Growing Up In A War Zone

While they look like typical children heading home after a day of school, their home is surrounded by war. As in every war, the children of Kosovo pay the highest price, innocent victims of the rivalries and hatreds of their parents. CBS News Correspondent Allen Pizzey reports.

A school provides an example of their suffering. Although ethnically mixed -- Serb and Albanian - the students are separated, going to class on different floors and calling the school by different names.


Albanians learn English and have no lessons at all in Serb. The Serb kids get the better facilities and study Russian. The teachers blame it all on politics.

"All children don't hate. Don't hate," says Albanian teacher Mihane Xhemajliu. "We like to play, to learn. But not any more."

Despite the tension, others argue that a divided school is better than no school at all.

Tens of thousands of ethnic Albanian children have had no education for months and stand little chance of returning to class for months to come, a loss in their lives that may never be replaced.

No school doesn't mean a holiday, however. Instead of reading, writing and arithmetic, children learn the basic rules of survival as a refugee.

Home safety includes checking the plastic tent for poisonous snakes seeking warmth. In their playtime, some little boys might dream of being farmers like their fathers. But the current role models are guerrillas with guns - not a surprise when Serbs with guns have been patrolling the Yugoslavian province.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians have the highest birth rate in Europe - a statistic that Serbs see as a threat. For Serbs and Albanians alike, the price of intolerance is a squandered future for their children.

Reported By Allen Pizzey

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

On Twitter

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

Download
The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App