from mitrovica to pristina, 2008
An area of 10.887 km2 and 2 million inhabitants was destined to be ‘the most bloody theater of battle of the Balkan tragedy’, as international analysts pointedly remarked. In Kosovo the old rivalry between Serbs and Albanians never ceased, except in the short interval of the era of Socialist Federal Yugoslavia with its complex play of checks and balances between republics and ethnic groups. After the collapse of the Soviet block, the new geopolitical landscape in the Balkans and the violent interference by Western Powers led to the dismembering of Yugoslavia and the reemergence of old nationalist prejudices with Kosovo as the epicenter of a tension that is far from resolved. In February 2008 the parliament of Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed Kosovo’s independence from Serbia. I went to Kosovo and tried to document this historical turning-point as a sequence of images on both sides of the road-block. From Pristina to Kosovska Mitrovica languages and flags alternate, but also celebrations and guns armed and ready. Only the dark unites these contrasting images. 77 countries recognized Kosovo’s independence. However, it is an independence that depends upon the military and political protection by NATO and the UN, a protection that makes Kosovo an open wound in the Balkans.