© 2002 Friends of Bosnia  

Fortuna and Hana
Fortuna and Hana, aged 13 and 17, could have been teenagers in the U.S.: going to school; concerned about clothes, rock bands, boys, and their future; and spending hours in internet cafés. Their house was the nicest we had seen in Pristina—it, too, could have been in an upper middle class neighborhood in the U.S. Their father was a former diplomat, but now works at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments. Their mother is a medical researcher.

But what makes Fortuna and Hana different from suburban U.S. kids is that they lived in Pristina throughout the war and bear deep emotional scars.

Fortuna told us about returning to their apartment shortly after the war began. “When we came back here, I cannot describe that day, it was so awful. It was like you were in the darkness and someone shut your door, and no light, nothing. It was a terrible feeling. We knew they were bombing somewhere. At one moment I looked in my parents’ eyes. I cannot describe because I am young, I survived the war. That feeling I cannot describe. We are alive. I was young and I wanted to live. I didn’t want to die.”

Hana recounted the day that the war ended on June 14, 1999. “I went to have a bath. I told my mother to heat water. I started washing myself. I heard helicopters. I went out with wet hair. Apache helicopters came here. It was so good. They came with trucks. We saw children give flowers, soldiers hugging children. Children of three years screaming. It was so crowded. We were all hiding before. Now everybody was outside. We knew from news that the war has ended.”

Then Fortuna said, “The Serbs shot at four guys. We ran and see young bodies lying in the road. I see KFOR soldiers running away. One family, four dead bodies. You cannot imagine. Mother keeps sons for three months. Serbs kill them.”