In this bucolic village, the awful symmetry of Kosovo's war of ethnic hatred is particularly clear. The oppressed become the oppressors, and the winners take all and leave nothing for the vanquished.
During the war, it was the ethnic Albanians in this area of western Kosovo who fled -- to the refugee camps, to the forests. Now, it is the Serbian villagers who are displaced, living in a dank schoolhouse in Kraljevo, Serbia, their homes -- almost every one of them -- burned to blackened rubble by ethnic Albanians.
Zoran Stasic is among those whose fortunes have turned -- for the worse. He spends his days at the schoolhouse, a way station crowded with Serbian refugees and stinking of stale air, a day's drive from his home in Duganjive. Stasic, a Serb, wants to return to the place where he was born, where he grew corn and wheat in fields near the stout, red brick house where he raised his family.
Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Duganjive were never close, but they were civil, Stasic says. And when the NATO bombing started last March and hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians were driven from the Serbian province, the dogs of war never crossed Duganjive's threshold.
"You go and look," said Stasic, who fled Kosovo with all 150 Serbs in the village on June 17 -- five days after the first NATO peacekeeping troops entered the province. "We did not burn a single house."
It is true. But the ethnic Albanians burned Stasic's house.
In Kraljevo, Stasic's desire to return -- an aspiration supported by the West, which is trying to sustain a multi-ethnic Kosovo -- seems reasonable. To the south, here in Duganjive, it seems hopeless.
The first house one sees on entering Duganjive, a family compound enclosed by a wall, is a burned-out wreck. Across the gravel road, sweeping around a corner into the village, house after house has been gutted by fire.
"Serb, Serb, Serb," said Viktor Krasniqi, 20, an ethnic Albanian villager, as he pointed to one destroyed home after another.
Although Stasic does not know it, his house is now roofless, the facade charred black, the large front yard scorched. There were 28 Serbian houses in Duganjive, and 27 of them have been burned. The 28th was too close to an ethnic Albanian home to be torched, villagers said.
Not a single ethnic Albanian home in Duganjive was burned during the war, and villagers agreed that the Serbs never targeted them. They also insisted that no one from the village burned the Serbian homes.
But Duganjive, they said, was a magnet for outraged ethnic Albanians from destroyed surrounding villages, and they suggest that their Serbian neighbors, including Stasic, may have participated in burning and looting in those areas when they were mobilized by the Belgrade government for service in the Kosovo war. Even the suspicion of involvement, they said, will make it all but impossible for them to return to Kosovo -- a province of Serbia, Yugoslavia's dominant republic.
"With us from the village they were not hostile," said Ded Krasniqi, 53. "They didn't harm us, but they harmed people around us." Krasniqi says he knew Stasic well. "He brought a lot of trucks with stolen goods here."
Duganjive -- near the town of Klina and south of the main road between Pristina, the capital, and the western city of Pec -- is in the middle of an area that saw heavy conflict between ethnic Albanian separatist guerrillas and Serb-led forces over the last year. The village of 68 homes is just six miles from the wartime site of a Kosovo Liberation Army guerrilla stronghold, and last fall government forces emptied the nearby village of Drenovac of ethnic Albanians. They did not return until after NATO's air campaign ended in June and Yugoslav army and Serbian police and paramilitary forces began to withdraw.
On June 29 last year, during fierce fighting between the ethnic Albanian rebels and Serbian forces, the entire ethnic Albanian population of Duganjive fled the village, staying away for six weeks. "We were terrified," said Viktor Krasniqi.
In the months before the NATO bombing started, Milos Raskovic said he and the other Serbian men in the village would stand guard each night, armed with automatic rifles. On several nights, Raskovic said, KLA guerrillas fired at him and the village from nearby forests. The KLA never killed anyone, but that was not the point, he said. The purpose was to put the Serbs on notice -- that they were not safe, that they lived in a land where the population was overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian and that their hold on the land was ending.
In early March, two elderly Serbian brothers, Rade and Dragon Vostic, both in their 60s, were kidnapped as they harvested clover from their fields. "They simply disappeared," said one Serb from the village.
"We knew the KLA had them, and we suspect that they probably took them away and shot them in the head and buried them someplace," the villager said. Several other refugees said they believe that the mass graves being uncovered in the area contain Serbian as well as ethnic Albanian bodies.
"Every day before the war, relations got worse," said Ded Krasniqi, who like most of the ethnic Albanian residents here is a Roman Catholic. Catholics among the Kosovo Albanians are sometimes referred to by Serbs as "loyal" Albanians, while the distinction between Catholic and Muslim has much less currency in the ethnic Albanian community. Most Serbs are Orthodox Christians.
During the NATO bombing, the Serbs said, the KLA attacks intensified. "The KLA were all over the place, in the forests outside the village," said Stasic, 27, a farmer. "They'd fire at us, and we'd fire back at where we heard the shots."
The three Muslim families in Duganjive and some of the young men fled the village during the war, but all the Catholics remained and they were never told to leave. Krasniqi said he saw many of his Serbian neighbors in uniform, and each day trucks and tractors entered the village loaded with electronic goods and furniture that he can only presume were looted from neighboring villages, which were scorched and emptied of their residents.
When the war ended, Stasic said, the Yugoslav army quickly began to withdraw, and over the border from Albania, he said, came Kosovo Albanian refugees and gangs looking for revenge.
The Serbs left in a convoy of tractors and cars on June 17. They passed Klina, which Yugoslav forces and local Serb civilians had burned and looted during the war. It took the Serbian villagers about 36 hours to reach Kosovo's border with the rest of Serbia. Along the way, as they moved through the town of Kosovska Mitrovica, returning ethnic Albanians threw rocks and bottles at them, the Serbs said. Once they crossed the border, police and the military herded them along until they reached Kraljevo and their schoolhouse, where they have remained.
In the week after their departure, their houses in Duganjive were burned in groups of two or three by enraged ethnic Albanians. "I asked one man why he was burning" a house, said Ded Krasniqi, "and he just looked at me like I was crazy. People who lost their homes and families are wild. If the Serbs return they will have no problem with the people of Duganjive. But they won't be safe."
But one uprooted Serb, who served as a reservist in the military police and is now living in Kraljevo with his relatives, promised to return to the province.
"We will go back," he said, "and when we do, we will treat the Albanians as they have treated us. We will become the dogs of war."
Finn reported from Duganjive; Booth reported from Kraljevo.