Blogbox | #IWouldChange

The 14-year-old groom

By - 17.02.2022

A letter to Kosovo, instead of a birthday wish.

February 17, 2022

From you, Kosovo, I ask only for that which we don’t have, justice. I want nothing more than institutions free from the patriarchal family and false moralizing. Not one more woman should die just to prove to us that just as men kill, so too do institutions.

My dear beloved country,

You are now 14 years old. Today I want to call you a young groom with an old mindset. Do you know why? Because while you behave like a little man, you are praised as a young groom. You have entered a new stage, but your thoughts and deeds are outdated, patriarchal. Well, since you like to think of yourself as a groom, I will say you are one, an immature groom. Two in one.

In fact, I would like you to be a girl, Kosovo, at least today, but to the satisfaction of this old mindset, today you are both a boy and a man. I don’t want you to be full of testosterone today, but nobody is asking me what I want –– on this day the patriarchal mindset celebrates you with the blue cake of a boy. The mindset of the groom is not fading away, nor is the whiff of immaturity, which you wholeheartedly preserve.

Happy Birthday! Do you know what I’m asking for on the occasion of your birthday? (I am sorry, I did not bring you a gift). I (yesterday, voiceless; today, loud; tomorrow, who knows) am asking for justice. I am asking you to suppress patriarchy. I want nothing less than institutions that promote justice and change this mindset. Because it is precisely this (in)justice that is fostering the patriarchal mindset and the other way around. This mindset you inherited from the Kanun, the root of injustice, the root of the mindset that has been cultivated over the centuries. A vicious circle.

I want you to get rid of this (in)justice that creates a victim out of the perpetrator and casts blame on the real victim.

We have a society that stands up against non-existing issues and is silent in the face of the most macabre murder of a woman by a man or in the face of a rape of a minor. A place where the biggest crime is discussed for just three days, justified for three days, condemned for three days, before the epilogue when the case grows mold in the court archives.

Kosovo, only with institutional justice can you establish a mindset that helps you truly mature rather than prematurely donning your groom’s clothing.

Kosovo –– the “home” that is not a home for all of us, one that is full of these grooms, who before raping us, make sure that we are virgins. After raping us and killing us, they crush [our bodies] one more time in the corridors of the court. “Home” contains the mindset that metamorphosed into a contaminated justice and pushes us away on a daily basis. It is a situation that has turned into pure anxiety, a nightmare.

It’s a nightmare to live with fear in an outdated social environment that does not support you, but instead crucifies you, an environment that throws you into the abyss even when you are only 21 years old, an environment that makes you doubt whether justice really exists, or whether it is just an imaginary concept.

Kosovo, today, just stop for a few minutes and imagine how meaningful your birthday celebrations would be if no one was killing anyone. Let’s not kill and let’s not be killed. But perhaps this remains imaginary. Imagine if such perpetrators would receive the punishments they deserved. Or better, just imagine if you, my state, would not raise killers at all. Utopic.

Please, as you stand before your birthday cake, make this wish a goal. As you blow out the candles on your sky-colored cake, think: justice. Don’t just think that you will receive the change as a beautifully wrapped ribbon package from your friends in Germany, America or France, while you sit and wait. No one will bring you this. You owe justice to yourself.

Neither my generation nor those who came before or those who will come after deserve this mess you’ve been living in for so long. We want justice like everyone else who sought it but never found it. We want the justice you never gave them. We demand it. We will find it.

You have grown enough to realize that you must not be tightfisted when it comes to justice. We will find it. Then it will not matter whether you are a woman or a man even though your name ends with an a, Kosovo(a). Then, all that will matter is that no one will be afraid to walk freely, no one will be afraid to knock on your door. Only then, perhaps you will become my home.

p.s. I expect an answer from you! Please let there be more than just words in it.

To Kosovo, with love,

Antigonë I.

Feature Image: Arrita Katona / K2.0.