Women in the Kosovo War – Complexifying the Discourse
December 2, 2019, 18.30-20.00
Café Kater & Goldfisch, Exerzierstraße 1, 13357 Berlin
with Drivalda Delia (Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg) and Furtuna Sheremeti (KU Leuven – Leuven Institute of Criminology)
At this Polis teatime we will discuss women’s experiences in the Kosovo War. The War started in 1998 and lasted until 1999, but was preceded by a long chain of events. Political unrest in Kosovo surfaced with the student and workers protests of 1981, and took a turn for the worse with Slobodan Milošević’s rise to power, whose policies culminated in what the bearers of harm perceive as genocidal warfare. The War ended with the establishment of an international protectorate after the capitulation of the Serb army.
Women, with all their diverse experiences resulting from factors including age, religion, and economic class, were an integral part of the conflict. Women were tortured, raped, murdered, lost family members, became displaced persons and bore the main responsibility in attending to the children and elderly. They were activists who helped organise and lead various protests and demonstrations; contributed as teachers, doctors and human rights activists in the parallel structures; they were also combatants in the Kosovo Liberation Army.
However, in the post-war discourse, one perspective prevails, that of women as victims. In our discussion we would like to explore the reasons for this one-dimensional narrative of the war as prominently reflected in the memorial HEROINAT (heroines) and events around it. Further we would like to discuss the consequences of focusing the attention on victimhood and the need to complexify the discourse on women and war.
Our speakers are:
Drivalda Delia is a researcher at the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg. She is also a fellow of the “Trajectories of Change” Programme of the Zeit-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius. She holds a master’s degree in East European Studies from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) and a bachelor degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics (LSE). Currently she is working on her PhD thesis which deals with the participation of women in nation- and state-building processes in Kosovo.
Furtuna Sheremeti is a graduated lawyer from University of Prishtina, and holds a Master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Oxford. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Criminology in KU Leuven/ Belgium. Her current research focuses on the harms caused by state crimes committed in Kosovo as perceived by the bearers of harm and stakeholders in the country. Victims’ needs and reparations are also a crucial component of her work. She regularly writes legal analysis and is currently a member of the editorial board of Leuven Transitional Justice Blog.
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