Akif and the Kosovars

In 1999, the Kosovars fleeing fighting in Yugoslavia took refuge in several parts of Australia. Nowhere were they more warmly welcomed than in the safe haven of Brighton, on the Dewent valley. Tasmanians fought to have the Kosovars stay after their term had expired. The young Akif Lutfiu attempted to avoid repatriation and was harboured by a secret network of supporters until he was spotted and taken out of the country.

Meanwhile in Tasmania, the Friends of Akif support group has raised $1300 for the young Kosovar. "He may be out of sight but he is not out of my mind," said Sabina Bickley, a member of the group who works as a waitress in a Hobart cafe. "They can't just remove him, say it's all over, wipe our hands and forget," she says.
Akif's deportation broke Colin Parramore's heart. Parramore, who worked as a bus-driver at the Peace Haven Centre, offered to become his guardian. "Akif called me brother and respects me as one," he said. "I thought the world of that young fella."
Parramore believes Akif found some solace at his home in the tiny rural town of Colebrook, population 100. "But there were still lots of stories he wasn't ready to tell," he said. "He was very traumatised when he first came to the centre.
"If Akif can't come back here, I think I'll pack up and move either to New Zealand or America - somewhere that will take him in," Mr Parramore said.

Bronwyn Hayes 'Akif: Homeless And Afraid In Macedonia' in The Age (24/09/2000)