Writing history is a sign of human civilization. Documents preserve and create the memory of a people. Respect for the work, respect for the efforts, the toils and sacrifices, cannot have a second meaning other than human, than national and patriotic respect, without the slightest hatred toward any people. It is said that an event has taken place only if it is recorded. A people that does not know its own true history, a people that is still being cheated, that does not know its own self, its own identity and national aspirations, can never be fully free, civilized and conscious of its readiness to face today's and tomorrow's challenges, to distinguish friends from foes, and to integrate itself worthily and nationally into the great democratic community of civilization. Peoples that lack memory and historic clarity, that lack an identity and national future, are doomed to be assimilated and vanished. The past of Kosova's people, as compared to that of other peoples in the region and broader, has been among the harshest. In the history of Europe's peoples, it is difficult to find a people that has been subject to national oppression as was the Albanian people, which lives in its own autochthonous lands and elsewhere. Aside from oppression, terror, violence, physical liquidation, etc., another more drastic pattern or fashion against the Albanians was the ethnic cleansing of Albanian lands by Serbia's colonizing policy. Among the foremost aims of the hegemonic and national-chauvinistic policy of the Serbian government has been the denationalization and Serbianization of Albanian people in specific historical periods. It has always followed a constant line, that of ethnic cleansing of Albanian lands from its ancient Illyrian-Albanian inhabitants. So, Kosova and the Albanian space in general outside the political borders of Albania, has been target of continuous efforts on the part of its neighbors for doing away with any trace of Albanian element.
The data provided here represent the period between January 1998 and June 12, 1999. June 12 is the day on which NATO troops entered Kosova, codified by the name of KFOR, as Serbian forces began withdrawing from Kosova. We are referring to the civilians killed and the missing, while as to the martyrs of freedom, I was based upon the registers of Associations of Families of Martyrs of Kosova Liberation Army. It should be noted in this regard that the killed, the fallen as martyrs, and the missing are not simply numbers. They have names, families, homes, professions and are remembered by their families, friends, companions, colleagues, etc. Their names ought to be written and preserved, and their fate has to be known and acknowledged. We ought to stress that they are important to us and, besides, that they are a part of history and the future. We should be aware that their blood could strike at us if we don't esteem them, and if we don't know how to carry out and put into action their behest and their last will which was written with blood, sealed with death, and shed with the innocence of their pure love.
Registering the killed, the martyrs, the missing is of importance to us not simply because of them, but also because of us and of the future generations; it is important to tell the international community of the crimes committed in Kosova by the Serbian regime, and to dismantle the data presented by certain Serbian associations which claim that the killed and the missing in Kosova have not been in such big numbers, and that a "great" number of Serbs have also been killed there. By means of this policy Serbia is trying to convert the criminals into victims. So, registering both the war martyrs and the missing is a debt we owe them and our bitter reality. Victims cannot speak, but the researcher must speak on their behalf using arguments.