Gurus, Devotion, and Lies

2011-07-28 14.19.46I watched the documentary Kumare last week, and since then have had a number of spirited discussions with members of my Sangha about the film. Geshe Lobsang had told me I must see it. (Spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen it and don’t want details, skip a few paragraphs.)

Yes, the guru Kumare was a fake, and Vikram Gandhi deceived the people who became his followers. But when he said to them, repeatedly, “I am an illusion; I am not what you think I am; I am a mirror of you…” – well, he wasn’t lying. He was telling the truth about himself, the truth about the role he was playing in their lives, and the truth about themselves.

I do not know how I would have reacted if I had been one of his followers. Would I have been the one to walk up and hug him when he confessed, aware of the courage and vulnerability of the man standing in front of me, grateful for the help he had given me? Or would I have reacted like the yoga teacher who had previously felt that her own teaching had deepened through her association with Kumare, but who turned her back and walked out of the room, never to speak to him again?

The various reactions say more about the followers than they do about the Kumare figure or Vikram Gandhi. That is the nature of the Guru/disciple relationship. The Guru is the mirror of the self, onto which we throw our projections, receiving back a reflection of what we put forth.

Because I practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and have for many years, I have a Guru. Several, in fact. My heart teacher, Lhading Rinpoche, came into my life more than a decade ago when he resided in Atlanta for a couple of years.

While I loved the time that he lived in Atlanta, and the many opportunities for easy and frequent interactions, it was also an uncomfortable time. Rinpoche had a keen knack for discerning the difference between a true question, and a conversation motivated by the need for attention. He exposed flaws in my behavior and personality, rarely criticizing me directly, but creating situations in which I saw myself as I was. I still wince when I recall some of our interactions. I often experienced intense embarrassment because I couldn’t do something “right” – whether it was the intricacies of a complicated ritual that tripped me up, or the simplicity of making tea. Nothing he did or said provoked my embarrassment. I was simply seeing myself in the mirror of his presence, and finally realized that I needed to learn an easier, less self-conscious way of being with myself. Interestingly, my fear of public speaking disappeared around this time. Go figure. Took me years to make the connection.

In a situation where I truly deserved his anger, I was blessed with unconditional love, and the freedom of true forgiveness. But I also bore the burden of knowing the deep shame of disappointing him. His rare wrath was reserved for situations when I was flippant about my practice. I learned to take my practice more seriously, myself less so.

Through his influence, I let go of the hubris of being satisfied with who and what I am. I am simultaneously more accepting of my flawed self and yet understand how much more work I need to do on the path of transformation that stretches ahead of me.

Rinpoche once again lives in India; I see him infrequently, write and call less often than I should. I feel his presence with me, despite the physical distance.

2013-11-03 16.29.47I did phone when I was diagnosed with cancer.

“Rinpoche,” I sobbed into the phone, “I have cancer.”

“What?”

“I have breast cancer.”

Silence, as I continued to cry.

“And? What do you want me to do about it?”

Good question. “Pray for me?” I asked, in a tiny voice.

“Pray for you?! You don’t need my prayers. You need a doctor! Do you have a good doctor?”

That stopped the tears.

“Yes, I do.”

“Then do what your doctor says. OK, I will pray for you, too.”

With that, he situated my illness where it belonged: a medical problem, not a religious one. I had a serious disease and needed treatment. Sitting around and crying about it wasn’t going to fix anything, and he isn’t a faith healer. The responsibility for my health is my own. .

When the Dalai Lama conferred the Kalachakra initiation in 2006, I traveled to Amaravati, stopping off first at Drepung Loseling in Mundgod to visit another of my Gurus, Geshe Palden Drakpa, a dear, elderly teacher who recently had heart surgery and was unable to travel.

On the way to Hyderabad from Hubli the train was filled with monks and nuns, some of whom I knew, including a few who had spent time in the US and spoke English well. I mentioned to one that I was looking forward to seeing Lhading Rinpoche at Kalachakra.

“Are you kidding?” he said. “There will be over 100,000 people there. You will never find him.”

Disappointed and saddened, I was mostly silent for the rest of the journey. Walking down the main street in Amaravati the next morning, on my way to meet a friend, I saw Rinpoche walking towards me. As I fumbled in my bag for a kata, the traditional Tibetan offering scarf, he took my hand in his and pressed his forehead to mine. And then told me something that few others knew: he had just come from the teaching venue, and the Dalai Lama was there, preparing for the ritual that would begin in two days. He himself was going to the house he was sharing with two young tulkus and his sister, who had been able to travel to India from Lhasa, to bring them all to the tent. I should go there, he said, and do my prayers and meditations in the presence of His Holiness. We made plans to meet up later in the day so that he could show me where his house was located, and I hurried to meet my friend, a fellow student of Rinpoche’s. We went directly to the teaching venue, and found it exactly as he described: An enormous tent, the Dalai Lama on his teaching throne, and very few other people. We rejoiced in our good fortune. We stayed until His Holiness finished his preparations for the day, then found the others from our Sangha – who had spent the day lounging and gossiping in their tents, and were dismayed to learn of the opportunity they had missed. By the next day more people had caught on, and the tent was much more crowded.

I reflected on my “chance” encounter with my teacher, a pattern that would repeat itself daily, despite 100,000 other people milling around.

After the first day of teachings, Rinpoche took his students to the rare, ancient Kalachakra stupa to teach us the ritual for offering a kata there, with a prayer, as well as the mantra we would recite as we circumambulated it. My mind blanked as I waited for my turn. What should my prayer be? As I stepped up to the mound of katas, heartfelt words sprang from my lips, an entreaty that I have repeated every day since: “In this life, in all my lives, may I never be separated from my teachers.”2012-07-22 14.47.55

Guru devotion isn’t blind, unconditional acceptance and following of another person. It doesn’t mean giving up one’s own judgment or discernment – quite the contrary, in fact.  It does mean being willing to surrender oneself into the crucible of a relationship that will change you, if you let it. It means trusting someone to guide you in your spiritual development. And sometimes, it means having someone to remind you that you need to rest.

It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.

I interpret that statement on several levels. Not only that the student needs to have sufficient preparation to understand the teaching that will be imparted, but also that the student is mature enough for the relationship, and ready to relax his or her ego defenses enough to allow faith to emerge and grow. (Sharon Salzberg has written eloquently on the subject of faith in her eponymous book, which is well worth reading.)

2012-09-09 18.08.52The Buddha admonished his followers not to take his teachings or instructions at face value, but rather to experiment with them, test them, and then determine their validity. Those words are empowering, but also carry the weight of being willing to take responsibility for one’s own actions. None of my Gurus would tell me to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, but if they did, I would refuse. Duh. If nothing else, they have taught me the importance of discernment. And common sense. I know that I cannot fly, and my faith in my Gurus is not so deluded that I believe that they would cause wings to sprout from my back after I jumped.

Powerful transformations and accomplishments can be achieved even on the basis of a false guru. Those accomplishments are not the gift of the Guru. They are, rather, the result of our own faith and the willingness to allow ourselves to be transformed in relationship to another. And it is for that very reason that it is important to choose the Guru carefully, so that the process takes place in relationship to someone worthwhile. As nascent students of Buddhism, we were taught that the Guru/disciple relationship is not to be entered lightly, and that the teacher should be examined carefully. Practicing within an established tradition and genuine lineage is helpful, because that structure makes it easier to avoid poor choices. This is one thing that Kumare’s student’s lacked: the context to make a proper decision. They would have benefited from someone to caution them, someone to advise them, and a healthy dose of skepticism. It is easy to be entranced by exotic clothes and a fake accent.

And yet, and yet. Kumare’s students were helped by him. Not because of any special insight that he possessed, but through the power of their own faith. He, too, was transformed by his relationship with those people.

Gurus do not need to be enlightened, or perfect, or infallible. But by choosing to see them as enlightened, I have learned much about the power of my mind to construct my reality. A Guru is a guide, a teacher, a mirror – and an example of the potential that can be realized by sincere spiritual practice. I gain much from my Sangha, my fellow travelers on this path. 2012-07-22 15.32.31Yet my relationship to them is one of equals, and therefore different from my relationship with my Gurus. Implicit in the Guru/disciple relationship is the simple fact that one person is more knowledgeable, more accomplished than the other. I look to my teachers for a reminder of my potential. Not to openly acknowledge their role in my life, in the manner that is appropriate in our tradition, would be churlish and ungrateful.

And so I prostrate to my Gurus, who through their teachings and example have led me onto the path of wisdom and compassion, the path that leads to the cessation of suffering. I am a better person for having known them.

They have pointed the way. I still have to do the work.

My practice is imperfect and my accomplishments are few. That is my failing, not theirs.

I can follow the doctor’s advice, or choose to disregard it.

My choice.

And my loss, if I should choose poorly.

© 2015 Teresa I. Sivilli. All rights reserved.

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Hidden Places

In A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway writes of seeing Cezanne’s pictures, and that somehow he knows that seeing the pictures is helping him learn to write. Not because of what Cezanne has put on the paper, but because of what he has left off. Hemingway, too, leaves as much off the page as he puts onto it.

Atlanta’s High Museum recently featured an exhibition of Cezanne’s works, and I returned to it a second time, to see the watercolors again, and especially the pears.

001
Paul Cezanne, Three Pears, ca. 1888-1890. Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on cream laid paper.

 

A line defines the shape that it isn’t, yet. First a void, then a line.  A contour, and a shape emerges. Volume, content, is defined by what is not included in the form.

A sere line can define voluptuous, effulgent nature.

In a painting or a novel we have time to reflect on what is present and what has been left out. But do we pay enough attention to each others’ lives to comprehend the spaces that are left undefined and unexpressed?

I had a conversation with my friend S. the other day, about what we leave out of the stories of our lives, what is not spoken of, all the parts that remain hidden even to those who know us well and know us long.

Those hidden places give definition to the parts we choose to show to the public.

We are afraid of telling the truths of our lives. Why?

In recent months I have been deeply touched by two pieces of writing. One, an essay entitled “Up From Pain” by Charles Blow in the New York Times; the second, Lodro Rinzler writing in the aftermath of Robin William’s suicide for the Huffington Post (Meditation Isn’t Enough: A Buddhist Perspective on Suicide). Their words were honest, courageous, and compassionate towards themselves and others.

I have a friend, a woman whom I have known for many years. I always envied her, because she was, and had, everything that I wanted to be, and wanted to have. We were both smart, but she was also pretty, and blond, and vivacious. And therefore popular in ways that I was not. She married after college, and had three beautiful sons. She had the life I wanted and did not have.

Only after I was diagnosed with cancer did we reconnect. And then I learned of her hidden place: the horror of an emotionally and physically abusive marriage.

She and I talked one night about the pain our mothers had endured in their lives, and how much their isolation might have been eased if they had been able to be honest and open about their frustrations and struggles. But were we any different?

At the prison where I teach meditation, we’re doing an advanced course for the next three months, open only to those who have taken the class in the past and established a meditation practice. We want to delve deeper into practice, into teaching techniques, and also into the science – the good, bad and facetious – that is being done on contemplative practices.

Over the Christmas break one of my co-teachers and I agreed that we would be more forthcoming about our own lives. We answer direct questions, but don’t volunteer much. What we do disclose disturbs the image that the inmates project onto us — as it should. We acknowledge the privilege of our educations and incomes; it surprises them that those opportunities were not accompanied by perfect, constantly supportive, endlessly encouraging families – the kind of families that they imagine would have given them a different life, had they but been born into such a one. That we, too, were not born into such a family opens up the possibility that perhaps there is no such perfect family, no perfect background. And brings home, again, the reality that we are all struggling with something.

And so we have decided we will be more honest about our own experiences. Choices we made that turned out well for us, and the ones that didn’t.

When we teach compassion practice, the step before compassion is empathy, and the step before that is affection. In order to develop affection, most of us need to perceive something in the other that is like ourselves, to be able to connect to some aspect of the other person.

But how often do we miss possibilities for connection, because we don’t see what is really there? How often do we fail to perceive what is left unsaid, and instead project an image onto the other person?

I am standing in front of another  watercolor by Cezanne, of a house in Provence, defined slightly by its roof line and mostly by the trees surrounding it.

We see nothing of what is inside that house, have no knowledge of joy nor sorrow, knowing only the way light falls upon the structure at a certain time of day. It is easy to project my own fantasies onto such a house, much harder to be present with the simplicity of what Cezanne has offered to me.

Last summer in Judith Lasater’s yoga training, she admonished us to “jump off a cliff” as often as we could. Daily, she recommended. Symbolically, of course, not literally.

What if we were to jump off a cliff by filling in the lacunae of our lives?

© 2015 Teresa I. Sivilli

Can anyone interpret this sign for us?

IMG_0311It was driving us a little nuts. These signs were posted on all of the bridges, and no one knew what they meant. Two sources confirmed that they are KFOR signs. (KFOR = NATO Kosovo Force, the peacekeeping troops in Kosovo.) Because it is a military sign, civilians do not actually know what it means. We considered (briefly) asking some KFOR troops about it, but decided to go for coffee instead, having become addicted to the ubiquitous one-euro macchiato.

Please also note the cows grazing by the side of the road.

KFOR has renamed many of the roads, not wanting to use either the Albanian or the Serbian names. Therefore, Kosovo now has roads named Lion, Dog, Cat, Bird, etc. The road signs are simply pictures. As in, black shapes on a yellow sign. I’m so sorry I didn’t get a photo of the sign for Mouse Road.

The interpretation of the bridge sign finally came from a friend stationed in another country: 

If trucks are using the bridge,: one 90-ton truck can cross, or two 30-ton trucks going in opposite directions. If tanks are using the bridge, one 70-ton truck can cross, or two 30-ton tanks going in opposite directions.

When tanks were using the bridge, I was always found in the closest coffee shop, drinking a macchiato.

I don’t know what the cows did.

© 2015 Teresa I. Sivilli 

 

 

Compassion and resilience: What does love have to do with it, anyway?

That was the question that seemed most puzzling to the hosts who were interviewing me and my colleague and friend Gaea Logan on a radio talk show. It was December 28, and we were talking about trauma, resilience and compassion.

“Who is going to want to listen to a conversation about trauma and compassion on the Sunday after Christmas?” I had asked a friend.

“Everyone who just spent the holidays with their family,” he replied.

I had to concede the point. I was spending the holidays on Kauai, and somehow hadn’t realized, when I agreed to the interview, that it would be four hours earlier in Hawaii than in Texas. So at 6 am that Sunday I was making pre-dawn coffee with the help of a headlamp on Anini Beach, and at 7 am I dialed in to the show, with my iPhone plugged into the car charger, watching the sun turn the Pacific Ocean slate, silver, then blue.

689 I work with people to build resilience through contemplative practices such as yoga and meditation, because – when practiced regularly – these techniques can build the physiological and mental flexibility that help protects against acute and chronic stressors.

One common misconception that I find about resilience, though, is that people think of it as a fixed state, an ideal to achieve. And if they have survived a traumatic experience, they believe that perfect state of existence lies in the past, before the trauma.

706Trauma changes us, and when the after-effects persist, a traumatic event can rob life of joy, light, spontaneity. Locked into states of reactivity or rigidity, we repeatedly recreate the past, unable to respond effectively or appropriately to our present circumstances.

Trauma isn’t the only thing that changes us: acute and chronic stress can do that, too. And being in love, and eating a great meal, and listening to music, and having wonderful friends. All of our experiences change us, all of the time. The world around us changes, our relationships change, our circumstances change, and we change. Some changes are abrupt and disruptive and we often interpret these as traumatic. Most change happens so slowly that it is imperceptible except over long stretches of time, so that we appear, to ourselves and those around us, to be much the same from day to day.

But we aren’t.

And our happiest days don’t have to be the ones behind us.

When sending a wedding gift, I often sign the card, “With my deepest hopes that this is not the happiest day of your life.” Most people are angry at that message until they think about it a while. If your wedding day is the happiest day of your life, what does that say about all the days to come? That you’ve already decided the whole marriage is downhill from here on out?

783So, if resilience doesn’t mean “bouncing back” to some pre-existing state, what it is? Tad Pace and I wrote about this in The Human Dimensions of Resilience. Resilience isn’t just one thing; it’s a cluster of qualities and traits that allows us to respond effectively to life’s challenges.  Some of them are confidence and optimism, emotional regulation, mental flexibility, effective problem-solving, strong social support, and the willingness to seek and accept help from others.

Much of the change and disruption we experience is outside of our control. We can only control and manage our response to change. So at the heart of what we do, when we work with people to build resilience, is to help them evolve their relationship to themselves and the world around them, to accept change, and to respond to it in an effective and flexible way. Change isn’t our enemy, but sometimes our reactions to it aren’t helpful.

703But how are love and compassion connected to this?

The traditional definition of compassion is that it is the wish to free others from suffering. And so compassion and love are two sides of the same coin, because love is the wish to see others be happy.

The way I think of compassion is this: being able to see this world and everything in it, honestly and unsparingly, and still to hold it, all of it, with love. In working with these practices, we reconnect to our interdependence with others, to generosity, affection, and empathy, as well as compassion. We come to a visceral understanding that we are truly the same, truly one, and that we are all in this together. And, eventually, we can come to look at life with a warm humor, and stop struggling so much.

There is great pain in the world, and much suffering, and also incredible beauty. 797And sometimes the most beautiful moments we experience come to us when we choose to shift our focus away from our own difficulties and allow ourselves to experience the love and connection with others that is always available to us. Opening our hearts allows a shift from a limited perspective on our own needs to a broader perspective that encompasses the well-being of others. And that shift frees us. From compassion springs true love, true well-being, and true resilience, because our open hearts are able to accept and transform the suffering of the world.

© 2015 Teresa I. Sivilli. All rights reserved.

Where undulating waves of sawgrass break hard against concrete pilings…

2014-10-12 13.41.12Last October, before departing on a trip to Rwanda for a CBR Project training with the Garrison Institute, I drove from Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale to spend a few days with my aunt and godmother. We would both celebrate birthdays while I was away. She would turn 95, and her heart valves are leaking enough that we know her life will end abruptly, and soon.

I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. She doesn’t need “things” and I wanted to do something significant with her. She answered that the best birthday present would be a visit to her friend Olga, now residing in an assisted living facility on the west coast of Florida north of Sarasota. They haven’t been able to visit for several years. She thought the trip would take about two hours; when Google maps told us that it would be 3.5, she didn’t want to go. I insisted.

And so we set out on a road trip early on Monday morning. I had just driven 12 hours on Saturday, and would drive another 12 on Tuesday.

She was so excited to get on the road that she forgot her hearing aids. I figured that out after a couple of blocks, when I realized that I was carrying on a one-sided conversation. We turn around, retrieve them, start again. I’m hoping I can get her to stop for breakfast on the way. Even coffee. Even McDonald’s would be welcome.

We head west on Alligator Alley. We remember the raw, wild Alligator Alley, where an unfortunate collision with a reptile was always possible, where flocks of egrets decorated the roadside trees, so that they looked like Christmas in those homes where people only put one color of ornaments on their tree. Florida tamed Alligator Alley, and there are no chance encounters with red eyes on the highway. The fencing prevents that. There are no egrets, either. Just four lanes of interstate slashing through the Everglades.

For this is the land where undulating waves of sawgrass break hard against the concrete pilings of a highway overpass, and the snowy down on an egret’s breast catches in the scaffolding of new condominiums. The detritus of the failed boom lies scattered over Florida; I find the landscape malevolent in its sterility.

At the west coast we turn north, catching glimpses of the Gulf along the way. Google Maps fascinates my aunt, who cannot believe that my phone has led us reliably to the front door of Olga’s assisted living facility. Olga is in a light green room, more like a hospital room than the apartment that my aunt is living in. But then, my aunt is mobile. Olga’s pelvis is fractured in a way that will not heal, and she doesn’t accept her doctors’ diagnosis, does not accept that she will never walk again.

Olga was moved to this facility  because it is close to her daughter’s home. Her daughter brings favorite foods, selects outfits, and comes every Sunday for the Catholic communion service. I do not know where Aunt Helen finds the strength to push the wheelchair, but they are suddenly gone, wanting time alone together.

May aunt does not like her own assisted living facility; she does not care for the food, nor to be surrounded only by old people. My mother felt the same way: she did not want to be separated from children and families, and lived in her own home until the week before she died. I know nothing of the food at Aunt Helen’s place, because we ate out. Every meal. Sunday morning brunch at IHOP in a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale? Seriously? OK. It was pretty much what I expected…huge families, pre-teens squabbling, food fights among the young ones, in at least three different languages. Aunt Helen thought it was wonderful. It was alive. It was the antithesis of what she sees every day.

And yet my aunt goes to great pains to point out all of the good qualities of Olga’s facility, the classes and activities that are available. The both commit to computer classes, so that they can email each other. Olga has isolated herself with her books and her wheelchair. My aunt would like to see a better attitude.

47 years of friendship. They met at work, and their husbands liked each other, so the two families soon started spending time together. So many happy memories: graduations, weddings, grandchildren. And then the losses: of husbands, parents, siblings, of health, mobility and independence. And now, learning together how to face this last chapter of life, and the last loss that soon will come to each of them.

Driving back to we are caught in a microburst. Traffic slows to a crawl, everyone running headlights and flashers, wipers useless, unable to move forward, afraid to stop. We are cocooned by the rain and wind. Aunt Helen says nothing until we are through it and accelerating. Then she turns toward me, both puzzled and appreciative, and says, “You’re a very good driver!”

She wants to go to the Keys next.

Atlanta, GA

January 2015

© 2015 Teresa I. Sivilli. All rights reserved.

Lost in Translation

IMG_0327This photo was taken in a shop window in Prishtina that I passed on the way from Mother Theresa Boulevard to my hotel. It quickly became my favorite t-shirt in Kosovo. The slogan had been translated from English to Albanian and back again. In case you’re having trouble making it out, it reads: “Don’t stop to consider an alternative way.”

Can you figure out what the original English was?

Think about it…

The original: “Go for it.”

 

What is the purpose of a sidewalk?

(Note: Over the years I have shared travel notes with a small group of friends. I will be publishing those reflections on this blog. You’ll see some older material mixed in with more recent trips.)

Driving in Kosovo

IMG_0337  IMG_0339

IMG_0338Please refer to these photos if you are unclear on the answer to the question above.

A sidewalk, of course, is where you put your car when you are finished driving it. Pedestrians share the streets with cars. 

I think this model could solve the parking problems in Atlanta. We have lots of sidewalks, and no one walks anywhere anyway. So why not park on sidewalks?

It’s especially useful to have a small car when parking on the sidewalk. I have only seen two Hummers here, and, oddly, one Corvette. Land Rovers and Toyota SUVs are popular with the UN and with NGOs. Those groups both like white cars. The European Union favors navy blue.  Lots of Peugots and Audis, and a fair number of Mercedes, but the far-and-away favorite is the VW Golf (what they sold as the Rabbit in the US).

The streets here are narrow, and with all of the cars parked on the sidewalks, with two of their wheels in the street, there often isn’t enough room for two cars to pass. If there aren’t cars on the sidewalks, people drive on them. I have, indeed, driven on sidewalks recently, mostly to avoid the craters — er, potholes — in the streets.

When pedestrians want to cross the street, they step off the curb and start crossing. You, as the driver, must not hit them. If you wish to turn, or change lanes, you just do it. And the other cars are somehow not supposed to hit you.  I am leaning to walk and to drive like the locals, and I don’t think any of these habits are going to serve me well when I get home.

I’ve actually only been scared on one road, going down a steep hill in a slick, muddy, rutted alleyway in the rain in the back seat of a car whose brakes I don’t really trust because of the sounds they make when stopping. 

Yesterday, coming back from Gjakova, we witnessed genuine gridlock at a major intersection on Bill Klinton Blvd., right near Bill’s photo and statue. The drivers were simply disregarding the traffic signals, and about 10 cars, going in all four directions, intermixed with pedestrians, got caught in the middle of the intersection and couldn’t move. And the driver behind me was honking at me, because I wouldn’t join the party, and instead waited for the intersection to clear.

Several of the major roads that link Prishtina with other cities are under construction. They don’t rip up one small part of a road, establish a detour, and work on that piece. They rip up about 10 miles of road, and you just have to drive on rutted, teeth-rattling dirt washboards — which become mud in the rain. We drove to Mitrovica today. In 10 miles of road construction, we saw one road crew. Two guys with shovels and one with a hammer, hammering rebar into the ground.

It’s not looking hopeful that the new highway will be finished in this decade. Or maybe even this lifetime.

The head of the transportation ministry has stolen 80 million euros (about $100 million or so) of money that was supposed to go towards improving the roads. He was a KLA hero (Kosovo Liberation Army) and therefore some people are incensed that he is being investigated. As a war hero, he should be above the law, right? EULEX (the European Union Rule of Law Mission) in Kosovo doesn’t believe that anyone is above the law. EULEX is unpopular with some segments of the population right now. The tranportation minister is unpopular with other segments, who think that perhaps the KLA was less about justice than about power, money and greed.

I’m thinking that $100 million could have funded a second crew on the road to Mitrovica.

Prishtina, Kosovo

May 2010

© 2015 Teresa I. Sivilli. All rights reserved.