gypsies, roma, kosovo

A War of Enchantments

Remzija, Lulzim and Reska a few months later.
The dress Remzija is wearing was bought from a man whose grandchildren
were recently burned alive by accident in a camper

For several weeks, Kadri would call Reska, at times threatening, at times complaining. And telling her that he would soon be coming to Italy to get his wife back. 

One morning, Kadri turns up in Brescia with his handsome car. Reska, Bajram, Xhevrija are at the camp; Remzija is still hidden in a safe place. The whole camp had sworn to drive away Kadri, but he gets off his car, strutting proudly. For some reason, the people of the camp are silent and even accompany him into the courtyard, up the stairs and to the room of the Berisha family. Kadri comes in first and sits down. Before coming, he must have gone to a cruel and old hojja, half mystic and half magician, to get an charm of invincibility. 

Little Reska, her large eyes made up dark, loaded with gold, comes. "I am Reska and I am terribly astute and have a zhiva since I was born" .... she points at her right shoulder ... "so your enchantment can do nothing against me... maybe even if you shoot me, I won't be hurt". A zhiva, the enchantment of a diminutive Qur'an... Whatever the reason, the zhiva or simply because the girl had dared to challenge him, huge Kadri suddenly loses all his power. He starts justifying himself, saying that he sends women out into the streets because he has no money... indeed, it is the fault of Remzija having made so many children.... besides, his only worker, Emba Sada, "Esmeralda" for the customers, cost him no less than five thousand marks. 

Reska's cousin comes racing from Bergamo, with a whole gang of people. To come quicker, he had broken every law of traffic and of common sense. The cousin is small and wicked, fiercely proud of his long hair, and a member of a mysterious Sufi brotherhood, Muslims who - he told me - are "different" from Bajram and his children, Muslims who pray in a circle and stab themselves with knives to put their faith to a test. Now the cousin lives in a filthy hovel ("worse than the Gypsies", explains Reska) with a dozen  relatives.  

The little cousin stands in front of the seated ogre, slaps him on the thigh and says, "if you send your women out to work as prostitutes, you aren't a real man... you're a homosexual!" and orders the big beast to get up and go away.  

Humbly, Kadri says yes, he will go, but he doesn't have enough money to go back to Zagreb. So the neighbours give him 150,000 lire. A strange way of begging which breaks the enchantment. Then he gets onto his car and disappears. For the time being.    


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