Mission Kosovo – October 2013

The mission of the European Solidarity Front for Kosovo began in Belgrade, the Serbian capital still hurt by the 1999 NATO bombing. The ESFK international delegation was warmly welcomed at the Serbian Radical Party headquarters and took part to a meeting organized by President Vojislav Seselj Party members.

The strong will of being recognized as a Serb territory – “Serbiety” of Kosovo is the Serbian Radical Party main theme and goal – brought the Serbian province of Kosovo to self-proclaim its own independence on 2004 (February the 18th), this Serbian aspiration being underlined by “Kosovo je Srbija” motto. As the ESFK volunteers moved to the far end of the Serbian nation, these three words became more and more frequent to be heard. You may find the three-word-motto “Kosovo je Srbija” being written with some spray paint on top of many walls, and meet people miming the number “three” as a gesture of greeting and devotion.

The volunteers got their work to be done once in Mitrovica, the Northernmost region of Kosovo where the Serbian identity is facing with the Albanian. North and North-West areas of Mitrovica are Serbian, the South area is Albanian. The goal of the volunteers is buying basic needs, food and school supplies in the Serbian area and distribute them beyond the Ibar River, which is a dividing line between freedom and segregation: the segregation of the so-called “enclaves”, a French word meaning “kept locked” and referring to the condition of isolation of the few Serb communities survived, after the 1999 conflict, at the South of Mitrovica. We’re talking about 2,800 people proud of their identity and their Serbian Orthodox-Catholic traditions.

The delivery of the aids has been the most significant moment of the whole mission. It happened after teachers and young students hold a long welcome ceremony in the elementary school of Brezovica, a small village situated in the municipality of Štrpce. Not a surprise that Brezovica is a major ski resort as temperature in winter season falls well below freezing. So, after distributing school supplies and checking the place, volunteers realized that the school had to be made accessible in wintertime also, this being something not easy to be reached. This is why ESFK volunteers launched a massive awareness campaign as they got back from their mission.

Before leaving, the ESFK delegation went to Kosovo Polije, also known as “Plain of Blackbirds”. This wide and flat area is located at the North of Pristina, the capital of the self-proclaimed independent Kosovo, which is still devoted to the former US President Bill Clinton, as shown by the squares and boulevards dedicated to him. In the “Plain of Blackbirds” the atmosphere you breath is kind of different. Here other heroes are celebrated, such as the Serbian Prince Lazar and the aristocrats who in 1389 lost their lives defending this land against the Ottomans advance.

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