- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
Last year I wrote about the Rruga Patrioke, or the Patriotic Highway in English, as it has been dubbed. In the run-up to Albania’s parliamentary election last summer the unfinished road, which has cost more than one billion euro to build, was opened a little too hastily.
My four-week stay in this wonderful country is nearly over and the time has come to sum up my many impressions. The people I met, the things I saw and last but not least – the football matches I have covered in the 2010 FIFA World Cup – amount to a memorable experience, one I will cherish and savour for the rest of my life.
Along the way I observed the dismal situation for practically all who are not privileged members of the government and discussed options for change with various activists. I was confronted with two quite different visions of change, a positive one and a negative one.
One of the beauties of the World Cup is that even the most experienced pundits have a hard time predicting the outcome of most games because it’s a tournament full of surprises, where the small and the weak often shock the strong and powerful soccer nations.
June 17, the date when the Macedonia’s main ruling party, VMRO DPMNE, was formed in 1990, was not the best date for its leaders to come out and celebrate.
Serbia’s involvement in the World Cup appears to be taking an all too familiar shape after a 1-0 defeat by Ghana in their opening Group D match in Pretoria. The Serbians now face a daunting task of having to beat Germany in their next game in Port Elizabeth on Friday and their confidence must be low after watching the Germans rout Australia 4-0 in the most one-side game of the tournament so far.
As far as raw passion for soccer is concerned, South Africa was definitely a good choice to stage the upcoming June 11 – July 11 World Cup. From the moment I arrived in this city of staggering contrasts, the excitement about the month-long extravaganza was everywhere to be seen: in shops, restaurants, public areas and even on the vast four-lane motorways, with cars donning flags of the countries competing in the 32-team tournament.
In fact as a competition to find a popular song Eurovision has been a fairly hopeless failure for most of it's existence (don't mention ABBA - exception to prove the rule).
The spectacle of essential gayness that is Eurovision, the oggling of the bare-chested bemuscled dancers, the over-the-top shimmering costumes and the acid trip fantasy of the choreography becomes subsumed beneath the belief that our guy or girl is best.
It might be a surprise to hear a journalist admit to it, but I think attempts to portray reporters as neutral observers is to project a fallacy.
Ever since I think that artists do have a role to play in society – to provoke. Provoke emotions, provoke thought, provoke dispute. As the maximal impersonisation of the individual will to create, the artist puts him or herself in a dialogue with the collective, often in conflict. As a member of the civil society, the artist can offer a corrective to developments within the collective.
It was the sight of my grandmother and her friend sitting in front of TV and sobbing.
Having done much to reinforce an image of homosexuals as sick and immoral people who threaten the very fabric of the society, Macedonia’s right-of-centre government last week hypocritically passed a long-awaited anti-discrimination law.
I have at least two strong arguments for that. The first is that the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not committed during seven days in July 1995 in Srebrenica. I know the ruling of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, from 2007 says exactly that, but that decision is, unfortunately, more about politics than justice.
In two high-profile war crimes trials currently ongoing in Pristina, a series of witnesses have retracted previous statements alleging abuse at Kosovo Liberation Army detention centres.