I don’t smoke. I had a box of cigarettes, and I take that box of cigarettes and I say, “Here you go.” {waves his hand as if he is giving}

They are looking, they are expecting now, listen now, they haven’t mentioned my name until then, he says, “Trajković, that’s you?” I say, “Yes.” And like this, he is wondering, is it possible. “Hello.” “Hello.” And can you imagine after all these years, and I was always scared when I was there, no reason, [when I was] passing there. In the middle of the night, a man to me says in the shop, “You gave me the cigarettes.” And since I was followed by that, SHIK[3] had been following me, since I was…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Can we now talk a bit about the bombardment? Where were you at that time and how did you?

Momčio Trajković: In the, yes, at that time, at that time…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: You were in the city?

Momčio Trajković: I lived in Pristina.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Yes.

Momčio Trajković: My family was living in Pristina. I was working in Ratar, in Laplje Selo. And now the mobilization comes, you must go join the Army. However, since I was, spring, the month of March, we have the seeding in the company, one thousand hectares of land. And I go there and say, “Come on people, free us from, let us work, let us this {waves his hand} to plow, to sow.” And I swear to God, they {spreads his arms} accept my, and I make a list of all the workers of mine, and then free my workers from going to the battlefield and us, and they give us a war schedule to work on the land. And like that we, since it was spring, we sowed.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: This is ‘99 or ‘98?

Momčio Trajković: How? It’s ‘99. The month of March, yes, the war has started, yes. And which, and I didn’t know the people there very well, was still some, regardless of being Milošević’s opposition. Somehow I was, I have, I was respected among the people. And, after a month or so, no, for fifteen days, there was nothing to eat, and I had a market in Pristina, the market was not working. Bombarding. What will I do, no Albanians, Serbs say that Albanians have left. No one is leaving the house. And I get a task to supply the market. What will I do, two big trucks and straight to Belgrade.

Some money that we had, {waves with his hand} we take them out and go to {points in a direction with a hand} the wholesale trade market in Belgrade, to buy the goods. And I fill those two big trucks, and you know when, when we were traveling towards Belgrade in the evening, planes, we leave the trucks, get away from there, not to bomb us you know, (laughs) it was really terrifying.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: (laughs)

Momčilo Trajković: And the next day, we come, it’s funny now (laughs) back then it was terrifying. We come to the market, fill up the stands, all of them. Various goods, then was already, it was already April. Maybe it started on twenty something March, it was already the month of April. We fill up the stands, peppers, tomato, fruit, potato, the city has nothing to eat. The market was opened, we announce on the radio that market is working, suddenly, when people started coming out, {puts a hand on his forehead} Albanians, all of a sudden, like ants, poor people coming out of their lairs, from the apartments where they were closed, here I am talking about this. Maybe someone will hear this, but that is why I am telling it publicly.

And now people are coming, no one has money, and people know, everyone knows me because I am a public figure, I was a great politician and they know who I am. Now, here, when I come into the small shop, a little kid looks at me, he recognizes me. (smiling) I see there is no, there is no, I fill up the bag and say, “Carry it.” (laughs) Spinach, I don’t know what else was there. No one has enough, I add it. Adem Demaçi is coming, and my people are saying, “Adem Demaçi is here.” You know, they hate him, it can’t, I say, “Listen, not a single hair should fall off his head.” I was a manager there.

Adem came, masked you know {puts his hand on his head} (laughs). He is walking there, nothing and so, and there I, there I actually showed, me as a human and my company as well. As a human, I showed who I really am, when everyone was hating or not, everyone was hating, when the majority hated, put the blame on Albanians for what was going on, I had enough strength to be attacked by those extreme Serbs in order to help. In my, in my entrance [building], I had Albanians, cigarettes, bread, always when I would come, I would bring it. What they were asking for, I would always bring, always, always, always, always.

One day, I come back from work, they were all outside. What is it? Some police, paramilitary came and ordered them to go. I bring everyone inside. We have a common area, we sit there and make plans and so on. I was always helping, I was always helping. And continuing, there is one family, I almost died. One family from, there from Proleterska Street, it’s not important now, I don’t want to name them. When they came to beg me to help them. In the evening, I went there to make plans to leave early in the morning {waves his hand} to go to Kosovo Polje. I will never forget that. Since there were more of them, I called one more [man].

When I got into that house there, that oda and they came, all of the little children are looking to me like God. They should leave the house tomorrow, to go. I say to this man, “Don’t go, nothing will happen to you, stay.” I don’t know if I take them and then something happens to them, I don’t know what to do.

And I pluck up courage and on, and on the marked place on Kosovo Polje {point the direction}, the marked place, however, people, since they me, and I was famous, and I was Milošević’s opponent, I was afraid of that. Yes, you know here comes this Milošević opponent, but these people who met up with me then and saw me, they weren’t against me, but they just allowed it. And that’s how I transferred, few families up there. Then…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: To the train or where?

Momčilo Trajković: To the train, to the station, to the station. Here is one example, that man has died now. He was the secretary in, was it, his name was Emrush, Ramiz Sadiku. When he came to the market, he didn’t have any money. He didn’t ask for it, because I was, my colleague, lawyer, we were, I, I see that, “Do you need some money?” I give him one thousand  three hundred marks, then it was, there were marks. I gave him one thousand  three hundred marks there at the market {shows with a hand as if he is giving}. To go, to, to live.

[Interview got interrupted due to technical difficulties]


The war passed, I was living in Mimoza with my family {points the direction} that is across the Media Centre, you know where Media Centre is?

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Yes.

Momčilo Trajković: Across the street, there is this, there was one, one motel there, we privately rented it and I lived with my family there. A restaurant, we were working, we had that restaurant, that was the only Serbian restaurant back than. And especially since this Albanian, they didn’t have any pork, then the foreigners came here, when they were here. We were working very well. And I, after the war, October 31 in ‘99 I was attacked in my own apartment. They were shooting at me and they wounded me in this leg [right] here. He came, it was, I remember that I lied down, I was listening to Free Europe and before that I was in Belgrade.

[Interview got interrupted due to technical difficulties]


And I was in the evening, the day before that, I was in Belgrade. And a neighbor calls me, saying, “They broke into your apartment last night” and “Come.” I come from Belgrade, when I came with this, with this, KFOR was there since they had the key. I saw that they had unplugged my phone, and they hadn’t taken anything. So they had a lot of stuff that they could have taken, they didn’t take anything. {waves his hand} They had only unplugged the phone.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: The apartment in Dardania?

Momčilo Trajković: That apartment in Dardania. And I went there, when I went to take the key from my apartment, they want to, to be there. I tell them there is no need. I come back to the apartment and somewhere around a quarter to eleven in the evening, someone is ringing… And I, since I had a double door like this {points to a direction with his hand} door, and then my hallway and then the other door and the entrance over there. And I have just come, turned on the light. When I turned on the light, I was suddenly shot. And through the glass, I have pictures, he was aiming directly here {points to his heart}.

But, there was one armature that grazed the bullet and the bullet ricocheted, and it ended up here in me {points to his right leg}. And I fell down, cried out, and they thought that they had killed me. And they went down, outside broke my car, windshield and left.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Did they threaten you?

Momčilo Trajković: No, no, it was never I, I have never had anything and then, I remember it only then when I was, when I fell down and then I, I am coming, I am now waiting for them to come and finish with me. That, that I will never forget. And then I was crawling since I was wounded. I crawled all the way up to the living room, I had a gun under my pillow, lady’s gun, my wife’s, {shows the size with his hand} a small gun. Now I am cocking that gun and waiting for them to come in, and I go to the phone. But, since they had unplugged it earlier, a day before that, they had unplugged the phone, I had, the neighbor who gave me another phone, not the digital one but the {shows the keys and dials in the air} one that you need to turn around. And those from, KFOR had given me a phone if needed to call them. I can’t get it right out of fear, I cannot get the number, when I got one right, I called them, told them. After three minutes, everything was {spreads his hands} in blue.

Everything was surrounded, you know. And that ends up like this, and now since I moved to live here, comes, comes, they gave a task to one Albanian, today, he is a great friend of mine. To inquire what, how did I behave during the war, SHIK gave him the task. He went, first of all, I was under suspicion of murdering Rahman Morina, I don’t know if you have heard of that. Yes. There was a special broadcast, we were recording the broadcast here {shows the place}, it was a broadcast “Rahman – The Great Traitor,” I don’t know. Did you watch that broadcast? Yes, yes, there was a broadcast, I think Koha, Koha was making it, or I don’t know who was making it. Because I was present when Rahman died. Rahman died at the meeting where he was a chair. I have a picture one hour before Rahman died. I showed it, they were recording all of that. And besides everything else…

Kaltrina Krasniqi: He died from heart?

Momčilo Trajković: From heart, heart he died but for gov… on the chairman’s tables, there is a video about his death. But since I was famous then, popular, Albanians really loved me for the politics that I represented and they me, I remember, afterward did I, only when he died, I went to see it. I didn’t know, I came to Rahman three seconds after it. But then the ambulance took [him], and I went to see him, to the hospital to see what has happened to him. But, I come to the hospital. I thought it was the part for internal medicine and there was doctor Faik Hima. And later he denied it for a bit, the man was afraid, you know. When the time passes then you adjust it in the way it suits you the best (laughs).

And Faik was a physician on duty, and when he saw me, the way I looked, he told me, “Sit down.” I sit down. To measure my blood pressure, he says, “Man, lie there. Let Rahman go, what Rahman, you are done.” And then, then at that time from Belgrade, the doctors from Belgrade were arriving to take over the hospital. And when they heard that I was ill, and since I was a deputy prime minister of the Government of Serbia, that group immediately came to me. They took Faik out {waves his hand} as if he didn’t exist (laughs). And they examined me and now I am asking, “Who is on duty here?” Since I was a powerful man, I can now say whatever I want. He says, “Doctor Faik.” I say, “Let Doctor Faik Hima [come] to me.”

If it was embarrassing for me now, I am that kind of man, you understand, how can they take out Faik Hima like that. And during the night Faik Hima was on duty here where I was. In the morning they took me to, I went to VMA[4] with the helicopter in the morning. And then, he visited Faik Hima there where I was, he was there, at those in Prugovac, from that, one he heard about the one I gave the money to, he went to see everything, how I was behaving during the war. And when he inquired about everything, the last time he was in Prugovac at Dragusha’s, when he told him how things are going.

He came to me there in that Mimoza and told me, “I have to tell you something, you are the man I hated the most, until today. I have to tell you, I respect you now. I am sorry for everything wrong I had thought about you.” That Albanian tells me. And after that we become, we are friends today, (laughs) we are friends today. And that was, I don’t know, Naim Breznica, you know Naim Breznica?

Erëmirë Krasniqi: No.

Momčilo Trajković: He has, he works in Kosovo Polje (laughs). And now he, he calls us “Commander,” I call him “Commander” (laughs). I, a commander of Serbian guard, and he of the Albanian guard. He was beaten up incredibly during the war. He told me that. His first neighbor beat him up. When he beat him up and he saved his life. He was working in some, he was working with, with Demaçi, the Helsinki board and with the professor, what is his name, there I forgot it, we are good friends, he died as well. He was the president, no no, the other. The president of the Helsinki board.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Who is that?

Momčilo Trajković: He was…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Mark Krasniqi?

Momčilo Trajković: He died. There, I cannot remember.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Is it Mark Krasniqi?

Momčilo Trajković: Not Mark, no, no, no.


Kaltrina Krasniqi: Not Mark.

Momčilo Trajković: He was the Vice President of the Executive Council of Kosovo, earlier he was a politician. He died a few years ago. Before Demaçi. And they catch him, one group of those activists, Serbian police, and they detain him, take them. And that neighbor noticed that the policeman noticed Naim. Neighbors even when, some light {rises his arms up} was, some pole, {points up with a hand} light. “When he started beating me up,” he says. “Beating, kicking, beating, kicking, and he drove me out into the darkness, and he started beating me.” (laughs) He says, “To beat me now.” He said, “Get lost.” Said, and he had to beat him in order to drive him out into the darkness so that this one could run away. And like that, like that he saved the man, look at that. He saved a man like that, {waves his hand} saved his life. The others were killed. That is horrible, if Naim, I was… when it was 2009, when was this independence, it was 2009? Or 2008?

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Eight. [refers to 2008]

Momčilo Trajković: Eight. He calls me, “Come on,” he says, “Come to my place, I want to treat you for the republic.” I say, “I don’t have time.” I say, “I don’t have time now.” I tell him. “No, alright,” he says, “but I am waiting for you to come.” And then I recorded one broadcast with one famous journalist, cameraman from Belgarde, Slaven Kranjc. He died. And when we were recording that broadcast, we were passing through Kosovo Polje and I remembered Naim.

I call him on the phone, “Where are you?” No, I didn’t call him but he sent me a message, you know that, when Albanian speaks Serbian, {simulates texting with a hand} makes some mistakes, (laughs) catastrophic grammar, and now I, this one is recording, I am reading his message, “Come so that I can treat you for the Republic of Kosovo,” he says. He had sent me before. And I am reading, this one is recording, we are going to his place. And straight there to radio, there is a radio, K Radio.

There in Kosovo Polje, behind me, I remembered where that was, I am asking some children in Albanian, we managed to understand each other, they take me straight to him. And I am ringing the doorbell  {shows with a hand as if ringing} of radio. Three times. “Kush është?” [Who is it?] He asks. “Listen,” I say to those in there, “when someone rings three times, you should know that a Serb is coming” (laughs).

Erëmirë Krasniqi: (laughs)

Momčilo Trajković: There is, and all of that, everything was recorded. He opens, (exclamation) and when he saw a camera. We kissed each other there you know. “Turn it off, turn it off.” We turned everything off there, we sit down. I tell him, “We want to record this, you and me talking?” “Say whatever you want, you know I am your friend. That I won’t cut out a single word. Whatever you want, you can say it.” And we start the conversation. “Well, how is it for you now, Se… you, Naim?” I am looking, all the flags are Albanian. “Where is your Republic of Kosovo?” “ You don’t have a flag. You have a state, you don’t have a flag.”

And he says, “We were celebrating,” he says, “a lot and we didn’t manage to, but we will make them now” he says, “flags.” And he starts talking about his, and he was speaking so well, that for Serbs who didn’t understand a lot of things, I put it on purpose, cleared up.

After two days, a comment {simulates writing with a hand} in, was it, what was the newspaper, was it Blic, I don’t know, from Belgrade. Title, “Our friend Naim” the title, in Serbian newspapers. And it explained what Naim was saying {waves with his hands}, how did he say it, now one. And in the end to give the credit to Mister Trajković as well, who lectured many journalists on how to conduct a conversation. (laughs) So it was really, really nice. And what did we start, before that, why did we come to, ah this money, this one that had given, whom I had given the money.

And I was, since they were shooting at me, afterwards I had to, how to, I couldn’t anymore there, live {spreads his arms} in that apartment. And I came, I had good neighbors and they were so good that back then a lot of Serbs were blackmailed, why were they selling the apartments. That man came to me, here in Mimoza. And told me that he wanted to buy an apartment. My apartment, how much was it, I sold him the apartment, today I couldn’t. One hundred twenty-five thousand marks then, then in 2000. One hundred twenty-five thousand marks, now that is one hundred twenty-five thousand euros, came like that, regardless {waves his hands}. He went to create a contract at some lawyer’s in Pristina.

And he went, I gave him my identity card, to prepare everything there. And when this lawyer saw it, he says, “Good, you did everything well,” he says, “To drive away that garbage from Kosovo.” This guy said that to my Albanian neighbor, this Albanian lawyer, good, “You know, thank God to drive him away, that garbage,” he says. And the man whom I gave the money was sitting there, who was working with him. “And where is,” he says. “Moma Trajković?” He says, “In Čaglavica.” And he said to this one, “Don’t talk like that,” he says. And they tell him how I gave him the money and he wants to find me to pay me back the money.

Can you imagine the coincidence? (smiling) And then they were all coming together to me, this one came, and paid me back, he gave me the money. I didn’t even ask for it. He gave me the money and he, the Albanian who said that, he apologized, you know. So by himself, then there is one, one Avdi, supporter of Rugova too, whom I met in the street, I knew. That is Selim’s good, good friend. I said, “Avdi, do you need the money, do you need the money?” He says, “Thank you.” And he is telling that everywhere now. And Selim, that dog, didn’t want to call me (laughs).

I called, I wanted to call him on his house number, and then I said, “God forbid something happens to him, you know how that is.” To me. Then I called Avdi. “Tell me, Avdi, that, where is Selim, what should I do, how can I help him?” That one never called me. We met after the war and now, a few days ago, we saw each other, we are still good, you know (laughs).

Erëmirë Krasniqi: (laughs)

Momčilo Trajković: So I have those, those, those are confirmed friendships.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: And, tell me, what was your life like for these past 19 years, after independence, I mean, after the war?

Momčilo Trajković: Well, difficult, difficult. I am, I am, I and Bishop Artemije are the only ones from all the important people who meant something to these people, everyone else ran away. I risked my life, first of all. Even today, I see the comments, people are cursing, you know, when they see somewhere I say something, some Albanians, it’s not, there is, in the same way, someone is a Serb, there are various fools everywhere. I think that a person can [lose] a hair, can lose a head. But I weathered through that time. Firstly, I decided to stay, then we, the Bishop and I saved this central Kosovo because then we were collaborating with Jackson and thanks to him we kept those people who were ready to leave. We were there on the spot, that is how central Kosovo was kept.

Then, I am the first Serb who spoke with Thaçi and with Ramush and with Ćosić and with this, Ibrahim Rugova and with Veton Surroi. I am on good terms with Veton, by the way, from before. I was, for example, when I had that kiosk, we were selling newspapers, it was the press from the opposition then. And, at this moment, let me tell you now, oppositional press, Serbian, not Albanian, and every day people are buying newspapers there.

And one day Veton comes up to me, “Moma” he says, “Let me ask you something, if I asked you, would you do it?” “What is it?” He says, “I am publishing a new newspaper, Kohu Ditore, would you sell it here?” You know that time Serbs, man they, I wasn’t allowed to sell that Telegraf that Ćuruvija was publishing and not to mention selling. I was selling it right. I tell him, “Bring it tomorrow morning.” Ask Veton. And Veton brings it, and that’s how for the first time that arrived, Koha Ditore Albanian press in the, in the kiosk, my kiosk. And we started there, I was selling that. When I wanted to publish a newspaper, one newspaper Nacional, we prepared everything and when I asked, since Veton has a printing house,  I asked him to print it for me.

He says, “Bring it without.” Then it was at the same time, says, “With no problems, no problems with payment, bring it to me, I will print it for you.” But, we gave up later. Thus, I allowed for Koha Ditore to appear for the first time in the kiosk, in the center of Pristina, that Veton, for that, everybody knows that. People come to buy newspapers.

[1] Turkish: sucuk is a dry, spicy sausage which is eaten from the Balkans to the Middle East and Central Asia. The Turkish name sucuk has been adopted largely unmodified by other languages in the region, including Serbian: sudžuk; Albanian: suxhuk;  Romanian: sugiuc; Russian: sudzhuk; Kyrgyz: chuchuk.

[2] Albaninan: baca, literally uncle, is an endearing and respectful Albanian term for an older person.

[3] Shërbimi Informativ i Kosovës – Kosovo Intelligence Service was founded after the war by the former members of The Liberation Army of Kosovo.

[4] Serb.: VMA, Vojnomedicinska Akademija – Military Medical Academy is located in Belgrade, Serbia.

Part Five 

Momčilo Trajković: Then, on the second, the second, the second of July in ‘99, then de Melo was the head of UNMIK, the first official, de Melo, the one who was killed in Baghdad.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Yes, the first one for a short time period.

Momčilo Trajković: Yes, yes, was for a short time. He came to me and the Bishop and begged us to accept the dialogue with Albanians. For a long time we were, were thinking and finally we accepted it. We were, [Erëmirë appears on the screen] we accepted going into the UNMIK government, it was called TACK back then – Temporary Administrative Council of Kosovo. Then the first president was de Melo. And at the Central Military Club {points the direction with his head} over there towards Grand, we had a conversation there.

That conversation lasted seven hours, in order for them to deliver that declaration {rises his hands} back then the famous declaration. I shook Thaçi’s hand then, they were attacking me in Belgrade then, every night they were portraying me as a traitor in the Journal. “There is the traitor” and so on. And then I entered with the Bishop, we entered the Government. Thaçi, {counts on his fingers} Rugova, Ramush wasn’t there, Qosaj, Veton Surroi, Bishop and I, and I don’t know who else was there, someone there.

We were the first Government of Kosovo. And, however, they were, they weren’t fair. They, it’s not that they weren’t fair, their aim, and wanted to take advantage of us. But I am an old wolf, you can’t on, I can accept I know. Then we have left that TACK, the Bishop and I, in a demonstrative way. Then when they were creating Protective Corps. They, they were creating it, they didn’t ask us, Kušner was making it with Albanians, and he only brought it to us on the very “There.” And we rejected it, we left TACK. Then when Clinton was coming, he wanted to talk with me and the Bishop.

And we talked with Clinton, we were talking about, then we met her, with a daughter, his daughter was Chelsea, of his. That, Albright, Kouchner, the talks were attended by {counts on his fingers} Veton, Rugova, Thaçi. And that was their party, they were speaking as well.

Erëmirë Krasniqii: In which year was that?

Momčilo Trajković: It was in ‘99 the month of November.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: It’s like a month after your…?

Momčilo Trajković: Yes, I was wounded then, you know. After that they, de Melo sent me from, from Timor, he sent me this telegram to support me. Then Volebek sent me a telegram, “Why did they shoot at the man who is supporting peace? You see, the only people who accepted talking with you, you are shooting, you want to kill people.” And you know like that, it’s in my book, everything is there. And then we talked. First one to talk was Surroi, really smart man.

He is one of the smartest people, very reasonably. Afterwards Thaçi wanted to speak. And approximately, “We, Mister President Clinton, we, we won over our common enemy.” Like America and Kosovo won over Serbia you know, in that sense. And while he was saying that, I had a brochure of monasteries, destroyed monasteries. That was my last one, I pulled it out of my bag and {stretches his hand as if giving something} gave it to Clinton. And by the way, how much, I was sitting here, the Bishop here and Clinton was here, one meter apart. We were sitting like that. I say, “Here you go, Mister President, take a look at this.”

And now while Thaçi is speaking, this one is looking. And then he slammed with his hand, that I, I gave that statement right after, after that conversation. But I didn’t see that, that Albanian means had published it, Serbians had. When, while this Thaçi was speaking, Clinton {lowers down his fist} slammed the table with his hand and says, “Stop it. Why are you talking to that, you think I like to hear?” Clinton tells Thaçi. This one stopped. And he is looking to those destroyed photos. “I am asking you, I am asking all of you, if America gave money for this to be fixed, would you destroy it again?” And then Rugova interrupted, “Mister President, those are Milošević’s churches, Milošević’s monasteries.”

And Bishop Artemije brought one big book, you know he has, the Serbian Orthodox Church has those memorials, and says, “Mister President, these are the monasteries from the twelfth, 13th-14th century as you know, Milošević wasn’t alive then.” You know, and that won’t, and we didn’t accept then, we didn’t accept then. And then they destroyed, after that, because I was the problem, they destroyed the Bishop and me. That tandem and brought Rada Trajković, instead of me, Rada Trajković came. And NATO still, it was continued. And then we, so we managed to stop it, then we were visiting a lot, a lot, a lot of Serbs who were in the apartments.

That is the saddest thing I have seen. The most, the most, the most unfortunate, I know there were tragedies on the other side as well, I know, I know how the idiots could behave towards Albanians. But I didn’t see that, I can assume and I don’t doubt it. But what I have seen, different situations, for example, son ran away to Belgrade, left father and mother across the street, near the Health Center somewhere in Pristina, {points the direction} here. And calls me to check on them, to see them. Well, I say, “Man, they will kill me.” “Well, then what did you…” And I say, “Man, you ran away, left your father and mother, you saved yourself, I should…”

But I say no, however, I couldn’t hold it. And I go, under the worst conditions, I go over there to them. Further on, Grandmother and Grandfather, up, {points the direction} up there where Veli Deva used to live and up. They had a tenant, Serb, who used to live there and had some weapon and put that weapon in the stove. (laughs) And ran away, gone, left Grandmother and Grandfather. And over here, Albanians attacked the house, to take his house. And he doesn’t know what he is doing. And he calls us and says, we go to check up on him and he says like, I don’t know what, “I can’t put up with this anymore, but if they see this,” says, “and if they come and see this weapon that is in the stove, what will I do?”

Then we tell it to KFOR, explain the whole situation because he is taking them to prison, doesn’t look. And then when they were shooting through the professor’s door, as well, a lot, a lot of numbers. We were carrying packages in this street across MUP [Ministry of Interior], where MUP is now, where it was earlier. There as well, a lot of people were killed. We came across dead people, that’s horrible. That’s horrible. But the apartments, that’s in my book, it’s there, when Kouchner, I, father Sava Janjić and Thaçi were visiting the apartments from which Serbs were driven away. And then I go there, jao.[1] And now Thaçi, he agreed with us while they were, while Kouchner, while the journalists, cameras recording everything.

As soon as their backs are turned, he turns and says, “Don’t leave that now, stay here.” To this one that got inside, he lost, now he is justifying that he had lost, his house was burned, they might have burned your house, but I didn’t burn your house, I. But, that’s when people lost, then, they were jumping on me, they wanted to kill me there before Kouchner, in front of everyone, you know. But I weathered through it all, weathered through it all. It was a lot, a lot, a lot of problems, it was hard. Then I, then I went to see, I know that, in Belgrade, politics should change in order to do something.

Then I returned to politics. {scratches his head} And, in 2000, I get into DOS [Democratic Opposition of Serbia]. You have heard of DOS, have you heard of DOS? I was a member of its presidency. I was the only, the only man from Kosovo who was in DOS with Đinđić, it was me. And that movement of mine SPOT was its name, Srpski Pokret Otpora [Serbian Resistance Movement] democratic movement, that’s how it was called, and I was with Đinđić then. Then I became President of the Federal Committee for collaboration with UNMIK and KFOR, before Yugoslavia then. I was in charge, and then I was until, then [Javier] Solana asked for me to be dismissed, to bring Čović.

And then Čović came instead of me, Đinđić called me, Đinđić was on my side, he didn’t like Čović at all but this one wanted, since he was working on the south of Serbia, since he combined that politics to take over Kosovo as well. And then Čović, Čović took over Kosovo. And there I came into a conflict with Čović, then with Milošević and then with Little Milošević, Čović was Little Milošević. Then conflicts with him and that’s how I end up in eternal conflicts, and I lasted shortly there as well. During Milošević I was, I was the Deputy Prime Minister for eleven months only and here, in this, for collaboration in the federal government, I wasn’t even how many, five-six months, I got into conflict with Čović.

And then but Čović was cooperative with these, what is with Solana, and Solana wanted me to be removed for Čović to take over, take over Kosovo. And Čović took over Kosovo instead of me. And then I was a parliamentary representative in the Parliament, like, of Serbia until 2000, until 2003, and then the elections came, afterward Đinđić was murdered. I was close with Đinđić then, we were something like, when he was making his programme in Kosovo, I was his assistant. I am looking at it right now, to show you a photo, this and a murdered man. After that, DOS finished its mission. I withdrew and haven’t got into politics ever since, I wasn’t into politics.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Did you come back here?

Momčilo Trajković: Here. Well, it’s not, while I was there, I was up there in Kosovo. I have never left Kosovo, never. I have never {takes the cable}.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And what do you do now?

Momčilo Trajković: Now, now I have one office for legal matters. It’s not a classic attorneyship. I have a few associates here, and we deal with legal matters, everything that is, and attorneyship, we do legal matters. And that’s what we do. I work a lot, I am dealing with pensions right now in Belgrade, for those from Kosovo. And here I made a lot of Albanian friends, with a lot of them, well, around 500 pensions were done by me for the people. And like that, I am retired by the way, I am retired, I have 65 years, yes. So I have found a thing to do. I am into songs as well. I am trying to explore that Kosovar Serbian song. And then it’s, I find it, make new arrangements and record it.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Can you tell us about your career when you were young, you were into  music, you were part of Akordi Kosova [Kosovo Chords], all of that?

Momčilo Trajković: I was, here, this photo is from Akordi Kosova [Kosovo Chords]. Yes, that photo is from Akordi Kosova. A lot, I was working at the Executive Council of Kosovo, I was working at the Secretariat of Labor so, that is the Ministry of Labor, I was working on employing  workers abroad. Thus, that was my job. And together with Refik Agaje I, Refik Agaje, one diplomat, I don’t know if he is alive, I think that he is still alive. He is old now, maybe he is around 90, he was alive until recently. From Kamenica, from Ogošte. Otherwise, he is a great diplomat.

We were working together with the late Toma Sekulić, that was, we were a company. And he, I, Doctor Ratko Božović and one more Albanian from the Ministry, from the Secretariat for Foreign Affairs then. We were in the delegation that was going to Tripoli, where we signed the contract for hiring our medical workers in Libya. That was in ‘80. I remember, exactly then some, some savings regulation came. And we bought the tickets, prepared the luggage, but Xhavid Nimani, he was the President of Kosovo then. He heard that some delegation is going, and he is calling to reduce the number. And we were disregarded, me and this Ali, what’s, Ali was his name, right, I can’t remember it now. He removes the two of us.

And what are we going to do, let’s go to Xhavid (laughs). And we go to Xhavid. The President receives us. And like this, well, you see the saving, you see this, well, we have bought the tickets, we have really bought the tickets, prepared the bags, got vaccinated, everything. And he says,  “Go on, have a safe trip.” (laughs) There is a famous saying in Kosovo, going, “According to the clause of Xhavid Nimani.” Although it’s not in the law, it says according to the clause of Xhavid Nimani. That’s how we, Ramadan, it’s Ramadan, I and Ramadan went to this, to Libya according to the clause of Xhavid Nimani (laughs). And then, there I saw a lot of things.

I was in Garyan as well, there they were, Ramiz Sadik was working there, the employers of Ramiz Sadik. It was right in the desert. I remember that. Then we were flying with a plane from Tripoli to Benghazi, that, that summer. Here, I flew, I don’t know how many ten thousand kilometers, I was in America six times. What should I tell you? But I will never forget that flight. (laughs) Everything was the opposite from how we do things, I am not a racist, but those who were carrying bags, who are carrying the bags here are driving there (laughs). And there and those who would drive here, I mean control, there they are carrying the bags, you know. It’s horrible, incredible.

For the first time, I went out in the world to see, and then everything was different for me. And then I was, I was. Selim is the author, Selim and one Snežana, our colleague Hadžibulić, are the authors of the Law of the Working Relations of Kosovo. At that time and I was the author of the Law of Employment in Kosovo. Thus, here as well I contributed to Kosovo. Then the Federal, the Federal Government was then of Yugoslavia and we went there, we were educated there. In Belgrade. Selim and I are sitting in the train, maybe a bit later the plane arrived. There was a plane for a while, Pristina, Belgrade – Pristina.

But the train, you sit at eleven in the evening, at then to eleven, at ten thirty, and in the morning you arrive there at five. It was very, very, very interesting, it was very interesting. And I was, I was, I have, like I have around ten videos, did them in Pristina, of my own. In the greatest light I recorded with the orchestra of Isak Muqolli. Those are preeminent musicians. But there is, there was something that I didn’t like. Those arrangements were Albanian. And when the music was in question, hardly anyone can escape their own. So, there is a certain number of songs, not only me, but also the others who were recording, you have the Albanian arrangements for Serbian music.

Only they were sung in Serbian, it was an incredible assimilation. And when I came to that position, when I was the Secretary of the Committee, I was in charge of Radio Pristina. As, as a politician for a party in Pristina. And then I only used my power to ask for one Serbian orchestra to be formed. Since there was Turkish, there was this, Albanian, Albanian was playing Serbian and Albanian. And then I was asking for it and I succeeded and that Serbian orchestra was formed.

Then when I was, the Serbian orchestra was formed and there I met  wonderful people who helped and so, they are no longer, journalists…

Erëmirë Krasniqi: And what kind of songs were you singing? You were recording that as well?

Momčilo Trajković: Well Kosovar, old Kosovar songs. Yes, yes, old Kosovar songs.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Do you still have the recordings?

Momčilo Trajković: I only have one recording from Radio Pristina. Now when I have published, I have published my CD, you see that peony? {explains with a look where it is} Well that is, that is, I had a concert here.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: (laughs)

Momčilo Trajković: Three months ago, yes. I had my concert. Four hundred people, full hall. I was, I will play it for you now, here you come, come to see it, good, then later. Like, so, came in, went and sang, for two and a half hours, no one moved. I but okay, they could have whistled, I invited them. You can whistle, no one whistled, they were all applauding, and everyone was extremely satisfied. Still today, they are talking about that concert. And many don’t know that I am into this. I am preparing a concert in Belgrade now, at Kombank Hall.

It’s a former trade union hall, one thousand five hundred people. I am preparing, today we have started making some preparations. The fourth of May, the fourth of May, so in three months. I will, I will be having a concert in Belgrade, here the way I am, I am going there to, to sing. I am, I am not a professional but I have, what I know to do, I will do it and I will have guests, I will have, it will be. It is going to be a Kosovar song in, in Belgrade. “Kosovar nostalgia” that’s how it’s called, and that is, for me generally, I see the comments. I share it on Facebook, people are delighted, to no one, no one, one only [told me] something just by the way…

Everyone and thousands of comments, “If only there were such politicians who are normal people” you know what, and then me, then that concert of mine is not only classical singing but there is also a conversation, a story. For each song I tell how did I come about it. The first question there “How come” says, “politics and music?” That is the first question. What [are] the relationships? Well I have relations, there is, there is one great, famous, old Chinese philosopher, Confucius wrote about that. There is, he wrote one tract about politics and music. He, he found common things between music and politics, and what are the common things?

Both of them captivate people, in captivating people, but not in the negative sense you know. And like that and then I begin. My father used to sing, he was teaching me, he was teaching. He takes, he, when he comes back from, from the field, somewhere here was that, somewhere {points in the direction} around here was that room. He puts me on his lap, puts me {dabs his knee} and now he was teaching me how to sing Albanian songs as well. I can sing an Albanian song: Ani more nuse, ani qafë gastare/ a po doni rruza, a po doni pare  [O bride with a well rounded neck/ do you want pearls, do you want gold] or the one: une dola me ni bashqe, me ni lule [I came out in the garden, with a flower] and so on. Or that one, I love so much and I loved it a lot, I hear that, that Bicuri was murdered, Esat Bicuri. O zambaku i Prizrenit, aman, man, amane… aman, aman… [O Prizren lily, heavenly] and like that, or Ylfete Rafuna, I was is singing with Ylfete Rafuna, I don’t know if you have heard of Ylfete Rafuna? She is young, well now is older, she is in America. We were singing together at Jed Club.

[Interview got interrupted due to technical difficulties]


And then we were representing Kosovo in Niš, we were singing together in Niš. And Granit Miftari, opera, he was a producer, Granit Miftari, Granit Miftari, he was a producer at Radio Pristina. Otherwise and opera singer. He is with, I don’t know, I haven’t seen him for a long time.

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Tell us about your traditional songs, what are they about?

Momčilo Trajković: Well, what here, I have one broadcast, a lot of Kosovar and Serbian songs were taken over by others. For example, Vranje, one of the best singers of Serbian songs is Staniša Stošić. I don’t know whether you have heard of him, you haven’t heard? He died. Otherwise, [he] recorded two Kosovar songs, and they have become songs from Vranje. I am recording that now and making them Kosovar again. For example, A kude si bila mori Karakoco [And where were you Karakoco], that is one beautiful song, I recorded it for Radio Pristina. Like, and Stošić recorded it, and by the way Karakoca is from Gnjilane, it’s a song from Gnjilane. She lived in Gnjilane until ‘37 and this one since he is from Vranje and since he is a great singer, he records it. And they are saying it’s a song from Vranje.

Further on, he also recorded Sinoćke te vide lele Zone [I saw you yesterday lele Zona], it’s one, there is a movie about Zona Zamfirova, there is a movie as well, Zdravko Šotra directed it. And, here, that Zona, Zona was, Zona, Stevan Sremac is a famous Serbian author, he was writing. And here, he heard of Zona in Pristina when he was staying with Branislav Nušić as a guest. Branislav Nušić was a consul, a Serbian consul in Pristina. And when Stevan Sremac, also a great writer came to him, they were like, talking. He told him a story about that Zona about that beautiful woman from Pristina, who was living there and her whole fate. And he wrote a play about her. And now they have made a movie.

And in that play there is a song Zona Zamfirova, but since Staniša Stošić is from Vranje, he recorded it and later it was, someone says it’s from Niš, someone says it’s from Vranje, and it’s actually a Kosovar Serbian song from Pristina. And there is an anecdote, I have recently read about that Zona, she later left, left to live in Prizren, and I don’t know, her husband died there, and from there she went to Belgrade and she died in Belgrade, I don’t know, before the First, Second World War. By the way, that was really a beautiful women. And that is, that is what I am doing. I am trying, still trying to those, there is so called Serbian singing in our culture, you sing it during slava.

There is almost no music there, there bato [brother] songs are going and now for example I took a song and made it into a new arrangement, new, new rhythm, and now that is, one song that I have made now, it’s called Sinoć konji ne dođoše. [The horses didn’t come yesterday] And it’s about, describes a destiny of a beautiful girl, of an owner’s daughter who fell in love with a servant, Stojan. That Stojan was taking care of the cows, of the horses, plowing, sowing and in the evening when he came, he let the horses go and went home. And she was always following him, owner’s daughter, she was following him. When he comes, he was a beautiful boy, she is looking, and everything was like that.

One night no Stojan, no horses, no one was there. He went home poor guy, those sofra[2] you know, we have that and that old Albanians were, that is, and we have it, those sofra. And the poor guy there, a little bit of bread, salt, he was eating and she came looking for him. And when she came under the window she saw him.

They are all having a dinner, he is not having a dinner, he played kaval,[3] you know what kaval is? He is making a kaval, working to, to get married. Getting ready to get married, to catch a girl and, in that way, have offspring. I made that song, and that is now the most popular song. Extremely, I don’t know which, in two-three days around 30 thousand people have listened to that song.

Yes, so, I say that. With that, I am into that, trying to, to leave something behind me something like this, yes. Then I did this, this song about Stojan from the Šar Mountain, that is a song, here it is [plays a song]. About Stojan from Šhar Mountain, this is a song from the Turkish period. We have the arrangements transferred to this time, so that Stojan is actually every Serb, Stojan from Šar Mountain is every Serb who is living in Kosovo today and who had to leave. But when one Albanian friend of mine was listening to this, he started crying. Because he could, this Stojan could be named Rifat as well or I don’t know what his name can be. [Song still playing in the background] I am singing this. There is a video clip, here, there is a video clip.

Yes, well that is our, that is our destiny, our common destiny. And I am saying, when he was listening, he, the man started crying. What was it he says, he found himself here, he found himself. And here that is, that is what I do and that is where I find pleasure. And I am able to, to go and stand in front of thousands of people and sing. I don’t have stage fright, that is good, I don’t have stage fright. Like I am talking with you now, I can stand in front of thousands of people, I wouldn’t  care because I know that I will do what I want to do in a decent way. The things I do as an amateur, that is not, many professionals cannot do it. Considering this, why not?

Erëmirë Krasniqi: Thank you very much. Do you have something to say for the end?

Momčilo Trajković: Well I, I am, I am an untold story (laughs). I can’t, I don’t know, I have lived so much, I have lived for so long, remind me. Oh yes, I told you, what was it Orahovac something. Now I’ll, now we’ll this Orahovac, Orahovac, what did I want with Orahovac… I forgot, a moment ago I said Orahovac.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Yes, yes, but I don’t know why, why did you, why?

Erëmirë Krasniqi: It was recently with your father?

Momčilo Trajković: No, not with my father. It has to do, yes, this, when I had started to talk and finished. When I was under the window of the house of Ramush Haradinaj, after the war. And when we were shooting that broadcast, with this journalist. With my Albanian, I break through (laughs) below the house in, in Glođane. We went there and we recorded everything, we recorded everything. And poor guy, he died afterwards and that recording I can’t find it now. I was telling Ramush, Ramush called me once to go to him, I went. To his office there, where his party is.

And I am telling him, and saying, “Just to let you know, let me tell you some details.” And I tell him the details. Where his house is, where I arrived, no one asked me. “If I had had a bomb, I could have (laughs) thrown the bomb and you are gone.” He is laughing and says, he was speaking Serbian, says, “How do I speak Serbian?” I said, “Excellent, four.”[4] And now he says, “How come excellent, four?” “Four for the knowledge, and excellent because you are trying.” (laughs) To me, let me tell you, one of the few politicians, people, who is trying, the others won’t.

Thaçi, for example, he doesn’t want to speak Serbian, doesn’t want to. I talked to him a hundred times. Let me tell you this as well, when after the war I was, the Americans called us in, in Budapest. Albanians and Serbs, politicians, to talk. The Bishop and I went and Father Sava Janjić, and there were Ibrahim Rugova, Ramush, Thaçi, Ske… this Surroi and a certain number. We had a roundtable for the first time, Americans, they want the points, you know. And we finished the talks and now, Alen Kasov was the leader of that Karnegi Foundation. He died, poor guy.

[He] says, “Would you accept  going to the press conference now?” And a lot of journalists, because it’s happening right after the war, Serbia is relocating Albanians. I said, “I want [to go].” We go there, we sit down. Rugova next to me, Thaçi at the end, I was more comfortable sitting next to Rugova, I respect Rugova more than this one, you know. And Kasov on this side. And Kasov is opening the conference, they are starting. And the first question for me one, this one that is now a correspondent from Belgrade, what is his name, was it from Kohe Ditore, what is his name?

Kaltrina Krasniqi: There are several.

Momčilo Trajković: One, speaks excellent Serbian. He was now on the, when Vučić came and he posed a question. And he says to me, the first question to me, says, “Mister Trajković, how will you come back home when they see you sitting with Ibrahim Rugova?” My brain was working fast, so I said, “You know what, if Mister Rugova as well.” It was hard for him, now I feel sorry, after that, I felt sorry for saying that to him, but I had to save myself, “If Milošević was able to talk with Mister Rugova, why wouldn’t I be able to talk with my neighbor Ibrahim Rugova?” (laughs)

There are a lot of those anecdotes, but what was this for Orahovac I can’t remember, but it was something interesting.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: Thank you very much.

Momčilo Trajković: You are welcome. I am 69-year-old man so I remember well.

Kaltrina Krasniqi: It was interesting. It was really a pleasure.

Momčilo Trajković: It was a pleasure talking to you as well, and if you need some more, I am ready to like this, to devote as much time as you want, in order for you to be, for everything to be just right.

[1] Exclamation expressing sorrow or pain.

[2] Low round table for people to gather at communal dinners, sitting on the floor.

[3] Kaval is a traditional woodwind instrument, common to the Balkans and Turkey.

[4] Grade B on an A-F scale (Five-0)

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