Monday, August 27, 2007

Taking a Breather

Ah, I have to take a breather from the news.  All the political mumbo-jumbo about status and unilateral declarations and partition...blah, it is all making my head spin now-a-days.  It seems like every couple of days there is some new statements by a politician that upsets one side and then there is an onslaught of rhetoric ranging from accusations of NATO creating a puppet-state to how the international community has betrayed the trust of Albanians.
Let's talk about life in general in Kosovo for a change :)  Life isn't easy.  People here seem to age quickly.  When most Westerners are getting ready for early retirement and living the golden life, people in Kosovo are having to worry about all sorts of health problems due to living their lives in an unnaturally polluted environment.  I'm often shocked to hear of the various health problems that face a typical 50-year-old Kosovar.

But not everyone is living a difficult life.  There are plenty of people who seem to be well off.  All you have to do is go out in Pristina and take a look at all the new BMW, Audis, and Mercedes sedans that are running around (often going the wrong way down the one way street which is always guaranteed to grab my attention!)  There seems to be a disproportionate number of people who are filthy-stinking rich and those that are living far below the poverty line in Kosovo.  I would say most people are oblivious to the differences in living standards because few ever step outside the comfort of Pristina...but it's there and a glaring problem that will eventually need to be addressed.

Stepping outside the news about Kosovo's status, the Washington Times featured an article titled Kosovo's grim future which explores a report on how the economy is stuck in misery and the youth are basically faced with criminality as their "solo career choice".  It is an interesting read and I would like to further explore the reports that the article is based on.  As usual, posted for your reading pleasure and opinion formation process!!!

Also, an interesting look into life in Kosovo is an article on the summer tradition of Sunet, a festival held high in the Kosovo mountains.  Held every five years, Sunet is a four day festival during which a mass circumcision of young boys is performed.  Often two villages will combine their celebrations.  Seen as a rite of passage, the traditions roots have been lost in the passing of time yet there still are deep feelings of pride as it symbolizes the unique culture of the villages that celebrate Sunet.  Often even after going abroad for a better life, villagers will return with their children to take part in the festival.