Kosovo and religion, the attack intimidating Kosovo 2.0: interview with Besa Luci editor chief

Lorenzo Giroffi @loregiro

(qui la versione italiana)

Despite the very small dimension, Kosovo is a land  full of diversity and cultures, it was a center of important historical events that have changed the world. Nationalistic opportunism  before, and ethnic cleansing then, have deeply broken the cohabitation between the two biggest communities, Albanians and Serbs, at the same time ruining also the relationships with the other communities  (Gorani, Croatians, Turkish, Bosnians, RAE, this last one is only a bureaucratic acronym that includes three different cultures: Roma, Askharij, Egyptian, that have different languages and traditions). After the war of ’99 some of these minorities, like Roma and Gorani, had a few problems for their past closeness to the Serbs.

Kosovo is full of symbolism and myths. This land is a landmark for Orthodox Christians, because it has many historical monuments about this religion, even if today Kosovo is lived from the Albanian majority, that is Muslim. Anyway the religion is not a problem for this Country, that in the reality it is a place full of ethnical tensions like the entrench Mitrovica, the indifference of Brekoc in Gjackova or the isolation in Velika Hoca, but is even a Country where in a same way you can find a Evangelic Church, to hear the muezzin and to see some orthodox pictures.

Kosovo 2.0 works to improve Kosovan skills about cohabitation. It is an ambitious editorial project, that writes and communicates in different languages, in order to be able reach the bigger number of people, living both in Kosovo and abroad: English, Albanian and Serbs (in Kosovo there are also people who speak Turkish, Roma, Croatian).


I met Besa Luci, editor chief of Kosovo 2.0 ,  the last summer while I was shooting “Essere Kosovaro”. She explained me how the corruption is heavy and present in daily life, because the nepotism hold every free initiative. In Kosovo there are still the international organizations:  Eulex ( mission of European Union) that have executive power and Kfor ( Nato mission) that patrol the dangerous areas. Some citizen of Kosovo  think that these missions are an opportunity like a reason of stability and security for the Country, others instead think that Kfor and Eulex are a brake for the emancipation of the real democracy, but this is another story.

Kosovo has an elevate number of employments and it is one of the Country with more young habitation in Europe. Kosovo 2.0 tries to elicit from this date an energy and not an dead weight: to work with youth comes from  the various communities. Kosovo 2.0 make journalism full of analysis, that touch a lot of topics to arrive to create a collective awareness. This magazine works on multimedia channel, with more languages and on website, but even in a more classical way on papery, every 4 months (among the last numbers there were for example “Corruption”, “Religion”). The last number be a matter of sphere’s sexuality, with an hint in the homosexuality. For the launch of this number Kosovo 2.0 had prepared an event in a building in Pristine, where performance live, reading and video projections were ready. The presentation had to be on 14th December, but the days before the event, some religious groups started to offend Kosovo 2.0 by web. During the preparations, outside the building, a group of two thousand people occupied the street in a demonstration against Kosovo 2.0 and its event. 20 of them entered inside the builing of the presentation, destroying everything. The action was prepared to impede the presentation of Kosovo 2.0. because in the last number its talk about topics that are not well-accepted for this religious group  (defenders of Muslim values). Actually is not correct to talk about Islamic extremist in Kosovo, but this episode seems to show that in Kosovo something did not work in terms of freedom and cohabitation. A land that in the past saw twists, now it’s still powder keg that was nineties?

I meet again Besa Luci, editor chief of Kosovo 2.0 , this time not in Kosovo but by Skype.

What’s happened during the launch of the new number of Kosovo 2.0?

<<On 14th December 2012 we had to present the new number that has the topic of the sexuality. We organized various activities: videos, performance live, reading, interviews and for the night we thought to take a party. The days before our event we suffered many insults on our channels from religious groups, then they have organized demonstration to block our presentation. They were hungry because they are against to discuss about the homosexuality, that have to be a tabù. 20 people came inside the room where we were organizing the event. They started to destroy all, blocking the staff inside, because outside the building there were more than 200 thousand people to picket against us. There were two policeman that tried to block them, but nothing worked because all is went in smithereens: anyone arrested, the police are investigating on the  case>>.

There are some links between policy and religion in Kosovo?

<<Kosovo should be a secular Country. Our Constitution is guaranteeing for the freedom for all of us. We have a good and modern Constitution, but is necessary to look under the moods of the society>>.

 There are some topics that are difficulties to tell in Kosovo?

<<The problems unites to some religious groups are undeniable. They would like to limit to the freedom of the press and to some kind of topics, for example that of homosexuality. I think that this it was a problem ties to many other Countries. Our it is young, so we need of time to fight for a improvement: Kosovo 2.0 are doing. We are trying to tell, occupying the media’s sphere and we feel that we can keep this responsibility>>.

Do you think that the episode that struck your magazine it’s an action from a violent group that use the religion like an excuse or it’s a real consequence of Muslim extremists in Kosovo?

<<There are religious Muslim groups that surely are extremists. They use the violence to affirm their political point of views. We must counter otherwise they with an intensive presence on the field could achieve the proposes that they have. The legislative structures have to be a strong certainty for our critical point of view, with the Constitution in first line: all that should stop every kind of intolerances. These structures defend us from every attempt of democracy’s limitation. We have to work so as these laws are respected>>.

What is the situation of the cultural sector in Kosovo?

<<Kosovo it’s full of transformation and in cultural ferment. This mean that this process needs of time and that we have to collect topics in a chain, that also if it seems far among them, in the reality they are consequentials: like the speech on the communities or on the sexuality, such to create a common sensitivity in the people. Kosovo 2.0 won’t stand off the attention from this topics>>. 


Kosovo is a land with an anomalous self-determination, that could be an example of cohabitation between various community, that has the own democracy ties to the international missions, that has a lot of energy unused or close out (it is the fifth largest mining area in the world), that is a place where the european policies make experiments, for example like the force return of Roma family from Germany. Therefore a Country that can’t disappear from the responsibility of who must tell the world.

Very soon First Line Press will show you an e-book about a travel in Kosovo.

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