Ramadan Gjeloshi

Stari Trg | Date: May 25, 2021 | Duration: 136 minutes

We organized a second strike, ‘Either free them, or we will not get out of here alive. We will not get out of here alive!’ On October 27, ‘89, yes ‘89, on October 27, ‘89 the second strike began. […] And we went and broke the cupboards, I said, ‘Let’s go downstairs and break the cupboards there were some stairs there, maybe we will find something. When I went there, I found a kilogram, a jar, a glass jar of salt, and a jar of sugar, and we were happy we found them. We came upstairs and said, ‘We found them, and so on.’ I swear to God I often remember it, I get goosebumps, I get goosebumps like a child, ‘Give me more salt’ {opens his palm]. But that’s what kept us going, the salt, because people weakened without eating, drinking, dark, no water, we drank water from the machinery, from the ground. And we kept going with that salt for three days and three nights until… 

As long as we stayed there, on the second day, they blocked our phones, they blocked them, when they wanted to talk to us, Qazim Shala would come to talk to us, he answered the phone and said, ‘I know how many people are down there, how many workers, your names and last names, I found your documents, you are fired.’ Islam Xhafa said, ‘Director…’ his [maternal] uncles were from Vidishiq, he was from Vidishiq, ‘Uncle,’ he said, ‘Bring us a sack of break down here, we’re not asking for anything else.’ ‘There’s no bread,’ he said, ‘for terrorists.’

[…] There’s a manhole, so another elevator, Germans had built it in the past, it’s up there at Mažić {points right}. We thought someone would come down from there, but some said, ‘It rotted, it’s too old, it’s broken.’ The police got us out of there through that manhole. We thought it was too old, the Germans built it back then.


ANITA SUSURI (INTERVIEWER), KORAB KRASNIQI (INTERVIEWER), BESARTA BREZNICA (CAMERA)

Ramadan Gjeloshi was born in 1960 in Mitrovica. In 1978, Mr. Gjeloshi dropped out of high school and got a job at the coal mine in Sokobanja, Serbia. In 1989, he was arrested for joining the second Miners’ Strike, for which he was fired. During the ‘90s, he migrated to Germany with his family. He came back to Kosovo in June 1999. After the war, he continued working in Trepça, where he is still employed. Today, Mr. Gjeloshi lives in Mitrovica with his family