© 2002 Friends of Bosnia  

April, 1999
Crossing the border hardly meant freedom. In Macedonia, most refugees ended up at the infamous Blace “no-man’s-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 process—the 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 NATO–built 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.



  Above: Newly arrived Kosovar refugees in a NATO-built camp in Macedonia.
1) Refugees leaving Blace for buses to take them to more permanent camps.
2) These two refugees were brought to the medical tent in Blace. Neither could speak and no one knew who would look after them in the camp.
3) Elderly refugee at Kosovo/ Macedonia border in Jazince.