- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
There is a phenomenon that is readily associated with swathes of Kosovo’s post war politicians. In diplomatic terms it is known as “corruption”. For me and many of my fellow citizens it is nothing short of robbery.
Sadly, this phenomenon not only has become entrenched in our daily lives, but it has also been nurtured as a vital mechanism in state consolidation.
If the true scale of corruption in this country was fully known, I believe many of our 2 million people would be on the verge of packing everything up and heading towards the border.
The previous statement might sound melodramatic, especially because it brings bitter memories of the agony that Kosovo went through thirteen years ago, but it is unfortunately true.
Those close to the government would, of course, brush off the claims of widespread cronyism. They would even attempt to refute it by referring to the praise lavish on them by the international community as supervised independence officially ended.
During the two-day events in Prishtina, our international partners held up Kosovo as a role model of state building, social and inter-ethnic cohesion.
It is also interesting to note that international media resorted to putting these words in inverted commas, challenging subtlety the over-effusive claims.
In an interview given to the German international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, PDK’s Arsim Bajrami claimed that the end of Kosovo’s supervised independence means more responsibility for Kosovar institutions for combating organised crime and corruption.
The statement of Mr Bajrami is logical. However, the reality suggests that the government has neither the courage nor the interest to fight what it has tolerated and nurtured for years –robbery and looting.
The fact that this phenomenon has now reached uncontrollable levels is demonstrated with the hopelessness of Kosovo’s youth. Most youngsters keep an eye out for the first opportunity to take a ticket abroad and head to the western world for employment. Others chose asylum-seeking or illegal immigration.
A senior politicians who decides to treat a group of women to a trip to Albania for International Women’s day, costing tens of thousands of euro, could easily be seen as playing fast and loose with the Kosovo budget.
Using a private jet to return from holidays in Turkey at a cost of 20,000 euro is perhaps a worst example of excessive spending.
You might be wondering about the names of these protagonists. I purposefully choose not to name them in order to test our collective memory.
The examples refer to two different governments of Kosovo, the former currently in power and the latter of 2005. If we struggle to remember the names, our apathy is confirmed.
We need to understand the fact that even if these acts have now faded into history this does not dilute them, nor does it legitimise the situation Kosovo is in. But, what legitimises this Kosovo-wide looting is the apathy of society, which allows this phenomena to turn into a lifestyle.
The time has come to seriously ask ourselves: are we simply unable to react or are we not able to understand where we went wrong? Why do we remain silent while being robbed? And finally, we need to address one issue: how did we accept a leadership who should have been confined to the cells of Dubrava Prison, rather than the glass buildings of government?