Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Historical Quickie.

Hi Followers and Friends,

I stole the following history rundown from Mike Yohnk's {my new friend and ASK co-worker} blog. It's pretty helpful in understanding the basics of what went down over here. Please check out the rest of his blog as well -- it's a pretty quality commentary on what we're seeing, thinking, and doing in this crazy land, and sometimes I'm in it. ;)

Quick history lesson for those of you that don’t know this: back in the early 1990s, communism fell. The USSR broke up into 15 republics, Germany was united, and Yugoslavia’s communist government crashed as well. First, I think Slovenia, Croatia, and eventually Bosnia and Herzegovina broke off and became independent. They separated because of the ethnic groups that lived in each country. If a region was mainly full of Croats living there, it became part of Croatia. Serbia (aka Yugoslavia at the time in the early 1990s) didn’t want all these countries breaking off, since they were getting money and resources from these regions. So they put up a fight. In the mid-1990s, there was a war between the Serbs and Bosnia and Herzegovina. B&H won, with the help of the UN, even though I’ve been told the US didn’t help in that fight. I think the Serbs were trying to kill all the Bosnians and take over the region. The Serbian leader was Slobodan Milosevic, whom most of you have probably heard of. Terrible man. Killed thousands of people.

Ok, so anyway, moving into the late 1990s. Milosevic had just lost like ½ of Yugoslavia’s land, and there were other regions (Kosovo, Montenegro) that had different ethnicities than the Serbs, so they were threatening to break off just like the other ones that did. So Slobodan decided to come down to Kosovo in 1997 and kill all the Muslims (aka Albanians) living here. Not sure how many he killed, but it was A LOT! He wanted to take over Kosovo and make it a Serbian-dominated region. By the way, the Serbs are Christian (E. Orthodox), so that’s another reason they hate each other (Christians vs. Muslims). So between 1997 and 1999, there was a genocide taking place here in Kosovo.

Anyway, this time the US decided to get involved, along with NATO. So they came in and bombed the crap out of Belgrade (the capital of Serbia) and the rest of Serbia, essentially saving Kosovo from more deaths. Since then, the Kosovars have slowly started moving back here, but still, the population is nowhere near where it used to be. Right now it’s around 2 million I think. Prishtina has about 300,000-400,000 people living here. And that’s why you will see the US flag flying all over this city. It’s actually pretty cool, being not just liked, but loved, for being American. Pretty much everyone here knows some English, or wants to learn it. They copy the US in a lot of things too, like pop-culture, fashion, music, movies, etc. They even have a major boulevard called “Bill Clinton Blvd” and they have a statue and a huge mural of him on that road. They think he’s like a god or something, because he was the leader of the US that ordered the bombing on Serbia.

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