Public Space

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KOSOVO 2.0 PeoPle/Politics/society/arts/culture #5 sPriNG/suMMer 2013

PuBlic sPace A GUIdE to REvoLUtIoN PRIShtINA'S PUBLIC SPACES SEEdS of PRotEStS dIvISIvE MoNUMENtS MISSIoN'S fICtIoN CyBER(PUBLIC)SPACE Kosovo: € 3,- elsewhere: € 6,-/ $ 8,-

Editor-in-chief Besa Luci Photography Editor atdhe mulla deputy Photography Editor majlinda hoxha design Van Lennep, amsterdam Lum ceku, Prishtina Magazine Managing Editor una hajdari online Managing Editor hana marku Copy Editor tim o’rourke senior Editors michael S. mcKenna Ben timberlake Administrative Assistant hana ahmeti

Contributing Editors anna di Lellio agon maliqi eriola Pira Besnik Pula enver robelli staff Writers cristina mari dardan Zhegrova Contributors Lumir abdixhiku ardian arifaj rozafa Basha Sezgin Boynik Jiahui chen agron demi Justyna Gorniak ajkuna hoppe Lulzim hoti eliza hoxha arben idrizi ellie Kealey Priya m. menon douglas morris Gyler mydyti Kristina ozimec ines Pousadela dren Pozhegu Vesa Sahatciu eamon Sheehy danijela Simrak danijel Sivinjski

Photographers antitezo fabian nunez acevedo agim Balaj eli Bertaria dzenat drekovic david Gill Smiljka Gustak Blerta Kambo ivana Kuzmanovska olson Lamaj ivan Posavec Lovro rumiha mani Sundaram Kushtrim ternava Voina art Group

Marketing Manager Lorik Kocani

illustrations Zgjim elshani driton Selmani Sulki & min Editorial interns Lume hyseini farhad mirza Translators dren Gjonbalaj trim haliti Belinda Vrapi

Financial Managers florina ahmeti flutra Shehu Publisher Kosovo Glocal

Kosovo 2.0 magazine is available in english, albanian and Serbian. online: www. kosovotwopointzero. com

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sales Manager Sokol Loshi

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Letter from the editor Besa luci

— When we launched our Sex issue in December, it was met with an attack from a group of radical Islamists, hooligans and self-proclaimed morality police. They mobilized via bigoted, racist slurs and acted out of their self-proclaimed legitimacy to bring to our society what they consider “order and control.” What followed was a string of reactions from government and international community representatives — fulfilling the responsibility to provide security and upholding the rule of law — and the ombudsperson and civil society organizations (providing voices against violations of free speech and human rights). Meanwhile, sensationalist media coverage and uninformed public reaction surrounding the event was marred by hate speech and ignorance. This incident was similar to so many other cases in the past 13 years amid Kosovo’s “democratization,” cases in which the liberties of individuals or groups have been acted on violently based on the self-righteous and promulgated convictions of others in attempts to impose rights of authority, control and action. Among these was the destruction in December of World War II memorials and Serbian graves in retaliation to Serbia’s forcible removal of the monument to the martyrs of the Liberation Army of Presheva, Medvegja and Bujanoc, in Presheva, south Serbia; the March attack on activist Nazlije Balaj, who advocated for the recognition of those women raped during the 1999 war as a legal category in Kosovo’s existing legislation on war veterans, invalids and civilian victims; and a number of attacks on journalists for reporting on fraudulent politics and

businesses.What all these cases have in common is the failure of the judiciary to bring the perpetrators to justice. Today in Kosovo, we need to rethink public space not merely as the physical space around us, but as the venue for producing and providing a critique in pursuit of a free dialogue. Our discourse for the past 13 years has been infiltrated by the criticisms of corrupt politicians, fraudulent politics, malfunctioning institutions, captured economies, failures to implement legislation, and discriminatory international policies. While such a critique must be fostered for the purpose of improving our democratic life, no substantial change will take place until we come to truly embrace what participatory and free public debate in a democracy means. That is why in this issue we look at public space as central to how struggles of participation, civil rights, equality, liberty and even memory are negotiated. No true democratization of our societies will occur unless we take a firm look at what we expect from democracy as well as what we give in return. Public space offers a meaningful entry point to that discussion. When speaking about public space, it helps to provide a retrospective analysis of the socio-political and economic transformations leading to the rise of modern industrial cities and their implications. We also outline the emergence of modern concepts of suburban expansion and what that tells us about community values. And we detail the battles fought for social control and political domination; see our cover story, “Dissecting Prishtina,” and profiles of Gjakova, Prizren, Mitrovica, Prishtina, Tirana, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Skopje and Novi Sad. Whether pointing to urban planning flaws, calling on ci-


kosovo 2.0

— In this issue we look at public space as central to how struggles of participation, civil rights, equality, liberty and even memory are negotiated.

tizens to demand change, utilizing public space as a point for congregation or proposing solutions, our stories continuously unravel the tangle between those who govern — and how they govern — and those who are due to participate in such spaces. Because, ultimately, such relationships also speak to how physical structures in public space are made to enable or limit public participation. These structures especially reflect the citizen’s role in the particular social or political system. For example, our stories on socialist monuments in Kosovo and memorials from the 1999 war confront the continuous attempts to locate and contest their origin stories, and our articles serve as reminders of clashing narratives of authority over who (de)legitimizes and how. That is why it’s important to look at public space through the prisms of protest, participation, legitimacy, and even exclusion. These are discussions we place on the global platform of social movements around the world, in places where public space serves as a venue to mobilize and to negotiate politics. These examinations reference the precedents of French rebellions, and they look at how Prishtina’s 1981 student demonstrations challenged the former Yugoslav regime, transforming into a resistance and a call for independence. Our inquiries end up in the transformative movements of recent years — Occupy, the Arab Spring, Chile’s student protests — where they have not only challenged participatory politics and channels of expression, but altered the roles of citizens as well. This issue highlights the many artistic interventions and performances that bring criticism and commentary to the #5 PUBLIC space Spring/summer 2013

streets and new public venues in cyberspace. Through their novel forms and interpretations, these creative works seek to reclaim the spaces we create, inhabit, use, live in and communicate through. I want to reiterate the theme of justice.This is our goal if we want to break the hold on captured public space and the public realm.When speaking about public space, one man needs to be remembered: my uncle Rexhep Luci, an architect and director for urban planning in Prishtina. Despite his murder in 2000, he is still called “the only man with a true vision for Prishtina.” His work in post-1999 Kosovo focused on establishing urban order amid the chaotic and illegal transformations that were suffocating our city then and still do so today. His murder brought that vision to an end. Time and again, I have heard his death called the turning point of post-war, liberated Kosovo — the moment at which the international community lost its grip on restoring rule of law, and when many Kosovars realized their participation and influence were under attack and were threatened with elimination. Many injustices followed Rexhep’s murder, and among them is the fact that this crime remains unsolved. In these respects, my uncle’s murder has continued to haunt our memories of the city; even recalling his death has inhibited our willingness to rebuke repression and tempered our personal and collective influence. In memory of and with respect to his life and work, we can aspire to an open and transformative public space.Through that work, citizens can reclaim their rightful place. I hope this issue is a contribution to that effort. — K 5

Kosovo 2.0 reloaded

Never-ending scrolls

content kosovotwopoiNtzero magaziNe public space — #5 2013

revolutioN how-to

movemeNts' iNceptioN

a guide to historic moments seen through confl icting lenses. By michael S. mcKenna

human bonding and public space are at the roots of revolution. By agon maliqi





'city oF kitsch'?

capital oF clashes Zagreb, croatia, deals with fractured past, contested future. By danijela Simrak

prishtiNa: iNside its history

saviNg dokuFest

Skopje, the “city of Solidarity,” remains lost among its monuments. By Kristina ozimec

the capital and its many changes have never formed a modern city. By Besnik Pula

the renowned fi lm festival needs help from Prizren. By agron demi

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content kosovotwopoiNtzero magaziNe public space — #5 2013

mourNiNg aNd memories Kosovo’s war memorials inspire awe and criticism. By anna di Lellio

relics oF the past Yugoslav monuments, no matter their grandeur, are left to crumble. By Vesa Sahatciu





public space: a FiNal FroNtier

a wasted city

takiNg back the city

aFghaNistaN's graFFiti icoN

artist nikolin Bujari's biggest canvas: public space. By eriola Pira

female artist wins fans while facing criticism. By ellie Kealey

Kosovo citizens must demand changes to their cities. By enver robelli


alban muja wants to help Prishtina overcome its challenges with public spaces. By farhad mirza

kosovo 2.0

content kosovotwopoiNtzero magaziNe public space — #5 2013





hear the chaNge?

No Fear iN chile demonstrators demand public space and are willing to fight for it. By ines Pousadela

shock as a weapoN

scrutiNiziNg eulex

the evolution of protest music continues its movement. By Sezgin Boynik

russia's Voina art Group fights back against what it sees as tyranny with protests in public space. By eamonn Sheehy

eu rule of Law mission in Kosovo: grand ideas and obscure realities. By ajkuna hoppe



iNterNet users take oN chiNa

social media spaNNiNg the world

chinese gather in the online public space and thereby change the country. By Jiahui chen

technology is changing countries, from the former Soviet states to Southeast asia. By Lume hyseini

maN oF the protests rron Gjinovci has spent years making his voice heard. By hana marku

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content kosovotwopointzero magazine public space — #5 2013


A wash in hopelessness Gjakova in Kosovo is mired in problems because of the past. By Dren Pozhegu


From the editor's desk



Debate, across the map In the 1990s, informal sites changed the public discourse in Prishtina. By Dardan Zhegrova


A feminine mystique Women's influence on the city needs to be strengthened. By Eliza Hoxha



A city without a past




Inside the library


City of art

Public spaces' pivotal point


CentER of problems


Divided city Mitrovica’s public spaces fall across the directions on a compass. By Lulzim Hoti


Life through lens The relationship between spaces and people is explored in a photo series. By Agim Balaj


Needed: Agents of change Should the media in Kosovo become places for public debate? By Ardian Arifaj


Cover to cover Book reviews put spotlight on powerful pageturners. By Hana Marku

The Skenderija complex in Sarajevo has problems, just like its host city. By Justyna Gorniak


Taxing situation Getting Kosovars to pay their fair share is hard, but possible. By Lumir Abdixhiku

Activists in Novi Sad work to build a place for people to gather and share ideas. By Danijel Sivinjski


No party, no problem. Hani i Elezit’s mayor bypasses typical pillars of power. By Una Hajdari

Tirana, Albania, has been both artistic subject and political hotbed. By Eriola Pira


Protests and public space Fight for human rights starts in the streets. By Dardan Zhegrova

The biggest opportunity for the Kosovo capital's future is chaos. By Michael S. McKenna


More than an act Indian street theater performers get out their message on the streets. By Priya M. Menon

Prishtina's volatile history and chaotic present make for a place without an identity. By Gyler Mydyti

Prishtina's strength

Invading public space Taking stock of the artists who enliven Prishtina. By Cristina Mari

The homes for collections of books are also the places to accumulate knowledge. By Rozafa Basha


Building a better city An in-depth look at an urban development plan for Prishtina. By Douglas Morris

Besa Luci's take on public space.


Editorial: Sex and violence Violence plagued Kosovo 2.0's last launch. Now, a response. By Arben Idrizi

kosovo 2.0


i n


t e x t

B y

a guide to revolutions ✌ i






* r o u n D c k g B a




n r

m c k e



s .

B y

l a e

s u l k i


From the bostoN tea party up to the arab spriNg, the Facts diFFer betweeN the victorious aNd deFeated.


Michael S. McKenna is a writer and journalist from Montreal, Canada, now living in Prishtina. His work can be found in publications such as Kosovo 2.0, Vice, AskMen, The Huffington Post, and on his own blog at

history, as we are all aware, is writteN by the victors. there is No couNtry iN the world whose elemeNtary school textbooks describe its FouNders as "a buNch oF uNshaveN meN with a vaN." iNstead, we teNd to pretty thiNgs up a little; we make them less crazed aNd coNFusiNg.

— We Prefer to LiVe in a WorLd whose present is seen as inevitable.

ries, we tend to shun the role of “historian.” We prefer “screenwriter.”

marie antoinette never said, “Let them eat cake.” Paul revere never shouted, “the British are coming!” in the fi rst case, the infamous phrase was invented by JeanJacques rousseau for his “confessions,” published when the future queen was 9. in the latter, henry Wadsworth Longfellow selected revere’s name from a group of new england patriots because it rhymed with “hear.”

unlike facts, stories resemble us. this is why we like them. Stories are loose, flexible, fickle and multidirectional. Stories adjust to their circumstances.

in the non-inspiring realm that is actual history, the story of revere ends with his arrest in a bar. this is not important, though. these are just facts. facts are dusty, depressing things. they’re trivia. Geekery. facts are for losers and pedants. as Joan didion famously noted, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” and even the most cursory glance at history — revolutionary history in particular — quickly reveals that stories are what we really thrive on. heroes and villains; victories and defeats; dark nights; long odds; tortured souls; and surprise endings. When it comes to our own histo-

#5 PuBlic sPace sPring/summer 2013

So, in presenting this glance at certain notable revolutions, we have chosen to have it both ways. We don’t know how all of these will turn out, over the course of centuries. So we’re presenting choices: the truth according to the facts; the truth as it might exist if the revolutionaries are successful; and the truth as it might be written if they fail. in a lot of these cases, as Zhou enlai said of the french revolution, in 1972, “it’s still too early to tell.”* * Of course, he never said this. It was a mistranslation. It was a story.


#1 the arab spriNg

— the factS: Wave of protests, uprisings, demonstrations and riots originating in tunisia rock the arab world. the government in that country is toppled, as are those in Libya, egypt and Yemen. rulers in Bahrain, morocco, algeria, iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait and Syria find themselves under siege. continuing conflicts in Syria and mali approach the level of civil war. Victorious Version: tired of corruption, autocracy, authoritarianism, inequality and puppet governments, the people of the arab world rise up and return control of their lands to the people. defeated Version: Spurred on by power-lust and shadowy international actors, malcontents from africa to the arab heartland attempt to overthrow longstanding and stable governments, reducing their countries to a protracted series of power struggles between religious fanatics, military leaders and agents of u.S. imperialism.

#2 the tiaNaNmeN

sQuare uprisiNgs

— the factS: a series of student-led, pro-democracy protests gather popular support in Beijing, resulting in a civilian occupation of the chinese capital’s pre-eminent public square. the ruling communist Party forcefully suppresses the uprising, dispersing the seven-week-long occupation with live ammunition, killing thousands. Victorious Version: With the world watching, idealistic chinese activists bravely gather to show their discontent with a closed and unresponsive ruling party. though unsuccessful, the uprising plants the seeds of individual liberty, changing china and the communist Party forever. defeated Version: capitalistic counter-revolutionaries attempt the violent overthrow of the communist system that has led to china’s position as the world’s leading global power. they are dispersed, by necessity, and china goes on to enjoy two decades of unprecedented stability and growth.


kosovo 2.0

#3 the iraNiaN revolutioN

— the factS: Popular demonstrations against Shah reza Pahlavi turn into a country-paralyzing series of strikes and uprisings. islamic groups fi ll the resulting power vacuum, and in 1979, an 80-year-old exiled cleric is voted, by referendum, into the position of “Supreme Leader.” Victorious Version: a conservative, spiritually minded polity throws off the shackles of a decadent, Western-backed political class and returns iran to a system of religious governance that enjoys popular support everywhere, save the Westernized districts of tehran. defeated Version: rural religious fanatics capitalize on widespread public dissatisfaction, proposing a return to traditional moral practices that they claim would combat corruption. upon gaining power, they install a medieval theocracy, decimating the economy and hobbling the cultural output of a formerly sophisticated, modern nation.

#4 the cubaN revolutioN

— the factS: after an unsuccessful petition for the ouster of cuban leader fulgencio Batista in 1953, fidel castro launches armed confl ict with his 26th of July movement (aided by argentinian doctor and revolutionary che Guevara). Batista flees cuba after the fall of the city of Santa clara, allowing castro to take power in 1959. Victorious Version: forward-thinking socialist revolutionaries wrest control of cuba from a cynical, u.S.backed dictator. a vast, communist restructuring program raises literacy rates, educational access and health care. defeated Version: a local cell of Soviet-aligned radicals, with the aid of other foreign interlopers, fights a bloody war to ally the island nation with the cold War’s losing team. foreign investment virtually disappears, and cuba enters a strange, hermetic historical time-warp in which the only equality is poverty.

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