A Play by the Bard of Kosova’s Theatre

Mr. Haqif Mulliqi





Translated by: Shpresë Mulliqi

First scene

(The events take place in a dark cellar of a house. There is an old trunk, several chairs, and a tap with old and rusty faucets. The cellar has no windows, and in the middle, at the end of the scene, there’s a door leading to the upper part of the house. At the centre of the door the Doctor stands in silence, whereas the Policeman fills the chest with different things. They both are of a similar age.)

THE DOCTOR: (After a while) There, it’s done… Maybe you won’t need me any more… I would like to go now!

THE POLICEMAN: Is that so?

THE DOCTOR: Yes, that’s so.

THE POLICEMAN: OK then, go! Go, go!


THE DOCTOR: And, where shall I go?

(The Policeman doesn’t talk and reads the paper)

THE DOCTOR: Where will I head for?

(The Policeman goes on reading.)

THE DOCTOR: I have to go somewhere, don’t I? I can’t go on like this any more. And then, you promised you’d set me free… Maybe even today…


THE DOCTOR: Yes, indeed, indeed.


THE DOCTOR: It feels as if I’ve been here my whole life. Ever since I know of myself… And this is not God knows what… Nothing… (Pause) Aha, yes! (Pause) It’s like someone here has attempted something… Maybe he has run away. In fact, no! (A longer pause) It was me! (The Policeman watches him somewhat questionably.) I remember. Someone has attempted something here. (There are still substantial pauses between the utterances.) Yes, it was none other than me. It was me, exactly…

THE POLICEMAN: (Removing the newspaper.) Yes, it was he indeed. (With a calm tone of voice.) Save us from speeches! Tell me, was everything all right there today?

THE DOCTOR: All right?

THE POLICEMAN: Yes, I mean, can I be pleased with your work?

THE DOCTOR: I don’t know.

THE POLICEMAN: You don’t know? How come? My-my, he “doesn’t know”!… Bravo, doctor, bravo… I took you here to save you from the worst, while you tell me “I don’t know”. Fascinating, indeed…

THE DOCTOR: In fact I am not at all sure that you understand what I am saying. My language!

THE POLICEMAN: His language! My-my, his language.

THE DOCTOR: I feel bad. I am somehow sprained from within. This war, this situation is simply tormenting me entirely and….

THE POLICEMAN: (Rapidly) My-my. But of course. There’s no need to create a tragedy of your situation here, doctor, no need… After all, things flow the way they do. Others are no better than you are… Hmm, you think my situation is better than yours is? Hmm?… Easier… Rest assured it is not easier, doctor… Here my wife pregnant… After so many years… On the other side, war every day from one frontline to the other… And on top of this, an Albanian doctor in the house, a doctor who should help my wife bring my heir to this world… to this miserable world… yes, these are all on my back, and you lecture me on how sprained you are from within… how you’re not feeling well…

THE DOCTOR: But I really do not…

THE POLICEMAN: Others are in no better situation than you, doctor, rest assured of that.. But you simply have to learn to sustain your feelings, shape them… Feel differently from how you are feeling now… This I learned in school… Ha-ha… In school, in school… And, do not think that I don’t know what your opinion is on the things I am telling you about… Can you imagine: a policeman and the school… Is that what you’re thinking, doctor, is it?… Admit it…

THE DOCTOR: There is nothing to admit!

THE POLICEMAN: I know. You do it out of consideration… You don’t want to insult me… After all, you see what has got us policemen and you doctors – both sides are full of shits… In shits, doctor, in terribly stinking shits… In the shits of a septic hole, which we have dug ourselves…

THE DOCTOR: I never dug such a hole… No hole…

THE POLICEMAN: My-my… The Doctor wants to say that he is clean, while I am deep in shits… So I stink, don’t I? Hmm?

THE DOCTOR: I am not saying anything about you. I am only speaking of me… I am in shits, very deep, but without my fault…

THE POLICEMAN: While I am in shits because I deserve to be?

THE DOCTOR: I never said that.

THE POLICEMAN: But, you did say it, in a way…

THE DOCTOR: I didn’t… I am imprisoned, mister. Captured as a prisoner… I am your prisoner and I am experiencing this war differently to everyone else.

THE POLICEMAN: So you’re a prisoner here?



THE DOCTOR: Yes. I am your special, private, personal prisoner… whatever, but still a prisoner. A perfect sample of a prisoner.

THE POLICEMAN: You are no prisoner of mine here.

THE DOCTOR: I am not?

THE POLICEMAN: You’re not.

THE DOCTOR: Well if I’m not your prisoner here, then what the fuck am I?

THE POLICEMAN: You’re an idiot, that’s what you are. You’re simply an idiot. An ungrateful idiot… I took you and brought you to my house so that the policemen or the paramilitaries don’t kill you, and you tell me you’re my prisoner… You’re an idiot! That’s what you are… No, no, you’re not an idiot, you’re an arsehole… So this is the thanks I get for saving your life and feeding you here as if we were of the same blood… Get up, get out! Get out and go, if you have balls! Go!

THE DOCTOR: Go where?

THE POLICEMAN: Wherever you want. Go to hell. Go if you dare… But they will smash you… I dare you just to put your head outside the window and see what they’ll do to you… I am risking my own head here and the future of my family, and you’re talking me of being my prisoner.

THE DOCTOR: But, you took me with force and brought me here.

THE POLICEMAN: With force? With force?

THE DOCTOR: Yes. You put handcuffs on my hands, you put the machinegun against my back, and brought me here. Or, I am mistaken?

THE POLICEMAN: But I have saved you, you idiot.


THE POLICEMAN: Ah?… Ah, you say… But they would have executed you, you slimy pig… didn’t you see all those Albanians killed by the police and the paramilitaries? Didn’t you see their bodies being collected by the Gypsies?… How many of them did you recognise, how many… Tell me!

THE DOCTOR: How many? I recognised most of them…

THE POLICEMAN: Most of them…

THE DOCTOR: Maybe apart from the dead children I knew everyone else… There were even some of my relatives…


(The Doctor is silent.)

THE POLICEMAN: (Abruptly.) I said do you see?

THE DOCTOR: Do I see what?

THE POLICEMAN: Don’t you see where you would be now if I were not to put those handcuffs and bring you here? You would now be in some hole with the others. Shot with several bullets and buried by the Gypsies… And, perhaps you’ve deserved such a thing, but here… Fate brought you here. (Ironically) My personal prisoner…!!!

THE DOCTOR: Are you saying that you had mercy and saved my life because you’re a humanist?

THE POLICEMAN: Let’s say you are right!

THE DOCTOR: Ha… Excellent: a policeman and a humanist… Give me a break please; stop this nonsense, because if you continue, someday they will award you with a prize for humanity and peace…

THE POLICEMAN: Hey, stop playing smart in my house, or else… Clear?

THE DOCTOR: You arrested me not out of mercy for having known me before, but out of need, because you needed a doctor to look after your pregnant wife. After I visited her, I returned and asked to leave because I don’t think she, or even you, will need me… It’s true, isn’t it?

THE POLICEMAN: It is and it is not.

THE DOCTOR: “It is and it is not?”

THE POLICEMAN: Partly true. In fact I saved you because I knew you and then it came to my mind and I thought: OK, if I already saved this piece of shit, and since he’s a doctor. And my wife is in need of one, why not have exactly this arsehole look after her… And at that time I didn’t think you’d be this disgraceful… If I knew it would come out like this, I would never have chosen you, I’d find some other doctor… After all the city of Gjakova was full of doctors… Albanian ones, but doctors…! If I only wanted, I could have taken not one, but three doctors, just like that… Three, three… I’d bring them here and make them queue here… They would probably behave better… At least they’d be more grateful… I don’t know where I knew you from, but that day I felt as if I knew you my whole life… It was something about your face, doctor… Then, it was the way you looked at me… As if saying “please get me out of this queue and save me…” Ah, yes… You are the doctor who had examined my wife…

THE DOCTOR: Are you’re putting on a show? Pretending that’s when you first knew me…

THE POLICEMAN: It was you, I remember now… because that day you really seemed familiar to me…

THE DOCTOR: I was just about to say to you,mister Serbian policeman, please get me out of this queue full of happy and lucky people whom you are evicting from their homes, put the handcuffs on me and lock me in the cellar of your house, because I am dying to spend the reminder of my life in that cellar – tied in handcuffs or without them… I almost kneeled down to beg you to separate me from my family and bring me here…

THE POLICEMAN: (Watches him surprised) Is that so?

THE DOCTOR: Yes, it is.

THE POLICEMAN: Yes, yes, you’re right… I am guilty. Very guilty indeed… Why did I chose you, why?… I had such a wide choice… why did I not let you head for Albania and if you would survive our paramilitaries you would have crossed over to Albania… He, he, he… In Albania you would see what misery is… Our army, during World War One, has crossed through Albania, but they ended dragging up their balls to get out… Through Albania up to the Corfu… They’d be better off walking through the flames of hell than going that way… And the people we have put in queues sending them towards the border knew this… In their eyes, in their very eyes I could see the horror in them… they were terrified.

THE DOCTOR: From what was awaiting them in Albania?

THE POLICEMAN: But of course.

THE DOCTOR: Because here they were much better off.

THE POLICEMAN: Well, better.

THE DOCTOR: Yes, a paradise even.

THE POLICEMAN: Better than there.

THE DOCTOR: You are fantastic indeed.

THE POLICEMAN: But the whole world knows life’s better here than in Albania…

THE DOCTOR: So why didn’t you let the people stay here then, but pulled them out of their homes and sent them off to Albania?

THE POLICEMAN: Ah, there are so many why-s here, why this, why that, why that other thing… Blah, blah, blah…

THE DOCTOR: Why did you kill all those people: in Çabrat… by the Bus Station… at the Danay Dervish Tekke?… Hmm? I saw so many dead and massacred people on the road. So that they do not go to Albania and suffer there, is that why?

THE POLICEMAN: Please stop… my-my-my… You are a doctor, man, a gynaecologist, and why don’t you stick to your profession, but stick your nose where it does not belong, in politics and stuff… Leave it, please… Leave it and don’t make me angry because I will lose my cool… You think I brought you here to listen to your political speeches, hmm? Don’t you know I can tie you up in here just like a dog?

THE DOCTOR: Because I am a prisoner?

THE POLICEMAN: Yes, because you’re a prisoner.

THE DOCTOR: A prisoner of war, then.

THE POLICEMAN: A prisoner of shit. You are my prisoner and not a war prisoner… And, do you know that no man alive knows you are here. No man.


THE POLICEMAN: Not maybe, it’s a fact.


THE POLICEMAN: And? I just want to remind you that when I want, whenever I fucking feel like it, I can make a hole on that fucking head of yours. I can make a hole going all the way through it. You can even chose if you want it start from your forehead or your neck, or even your temple. And, you know what? No man alive in this world will hold me responsible for it. This is a war, and everything is permitted in a war. Everything. Murders, evicting people from one place to the other and even some… sex…! You know (shows him with arms.): Sex… Sex… Sexual… Sexualism… And we the Serbs are the masters of this craft… Kings of sex. It means that we the Serbs are the mother of sex in Europe… But, fortunately I am not interested in harming you…


THE DOCTOR: Until when?

THE POLICEMAN: until, until… until never… I told you: I am a policeman, but also a humanist.

THE DOCTOR: So, this means until your wife gives birth, doesn’t it?

THE POLICEMAN: Listen, I told you let this thing with my wife end, I mean, let her give me a small but brave Serbian boy, and I promise you nothing will happen to you… Understand? Nothing. The minute this is over, then if you want I will let you go… If you want, you can go to Albania… yet the responsibility for your safety there, i.e. in Albania, will be yours alone. This depends on your will and your guts. There I will not be able to come and protect you. After all, this is forbidden by international conventions, otherwise we’d be riding to Tirana by now and show our teeth to the Arnavuds of Albania because they’ve been supplying your terrorists with all those arms…




THE POLICEMAN: You will do your work with honesty,… the minute you bring my son to life, I will let you go. Let it take as much as it needs to.

THE DOCTOR: So it will take a while, then?

THE POLICEMAN: As much as it needs to. Here’s the hand… (Extends his hand)

THE DOCTOR: (does not shake his hand) This means until death!

THE POLICEMAN: You look at that! Doesn’t have a clue what I’m talking about… The fool. Until death!… And who will kill you, man, who?



THE DOCTOR: As if there is no one to do it.

THE POLICEMAN: Ah, such a poor actor you are. Dilettante. A see-through dilettante. Listening to you, I start thinking that you’ve come from Mars. Straight from Mars and landed here on our soil. Serbian soil… I don’t know why you speak like this doctor, when you are, or better, look like a very normal man. You do, indeed. You have your profession. You have your job… Your house…

THE DOCTOR: I don’t have the house any more.

THE POLICEMAN: You don’t? Why, where did it go?

THE DOCTOR: My house didn’t go anywhere, but your men burnt it with everything inside. Everything I had earned in all these years. Everything… Have you forgotten? You burned it the day you evicted everyone in our neighbourhood. The day you put handcuffs on me… and you started slaughtering an entire nation.

THE POLICEMAN: Hey, you are really asking for that bullet up your temple. Or up your arse… Who is slaughtering whom, motherfucker? Who got this fucking NATO on whose back, those motherfuckers… (Ironically) Bill Clinton… Tony Blair… Madeleine Albright… Jacques Chirac… NATO… Fuck You All… These criminals of yours are killing whoever they please whereas you are accusing us of crimes… they are even killing you Albanians… did I not tell you, the other day, that fucking NATO of yours hit a convoy of Albanians… yes, a civilian convoy, not far from Gjakova. In fact, we tried hard to defend them, but they hit – boom, and… No more. End of story… Poor Albanians… they hit them on purpose… Poor men, they had left the houses in fear of NATO bombings and they were burned by the rockets in the middle of the road… I was so sorry for them.


THE POLICEMAN: Yes, sorry.



THE DOCTOR: Maybe because you wanted to kill them yourselves.


THE DOCTOR: I mean, if NATO really killed them during the bombing, then you were sorry for not being able to quench your thirst for blood on them… You missed another perfect chance for sadism.

THE POLICEMAN: Hey, hey, you… Careful what you say! I won’t tolerate.

THE DOCTOR: Why, what will you do? Kill me?

THE POLICEMAN: In fact I tolerate, but to a certain degree. There are limits for everything… Whereas you, you are going over that limit, and every limit, more than once.

THE DOCTOR: I asked you if you’re going to kill me?

THE POLICEMAN: I told you to shut up!

THE DOCTOR: So, if I don’t shut up, you will kill me?


THE DOCTOR: Or maybe not. You will stab me. You Serbs are in fact known for having your victims stabbed and massacred with knives, rather than kill them with bullets. This was one of the orders of your kings, when you were stabbing Albanians near the town of Kumanova in 1912, when you were asked to stab Albanians and save bullets… An order! 

THE POLICEMAN: Look doctor! You are really talking a lot of bullshit.

THE DOCTOR: So this is OK, because you will be saving bullets.

THE POLICEMAN: (with growing tension) Listen doctor… (Takes out the knife and grabs doctor by his collar.)… I… What I do to the likes of you is cut their balls and stick them in their mouth! You hear me?


THE POLICEMAN: Do not provoke me!


THE POLICEMAN: I am saying this for the last time, don’t make me use this knife…

THE DOCTOR:(cold-blooded.) Otherwise?

THE POLICEMAN: Otherwise… Otherwise… (Pushes the Doctor hard, and he falls on the ground.)… Otherwise…

(Longer pause)

THE POLICEMAN: (After taking some breath.) You know I will not kill you…


THE POLICEMAN: Now we have become accustomed to one another and I cannot kill someone I know… You know this and that’s why you annoy me every time you can…


THE POLICEMAN: You know I didn’t bring you here to hurt you, don’t you…

THE DOCTOR: I know you brought me for your pregnant wife.

THE POLICEMAN: Twelve years she would not become pregnant and Saint Paraschievy wanted her to get pregnant in this bloody time… With God’s will, and your help doctor… You cured her from sterility, and this I will never forget doctor… Therefore, do not make me do something, which is not good for you or for us… Don’t… It’s war indeed, but we are people… People of flesh and blood… and blood erupts… especially in war times… You are here in this cellar… I go to fight almost every day and I don’t know if I’ll be lucky enough to return home… I don’t know if I will live to see my son… It’s my child, doctor, my child… You understand… You probably understand, doctor. You are an educated man and understand things better than the others… I myself, used to be a teacher in the village, then changed my profession: in Croatia as a paramilitary, in Bosnia as a soldier and in Kosova as a policeman… I told you doctor, a child is a child…

THE DOCTOR: And my children are not children, or are they?


THE DOCTOR: Where are my children? Where is my wife?

THE POLICEMAN: Somewhere… They’re probably somewhere.

THE DOCTOR: Somewhere?

THE POLICEMAN: Probably. They must be somewhere safe. People are always somewhere.

THE DOCTOR: You know this or you’re just saying it?

THE POLICEMAN: I think they must be somewhere safe… Perhaps they’re in Albania…

THE DOCTOR: In Albania?

THE POLICEMAN: Yes. Maybe it’s not so bad over there after all. But better there than some other place. Nowhere. Then, here it’s a war, and…

THE DOCTOR: It was you who split me from them that day.

THE POLICEMAN: That’s all I could do. After all, even if I wanted to help your family, your wife and children, I could not do that. They would kill me too. The only thing I could do was to take you and bring you here. They wouldn’t even allow for you to be taken, if they didn’t think I was going to shoot you… You see I’ve smuggled you…

(A short pause)

THE POLICEMAN: Do you remember the tall policeman who stopped us the minute I got you out of the queue? The tall one, with a cross on his chest… He was my father… He and I are in the same division. He has always been somewhat more radical… Tougher. Some call him more Serb than the others. More visionary… He asked me which one you were and I told him. “Shoot the motherfucker”, he told me. “He’s Albanian. He’ll kill your wife.” Whereas I explained to him that you saved my wife from sterility. Twelve years of sterility and suddenly pregnant in this ugly time… “Do not trust the Arnavud”, he told me, “he’ll kill your wife and child”. And, you know what… For a second, I thought of killing you there. Kill you like a dog… And I don’t know why I didn’t do it. I don’t know… Maybe I was mistaken, maybe not. I don’t know.


THE POLICEMAN: Hmm, what do you say: was I mistaken or not?


THE DOCTOR: Tell me!

THE POLICEMAN: Tell you what?

THE DOCTOR: What happened to the crowd of the displaced people?



THE POLICEMAN: What do I know?


THE DOCTOR: What were the shots that we heard little after we crossed the Tabak Bridge and went in the direction of the town.

THE POLICEMAN: (Nervous.) How should I know..

THE DOCTOR: How come you don’t know.. Didn’t you say that’s the region where you mostly fight against the Albanians? It was the unit in an ambush, wasn’t it?

THE POLICEMAN: Did I tell you that?

THE DOCTOR: Yes. And not only today. You probably said it twenty times. Maybe fifty.


THE DOCTOR: Come on say it! What happened to the people?

THE POLICEMAN: I don’t know.

THE DOCTOR: You executed them?

THE POLICEMAN: I don’t know.  I told you I don’t know.

THE DOCTOR: What happened to my people?

THE POLICEMAN: I told you I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know…

THE DOCTOR: That means they have killed them all?

THE POLICEMAN: I did not tell you that.

THE DOCTOR: Or did they go to Albania?

THE POLICEMAN: Maybe. I don’t know that either. After all, that day, when I pulled you out of that line of people I brought you here, and I did not go back to my unit…

THE DOCTOR: What about the next day?

THE POLICEMAN: What about the next day?

THE DOCTOR: Your friends told you about them the next day?

THE POLICEMAN: You are such a fool. Who on earth talks about what happened a day before during the war, dear doctor! And then we did not have time to talk about anything. NATO criminals were either watching us from the sky or hitting us with all sorts of sophisticated weapons, and you ask me about whether we had time to talk about what happened a day before.  As if I was in a history seminar and not in a war where things change every moment.


THE POLICEMAN: Then, anything is possible in a war… A man is saved when it makes no sense to be saved and killed when it makes no sense to get killed.


THE POLICEMAN: We are here now…I am not saying you should thank me, but I saved your life, that is for real… I know it for a fact… And now, you are safe and sound, thank God.  You don’t look that bad.  In a war, it is a privilege for somebody to look like you do.  Women would like you if they were to see you now.  And here you are, making this drama. This and that, them and me. But things are as they are and as we both see them.

THE DOCTOR: Bollocks. Bullshit!

THE POLICEMAN: Come on please don’t! (Pause) You don’t want us to start this little comedy of ours all over again.  If there is a mistake…

(Pause. The doctor does not rush to say anything.)


THE POLICEMAN: … that mistake is inside you. Must be. I’ve been thinking about it these days.  But… To say the truth, I did not think I would be obliged to tell you this, but you started it yourself. And now I am telling you.

THE DOCTOR: Telling me what?

(A longer pause)

THE DOCTOR: (Upset) What?

THE POLICEMAN: … I told you… the mistake is inside you, doctor…. I have tried to make things better. And you still want to play an unhappy, arrogant person.

THE DOCTOR: Tell me what happened to my family!

THE POLICEMAN: I don’t know.

THE DOCTOR: You really don’t, or you pretend you don’t.

THE POLICEMAN: I don’t, I don’t, I don’t and full stop. You ask me a million times and you’ll get the same answer million times – so, I don’t know.  However, I speak only of things I know, and they say that you are safe here. You are not in any danger, and that’s it. It’s a war. You ‘re a doctor and people need you. Regardless of their differences. You need to be just and act as the Hippocratic oath obliges you to do. You’re a doctor, get it?

THE DOCTOR: And you are a piece of shit, get it. A piece of shit.

THE POLICEMAN: No, I am a policeman. I do my work and you do yours.

THE DOCTOR: Meaning, I do the healer and you do the killer…

THE POLICEMAN: Depends on how you look at things. This is just like that euphemism about the pessimist and the optimist and the half-full or the half-empty glass.  People have their dilemmas. They especially have them during a war and this cannot be sanctioned… I understand that you also have your unknowns and dilemmas.

THE DOCTOR: Yes. It’s true I have many unknowns and dilemmas, but I have no dilemmas for one thing.

THE POLICEMAN: What is that?

THE DOCTOR: That you are a big piece of shit, wanting me to give birth to your child and I know nothing of my children and my wife.

THE POLICEMAN: This too is a dilemma doctor, this too.

THE DOCTOR: It’s not.

THE POLICEMAN: It is, it is…



THE DOCTOR: See what?


THE POLICEMAN: You are thinking?

THE DOCTOR: … I don’t know.

THE POLICEMAN: Ah, what a dilemma.


THE DOCTOR: I… I’d really want to get away. Get away from here!


THE DOCTOR: Yes, really.

THE POLICEMAN: Ok then, go!

THE DOCTOR: Go where?

THE POLICEMAN: Wherever you want…

THE DOCTOR: But yesterday when I wanted to escape, you almost killed me.

THE POLICEMAN: Why are you complaining?


THE POLICEMAN: Better to get almost killed then be killed by somebody else, who’d surely kill you.


THE DOCTOR: I still want to go though!


THE DOCTOR: Where should I go?


THE DOCTOR: Where should I go?

(The policeman takes the newspaper from the floor again and starts to read it.)

THE DOCTOR: I have to go somewhere! I can’t take this any longer. After all, you promised me that you’d set me free today.


THE DOCTOR: Yes, you did.

(A noise is heard. The doctor and the policeman look up from where thin lines of dust are falling down.  The noise is louder and louder.)

THE DOCTOR: It’ s her!

THE POLICEMAN: Yes, it’s her.

(A short Pause)

THE POLICEMAN: Please doctor, please. She needs your help!

(The doctor stops and looks at the policeman with a deep stare. For a moment, it seems that he is hesitating and does not intend to go to the patient.)

THE POLICEMAN: (Really begging.) Please doctor. I beg of you! Go and help her. She needs you!

THE DOCTOR: And afterwards you’ll set me free so that I can go and look for my family. You’ll help me get out of this hell!

THE POLICEMAN: Yes… I promise you I will… Please go upstairs! Please! Don’t let her suffer. Please save my son!

(The Doctor leaves in a rush and the policeman follows him. The Alarm sound is heard in the town and shortly after there is a noise of NATO aeroplanes.  The scene is filled with the noise of bombs falling from aeroplanes and the fire from anti-aircraft weapons.  Nothing else is heard any more.)

The scene turns dark


(The event still unravels in the dark cellar. The doctor is standing silent in the middle of the doorway and the policeman is not to be seen anywhere.)

THE POLICEMAN: (After a while leaves the trunk in which he was hiding.) They fled… fled again… Those mother fucking planes of theirs… They won’t leave us in peace…

THE DOCTOR: That means again.

THE POLICEMAN: Again what?

THE DOCTOR: You won’t let me go! Escape from here!

THE POLICEMAN: I am not stopping you to go.

THE DOCTOR: But you won’t help me get away, will you!? Even though you promised me to.

THE POLICEMAN: Why? Why aren’t you happy with anything? Not even with what you have? It’s a war.  Why I ask you?  Do you know the answer? (Pause.) So you don’t? And I already told you. The mistake is inside you. (Pause.)… The idea that you must leave at any cost is destroying you doctor.

THE DOCTOR: The mistake is inside me!

THE POLICEMAN: Yes. Correct. I want you to be in peace here. I know that this is not easy, but tell me, is it easy on anybody these days. And one day this will all go away and you’ll forget everything. Up to the very last thing. Such is the human kind. You have already proven that you are a kind man and the only evil for you now is that you have to live here with me.  Wit a child killer – this is what you think, don’t you? With a rapist. Ha-ha-ha… But, everything is past now.  Every single thing.

THE DOCTOR: (Quietly.) Yes. You  are a killer, aren’t you… Unfortunately, a killer.

THE POLICEMAN: I am a warrior. I receive orders and implement them and that’s it.   After all, one day we will all forget what has happened here.  This is a time when history is breaking and people go mad.  And not the first time too, isn’t it?

THE DOCTOR: This is driving me crazy. I’ll  go crazy.  And what makes me mad is the fact that you think that one day we will forget everything that has happened, everything. We will perfectly forget.

THE POLICEMAN: History gets repeated doctor and this is something we also understood, haven’t we…?


THE DOCTOR: I am so tired.

THE POLICEMAN: That is a beautiful thing.

THE DOCTOR: Which one?

THE POLICEMAN: Well, when you say that you are tired.  Now, this looks like a normal conversation.

THE DOCTOR: Why is it so normal, I don’t understand!

THE POLICEMAN: Well, because… Because… Because of something… Well, I think because we talk about things that exist. About the sea, for example. This is what I always wanted. And this is what I insist on with you doctor. I want you to talk like this, and not… Ok, lets talk about natural, human things. (Pause.) I also need to talk doctor, to correspond. And not to have you always speak to me of something and me warning you all the time that what you are saying is no good and on and on….

THE DOCTOR: And what can I possibly talk to you about?

THE POLICEMAN: About many things. (A pause. Harshly.) In fact, you don’t even have to speak. I just want you not to talk to yourself.

THE DOCTOR: Go to hell, you and your advice..

THE POLICEMAN: Here, this is quite normal somehow.  When you react normal. And you don’t talk to yourself. You see you can… (A pause.) Did you have lunch? (A pause. The policeman looks at the doctor wanting to catch his glimpse.) Doctor, I asked you did you have lunch today? (A pause. The doctor faces the public and says something for himself through his teeth.) This is normal. These sorts of events, simple events; of this world. (Faces the doctor again. Theatrically and making faces.) Doctor, did you have lunch today?? (A pause.) You have to cure yourself from you doctor… Are you hungry?

THE DOCTOR: I’m not!

THE POLICEMAN: (Speaking to himself.) This is not good, but it’s good.

THE DOCTOR: I am thirsty.


THE DOCTOR: I am thirsty, can’t you hear me!

THE POLICEMAN: (As before.) But it’s good, it’s good.

THE DOCTOR: (Almost with a loud voice.) I am dying of thirst!

THE POLICEMAN: (Surprised.) Ha!?

THE DOCTOR: (More quietly.) Can you hear me now?

THE POLICEMAN: (Offended.) I hear you very well and shut up.

THE DOCTOR: What’s wrong with you now?

THE POLICEMAN: I asked you nice and quiet if you were hungry, that’s it.

THE DOCTOR: And I tell you that I am thirsty.

THE POLICEMAN: I did not ask you that.


(Doctors walks away and sits on the trunk.)

THE POLICEMAN: (Gets up form the chair.) Don’t, don’t do that.  Don’t withdraw into silence as is your habit!

THE DOCTOR: What in fact do you want from me? (Looks the policeman into the eyes.)

THE POLICEMAN: I wanted us to talk together. You know! It matters not about what, just to talk.  Here for example, I’d ask you…

THE DOCTOR: If you want to ask me about lunch then I can tell you I did not have lunch today and I did not have dinner last night either.


THE DOCTOR: Because you left to go to fight and left nothing to eat. Only because of that. And you do this to me on purpose. With full intent, I know it. You want to keep me under pressure.

(The policeman shows his back to the doctor.)

THE DOCTOR: Why do you turn your back to me?

THE POLICEMAN: Because you are again spitting on the person who wants to have a decent conversation with you. Your needs again! Your subjectivity! I want to start pulling us out from this common shit hole of ours and send you back to life and you keep annoying me with your words.

THE DOCTOR: I am thirsty.

THE POLICEMAN: Things can always turn to good and proper. This is some sort of a rule.

THE DOCTOR: I am thirsty.

THE POLICEMAN: I hope you don’t intend to make me suffer with your needs until morning.

THE DOCTOR: But I am really thirsty.

THE POLICEMAN: (Crosses his hands.) I am not interested at all.

THE DOCTOR: Now, that’s a fine saying. Very well!

THE POLICEMAN: Listen man. If you are thirsty then have some water.  Here, or you maybe want me to fill your glass!?

(The policeman takes a glass and goes to the tap. He lets it run but no water comes out. The policeman tries again. Silence.)

THE DOCTOR: (Looking at the policeman with a piercing gaze.) Maybe there never was any water in there.

THE POLICEMAN: (Goes to the doctor and touches his forehead.) You’ve really gone crazy.

THE DOCTOR: Meaning what?


THE DOCTOR: (Almost with a superior feeling.) What should I drink?

THE POLICEMAN: (Withdrawing.) Ok, ok. Today even birds on trees know that there is no water in the pipelines. Yes, undoubtedly there isn’t. It’s a fact.

THE DOCTOR: Then what??


THE DOCTOR: What should I drink?

THE POLICEMAN: Well drink… (Thinks.) … Beer! What do you think?

(The policeman laughs like crazy, but avoids to look at the doctor.)

THE DOCTOR: Well, finally I hear a good suggestion from you!

THE POLICEMAN: Really? (Looks at him suspiciously, approaches him happy, ready to kiss him if need be.) And it came to me just like that, like in a joke. How do I know, just like that, – la, la, la, la, la, la. I thank the Almighty that I finally have the chance to fulfill you a wish.

THE DOCTOR: Will you go?


THE DOCTOR: To get the beer.


THE DOCTOR: The one we were talking about until now! And you…

THE POLICEMAN: And I. Ha, ha! But I told you that it was all like a joke…

THE DOCTOR: Didn’t I tell you that I feel like having a beer.

THE POLICEMAN: Well, I just said it like…Anyway, what do we need beer for?

DOCTOR: Not us, I do. I am thirsty. Remember!?

THE POLICEMAN: Thirsty, eh?…Really! Would you look at that….He is thirsty. (The Police Officer ties his hands behind his back and walks around.) You are a truly subjective man, beyond improvement. Your personal vision upon looking damages all communication, all possible relationships.

THE DOCTOR: (Shouts at the top of his lungs.) I am thirsty!

THE POLICEMAN: (Even louder.) Big deal!

THE DOCTOR: Will you go then, or not?

THE POLICEMAN: (Quietly.) You are really sick, doc.

THE DOCTOR: (Looks him deep in the eyes and sort of pulls himself together) You’re right. I am sick, sick for asking for your service.

THE POLICEMAN: You’re not asking me for a service, but beer, beer…

THE DOCTOR: But you suggested beer yourself, remember?

THE POLICEMAN: And just where am I supposed to find that beer you want now, where? It’s wartime, remember, war. There are no beers, there is nothing left in Gjakova. The shops will be empty by now. All of them.

THE DOCTOR: They weren’t emptied, but looted. By you.

THE POLICEMAN: Us? Who’s us?

THE DOCTOR: You, together with Serb residents. You robbed everything, everything!

THE POLICEMAN: When people have nothing to eat, they violate the order and the norms in place. When a person is sick, he should consult a doctor, isn’t that so!?

THE DOCTOR: Then what are you waiting for!


THE DOCTOR: I mean come see me.

THE POLICEMAN: Well, well, be ironic, as you please…I promised you nothing would happen to you here. Nothing bad. But…


THE POLICEMAN: …but…But what? Yes. But…

THE DOCTOR: There is always “but”!

(Short pause.)

THE DOCTOR: I feel like I’ve spent a lifetime here. Since I can remember…And it’s not like it’s anything special. It’s hopeless…(Pause) Ah, yes! (Pause) Looks like someone tried to do something back here.


THE DOCTOR: Yes, again. Tried to escape. As a matter of fact, no! (Longer pause) Myself to be precise! (The police officer gives him a questioning look) I remember. Someone tried to do something back here.


THE DOCTOR: (Continues to pause between the lines) Yes, and that person was I.


THE DOCTOR: Yes, me, that’s right…

THE POLICEMAN: Yes, it was he. (In a normal tone) And forget the speeches…Tell me, was everything all right over there today?

(Long pause. The police officer becomes nervous in a way. Puts himself together and approaches the doctor in an authoritative way)

THE POLICEMAN: When is it going to happen?


THE POLICEMAN: I mean when will my wife give birth?

THE DOCTOR: (Long silence)…Soon…Maybe…


THE DOCTOR: There is always a “maybe” as well!

THE POLICEMAN: Yes, you are right. There is.


THE POLICEMAN: How is my little one!




THE POLICEMAN: Is his head turned downwards or upwards!?

THE DOCTOR: (Looks at him in with amazement) Idiot. I said it was all right.

THE POLICEMAN: My mother told me she had a difficult time when she delivered me because my bottom was turned down and my head was upwards.

THE DOCTOR: That’s not at all surprising.


THE POLICEMAN: Are you going to operate her?



THE DOCTOR: No, why?

THE POLICEMAN: Nothing, I just asked.


THE POLICEMAN: So, it means soon.

THE DOCTOR: Maybe. I don’t know.

THE POLICEMAN: But you said that…

THE DOCTOR: I said maybe.


THE POLICEMAN: I asked my unit yesterday about your family. Your family: wife, children…


THE POLICEMAN: And nothing.

THE DOCTOR: Nothing – is that what you say? Nothing?

THE POLICEMAN: Nobody recalls the day.

THE DOCTOR: Nobody!? What do you mean, nobody?! How is that possible, nobody!?

THE POLICEMAN: It’s simple really, because every day is like the other in times of war…And it took four or five days to evict people from their houses in your neighborhood and they went off on the road on the other side of the Tabak Bridge. Towards Bërkoc…

(The doctor looks at him suspiciously)

THE DOCTOR: And you say that nobody knows what happened that day? Nobody!?

(The police officer is silent.)

THE DOCTOR: Were there any executions that day at least? Did anyone tell you that? Executions!

THE POLICEMAN: (He stands up.) There are executions in Gjakova every day, every day…Gjakova is a different place and a different war is being waged here.

THE DOCTOR: Why is it different?

THE POLICEMAN: I don’t know. Just like I don’t know anything about your loved ones. I went asking round the morgue next – just in case, I thought to myself – but no one knew anything about them. People that were killed haven’t been registered there either, they were just loaded on tractors or even trucks and were buried somewhere…


THE POLICEMAN: Somewhere…I said somewhere.. I am just a police sergeant, which is why I don’t know everything. I don’t know and I don’t even dare speak of these things, then again…What goes around comes around, they say.

(Short pause.)

THE POLICEMAN: As far as I am concerned, you can leave as soon as my wife gives birth.


THE POLICEMAN: Wherever you want…Save yourself.

THE DOCTOR: Myself?…What about my family?

THE POLICEMAN: Try to find them, if…


THE POLICEMAN: Don’t make me speak, please…There’s war going on, war.

THE DOCTOR: A war that you started.


THE DOCTOR: You, who else. You brought all those policemen and soldiers here from Serbia. You brought the paramilitaries and evicted us from our homes and killed…You…

THE POLICEMAN: I am a victim too. Just like you and everybody else. Who asked me whether I wanted to go to war or didn’t, who!?

THE DOCTOR: Would you look at that – a victim you said!

THE POLICEMAN: Yeah, a victim.

THE DOCTOR: And who is the killer then, if we, the both of us, are victims, who?

(Brief silence)

THE POLICEMAN: …Those who make us kill each other…


THE POLICEMAN: Foreigners…the West…

THE DOCTOR: So that means that westerners came and told you to come to Kosova and kill and banish as many Albanians as possible, right!?

THE POLICEMAN: No, but they told you to riot and appropriate our sacred land, and then, with their help…

THE DOCTOR: You are really an idiot. Stupid…No, no, you are not stupid, but a big and shapeless piece of shit.

THE POLICEMAN: I am not a big piece of shit. I am the one that will get up and break all the teeth in your mouth and tell you who is stupid.

THE DOCTOR: Huh, you will finally do away with your mask, won’t you!

THE POLICEMAN: I’m telling you – don’t provoke me!

THE DOCTOR: First you will beat me, then you will massacre me. That’s your specialty: ala Serbian isn’t it!?

THE POLICEMAN: I’m telling you not to provoke me. I met your kind often enough in my lifetime and they can’t seem to get off of me. Shameless ego centrists  that show no gratitude, no matter what you do for them.

THE DOCTOR: And just what did you do for me?

THE POLICEMAN: I saved your life, that’s what I did, because the day I took you aside from the line of people, there was a compelling order – separate all men aged between 17 and 75 and…


THE POLICEMAN: And, and, and…You know how things developed…Being separated was a synonym for not being allowed to go any further

THE DOCTOR: But I was together with my wife and my two sons in that line and they are nearly adults. That means that…

THE POLICEMAN: It doesn’t mean anything, nothing…


THE POLICEMAN: There’s always a “but”!, isn’t there!? I told you, truly told you and I can swear to God if you want, that no one knew what to say about the line of people where your family was – your wife and sons…No one…Maybe they went to Albania…


THE POLICEMAN: What I came to understand during the three wars in which I fought myself during the last ten years and in which I fought for our cause – Serbia — in Croatia, in Bosnia and Kosova, is that the only thing that man shouldn’t do is lose hope. Ever.

THE DOCTOR: Ha, ha, ha!

THE POLICEMAN: …Because I never…Why are you laughing? Why do you laugh as if you were mad.

THE DOCTOR: (Who unexpectedly stops laughing.) I’m laughing at your misery, you wreck.

THE POLICEMAN: You can call me what you want to, you cannot hurt me…There are days when your words are meaningless to me, there are days. Maybe I even understand you. Maybe…

THE DOCTOR: You filthy swine! Stop preaching. And be quiet, wreck! You can at least let me think, and dream. And don’t you play merciful with me, because you have no mercy, not for me or anyone else, it’s just that you know you need me, you cannot do without me, you need me to help your wife give birth, if not you would have killed me a long time ago…Although you are doing it gradually, reducing food and now stopping running water in the tap here intentionally. But still, you have no better choice than me.

THE POLICEMAN: You are mistaken.

THE DOCTOR: In what way?

THE POLICEMAN: I have a better choice. Did you think I was stupid enough to rely solely on you, huh?

THE DOCTOR: What beautiful stories you tell.

THE POLICEMAN: Stories…If need be, in your absence, I can call Sister Jelisaveta from the church in town to help my wife deliver the baby…She has done that several times before in the premises of our churches, when young and fragile girls came to give birth to their bastard children, to preserve their honor before the eyes of their primitive environment.

THE DOCTOR: Are you threatening me!?

THE POLICEMAN: No, I’m not threatening you, I’m telling you what the situation is.

THE DOCTOR: Your threats are in vain. Both you and I know that your wife cannot give birth without a doctor’s supervision, meaning my supervision…Which is why you separated me, causing me the great misfortune of not being with my family through their good or bad fortunes. And, there is no Sister Jelisaveta in your church in town that helped so many unfortunate women give birth, and so on and so forth…

(The police officer is quiet.)

THE DOCTOR: Does she or doesn’t she exist?…You invented her, didn’t you?

(Short pause.)

THE POLICEMAN: …No…she does not exist…

THE DOCTOR: And you will kill me as soon as all this is over, won’t you!

THE POLICEMAN: No. That is not true…If I wanted to…


THE POLICEMAN: …Nothing…Just that I, will not hurt you. All that I ask of you is to be calm, to be patient and in the end carry out your duty as a doctor with responsibility…


THE POLICEMAN: I told you before that we have become familiar with one another and I cannot kill someone I know…You know that! I believe you know that by now!


THE POLICEMAN: I really didn’t bring you here to hurt you.

(Short pause)

THE POLICEMAN: My wife could not get pregnant for twelve years. The miracle happened, however, with God’s will and your help…You healed her sterility doctor and I will never forget that. Therefore I hope you don’t push me into doing something that is not good for you or for us…Don’t…There is a war going on, true, but we are all people. Men from flesh and blood. I go to war nearly every day and do not know whether I will have the luck of coming back home alive. Yesterday, for example, your fighters, the KLA, killed three friends from my unit. NATO killed six others and I don’t know myself how I survived. It’s simple really, the thing is that with every coming day my hopes and conviction of being fortunate enough to see my little boy grow smaller and smaller. He is a child, doctor, he is a child. You understand…Of course you understand, after all you are a doctor. You are an educated man and have a more thorough understanding of things. I spent the best part if my life in wars, here and there…But it seems that this is the end and a child is a child…

THE DOCTOR:  Whereas my children and not children, is that it!?


THE DOCTOR: Where are my children? Where is my wife?

THE POLICEMAN: Somewhere…They are probably somewhere.

THE DOCTOR: Somewhere?

THE POLICEMAN: Certainly. They should be somewhere safe. People are always somewhere. They are somewhere…Of course…

THE DOCTOR: Do you know that or are you just guessing?!

THE POLICEMAN: I believe they are somewhere safe. Maybe they are in Albania.

THE DOCTOR: In Albania?!

THE POLICEMAN: Yes. Maybe it’s not as bad over there. It’s better there than somewhere hopeless. Nowhere. Do you get it!? Then again, there is a war taking place here and…

THE DOCTOR: I’m afraid I’m going to lose my mind soon.


THE DOCTOR: I feel like my soul is completely shattered …worn out…


THE DOCTOR: (The same way.) And still everything continues to seem like a dream. A dream without an end, but which will eventually let go of me someday…A nightmare. And then thirst, I am so thirsty. Really. Therefore…

(Long pause. Both do not know what to do with themselves.)

THE POLICEMAN: You look calm now and I like that.

THE DOCTOR: That’s because I don’t know what to do anymore, but stay here in anticipation of the epilogue of this situation…This terrible dream…

THE POLICEMAN: Something to drink is like medicine for someone thirsty, isn’t it.


THE POLICEMAN: (Looks at him.) All you say is “yes”. Oh, you are so good. (Tearfully.) That’s because you said nothing to offend me out of consideration. How miserable I was  at that moment. I was in doubt. I had my doubts about you from the very beginning although I needed you. I doubted in the truth. That is misery’s culmination. Yes, you are right in saying I am sick. That is the truth, the whole truth. I am sick, morally sick. I am a loser. There are times when I don’t even believe in the most supreme of all beings, which sometimes come to man’s aid. My sight was blurred and I was suspicious about your moral! I doubted in you and I feared you wouldn’t help my son being born, daddy’s little boy…Simply because you are an Albanian and I am a Serb and we are at war…But you acted like a true man…I am sorry…I really feel bad about myself…

(Pause. The doctor is quiet. Then he turns his head around slowly and looks at the policeman.)

THE POLICEMAN: (Fearfully.)…Why…Why are you looking at me that way?

THE DOCTOR: Because in the beginning I really thought of avenging myself, but then I realized that your child is innocent, without sin…It’s not even a sin to have you for a father…No one gets to choose his or her parents, anyway…


THE DOCTOR: There is no “but” in this case. Things are neither as simple, nor as complicated as we think. And there is but one truth and it is as clear as crystal is, like a tear. Had you asked me some time ago what it would have been good for you to become, I would say, very simply: try to be a man, just that. A man should keep his word…I will keep mine.

(Clattering is heard, as well as a woman moaning. The doctor and the policeman look up as rare particles of dust fall down…The racket becomes noisier by the minute.)

THE POLICEMAN: Please, doctor, we really needed your help!

(The doctor looks at the police officer. For a moment, he gives the impression of someone that is hesitating in a dilemma and not intending to go to his patient.)

THE POLICEMAN: (Pleading.) Please doctor…! Please help her…She needs you!

THE DOCTOR: And you will release me afterwards so I can go look for my family…You will help me get out of this hell!

THE POLICEMAN: Yes…I promise…Please go upstairs! Please!…Don’t let her suffer…Please save my son!…

(The doctor leaves in a hurry and the policeman goes after him. The siren goes off in the city but NATO planes cannot be heard. The policeman walks up and down in the basement, tense. He then stops, thinking, goes to a trunk and takes a bottle of beer out of it, opens the bottle and drinks…He drinks up…Then again walks around, while his wife’s moans mixed with commotion and sirens plant horror…

The scene is taken over by complete silence. The policeman stops in his steps. He is anxious. Shortly after, a newborn baby’s cry is heard. The policeman is exalted and moves to and fro, once to the door leading outside the basement and then to the front of the stage…There is silence again…The policeman freezes…A short time after, the doctor comes back to the stage. Upon seeing him, the police officer approaches him quickly.)

THE POLICEMAN: Doctor! Tell me it’s a boy doctor, tell me!

THE DOCTOR: (Looks both tired and sad.) Yes…It’s a boy…

THE POLICEMAN: Alive, doctor…He’s alive!?

THE DOCTOR: Alive, he’s alive…

THE POLICEMAN: What about my wife, she, is she alright…

THE DOCTOR: Yes, she’s fine…And after she calmed down, she took off this golden necklace and gave it to me as a sign of gratitude…


THE DOCTOR: This. (Shows the necklace to the policeman.)

(The policeman freezes in his step.)


THE DOCTOR: There is a “but” once again, isn’t there!?…

(Short pause. The policeman is terrified.)

THE DOCTOR: You gave her the necklace, didn’t you!?

(The policeman doesn’t speak.)

THE DOCTOR: My wife’s necklace…There, it’s even got our initials on it…I bought it for her on our tenth anniversary…

(The policeman looks down.)


THE POLICEMAN: We are at war, war…

THE DOCTOR: But she was just a simple woman and the two children, who didn’t even get to taste the sweetness of youth…Why?

THE POLICEMAN: I did not kill them. I swear. I came back with you…

THE DOCTOR: Why didn’t you at least tell me what happened…Why did you steal the necklace and give it to your wife, the very woman whose life and child I was saving…

THE POLICEMAN: I am sorry…

THE DOCTOR: You are abominable, that’s what you are…


THE DOCTOR: A filthy criminal…You created this circus, you…evil…

(The doctor grabs the policeman around his neck to strangle him. The policeman does his best to defend himself…The struggle between the two is merciless. The policeman he tries to take his gun out several times…He succeeds, but their struggle still continues. A gunshot is heard shortly after. Both stop…A few moments later the doctor’s feet give way and he falls to his knees. He is seriously wounded…)

THE DOCTOR:…Oh Lord, what terror:… you killed my children, while I delivered your child…

(The policeman looks at him with mixed feelings of horror and triumph.)

THE DOCTOR: God, is this… the end!…Please…!

(The policeman runs for the door, gun in his hand, to go to his wife and his child. The siren alarming the danger of planes is heard again, but it is now mixed with music…The doctor falls slowly to the ground and dies…The scene is filled with terrifying sights of war victims in Kosova.)


End of the play

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