War In The Balkans: You will go home, pledges Clinton
Sitting with a group near the Ingelheim centre's canteen, President Clinton encouraged the refugees to tell their stories and assured them that Slobodan Milosevic would not get his way. He would not succeed "in erasing your identity from the pages of history and he will not succeed in erasing your presence from the land of your parents and your grandparents".
But he appealed to them to resist being consumed by hatred. "When you have gone through something as awful as this, it is very easy to have your spirit broken, to spend the rest of your life obsessed with anger and resentment. But if you do that you have already given those who have opposed you a victory". He then quoted the poet William Butler Yeats: "Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart."
More than 300 Kosovars have been given shelter at the disused single- storey timber barracks near Frankfurt where they now spend their days playing table tennis or scouring the newspapers and watching television for news of home. Yesterday the President advised them to unburden themselves of their horrific experiences. "I realise that all of you have been through a terrible time and it must be even harder to talk about" he said. "But it is very important that your story be told, it is important for us to know what happened to you".
One teenage boy, his eyes red and swollen from crying was too upset to speak. Another told the President: "I am young, but my life is broken from what I have seen in blood."
Choking back his own tears an older man asked Mr Clinton to forgive the unfettered emotion on display. "It is not easy for Albanians to cry. But for people who have seen massacres it's just impossible to speak without feeling pretty emotional" he explained.
"Even if we die", said a woman who was forced at gunpoint from her home in Pristina by Serb soldiers, "it would be easier because we know that somebody knows what we're going through". Spotting a T-shirt from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games on one of the refugees prompted Mr Clinton to say: "I could imagine that any of you could be my neighbours."
Both Mr Clinton and the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder promised the refugees computer terminals to help track down lost relatives and "so you can constantly get news in your own language".
"I know this has been a frustrating and difficult time for Europe", Mr Clinton said. "I say again: be patient with your political leaders. It will not drag on for years but we cannot expect an instantaneous result."
- 1 Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
- 2 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 3 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 4 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
- 5 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
Kim Jong-un is awarded global statesmanship prize by Indonesia
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Calais crisis: Migrants that have made it to the UK reveal how Britain has matched their expectations
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...