The new flag. Hmmm, I wonder who designed that?
An abundant and bountiful land, filled with well-meaning and peaceful inhabitants, intent on tending their fields and livestock and with no desire for material wealth or large German saloon cars (especially if they've been stolen).
Alternatively a poor and rather grubby former province of Serbia and scene of the greatest con trick in the world, when a bunch of swarthy semi-literate 'freedom fighters' with noms de guerre like 'Komandant Rambo' or 'Komandant Remi' suceeded in getting the most powerful military alliance in the world to fight their campaign for them, and (even for a brief moment) consider kicking off with the Russians... with real bullets and everything!
Some of the young women are, in all fairness, quite attractive until you realise that dentistry in this part of the world involves pulling all the teeth as early as possible and replacing them with sugar puffs. It's also noticable that there hasn't been the trend in Albanian army wives in quite the same way that British involvement elsewhere gave rise to a number of marriages to undeniably cute Bosnian women.
The combination of bowl like geography and the presence of cutting edge 1960s Soviet power station technology means that the air quality in this peaceful corner of the world is truly something to behold.
The capital of Kosovo is Pristina, and even a short visit there will convince anyone of the need to shoot every single town planner on the face of the Earth. The two main estates are the Dardanija and Ulpijana, both horrendous, although residents of the Ulpijana will sniffily tell you that their's was always the better estate and that Dardanija residents have always caused 'problems'. This is an interesting concept since many of the original residents of both estates are now either dead or have fled to Serbia proper, presumably the problem they caused was being Serbian.
Whilst Kosovo legally remains a part of Serbia the question of it's independence has been fudged for the past 6 years with the UN hoping to sort it out when no-one is looking. Unfortunately the riots in March 2004 suggested that the Albanians might not be the sorts to quietly accept a decision they don't agree with. Consequently previous statements that 2005 would be the year that the UN breaks the habit of a life time and actually makes a choice is leading to some pant wetting in some quarters in case the locals don't take too kindly to the outcome.
Kosovo declared its independance on 18 February 2008, and there then followed a frankly fucking hilarious bunfight amongst other nations whilst they anxiously debated whether to recognise it as an independant nation or not. The Brits, USA, France and Germany said OK, and Russia and Spain - and funnily enough Serbia, disagreed.
The ground has now been set for one godawful diplomatic bunfight, and as the UNMIK start to retreat, KFOR troops are slowly realising that yet again the ungrateful fuckers who live in Kosovo might start doing what they do best (apart from sister chasing) and that is turn on each other, and then the poor bastard troops stuck in the middle.
Gordon Brown is trying to ignore the existance of Kosovo, and more importantly the fact that if it does kick off again, around 600 troops will have to deploy from the UK, which will further stretch our already chinstrapped troops. Wanker.
There is a new game in Kosovo- try and buy a DVD or CD that's actually legal. The corruption, whilst endemic, has been explained away as "not as bad as Nigeria," and the local beer Peja isn't too bad. The islam that is professed to be peddled by 92% of the albanian population is pretty low key- no burkhas here, which is a nice change for the average squaddie.
The Americans view Kosovo as a war zone, which is a bit much really, although recent civil unrest in the North have led to increased frenzied denouncements and speculation as to whether partition would be a possible solution. If you let the locals sort it out then you could place bets on history repeating itself yet again. These guys talk about 1389 like it was yesterday, I ask you.
Imagine a really shitty mediterranean beach holiday without the beach and what appears to be the world's supply of plastic bags and bottles artfully strewn across every field you can see, and you're getting a reasonable idea of the place. Like one big pikey encampment really.
The flag really is the chaddest design ever, and you are more likely to see the Albanian flag knocking about. Whatever you do, don't mention this to the locals. That, or the suggestion that they could get some pride and clean up their own mess once in a while. Unemployment is huge- why not pay them $5 an hour to pick up some of the crap that's lying around? Ideas like this will get you marked out as dangerously subversive. This country has a great destiny ahead of it to compete with Iraq and Afghanistan as the biggest pain in the arrse for the UK, Europe, UN and NATO. Brilliant, quite an acheivement really for a rubbish tip that still worships Norman Wisdom.