student and survivor of the war and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, Flamur Vehapi, will
discuss the rise of nationalism in the Balkans, its effects on the society and
how it led to the fall of Yugoslavia in the 90s. Flamur will also read from his
book, The Alchemy of the Mind. The
free program will take place in the SOU Hannon Library Meese Meeting Room
(LIB305) on Thursday, Feb 7 at 4 p.m. A
book signing will follow the event.
During this presentation Flamur will attempt to expose a phenomenon that tore
his society apart and finally led the nations of former Yugoslavia to great
bloodshed. Furthermore, the structure of conflict-prone nationalism in its
recurrent and widespread appearance will be examined and assessed in terms of
its historical roots, evolution, and socio-political consequences. The focus of
the talk will be the examination of how it nationalism configures identity,
historiography, nationhood, democracy, and human values, above all.
Vehapi’s newest book, The
Alchemy of Mind, was inspired
by Rumi and other poets and philosophers, as well as his experiences during war
in Kosovo during 1998 and 1999 which forced Vehapi and his family from their
country. The insights of these sixty
poems are laced with irony and Vehapi’s understanding
of our common humanity. Despite the irony, the message of the book is one of peace
and unity. This is Vehapi’s second book; while
still in Albania, he published a book of his poems, written in Albanian, that
include drawings of his destroyed home and other wartime scenes.
Flamur Vehapi was born in Kosova where he studied until the Serbian regime closed
the schools for the Kosovar Albanians. Flamur
Vehapi was 15 years old when Kosovo erupted into ethnic warfare that pitted
Serbians against Kosovar Albanians. Seeking shelter from the persecution and the daily massacres organized by military
rule of Slobodan Milošević, the family’s
exile took them to refugee camps in Macedonia, Italy and Switzerland. Along the
way Vehapi studied other languages. He’s proficient in several languages. After the war, he returned home and continued his education
there. In 2005 he came to America to attend Rogue Community College and served
as a student senator. Now, as a psychology major at Southern Oregon University,
he is a student ambassador for Kosova and a public speaker, sharing his story
and the history of his country in schools and organizations in Southern Oregon.
Vehapi is currently working on a third book, this one about his life
The public is invited to this free lecture at 4 p.m. on
Thursday, February 7 in the Meese Meeting Room (305) at Hannon Library. Copies
of the book will be available for purchase and signing after the lecture. For
further information, call 552-6816.