When you find yourself in the territory that has about 10,000 square kilometers and accommodates about ten different nations of different sizes, languages and cultures: Byzantine, Roman, Christian and Islamic, that means that you are in Kosovo. People who live in Kosovo just want peace and to live a 21st century life. They've lived together with different cultures and customs for centuries and it should never change. When I visited different cities and villages in Kosovo, I could see that most of the people had the same opinion, that most of them didn’t mind that they had neighbors whose religions and nations were different. On the contrary, as an effect of war, there are people who no longer live there and they're missed.
Bearing in mind the brick factory in Kamenica, led by Mustafa Borovci, where both Serbs and Albanians have worked together for 17 years, but also the Serbian village of Drsnik near Klina where Sofija, an Orthodox Bosniak, and Ikamer Shalai, an Albanian from Kosovo, live in a harmonious marriage, I realize that living together can and must be possible.
In the oldest city in Kosovo, Prizren, the indigenous people of Prizren are trying to forget all the troubles that happened in 1999 and 2004 and bring back the old glory of their city. Refet Bushati, a watchmaker, says that there are customers of all nationalities in Prizren and that he hangs out with different people. He says it doesn't matter what their names are, or if they go to church or mosque. A young man, Almedin Faiza, confirms it: “This is my city, this is my mosque, this is my church.”
The older people realized long ago that they were the generation that may have been able to prevent suffering, regardless of nationality. Now they are sure that they will not allow this to happen again. However, when young people realize that diversity in Kosovo is an immense wealth, Kosovo can have a happier and brighter future.
Endrita Kurti and Blerina Halili from Pristina and Petar Djordjevic from Gracanica, just like all young people, curious and full of life, are ready to learn and meet new people. They socialize and interact and show that multiethnicity is possible and that it is not just a phrase. It is said that happy people can't hate and people who hate are not happy. Young people just want to be happy, so they don't hate. Love and desire to get to know different worlds drive young people on.
As most of the young people from Kosovo think, the ugly past must be replaced by the beautiful future. The problems are the same or very similar, whether you are a 20-year-old Serb, Albanian, Bosniak, Turk, Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian or someone else. The real challenges that they face are completing education successfully and trying to find a good job. Everything else is imposed by politics and the past.
In order to fulfill the dreams of young people, it is necessary for decision makers to stop dividing people on any basis, although they may have small political interests for doing it. Furthermore, we i.e. the people who work in the media can pay more attention to beautiful things and destinies of the people and less attention to sensations.
For Kosovo that belongs to all of us, for being proud of its diversity, let's overcome stereotypes and get to know each other!
This project is supported by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and is implemented by the New Social Initiative. Expressed opinions represent the authors’ views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, UNMIK or New Social Initiative.