Thursday, October 21, 2004


Today there was a very large political rally in Pristina.  I could easily say that I saw around 1500 people gathering for the rally.  We received an advisory from UN-Security (unSecurity) that there would be traffic delays from 1200-1400 because of the rally.  I don't think they expected there to be so many people...and they started up by the Grand Hotel around 1030.  I could hear from my window people clapping rhythmically and chanting "UCK, UCK" (uch-a-ka), which is known in English as KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army, or the people that fought the Serb Paramilitary during the conflict.)  It makes me think that there is a possibility that there will be some civil unrest during the elections this weekend.

Can you imagine this happening in the US?  There are over 30 registered parties in the local elections for a place that only has around two million people.  There is one candidate, the owner of one of the local newspapers, that some internationals from my office like because he has a plan for the future economy, education, and social problems that people face.  But the reality is that he is not doing as well as the other politicians that have no sound plans but tout the common line of "Independence for Kosovo".  It reminds me of a bumper sticker that really bothers me.  It shows the dove of peace and states "Independence:  The only way for peace in the Balkans".  It seems like more of a threat than statement to me and it has always been my belief that they should work on building a free multi-ethnic society before talking of independence.