I was 16 at the time of the liberation of Kosovo, and later on the declaration of independence. I truly considered myself lucky and blessed to have experienced in first hand such historical achievement of my people. Nobody told us that the state building process is going to be easy, quiet contrary in fact, but the state of delirium in which we found ourselves captivated our awareness to the point of negligence.
It is known that Kosovo registers the youngest population in Europe, with 70% of the population being under the age of 35, and with an overall average age of 25 years. In the practical sense, the chances for you to see a young, and most likely beautiful, face in Kosovo are higher than anywhere else in Europe.
Lately Kosovo and its young people are going through serious and continuous political instability often manifested with massive protests. Indeed, Kosovo does not get a lot of international media coverage per se, unless a massive and violent protests takes place, it is however of a major importance for the stability of the region for Kosovo to be well constituted and hereby stress its stability factor in the region.
In the last few months several protests have been organized by different social actors, but mainly by the opposition parties. The last protest which took place in January 2015, was registered to be the largest protests in post-independence history of Kosovo with reportedly over thirty thousand protesters, who are protesting against two recent agreements signed by the government of Kosovo with the government of Serbia and Montenegro.
However, on top of socio-economic dissatisfaction, I believe that the two disputed agreements may be regarded as the ultimate reason for the people of Kosovo to express their dissatisfaction for their socio-economic state of being. An essential change is needed in Kosovo, a change that will be able to perpetuate the talent and potential that the Kosovar society possesses in reaching a better socio-economic stand and facilitating the environment that the big bright dreams after the liberation will finally come true.
I happened to be in Kosovo for my winter holidays during this upheaval, and you can believe that I participated in the protest. I strongly feel that it is my responsibility as a citizen of Kosovo to express my dissatisfaction firstly towards the general socio economic state, and secondly towards the political distress, poor political representation and lack of leadership within the political stratum. Having witnessed firsthand, the dark time of 1999, the spiritual and material recovery in 2000s, the birth of state institutions in 2008, and the state building process to this day, has only raised outrage and challenged my innocent and pure beliefs of what Kosovo will one day become. We were the first country in the Balkans to have elected a female presidents in 2011, who is currently serving her last months of her presidential term. We have succeeded in having an international movie festival, the DOKUfest, which takes place annually during the summer in the city of Prizren. The festival attracts year hundreds of thousands of visitors, both local and international, which for a small country such as Kosovo this number represents record breaking statistics. To capitalize Kosovo’s high interest in documentary and short movie industry, and also to mark the biggest success in history of Kosovo’s movie industry, it has just been announced that “Shok” (translated in English: Friend) has been nominated for Oscar in the category of Short Film.
We had the opportunity to shape with our own hands, like never before in our modern history, the future that we all wished and fought for, and we ignorantly failed. In the given situation, everyone is rightly so to be outraged…and everyone is outraged. Outrage is good. Outrage manifests social consciousness, and encourages people to establish new hopes and act by them.
What scares me the most is the state of despair! Despite any given circumstances, we should never let despair captivate our state of mind and our state of being. The beautiful landscape and numerous cultural activities, especially documentary and film related, have lately constituted major pull factors in the realm of tourism, enabling Kosovo to slowly paving its way into the travelers’ list of places to visit. Regardless of the lack of infrastructure and at times lack of institutional support from the government the film festivals and short film industrial have represented one of the biggest achievements.
Now although, the last protest registered the highest number of protesters in the post-independence history of Kosovo, I share the opinion that that number does not nearly constitute the overall number of people who dispute the current developments. It should be hundreds of thousands of protesters continuously expressing their unrest. There is no such thing as neutrality towards developments that directly affect your reality. There is only indifference! And indifference towards your reality is an ill-advised behavior, despite your reluctance towards the given alternatives.
I believe that, regardless what each citizen of Kosovo might inherently believe that his or her impact is the bigger picture, they must express their stands individually for it to produce collective action which will lead to any desired social change.