I have lived in Pristina for three months now. It took me days to fall in love with Kosovo, it’s such a warm, vibrant and welcoming place. But to understand the country – that’s a long process and I’m just in the beginning of it. I spent my first two months conducting interviews and more recently thinking about in what way I can contribute. I came up with a few ideas that I quickly turned into concrete projects.
The newest project is that I decided to film a documentary about Kosovo. I came to Kosovo to tell women’s stories and work with gender equality, but after having spent time in the country and getting to know people, I’ve been inspired to also tell the story of not just the women, but all the people – a story that is very affected by the geopolitical situation.
One could almost say that people in Kosovo are prisoners in their own country, since they can’t travel freely. Actually, Kosovo is not even a recognized country by all other nations and that’s the reason why both people and a lot of the country’s development is stuck.
Since the war in 1998-1999 (when Serbia under the Milosevic regime invaded Kosovo) and the following independence in 2008, Kosovo hasn’t fully been recognized as a country. Serbia together with the EU member states Greece, Romania, Spain and Slovakia is not recognizing Kosovo as a country. Neither is China, Russia, India, Israel, Brazil, New Zeeland together with a long list of other countries.
It took me some time to begin to understand how much of an effect this situation has on people’s mentality and daily lives. Some people do travel, but it’s a very complicated and expensive process, to acquire a visa, which most people can’t afford. A lot of the people I’ve met feel very isolated, bitter and abandoned by the international community and the EU.
That people are feeling this way is of course nothing that is benefiting the stabilization and democracy in the Balkans. On the contrary when EU is closing its door on Kosovo, doors of nationalism and extremism are opening and it’s understandable that people don’t want to stand out in the cold decade after decade.
With Saudi Arabia pumping millions of dollars into the country and with Kosovo having the highest number of people who joined ISIS per capita in Europe, I would like my documentary to ask questions about what kind of future the international community want for Kosovo. What kind of influence do we want in the region and if Europe is not willing to include and invest – Who will?
But there are good things going on in Kosovo now. For the first time since the war the people have elected a left-winged government with a Prime Minister that doesn’t have a background as a soldier in the war. The new elected Prime Minister Albin Kurti and his party Vetëvendosje won the election in October and is now forming a government that has promised to tackle the problem with corruption, nepotism and high unemployment rates. It will not be easy, but there’s a new hope now in Kosovo and you can feel it just by talking to people of the streets of Pristina.
I really believe this is the perfect time to film a documentary about Kosovo. There is a lot of change going on with this new political direction which for many feels like a beginning of a new era.
To try to capture that; the geopolitical game of the big and powerful nations and political leaders, while at the same time zoom into the everyday life of the ordinary people of Kosovo; the Albanians, the Serbs and other minorities – in Pristina and all over Kosovo. This is what I would like to cover with this documentary.
I especially look forward to making interviews in the country side. I will try to visit as many places as possible. I also would like to focus on the beauty of the Balkan culture and the friendliness I’ve experienced in Kosovo. I’ve lived in many other places and been to over 40 countries, but no country in the world has made me feel at home so quickly as Kosovo.
I have so many friends, experienced advisors and even people online I don’t even know that are helping me out with my work. Without their guidance, I would have been lost.
There are many stories to tell from Kosovo and I hope by telling a few in a beautiful and inspiring way I can make a change.
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