Monday, March 26, 2007

Getting Old!

Wow, I'm starting to get old!  Today marks my 30th birthday and that means that I've spent exactly 1/5 of my life living in Kosovo! :o)  My new landlady was delighted to discover that I've been in Kosovo for nearly six years now.  Like me, she doesn't really believe that the UN will be able to withdraw at the end of the year.  The date for leaving just keeps getting pushed back further and further as the status decision continues to be postponed.
This is actually the first birthday I will physically celebrate in Kosovo.  Because of the vacation schedule in previous years, my after Christmas holiday always fell around the end of March or it was on a weekend so we opened up the Greek weekend season :)  I'm not sure what the plan is for celebrating but I'm sure somewhere in the plans is a stop at the Kukri/Phoenix for a few drinks with friends.

The status proposal was presented to the members of the Security Council.  The special envoy, Ahtisaari, will not yet be meeting with the members of the council until he receives an official invitation.  The date for his appearance in the council is speculated to be 3 April but nothing is set in stone yet.  Meanwhile, Serbia is preparing to launch a diplomatic offensive by lobbying members of the council to support the continuation of negotiations.

Thanks to a couple friends, we were able to complete my move to the new flat over the weekend and then have a BBQ yesterday to celebrate the clearing out of my old flat.  I'm quite happy with the new place although it is currently a disaster zone.  I envision myself working on straightening up for at least the next week (or two!)  I'll pick up Smokey from the kennel tonight so I'm interested to see what he thinks of the new place...I imagine that he'll be a little confused at first but he seemed to easily settle in after the move from Gracanica.  Fortunately we are in the same neighborhood so it won't be too shocking for him :)

Over the weekend, there was an explosion in Mitrovica.  A grenade was thrown into the yard of a Serbian home in a mixed area of northern Mitrovica.  Two Serbians, Branislav Iekic and Srecko Antic, share the yard where two grenades were thrown.  One exploded, nearly missing an international police patrol in the area, while the second device did not detonate and was destroyed by KFOR EOD teams.  Iekic believes that the attack is the result of issues stemming from the construction of a Serbian house in the neighborhood that Albanian neighbors had been protesting.  

A member of the Russian Academy of Sciences published a thought-provoking article about the recent political manuevering and some of the statements issued by politicians in the recent weeks over the status of Kosovo.  The writer explores the Serbian position as well as some of the politics behind the push towards independence.

Last week, the Institute for European Politics, a Berlin-based think tank, released a report that damned the international community and warned that Kosovo faces a violent and chaotic future after it gains independence.

There also has recently been a lot of mentioning about criminal gangs in Kosovo.  Groups are condemning what they see as a Kosovo government backed by criminal enterprises and wondering should Kosovo gain independence, what kind of country would it be with lawless criminals running the politics.