Thursday, August 7, 2008

BBC on Life in Kosovo

BBC has been running a series of stories on people's lives in Kosovo. Nothing too analytical. They pick someone (usually a guy, of course) and tell his story and issues concerning him and his environment. Nice readings. Here are links and excerpts to stories thus far:

Kosovo lives: A mixed village

""The most painful thing for us, is when we see people selling up and leaving," says Dragana Gospic. And she relates how one of her neighbours, a fellow Serb, has just sold his land, and is now selling his house. "Each person who leaves makes it harder for those who remain," she explains. At 33, originally from the Bosnian town of Mrkonjic Grad, she lives in the village of Vidanje, near Klina in central Kosovo, with her husband Ranko and daughters Tanja and Sanja."

Kosovo lives: Ivan's journey

"Ivan Radic is one of nearly a quarter of a million people from Kosovo still classified by the UN as internally displaced persons (IDPs) nine years after the war. The vast majority are ethnic Serbs, now scattered across Serbia with a minority living in Kosovo's enclaves. Most of the hundreds of thousands of wartime Albanian IDPs were able to return home long ago. "I am in Urosevac almost every night - when I dream," Ivan tells me, remembering his birthplace as we stand on the central bridge in the town of Mitrovica."

Kosovo lives: Albanian in Mitrovica

"On the table in his front room, Driton Gerguri opens a red album, like a family heirloom.
"Other kids collected stamps, but I collected these," he says proudly. Page after page of carefully mounted badges and tie pins, from sporting events and factories, anniversaries and celebrations.
Each is like a crumb of the common life that people of different nationalities used to live in the old Yugoslavia. Taken together, the album is like a carefully preserved cake of a bygone world. "

Kosovo lives: Between two worlds

"His English is flawless, local knowledge near faultless but having him guide you around Pristina can take awfully long. Mehmed Sezai Shehu, or Meti as he likes to be known, seems barely able to cross a street without running into an acquaintance in the Kosovan capital. On the two visits I have met him, a simple stroll about the city centre became a wade through handshakes, jokes and banter. Not a few of the people knew him from across a kitchen table or a classroom desk because for the past decade, apart from the war period, Meti has been teaching his city English full-time. "

Kosovo lives: Not gone with the wind

Their great-grandfather built Urosevac, the Nikolic daughters like to say, so how can they leave it now? Sani (Santipa), the very image of mildness and physical slightness, beams mischievously at the memory of how she floored a US soldier with her karate skills, the day K-For came to evacuate her family. I am not saying she is over 60, because her disabled younger sister Lili (Liljana) reminded me, when I inquired, that you must never ask a lady her age. A smile of assent crossed the mask-like face of their blind mother Dani (Daniela).

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