Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Tale of One City.

A city divided in two.

Kosovar Serbs in the north.

Kosovar Albanians in the south.

The Ibar River, running through the center of the city creating a visible reminder of an ethnic division that has existed for centuries.


And in July of 2011, ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo have taken matters into their own hands by creating physical barricades to block entrance into northern Kosovo from southern Kosovo.


Before moving to Kosovo, I was warned about Mitrovica.

I heard rumors that it was dangerous.

That it was still war-torn.

That license plates need to be removed from cars.

That walking across bridges that connect north to south could mean a death sentence.

That snipers hide in trees, on each side of the river, waiting to attack.

That the hills offer refuge for war criminals.

So when I went to Mitrovica, I was pretty scared.

Truth: Seeing the Serbian barricades that were erected in July of 2011, the KFOR soldiers guarding the bridge to maintain safety for the Albanians on the south side, seeing the people camped out on the north side of the bridge to prevent crossovers, watching the Serbian flags fly in the wind, witnessing the Serbian cross whose four Cyrillic Cs stand for the ominous "Only Unity Saves Serbia" was every bit as scary as I thought it would be.


It was also heartbreaking. Heartbreaking to know that my student lives in this city with this blatant dose of hatred and intolerance every day.

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