The Trauma

Girl having a nervous break

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None of the deported families had a home to return to. All their houses were destroyed. Some of them stayed in a room with their families, others just lived in the ruins. When Mona Ljungberg visited the families 1-2 months after their return, the children appeared thin and it looked obviously that they were not getting enough food.

Many of these children were sent back to a war-torn Kosovo, with seriously sick parents. The parents could not get adequate medical care and children did not receive any help from adults nor from social services, which do not even exist in Kosovo. The children were, and still are, traumatized by war and persecution. One of the families who were sent back was one of the few who had survived the ethnic ”cleansing” of their village. People in the area had poured gasoline around the village and set fire to it. None of the people who were in the village then survived. The family told us that they were very lucky they found a chance to hide before the massacre began. The way in which the families were deported was also very ruthless in nature, which was another trauma the children experienced.

Some families had to experience 7-10 police officers coming inside their house at 5 in the morning with no announcement. Parents and children were awakened and were given only ten minutes to get dressed and pack a few things to leave. The parents and children were shocked. Not all the families were expelled at once; it was typically 1-2 families a week. The families, who were still in Denmark were also in shock for weeks cause they were afraid their turn to come. When a family was driven to the airport, they had to wait in a locked waiting room until 11 o’clock, without food or water. Five hours without breakfast is a long time for adults, but especially for children. At 11 o’clock, the family would get on the plane. Fathers were wearing handcuffs and sat with a police officer on both of his sides at the plane. They appeared as criminals towards the other passengers. Mothers and children sat in another part of the plane and the children were not allowed to talk to their father. They did not even understand what was going on. We would have all been scared and feel humilated if we were treated like that from a country’s authorities. To be treated like dangerous criminals and fraudsters was a deeply traumatic experience for people who were already traumatized by war and persecution.

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