THE KOSOWARS

THE KOSOWARS

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By Haqif MULLIQI

Characters:

Albanian Soldier

and

Serb Soldier

ACT ONE

(Shots from all sides and all sorts of weapons. In half darkness a person comes crawling into a cellar of an abandoned house. After a while, we understand that it is a wounded Albanian soldier who stops the bleeding from the wound on the left shoulder by skillfully bandaging it. He breathes heavily and every now and then lets out cries of pain.

After a while, when he manages to bandage his hand properly, the shooting stops. Then, the soldier notices a red laser light on his face. He freezes. Then the laser light moves fast around his face and body and the soldier gets really upset since he does not realize where the laser light is coming from.)

SERB SOLDIER: Who the fuck are you man!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Ha! (Stops… Realizes that the enemy sees him… keeps silent)

(A small light comes from the left hand side where another Serb soldier can be seen, with a machine gun in his hands, and he aims the laser light on the other soldier.)

SERB SOLDIER: Look at the motherfucking shiptar … No afraid a?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Keeps silent.)

SERB SOLDIER: A hero than… Big fucking hero…Big balls… Big dick…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Keeps silent and looks strangely quiet.)

SERB SOLDIER: Look at him… Straight into my hands … get up and get your hands up or I’ll make holes in you… get up…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Gets up slowly.)

SERB SOLDIER: … Hands up, understand?… Motherfucking son of a bitch … Hands up you cunt!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Raises only the right hand)…

SERB SOLDIER: So you do understand Serbian, don’t you?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Well…

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, yes, I know all you Albanians speak Serbian …

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Of course, cause we’re intelligent…

SERB SOLDIER: Means that we Serbs are stupid?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Keeps silent.)

SERB SOLDIER: Yes or no! … We don’t speak your language, so we’re stupid.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I didn’t say that … I just know that intelligent people speak more languages …

SERB SOLDIER: Look at him: a terrorist and a philosopher… KLA[1] philosopher…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I am a fighter.

SERB SOLDIER: You are a piece of shit.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Don’t…

SERB SOLDIER: (Louder.) You’re a piece of shit … get it – SHIT!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I am …

SERB SOLDIER: A piece of shit.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What!

SERB SOLDIER: Shit, shit… You and me, shit.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But…

SERB SOLDIER: Or even better: We’re both in shit.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You speak Albanian!

SERB SOLDIER: Of course…We were taught in Belgrade, before the war in Kosova began, and they told us that if we arrest some dumb-ass Albanian we fuck him up.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: So…

SERB SOLDIER: So nothing.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But.

SERB SOLDIER: What?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I knew you have been preparing for this war for years

This genocide.

SERB SOLDIER: Your mum’s genocide… And who exactly prepared this genocide, you prick?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Who else but you?! (Wants to sit down again.)

SERB SOLDIER:. .. I told you to stay up or I’ll kill you like a dog! And where is the genocide prepared!?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Where?!

SERB SOLDIER: So genocide is something like a theatre play: you rehearse, do the best you can in the rehearsals and then you have the premiere and the showings… is this what you think?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But your plans for a genocide…

SERB SOLDIER: Don’t bullshit me you fuck!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Well, the fact that they taught you Albanian means a lot…

SERB SOLDIER: They taught me the fucking Albanian my ass.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But you speak it… and fluently…Just like me I would say. .. Good courses in Serbian Intelligence Service… In the Police Service… ha? For everything… even for Albanian language?

SERB SOLDIER: Yep, good street courses… In fact, in streets of Prishtina where I learned my Albanian.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Prishtina?

SERB SOLDIER: Yeah, yeah, because you Albanians think that you are the only ones that live here in Kosova… After all, if you were intelligent enough to learn Serbian, why wouldn’t I learn Albanian?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: So you are…

SERB SOLDIER: From Prishtina, definitely.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yah?

SERB SOLDIER: Yeah, I am…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Same here, before I moved I lived in Prishtina… In Dardania!

SERB SOLDIER: I lived in Dardania too!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I lived in the fifth block…

SERB SOLDIER: I too lived on the fifth block…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I lived in entrance E/2…

SERB SOLDIER: I too lived in entrance E/2…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (ironically.) You’ll turn out to be my cousin!

SERB SOLDIER: Well, maybe so.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Don’t fuck with me!

SERB SOLDIER: I used to love Prishtina so much once!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Tries to sit down again.) So why then did you join your people from Serbia and destroyed your once so loved town, ha? And…

SERB SOLDIER: Don’t fucking provoke me!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And kill your once neighbors.

SERB SOLDIER: Don’t fucking provoke me I tell you and stay up or I’ll kill you! Like a dog…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Looks at him suspiciously.) You are going to kill me!?

SERB SOLDIER: Yes… You are a piece of shit… And you might be just the piece of shit that shot at me during the fight… Motherfucking…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: It couldn’t have been me. It’s not possible.

SERB SOLDIER: Why not?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Because I do not wound enemy soldiers.

SERB SOLDIER: You don’t wound them?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No. I kill them.

SERB SOLDIER: Look at the little piece of shit, a fucking show off he is too… You’re playing a hero, aren’t you!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Ah.

SERB SOLDIER: I tell you again, don’t fucking provoke me! I am telling you for the last time, otherwise I ‘ll fucking kill you… Like a dog… a fucking gypsy dog…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Really?

SERB SOLDIER: No, I am joking. I‘ll fucking shoot at you and make a big hole in you, and you fucking think it isn’t real… Motherfucking son of a bitch.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But you won’t do that.

SERB SOLDIER: No?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No?

SERB SOLDIER: No?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No.

SERB SOLDIER: (Getting tense.) No? You say no?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I say no.

SERB SOLDIER: But…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Cause you haven’t got the guts to do it… If you had any guts to kill me you’d have done it as soon as I came here… Not that you don’t want to, but you are afraid.

SERB SOLDIER: Ha-ha-ha: afraid you say?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Afraid, afraid.

SERB SOLDIER: I am afraid!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Of course, cause you don’t know which of the armies, mine or yours is positioned close to us, and you are afraid that if it is my guys and they hear the shot they’ll come here and fuck your stupid mum

SERB SOLDIER: Hey, look at him talk!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And they’ll fuck your dad too!

SERB SOLDIER: I…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And put the gun down cause I am not scared…

(Short pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: And what… what if my guys are in those positions? What then?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You think that that will change my position here?

SERB SOLDIER: And where are your guys?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Where are they?

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, yes, where are they?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Maybe they left.

SERB SOLDIER: Yes they left.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Sits down slowly.) I said: maybe.

SERB SOLDIER: Get up, you motherfucker… get up!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I can’t stand any more… I lost blood and I feel dizzy.

SERB SOLDIER: Blood?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yeah.

SERB SOLDIER: Yeah, blood!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: It is a war, and in a war you shed blood… For freedom, I would add… At least in our case…

SERB SOLDIER: For freedom?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Depends on how you see the situation, because what is a liberation war to one is not to the other. To the other it is a…

SERB SOLDIER:. .. Well, well… You discovered America… “In war you shed blood”’ This is really unusual…So, in times of war, when somebody gets a period, that too is shedding blood “for freedom”, as you call it…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You’re a fucking nutcase.

SERB SOLDIER: Nutcase!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yeah. I and don’t know what the fuck is a guy like you doing in a war. Or you Serbs…

SERB SOLDIER: What the fuck is a guy like you doing in a war?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I am a freedom fighter!

SERB SOLDIER: And I, according to you, am a slavery fighter!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I don’t what the fuck you are, but what I know is that in a war there is always the bad side and the good side.

SERB SOLDIER: Just like in western movies. Isn’t it?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No. Just like in a war.

SERB SOLDIER: Mumbo-jumbo!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Say what you like.

SERB SOLDIER: Vinetou… Old Shutterhand… Clint Eastwood… Dick… Thumb and Cisco Kid… (Short pause.) Take out your pistol and put it down!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Looks at him briefly.)

SERB SOLDIER: Come on, come on… Quickly… I know you Albanians… One blink of the eye and you will put a bullet through my brains!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (takes the pistol out of the case slowly.) Brains!

SERB SOLDIER: Look at him… faggot… Thins he’s the only one with brains… So, it means you Albanians have brains and we Serbs don’t.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: It means that if you had any brains you would not come and fight on somebody else’s soil.

SERB SOLDIER: Somebody else’s?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes.

SERB SOLDIER: Somebody else’s you say?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, yes… You die in vain buddy! Your Serbs are having the time of their lives in Belgrade, and you are meat for cannons here.

SERB SOLDIER: And what about you. Who the fuck gives a shit about you?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Even if I get killed I will have a grave here. And you…

SERB SOLDIER: What about me?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Where the fuck is your grave going to be?

SERB SOLDIER: In Kosova, or somewhere else, it’s all the same to me, all the same – Six feet under and two tons of soil.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But it’s not the same.

SERB SOLDIER: How come?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Shouldn’t be, at least not for you, because Kosova is the land of Albanians.

SERB SOLDIER: Kosova is the cradle of Serbia.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: A cradle rocking somebody else’s child!

SERB SOLDIER: He-he-he… Look at him… This is propaganda, you piece of shit, propaganda… Bad propaganda for that matter… Journalism… A cradle rocking somebody else’s child…”. You motherfucker, do you know what Kosova means to us?!… Kosova is our identity… Our Culture… Our holy land… (Pause.) Have you ever heard of Saint Sava?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Have you ever heard of Saint Jeronim?

SERB SOLDIER: Another western film isn’t it!!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No, saint Jeronim was a saint of Illyrian origin. An Albanian who brought the Bible and spread Christianity to Europe. So, an Albanian made Europe what it is today… an Albanian!

SERB SOLDIER: What was his name you said?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Saint Jeronim.

SERB SOLDIER: Your lying Saint Shit. Saint Sava lived in Deçan. In Deçan, which is just there. And the monastery is there…and now the lies about this saint of yours…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: So, you claim this land just because there is a monastery in Deçan, with a portal turned westward by the way, which tells it is an Albanian monastery. It was the Albanians who guarded it for five hundred years during the reign of the Ottomans and you came and occupied it since your king declared himself a vassal to the Constantinople. And, probably because of the same claims you burned Deçan, and killed and massacred…

SERB SOLDIER: Hey…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. ..killed and massacred all those people… mainly old man and women and children… Do you know that the Albanians have for five centuries in a row guarded that monastery that you claim to be yours, and today you are killing the descendants of those same Albanians!

SERB SOLDIER: Hey you faggot… is this a political lecture you’re giving me, or what? Do you know that I will fuck you up and pierce holes all over you…Fucking faggot… I let you live, and you bombard me with propaganda against Serbia… You almost accused me directly of killing those poor fucks in Deçan…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But…

SERB SOLDIER: What ‘but’… Didn’t you just tell me that there is no war without blood!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But war’s have to be humane and not against old people, women and children!

SERB SOLDIER: Bla bla bla bla… You are also a humanitarian!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Maybe I am.

SERB SOLDIER: You are my ass… Humanitarian of the Deçani Patriarch’s dick you are… A terrorist and a humanist… Where the hell did you hear of that?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I am not a terrorist.

SERB SOLDIER: You’re not a terrorist?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No, I’m not.

SERB SOLDIER: What the fuck are you then, if you’re not a terrorist?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I am a…

SERB SOLDIER: Got it…really did… You’re a piece of shit… You get up to arms and fight your own state and you claim you’re not a terrorist… How on earth can that be, tell me.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But your state has for years committed crimes and genocide here, and everybody knows this.

SERB SOLDIER: Tell me about it!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You can be as ironic as you want!

SERB SOLDIER: Look at him… With a gun against the state, and complaining… Fucking asshole.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: In fact, I am not complaining… I have it clear with me from the day when I took up arms… I became a mere number then and nothing more. The rest is destiny.

SERB SOLDIER: What is the rest?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Destiny…mine first of all… and then of others.

SERB SOLDIER: And mine then.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, and yours… here we are. And you can shoot me if you’ve got the guts, you motherfucker. You think I’m afraid of you.

SERB SOLDIER: Don’t bullshit me!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You’ve beaten, tortured and killed us so much that we aren’t afraid of you in the least any more.

SERB SOLDIER: Who the fuck beat you? It is the first time in my life that I see you, you motherfucker.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Shoot I tell you! Shoot!!

SERB SOLDIER: Don’t bullshit me you fuck… Go get lost and go and watch “You asked for it!”

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No, you asked for it. The whole world is against you… have you heard of the swear word that we Albanians use ’The world fucks your mother’… Ha-ha-ha-ha… Did you or not?

SERB SOLDIER: So?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Ha-ha-ha-ha… The world fucks you mother’…But I didn’t think it was possible from ten thousand meters in the air… this I never believed could be true… and you Serbs, what will you say of this thing in the future… An interesting history this history of yours.

SERB SOLDIER: Fuck the history… Of course the whole world is against us because you take up arms against us and you start crying ‘Help, they are killing us” “Mama mia, they are fucking us…”Mama mia this, mama mia that…”

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But you don’t fight like men…you massacre innocent people.

SERB SOLDIER: And defenseless, this is what you Albanians like to claim!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And defenseless too!

SERB SOLDIER: And why didn’t you defend them? Brave-hearts… KLA!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Why?

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, why? Why did you take up guns? So that you can show off in front of CNN cameras together with Holbrook You should have prepared your own people for what was going to await them once you drawn them into a war, and you should have been prepared to defend them… And not cry, like old ladies…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Old ladies?

SERB SOLDIER: No, like old fucking ladies more like it. .. Toothless fucking old ladies… (Imitates an old lady.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You brought one hundred and fifty thousand thugs and killers from Serbia so that they could loot, rape and kill old men and women… Didn’t you fucks have fridges, VCR’s and TV’s in Serbia so that you had to come and steal ours?

SERB SOLDIER: Don’t fucking bullshit me!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: That is what you did…Plus, the war is happening on our soil and in such cases it is difficult to defend all the civilians… After all: there is a price for everything, including this.

SERB SOLDIER: A price?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: The price to pay in these sorts of wars depends on how barbaric your enemy is… so we…

SERB SOLDIER: You what?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: We are paying a high price… But you and your country will pay the highest price, because history will judge you… You’ve learned nothing in Croatia and Bosnia, even though they say: “Istoria est magistra vitae”…

SERB SOLDIER: Which means?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: “History is the teacher in life…”

SERB SOLDIER: Aha.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And you never leraned anything from it.

SERB SOLDIER: As if you Albanians did… Kamikaze… banging your head on the wall… Just like that, boom… You take a M-48 rifle and you go against Serbia… Serbia is a super power you prick… Stupid fucks… You will win my ass…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Just keep thinking that way.

SERB SOLDIER: But that’s the way it is.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Ok then.

SERB SOLDIER: Ok or not, ever since the Balkan wars we Serbs fucked you Albanians every time we wanted to. In 1913… and 1918… and 1924, 1927, 1937… 1945, 1968… 1981, 1989, 1990, and especially last year when you started this war that you’ll never win!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But justice was and is on our side.

SERB SOLDIER: It is on the side of the stronger if you don’t mind!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But history will judge you.

SERB SOLDIER: Winners write history, anyways!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But you will never win this war.

SERB SOLDIER: We’ll see.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Ok then, we’ll see.

SERB SOLDIER: Do you know what our main member of the Academy Cubrillovic said in Francuska 7 in Belgrade? You must know who Cubrillovic is, don’t you? He is a much talked and well-known character amongst you Albanians. Maybe your best known member of the Academy!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Vasa Çubrillovi?

SERB SOLDIER: Exactly.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: So, the one that…

SERB SOLDIER and ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (They start saying the same words – ad litteram): “In 1937 he prepared the infamous elaborate for the extermination of the Albanians from Kosova…”

(Short pause.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. but that is true.

SERB SOLDIER: Cubrilovic was a patriot.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: His ideas were fascistic. His and that Nobel Prize winner’s of yours, Andric…

SERB SOLDIER: Now, now…you Albanians will tell us which Serbs were patriots and which weren’t…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But…

SERB SOLDIER: Don’t bullshit me and listen… Çubrilloviq said: “Everything that happens in this World will be forgotten in six months “.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Is that so?

SERB SOLDIER: It is forgotten and that’s it.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You think that…?

SERB SOLDIER: What!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: That the Albanians will forget and forgive after six months for everything that happened here!?

SERB SOLDIER: Even sooner.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And what about all the crimes you committed here?

SERB SOLDIER: Crimes?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes!

SERB SOLDIER: Crimes… look at him… What the fuck did you think motherfucker, that you can take up arms against Serbia and that we’ll caress you… that we will comb your hair or massage you… What?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And what the fuck were you thinking, that you will kill us like rabbits and that we will count each other every day and see how many of us are left!

SERB SOLDIER: Listen you Albanian fuck, don’t you play a prick here, hear me! Mother-fucking philosophical ass… Don’t make me kill you right now, because I don’t feel good shooting at a man in these sorts of circumstances…But if you make me, I will fuck your mum.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yeah right!

SERB SOLDIER: Don’t make me.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Don’t bullshit me… you will not kill me because you’re in same shit as I am… I told you already, none of us knows who is out there in the battlefield, my guys or yours… if it is yours, I am gone, but if it is mine then they will fuck your motherfucking ass… and we’ll see who’s a faggot!

(The Serb looks at the Albanian with a deep and inquiring gaze.)

SERB SOLDIER: You know what?

(The Albanian looks at him without answering.)

SERB SOLDIER: You’re not as stupid as you look…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Don’t bullshit and drop your machine gun and pray to God for my guys not to come because they will fuck your motherfucking sorry ass, just like I will pray to God for your guys not to come because…

SERB SOLDIER: Because they will fuck your sorry ass and turn you into dead meat!

(The Albanian looks at the Serb.)

SERB SOLDIER: Why the long face, you fuck?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You better throw the gun or I will come and shove it up your…

SERB SOLDIER: You faggot… (The Serbs sits down and places the machine gun next to himself.)

(Pause)

SERB SOLDIER: Do you have any water?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Keeps silent)

SERB SOLDIER: Come on, don’t you play a fool, tell me have you any water or not…? But better don’t lie to me, or else…

(Looks at the Serb and than slowly takes the flask…after a while, throws the flask in front of the Serb’s feet.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I think there’s a bit more left.

SERB SOLDIER: (Looks suspiciously, both at the flask and at the Albanian.) Push it this way!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. What?

SERB SOLDIER: I said push it this way and don’t fuck with me!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Push what?

SERB SOLDIER: What! As if you don’t know!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I don’t know.

SERB SOLDIER: The pistol.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: The pistol?

SERB SOLDIER: Yes… I know these games: first you convince me that it is better if we don’t kill one another because it is safer… then I sit down, leave my gun to take the flask and you take your pistol quickly and shoot me… A single bullet would suffice, wouldn’t it… Or, I take the flask, take it up to drink the water and you take your pistol and bang! Just like Rambo (Threatening) Fucking Albanian way…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You Serbs are paranoids… You don’t trust anybody anymore. No one. You don’t even trust yourselves.

SERB SOLDIER: Push the gun away from you I tell you… Even if I trusted the whole world, I know better than to trust an Albanian… For the last time I’m telling you: PUSH THE PISTOL.

(Serb Soldier grabs his machine gun and threatens the Albanian… The Albanian pushes the pistol towards the Serb.)

SERB SOLDIER: There you go… (Puts his machine gun under his armpit and drinks from the flask with the same hand, trying to watch over every move of the Albanian. The Albanian pulls a small transistor radio out of his shirt pocket and starts looking for a station. The Serb drinks the water and watches every Albanian’s move. Then, after having drunk quite a lot, pretends he doesn’t like the taste of it) Blah… Water… Fucking shit…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. You didn’t expect to find Coca Cola?

SERB SOLDIER: Fifty fucking centigrade… Yours ass must have warmed the water… You are afraid, aren’t you?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I told you I am not afraid, nor will I be. After all, I calculated everything the day I set to this war.

SERB SOLDIER: Calculated?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes.

SERB SOLDIER: So?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: So.

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, you can so me now. You’re lucky someone else didn’t find you. You would be dead meat by now. “Bang” and no more philosophizing and moralizing. And you know what you look like to me? Like…

(Pause. The radio cannot track any station. Only noise.)

SERB SOLDIER: What does the radio say?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: It says nothing.

(Short pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Is that new Albanian music, or what?!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No, as a matter of fact its contemporary, new version for “Kosova, the Serbian cradle”!

(The Albanian tries to find a better station, but realizing it’s in vain, turns of the radio and puts it in his shirt pocket)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Damn, there really is nothing worse than to be at war with no news.

SERB SOLDIER: Do you know the latest news for you?

(The Albanian looks at him.)

SERB SOLDIER: The latest news for you is – there is no news… Ha-ha-ha-ha… Time stopped ticking for you, my friend… That’s it!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Low voice.) Same goes for you.

(Longer pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Do you know who it is you remind me of?…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I don’t care about your opinions…

SERB SOLDIER: You remind me of age-old grannies’ pussies – all withered up and useless… But why you are covered in blood – that I don’t get… (Laughs.) Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Idiot…

SERB SOLDIER: Idiot or no idiot, I told you, you were lucky to be my captive, ‘cause if it were someone else, you would end up being just another name (number) – “bang” and that’s it – no longer there… And the terrorist gets fucked (goes to hell…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. You don’t expect me to give you credit for that, do you?

SERB SOLDIER: I, as a matter of fact, don’t expect anything from you. Nothing (Nada).

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And you think I do expect something from you! You come here, straight out and ahead out of your mothers’ holes, kill, rape and loot, and yet you think I believe you to be any different!

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, in fact, I expect you to talk less from now on. Or say nothing at all, unless I ask you stuff… ‘cause otherwise, I’ll ride your mama… Is that clear!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Voice down.) Fuck You!!!

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Fuck you too, and the guy, Bono Vox!!!

(A somewhat longer pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: And (common) for goodness’ sake, where are you from anyway, šipac (Albanian)?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: From Valjevo, by God (I swear)!

SERB SOLDIER: Common, no shit! I’m askin’ you seriously. I don’t think it’s that hard to have a little talk! We’re men (human), after all.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No shit “men”. Soldiers… We’re soldiers… At least I am…

SERB SOLDIER: You are no “soldier”, to say the “least”, first of all, but are my prisoner (slave)… And that’s what you are and being here and everything, I don’t think it would hurt to exchange a couple of words with each other.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Maybe we’ll even become friends, right?…

SERB SOLDIER: Hey, come on, (don’t preach – for goodness’ sake) don’t give me that ethical shit!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Motherfucker, comes here, in the middle of the war, to wipe out an entire nation, and wants to talk. To converse. Become friends… buddies… Eh?

SERB SOLDIER: You are one paranoid guy!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And you are an idiot, then!

SERB SOLDIER: You are a piece of shit.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And you are…

SERB SOLDIER: (Threatens with a weapon.) You’d be better of shutting up… (Pause.) Fuckin’ hell, you’re right. What was I thinking, all of Serbia and Yugoslavia couldn’t set you right, and I, fool, thought I could.

(Pause… Shortly after, the Serb takes out a cigarette from his pocket and gets ready to light it. The Albanian looks at his cigarette with craving.)

SERB SOLDIER: Huh buddy, feel like smoking, right?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No….in fact… I quit smoking… Damages health.

SERB SOLDIER: (Searching for a lighter in his pockets.) (Would you l)Look at this… (Searches for a light but doesn’t find it.) A smoking (blowing) specialist…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. Your sister…

SERB SOLDIER: (Nervous because he can’t find his lighter.) Hey, no shit, or I’ll work your mama up… (Continues to look for his lighter with nervousness.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Puts his hand in his pocket and takes out a “Zippo”): Hey… (Serbo-file/swine) Srbendo…!?

SERB SOLDIER: (Looks at the lighter with satisfaction.) Would you look at him (šiptar), fuckin’ “Zippo”…

(The Albanian throws the lighter to him… the Serb catches it and is just about to get ready to light his cigarette, when he stops, for a second, thinks a while), then outs the lighter out, splits the cigarette in half and passes the other half to the Albanian… He sits quickly, takes the cigarette, and waits for the lighter, which the Serb throws in his direction, after lighting his cigarette. He lights it and inhales the smoke deep into his lungs.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. ..Whoa…

SERB SOLDIER: (Looks at the passion with which the Albanian is smoking.) And you actually quit…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yep. Two days ago.

SERB SOLDIER: Oh, you must have forgotten how to smoke by now.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, when you put your mind to it, you can do anything you want. Only just when you decide.

SERB SOLDIER: (Also inhaling smoke eagerly.) Uhuh, uhuh…!

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Really, where are you from?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I told you: Prishtina.

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, yes, you told me that, but where did your family come from, before settling in Prishtina… Most of the people in Prishtina have settled here from elsewhere, right?

(The Albanian wools at him with surprise.)

SERB SOLDIER: I told you, I am from Prishtina, but my family came to Prishtina from Gornji Milanovci… Dad came here with work… He was a police inspector… You know where Gornji Milanovci is?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: How am I supposed to know… Probably a place somewhere in Serbia.

SERB SOLDIER: It’s a town close to Belgrade… Nearly Belgrade, actually… Velegrad… That’s why I’m asking you where you’re from… From Podujevo? From Gjakova? From Ferizaj?… Or from Peja?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I am from Kosova, pal!

SERB SOLDIER: No shit.

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: I’m asking you, which part of Kosova are you from?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Looks at him suspiciously.) You know what: go fuck yourself. You think that just because you gave me half a cigarette, now, we can go on and talk about private and really personal stuff… Hey, common, we’re enemies, regardless of the fact that you have cigarettes and I have a lighter…

SERB SOLDIER: (Looks at him with surprise.) Oy, faggot, I asked you seriously, which part of Kosova are you from, huh? I am the one that caught you as a prisoner of war…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: My ass, you caught me! I came by myself, like a pigeon to its hole: that’s that!

SERB SOLDIER: Big deal… What’s important now is that you’re my prisoner and you now have to listen to my orders. And that’s why I’m asking you where you’re from and don’t make me use other ways to get you to talk.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yeah, yeah, “other ways “, that’s because you Serbs are pros in using “other ways “.

SERB SOLDIER: What about your lot – Albanians, what the fuck are you good at, Albanian shit… Huh?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: We’re pros in, in…

SERB SOLDIER: In?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: In…

SERB SOLDIER: I’ll tell you…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What!?

SERB SOLDIER: You’re professional victims, that’s what you are… You fall to the ground and start whining just by coming across us, Serbs.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Meaning we’re acting? Is that what you want to say!

SERB SOLDIER: Very precise way of putting it! Even greater acting.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Then, if we are acting, or more than acting, as you say, then you are screenwriters and the great producers of our misfortunes.

SERB SOLDIER: What, you don’t say…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, yes, you always keep saying that we pretend, you say that when you kill, and when you deport us from our homes and when you poison more than seven thousand of our children, and when you rape Albanians – that means, we are always acting and we always have the victims’ role.

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER:. .. Listen, I might, I might not kill you at all, because I have to admit, you are the first normal (sane) Albanian I have met in my life.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But, if you do, accidentally kill me, I will most probably be deprived of the possibility of ever meeting such a Serb (a Serb of your description) in my life.

SERB SOLDIER: Come, come (come on), and don’t try to get back at me… If nothing else, I made you a compliment. It is absolutely obvious that none of us are normal; not you, not me… Normal people would spend this great spring day somewhere, in some normal café, either in Belgrade or in Prishtina, drinking cold beer, accompanied by women… the better half… Bella cara…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Ah well, you thought of that too late….too late… Now, now that the whole world has stood up against you, fucking the shit out of you, now, it’s now that you realize how good it is to be free, to be normal, in this spring evening, drinking cold beer in a café, with someone at your side. Now that Belgrade is shaking from NATO’s bombs

SERB SOLDIER: Still…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Aviano… Tomahawk… Via Belgrade… Did you hear that Bill Gates and Microsoft issued new computer software this year. They say it’s very, very efficient: “Windows 99”.

SERB SOLDIER: Is that supposed to be a joke?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Don’t get angry now)!

SERB SOLDIER: Am angry, am… But don’t screw it… (Stands up.) Don’t make me fuck up everything that’s yours in this world, now…I just asked you where you were from, your origin, and you, you…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. I am from Detroit… But I don’t see how that counts…

SERB SOLDIER: Detroit?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (He too gives away signs (makes a move), because this is really quite a strange bit of information.)

SERB SOLDIER: Whew… Strange!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What?

SERB SOLDIER: I didn’t know there was a Detroit here in Kosova!?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, but there is no Detroit here in Kosova.

SERB SOLDIER: There is none?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No.

SERB SOLDIER:. .. Then… That means that you are…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: That means that I am from the US… The United States… From Detroit…

SERB SOLDIER: Oh… You mother fucker…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes… I am…

SERB SOLDIER: Yankee…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes… Exactly… Yankee…

SERB SOLDIER: Volunteer…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes… KLA volunteer

SERB SOLDIER: That means that you came from the States to …

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: … To fight against you …

SERB SOLDIER: To die here … Fuck…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, fuck… That’s life.

SERB SOLDIER: From Detroit, you say…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes. Student… When the war began in Kosova, I quit my studies, third year in Psychology, and came here …

SERB SOLDIER: To fight!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Or die, as you said …

SERB SOLDIER: This is unbelievable!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Do you think I’m lying?

SERB SOLDIER: No, no, no, no way, but… You an American citizen?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Of course. I’ve lived there for thirteen years …

SERB SOLDIER: Oh, fuck… Thirteen?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Uhuh… My family left for the States early and that’s that… Your guys wanted to kill my dad and we fled.

SERB SOLDIER: This is really strange.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Actually that is fate

SERB SOLDIER: Thirteen years!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But, I have no regrets. None, at all.

SERB SOLDIER: Thirteen years, flat … Thirteen… Ha… What a number …

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: That too has to do with destiny – or, as we were taught at school, the relation between conditions and consequences: either-or.

SERB SOLDIER: True: either-or.

(Short pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: But this is really strange!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What?

SERB SOLDIER: Well this – me arresting an American!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Ah!

SERB SOLDIER: To have arrested an American here … at war, in Kosova.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Why strange? As if Americans never fought a war outside their country!

SERB SOLDIER: In fact.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: In fact, they never fought a war in their country, after the civil war.

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, but damn, it’s strange because in this case … Ha-ha-ha-ha…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What the fuck is there to laugh about

SERB SOLDIER: There is, of course there is … Ha-ha-ha-ha…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Fuck.

SERB SOLDIER: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, but the problem is that this time around, one American has arrested and is targeting his weapon against another American … Ha-ha-ha-ha…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What was that?

SERB SOLDIER: What I am saying is that one American has arrested another American, but from a different army.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What?

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, yes…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: That means that …

SERB SOLDIER: That means that I too am American.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: An American

SERB SOLDIER: In fact Serbian… No, an American with a Serbian origin, just like you are an American with an Albanian origin … And what a coincidence, I too, left “Yugoslavia” and moved to the States exactly thirteen years ago… What a coincidence!!! And that is why its strange, strange that one American is fighting another, in a foreign war, and this American, fighting the other American, I am afraid will have to fuck the brains out of the other American’s mother for becoming a terrorist and rising against the state of origin of this American, who can and probably also will, as I said, fuck the brain out of his mother. (Laughs for quite some time, a pathetic laugh, but stops abruptly and his face takes a very serious look)

(Longer pause)

SERB SOLDIER:. .. Can you hear that?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What?

SERB SOLDIER: Someone is coming…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Just go on, hope…

SERB SOLDIER: But someone is really coming… Can’t you hear the noise.

(From outside, but not very close, a large motor vehicle engine can be heard… The noise increases and is made present in the scene)

SERB SOLDIER: I told you so… I told you so…

(Takes his automatic weapon and dragging his leg, walks towards the basement window to see whether it’s a Serbian army or KLA vehicle)

SERB SOLDIER: Fuck… I can’t see a thing… Where is it… Where is it…

(This moment, the Albanian uses the opportunity and takes a revolver out of the gun case and approaches the Serb slowly, from his back and targets him. The Serb, however, doesn’t notice him at all… After a while, the car noise starts to fade and the Serb whispers with disappointment.)

SERB SOLDIER: They went… Damn it, shit: they left… Maybe they were our people…

(The Albanian makes no noise.)

SERB SOLDIER: (Turns slowly.) I don’t know who they were, but they left… (Upon noticing, now, the pistol barrel pointed to his nose, stops half-hearted with an expression of fear.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Put down that automatic gun, before I blow a hole into your head!

SERB SOLDIER:. .. But…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Faggot you…faggot!

End of the first act (scene)

SECOND SCENE

(Different explosions can be heard coming from far off and from time to time. The Albanian lights half a cigarette with his lighter, while the Serb tries to “make” smoke rings from his half-cigarette.)

SERB SOLDIER: Now, we’re like in space. There is no west, or north. No south or west.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You want to say that we’re like in a black hole, right?

SERB SOLDIER: Twighlight zone!

(Short pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Once, back home, I read the “Chicago Tribune”, about an astronaut who looked outside the window of the satellite he was in and how our planet seemed miserable to him when he saw the globe, with all the fights and wars about borders and property that people wage!

 ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. The man is right… Because we take to weapons and kill our neighbors the minute the neighbor’s cat climbs up on our roof…

SERB SOLDIER: It’s like we are worse than pygmies!

(Pause.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Is it Tuesday today?

SERB SOLDIER: Tuesday… No, it’s not… Today is Wednesday.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Wednesday?

SERB SOLDIER: Actually, I think it is Thursday.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Thursday? Are you sure it’s Thursday – Thursday?

SERB SOLDIER: To be honest, I’m not certain about anything anymore.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, but it certainly is not Saturday or Sunday.

SERB SOLDIER: And why do you think it can’t be Sunday today?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Because Americans and the Brits do not work Sundays and on the other hand, they have been fucking the shit out of your forces since early morning – they are turning them into ruins and ashes with all the bombs they are dropping on them… (An explosion is heard.) There… Hear that!?

SERB SOLDIER: That means that the issue of their implication, in our war, is not like war, for our guys, but more like business?

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: I think it’s Friday today!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes. It’s a black Friday for you Serbs!

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Hey… What do you think will happen after this war?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Ceasefire, no doubt.

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, but after war you say peace, and not ceasefire.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, yes it’s called “peace, but in normal countries, after normal wars and normal agreements, while Serbs and Albanians have fought against each other for the last hundred years, without ever proclaiming war against each other. Thus, any agreement reached would impose a ceasefire and not bring peace.

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Hey?!

(Short pause.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. Huh!

(Short pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Do you think I’m still your prisoner of war?

(Pause.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, but not prisoner of war. You are my basement prisoner. You are a shitty and useless prisoner… But…

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: “But”?

(Pause.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Whatever…

(Serb looks at the Albanian with suspicion.)

SERB SOLDIER: What, whatever?

(Short Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Have any plans for the two of us?

(Pause.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Maybe.

(Longer pause. The Serb continues to look at the Albanian with suspicion)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I believe the war is close to its end!

SERB SOLDIER: Why do you think so?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: That’s what I presume.

SERB SOLDIER: Presume?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, presume.

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: And why do you presume…when I don’t?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You don’t because you know that this war is near its end and you don’t want to believe it…. Serbs are losing the war this time around, right?

SERB SOLDIER: I don’t know… In fact I don’t believe that… I actually don’t even believe that this war is ending… At least not the way you are hoping it could end… Wars last for several years around here… Like in Bosnia, Croatia…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: OK!

SERB SOLDIER: Fine.

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: (Curious.) And how do you know the end of this war is getting closer?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Because I am a soldier and I understand things.

SERB SOLDIER: One fucking soldier, that’s what you are!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Whatever – I have kept you prisoner here for nearly three weeks. Who would have said that I would come from the States and spend three whole weeks with my enemy, here, in a basement, drinking lukewarm water from the same glass, sharing his cigarettes and lighting them with my lighter, eating from each-other’s cans and that I would have a gun in my hand and not spill your brains out on the floor… This is called fate (luck)!!

SERB SOLDIER: Fate my ass

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Bad luck then… I came from Detroit to repay my debt to Kosova and its cause. And here I am now, head-to-head with the enemy. My personal Serb.

SERB SOLDIER: I am also an American. An American from Chicago… Or did you forget?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: That’s what you are like, you Serbs, when it’s convenient, you are Serbs, when it’s not, you go on and become something else.

SERB SOLDIER: Like what?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Like shit. Fuck you… You remember when you like – captured me: “Get up, motherfucker…Get up!”… Slime, you slime…

SERB SOLDIER: You have the future in your hands and you can do as you wish, but don’t forget that when you were my captive I treated you properly, nonetheless.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: The second time too, when you took my weapon, right!

SERB SOLDIER: The second and the third… Go on, look at yourself… Are you missing something, huh? I didn’t even hurt you, or your arms or shoulder blades.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And that’s why you feel bad about it now.

SERB SOLDIER: Bad…? Why bad? Had I wanted to…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What, had you wanted to, what?.

SERB SOLDIER: Well…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You would have beaten me, right?

SERB SOLDIER: I didn’t say that.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You didn’t say it, but you thought it… Motherfucker… Because you Serbs, you’re always saying one thing, and doing another… Stand up! Stand up quick, you faggot!. .. quick, quick, quick!!!

(Serb stands up and looks at the Albanian with a dose of uncertainty and a dose of fear.)

SERB SOLDIER: But

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Threatening.) Shut up… Shut up before I shut it up for you!

SERB SOLDIER: Really, I didn’t do a thing…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Get to the wall, quick! quick, quick, quick!!

(Ser turns to the wall.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Hands behind your head…

(Serb clasps his hands behind his head.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And raise one leg… That’s an order… Quick…

(Serb does not move.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Quickly, when I say, quickly!

(Serb turns around to face the Albanian.)

SERB SOLDIER: My dick!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What?

SERB SOLDIER: I only have one sound leg, one.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I am giving you an order… otherwise…

SERB SOLDIER: Order as you please… I don’t give a fuck… Kill me if you want… I don’t give a shit anymore! Then again, it’s the same, just like when you were my captive: if weapons are fired, we won’t know which army is closer; they hear us; they come and if they are yours, OK, but if they are mine, they will screw up, not only your mother, but they will trace back your entire blood-line to your Saint Jerome…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Threatening.) I, am still ordering you…

SERB SOLDIER: What?

(Albanian in doubt.)

SERB SOLDIER: What’s that you said… ?

(Albanian puts his weapon down.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You are one queer guy!… You are provoking me into killing you… Then I’ll be accused of killing an American from Chicago, and not a Chetnik[2] from Gornji Milanovc.

SERB SOLDIER: Chetnik?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Chetnik…

SERB SOLDIER: Chetnik, yes..

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And the way you Serbs stage and fake and make things up, it will turn out that I have not killed a shitty Chetnik, but a peace missionary, who came from New York to ease the tension and bloodshed between enemies at war…

(Explosions are heard far off.)

SERB SOLDIER: From Chicago…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Told you so.

SERB SOLDIER: What did you say? I told you about twenty times already, that I am from Chicago and that…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Oh, come on, I told you the war is about to end.

SERB SOLDIER: But you didn’t tell me where you got that information!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Can’t you hear the powerful explosions.

SERB SOLDIER: And?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But this is how it usually happens… Everything intensifies near the end.

SERB SOLDIER: And you know that?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes.

SERB SOLDIER: Because you are a soldier?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, because I am a soldier! A Kosovar soldier!

SERB SOLDIER: A piece of shit – soldier, that’s what you are… Terrorist!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Me – a terrorist?

SERB SOLDIER: You, who else.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What do you mean, “a terrorist”.

SERB SOLDIER: This is a doctrine: if you take to weapons, rise against institutions and the state – what else can you be… It’s like this in the States as well, isn’t it?!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: That has no logic to it. Serbs have exercised violence and terror for years on end against Albanians and yet, based on what you say, the victims turn out to be terrorists!

SERB SOLDIER: Only the dead are victims.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Then you Serbs are excellent at “producing” them… Hundreds and thousands of them…

SERB SOLDIER: I told you, everything will be forgotten immediately, in six months’ time…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: In Kosova too?

SERB SOLDIER: Here too… So, when you and I end this unreasonable war of ours…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Unreasonable!

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, well, there are no reasonable wars, are there!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: It is unreasonable for you, because you came here to exterminate, but not for us, because we are defending ourselves from extermination.

SERB SOLDIER: Okay… Anyway, when the two of us end this war, whatever it is like: reasonable or unreasonable, and which has been taking place for the last year and a half, it will be our turn, the Americans, to come and tell ourselves, namely Serbs and Albanians, this: “Listen here. What has happened has happened, you killed each other, beat each other and arrested each other and,. you fucked up this much and this way, and now – “Start from scratch” time for a new start, everything anew, as if nothing ever happened…” And we will forget everything in six months only!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Well, looks like Cubrilovic was both an Academic and an American! He used to say that everything is forgotten after six months as well… There is collective amnesia afterwards and everything turns out white!

SERB SOLDIER: Although he wasn’t American, our Cubrilovic was still capable of thinking like us, Americans… You know that everything is fast for us, Americans: fast food, fast sex, fast war, fast peace, fast mind…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Shit!

SERB SOLDIER: Okay, and fast shit!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yo, it’s shit because I don’t know where I left my radio!

SERB SOLDIER: Radio?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, radio… Or…

(The Serb immediately starts pretending as if he is not interested in speaking with the Albanian anymore.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. Or… Stand up?

SERB SOLDIER: Up?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Threatening with a gun.) Yes, on your feet! Quick, on your feet, mother fucker.

(Serb stands up.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Hands up! Hands up, you asshole)… !

SERB SOLDIER: Hey, what is wrong with you?… what the fuck is your problem!?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Shut up! Shut up before I shut you up…

(Starts looking through the Serb’s bag and takes unimportant things out of it: socks, kitchen knives, condoms, coffee cups, cans with dry food, etc. all the while keeping the Serb in target.)

SERB SOLDIER:. .. But, tell me, what’s wrong? What’s this all about? I don’t understand!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Hands up, I said!

SERB SOLDIER: (Raises his hands.) Okay! As you wish…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Stands up and feels the Serb’s pockets with the hand in which he’s holding the gun, first in the upper part of the uniform, and stops at the right pocket of his trousers… Just as he starts feeling the object in the pocket with the gun barrel, he stops.) Take it out!

SERB SOLDIER: Huh?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Take it out when I tell you to!

(Serb puts his hand slowly in his pocket.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: That’s a good boy!

SERB SOLDIER: Ok, ok… (And slowly takes out the radio.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Thief!

SERB SOLDIER: But..

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Bad thief!… (Keeps the gun pointed to his face and is quite tense.) Hooligan…

SERB SOLDIER: I…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Typical for you… Typical…

SERB SOLDIER: I wanted… I wanted…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What the fuck did you want, ha, what?!

SERB SOLDIER:. .. I wanted to listen to the news…

(The Albanians continues to keep his gun pointed at his face for some time and then, suddenly drops his hand and spits on the floor.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Phew… (Moves away to the left and sits, then slowly and carefully opens the radio, which just makes noise. News… Wanted to steal my radio… Of course, when every other Serb did it, looting everything in Kosova, even spoons and teacups, yes, this faggot thought – I’ll just steal his radio… You know, so I at least have one thing… Piece of shit… (Stands abruptly, takes the gun again, but this time, doesn’t point it in the Serb’s direction.) You motherfucker… Do you know who gave me this radio, it was the McDonald’s manager in Detroit, the day I left to come here to fight, to fight against Chetniks…?

SERB SOLDIER: Eh, well, you were lucky, no doubt, lucky.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What luck? Why luck?

SERB SOLDIER: Well, for working for McDonalds and because the manager there, at McDonald’s, gave you the radio, while I worked at the Zoo in Chicago, I took care of Pandas.

(Albanian stops, thinking.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Actually, I didn’t work for McDonald’s. I studied psychology and worked as a receptionist at the “Plaza” Hotel in Detroit… And she, the McDonald’s manager, she didn’t give me the radio because I worked for her, but because I did her… She told me: “So you could listen to our music at the frontline and think of me!” She was a middle-aged Italian: 45 years old. Ke bella bambina…

SERB SOLDIER: Or: Ke bella mama…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Don’t give me that shit… What would you know about it, thief… God knows what you did, with your pandas, at the Zoo.

SERB SOLDIER: Me?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You, yes, you… Wanker.

SERB SOLDIER: I, I was a Macho man! Women in Chicago were nuts about me: African-Americans, Chinese, Porto Ricans, Russians, and Romanians, Polish… All of them called me Sony Boy.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: What, you don’t say…

SERB SOLDIER: “What you don’t say…”. .. You can say what you want, but at least I was no gigolo.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Gigolo?

SERB SOLDIER: Oh, I’m sorry, but you didn’t tell me what your granny’s name was, the McDonald’s Italian?!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: At least I was a true lover.

SERB SOLDIER: Like in the movies!.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Could say so…

SERB SOLDIER: Like in Gone with the windwith Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Better that way than be a professional masturbator, close my eyes and start imagining (starts moving his hand as if he were masturbating) all the women in Chicago, even those from the surrounding areas: Russians: Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh…… Italians: Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh… , black women: Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh…, Porto Ricans: Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh… , Czech Republic… Even women from Shumadija… Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh…

SERB SOLDIER:. .. You Albanians have no imagination, at all!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Eh well, only you Serbs have imagination, only too morbid for my taste…

(Albanian goes and sits to the left. Short pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: To say the truth, I felt better when I was accompanied by pandas than I feel with you.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Who has now opened the radio, which is making noise, and doesn’t look at him at all.) Is that so?

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, it is.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Then go fuck your pandas!

SERB SOLDIER: Faggot!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Idiot. I asked you at least one thousand times what the fuck you wanted, coming here from the States, to fight in Kosova!

SERB SOLDIER: As a matter of fact, that question would be best addressed to you… You came from the States, to fight in a war, which you have no chances of winning.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: (Ironically.) Hah!!!

SERB SOLDIER: Then again, all those years you spent in the States, you should have learnt a thing or two about patriotism. And then again, as an American citizen, you should have learnt to be more dignified and not get into trouble that you can’t get out of… We Americans, even when we lose wars, we lose them with premeditation, just like we begin wars with premeditation.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: It’s true that we Americans are dignified in every situation, but some Americans are less dignified than others, who truly have dignity. Especially those who steal radios from Americans who got them as presents and in memory of their love.

SERB SOLDIER: Eh, fuck… shit happens.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And…

SERB SOLDIER: And?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And come here and die, in vain, in foreign land, for foreign goals and policies, in a dirty war, fighting against their own new country – America.

SERB SOLDIER: Who is fighting against America?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You, who else?!

SERB SOLDIER: Me?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No, the Deçan patriarch. You, you, who else?

SERB SOLDIER: Ah, this is where you’re right. Honestly, as an irresponsible American soldier, a participant in this war, me and my automatic weapon, we scared the shit out of American aviation forces… Our American pilots, why, I’m their worst nightmare… Come one, I came to fight against you, because you wanted to steal Kosova – Serbian heartland – away from us!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No, no, no, no, no… Excuse me, but we are the ones who are fighting to make Kosova free and liberated.

SERB SOLDIER: Liberate it from whom then?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: From Mongolians, “then”… From you, Serbs, who else!

SERB SOLDIER: Meaning that you started the war to free Serbian Kosova from Serbs themselves, is that it?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: No, but we are fighting to liberate Albanian Kosova from Serbian blood-thirsty boots… And, as regards the war, we didn’t start it, you did.

SERB SOLDIER: We did?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You and that’s that.

SERB SOLDIER: Would you listen to him!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yeah.

(Short pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Still, we didn’t start it, you did….

ALBANIAN SOLDIER:. .. You pushed us with our backs to the wall… Remember!?

SERB SOLDIER: No, I don’t… I spent the last ten years working at the Chicago Zoo!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yeah right! The moment you mention Belgrade violence, terror against Albanians, the fascism, racism and apartheid, to a Serb, he will say: “I am sorry, but it’s not my fault you see, I didn’t participate in all the things you’re saying!”

SERB SOLDIER: And I didn’t! Do you think the Government in Belgrade would have consulted me and my pandas out in Chicago about the stuff happening here? But then, later on, when I saw people in uniforms, your military camps, I have to admit that I felt my blood rushing through my veins, I felt the Serb in me and I could not help but come to Kosova, to protect Serbia and its history!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Eh, if it weren’t for the Serb in you and the blood rushing through your veins – why, I nearly thought you were innocent Pilate himself, with no guilt or say whatsoever in Christ’s fate or misfortune!

SERB SOLDIER: You probably got that from that Saint Jeronim of yours.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Who gives a fuck about you anyway!

(Pause. Albanian tries to tune the radio but in vain, it just makes noise. More and more frequent explosions can be heard from afar.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: To be honest, I am no longer certain about anything.

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, but it is certain that it is neither Saturday, nor Sunday.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I told you that Americans and the Brits don’t work on Sundays. Today, they started to give it to you motherfucking assholes from early morning, I am referring to the Serb in you, with blood rushing through your veins, and they have been sweeping them clear to the ground, using all types of weapons.

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: I think it’s Friday today.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes. It’s black Friday!

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Hey… What do you think will happen after this war?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I don’t know… I might stay here, or maybe even go back to the States… or…

SERB SOLDIER: Or…?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Or I’ll go to fight in Tibet!

SERB SOLDIER: In Tibet?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Your Pandas’ homeland.

SERB SOLDIER: Would you listen to him! But there is no war there!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You never know… And what about you, what will you do when this war is over?

SERB SOLDIER: I will run for President, or at least Prime Minister of Kosova… Your know like before: one Albanian, one Serb and one other… Co-existence…! I am a Serb, I speak Albanian, but am also an American… And you Albanians love us Yankees so dearly, don’t you?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I was actually asking you seriously!?

SERB SOLDIER: Then I’ll answer you seriously: maybe I’ll go back to my Zoo in Chicago, or maybe I’ll head to Tibet as well.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You too?

SERB SOLDIER: Yes, to protect the homeland of my pandas from a mad Albanian like you.

(Outside, a military motor-vehicle engine can be heard running in a distance… The noise becomes more and more present in the scene.)

SERB SOLDIER: Someone’s coming!

(The Albanian gets up slowly and moves to the right, towards the basement window to see whether a Serb or a KLA vehicle is in question. The Serb moves a step back.)

SERB SOLDIER: Huh…Who is it? (Moves slowly to the left, to the place where his automatic gun is resting on the wall.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: I can’t tell, but there are more soldiers than usual… Strange uniforms… I haven’t seen them until now!

(At this moment, as the Albanian looks outside, the Serb gets to his gun, but just as he leans to get it, the Albanians turns in his direction and points his gun at him.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Now I’m going to blow your ass off!

SERB SOLDIER: (Straightens slowly.) But, I…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: But, just the Serb part of your butt… Motherfucker!

(The Serb turns to face the Albanian, raising his shoulders, as if asking for an explanation.)

SERB SOLDIER: See, that’s what you Serbs are like! Man can’t turn his back to you for a second..

(The Serb remains still.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Then again, what do you need it for?

SERB SOLDIER: I don’t know…

(Pause.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: You wanted to shoot me in the back, didn’t you?

SERB SOLDIER: No.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Still, you tried to get your gun to kill me, right?

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Actually, it is war… And we are enemies… Americans, yes; but enemies as well… Enemies because we are fighting in two opposing armies in a war that was never officially proclaimed.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: In a war in which someone is to blame for all the horror that took place.

SERB SOLDIER: All right, all right… Someone has to be blamed.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: And someone has to be the victim.

(Pause.)

SERB SOLDIER: Or: we’re all victims.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Is that supposed to mean that no one is to blame for all the horrible things that have taken place here, eh?

SERB SOLDIER: I don’t know… Maybe if we weren’t pushed and you weren’t pushed, by these people, from abroad…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Americans, for example!

SERB SOLDIER: Well, fuck.

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Bullshit!

SERB SOLDIER: Isn’t that logical American-wise?

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Nothing is logical, nothing. Not the American way, or the Balkan way. Not even us being here, together; or you not killing me, or me not killing you when I had the chance; or me not killing you at all, or us two, fighting against each other; or us being two Americans in a war that is ours and foreign, at the same time…

SERB SOLDIER: Fuck!

(For a moment, the noise coming the from the Albanian’s radio, located in his pocket, dominates the scene. Later, the noise stops, abruptly, and a Radio KFOR speaker’s voice can be heard, speaking in English)

SPEAKER (off): This is Radio KFOR. It has been ten days since KFOR multinational troops entered Kosova, in the greatest peacekeeping mission in the history of the North-Atlantic Treaty…

ALBANIAN SOLDIER and SERB SOLDIER: Ten days?

SPEAKER (off): Today, our special units of the III Battalion of the Irish Infantry Regiment, within the contingent of British KFOR troops, have removed mines from the region of Prishtina the whole day, trying to minimize the risk for the 1 million Albanians, who were deported by force to Albania and FYROM by Milosevic’s regime and who are now returning in an organized and unorganized way, to their homes, which have been burnt and ruined.

The end of the war in Kosova and the 78-day air strikes…

(Voice down.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Fuck. My radio’s batteries have run out…

SERB SOLDIER: (Happy.) Yes, but still, the war is over… It’s over!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, yes, it’s over!

SERB SOLDIER: (Opens his arms to embrace the Albanians.) And now, we can definitely go back to our own homes!!

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Yes, yes, definitely, yes… (The Albanian also opens his arms to embrace the Serb.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER and SERB SOLDIER: (Simultaneously.) Home sweet home!!

(And, just as they approach each other to embrace, they stop and look at each other with anger and rage.)

ALBANIAN SOLDIER: Go back to Serbia, you motherfucking Chetnik!

SERB SOLDIER: You go to Albania, you motherfucking terrorist!

(Then the Serb and Albanian turn their backs to each other, leaving some space in-between them. At this point, the scene blacks out slowly, while only two small faded lights drop down, one on top of one character, the other on top of the other. They stand, not moving, for a long time, while a vibrant voice is heard over the “off”)

EPILOGUE

Voice on Off: That very day, the ALBANIAN SOLDIER got out of the strange shelter and ensured civilian clothes for himself and his Serbian enemy and compatriot. In a half-burnt house, he found a car and together with his compatriot, from beyond the Atlantic, and Balkan enemy to his death, they set forth to get to the Kosova-Serbian border, where the two men, who articulated their hatred, in the strangest of ways, would separate forever.

But, in a world where everyone can turn into a perpetrator or a victim in one day, fate was not on the side of the tragedy-subjects of this fable, since, upon getting to the border, the ALBANIAN SOLDIER fails to notice that he passed the Kosova boundary line for a full 60 meters and that he entered Serbia, where they get stopped at the first Serbian police checkpoint.

Through a quick court procedure, in the Kurshumlia Court, the ALBANIAN SOLDIER, gets sentenced to 20 days imprisonment, since he, as am American citizen, passed the border and entered Serbia illegally, while the SERB SOLDIER is sent straight to Serbian military investigators, where he is accused of high treason and direct cooperation with the enemy.

After twenty days spent in the Prokuplje prison, all tracks of the Albanian Soldier all lost, only to be found again, after the interest shown by the United States Department, in a massive grave, together with 700 other Albanian civilians, in Batajnica close to Belgrade; whereas, the SERB SOLDIER, is sentenced to five years imprisonment, which he spends at the Nis Military Prison from which place he has contacted his family in Chicago four times. After the fall of the Serbian dictator from power and his transfer to the Hague Tribunal, the family of the Serbian-American soldier, who volunteered for the war in Kosova, tried in vain to locate their son. The new prison authorities in Nis insisted that no one with his name and last name was held in prison there.

Investigations continue for both of these cases, within the frames of an unending Balkan drama.

The end

Prishtina, June’04


[1] Kosovo Liberation Army

[2] Chetnik were Serbian paramilitary formations during the Second World War and the last war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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