206 HAZIME | GAZI | ARITA | TUANA | NUARD
In a few years Gazi and Hazime will tell their son that he was born in Berlin. Nuard's life began in room 206 in the home of asylum seekers in Berlin-Spandau.
The village of Shtime is located between the hills in South-Eastern Kosovo. The light of the late afternoon brightens the village . Shtime is a 30 minutes bus drive away from Prishtina. Rruga Bllacaliva, the street where the Latifi family lives, is off Main Street.
"Sherije?" the man who lives in number 16 shakes his head. "Would you like a coffee?" He speaks German with a Swiss accent. The address is correct, however the front garden where we stand and the house are his. He earned the money to build the house in Switzerland, where he moved in the 1990 because of the war. Soon he will retire. Then he will go back to Kosovo. His nephew is fluent in German too with hardly any accent. The young man takes me to Sherije, Gazi's mother. He used to live in Bissingen, Bavaria. It has been a month since he came back: application for asylum turned down.
Soon everyone in Shtime will speak German.
Hazime dances. She is taller than most guests. Her hair-do Nefertiti-style makes her dominate the audience. She is gliding across the floor to greet her in-laws as the traditional wedding dance has it. There is a camera shake. Sherije, Gazi's mother, shows us the video of the wedding of Gazi and Hazime on her cellphone. We are sitting on massive beige armchairs. They felt like it could be guessed when, back in Berlin, Gazi had shown pictures of his home. Sherije has madesome coffee. She served red lemonade.
" … Application for asylum turned down as manifestly unfounded" - Hazime's beautiful face has been scarred by two years of having to wait and being tolerated./TO STAY/ – All of her thoughts revolve around the hurdle that this word poses.
Gazi is demoralized. All his attempts to find a legal job have failed due to legislation. Lack of understanding and helplessness drive him crazy. Looking crumpled due to sleep and worry, he is standing in the door of room 206, dressed in his undershirt, reckless like Jean Paul Belmondo. The hallway is viewless. Only 6-year-old Arita is looking ahead. She is scribbling down arithmetic problems only to solve them the next minute, having everyone around her revise her work. Arita starts school this year - she will not be able to take her seat at the Spandau primary school though.
Same street name, same house number. Different scenario. The second house with number 16 on the Bllacaliva street has less character than the N°16 we saw before. However, the inside is beautiful, modern. A showerhead that big was never seen before. Mentor, the family's second son has paid for the interior design. He too earned what was needed in Germany. The daughter Lulija lives in Stuttgart for seven years now - married, one child. Only the 15-year-old still lives with her parents. Yet. Krenare is too young to remember what it was like to be evacuated to Portugal during the Kosovo war together with her mother and siblings. Father and grandfather stayed behind. Shtime was under fire. After four months they came back. They were told that the war was over.
There are no sights in the city, only memorials. Gazi's father drives the taxi to the tombs of the dead of the massacre in Račak and to the woods, which at that time were the front line. Heavy marble plates cover the wounds of war. Until this very day those wounds never healed.
The parents get along in Shtime. Sherije's sewing machines are somewhat hidden between clothes in a boutique on main street, a few minutes from her house. She sews traditional costums, the clothes people wear when celebrating the hard-won identity at festivals. „Jo negociatat pavarësinë“ - "Do not negotiate independence" someone wrote on a wall.
In Shtime they know that Gazi, Hazime, Arita, Tuana and Nuard will be back in a week. Again, the house will be cramped and two beds will not be enough for eight people.
Thoughts will continue not to overcome the obstacle: TO LEAVE
Future is behind the hills.
Appendix: This was written after visiting the family in Shtime September 2, 2016. September 11, 2016 Gazi, Hazime, Arita, Tuana and Noard returned to Kosovo.