When we mark Kosovo’s Independence Day each February 17, we celebrate the independence of the state. But if we approach the concept of independence through the eyes of citizens, does the word “independence” acquire a different meaning? What would it mean to shift the focus from the independence of Kosovo, to the independence of Kosovars — would the meaning of independence and freedom take on different hues?
In 1994, the UNDP described the concept of human security as “freedom from fear and freedom from want.” Fear and want relate to the ways our society is structured, culturally and economically. They exist as barriers between people and the freedoms they are entitled to.
There are people in Kosovo who — each February — cannot count themselves as being truly independent. They are not free to pursue what they want out of life. What does independence mean for a woman when patriarchy and gender-based violence constantly suppress her ability to just be?
There are also people in Kosovo who — each February — simply do not have the means to experience freedom. Living paycheck to paycheck, crushed by the need to survive, little room is left for the poor to conduct independent lives. What can we say of the level of independence that is accorded to those who live in poverty?
We also like to speak of art as the highest expression of independence, the avant-garde of progress and change that exists beyond fear and want. But how do cultural actors relate to their freedom when they receive so little support for their role in society?
Together, we will explore new meanings of the word “independence,” questioning what independence could and should mean for citizens’ lives.
For our discussion, we will be joined by:
- Leonida Molliqaj, executive director of QIKA
- Artan Mustafa, social policy researcher/lecturer, UBT
- Donjeta Murati, researcher and founding member of PART
The discussion will be moderated by K2.0 Journalist Lirika Demiri.
The talk will be held at Dit’ e Nat’ cafe on February 21 starting at 17:30. Translation to English and Serbian will be provided.
Guests are expected to wear masks and respect social distancing during the event.
This talk is part of the project “Innovation for resilient media and citizen engagement” supported by the European Union Office in Kosovo, and implemented by Kosovo 2.0 in partnership with GAP Institute.