As the Balkans heat up in the temperature sense they've cooled down in the violence sense. Yesterday was record high of 38C/100F for May here... yet it was also the same day the UN reported the Balkan cool-down and that it's one of the safest places in Europe.
No surprise here. I've long felt safer here than I ever did in the US, though my friends have had a hard time believing me because, you know, it IS the Balkans after all.
Well, here's some of my personal examples of why I feel safer here than in the US:
- Here I can walk home from a friend's place after midnight in the city without any fear, perfectly safe...
- Here you'll find families walking in the city square well after midnight in the summer, sharing conversation and ice-cream, enjoying the brevity of the coolest part of the day.
- Here I could walk the river trail or through the city park alone without fear of what may be lurking behind bushes.
- Here I can stand on a downtown city street at 4am with my luggage waiting for my ride to the airport and be perfectly safe
- Here when you turn on the news you'll find lots of politics, weather and international news... but rarely any local street crimes.
- Here you don't hear of car-jackings, muggings, rapes, murders or other violent crimes (the ones you do hear of are few and far between)
- Here you're more likely to get attacked by a stray dog than another person (and believe it or not it's rare... the dogs here are mostly sweet... simply give a kind word or slight attention and even the oldest crustiest stray turns into a puppy with demuring demeanor and wagging tail.)
So, all that to say that it doesn't surprise me that the Balkans is now considered one of the safest places in Europe according to the UN. Thank you for your continued prayers for this special area of the world.