Life events

Under A Feathered Sky – Balkan Insight’s book review

During my tour in Kosovo I was taken to a makeshift armoury containing hundreds of weapons handed in by the KLA after the war ended in 1999.

I was recently approached by Serbeze Haxhiaj, an award winning Kosovan journalist, from the media network, BIRN, who asked whether she could interview me about about my book. The article has now been published. So why is the story told in ‘Under A Feathered Sky’ still relevant today?

As Serbeze has highlighted in the review, the problems that plagued NATO’s ‘New Tasks’ security transition in 2008/09, when I deployed to Kosovo, remain at the heart of the current Kosovo-Serbia dispute over recognition. The international community’s response to Kosovo’s future as a sovereign nation are still obscured by vested interests from capital cities across Europe and beyond.

In 2008, the headquarters of Kosovo Force, or KFOR, sitting in the ‘Film City’ military camp above Pristina, that once housed a film studios, exemplified the divisions that still exist within the international community today. Pandering to non recognising countries was a priority for KFOR. And the lack of commitment from NATO and from within the EU to fully recognise Kosovo’s independence, remains at the heart of the problem. It’s as if the original film keeps being released as a sequel but the script hasn’t changed.

Even though the book describes events in the past, ‘Under A Feathered Sky’ recounts examples of international incompetence and the promotion of national agendas that sit comfortably in the politics of the southern Balkans in 2020. A highly politicised post conflict scenario environment, local politicians using influence and privilege to further their own goals, and international supervision paying little regard to the voices of those subject to their whims and dictats; the ingredients are the same 12 years later.

In so many respects Kosovo is very different today. The smothering, physical presence of the international community has largely left Pristina. The international community’s role, now played out in Washington, Paris, Brussels and other capital cities, remains critical to the stability of the region, and Kosovo’s future in particular. However, with geopolitical cooperation at such a low ebb, and malign diplomatic influence in the region rife, Kosovo’s immediate future remains at the mercy of others. In that regard Kosovo in 2020 is not that different to Kosovo in 2008.

Read the full article here;

By Ade Clewlow MBE

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