Friday, June 19, 2009

fading away

The Balkans are fading away. I've been gone a week now.

I see a photo of Prishtina on the Internet and it looks oddly familiar. Something written in Cyrillic alphabet evokes vague memories. Emails and skype chats from my friends in Kosovo are so homey yet so distant.

The reality of the problems embodied in NGO work in Kosovo is still stark and real. It will be a lesson that re-teaches itself in new incarnations for years to come.

My co-workers were smart to give me a silver necklace that I can wear everyday to remember Kosovo, because it actually is possible I might forget everything else.

Somehow, being in the Middle East, and the intensity of experiences, sights, smells and emotions that surrounds me here... it almost invalidates the very deep fears and divisions of the Balkans region.

Today I came across a random phrase in my journal: "Crossing the border - no green (plains) to forested". On my last weekend there, as we ventured on the bus from Kosovo into Serbia we crossed from light green fields into dark green forests. This cannot be a sudden shift in the natural geography of the land. It tells about centuries of history that have preserved the forests in Serbia and destroyed their cousin trees in Kosovo, replacing them with unused fields and with farmland. God be with that land, even if it is a world away.

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