Barbra Bearden (Kosovo)

Barbra Bearden (Kosova Women’s Network – KWN): Barbra Bearden graduated in 2004 with a BA in Communications from Centenary College of Louisiana. She then worked in non-profit development and external communications; corporate public relations and marketing; and website design. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Louisiana Chapter), Sigma Tau Delta honors society, and the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. At the time of her fellowship, Barbra was pursuing her Masters in International Communications at American University in Washington, DC.

I am Appalled

28 Jun

I wanted to step off my soap box for this next blog and tell you about KWN; but I am appalled, and I cannot hold my tong. Today (June 28, 2006), just one week after the Women’s Peace Coalition (the joint organization between the Serbian Women in Black and Kosova Women’s Network) met in Belgrade, is the anniversary of the ‘Battle of Kosova’. This nationalistic Serbian holiday is being celebrated by the Prime Minister of Serbia in the heart of Kosova, Prishtina. On the BBC world service, (which I thankfully still can listen to via the Internet) Minister Vojislav Koštunica, said “I am here to support the Serbians living in Kosova who are subject to discrimination, physical beatings, and the burning of their houses.” He goes on to claim that his visit was kept low profile for fear of retaliation from the Ethnic Albanians in Kosova. Let me say, having lived here, he lies.

I want to use this medium to bear witness to his lies. I have never seen or heard about ethnically charged violence against Serbs or Ethnic Albanians living in Kosova – NEVER. Nor, do the Kosovars I have spoken to care one way or another what the Prime Minister does – as long as the final political status of Kosova is one of absolute sovereignty.

I will explain what I have witnessed. I have witnessed the ethnically diverse KWN member organizations (representing Serb, Roma, Albanian, and Bosniac organizations throughout Kosova) uniting under one Code of Conduct to increase transparency and document successes. I have witnessed the joining of women’s groups; which, divided by politics, history, and geography stand in solidarity to wage peace throughout the Balkans. I have witnessed government officials blaming violence, perpetrated by their police in Krusha, on ‘ethnic tension’ and then issuing an apology after the lobbying efforts of KWN. I have witnessed hate speech, with no basis in reality, like that of Prime Minister Koštunica, facilitate the bureaucracy which holds Kosova in economic and political stagnation. Not to mention further dividing all the Kosovar people who are rebuilding their lives after the devastation of war.

I would never censor the speech of another person, a Prime Minister especially; but, I must react. This disgusting, blasphemous lie
cannot go unanswered – I only wish I was interviewed on BBC. So just to clarify, the people of Kosova are PEACEFUL people – trying to reconcile differences and a painful history together. Don’t believe the hype!

Posted By Barbra Bearden (Kosovo)

Posted Jun 28th, 2006

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