Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy (almost) Birth-day, Kosova

God, I can't believe that it's finally happening. For years and years, I've been teasing my dear, favorite Kosovar, asking him when his wee, little fake country was going to get it's independence and today (because it's already 5 am in Prishtina), it probably is. For reals. And I know it's not my country, but I feel immense pride on Behar's behalf and I am so, so glad that he and a whole lot of other people will no longer be stateless (de facto, not de jurie, of course). I'm happy that he'll have a real passport and that Kosova will be a real place on the map, and that it'll have the might of the EU behind it and helping it grow.

Kosova was so beautiful when we visited last summer. It seemed like a place that was so looking forward to the future, but one that needs someone to help plan and control the explosive growth that is taking place. I hope that the beautiful, forested mountains won't go the way of Macedonia's (away, in other words). I hope that Kosovars can honor their past and their dead and celebrate their freedom in ways that don't threaten the beautiful and sacred places and the lives and safety of Behar, his friends and family and everyone else.

I have a special hope that the Serbian Orthodox monasteries will be alright. Especially Decani, which was one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have ever visited (although the monks were creepy). I felt honored to be there, but sad knowing that I could only visit because of my foreign passport. Behar would never have been able to go, but for a bit of luck when the NATO troops accepted his US driver's license as ID.

But, anyway, well done Kosova and enjoy your independence. You've suffered for it and been in limbo for so many years, while the international community argued over your fate. Also: do you guys get to be in Eurovision now? Because that would make me super happy! Happy Birthday!