We are implementing the Ghana ThinkTank Process in Mitrovica/ë this week, collecting problems on one side of the river, and sending them to the other side for solutions. And vice-versa.
Mitrovica is a divided city. To the North are the Serbs. To the South are the Albanians. Between them is a river that has two names – Ibar and Iber – depending on which side you ask that question.
There is, of course, a bridge across this River – several bridges, and each has their own impact. The main bridge- the one rebuilt “courtesy of France” – is covered by exotic, often robotic military vehicles that sit still, next to men with flags on their arms – Italy, France, Romania – but not the USA.
They’re protecting the crossing, or guarding it. Yet so few cars drive across, only one or two every few minutes. More people cross by foot, but still not many, and mostly kids, teenagers, the occasional woman with a shopping bag in her arms.
Drivers tend to park on either end and then walk across.
A plaque says the bridge is “courtesy of France.” There are four plaques, actually, one in Serbian, one in Albanian, one in French, one in English. Welcome to Mitrovica/ë.