Being a Roma activist in contemporary Kosovo

 In ‘Romani politcs in contemporary Europe‘, there is a long interview/conversation with two Roma activists in Kosovo. A brief extract from the interview:

“Operating as mediators and translators (both literally and figuratively) between the international community’s discourse and agenda, and local political actors and interests puts RAE activists under tremendous pressure. Blaming international agencies for the harsh living conditions and deprivation they experience, some activists pointed out, is less dangerous and, in the short-term, more effective than opening a political confrontation with Kosovo authorities. However, in the medium to long-term this strategy does not help to improve ethnic relations and solve tensions between Kosovan citizens…’

Nation building and the others

I’m on my way to Cyprus where I’m giving a paper at the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration conference (IASFM: www.iasfm.org) . My paper is about RAE in Kosovo, but I’m not going to look into the appaling living conditions of the communities, as there are several detailed reports on this, rather I would like to use the situation of the RAE as a lens to look into tensions and conflicts in the process of nation building in Kosovo. In particular, i want to explore the tension between ‘colonial’ EU protectorate policy and practice and ‘colonial’ responses of  Kosovo ruling elite. Two chapters of the RAE integration strategy and some pilot interviews carried out last year are the empirical basis of the reflections. More work will follow next year when I’m planning a 2 weeks trip to Kosovo.

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