--Sunday, 16 July 00--
Today we had a pretty, puffy, varied cloud cover that was similar to Friday's.
The amount of blue sky varied dramatically from 0 to 60 percent but the
air was cool and refreshing all day.
I took the bus to Masgit again determined to find the mausoleum of Gazi
Mestan, Murad's standard bearer. I had seen a one-story domed building
fairly near the Serb tower and decided to check it out. I took a bus to
the tower, walked to the tower entrance and then walked toward the domed
building along the road edging the tower grounds.
The abandoned Gazi Mestan mausoleum. The three short stone pillars
have a meaning that I do not understand.
I can't be positive -- there was no sign -- but I think it was the mausoleum
of Gazi Mestan. It was simply designed in an elegant way but untended
--abandoned -- for some time. The Mausoleum was "protected"
only by two mostly black puppies, one of whom is a born growler with a
The puppy on the right is the growler. Visitors in six months had
better be careful.
As I approached the entrance the puppies retreated into the interior.
I could not see inside because the door was mostly closed. From behind
the door came the sounds of a large, nasty and quite angry mastiff. I
hesitated to enter for fear of being bitten and mauled by some huge dog.
But it was only the roar of one of the puppies. Neither puppy would come
to me when I tried to coax them. Who feeds this asocial pair?
The interior of the mausoleum was all concrete with some paint but no
other decoration left. The two coffins were actually concrete forms of
coffins (containing coffins?) that were painted green on the top as if
covered by cloth. The scene spoke of abandonment, of sadness, and fierce
puppies waiting to be dogs who would act out their angry fantasies on
Of course Rebecca West had preceded me. She wrote (p. 902) : "...
this is the mausoleum of Gazi Mestan, a Turkish standard-bearer who was
killed in the battle and was buried where he lay" . . . "As
we went into the wooden porch . . . we found ourselves inside a room which,
though light and clean, had the look of having been long disused by any
normal forces which one expects to be completed by stuffed animals [sic];
but there was nothing there except two coffins of the Moslem type, with
a gabled top, higher at the head than the heels. They were covered with
worn green baize and hung with cheap pieces of stuff, some clumsily embroidered,
others printed. On the walls were a few framed scraps of Turkish calligraphy,
a copy of a Sultan's seal, and some picture postcards. A man came towards
us, smiling sweetly and indecisively. He wore a faded fez and neat but
threadbare Western clothes, and his whole appearance made a wistful allusion
to a state better than his own; I have seen his like in England, walking
through November rain in a summer suit and a straw hat, still mildly cheerful.
He told us of the fame and gallantry of Gazi Mestan in a set speech, unnaturally
uttered from some brain-cell petrified by memory. 'And you? Who are you?'
said Constantine. 'I am the descendant of Gazi Mestan's servant,' the
man answered, 'the descendent in the sixteenth generation. My forefather
was by him as he fell, he closed his head master's eyes for him, he preserved
his body and guarded it after it had been placed in this tomb. So have
we all guarded him.'"
Ms. West writes on mentioning a "weak-eyed boy", wonders what
these people live on, and makes the Freudian statement, "But they
are not like human beings at all," I [Ms. West] said, "they
are to human beings what a ship inside a glass bottle is to a real boat."
Ms. West praises the continuity of Serbian Orthodox traditions repeatedly
but when presented with a living Moslem who was an heir to sixteen generations
of continuous dedication she can see only a weak-eyed boy who fails to
be a human being.
When Ms. West sees things, she describes them powerfully. When she doesn't
see them, they don't exist at all.
I took an informal bus back to Prishtina to the BPK building. Recognizing
me as a Westerner, the driver refused to accept my fare. Got the weekend
edition of the Herald Tribune and went to the Kukri Bar to read it. When
I got there Steve Lewarne waved me over. He was having breakfast with
several friends and I joined them and ordered breakfast myself. Later
we were joined by the person who headed the very successful voter registration
drive which registered over a million Kosovars. The group was busy planning
a trip to the lake but it was not warm enough nor sunny enough to make
it seem attractive to me.
After they left, I read the paper and walked back to my apartment but
the guy across the street was still enlarging a basement window with a
concrete drill and the guy downstairs was slowly trimming a steel door
frame with a metal saw. The noise was noisome. I left in five minutes
with some reading material.
I walked back to the Kukri Bar and slowly read the papers and sipped some
beer. I remembered that Steve had remarked that the Kukri is the only
place in Prishtina that Serbs and Albanians mix. A very light rain started
to fall so I moved under the awning and continued reading the paper. If
only groups could preserve themselves from their environment as easily.