Monday, February 18, 2008

The Long Road to Kosovo

I'm suprised that none of the media outlets in the Utica area have talked much about the birth of Kosovo over the weekend. The Republic's independence declaration is, as my old Global Relations professor would say, a BIG DEAL...all the more so because a significant portion of Utica's population is made up of former residents of the Yugoslavian successor states. While the majority of people that arrived in the city after the Balkan war were Bosnians, refugees from every ethnic and nationalistic group involved in the conflict now call Central New York home.

Update: Better late than never.

Nezir Fetahaj of Utica hopes Kosovo’s declared independence finally will help bring peace to the region.

Fetahaj had to flee his home in Kosovo in 1999 because of the war.

Update: An emailer thinks I'm unfairly oversimplifying the Kosovo situation by casting them as the good guys. I'm hard-pressed to see his point, since my main interest in the subject was how Utica-area immigrants view the situation, but he's correct in pointing out that I'm necessarily skimming over the details of the conflict. How could I possibly sum things up in a single paragraph when the roots of what happened over the weekend date back to the 12th century? If you're genuinely curious I'd suggest Googling the relevant history, but be prepared to spend a few hours trying to wrap your head around all the twists and turns.