Friday, February 8, 2008


Ashkali and "Egyptian" community in Fusha Kosova. The description is after the pictures.

Since the exact date of Kosovo's independence is anyone's guess, i've been trying to work on something else. Looking at the pictures, you might think it's another roma story. But, it's not. They are called Ashkali, or Egyptians. Their origin is unknown. Many of "Egyptians" claim they originated from Egypt.Some think they are related to Roma and came from Palestine root, according to some internet sources. Others say they originate from Persia. They are Muslim and speak Albanian as their first language- only Albanian unlike Roma who often speaks their language. Most of them live in Albania and Kosovo, but they are also treated poorly by Albanians and Serbians like Roma. In fact, they often live in the same neighborhood with Roma. The Kosovo war made their situation more complicated. Most Serbians left Albanians towns in Kosovo, but Ashkali, Egyptian and Roma remained in Kosovo or displaced to other parts of Kosovo. Albanians themselves have very high unemployment rate - somewhere around 60% in Kosovo. So, it gets even more difficult for them. I photographed two days so far in the Ashkali/Egyptian community in Fusha Kosova (or Kosovo Polje before the Kosovo war) only 8 km away from Pristina. The Ashkali/Egyptian formed the community around 40 years ago there, since Pristina got too expensive for them. The Kosovo war also ripped their life. Albanians have been sometimes hostile to the minorities other than Serbias because they thought the other minorites also collaborated with Serbians. They said some of them are worried about Albanians' attack against their houses. As a result, most of the residents don't have jobs and live on social welfare - around 50 euro a month. Yet, they have strong belief in Muslim, and the community appears to keep a high ethical standard. In fact, the people are very, very nice and friendly. I've met one of the most friendly, open and modest people despite their misfortune.


musicisourhigh said...

Your pictures tell so much without a single word. Thanks for posting them

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Chris Wehling said...

i think it's great that your traveling and just finding stories on your own. newspaper work can definitely bring u down sometimes.

keep up the good work and remember to be safe in these foreign places. it takes me awhile to trust people in foreign countries.

Brandon Kruse said...

You're shooting beautifully dude.

Anonymous said...

I read this article

Anonymous said...