CAMPAGNA KOSOVO, MAIN ACTIVITIES IN FEBRUARY 2000
rapporto di M.Lindley (10/29 febbraio 2000)
then, to contact certain people)
Thursday, 10 Feb:
A team of four, consisting of Maria Carla Biavati (a social worker from Bologna) and three volunteers - Alberto L'Abate (Professor of Sociology at the University of Florence), Mark Lindley (a newcomer to Campagna Kosovo, formerly Visiting Professor of Gandhian Studies at the University of Kerala) and Gabriele Bertucci (a landscape-artist from Bologna) - went to Bari in Alberto's car and boarded the ferry for Bar.
Friday, 11 Feb:
Anton Berisha, Professor of Albanian at the University of Calabria, joined us and we all went on (in Alberto's car) to Pristina.
Saturday, 12 Feb:
We moved into a flat placed temporarily at our disposition by ADAB (Associazione Donne Area Balcane).
We called upon Halit Ferizi (founding president of HANDIKOS, an organisation, including Kosovo Serbs etc. as well as Albanians, of handicapped people and their families) and upon Diana and Dugi Hyseni (financial administrator of KFOS, the Kosovo Federation for an Open Society). KFOS invited us to use the internet-server on their computer for our communications by e-mail.
(We walked about and saw the buildings, in the center of Pristina, that NATO had bombed.)
Sunday, 13 Feb:
We drove to Vitina (passing few burned-out and newly restored houses along the road), interviewed the dynamic local Roman Catholic priest, Don Lush (formerly Mother Theresa's confessor), and, after the mass in his church, conducted a two-hour meeting with ca. 200 young parishioners. Five or six of them told us about some of their harrowing experiences during the war - this seemed a very valuable exercise - and there was then some discussion of the possibility of progressing one day toward reconciliation. After singing a hymn with the refrain "Shalom, Shalom", they invited us to return for another session next Sunday.
We interviewed Prof. Kadri Metaj (of the philosophy faculty at the university), who is the head in Kosovo of ADI (Association for Democratic Initiatives), the editor of a periodical for the promotion of NGOs in Kosovo, etc.
Monday, 14 Feb:
We called upon Zejnel Kelmendi, rector of the University of Pristina, and heard about the recent history of and current situation at the University (where Michael Daxner is soon to arrive as "international administrator"). Alberto reported on the plan of some Italian universities to donate scholarships etc. to the University of Pristina. Anton Berisha translated.
We visited the local office of BPT (Balkan Peace Team).
Two Italian women who had been doing social work in Mitrovi‡a arrived at our flat and told us about the situation there: the recent infiltration of paramilitaries from Serbia and (in response to this) the arrival of Kosovo Liberation Army militants, and the consequent upsurge of violence (see Item 1 appended).
Tuesday, 15 Feb:
Carla and Gabriele visited north Mitrovi‡a and conferred with the Italians working there for "Operazione Colomba".
In Pristina, Alberto and Mark called upon Milena Modica in the human-rights office at OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to which UNMIK (the United-Nations Mission in Kosovo) has assigned its institution-building programs in regard to human rights, police education, democratisation, media development and elections). Her training-co”rdinator, Dr. Chris Waters, who teaches in the law faculty at the university, invited Mark to lecture to his students.
We visited the offices of the leading local newspaper, "Koha Ditore". One of the reporters, Bardh Rugova, offered to translate for publication an article by Mark on Gandhi.
We dined with Prof. Kelmendi and suggested to him at length, but in vain, that it would be good to have a few "token" Serbian professors (from among those who have fled from Serbia) at the University. He said that he could not protect such professors from irrational vendettas by militant students.
Wednesday, 16 Feb:
We revisited "Koha Ditore" and received information about the French commercial interest in the Trep‡a mines (see Item 1 appended). Carla and Gabriele undertook to fetch from Mitrovi‡a some photographs, taken by Operazione-Colomba people there, of the misbehavior of French soldiers toward Albanian civilians.
Alberto and Mark conferred with Pierre Dufour of BPT.
Thursday, 17 Feb:
Carla and Gabriele revisited Mitrovi‡a, but the photographs had been given to the local KFOR authorities and so could not be brought to "Koha Ditore".
Mark "observed" (taking care to be seen on the dias) a rally of the university students to protest the current situation in Mitrovi‡a and the fact that the Serbian army, when it withdrew from Pristina, took away as hostages about a dozen professors and three hundred students.
Alberto interviewed Blerim Shala, editor of a journal entitled "Zeri", and Ylber Hysa, head of KACI (Kosava Agency for Civic Initiatives).
We chose a flat to rent for the duration of our three-months' project.
Friday, 18 Feb:
Mark called upon the university rectorate with information, provided by Alberto, as to how to send to the International Red Cross in Geneva a list of the hostages.
Alberto and Gabriele departed by air for Italy (the weather having rendered it unfeasible to return by car).
Carla and Mark called upon UPSUP (the university students' organization) and gave them the information about the Red Cross and a copy of "We Shall Overcome". They introduced us to Imer Mushkolaj, editor of the students' newspaper ("Epoca e Re"), who invited Mark to contribute an article on Gandhi.
Saturday, 19 Feb:
Another volunteer, Gianni Fabbri (a retired economics teacher from Riccione), arrived from Italy, bringing with him a car donated to Campagna Kovova by the Commune di Riccione.
Mark drafted the article for "Koha Ditore" and "Epoka e Re" (see Items 2 and 3 appended).
Sunday, 20 Feb:
We revisited Vitina, accompanied by Milena Modica and Francesco Mugheddu (who works in OSCE's village-democratization department). (The OSCE people undertook to meet again with Don Lush.)
We moved to our own quarters.
Monday, 21 Feb:
We drafted a proposal, requested by Milena Modica (see Item 4 appended), for civil tribunals in Kosovo.
(Everything in Pristina was closed. Everyone was marching to Mitrovi‡a.)
Tuesday, 22 Feb:
We interviewed Vigan Jashari, a member of the Postpessimists.
We conveyed to "Koha Ditore" and "Epoka e Re" the English text of the article requested The editor of "Epoka e Re" read it and invited us to contribute a series of articles.
We delivered to KFOS a copy of "We Shall Overcome" and, for its kindergarten program, a sheet with the name "Rahim" printed in big, empty letters, to be copied and colored in by children.
Wednesday, 23 Feb:
Mark wrote an article for "Epoka e Re" (Item 5 appended) about the proposal which Kelmendi had said (at dinner with us a week ago Tuesday) was unfeasible because of opposition from some of the students.
Thursday, 24 Feb:
We revisited OSCE, received a copy of Milena Modica's report to her superiors on the visit to Vitina, and conferred with OSCE's advisor on religious affairs, Andras Szolgyemy, with whom we left (for distribution among the various religious communities here) our "Rahim" sheet and a copy of "We Shall Overcome".
We visited Handikos, accompanied by Kajsa Svensson of BPT. Some collaborative projects were undertaken, including some workshops, an article (about them) for "Epoka e Re", a series of posters, and a visit in March to BPT's main rural field office.
We attended a meeting (in Unicef's local building) of the Postpessiments and established contact with their president, Dori Basha, and with Morgan Baker, assistant to Unicef's local youth-program co”rdinator, Mounzer Fatfat.
Friday, 25 Feb:
Mark transcribed the interview with Vigan.
At Kadri Metaj's request we conveyed to him, for publication in "Sector 3", our preliminary text on civil tribunals.
We arranged with Handikos to donate to them (in due time) the car which the Commune of Riccione donated to us.
Saturday, 26 Feb:
We received from Alberto several ideas for improving the civil-tribunals proposal and undertook to convey accordingly a revised version (Item 6 appended) to Milena Modica by 15 March.
Vigan and Mark completed our current documentaton of the Postpessimists (see Items 7 and 8 appended).
(A major building in Pristina, housing a sports center and dozens of shops, was ravaged by fire.)
Sunday, 27 Feb:
We had a two-hour discussion with the Roman Catholic priest in Pristina, Don Kmo‡, and a dozen of his young parishioners (the "Peter Bogdani Group"), including Mimoza Gojani of the Postpessimists. It was proposed that they establish an e-mail address in order to communicate - they nearly all speak English and/or Italian - with peace-minded people elsewhere, including Belgrad. Mimoza gave a us a list of Serbian former Postpessimists who are apparently no longer in Kosovo. Carla is to follow up in March.
Carla and Gianni conveyed to "Operazione Colomba" a computer which Gianni had brought for them from Italy.
Mark translated into English an Italian article on the Postpessimists.
Monday, 28 Feb:
Andras and Mark called upon Prof. Qemaji Morina, vice-dean of the faculty of Islamic studies at the University of Pristina, and discussed ways in which the leaders of the main religious communities might foster mutual conviviliality by taking further steps in the wake of the statement issued at Sarajavo last February 8th by the leaders of the Islamic Community of Kosovo and the two main Christian sects in Kosovo. Prof. Morina mentioned that these three men are to meet again in April, this time in Pristina. He also suggested that an effort should be made to include, in the detailed historical records currently being assembled, positive incidents and episodes such as the way in which the Serbs in Kamine‡a, 30% of its population, decided last year to protect the Albanians there and, to that end, denied entry to the Serbian army and paramilitaries.
Mark gave a lecture at the University of Pristina on Gandhi (see Item 9 appended).
Tuesday, 29 Feb:
Carla and Mark and Gianni departed for Italy.
Mark arranged for Imam Hamiti to be invited in 2001 to deliver a well-endowed guest lecture at Harvard University (in the USA) on "Islam and Humanism".