Kosovo Can You Imagine?

Snatched this post from Serbblog
Kosovo: Can You Imagine? is a documentary film by Canadian filmmaker Boris Malagurski, about the Serbs that live in Kosovo and the lack of human rights that they have today, in the 21st century. (Below is the teaser for the full documentary.)

Most of the Kosovo Serbs have been ethnically cleansed by the Albanians who make up the majority of Kosovo.

Kosovo has been under UN administration since 1999 when NATO bombed Serbia for 76 days to halt a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatism in its province of Kosovo.

In the years following the war, thousands of Serbs were expelled from their homes, kidnapped and killed. Their houses, cultural and religious sites were burned and destroyed.

Kosovo for the Serbs is what Jerusalem is for the Jewish people. It is the cradle of their statehood, culture and religion. Most of the important Serbian Christian Orthodox monasteries are in Kosovo.

Today, Serbs still have a deep spiritual and traditional connection to Kosovo, a land which is being cleansed of everything Serbian.

About the Director
Born in Yugoslavia in 1988, Boris Malagurski has been a Canadian filmmaker since 2005 when he won the Best Student Film award at the International Student Film Festival in Toronto. His movie “The Canada Project” was shown on Belgrade Television, and many international film festivals around the world.

Mr. Malagurski’s visit to Kosovo has shocked him and his colleagues. In an interview, he said that he “can’t believe that this is happening in the heart of Europe in the 21st century. It’s the fact that most people only remember the words “war” and “Milosevic” when it comes to Kosovo that pushes them away from trying to find out what’s going on in Kosovo right now.

In an age where human rights are taken for granted in the Western world, Kosovo Serbs are battling for the most basic human rights. What makes it even worse is that Kosovo is administered by the international community and this is all happening under their nose. It’s horrible, I wonder if the politicians of the countries that have troops in Kosovo know how the international community is failing to secure a peaceful and honorable life for an ethnic group in the so called “multiethnic Kosovo”.

I hope that his film will encourage people to ask questions and do independent research on what’s going on in Kosovo, as well as try to change things for the better and help those that are helpless.”

Most of the Kosovo Serbs are internally displaced, some of them live in small container camps, in ghettos, all this in the heart of Europe in the 21st century.

We follow the stories of several Serbs who have fell victim to a nationalist and irredentist ideology that has a goal of creating a pure Albanian state of "Kosova" ("Kosovo" in Albanian)

Serbs in Kosovo have no basic human rights. You will be shocked to learn which atrocities they have to face each day.

Interview with the film maker
Interview with Vancouver movie director Boris Malagurski: “People have to liberate themselves from burdens of history”

Tuesday January 13th • Culture, Politics Category

I was always fascinated by independent media and the type of art that comes to life when artists have a vision, but not millions of budget dollars. I always believed that a part of the director is always hidden in his or her creation, and I made it a hobby to read (auto)biographies and see whether real life appears in art, and how much of his or her heart a director left in the project. This was my first time meeting the person behind the camera so I recently met up with Vancouver-based director Boris Malagurski, a Canadian-Serbian director and the mastermind behind his latest documentary, Kosovo|Can You Imagine?

For readers unfamiliar with the situation in Kosovo, it has historically been a very important part of Serbia, with strong cultural and religious symbolism. Until its very recent independence proclamation, Kosovo was an autonomous Serbian prKosovo|Can You Imagine?ovince bordering with Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania. The UN Security Council Resolution 1244 dated June 10, 1999 reaffirms “the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia [now two independent nations: Serbia and Montenegro] and the other States in the region[…]”. It has an Albanian ethnic majority, and by some it is considered Serbian holy land, because of a long history and many Christian Orthodox monasteries which are important to the Serbian national identity. In 1999, after obtaining information of Serbia’s human rights abuses in Kosovo, NATO bombed Belgrade for 78 days and since the end of the attack, Kosovo became UN-administered until its secession from Serbia in February 2008, with recognition from 53 out of 192 UN-recognized states to date.

Malagurski’s movie focuses on the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo and documents the struggles of the very few remaining Serbs in Kosovo. Malagurski’s movie presents a side of the human crisis, which is seldom shown in the Western media. I asked him a few questions, hoping to get a better understanding of his latest creation and the silently continuing issue.

Why did you choose to make a movie about Kosovo?

Malagurski: I believe that this is a very important current event which is unfortunately inadequately covered from a human rights perspective. I have been following the situation in Kosovo and Metohija for quite a while, and when the provisional government declared independence, I felt that I had to investigate whether all the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija had the same rights, as it is said in many UN reports. Although I expected Western sources to differ from reality, I never expected to find people living in ghettos in the 21st century in Europe just because some people [Serbs, Roma, others] do not belong to the majority ethnic group [Albanians].

What is the responsibility of the international community regarding the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo and what is the role of your film in this?

Malagurski: The situation is similar to a dog chasing a car. Once the dog reaches the car, it doesn’t know what to do with it. After a massive anti-Yugoslavian campaign and the bombing of its citizens to take control over Kosovo and Metohija, the international community was not prepared for the consequences or to deal with the chaos in the province. Security forces were given unrealistic and absurd protection limitations, and non-Albanians were evacuated because there was no authorization to protect them and their properties. From a historical perspective, the collective responsibility for the problems in Kosovo rests with everyone partially. The unpreparedness of the international community to discard failed strategies and to encourage non-Albanian minorities to return to their homes and protect them from harm really surprises me.

My movie has the role of a shock-therapy session. We all know that everything we see on the mainstream news channels passes through many filters before we actually see it. My movie has not been subjected to any filters. It is a realistic depiction of the reality in Kosovo, and it is meant for those who are not familiar with the situation, or those who have understood it improperly, regardless of whether it was because of misinformation caused by the media or simple disinterest. The movie is also not a political film. Those who yearn to characterize the Kosovo situation as a political matter are going to be disappointed after watching the film since it focuses on human rights.

What is the role of the artist and/or the director when bringing a message to the audience?

Malagurski: The main responsibility is the credibility and reliability of information covered in the film. The stories and facts in this movie are entirely true, but because of those who try to discredit any information from a Serbian national by accusing him or her of spreading propaganda, I have interviewed some respected Canadians such as Retired Major General Lewis MacKenzie, James Bissett (the former Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia), and Michel Chossudovsky (Canadian economist and economics Professor at the University of Ottawa). Furthermore, the role of a director is to use actual facts to form convincing arguments. After watching this movie, there shouldn’t be anyone who can say that human rights abuses in Kosovo aren’t a reality. I also feel that I have a duty to present the facts and arguments in a creative and contemporary manner.

Can progressive media help reconcile Serbs and Albanians; is there a mutually beneficial solution to this problem?

Malagurski: As with all other peoples in the Balkans, external powers influenced and impacted Serbs and Albanians. People must liberate themselves from the weight of history and accept that we are essentially the same, that we should celebrate our differences, and not go to war because of them. Canada, for instance, teaches these principles to its people. The peoples of the Balkans could learn a lot from the Canadian example where a large number of ethnic groups live in peace and prosperity. Progressive media is a good start for ending ethnic conflicts in Kosovo and Metohija. People need to accept that there is no alternative to living together and that local politicians, who are under pressure from outside forces, are not interested in peace and prosperity but in tension and conflict, which keeps them in power. Jimmy Hendrix once said: “when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

Regardless of which side you are supporting, Malagurski’s movie offers a different perspective that is virtually unknown to most Canadians. For the trailer, questions and more information, visit the official site, www.kosovo-film.com.
truthtube in 5 parts

Part II

Part III

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Frank Kitman