Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Committed To Peace: Kosovo's Children Say Enough


Enough is enough: Kosovo's children are committed to peace

By Rudy Scholaert – World Vision Kosovo Correspondent


Article and Image Courtesy of World Vision: Photograph by James Addis – World Vision Correspondent [Auckland].

I waited in the cold December morning for a bus to take me to a remote village in the mountains of southern Kosovo. A young Serbian boy stood beside me, looking bewildered. We watched the buses pull up with UN police escorts, lights flashing and sirens squealing.

The buses were filled with Albanian children. The young Serbian boy moved closer to me, as his eyes grew wider. He held a small piece of paper in his hands. I asked him his name.

“Dušan” he said, “I’m 12 years old”.

“What is that you’re holding?” I asked.

“It’s a poem about peace that I wrote for today’s presentation.”

“And why did you come today?” I asked.

Dušan responded without hesitation, “I want to have Albanian friends”.

And so began our day together. One hundred and eighty-five children, Serbian and Albanian, from four municipalities across Kosovo. Eight “Kids for Peace” clubs from around Kosovo were travelling to a one day get-together at a neutral site in a small skiing village called Brezovica in southern Kosovo.

The “Kids for Peace” program is an initiative led by the children of Kosovo and supported by World Vision. The program aims to promote peace and understanding among a new generation who have seen first-hand the destruction that ethnic hatred brings.

Four years after the crisis that saw thousands of Kosovo Albanians flee into neighbouring Montenegro and Albania, the province is still plagued by violence between the two ethnic groups. A car bomb on a busy downtown street in Kosovo’s capital, Prishtina, injured more than 30 people on the night before the event.

When all four buses arrived and the kids filled the rented hall, all you could see was a sea of bright orange sweatshirts with the words “Kids for Peace” printed in huge white letters. The program began with songs, poems and skits by each club in their own language. Although most children could not speak each other’s language, they nonetheless sang along and participated in each other’s activities.

One club after the next made their presentations that included a number of emotional pleas for peace. Although there were intermittent power failures (as is usually the case here in Kosovo), the children did not let that stop them. They simply sang louder, without their music, as the rest of the children and invited guests clapped along to encourage them.

“Today we are all here together, Serbian and Albanian children. For me this day points towards a brighter future for all of us here in Kosovo,” said Valentina, a 14-year-old Albanian girl from the village of Kraishtë.

And then came the moment for Dušan to recite his poem. As he stood in front of all the children and invited dignitaries he looked around the room, then he spotted me in the crowd and he began. “Dear invited guests.
”Today, we the children of Kosovo are asking from all of you to help us.
“Let us ask our factories to stop making machine guns and tanks.
“Let us ask them instead to make toys and chocolate.
“If they must produce guns, let us ask them to produce water guns.
“And let us use these water guns to extinguish the flames of violence.”

Young Dušan’s words still ring in my head as I now imagine a world where the children of Kosovo may live in safety, protected from the scourges of war. “Let us use water-guns to extinguish the flames of violence.”


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news