Fear and Rumors in Kosovo

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Fear and Rumors in Kosovo

“If my grandmother knows Kosovo is a country… everyone knows Kosovo is a country”  Flekitza repeats in an attempt to help me understand what is going on in the Serbian community of Kosovo.  In her home city in Kosovo, public school teachers get pay checks from the Serbian government, which are substantially larger the the salary Kosovo pays them.  A confusing situation that you’ll hear me get lost in several times as Flekitza explains how even her university diploma is now considered worthless, as jobs do not recognize what was then officially a Serbian University. The list of obstacles would be enough to make a person quit and run off to a country where things make more sense, but instead she is dedicated to making a life in Prishtina, together with her Albanian partner. A Serbian-Albanian-Kosovar love story that many people, including family, are not willing to accept.  “Who cares what people think.. I certainly don’t”…. in this podcast I spend time getting to know Flekitza’s story, her family, her problems as an ethnic Serbian of struggling Kosovo, and her love of radio.  An extra-ordinary individual living in some mind-boggling circumstances.

ctrp363 Traveling the Former Yugoslavia

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to Sarajevo / by flickr member martijn.munneke

Emmanuel and Kyle of 2600 are experienced world travelers who specialize in going where other people never want or think to.  Last year they set off to travel though ALL the former Yugoslav states (and Albania). From trains to buses to taxi’s in the middle of nowhere, their trip was full of unpredictable moments of joy and confusion, much of which could be heard on their radio program.

During the latest edition of the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, Emmanuel and Kyle joined me to record this extended podcast to retail the story of their travels and the lessons learned.

Restoring Links in the Balkans

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I arrived this afternoon in Washington, DC, opting for the more affordable bus over the railroad.  It had me thinking about the news this week out of one of my favorite regions in the world, the Balkans. The rail link between Belgrade and Sarajevo, broken ever since civil war over 18 years ago, was restored. After almost two decades without direct service, people will now be able to take the train between these two nations who were both part of the former Yugoslavia.

Observers are calling it a largely political gesture, as most people either don’t travel between the two cities or take the bus instead. Yet be it political, commercial, or whatever they want to call it, the result at the end of the day, is the restoration of a once vital and treasured connection between two great cities.  Or as they put it in the international press, another small step towards reconciliation.

When I finally do return to that region, one of my main goals will be to ride that train, and record my observations to share with those who can’t be there, and would like share in the experience.

bmtv38 Video Flashback to Belgrade

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As usual after returning from a journey it takes time to make use of all the video Ive recorded. The following is Tim and I reporting from Belgrade, Serbia on the day we gave a talk at REX. Pardon the harsh editing.. I’m sleepy after some ridiculous speed dating experiment. Much thanks to my co-host and travel companion Tim on this one.