Kosovo | Balkan Tinder Box

Balkans Trip December 2013

Mitrovica Serbian-Albanian border, delineated by the River Ibar

I came across this young boy on the tinder box divide between the Christian Serbian north and Muslim Albanian south, of Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo. The boy looked at me with a hard unforgiving stare, going about his business under the watchful eye of an Italian Carabinieri armoured vehicle. This is a war zone, with gun fire omnipresent and people frequently shot at from both sides.

MosqueGuardian

Guardian of Sultan Mehmet Mosque

The man with the soulful eyes that have seen things nobody should ever witness, is the Guardian of the Sultan Mehmet Mosque in Pristina. I came across many people in Kosovo like him, during my street photography, whose eyes showed pain and suffering. It was a recurrent theme.

watchmaker

Watchseller, Pristina Market

This man is a watch seller and repairer in Pristina Central market. A tough life, braving the elements, especially the harsh winters, selling bits and pieces to passers by for little money, but work nevertheless. Again, the eyes belay horrors witnessed in the atrocities carried out by Milosavic and the Serbs in the 1990’s.

cigaretteman

Cigarette Seller, Pristina market

This man sits all day in front of hundred’s of packets of cigarettes stacked high, expressionless, and for the most part motionless, the hardship of his life engrained on his face, every line telling a story of pain and perhaps personal loss. None of these people know what the future of their fragile country will be; a country still not recognised by some others, including China, Russia and Spain.