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With a hypertension-causing Prime Minister, with Vatican style interferences of the US Embassy, a troubled northern Kosovo, a President that challenges Kosovo’s patriarchal society, a parliament that can lecture Hollywood on drama production, a paralysed opposition, and a cracking coalition party, Kosovo has been relentlessly confusing people across the world.
As Pristina Insight prepares to take its summer break, a review of Kosovo on the main two developments over the last eleven months seems like a good way of wrapping up this season and marking the third birthday of Outside-In. Viewing the rhombus-shaped country from the British Isles has been engaging. But, many a time has it caused me frustration when observing the stagnation in many spheres of life in Kosovo.
For the majority of this writing season, Outside-In focused on the developments in northern Kosovo, which has been smothered by barricades attempting to stop Pristina from extending its power to this Serb dominated region. Nearly a year after these events, northern Kosovo today is still deadlocked and ethnic hatred continues to simmer.
I am certain many of you will remember the statements from the government regarding the “major, coordinated action” of the Kosovo Police in July 2011 to take control of the border crossings in Jarinje and Brnjak.
But, I am also certain your memory will not fail you in recalling the outcome of this attempt which brought to Kosovo the concept of “sovereignty with helicopters”, all this billed to EU’s taxpayer. It appears that “progress” on resolving problems in the north is caught up in barricades and cannot proceed further.
If it wasn’t northern Kosovo, it was the drama between Edita Tahiri and Borko Stefanovic that kept us all busy until Serbia decided to call it a day and have new elections. While many Kosovars regarded the negotiations as highly dangerous for Kosovo and called for them to end, talks between Kosovo and Serbia was necessary.
However, Kosovo failed to play the game to its advantage and this further raised doubts about the process.
The delegation led by Edita Tahiri failed to bid higher with conditions when a weak Serbia was desperate for the candidate status. In the end, the EU-facilitated dialogue brought a footnote to Kosovo’s name and a candidate status to Serbia’s future.
The controversial footnote became a major problem both in Serbia and in Kosovo, used by nationalists on both sides. But, we just need to look back to July 2010 and realise that a completely new denomination for Kosovo was on the table.
Back then, we were all preoccupied with the aftermath of the ICJ decision on Kosovo’s declaration of independence. There was a feeling of hope that our politicians would use this to the advantage of the country and consolidate their lobbying to bring about the long-promised recognitions.
Two years later, we find ourselves struggling to recite the correct number of recognitions to the extent that every government official uses their own figure of choice.
Progress, employment, prosperity, democracy, freedom of speech exist in Prime Minister’s speeches, but at the same time regress, unemployment, poverty, anarchy, censorship exist in our routine.
Welcome to Kosovo, a land of contrasts.
See you in September!
The Serbian paramilitary who became a key prosecution witness at his former comrades’ trial for war crimes in Kosovo says he had to speak out about the brutal massacres his unit committed.