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The Land calling me back

Once upon a time I used to walk down the streets of the former Republic of Yugoslavia. That is where I was born, that is where I lived untill the age of 12. I do not live there anymore, I became a refugee because of the political persecution upon Kosovoalbanians. Now I live in Sweden. What does Sweden mean to me? The answer is everything. I have found my home here, a place where I belong. But the shadows of my past keep hunting me, someteimes at night I hear voices calling me back. They are forcing me to remember.
What do I remember? I remember the fear, the darkness, the shadows of the enemies dressed as millitaries with their weapons in their hands. I also remember how the green grass turned into black, how the trees had fallen, how the stars became the only source of light in my heart, how my neighbours stared at me and my family. Why did a country where I was born turn into a grave? Why did a country where I was born persecute me and my family and why did it take away my childhood? Why did it make me grow up too fast when all I wanted was to be a child, to walk down the streets and see the green grass, watch the trees growing, see the
sun and admire the moon? Why did a country where I was born turn me into a prisoner? I will tell you why: because there was a leader who did not care about the children, women, minorities, the weak ones. He did not care that the only way for a child to survive was to leave the country and become a refugee. And that is what I did. I moved to Sweden, and now, so many years later I am finally free. I had to forgive, in order to survive but I will not forget. As I am writting this, breathing in the fresh air of Swedish democracy, I can say that I am free thanks to my abillity to forgive. But the reason why I will not forget is that it is exactly those memories of those streets where I used to walk as a child that make me go on, speak out...


malayapinas's picture

Courage and Hope

Dear Drita,

I was touched by your story! I feel how you feel being a persecuted and violently displaced form your native land. But looking back in the past and the people left behind , they need strong women, strong leaders that will bring them courage and hope to live as a people, free from persecution and violence,

Wishing you all the best and more power to you!


efe's picture

how it must have hurt

I am really sorry that you had to go through all that at such a tender age but i admire you for your ability to forgive and move on. You are a good definition of a real woman

jap21's picture

Hi Drita

Peace indeed, starts in our hearts. I hear your voice loud and clear. I feel a very deep sorrow about Yugoslavia, as I had friends from there who showed me people can look at war from different angles and justify the unjustifiable. Their voices wanted to make me change my mind about non violence, they said violence sometimes is necessary.

No matter what the objective is, I learned from my own and very sad experience that we must stand up against the use of violence to get anything. Nothing is worth being violent. I do not believe in armed revolutions. I do not believe in beating someone at home.

I don't believe in violence because I have been there. And just like you, I run away from it. I believe that no one has the right to impose their will unto others. I believe non violent behavior is different than just peaceful behavior, as it makes us assertive in the aquisition of peace where it needs to begin: in our hearts, ... and our homes.

I am so thankful that you wrote this, so that women all over the world can hear you and open their eyes to the uselessness of violence, and when they do that, hopefully they will stand up strong and act decisively to change their surroundings into non violent ones.

With appreciation,


Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

jodelight's picture

Dear Drita, I was filled with

Dear Drita,

I was filled with so many emotions when I read your entry. You write of the sadness and devastation of the land you were born on. I feel such sadness when I hear your voice telling the story of the day turning to night...of the grass turning to black...of children fearing for their lives, while a war rages on.
I thank you for your words and your courage to not forget, but to use your memories to work to make this world a better place. Keep doing what you are doing.
Thank you for sharing, you words are powerful.


Nusrat Ara's picture

A wonderful and heart

A wonderful and heart touching post. And it is really great that you have forgiven yet not forgotten. Very few people can do that. Hope to hear more from you esp about your projects.



Dear Drita,
Powerful piece!!

I could feel the suffering that you experienced and it made me think about our leaders. It made me question whether they lead to oppress the weak or to grow their bellies at the expence of the weak.

I guess memories of your birth places will always stay with you. WOuld you want to visit your birth place again?


Fawzia's picture


congratulations Drita, yes your story is a wonderful one and deserves to win. Your land is proud of you now.... you are a shining like a star, I am listening to "Hero" for Mariah carey at the moment, and you are a Hero now :
"There's a hero,
If you look inside your heart,
You don't have to be afraid of what you are,
There's an answer,
If you reach into your soul,
And the sorrow that you know will melt away"
keep going on, the road is opened to you, I feel what you feel; I am also a refugee; a Palestinian refugee but I don't live in a privileged life, and I dream of returning back to my land even if it is like grave, I will be born again once I am back to my homeland and I will built it again with my love.

Much love, peace and respect

Ammoura, Fawzia

Cara Lopez Lee's picture

So Personal

Thank you Drita, for giving such a beautiful voice to refugees everywhere, people driven from their homelands and deprived of a childhood. The confusion, anger, loss, and ultimately the forgiveness you have felt all came through with your straightforward and eloquent words. I'm so sorry for all you've lost, and admire the strength you've gained, and am grateful that you are sharing that strength to impact the world.

Congratulations on winning the story contest,

How terrible have to be, remembering places where you spent in happiness a part of your life, then transformed by hatred in something you can't even acknowledge.

I wish your words are read by so many people all around the world.

Even those who, as you say, don't care, and kill, or invite others doing.
And even those who buy in hatred, ready to see in others just "enemies" without even knowing them.

And, I wish you can continue thriving. I've visited Sweden for just a couple days, on a business travel. You're right: it's a wondrous place, with so many wonderful people. It is not a "might be" place: it is...

Thank you very much for your beautiful thoughts.
And, congratulations!


efe's picture


i commended your work earlier.Shows i have good taste.congrats girl!

its really a tough task to bear all those thingas that happened to y ou. but u faced it with a great courage.
So all the best for upcoming days.

With lots of love
Sangita Thapa Magar

sunita.basnet's picture


Congratulation. Yeah I can understand the fear of darkness and the shadows especially when we have to live as a refugee. Keep raising your voice, we are here to hear your powerful voice.

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

Dy's picture

never lose that voice

its good that you forgave, but we can never afford to forget - never lose your strong voice because that coupled with your amazing, sincere writing, is what you need to preach!


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