I could call this entry simply “crazy”, but that may give readers expectations of me getting drunk of Kosovar raki and sleeping with entire KFOR continent (and losing my peace symbol earings). So odd in believes and behaviour it is. It may sound like trip on depleted uranium laced acid. Or as account of somebody who seriously overdosed on political science mixed with empathy. It could be that some places are seriously haunted or their energies are so strong they make people slightly crazy.
Once I had dream. I do have very vivid and somewhat trippy dreams. In this one, I was running for president of some small and poor country. And as part of campaign, I was on a roadtrip with my friends and we were riding down a highway in mountains. Beautiful mountains.
Months later, I was sitting on bus, line Tiranë-Pristina… on a highway, in a mountains. God (and United Nations) know why there’s highway between one poor town and capital of no-state. But the views are wonderful.
Pristina is bizzare. It is a town full of war memorials.
And there’s flags. Kosova’s, Albanian, American, EU (thank you for having faith in us, when we lost it ourselves) and NATO. Yes, NATO.
People asked me if I am an American and were somehow sad that I am not. Maybe they wanted to see real American. You know, unarmed one, or simply one that is in the country because they wanted to, not because they were sent in.
I slept in guesthouse owned by talkative professor… and there was a ghost in my room. Really. But this non-country is full of ghosts.
Pristina is new and somehow abruptly build, and it looks like condo of woman who left her abusive partner and splurged on modern furniture, without thinking how it all will go together.
So there is architecture like this, and nothing around. It looks bit unfinished. And I couldn’t get my mind of the history and what we did and didn’t do. And if we did right. Is there even any “right” when it comes to war?
And it looks spacious, somehow scarily spacious. Like ground zero. And feels surreal.
Professor from the guest house sent me to Newborn, apparently hip part of the town. There are American restaurants and you can get good burgers there. I testify. And there’s little cafes, where you can have coffee under one Euro and just people watch (and be watched. Good they love foreigners there). I imagined every waiter and taxi driver had something to do with KLA in the past. There was a waiter in Doner Place in Prizren, who had scar in his face and I secretly hope it was not from “I teased sister’s cat when I was five”. Because animal abuse is worse than being member of secessionist paramilitary unit with terrorist inklings.
Kosovo/a might be secular and pro-European… but they do have mosques
Prizren is picturesque town. But they have Coca Cola.
and KFOR. Professor told me Kosova is a safe country, since there’s KFOR. I didn’t want to argue that need for international peacekeeping forces tells something about your countries safety. Even though the peacekeepers are hot. I bruised my leg while checking out the peacekeepers, who looked bored out of their minds. I walked into a roadblock. Peacekeepers were amused.
and there’s memorials to terrorist/freedom fighters. It’s fuzzy there. Even for us post-modernist who maintain that there is no truth and everything is relative. But tell yourself how one man’s freedom fighter is another’s man’s terrorist, when they haunt you in your guesthouse room and when some, according to info on memorials were less than 18. Yes, fighting for your freedom is hot, war crimes are not… but here, it’s many shades of gray. Darker than we care to admit.
But one doesn’t want to trot a non-country thinking that everybody there is evil, more or less and that we are evil too, for getting involved in this war (and evil for not getting involved in other wars… can I say *Rwanda*?)
And then, there’s those bizzare KFOR bildboards:
yes, weapons are bad*, your KFOR.
(*except our weapons)
we gave you peace… now give us Raki.
And then there’s Bill Clinton Boullevard, with a statue. Sometimes, when you bomb a country, you do get a statue.
Freedom, peace and all the good things seems to be thorny in this no-state.
I wonder if somebody should tell them that throwing the word “nazi” around is frowned upon in the West?
On the way back to Tirana, I’ve seen a wondrous thunderstrom. Then it passed and it was sunny again, skies were clear. Omen? How about those cows that were crossing the borders and they let them pass, without looking at their passports? The bus driver blasted some nationalist music with lot of loud instruments. And I knew that I can leave Kosovo and be cynical about it… but it will haunt me forever.