“Forgetting Equals Killing:” Loss and Remembrance of the Missing Children in Post-War Kosovo

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Rozafa Berisha


The Kosovo War of 1999 has had a devastating and enduring impact on individual and social lives of the civilian population. This article provides an in-depth understanding of the impact of wartime atrocities on community experiences, by examining the role of political memory construction in stimulating the production of various sites for recounting alternative memory. Based on extensive ethnographic research, I particularly focus on the collective engagement and the mechanisms of reformulation and transmission of social memory among the parents of missing children. I argue that the pain of loss gets materialized, visualized and publicly asserted through various mediums in an attempt to cope with, as well as resist, societal forgetting. In this article, I refrain from giving a totalizing interpretation of collective memory in post-war Kosovo, and argue instead that multiple and fragmented “acts of remembrance” co-exist, as moulded in collective action situated in the public domain.

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