Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Slush Fest

Well, over the weekend the temperatures started climbing, the fuel unfroze, and the snow melted.  Now what was a beautiful winter wonderland is now a slushy disaster...just waiting to ruin the back of those freshly laundered pants! 
There are questions about the EU possibly tempting Kosovo with aid in exchange for less than complete independence.  The idea is that Kosovo truly cannot be independent because it relies so heavily on foreign investment, particularly the EU, and in exchange for continuing the support the EU wants to take a supervisory role.  At the beginning of January, Slovenia took over the presidency of the EU and placed Kosovo as a priority for 2008.  In fact, Slovenia hopes that a solution for Kosovo is found before the end of its presidency in June.

What does the phrase spiritual cradle of Serbia really mean?  An interesting article found in Balkan Analysis explores the term that is often mentioned in media but never really explained.  The article also looks into how one organization is seeking to educate and preserve.

With winter upon us, there have been severe power outages in C-areas prompting cries of electrical discrimination along ethnic lines.  Over the past few days, the power seems to go for an hour or two in Pristina which most is categorized as A-area so it is likely that C-areas are seeing 2:4 (on:off) or even 1:5.  Having experienced living in a C-area in the dead of winter I know that it is difficult to keep the house warm and overall living difficult unless you have a generator and a wood stove.

I found it interesting when speaking to an Albanian about the power situation and whether or not he believed Thaci could come through on his promise of 24/7 power once elected, he naturally believed that things would change but the thing that really caught my attention was that he blamed the UN for all the power outages.  To my knowledge, the power plant is actually overseen by a local ministry and managed by an independent company for the past several years.  My jokingly tossed back reply was that it was okay to blame the UN for all the problems in Kosovo now and then the EU when it comes in but eventually the local government and its people will need to start taking responsibility for the continuing problems in Kosovo (another common joke is that if the US was going to bomb Kosovo the one thing above all else that should have bombed was the power plant).

I think back to the phrase "people only change when they want to change" and wonder if the same can be kind of applied to the situation in Kosovo...maybe that the situation in Kosovo will only change if the people really are willing to work at changing the situation.  Now it is easy to blame someone else and hope that they will fix the problem...but maybe it would be better for the local populus to roll up their sleeves and force their politicians to fix the issues that they really care about.  After all, what good is independence if you don't have a job, the electricity and water is off, and your life never improves despite all the promises?