May 10, 2012
British R&B star Rita Ora has vowed to return to her native Kosovo to stage a show for charity. Jay Z’s singing protegee was born in Kosovo when it was part of the former Socialist FederalRepublic of Yugoslavia, but her parents fled to Britain when she was a baby to escape conflict in the region.
London, UK – News Week / ContactMusic
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Ora tells Britain’s The Sun, “I left Kosovo aged one. We were lucky that my mum and dad left early. When we got to London my dad started working in restaurants.
“My mum was a doctor back home but couldn’t speak any English. She had to re-study everything, learn English and raise me, my brother and sister. I really admire her for that. Now she’s a psychiatrist and has her own ward in London.”
Despite her tumultuous start in life, Ora is determined to reference her roots in her music and she dreams of one day performing in Kosovo.
She adds, “I can speak fluent Albanian because we spoke it in the house. I’ve been back to Kosovo quite a lot. When someone expands to do something out of our country it’s a big deal because there aren’t many opportunities, unfortunately.
“I wish I could translate Kosovan music into my album. I tried but it doesn’t work yet. I’ll do it though. And I definitely want to play shows over there in the future and raise some money.”
Kosovo is in limbo; supported by the United States and the EU heavyweights, but with its path to UN membership firmly barred by Russia and China on the Security Council, with a clear majority of countries that either oppose or haven’t decided yet about its recognition.
The landlocked country of 2 million people, mostly ethnic Albanians, is among the poorest in Europe, swallowing over 4 billion Euros in aid since the war with Belgrade ended in 1999.
Despite its rich mineral resources, the main source of income is agriculture. Kosovo has an ethnic Albanian population of two million. Due to Serbs leaving Kosovo after 1999, there are only 100 thousand Serbs left. The Serbian minority lives in closed regions under the administration of the NATO Peacekeeping forces.
The EU-mediated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina started in March 2011 in order to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia, both of which hope to join the EU one day. The two sides have reached deals on trade, freedom of movement, cadastral registry and mutual recognition of university diplomas.
Under the regime of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Belgrade in 1990 put an end to decades of broad autonomy for Kosovo Albanians and introduced direct rule in the province, where minority Serbs led all institutions.
Calls for renewal of autonomy by ethnic Albanians were rejected. This led to armed rebellion by Kosovo Albanian groups, followed by stern Serbian repression in 1998 and 1999. The international response came by way of 11 weeks of NATO bombing of Serbian installations.
The war in Kosovo erupted in 1998 when Serbia launched a brutal crackdown against the Albanian civilians, as well as people fighting for liberation of their country from Serbia.
The UN administration was introduced after 11 weeks of NATO bombardment of Serbia due to Belgrade’s repression against two million Kosovo Albanians.
Kosovo is the state, which is the last to emerge from the remains of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However Russia, Serbia’s old-time ally, has blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution on the country’s independence and emergence as a free state.