Crossing the border hardly meant freedom. In Macedonia, most refugees
ended up at the infamous Blace no-mans-land after
riding in packed cattle cars from Pristina. At first, there was
no food, shelter or medical care, just tens of thousands of refugees
in shock waiting outside in a muddy field while the Macedonian government
arranged to transfer them to more permanent camps. Many children
and families were separated in the processthe Macedonian police
treating them rudely and without compassion. During the next week,
plastic sheeting, food, and limited emergency medical care were
available in Blace for newly arrived refugees still being forced
out of Kosovo.
The large photos on the first two panels were
taken in a NATObuilt refugee camp. This group had just arrived.
They were all from Pristina or nearby and came through Blace before
arriving here. They asked, What was happening in Kosovo?
What will happen to us? When will we be able to
return home? No one knew the answers. If the
situation of Bosnian refugees on the other side of the Balkans was
any indication, it appeared that they would never return to their
homes. Fortunately, when the war ended in June 1999, most refugees
returned home in a period of a few weeks.