Friday, December 02, 2005

Kosovo fieldwork: north Mitrovica; atmosphere

Kosovo fieldwork notes extracts

Early in the morning on the 22nd of July 2005 I took the bus to Prishtine and from there to the divided city of Mitrovice/Mitrovica. The bus only goes to the the overwhelmingly Albanian district of south Mitrovice. I walked from the station, through the busy south district and crossed the bridge into the overwhelmingly Serb district of north Mitrovica.

I walked through the quiet north district and checked into my hotel, only to be confronted with reports about the attempted second set of terrorist attacks upon London. I sat watching BBC News 24 for a couple of hours, then went out to eat, drink and clear my head; but the district was still very quiet, abnormally so, given it has a population of about 20,000 people and I returned to my room.

At 12.35am on the 23rd of July 2005, I observed that "it's like the town's on lockdown (and it is like a town in itself, rather than an enclave or a district; the bridge is open but traffic, in vehicles or on foot, is minimal). You don't hear traffic, but each individual vehicle; you don't hear chatter, but each individual conversation; cafes have one circle of friends, restaurants one family".

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