flame.gif Children Without Childhood

Working at Fort Dix was an experience I will never forget. I am sure that everybody who had that opportunity can say the same thing. For me, it was something special. I was there to run a radio show, which was broadcast every night, and I was very excited about the job. First, because it was my profession when I lived in Albania. Second, because my audience would be a special group. I believe that for the time since I've been broadcasting news, I had the most attentive listeners in the world. They were eager for the news. They wanted to know what was going on first of all in Kosova and then in the rest of the Balkans. They wanted to know what was going on in Albania and Macedonia where members of their families were living apart from them. They couldn't wait to hear that NATO forces were entering Kosova. They also wanted to know what was going on in Serbia. I remember one night, when I broadcast the news that the Serbian Orthodox Church was calling for Milosevic to step down, they cheered loudly. Their voices penetrated the windows of our so-called broadcast studio. I immediately felt their reaction to any news I broadcast. I was living with that reaction. I was living with their concerns.

People who never have felt a lack of freedom might take many things for granted. But for us, the people of Eastern Europe, freedom of speech and freedom to choose a government we like is a big, big thing.

But the most interesting part of my program was the children's section. Grownups usually teach children, but we can also learn a world of things from them.
These kids grew up before they enjoyed their childhood. They are children without a childhood. They never had a real one.

But they had their stories to tell, and I have decided to share them with you.

Albana Melyshi Lifschin
September, 1999

© Albana Melyshi Lifschin  |  Last updated May 12, 2016 12 Noon
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