This open letter is a response to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and the Government of Kosovo’s failure to deal with the female Albanian war victims over the past eighteen years.
During the Second World War the well-known Norwegian author Arnulf Øverland (1889-1968) wrote what would probably become his most known poem “Dare not to sleep!”, part of which goes like this:
“You oughtn’t abide, sitting calm in your home
Saying: Dismal it is, poor they are, and alone
You cannot permit it! You dare not, at all.
Accepting that outrage on all else may fall!
I cry with the final gasps of my breath:
You dare not repose, nor stand and forget.”
The quote above can be applied to the situation that the sexually abused female war victims face today. Eighteen years have passed since the end of the war and nothing tangible has been done for the registered group of female war victims. Due to the patriarchal society they live in and the dehumanized attitude towards them, the sexually abused female victims of the war have been treated in a degrading manner. Fully aware of this, the politicians have done next to nothing since the war ended to bring forth economical relief for these women and their children.
The concern of the war rape victims is the never-changing trend of dragging the process of allocating their deserved pension. Minister Reçica has recently told the media that “these persons will earn the right to get a pension after their applications are processed.” The current minister along with his predecessors in former governments in the past eighteen years has done nothing but made empty promises to these women. These victims suffer additional pain inflicted upon them by the ignorant and indifferent behaviour of the politicians in the government.
This total lack of equal rights for women over the last eighteen years seems to continue, while politicians themselves have benefitted over and over again from the help of Western countries who made it possible for them to hold high positions in society. One of the conditions for occupying these positions is the implication of equal rights for all citizens regardless of gender. Equality for women seems to be absent from Kosovo. The idea of appointing yet another new commission for the cases of the raped female victims of the war will in fact be just a new form molestation for them. The group of 423 women have already been interviewed and examined by doctors and hospitals. Why is there a need for “processing of applications” again? We all know that time is not on the side of these poor victims because they are literally dying due to poor living conditions. But I am afraid that this is exactly what the politicians want. They just want to buy time with yet another promise.
This is nothing but a “historic decision” as Feride Rushiti from the Kosovo Rehabilitation Center of Tortured Victims called it. “Though we have been patiently waiting for 18 years for this, we have definitely not waited for 18 years for this disgraceful amount the victims are offered.”
The Government must know that with this “solution” they will never make up for the years that have already gone by; they will never make up for all the pain and suffering of those victims.
My advice is that you treat these victims with fearful respect, don’t try to hide your shame behind the ridiculous amount you have chosen to give.
Immediate solution needed.
I have earlier recommended an immediate interim war pension of €500 per month until the politicians find time to make a decision about the weakest of the war victims. If some politicians should think that this amount is too much, I can assure them that it isn’t. Not only were these women raped during the conflict they were also exposed to other forms of criminal war crimes. They are the real heroes! They are the living martyrs of the crimes committed by the Serbian regime!