Enclave

Since the end of the Second World War, the ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo had grown until reach 90 per cent of the population in the eighties, due to the high birth rate of the Albanians and the flight of Serbian families towards the north, harassed by the Albanian Kosovo independence guerrilla of the UÇK.

After the end of the war, the security and stability of the area was entrusted to KFOR. Despite this, acts of revenge were carried out by Albanians against the Serbian community, causing the outflows of  people affected towards the north of the Ibar river in the Kosovo province of Metohia and towards Serbia. Other groups of Serbs formed enclaves in some areas of the country.

There are two kinds of Serbian enclaves; small cities like Gracanica or Strpce where life is comfortable and quiet, and small communities that live like ghettos surrounded by Kosovo Albanians. Those enclaves are like independent islands that live with their backs to Kosovo, do not recognize Kosovo as a country and live in an administrative limbo receiving little aid from Belgrade. The conflicts with their Albanian neighbors affects the survival economy of the families, theft of tractors and agricultural machines and slaughter of cattle are frequent.

 

In the enclaves, there is a real economy that allows meet basic needs (food and housing) but there are real survival problems. It is difficult to find anything because, except small shops with food and basic products, there are no specialized stores. It is usually an adventure to buy furniture, clothes, household products.... and more serious, visit the doctor, buy medicines, give birth if there are complications. Some children must to be transferred to Italy to carry out major surgery or simple vision checks. The simple fact of being celiac becomes a very serious problem of survival.

 

For the little ones, life is simpler, they play in the street with their friends and go to school, the difficulties come when adolescence approaches, when they show a deep sense of isolation towards their roots. Serbia, the homeland of its language and culture, is seen far away on television, in sports championships, contests, culturally orphans living in a land officially inhabited by another ethnic group that also professes another religion, the Muslim. Various organizations, such as  “Solidadridad Kosovo “the Red Cross or the Serbian Orthodox Church, are concerned about fill these gaps, organizing summer camps and trips so they can see that there is a horizon out there, that there is another world outside the ghetto.

In the drawings made by children in workshops given by NGOs, there is a very high percentage of Serbian flags, desiring to be recognized as members of a community in which they do not live. They can not afford to have dreams when they ask them what they want to be, because everything they can see, do, explore, remains inside  the enclave.

 

The current situation, nearly 10 years after the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo, has nothing to do with that of a decade ago. The Serbs of the enclaves no longer need the escort of the KFOR soldiers to go shopping in the northern part or to sell their agricultural products. Even so the Serbs of the enclaves accuse the Kosovars of frequent robberies and the Kosovar police of doing nothing to remedy the situation. The ethnic conflict is paused waiting for a spark like the one in 2004 to make the country burn again.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Velika Hoca - Since the end of the Second World War, the ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo had grown until reach 90 per cent of the population in the eighties, due to the high birth rate of the Albanians and the flight of Serbian families towards the north, harassed by the Albanian Kosovo independence guerrilla of the UÇK. After the end of the war, the security and stability of the area was entrusted to KFOR.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Collective Center in Gracanica - Life in this place is specially hard. There are 22 families living in tents of less than twenty square meters, some since 2004. They are families who are trapped without economic possibilities of access to proper housing and without families who can host them in Serbia.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Collective Center in Gracanica -People live in containers less 20square meters. The families here are living below the poverty line and without any opportunities for improvement. Most of them are retired and receive pensions from Serbia and kosovo, but not enough for improve their situation.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Kosovo-Metohia - Mitrovica - North - "Because there is no return". Mitrovica is divided by the Ibar river. The northern part is inhabited by Serbs, it is the place where the ethnic conflict is most latent. The inhabitants of the enclaves remove the license plates of their Serbian cars to cross to the Albanian side.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Kosovo-Metohia - Mitrovica - North - "Kosovo is Serbia, Crimea is Russia" Russia is historically Serbia's biggest ally and one of the countries that does not recognize the independence of Kosovo and has banned its entry into the UN.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Nedakovac - Kosovo Polje - After the war, there were differents acts of revenge where Kosovars destroyed several serbs houses. This is why there are no serb families outside enclaves.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Orahovac - The enclave of Orahovac (Rahovec in Albanian) is located in the upper part of the city. It looks like a ghetto with abandoned houses and neglected streets inhabited by Serbs and Roma people.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Pec - Visoki Dechani Monastery - KFOR -There ara about 4000 soldiers from KFOR at Kososvo, divide into 2 sector the eastern and the western one. From january, Mr Antonio Bernardo and his soldiers, from italian , are protecting the monastery. Now, its a quiet place but they still because is a vulnerable place

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Pec - Visoki Dechani Monastery

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Pec - Visoki Dechani Monastery - The Visoki Dechani monastery is the most important of the Serbian culture. It is inhabited by Orthodox monks and guarded by KFOR forces to prevent attacks such as those that have occurred in the past by Albanians. The Serbs come at least once a year on a pilgrimage. Isa is Serbian and changed Kosovo to Milan where her family moved after the war. Go twice a year on a pilgrimage to the monastery.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Pec - Visoki Dechani Monastery - Bosco lives in the monastery since he had to leave his home in Pech. He is thinking about going back to it, which would make him the only Serbian inhabitant in a city of approximately 60,000 inhabitants.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Vucitrn Town - Monastery ortdox damaged after the war. Vucitrn Town is not a enclave, is an albanian town. There are only 2 serbs in this town, the priest and his wife, both lives at the monastery Just at the entrance , a kosovar police is protecting the monastery. After the war, most of the Orthodox churches were attacked and burned, losing a rich cultural heritage of the country.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Ugljare - The Serbian cemeteries are separated from the Albanians. The cemetery of Ugljare is several kilometers from the enclave and it is necessary to go by car. In the photo, a relative fulfills the Serbian custom of sharing food and drink with the deceased forty days after his death.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Kosovo Polje - Andelkovic Stanija. 78 years old. She had one son who lives in Nis. She is surrounded by albanians, she doesnt want to sell her house, she was born here and here wants to live. She is proud after her photograph angry with Solana was at the coverpage of a serb newspaper in March 2004.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Cirkus Miskyn. The monastery of Visoki Dechani promotes this school of circus for the children of the Velika Hoca enclave and during the summer with Italian volunteers. For most of them, there is no option to leave the enclave even in summer and with this activity they try to teach that there is a horizon, that there is another world outside the ghetto. It is a pretext to give them messages about nonviolence, gender equality, conflict resolution and multiculturalism, something they can hardly s

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Velji Breg - Kosovo-Metohia - Velji Breg is a village located in the north of Kosovo, on the Serbian side. Here the biggest problem is the economic one due to the lack of employment. In the photo, the oldest son of Milobranka Milivojevic, Milobranka has been widowed and has three children. The NGO Kosovo Solidarity has given them aid in the form of school materials to prevent the eldest son from leaving school to work. The family is waiting to receive help from the Serbian government.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Potkomlje - Leposavic - Miladinovic Pera, 50 years old. She lives with her 6 chidren at a container, after her house burnt. Her husband died 3 years ago after a heart attack he shunk into the Ibar river. Her small son is 10 yaers old. She had 10 children , one died and 3 of them live in Leposavic. She receives 90 euros per month as a help (60% of salary of her husband) She is waiting until 65, when the goverment of Kosovo will give her a high pension. She uses to work at the field and has a cow.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Kosovo-Metohia - Leposavic - League match between teams formed by Serbs. They never go out to play Albanian territory

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Susice - Strpce - Radovan Famimy. Susice is a small enclave located on the top of a mountain that lives from livestock. The girl in the photo is one of the thirteen daughters of the Radovan family. Their children leave the enclave as they grow up and the rest of the family lives on the help of the Serbian and Kosovar government because their father is unemployed.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Velika Hoca - Savelic Novica. 57 years old. He has 4 children an he is unemployed. At 1998, befor the war, he and his brother suffered an attack from members of UCK while they were cutting wood at the forest, he could escape after bitting and hrting but his brother was kidnup??? and he is still missing. He feels so sad when he talks about the incident.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Velika Hoca - Savelic Novica. 57 years old. He has 4 children an he is unemployed. At 1998, befor the war, he and his brother suffered an attack from members of UCK while they were cutting wood at the forest, he could escape after bitting and hrting but his brother was kidnup??? and he is still missing. He feels so sad when he talks about the incident.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Priluzije - Vucitrn - "Road and water traffic - Serbia and Montenegro map including Kosovo - Montenegro separated from Serbia on May 21, 2006 The Serbian system is followed in the schools of the enclaves.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Susice - Strpce - Primary school. In the schools the teaching is in Serbian; in enclaves like Susice's there are five children distributed in two classrooms by ages ranging from 7 to 10 years. Then they have to go to the secondary school in Strpce (15 km) and then to the Serbian university of Mitrovica or Belgrade.Children from 7 to 10 yaers old. In this village there are 50 children

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Novo Brdo - Dragan Siojanovic. Branch Secretary of Red Cross. The village is multiethnic, 70% are serbs. On 13 sept at 7 pm 20 police from ROSU went to his house with a House Search Certificate. They were searching for weapons or illegal things. He only was doing a distribution list of benefactors, so the police take all the papaers and give him a citation for the next morning at the court. It was estresfull for he and his family.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Gojbulja - The inhabitants of the enclaves where there are no young people are aware that they are the last generation of Serbs who will live in the area.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Gojbulja - The inhabitants of the enclaves where there are no young people are aware that they are the last generation of Serbs who will live in the area.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Gojbulja - Bratislav Kostic. 57 years old. No more than 100 inhabitants. He works in a manufactured near from the village, no he is umemployment, and only works on the ground. There are only 10 children at schhol. A albanian men has bougth a house just at the center of the village, he has 9 children and two wifes. There are too may people who are selling their houses, because they live under pressure.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

The people of Gojbulja are divided, one part for the Serbs and the other for the Albanians. An Albanian has been installed in a house in the middle of the Serbian area and they call it provocation. In most of the enclaves there are houses of inhabitants who can not stand the living conditions and leave their homes. No Serb wants to come and live here and the abandoned houses end up collapsing.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Susice - Strpce - Susice It is a small enclave in the mountains near the great enclave of Strpce. Kocinac Lusin is from Armenia and is married with a man of this village.She gives the first assistance to sick people in a small medical dispensary; for major health diaseases; they need to go to Strpce.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Priluzije - Vucitrn - Far away from the big enclaves, leisure options are few. Coffe shops are the most important social meeting place.

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Velika Hoca has about 500 inhabitants. The photo was taken on the opening day of this bar, the only one until this year dedicated to the leisure of young people

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Small bar in Velika Hoca. Until recently the only meeting place in the village

Serbian enclaves in Kosovo

Mitrovica

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