Albanians thrive in Belgrade
Erstellt von GregorSamsa, 26.11.2011, 19:07 Uhr · 15 Antworten · 1.370 Aufrufe
Albanians thrive in Belgrade
A vibrant Albanian community flourishes in Serbia's capital and is an integral part of the city's cosmopolitan image.
By Muhamet Brajshori and Bojana Milovanovic for Southeast European Times in Pristina and Belgrade -- 25/11/11
Tucked into Belgrade's urban lifestyle live many Albanians who settled there mostly from Kosovo, especially after WWII. Belgrade welcomed them with open arms and today they work as doctors, lawyers or journalists.
Their number is unclear -- city authorities say there are 1,492 Albanians.
One of the most famous, actor Bekim Fehmiu, chose to live in Belgrade until his death last year.
Leke Gjokaj is a student of medicine at Belgrade University and wants to continue the family tradition. He told SETimes to be Albanian in Belgrade is not a challenge.
"My parents worked as doctors in Belgrade. Even though my origin is from Peja in Kosovo, I have been there few times and feel more at home in Belgrade. Here are my family and friends," Gjokaj said.
"I know stereotypes exist, but really it was not a problem to be an Albanian who goes to school or has friends. Of course, some try to make your life difficult, but if you have a destiny it does no matter," Gjokaj said. "We have our own history and life here."
Belgrade University has an Albanian language department, one of the oldest in the world, established in 1925. It has been developing and expanding since. Fifty students currently study Albanian, and about 15 new students enroll every year.
Department Assistant Merima Krijezi, an Albanian born in Belgrade, told SETimes there is growing interest in the programme. Most students are Serbs, with a few Albanians and students from mixed marriages who see an opportunity to learn their mother tongue.
"An increasing number of young people see a future in knowing this language and a possibility to earn well from it. The students who graduated from our department have a good chance of employment in state institutions like the army, police, parliament, courts, the faculty itself … to various NGOs," she said.
"Belgrade is indisputably a metropolis and a city where you can find yourself," Krijezi concluded.
Shqipe Sylejmani's family, originally from Tetovo in Macedonia, moved to Belgrade in the 1980s because her parents worked for the former Yugoslavia's federal government.
"For me, the political problems were not important; they never played a role in my life, but of course the effects could be felt during the 1990ˈs when Milosevic was in power. It was hard because people saw my family as the enemy who should not live here," Sylejmani told SETimes.
She says her name Shqipe -- meaning Albanian -- and nationality earned her poor grades during the NATO bombing in the 1999 Kosovo conflict. "But such relations did not exist with my friends in class who respected me very well," she said.
Sylejmani said that she would not leave Belgrade for any reason. "My parents are here; my friends and relatives live here and more than that, I was born here and I love the city. During the time of Milosevic, some people tried to make us to leave, but they did not succeed, and I see no reason to leave now after remaining here even in the most difficult period."
Political problems can make some communities forgotten, even though they can be a bridge of understanding, Pristina based political commentator Fatlum Sadiku told SETimes.
"The political difference between Kosovo and Serbia has a negative impact on their lives. ... In Belgrade, some might see them as traitors or something else just because they are Albanians. But this would be also be true in Pristina, where others could call them traitors because they remained in Belgrade when we were in war," Sadiku said.
Albanians thrive in Belgrade (SETimes.com)
ein sehr interessanter Artikel
Belgrad ist eben eine andere Welt, Metropole...
nicht so wie in der Provinz
und ks verliert eine weitere gut ausgebildete generation...
ja man die albanerinnen wissen halt was gut ist srpska kobasica
ajde molim te izbrisi taj komentar
Ein Verwandte von mit wohnt in smederevo!
Leke Gjokaj aus Peje
Ja... Belgrad ist auch eine andere Welt.
pickeeee izdajickkeeee ganz klaaa.
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