Illustration by trembelat for Prishtina Insight.

Here be dragons

After a long pause and coal stained dreams, the Corner Shop is back to confront our proverbial dragons: from the snatching monster that flies into the night, to the mother-of-all dragons, corruption.

It certainly looks surreal, like a badly written allegory, somewhere between poetry and physics. The setting is rather Kafkaesque, but more malignant and darker. A cold and smeary shadow of a state apparatus looming over each of us. A monopoly of puppet power in the wrong strings.

First, the man-made rubbish dragon: after 10 years of state-building pretence we’ve still not managed to clean our room.

Permeating insidious noise is something people don’t talk about but something people really suffer from. A nine kilometre square that can be walked in less than half an hour bubbles with 300,000 cars running amok on unfiltered diesel fuel. Toxic particles of soot and metals fluttering like murky butterflies. Nitrogen oxides that give astringency and bitterness blended with sulphur dioxide that’s pungent and irritating. A cocktail party of free radicals, accumulating premature deaths.

The government is selling the family silver for a visa-free travel  to another dragon – that of stabilization. Ingrained in our compulsion to ride on its back, a nightmare called “Zajednica” is spat from the fiery mouth of our European Dream: paramount to Kosovo’s existence as an ‘independent state’, President Thaci will fast track it. And far from being the Lord Voldemort, he seems rather like the true embodiment of our fairy godmother.

That brings us to the next dragon who warrants for the abduction and deportation of a group of high school teachers associated with a political movement that Erdogan has beef with.  It carries out its mission with immediate and brutal force, splattering shit all over the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Apart from this, the dragon of irresponsibility and procrastination slithers in a swamp of poverty, both sides of the border between Serbia and Kosovo, sponsoring a mini cold war at the meeting point between NATO’s West and Putin’s Russia. Then it hisses a dance of a media spectacle made of group identification and ideological deceit.

Kosovo is a wretched hell hole and poor because it is primarily under the tyrannical thumb of the dragon of corruption. It is corrupt to the damn core, and that doesn’t mean it’s top-down. The politicians are corrupt, but the bureaucrats are corrupt too, and so are the citizens. It’s everywhere at the same time. And no subsidiarity of European Charter of Local Self-Government will ameliorate the negative impact on the lives of Serbs and Albanians who will have to strive for survival in this complete unsustainable enterprise. A country which was built on tragedy but roofed in hell, roosting miserable living standards  and no taxpayer dignity whatsoever.

So what could be the solution? There seems to be none. The pestering social democracy saviour-dragon that wears the mask of compassion and is a tool to egotistical whims and impulse-gratification provides for a half-witted collectivism that doesn’t give a damn about you as an individual. It remains ignorant to the fact that political belief is determined in large part by temperament and personality. A dilly dallying with other people, trying to make broad scale social transformations about which we haven’t got any idea, rather than making the immediate environment better, seems like a silly idea trapped in resentment and immaturity.

Because, apparently, it’s more difficult to rule ourselves than it is to rule our city. Which is a clear indication that unless we involve humility and adopt responsibility, we will keep on feeding our sheep and our children to these stupid dragons. And that is going to continue for quite while because there’s nothing stopping our country from being run by thugs, absolute thugs that kick in your door and kill you in your sleep. And probably with good reason.

The opinions expressed in the opinion section are those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect the views of BIRN.

05 April 2018 - 13:45

Genc Kadriu

05/04/2018 - 13:45

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.