2.17.2008

The world's newest country

Well, it's gone ahead as planned. Kosovar Albanians are partying in the streets of Pristina, meanwhile, both Tadic and Koštunica have declared independence an illegal move that Serbia regards as "null and void". Elsewhere, ultranationalists have protested in front of the Slovenian embassy in Belgrade, and top business people in Ljubljana (including the CEO of Gorenje, on behalf of 1,100 managers in the country) have submitted a letter urging perpetual Foreign Affairs Minister Dimitrij Rupel to delay recognizing Kosovo in order to avoid harming economic ties with Serbia and Russia.

We'll know soon enough if violence will spark off from Mitrovica, where soldiers have been busy putting concrete and barbed wire barriers between Albanian and Serb sides of the bridge over the Ibar, or in another corner of the country.Hopefully there will be peace, but the rhetoric from the Serbian political establishment (however expected and predictable) is ominous. Provoking violence would be a spectacularly bad (and ultimately pointless) move, but it wouldn't be the first time that Serbia pointed the gun at its own foot and pulled the trigger until the cartridge was empty.

If you're looking for news or analysis on the Kosovo issue, B92 has up-to-date news from Belgrade. A Fistful of Euros has excellent pieces on Kosovar independence. Camille also posted some good info sources, and drew a handy map to show people back home how far we are from the drama.

Top photo of boy in Mitrovica from the Sidney Morning Herald, french soldier working on reinforcements courtesy B92.

8 comments:

david santos said...

Excellent posting, Lisa!
Thank you

pengovsky said...

Well, for now it looks that Belgrade is where rioting is going on.

Anyway, congrats to Kosovo for making it, but the journey for them has barely begun. Independence is one of those things when you have a big party at the beginning and then you just keep on going.

dr. filomena said...

Are they really a country yet? Is Taiwan a country? See http://geography.about.com/od/politicalgeography/a/taiwancountry.htm

dr. filomena said...

PS Albanians are celebrating everywhere, including the centre of Skopje and Brussels... I did say Albanians... and they're waving Albanian flags.

grad student hack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

Are they really a country? Well, that is complex and will take more than a declaration, a large sculpture reading "Newborn" and some fireworks. It all depends on what happens next, who recognizes it, how it sets itself up, etc...

I thought this excerpt of a Yeats poem (posted by Doug on Fistful of Euros) was brilliant:

PARNELL came down the road,
he said to a cheering man:

“Ireland shall get her freedom
and you still break stone.”

Lisa said...

I imagine that there are celebrations raging wherever Albanians find themselves in the world. Have they released the design of the new flag for Kosovo yet? I read somewhere that the design committee were instructed by international representatives to avoid the black eagle at all costs. In the vacuum, there certainly are a lot of black eagles flying in Pristina, and in those places you mention also.

I imagine Macedonians are feeling a little (more than usual) uneasy about the northern part of their country right now. A surfeit of the red and black in Skopje probably doesn't help.

jess said...

i looooove the map. oh and good post by you too! xo j