Mihane Salihu – Bala

Pristina | Date: March 9, 2018 | Duration: 130 minutes

My family is a mixed family. My dad died Muslim and because he fasted during Ramadan he was unlisted from the party. Whilst my mom is an Albanian Jew. In our family we were brought up with all traditional religions. Most of us, kids, are baptized. So we are an interesting mix, I would say, of different cultures. Because in the end religion is something you do just for yourself and not for others. […] To grow up in an environment where your cousins have different religious belonging, and you have the possibility to make a different choice that is… It wasn’t well received at the time. […] I remember when we had different holidays, especially Eid Mubarak, the entire neighborhood made baklava, my mom also made baklava. Other holidays came, my mom prepared a more special food, but she was subtle, so it was interesting. What I remember are September’s feasts, the feast of baking bread and cooking wheat and grape and all that. That’s when it started getting interesting, ‘Ah the grandparents are coming…’ and it was interesting. It was later that we understood it was a different tradition.

Aurela Kadriu (interviewer), Donjetë Berisha (Camera)

Mihane Nartilë Salihu Bala was born on April 20, 1973 in Pristina. As a student, she was a lead member of the Independent Student Union of the University of Pristina. During 2000-2006, she was part of the Balkan students’ international study visit in the Republic of South Africa, where she worked with different civil society groups; she continued her studies at the Humanities Academy in Lillehammer, Norway,  and worked as a trainer in the field of dialogue. Bala earned her Master’s degree from the Sociology Department at the University of Pristina. Today, she is married and lives with her family in Pristina.