Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bon bon edhe nëse sbon sbon

By Berna Tuvay

Every once in a while, you learn about a groundbreaking initiative that completely blows you away. Kosovo 2.0 is one such concept. It creates a platform on which societal issues that are persistently ignored by other media can be discussed. Revolutionary in a state like Kosovo, where the main public discourse deals somewhat one-sidedly with matters like corruption and migration. Additionally, the quarterly magazine sheds light on stigmatized topics such as LGBT rights, sports and public spaces, breaking the existing taboos surrounding these topics. Yesterday we paid a visit to the main offices of the journal, and I was delighted to find that the magazine is still determined to do what it set out to do despite the difficulties they have had to face. Furthermore, it was amusing to hear a progressive voice for a change. Some of the organizations we visited before seemed to be stuck in the past.

After a spur-of-the-moment shopping spree, we visited an anti-corruption agency. Money appears to be a common factor. In a country with high rates of poverty and unemployment, corruption is a focal point. This has been articulated before by various organizations that we visited. Another criticism that I draw from them is that they have only forty employees of which only eleven are involved in combatting corruption. In my opinion, the meeting was not very insightful. The general public’s perception of corruption and the actual data provided by the anti-corruption agency do not match up. Also, Vetëvendosje’s criticism towards corruption agencies seemed to be confirmed, since the small workforce and budget (€500 000) do not allow for high success rates.

Next up was our beloved EULEX. Since their mandate was extended (again…) there were many questions regarding the accomplishments so far, and problems that remain difficult to tackle. However, it seemed challenging for the EULEX representatives to give adequate answers, as Brussels needs to decide on strategic changes. Overall, I found this meeting a bit dry and ‘diplomatic’ in the sense they could not provide us with real insights. Basically they confirmed what we already know about them in terms of activities and branches.

I was thrilled last night though. The Albanians took on Les Tricolores. Sacrebleu! Big shout out to the Kosovar Albanian squad that joined me watching the battle go down. It was gripping until the very last minutes when France broke the tie. The second goal came in as an aftershock. L’Albanie can only progress to the play-offs, and potentially win the tournament, if they win their last group match against Romania.

Today we are going to go out with a bang. And yes, it is probably going to be emotional. I hope our little brains can handle it.

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