Our first year on the scale
Like the old nostalgic ones, let's go through the most remarkable moments of BarBalkans. Thank you for keeping me company and for being here also on June 12, not just any day for me...
welcome back to BarBalkans, the Italian newsletter whose aim…
No. Today we will handle it differently.
Let’s start again.
Today I am a little excited to write you these words.
With the 50th episode, the first year of our newsletter ended. It took us along many roads in the Western Balkan countries. On foot, virtually. By stages, sitting on the sofa.
One year. Exactly one year.
Despite the fact that the very first (Italian) episode of BarBalkans is dated June 20, the genesis of this journey dates back to June 12, 2020.
It was like a birthday present. And considered the results - that means new findings and new knowledge - it was the best choice.
I will not dwell on how all this started.
But you can trust that it was based on randomness and nonsense. On friends who helped me to harness the first wild momentum in the best possible way. On huge projects still on target.
If it pleases you, we will talk about it over a beer. As soon as we will meet at any bar, this time for real.
However, I want to take stock. Or rather, I want to put the first year on the scale and go through the most remarkable moments with you.
But, first of all, there is one thing that I want to tell you.
It was a year of real fun, that got poured onto the weekly newsletter on the Western Balkans.
I hope you found them interesting, high-quality and useful. An effort to take an extra step in terms of quality.
The downside is that it was a year of real and undertaken work. Looking for sources, reading, studying, interviewing.
And then, translating - with the support of a very special person - to definitively upgrade to a bilingual newsletter (Italian/English).
A job well done is thirsting for many hours and energy, taken away from free-time. Because this is not a paid job.
It is fun, but it has a cost.
It is costly not to take your eyes off the scree, when the workday at Eunews newsroom ends and the work for BarBalkans begins.
It is costly to look constantly for new contacts and to schedule video calls. It is costly to subscribe to newspapers, to keep yourself updated.
It is also costly to plan a trip to the Balkans, telling you new stories from the ground. Equipment, accommodation and transport do have a cost.
For all these reasons, after this year spent together, I kindly ask you to consider the possibility of donating. Click on the image below for more information:
It is not for me to tell you if it is a lot or a little money. It is a subjective matter. But you can evaluate what 3 euros per month, or 15 euros in a whole year (or one-off amount of your choice) are worth for you.
We are in a time of crisis for the journalism business models. In order to find a solution, some of us are adopting a new kind of approach.
The readers pay only when and if they want. Just for the sake of letting the project exist. And then let’s see what happens!
But you already know that BarBalkans newsletter will be for free. Forever.
The only difference will be the gift you will receive: an article with a podcast, every second Wednesday of the month. A blast from the past, finding out what was happening - right in that month - during the dissolution of Yugoslavia 30 years ago.
It is a bit of extra work, another extra step in terms of quality.
That’s all. Regardless of what you will decide, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
(Well, just don’t tell me that I have not suggested you a perfect birthday present. Today, I’m 27!)
Here we go. The time has come to go through the good old days.
The first episodes were only in Italian. But I promise that I will translate all of them into English, with time.
We have to start from where it all began: Calcio, aquile e vendette. L’orgoglio del Kosovo nel cuore delle Alpi. It was the 1st episode, maybe a little bit immature, but the idea of BarBalkans was already very clear.
With the 3rd episode, In Croazia l’Europa ha un problema con #BlackLivesMatter, the real work probably began, on issues that I personally care about.
We found again the topic of the Balkan route and the responsibilities of the European Union towards migrants in Dear migrants, noi avremmo un Patto (special guest, Chiara Catelli) and in One and many Lipa. The shame of Europe (with MEP Pierfrancesco Majorino).
Then, we made other comprehensive reasonings.
Or even on COVID-19. The initial framework on the second wave in Generale Coronavirus, the geopolitical challenge in The vaccine battle for Middle-earth and some advices on how to spend the lockdown in Culture from your couch.
But the most loved episode was the 8th, L’ottava contro le mafie (with Carmela Racioppi). Because of the issue I am tied to, because it was the very first interview published on BarBalkans and because from that moment on a presence has watched over our every step (death is not the end, brother).
Death is not the end, as the disappearance of Đorđe Balašević, the Yugoslavia’s Bob Dylan, reminded us. We bid farewell to him through the verses of the American legendary songwriter.
We came back several times on the issue of mafia and anti-mafia: with Buon compleanno, Daphne to remember the latest investigation by the murdered Maltese journalist, In Memory of an innocent Mafia victim to remember Albanese Hyso Telharaj and The last criminal trades.
In the 17th episode, L’arte (marcia) del potere, we took an overview on politics in Albania (with Nicola Pedrazzi, journalist for Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso).
And this, just before taking a path that probably changed everything: the two trilogies on Sarajevo.
As we were saying, with the two trilogies on Sarajevo this newsletter became bilingual.
The first trilogy, Miss you Sarajevo, let us discover the behind the scenes of Miss Sarajevo, the masterpiece by the U2 and Luciano Pavarotti.
In the 1st episode, my friend and architect Enrico Sciannameo explained us the concept of urbicide. In the 2nd episode we had the honor of listening to the story of Bill Carter, the director who made possible the birth of the song in 1993. In the 3rd episode, the tourist guide Nenad Novaković told us about the humanitarian aids to the besieged capital city of Bosnia.
The second trilogy, Inspire like a girl, was an insight into the stories of women who are renewing the image of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the 1st episode Džana Bašić and Rialda Spahić shared their experience in the IT field. In the 2nd episode, Erna Šoševic explained how being a businesswoman can help the development of other companies. In the 3rd episode Nina Dumrukcic told us the story of the organization of the iconic Sarajevo Film Festival.
We celebrated the first day of 2021 with the founder of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, in New Year’s Eve at Tito. Or rather, through the historical archive of the Museum of Yugoslavia in Belgrade.
And then, 2021 has really been Where it all begins (aka. The pilot episode). I am referring to the project of monthly articles with podcasts to found out the events that led to the dissolution of Yugoslavia.
A project that is ongoing (for a long time, it seems for 10 years, exactly...). So, I invite you to join this experience, if you want.
The newsletter continued to dish out the most disparate topics, every week.
Touching all the Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia.
I do not want to get you bored, so here is the link to find out all the episodes in the archive!
Yes, this is the very end of BarBalkans’ first year.
Thanks again: for your patience, your time, your curiosity, your trust.
As once I told you, “you bring the subscription, I will bring all the rest: the stories, the beard and some alcoholic and non-alcoholic treats”.
We can say that we have kept mutual promises!
If you want to make this experience grow, you can invite whoever you want to subscribe to the newsletter:
And now, let’s continue our journey.
See you in a few weeks, with the beginning of a new year together.
Be ready. Your mail box will tell you when we will start moving again...
A big hug and have a good journey!