This picture was published in The Nation newspaper on March 26, 1999.
My View Of The Picture:
The war in Kosovo was fought and lasted from February 1998 until June 1999. In this small article I am not going to discuss who was wrong and who was right. The thing I wanted to share with you and am going to discuss are the expressions of the lady in the picture. Many times I opened my scrapbook and looked at this picture. I tried to read the strong expressions which can be seen on the face of the lady in the picture. From the first time I saw that picture in March 1999 it was not that hard for me to understand the pain behind that face but until today I look at the picture and give myself some moments to find something new. No doubt it’s one of my favourite pictures in my scrapbooks. In the same picture one can see a man but the expression of the man portrays only pain whereas the expression of the lady is reflecting both pain and anger.
The pain and the anger in her eyes are depicting the suffering of common people during war times. In the old days at times of war, mostly the armies used to fight face to face in an open area or within a specific area. If the attacker was the winner then he had the discretion either to act barbarically and do as much killing as he liked or to just capture the country and rule without killing. However, in today’s mode of war irrespective of whether or not the enemy is barbaric, common people suffer due to the firing and shelling.
During war times the people bear the pain of war and relocate for their own sake or for the sake of children or for the sake of parents. During war times those who once enjoyed three handsome meals per day must be satisfied with a maximum of one meal in a day. Those who were served their meals in style before the war are forced to stand in queues to get a basic meal for a day. Regarding the Kosovo conflicts I also have other pictures in my scrapbook in which parents are relocating to other parts to protect their children. No doubt when one suffers from such a catastrophe the expression of a smile and calm turns into pain, hate and anger.
Fortunately, you and I are sitting in our homes in a peaceful environment. If, God forbid, in the coming days we have to relocate ourselves due to a war we will be in great pain. If we have to move with our families we might be feeling extreme hate. If we have to leave all our belongings and if we are forced to stand in queues for one basic meal per day we would be in great pain. So this is all that this lady might have been bearing while getting herself registered at the police station in Macedonia.
She was serious, she was angry and she was in pain. We don’t know whether she is still alive or not but if yes, then I wonder what she would think now after remembering all those painful days?
There are two types of deaths that occur in wars. The first type relates to those who physically get killed and the second type are those who, though they don’t get killed physically, die emotionally from painful memories of the war that change their lives altogether.
All my sympathies are with all such people who bear the pain of war. Indeed, while sitting in a peaceful environment we can not truly feel the pain of such suffering.