"If I had felt any unease that I was potentially exploiting a horrible situation for personal gain, it was short-lived. The next four months were the most stressful, difficult, and dangerous of my life until that point, and probably—hopefully—ever. ... On December 31, 2004, I achieved a couple of significant milestones: I made my final student loan payment, and I had a positive net worth for the first time in my adult life. Mortars, rockets, and car bombs aside, that was pretty satisfying
The Decorated Bride
- "In Lubinje, a small, picturesque village of 3500 inhabitants, a few hours from Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, members of the Trebesh community live in colorful houses. They also have a colorful custom - or rite - of beautifying brides on their wedding day
Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci - who swept elections just a few days ago
- is allegedly the head of a "mafia-like" Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs
through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report
on organised crime.
President Martti Ahtisaari wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
A former Finnish President, an UN envoy, a social democrat, a school teacher and founder of Crisis Management Initiative
has negotiated for peace in many troubled areas for three decades. Last fall
and last summer
CMI (without Ahtisaari's presence) called former Northern Ireland and South African militants to use their experience for finding Iraqi factions a way out of bloodshed. A plan for
. Negotiations ending 30-year conflict in Aceh, Indonesia
. Negotiating Namibia independence
Got conflict? Mr. Ahtisaari is your man.
is a photographer from Belgrade, Serbia. He uses photography to document social change to his environment and events in his homeland. He has covered some of the most important events in the region: war in Kosovo in 1998, NATO maneuvers in Italy in 1998 and intervention in 1999, numerous anti-regime protests 1996-2000, events surrounding the fall of government in Belgrade in October 2000, the crisis in southern Serbia. More recently, he has published new photos from the conflict in Israel and Palestine, every day life in Gaza,
and reportage from the Faroe Islands. [some images NSFW - war violence and gore] [more inside]
Prvi svetski rat
- Gritty and poignant Serbian postcards from the First World War. Just one of the seriously interesting
(e.g. check out the collection of 78s
) holdings at the Digital National Library of Serbia
Now that Kosovo has declared independence, will Abkhazia follow?
The Abkhazian "autonomy" within Georgia already has its own president and parliament, as well as an independent army that has managed to expel Georgian presence by 1993. They've even got their own flag. The only thing missing? Official recognition from the UN. [more inside]
This past Monday, the US recognized Kosovo
as an independent state. Today, Serbs appear
a little upset
. [more inside]
Kosovo is technically part of Serbia, but it's been governed by the U.N. since 1999, after NATO militarily intervened to stop Slobodan Milosevic's brutal suppression and expulsion of ethnic Albanian separatists. Now that it has declared its independence (with US support), the elephant in the room remains: Independent Kosovo? Why Not Vermont?
"Why is statehood OK for some people but frowned on for others?" There is no internationally accepted standard for independence. "This is the great hole in democratic theory."
"Little Gitmo". Council of Europe
envoy Alvaro Gil-Robles
reveals that US forces built a "Little Guantánamo" in, of all places, Kosovo.
Gil-Robles also has interesting things
to say about the strength of democracy, vastly underestimated in his opinion.
(And before anyone starts a "liberal Euroweenies" tirade, let's note that the Gil-Robles family has rock
Super patriot Charlie Daniels famous for warning hippies that "it's a flag, not no rag" wrote about
the Kosovo War back in the day... yeah... it's ironic.
A clever satirical video
(Windows media) made by Norwegian peacekeepers in Kosovo triggers an international incident
. "Somalia, Grenada,
or rescuing Kuwait-a...
We screwed ya, Rwanda.
Wish we coulda helped ya...
Iraqi embargo. That's where we got hustled...
Down in Kosovo, we'll kick some ass and then we'll see how it goes. And then we really don't know...
Good luck to Kosovo"
Hello to the Krilcic family. Ten years after we last saw you we are alive and well. And I hope you are. We would like to hear from you and see you. Goodbye.
In each episode of Videoletters
, two former neighbors, friends or colleagues separated by the Bosnian war exchange video messages. Since 1999, two filmmakers
have been helping people from across the former Yugoslavia find and reconnect with one another in this way, often with heart-breaking results. Watch a sample episode here
about two young men, Vlada (a Serb) and Ivica (a Croat), whose families were close friends when the war began. [Bit more inside]
'My name is Saranda and I am 13 years old. I moved to Liverpool from Kosovo three years ago ... '
"In the war on terrorism, alliances are not an obstacle to victory. They're the key to it."
General Wesley Clark on the lessons of Kosovo and why diplomacy and international cooperation are essential to winning the war on terrorism.
USA's Depleted Uranium Weapons
1 in 7 Gulf War veterans suffer from Gulf War Syndrome, including a high incidence of birth defects, respiratory, kidney and liver problems. There are outrageously high rates of leukemia and severe birth defects among Iraqi civilians. Now Israel uses DU weapons against Palestinians. After DU weapons were used in Kosovo,
Italy wants to know why Kosovo veterans are getting cancer.
Still the pentagon insists that "... we do not believe it poses any significant health risk." Does anybody in the US give a damn?
NATO Ducks Uranium Ban Amid Clamor for Research.
NATO partners split on dangers of depleted uranium weapons."U.S. attack jets fired some 31,000 rounds of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition during NATO's 1999 campaign to end Serb repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. About 10,000 rounds were also fired in neighboring Bosnia in 1994-95."
Of course, this doesn't count rounds used during the Gulf War.
left-over gun shells poisoning the environment
US and NATO forces left enough low-level depleted uranium shells lying around in bosnia/kosovo to cause an environmental hazard. I wrote whitehouse.gov and the d.o.d. about how important i think it is that we clean up this mess, pronto. i love using the word, pronto. this is important, and could really affect us if we don't fix it now.
I don't even understand exactly what the objective of the original mission was, other than risk your lives because we tell you to.
Shouldn't we have goals when we send military units into action? (I say we because to me, the UN is all of us.) It reminds me of this article
about how the Kosovo operation ignored the painful lessons America learned in Vietnam.
I don't pretend to understand how we can solve these mammoth problems, but they still concern me. Is military force really the answer here?