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A fortnight dedicated to the Missing Persons from the last war in Kosovo

Kosovo’s National Day of Missing Persons

The 27th of April is Kosovo’s National Day of Missing Persons. This day commemorates the 1,644 people who are still unaccounted for since the last war in Kosovo and its aftermath. More than twenty years on, their surviving family members still have no news about the fates of their missing relatives.

A fortnight dedicated to the Missing Persons from the last war in Kosovo 1
© Korab Krasniqi

In the lead up to Kosovo Missing Persons Day, forumZFD Kosovo dedicated a fortnight to missing persons, to raise public awareness, to honor family members of the wartime missing, to highlight civil activities and commemorations, as well as the lack of political action taken so far to address this issue. Particularly important at this time, as we face cancelled public ceremonies due to the current covid-19 pandemic. 

© Korab Krasniqi

 
The 2-week event included the publishing of ten (10) oral histories with families of the wartime missing in the daily newspaper Koha Ditore and on the news portal koha.net, each weekday from 14th to 27th of April 2020, and the broadcasting of four (4) video-exhibitions on KTV-Kohavision on 27th of April, at 22.30h. The oral histories are taken from the memory book 'Living with memories of the missing’, and the short video-exhibitions showcase the stories and lives of 4 families of the wartime missing. The memory book and video-exhibitions are initiatives from 2018/19, implemented in a partnership between forumZFD Kosovo, Integra and Missing Persons Resource Centre.

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© Kushtrim Koliqi

Simultaneously, a frontpage banner (subpage) was designed and built on the dealing with the past website (dwp-balkan.org), containing all oral histories with family members of the wartime missing - in Albanian, Serbian and English (available online until mid-May 2020).

© Milky Way Design

 
In order to reach broader audiences and visibility, the strategy of the 2-week initiative was to share the ten (10) oral histories after they were published on Koha.net (in Albanian), one per working day, on the forumZFD - Kosovo Program Facebook page, and to follow up with sharing the same stories in Serbian and English from the dealing with the past website subpage. On the first day of the fortnight, the 13th of April, 2020, and the two subsequent weekend, we also shared blogs and selected articles from Balkan.Perspectives, a forumZFD-produced regional magazine focusing on dealing with the past, specifically Issue#12: ‘Hide and Seek - The politics of searching for our missing’

To increase the visibility of the initiative further and to build the anticipation of public, forumZFD representatives had a virtual TV interview with KTV-Kohavision, plus an online debate at Barcamp, which is an informal platform for social/political debate. This was a chance to both announce the initiative and elaborate on the work currently being done for missing persons and their families.
This 2-week initiative dedicated to the issue of missing persons from the last war in Kosovo was realized via a partnership between forumZFD Kosovo Program, Koha Group, Missing Persons Resource Centre and Integra.

For more articles on Dealing with the past in the western Balkans, including Balkan.Perspectives visit: dwp-balkan.org 

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