The glass façade of Kosovo’s parliament building is no stranger to the impact of rocks. A tall wedge of grey and blue, the building stands in the center of downtown Prishtina, Kosovo’s largest city and capital. The square it inhabits is usually a peaceful space, filled with strolling couples, street musicians and men selling neon plastic pinwheels to passersby. Yet, in recent months, clashes between protesters and riot police have also gripped the downtown, once again pulling the country into the international spotlight.
It was rainy and cold in eastern Bosnia, much colder than the previous days spent in Sarajevo. After being bundled into a stuffy bus for a few hours, though, the slight drizzle felt refreshing. We had stopped at a rural gas station for a restroom break, no more than an hour from the border with Serbia. We waited under the pavilion for the bus to depart, passing around a fifty-cent chocolate bar from the store inside. The flavor was thick and sweet, what felt like a much-needed indulgence in preparation for what was to come.
Continue reading “An Answer for Srebrenica”
Every time I travel outside the U.S., I bring a book of photos back with me. In part, it stems from a need to remember wherever I have been. But it also lends me new artistic perspectives, allowing me to both better my photography and understand how the country’s artists have imagined their surroundings.
It was Sarajevo that originally brought me to the Western Balkans. A novel about the Bosnian city, of all things. In high school, I had read Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo, the story of four characters living through the four-year siege of the city. It may have been fictional, but Galloway’s retelling left its mark. When I first searched the name of my study abroad program, it was The Cellist that was on my mind. It was The Cellist that informed my decision to sign up, and The Cellist that colored my initial expectations of the region.