Mitrovica is the sparking point of many Balkan wars, an ethnically divided town in northern Kosovo where the country’s independence from Serbia is a victory in the south, an illegal aberration in the north. The town is also the scene of the gravest public health disaster in modern Europe. In northern Mitrovica, hundreds of Roma have been trapped for 9 years in refugee camps built by the UN administration in Kosovo on the tailing sands of the biggest lead mine in Europe, next to a toxic slagheap of 100 million tons. In these camps, if the children don’t die by the age of six, they will have irreversible brain damage for the rest of their short lives.
Mundi Romani reports from Mitrovica, Pristina, Skopje and Belgrade and provides an insight into the ethnic, economic and health dimensions of the current situation. Trapped between the fires of Albanian and Serbian nationalism and ignored by international organizations, the Roma, a formerly properous minority in Tito’s Yugoslavia, remain the forgotten people of the newest country of Europe.