Within hours of a grenade attack

As many of you may have read, this past friday I travelled to the southern (Albanian) half of the town of Mitrovica. I was shocked to read this morning that yesterday a grenade was launched and severely injured two Serbian children in northern Mitrovica (literally right across a small river from where I was standing). According to the BBC, a three-year-old boy and a girl aged nine were hit in the back and head by shrapnel. This was the third attack on the Serb side of the divided town in 24 hours.

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Me naively smiling standing on the bridge that divides north and south

When I think of Kosovo I think of a nation rebuilding; with war a piece of the past to move beyond, but events like this illustrate how deep the ethnic tension runs and that there is a vast potential for violence to quickly rise. For me, personally as a student and enjoyer of history, I think I failed to grasp what the recent history means to the present region. I think I looked as Kosovo and Mitrovica in the somewhat the same way I would look at an American Civil War battlefield, with respect and observant of the past and in many ways this was an extremely ignorant view point. For the people that live in this region, the conflict and potential for violence is still very much in their present.

I am sure this is one of many lessons that I will learn in my time here. For more details about this recent flare up in the conflict, see the BBC’s article here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21331797.

My plan this evening was to blog about my first day’s in the office, but my light heartened account of my first day of work musings just did not seem appropriate in light of this news.