Saturday, September 19, 2009

To be Gay in Serbia: Kind of like to be Albanian (or Roma, or Hungarian, or....) in Serbia

Hi folks! Well, it's been quite a while since I've posted anything-not since the end of April, to be exact, so I guess that makes 4 and a half months now. Unfortunately, I can't say this post will mark the beginning of regular postings again, either. I am right now probably busier than I've been any time in the last year and a half, and probably will continue to be "that busy" for at least the next 2 months, if not longer. However, while the blog may still be on "indefinite hiatus", rest assured that I have no intention of giving it up! My goal is that, once my current responsibilities I'm taking care of have finished, I will be able to bring the blog back, bigger and better than ever. But that's a ways off, and for right now, "good intentions" are about all I can promise. With a little luck and a little time, hopefully they will become realities. most of you know, the Serbian National(Social)ists and their buddies out there just loooove to demonise Albanians (and usually Croats and Bosniaks, too), often painting Serbs-by inference and/or direct claim-to be everything their "enemies" aren't: Kindly, civilised, Godly, tolerant to a fault, unprejudiced, non-violent (except when absolutely necessary-wink wink!), etc., etc. A real "Royal Race of Saints", as it were. Of course, like all "Haters", they whitewash or ignore completely that their own lot are often at least as bad if not even worse than those they hate on (and that's not even taking into account the fact that often a lot of their calumnies against those they hate are often exaggerations/disproportionate representations of bad things people do not only in their culture, but in most other cultures to begin with).

A good case in point, as often happens, can be found in the "blog" of our ol' "buddy" Julia Whor...., er Gorin. Back in 2007, she made a couple of posts "exposing" what a rampant bunch of homophobes Kosovar Albanians supposedly are (the old "One Bad Apple IS The Whole Bunch" ploy, a favorite of "Haters" everywhere). Now, I won't deny that Albanian society, like A LOT of societies the world around, still has a long way to go with the "modern" issue of how it deals with the gay members of it's society. But as for the idea that Serbs-even the relatively "cosmopolitan" denizens of Belgrade-are conversely somehow or another wonderfully enlightened and non-homophobic (and even La Julia herself has been known to post an essay or two showing herself to not exactly be the most "gay-friendly" of folks out there)? Wellll....I'll let this article speak for itself:

Serbian gay parade is called off

'We're waiting for you' poster in Belgrade
Belgrade is full of posters telling participants: "We're expecting you"

A Gay Pride march in Serbia has been called off after police told organisers they could not guarantee its safety.

One of the organisers said Serbia's prime minister had urged them to switch Sunday's rally from central Belgrade, but the proposal was "unacceptable".

President Boris Tadic vowed on Friday to protect the participants.

Anti-gay groups had threatened violence if the march were allowed to go ahead. "We're expecting you" posters had been stuck around the Serbian capital.

"Pride parades are traditionally organised in the main streets of big cities," said one of the organisers, Dragana Vuckovic.

It is "unacceptable" to stage the parade in a "field", she told the media.

The Republic of Serbia has capitulated. We have not
Gay Pride organising committee

The decision had been taken after a meeting on Saturday with Prime Minister Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic.

Nationalist and religious leaders have opposed a Serbian bill banning discrimination against homosexuals.

The ultra-nationalist Serb Popular Movement 1389 hailed the cancellation of Sunday's march as "a great victory for normal Serbia".

"In our city infidels and Satanists will not pass," it added.

Homosexuality in Serbia is still far from accepted, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Belgrade.

The gay scene is underground and members of the community are regularly the target of discrimination.

Belgrade's first gay parade in 2001 descended into chaos amid widespread violence by mobs of protesters - with television images of bleeding participants and police firing rubber bullets broadcast around the world.

The organising committee of the planned Sunday march will certainly keep up the pressure, says our correspondent.

"The state has failed the fundamental test," it says in a statement. "The next exam period is approaching fast. The Republic of Serbia has capitulated. We have not."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Still here!

Yes, friends, despite appearances to the contrary, I'm still here, and as time permits, still trying to keep at least something of an eye on the "haters". Unfortunately, an insanely crazy schedule ever since Dec. 2007 shows no signs of abating, or at least not for about another year or so. Which means that also unfortunately, a lot of the "great ideas and good intentions" I have will have to remain largely that: ideas and intentions, at least for the time being. Simply put, I'm just about stretched to the limit. And as I have no regular contributors, unlike a lot of blogs, to help me out, I really can't make any promises, at least on the short term, for anything I might do on or with the blog. Well, other than this-that I will absolutely NOT either quit the blog, or put it on hiatus. The work I set out to do when I started this blog (and that'll be two years coming up at the end of July-that's just 3 months away!) is still there, and will probably always be there. And as long as it's there, I'm going to keep doing it. I have to.

Just a few short notes....

One, I'm well aware that the article I posted in the March 4 entry didn't reproduce right. I will try to correct this as soon as I can find another source for the same article.

Two, despite a world in economic crisis, Kosova appears to be growing in economic stability with every passing month. Most major countries of the western world recognise her (many right from the get go), and the total list of countries that recognise her seems to be growing with each month.

Three (and lucky for me!), the "Haters" seem to be running out of steam, at least somewhat. A lot of their posts these days are rehashes of the same old libels against the Albanian people, not just Kosova Albanians, and using the same old tired tactics that smart people either have caught on to already, or are catching on to. But one thing seems clear-they seem to be slowly accepting (even if they won't admit it) that Kosova will not be some sort of "Balkan Biafra". It's not about to be reabsorbed into Serbia-now or ever. It is here to stay, regardless of whether one likes it or not.

So that's it for now. As I've said in the past, I fully plan on continuing with the blog, and with the video version of it I started doing last fall. Just a matter of things in my life losening up enough for me to do them the way I want to do them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Paving the way: A Kosovo hero's path from rebel to road-builder

PRISTINA, KOSOVO - There aren't many places in Europe where a minister of transport is a national hero whose name is sung in folk songs.

But Kosovo is not an ordinary place. The country, a year old last month, is where Fatmir Limaj is succeeding at a job everyone else here has failed at: building roads.

Mr. Limaj is in many ways a Kosovo story. In 1998, he took up the gun as a rebel leader, won the first real Kosovo Liberation Army battle against Serbs, and became known as "Commander Steel." He was arrested and later acquitted at The Hague for war crimes. Today, he wears dark suits and patent leather shoes, and cuts ribbons – and deals – over fresh concrete and macadam.

In 2007, when Limaj became transport minister, only five miles of four-lane highway existed in Kosovo. Last year, he built eight miles, instituted 24-hour work sites, and is now overseeing the construction of eight additional miles of four-lane roadway.

Kosovars love it. Limaj views the transport ministry almost as a personal ministry, a calling to build a country. He's read Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope," and seems to offer a "Yes, we can" message to cynical Kosovars weary of unmet promises and muddy roads. With rebel credentials in the majority-Albanian society, Limaj has knocked heads, found consensus with contractors, and mobilized a workforce. He regularly drops in on sites at midnight or later. Last year, a TV crew filmed him directing work at 3 a.m., showing the country that change was indeed under way.

"I'm restless by nature, just ask my wife," he says. "Building a country was a dream of my generation. Now, I'm living that dream, but there's a lot to do.

"Our people are hard workers, but they need a good manager to channel their energy."

Upgrading donkey paths to modern highways

An executive from a Western nongovernmental organization, who has lived in Kosovo for several years, describes Limaj as "one of the good ones.... His methods aren't typical, but they are practical, and probably what Kosovo needs right now."

Roads in this agricultural society have been so haphazard and poor that travelers from northern Europe routinely got lost, even in recent years. A 21st-century road infrastructure means development. Yet a decade after NATO intervened, and despite a highway budget, little was done. Village roads remained primitive, unpaved, and a nightmare in winter. The main "highway" from the airport to Pristina was two-laned, donkey-laden, and potholed.

Yet last year, Limaj's ministry paved or repaved nearly 500 miles of highway – adopting a strategy of connecting villages with one another and with key arteries.

"It was so much road that we all started to wonder why it hadn't happened before," says Artan Mustafa, political editor at the Express newspaper. "Obviously, one reason is because Limaj has power. No one can say to [Commander Steel] that the road won't go through here or there. He tells you, you don't tell him."

Speaking in his office near the new parliament building, Limaj explains his passion for his homeland. "I feel that 24 hours a day. It was a dream of my youth, to have a free country," he says. "If you asked me 10 years ago, I would have said that freedom was impossible. But God gave us the opportunity."

Fall of Wall a test of patience

Limaj's own story began when he was a student leader in the early 1990s. The Berlin Wall had fallen, but Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic had revoked Kosovo's special status in Yugoslavia. The Albanian, 90 percent of the population, lived a second-class existence under brutal police-state repression – checkpoints, arbitrary killing, torture – as Serbs revived a deeply felt national myth of Kosovo as their spiritual heartland, something disallowed under Yugoslavia's longtime leader, Marshal Tito.

"The rest of Europe was moving in ways unimaginable to us," he says. "The spirit of East Europe was everywhere. People in Europe were breathing easier. But for us, the opposite was happening. Europe was moving forward, and we were moving backward."

Public debate wasn't allowed in the new Kosovo and students rebelled. "We wanted our voices heard in federal Yugoslavia," Limaj recalls. "We wanted to warn the center how dangerous the program of Milosevic was, to stop this crackdown."

For a decade, Limaj and Kosovo waited as the political and spiritual leader of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, reacted to Serbian tactics with a Gandhian strategy of patience and nonviolence.

A tipping point for Kosovars arrived with the US-led Dayton peace deal on Bosnia.

"After Dayton, all our hopes and dreams fell," Limaj says. "That Milosevic could kill with impunity for years, then present himself as a man of peace ... this was totally depressing for us. There was no hope. We saw what he was doing here. It's true, if a normal person has choices, he would never choose war. But it was either leave Kosovo, or organize ourselves to resist."

Limaj faced justice and earned respect

The former commander plays down his KLA hero status. But Limaj was the first to switch KLA tactics – characterized by guerrilla skirmishes in villages and hiding in the hills – by confronting Serb forces in the open. His units eventually held two main highways and sheltered 85,000 people, a hospital, and a radio station.

Last week, the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal at The Hague offered its first verdict on the Kosovo war. Four Serb generals were found guilty of using systematic force against civilians. But the tribunal acquitted then Yugoslav President Milan Milutinovic, citing Milosevic as mainly responsible: "In practice, it was Milosevic, sometimes termed the 'Supreme Commander,' who exercised actual command authority … during the NATO campaign," stated chief judge Iain Bonomy.

Milosevic died in his cell at The Hague in 2006, during his defense against genocide charges in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Limaj's time at The Hague remains a sensitive one. He was arrested for crimes while serving as KLA commander of the Llapushnik region. He denied guilt, but agreed to face charges. "As much as I didn't agree with the accusation, I felt it was our responsibility to respond," Limaj says. "So I said I would go to The Hague, and was sure justice would prevail."

It was a lonely, worrisome time for Limaj. When he was released in 2005, he bitterly criticized Kosovo authorities for a lack of logistical legal support that he felt would have shortened his trial. "I was not going to be a man afraid of justice. But in a situation like that, you have a million thoughts running through your mind."

When Limaj returned, thousands of Kosovars made a pilgrimage to his home. Two attempts to run for mayor of Pristina failed. But Prime Minister Hashim Thachi gave him the transport ministry, which he relishes.

What Limaj took from Obama's "Audacity of Hope" was the new president's community organizing in Chicago. "He went house to house to understand the people, their hopes and dreams, so by the time he ran for president could speak to everybody."

That will be a task in Kosovo, still divided between Albanian and Serb. "Kosovo's intentions are humane… we don't want to harm or do damage to others… but allow everyone live together in a new state."

Limaj's biggest test may be ahead. Having won hearts as a man who gets things done, and whose name has been added to a centuries-old Albanian heroic folk song – he must now finish the airport road, as well as a new road to Skopje, and navigate construction difficulties. "He's won the initial battle, but now is the real test," says a UN official.

Mr. Mustafa, the editor, adds that "Everybody loves Limaj, but I also long for the day when an ordinary civil servant can give an order, and it is followed."

Original, by Robert Marquand, can be found at

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


              GËZUAR PAMVARSISË!

(For those who don't speak/read Albanian, the words under the stylised illo of Commandante Adem Jashari mean more or less "Uncle, it's done!", and "Happy Independence")

And lest we be accused of not being gracious towards the "opposition", we also wish them a Happy Kosovar Independence Day too....  ;-)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Still alive and kickin'! Upcoming projects, and a little bit on "Blago"

Hi folks! Just a short post to let you know that yes, I'm still here, and yes, the blog is still going, albeit it's been in sort of a "hibernation" mode the past year or so. Unfortunately, my life's situation hasn't changed, so working on the blog has had to become sort of a "lesser" priority for me over the past 13 months or so, much as I'd like it to be different. That'll change eventually, but not for some time to come. But I have no intention of "letting it go" or "giving it up". Even though the "haters" have somewhat cut back their attention on Albania, Kosova, and the Albanian people in general (mainly because most of them seem to be of a right-of-center political persuasion, and hence seem to be a little more occupied with the political situation here at home right now....), they haven't given up, and they probably never will. So there still needs to be a voice calling them out on their crap.

One thing I will mention, though, is that I'm working right now, as time permits, on a definitive series where I profile the methods of the "haters" to sway the opinion of those who are not informed or are " on the fence" on the subjects of Albania, Kosova, and the Albanian people. Because they do have an identifiable, systematic methodology for trying to sway people over to their side and their way of thinking, and I think if one is aware of it, and of the false paradigms that its based on, one can do a lot better job of refining one's "BS" filters when one sees an example of it, and can better let others who might be swayed know it for what it really is.

Lastly, a few words on the Blagojevich scandal here in the US. It's interesting to me that if you look at Albanian-related web boards and blogs, you find little about this. To be honest, most Albanians I know just didn't-and don't-care about it. Now I can guarantee you that if the Illinois governor had been of Albanian descent, the Serbian National(social)ist blogs and web boards, not to mention folks like La Julia, Svetlana, Mary Monster, etc. would've been all over it like the proverbial "white on rice", saying how it proves that all Albanians are liars, crooks, etc. As for myself, I don't think ol' "Blago" did what he did because his parents came from Serbia. American history (and sadly Illinois history-and I say "sadly" because I'm an IL native) is replete with such malfeasance. Race or ethnicity I believe has nothing to do with such things. But I do think that maybe his whole attitude when he got caught (not to mention when he was doing the naughty things he got caught for) is a product of his being raised around a Serbian National(social)ist cultural milleu (his dad was a former Chetnik, among other things). Just take a look at all the whacko claims he made in his defense, claims that others were out to "get him" for this, that, and the other thing, the bizzare statements about calling the Clintons and WI governor Jim Doyle to testify on his behalf, proposing Oprah to be the next IL senator, etc., then compare them to similar "tin foil hat" statements made by Slobo, Seslj, Karadzic and others in the Hague, and it doesn't take a whole lot of straining the eyes to see the similarities. Frankly, not even during Watergate did I see people (including Tricky Dick) make quite such outlandish claims in an attempt to deflect guilt (OK, some of Nixon's statements did come pretty close, I'll grant). And that's all I have to say on the matter other than, for pete's sake Illinois, this time try and pick someone who's actually HONEST, hard as that may be to do!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Just want to take a moment to wish all our readers and visitors of the Christian faith a very Merry Christmas! This year has certainly fit the description of "interesting times", both in a good sense (the independence of Kosova!), and a not-so-good one (a damn near planet-wide economic meltdown). Hopefully 2009 will be a year more filled with good things than with bad ones, for all of us. (And hopefully my life will settle down enough to allow me to post a bit more often in 2009 as well!) To close out this post, here's a video of the Gjilan Primary School Music Choir with a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night" in both English and Albanian. Enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2008


Gezuar Diten e Flamurit-Happy Albanian Independence Day, everyone! The Diten e Pavarsise (Day of Independence) is always a special day for Albanians and friends of the Albanian people everywhere, but this year it is even more special because of the liberation this past year of the Albanian people of Kosova from the terror and uncertainty they suffered with for nearly a century. Along with my "vellezer" (brothers) and "motra" (sisters) in the community, I say "Rrofte Shqiperia e lire! Rrofte 28 Nentori!" (Long live free Albania! Long live the 28th of November!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Introducing "The Albanian Reality Check VIDEO Blog"!

Presented here for your viewing pleasure (?) is my first attempt at a video version of the blog.  I plan on doing from time to time video entries to this blog in addition to the standard written ones.  This is actually something I've had in mind for some time, but just had never gotten around to doing until now.  So take a look (I admit it's a bit "raw", but I'm sure that my "camera presence" will improve with time. :) ), and let me know what you think, folks!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

And while we're on the subject of never forgetting....

....let us never forget who our REAL friends were on that "day of infamy"....and who they weren't.

(For those who don't speak Serbian, the translation to the wonderful words of this little "song of love" can be found HERE.)

And last but not least, let us recall the wonderful words of our ol' "buddy", Julia Gorin....

despite betrayal after betrayal by the U.S., most Serbs haven't turned to America-hating, but rather maintain an understanding that America is overall a force for good in the world. That's worth a lot more than good will that's bought"

Yep Julie baby, we can sure feel that luuuuuuv....


9/11/01-9/11/08 We will NEVER forget.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Michael J. Totten: Warrior for "The Real Truth"!

Recently during this incredibly busy summer I've been having, I came across the writings of a blogger who's been around for quite a while evidently, but who I'd never heard of before: Michael J. Totten. Totten mostly blogs on Middle-Eastern issues, and to a lesser extent Muslim ones, but he's also as of late devoted several blog postings to the matter of Kosova, defending Kosovar Albanians (and to a lesser degree Albanians in general) against the scurrolus charges leveled unceasingly against them by all the "Haters". In doing so, he's managed to stir up quite a furor, including a post by our ol' "buddy" La Julia on her blog slamming him (naturally), and a huge "comment war" over on Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs blog (Charles is one of the few hard-core conservatives who've come out on the side of Kosova and the Albanian people).

Totten is, if nothing else, an excellent writer; a man who is articulate, checks out his stories and sources pretty thouroughly from what I can see, and avoids the spin, rhetoric, and deception that so marks the "Haters" and all their propaganda. Here below I'm posting links to a couple of pieces of his that I consider "must reads". There are others, and I will post them in the near future (these are quite lengthy pieces, though they're also easy, engaging reads as well, so they should be enough for everyone to "chew" on until I get back to town in a couple of days....) But for now....

Friday, August 29, 2008

The other side of the Ottawa Greek Festival story....

Some of you readers might remember back last October when I did a post about a smear piece (aren't they all?) our "buddy" Julia Gorin did about an incident that took place at the Ottawa, CA Greek Festival a year ago this month, where alegedly some Albanians attended the event, bringing their flag with them to evidently provoke all the Greeks and Serbs in attendance, then supposedly one of the Albanians stabbed one of the Serbians there. Julia's point, as she made clear at the end of the piece, was to show just what a bunch of "beasts" the Albanian people as a people, as a "race", are, and how this is the kind of behavior that we can expect from any and all of them as a matter of course. Now of course, she didn't seem to mind that most of the information came from a source that was either anonymous, or who she chose not to reveal the identity of (not even a psuedonym!), or that it's not even clear from the e-mail he sent her whether he actually witnessed the events or just heard about them second hand; no, all that mattered to La Julia was that he was evidently a Serb (and we all know that all Serbs are by nature incapable of lying, right?), and that was good enough for her.

Well, recently I received a comment on that deconstruction and "retranslation" I did of Gorin's post on that whole matter. And like La Julia's informant, this person posted it anonymously. And I'm going to repost it here. Why, you may ask, am I doing so, esp. when the person is also "anonymous"? Simply this: Because this person is the first person so far I've seen anywhere who's offered up to anyone "the other side of the story", anonymous or no. Now, I can't speak for the veracity of the person who sent it to me, since I have no idea who they are/were. And I can't speak to the accuracy of what they've told me, since I wasn't there. But they seem to have details that scope with what the mainstream news sources that reported the incident had to say about it, details that La Julia's informant either left out or felt the "MSM" had neglected to report. And their being anonymous makes them, in my eyes, not one iota less credible than her source, since that one is also anonymous. So here, without further ado, in the words of that famous Faux News slogan, "I report; you decide"

I was at that exact same festival in Ottawa Canada, when the incident occured. The Albanian flag was present on some guy;s shoulders but he did not wear to provoke Greeks because the guy had a Greek girlfirend and why would he possibly wear it to provoke Serbs at a GREEK festival?

The fact that Serbian people had a problem with an Albanian flag is in itself a problem. I have seen many different kinds f flags wheather on shirts, cars, stickers, etc.. at the Greek fest many times and no one attacked them. But as soon as someone wears an Albanian flag Serbians feel the need to come over and yell, yes yell "Ubi Shqiptari" which means "Kill Albanians" and expect them to remain silent while they are being brutually dehumanized just like they would be if they were in Serbia. So the stabbing might have not been necessary but what was less necessery is the fact that 100 Serbians would attack 5 Albanians at a community Greek Festival in Ottawa Canada.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More evidence that those damn Kosovar Albanians want a completely monoethnic state! Oops....

La Julia and her buddies like to claim that Albanians, unlike their "Godly, Christian, open-minded, and tolerant" Serb neighbors, want a super-state in the Balkans that consists only of Albanians. I guess that's why Kosova is letting Chinese, Bulgarians, and others migrate there and open honest, legitimate business, right? Riiiiigggghhhhhttttt.....

(Article from

Chinese and other immigrants call Kosovo home Print
Monday, 21 July 2008
ImageIn one of the neighborhoods of Prishtina, Kosovo, among many other discount stores, there is the store of the Chinese immigrant Lili.
The uniqueness of her discount store is found within the colorfully painted ornaments of mythic Chinese dragons, hanging high all over the store's ceiling, purposely to draw the attention of the customers. Lili, the saleswoman at the store, is only 20 years old. Born in China, she has been living in Prishtina with her family for the last five years.

"I live in Kosova with my family. I like living among Kosovar people; they are peaceful, energetic and tolerant. My legal temporary immigration papers issued by the Kosova authorities give me permission to live and work here,” says Lili speaking in broken Albanian language with a heavy Chinese accent.

To retain her legal temporary employment and residence in Kosovo, Lili explains how she has been continuously in contact with the authorities. She also has a temporary residential card with the work permit.
Because she loves living in Kosovo, Lili plans to apply for Kosovo permanent residency.

The capital of Kosovo is not her first residence since she moved out of China. After many clandestine traveling around Asia and Eastern Europe looking for a better life, her family had finally decided to settle down in Kosovo.

After 1999, Prishtina's shopping centers expanded. Today, among many established business stores run by immigrants, Chinese and Indian shopkeepers are notably the largest. Incidentally, many citizens of Prishtina have already dubbed a section of the city as the future 'Chinatown'.

It is not only Lili's family that has chosen Kosovo as their new home. In the recent years and months, Kosovo has become a new residence for immigrants from many countries.

The recent statistics on immigration, published by the Department of Migration and Foreign Resident Services, shows that during 2007, the largest numbers of immigrants were Turks, Chinese, Bulgarians and Indians.

Legal procedures to enter the Republic of Kosovo are very simple. There is no specific immigration law yet, so a visa is not required. The only requirements are a valid passport and a sponsor who is a citizen of the Republic of Kosovo and can guarantee the residential accommodation along with employment.

Refki Morina, the director of the Department of Migration and Foreign Resident Services, says that "until now the department would issue only a 90-day temporary residence stamp on a required valid passport. Fifteen days before expiration of the temporary residence stamp, foreigners were required to apply for a temporary immigration residential card, explaining the reasons why they want to reside in Kosovo. If temporary immigrants do not respond within 90 days, fines, jail and deportation come into effect and losing the permission to enter Kosovo for a minimum of 3 years to permanently, depending on the case."

The new immigration bill which with follow European Union guidelines, was introduced by the government and is expected to be voted soon by the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo. The Immigration Law will allow foreign residents who have lived for over 5 years in the Republic of Kosovo to apply for permanent resident status. Procedures included in such applications are fingerprints, an interview and the background check.

For citizens of certain countries, to enter the Republic of Kosovo the law will require a visa, issued by the proper embassy.

Fisnik Rexhepi, adviser to the Minister of Interior Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, says: "The issue of visas to enter Kosovo will be regulated under a law which will determine whether the citizens of that country will need a visa. Once the law comes into effect, we will inform the respective authorities of all countries."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oh no he din't!

One of the great things about hubris is that it causes people to openly say stupid things that expose themselves and their real intent to the whole world without even realising it. In this case, the hubris of a Serbian National(social)ist YouTuber who goes by the handle of "Terminator00000" causes him to post a video that he titles "albanian speaking the truth". The video is a short clip of Albanian-American activist Florin Krasniqi from the documentary "The Brooklyn Connection". In it, he expresses in rhetorical terms the attitude of Serbian National(social)ists towards the Albanians as a people. Of course, ol' "Terminator" posts it as an "albanian speaking the truth", hence making it clear that he feels that Krasniqi is being truthful about Serbian National(social)ists, their acts, and their attitudes towards Albanians. Now, since most Serb National(social)ists and their allies (like La Julia and her ilk) seem to want to roundly deny that they've ever done or said anything "racist" towards Albanians, this wonderful bit of hubris brings the truth out in the open, and also this guy winds up shooting his own cause in the foot. To see the video in context of "Terminator's" own page, go to

Here itself is the video clip:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us!

I don't want to toot our horn too much, but I just thought I would mention briefly that it was 1 year ago today, July 22, that I decided after long complaining about how no one out there was trying in any real way to combat the lies of the Julia Gorins, the Mary Mosterts, the Jared Israels, the Carl Saviches, etc., against the Albanian people, that I would finally put my "money where my mouth is" and start a blog dedicated to combating those lies and "setting the record straight". (In quick point of fact, I did try to start a blog a couple of years before that, but gave up on it after a short while due to my inexperience in the blogosphere, and also due to the fact that there were very few blogs or bloggers out there in the Albanian community with whom to network with either.)

Sooooooo....1 year, 100 plus posts, and more than 10,000 unique hits later, I'm still here, still kickin' away at the lies and the liars (with a little help from a few friends who've been kind enough to send me some great articles from time to time.... :-) ), and plan on being so for as long as there continue to be Haters out there who feel that they've been called to pick on the Albanian people; a "little" people, but a people with a great heart, great soul, and great history. A people who, contrary to the assertions of those who hate them, aren't out for world conquest, or even conquest of the Balkans, but who simply for the most part want to be left alone, in peace, to live their lives out the way they wish to. A people who don't claim to be perfect, and for the most part are more than aware of the bad apples in their midst when they pop up. A people renown for their friendliness and hospitality to "the stranger", and for their code of honor that demands honesty, integrity, and even that should a "blood enemy" be at your door, and they call upon you to give them shelter from one trying to hunt them down and kill them, that you must provide it to them. A people who have become like my "second family", and who I'm PROUD to be associated with, and to stand with in both good times and times of trouble. And with whom I'll continue to stand until the day I die.

And while I'm in a celebratory mood here....

"Ladies and Gentlemen....WE GOT HIM!"

While I know that the Serbian government certainly didn't time this on purpose to coincide with the 1st anniversary of this blog (and unfortunately, unlike when we found Saddam in his hidey hole, no one uttered the words that make up the title of this blogpost-though it would've been cool if they did), nonetheless, I have to admit that I can think of few nicer "birthday presents" than this....

Serbia captures fugitive Karadzic

Radovan Karadzic (archive image)
Radovan Karadzic is one of the world's most wanted men

Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic, one of the world's most wanted men, has been arrested in Serbia after more than a decade on the run.

The Bosnian Serb wartime political leader disappeared in 1996.

He has been indicted by the UN tribunal for war crimes and genocide over the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica.

The appointment of a new, pro-European government in Belgrade last month appears to have cleared the way for his arrest, says a BBC correspondent.

The European Union, which the new government hopes to join, has put Serbia under considerable pressure to hand over indicted war criminals to the UN tribunal in The Hague.

But Mr Karadzic's wartime military leader, Ratko Mladic, remains at large.

'Located and arrested'

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic was welcomed by war crimes prosecutors in The Hague as a "milestone".

He has been brought before Belgrade's war crimes court, a legal procedure that indicates he may soon be extradited.

But it is not clear how soon he might be transferred to stand trial at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, says the BBC's Bridget Kendall.

Serbian officials have suggested he will stay put for at least three days while his lawyer appeals against his extradition.

This is a very important day for the victims who have waited for this arrest for over a decade
Serge Brammertz
ICTY chief prosecutor

Officials said no further information about his detention would be released until the action team of prosecutors, police and intelligence teams meet in Belgrade on Tuesday morning, the BBC's Eastern Europe correspondent Nick Thorpe says.

"Radovan Karadzic was located and arrested tonight [Monday evening]" by Serbian security officers, a statement by the office of President Boris Tadic said, without giving details.

"Karadzic was brought to the investigative judge of the War Crimes Court in Belgrade, in accordance with the law on co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [ICTY]."

Serbian government sources told Reuters news agency he had been under surveillance for several weeks, following a tip-off from a foreign intelligence service.

But his lawyer, Svetozar Vujacic, said Mr Karadzic had been detained "on Friday in a bus" and held till he was brought before the judge of Serbia's war crimes court for questioning. Mr Karadzic was said to have remained silent during questioning.

Heavily armed special forces were deployed around the war crimes court in Belgrade - apparently fearing a backlash from nationalists who consider Mr Karadzic a hero.

"He did not surrender, that is not his style," his brother, Luka Karadzic, said outside the court.

'Milestone in co-operation'

Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the ICTY, welcomed the arrest.

Eleven counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities
Charged for the killing of some 12,000 civilians during the siege of Sarajevo
Allegedly organised the massacre of at least 7,500 Muslim men and youths in Srebrenica
Targeted Bosnian Muslim and Croat political leaders, intellectuals and professionals
Unlawfully deported and transferred civilians because of national or religious identity
Destroyed homes, businesses and sacred sites
"This is a very important day for the victims who have waited for this arrest for over a decade," he said in a statement in The Hague.

In the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, crowds spilt onto the streets to celebrate news of the arrest as cars streamed through the streets sounding their horns.

"This is the best thing that could ever happen, you see people celebrating everywhere. I called and woke up my whole family," Sarajevo resident Fadil Bico told Reuters.

Richard Holbrooke, the US diplomat who brokered the Dayton Peace Accord for Bosnia in 1995, told the BBC that "a major, major thug has been removed from the public scene".

"One of the worst men in the world, the Osama Bin Laden of Europe, has finally been captured," Mr Holbrooke told BBC World News America.

Ljiljana Zelen-Karadzic, wife of Radovan Karadzic, said her daughter had called her to break news of the arrest to her.

"As the phone rang, I knew something was wrong. I'm shocked, confused. At least now, we know he is alive," she told the Associated Press.

The arrest of Mr Karadzic and other indicted war criminals is one of the main conditions of Serbian progress towards European Union membership.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, said a major obstacle to Serbian membership had been lifted.

Karadzic denial

A Bosnian Muslim woman weeps among coffins of Srebrenica victims during a funeral ceremony (11/07/08)
Srebrenica was the scene of the worst massacre in the Bosnian war

Mr Karadzic denied the charges against him soon after the first indictment and refused to recognise the legitimacy of the UN tribunal.

The UN says Mr Karadzic's forces killed at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica in July 1995 as part of a campaign to "terrorise and demoralise the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population".

He was also charged over the shelling of Sarajevo, and the use of 284 UN peacekeepers as human shields in May and June 1995.

After the Dayton accord that ended the Bosnian war in 1995, the former nationalist president went into hiding.

International pressure to catch Mr Karadzic mounted in spring 2005 when several of his former generals surrendered and a video of Bosnian Serb soldiers shooting captives from Srebrenica shocked television viewers in former Yugoslavia.

He had been a close ally of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who was himself extradited to The Hague tribunal in 2001, but died in 2006, shortly before a verdict was due to be delivered in his case.

Here's a pic, btw, of what the old bastard looked like when they caught him:

A recent photo of Radovan Karadzic at an undisclosed location

"Izzat you, Santy Claus?"

Oh, and here's a lovely little pic of a typical Karadzic/Mladic fan (looks like a real credit to the "herrenvolk", no?):

Serbian nationalist holds up pictures of Radovan Karadzic (left) and Ratko Mladic

(Just FYI, I normally avoid posting things that don't have to do with defending the Albanian people and their culture from the various lies and slanders of those who hate on them, or pointing out what a bunch of rank hypocrites the "Haters" usually are, but this is more than significant enough to make an exception in that rule for....)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just another example of unprovoked Albanian thuggery, with the Greater Albanian terror state coming to the perp's aid. Oh, wait a minute....

From the New York Daily News.

Serbian student in Binghamton beating may have fled with government help

Updated Wednesday, June 25th 2008, 2:04 AM

An international manhunt is on for a hulking Serbian athlete who viciously beat a Brooklyn college student and fled the country - possibly with his government's help, authorities said.

Federal agents are trying to capture hoops star Miladin Kovacevic, 20, overseas after he fled the U.S.

A Serbian official is believed to have posted his $100,000 bail upstate and Kovacevic used an emergency passport to leave the country, prompting a separate probe by the State Department.

The 6-foot-9, 280-pound basketball player was charged with assaulting fellow Binghamton University student Bryan Steinhauer at a bar on May 4.

Steinhauer, 22, an honors student set to work this summer for a prestigious accounting firm, suffered massive head injuries in the attack and is still clinging to life in a medically induced coma.

"I'm devastated," his father, Richard, told the Daily News outside of his Fort Greene home on Tuesday. "He's my only son."

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged federal authorities to make capturing and extraditing Kovacevic a top priority.

"The Steinhauer family has suffered enough," Schumer said. "The Justice Department and the FBI must make it a priority to bring Kovacevic back to U.S. soil so we can prosecute him immediately."

Steinhauer's nightmare began in the early morning hours of May 4, when he got into an argument with three men, including Kovacevic, at a packed bar near the state school, cops said.

"Kovacevic ... proceeded to beat the crap out of him," said Binghamton Police Capt. Alex Minor, noting Steinhauer suffered a fractured skull and broken jaw and eye sockets.

"They kicked him when he was down, the whole nine yards," Minor added.

The giant Serb and his two pals fled after the horrific assault, he said.

Kovacevic was arrested the following day and the two other accused attackers, Edin Dzubur, 24, and Santel Softic, 21, were hauled in soon after.

Kovacevic's bail was set at $100,000.

On June 6, Igor Milosevic, the Serbian vice consul, posted $20,000 in cash and $80,000 in a bank money order in Broome County Court to spring Kovacevic, a bail receipt obtained by the upstate Press & Sun-Bulletin newspaper shows.

Kovacevic, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, surrendered his passport and was freed from jail later that day.

Reached Tuesday, a Serbian Consulate representative said Milosevic was out of town and that no one else could comment on the case.

Broome County officials contacted Customs agents on the Canadian border on June 10, fearful that Kovacevic might try to flee the country.

Hours later, the prosecutors received shocking news from U.S. Customs Enforcement: Kovacevic, with the emergency passport, had left on a Lufthansa flight from Newark Airport bound for Frankfurt.

Milosevic's attorney, Vincent Accardi, declined to comment on the whereabouts of his client or the status of the case.

The tragedy has left Steinhauer's father numb.

"I'm surprised they gave [Kovacevic] bail," Richard Steinhauer said. "It's hard to believe this is happening."

With Veronika Belenkaya and Edgar Sandoval

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hey Julia! I thought only ALBANIANS did this kind of shit to each other? Julia?....Julia....?

From Balkan Insight, 21 June 2008

Serb Police Officer Shot Dead in Kosovo

21 June 2008 Mitrovica _ A Serb police officer has been found shot dead in northern Kosovo.

He was found dead around 0000 CEST (2200 GMT) in his car, a few kilometres north of the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica.

“Soon after the police identified the victim, two Serb male suspects were detained,” Besim Hoti, the spokesman for the Kosovo Police Service in the Mitrovica region said.

He added found around 30 automatic weapon shells at the murder spot.

The victim is believed to have been shot while driving in the village of Rudare, five kilometres north of Mitrovica, in a predominantly ethnic Serb area of Kosovo.

Local Serb radio KIM reported the victim was Todor Deverdzic, who is thought to have on Belgrade payrolls but working as a police officer in Kosovo.

The body in the bullet-riddled Volkswagen Golf was identified by Deverdzic's neighbours, who confirmed for Balkan Insight that Deverdzic was on Belgrade’s payroll.

Since 1999 and the setting up of the United Nations mission in Kosovo, Belgrade has created parallel structures in predominantly Serb areas to maintain its grip on the territory. It is widely believed there are civilian policemen from Serbia in these areas. Kosovo Albanian daily Koha Ditore recently reported about 'secret' Serbian police stations in the enclaves and Kosovo’s north but Belgrade’s top officials have denied this.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary....

The other day, while making my periodic check of the different "Haters" websites, I decided to pay a visit, mainly to see what that "world-renown historian" Carl Kosta Savich had to say lately, or maybe the latest Albanophobic rantings of the head-honcho of the outfit, "Mickey" Bozinovich.

Well, nothing new from the arsenic-tipped pens of those two unworthies since the last time I visited, back in April, but there was something new there: They had just added so-called "policy analyist" Mary Mostert to their blogroll.

So just who is Mary Mostert? Well, if you notice, her lovely pic is prominently featured on our "Haters Wall of Shame". But other than letting you know what she looks like, that doesn't do much for telling you who or what she is. This is what her bio (I assume written by her) from her website, Banner of Liberty (it's slogan being "truth, honor, courage, freedom, morality, justice"-all good things to be in favor of to be sure, but also things that make me a bit leary when I see them worn on the sleeve in quite that fashion....) says:

"At age 13 Mary Mostert memorized the Declaration of Independence and was involved in politics before she was old enough to vote. In fact, she was writing articles for The Nation Magazine at the age of 19. As a teenager she organized one of the first interracial youth groups in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1940s, and was involved nationally and internationally in the civil rights and peace movements.

As executive director of the Independent Political forum, she was one of 52 American women who met hundreds of women from other nations in Geneva, Switzerland, to petition delegates at the 1962 Disarmament Conference to sign the first Nuclear Test-ban treaty. While opposed by the executive and legislative branches, the small ad hoc “Mothers’ Lobby” helped change opinion. Some six months later the Senate signed the treaty, and after the group picketed the White House, President John F. Kennedy signed it.

In the 1960s Mary was one of the first female political commentator published in a major metropolitan newspaper, and served on redevelopment boards in the inner city of Rochester NY. She also ran a construction company, won architectural awards for restoration of historic buildings, and by 1970 had concluded that the War on Poverty programs were doing irreparable harm to the Black families they were meant to assist.

Mary ran unsuccessfully for the New York State Senate in 1972, and has managed campaigns for candidates in New York and California. In the early 1990s Mary met with most of the women leaders of South Africa while secretary of “Positive Action NOW!” – a national women’s group seeking to reduce the threat of civil war among the nation’s various racial, religious and political groups. Mary met President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela, as well as most of the leaders of the nation’s 22 political parties who were writing the new South African Constitution, and provided each leader with a “constitution packet” which included a video about writing the U.S. Constitution, “A More Perfect Union”, a copy of our constitution and related material and at a meeting of 1700 ministers in South Africa Mary pointed out that the resolution on religion they were discussing for the new Constitution identified Government, not God, as the source of human rights. At the insistence of black ministers, the resolution was rewritten during the night and adopted the following morning.

Mary created the ‘Michael Reagan’s Information Interchange’ on the internet, and from 1994-2001, edited the Reagan Monitor, a monthly newsletter for former President Ronald Reagan's talk show host son, Michael. The newsletter dealt with key political and national issues. Her first book, Coming Home – Families Can Stop the Unraveling of America, was published in 1996 by Gold Leaf Press. During the 1998 Congressional campaigns, she launched a website to help voters access state and federal candidates websites, allowing voters to compare their stands on issues. Mary’s website,, has expanded to provide links to numerous information sources, and her weekly news analyses are published on many websites."

Now at first, her credentials, at least as far as social-political activism go, seem pretty impressive. After all, it's hard to beat forming an interracial student group in the "Jim Crow" south, protesting for a nuclear-test ban at the White House, and meeting with both F. W. DeKlerk and Nelson Mandela. However, when I looked up the group she was supposedly secretary for, "Positive Action NOW!", the only evidence I could find for it's existence was on her website, or on websites that publish her opinon pieces and/or her bio from her website. Not saying that that means the group never existed, of course, but surely something to make one go "hmmmm".... (And not just about that, but by extension of reason, her other claims as well.) And you'll note not one thing in her bio that implies credentials as a reliable policy analyist (of course these days, I'm becoming more and more convinced that "policy analyist" in many cases means nothing more than "loudmouth with a website/blog").

However, assuming for the sake of argument that they're all true as written, one must wonder where on earth the turn came in her heart and/or mind that lead her to so easily become racist in her sentiments? Racist? Well, judge for yourself from this little gem posted by her back in April, 1999. She makes Julia Gorin look positively Albanophillic by comparison, and her open suggestions go beyond even the insane rantings of Svetlana Novko. Here's an example of the "choicer" stuff she had to say:

"However, my daughter Gail who has lived in Germany and traveled extensively in Europe and in Yugoslavia thinks the problem is simply that no one in Europe wants the Albanians in their country and NATO and the European Union plan to MAKE the Serbs take them. Why? Well, the Germans, Croats, Slovenes and other axis nations of World War II hate the fact that only the Serbs had the guts to stand up to Adolf Hitler. They all hate the Albanians and think they might assuage their guilt for being weak while getting back at the Serbs for their valor if they force the Serbs to take on the Albanians so none of them come into THEIR countries. I thought she was wrong about that, until I tracked down all the population figures and then heard what General Odom said on the Rivera show."
One can only shake one's head at the obvious tendency to disconnect from reality that must run through the woman's family, starting with the fact that she considers her daughter a reliable authority on and judge of European inter-ethnic relations, and running to the notion that the European nations who supported the NATO action in the former Yugoslavia did so out of some ridiculous mix of Archie Bunker-esque hatred of the Albanians as a people and a Freudian hatred of the Serbs for being oh-so-much-more valorous than they in WWII!

And topping it all, get a load of her version of Swift's "Modest Proposal":

"My suggestion is to declare the entire country of Albania a redevelopment area and promise everyone of them a house and plot of land of their own and an annual stipend of, say, $10,000 a year income for doing absolutely nothing if they will only stay in Albania. There appears to be about 4.5 million of them and my program would only cost $45 billion a year. Or, perhaps we could buy a piece of land in Australia or Brazil and bribe the Albanians to move there."
Now some might say that she is simply being satirical, in the same way Swift was (or Ann Coulter is, as some of her proponents claim-and which I ain't buying), but given the overall tenor of her piece, I sure don't get that impression (and even if it were so, I'll just say she has a long way to go before ever even holding a candle to the legendary Mr. Swift). She may be couching her sentiments in satire, but the general intent speaks loudly and clearly through that thin veneer. And all this is in addition to her faulty logic and byzantine figure twisting that she uses in the piece as well.

Moving on a few years, we see that neither her opinions nor her modus operandi have changed. In 2006 she engaged in a series of "dialogues" with an Albanian from the UK, Genci Sala. (N.B. I did a brief post on Genci here on the blog back last August.) Despite Genci being a Evangelical Christian and a political conservative, because he sarcastically introduced himself (and in a way anyone with half a brain or half an open mind could tell was sarcasm) as an "Albanian Islamic Terrorist", Mostert grabbed on to that and for several of their exchanges which she posted on both her own website (for some mysterious reason most of them are no longer accessable), and in her commentary on the Renew America website, referred to him with a straight face as such, until he quite pointedly stated his actual religious persuasion.

And even now, her obvious hatred for the Albanians as a people (despite her occasional toning down of rhetoric when exchanging e-mails with those who dare question her) continues in a most welcoming forum, Serbianna. Some examples of the latest wit and wisdom of Mary Mostert when it comes to Albanians? Here ya go:

History proves that Albanians simply don't recognize the rights and freedoms of others. In fact, when Albania declared itself an "atheist state" in 1967, all churches and other buildings owned by religious groups were closed down.

Of course, never mind the fact that those Churches and "other buildings" (um, I think they're called "Mosques") were pastored over by Albanians and worshiped in by Albanians, not by "religious groups". (Mostert implying in a roundabout way that the Albanians themselves had nothing to do with them for the most part, other than to ban them and shut them down.) And then there's this "gem":

The Kosovo Albanians waving an Albania flag is exactly comparable to illegal alien high school students in California ripping down the US flag and raising the flag of Mexico at their school. They justify their behavior by claiming that California is really a part of Mexico. In Kosovo, Albanians that have flooded across the open borders between Kosovo and Albania are now claiming that Kosovo is really part of Albania.

Naturally, Mostert, like most Albanophobes, either chooses not to recognise or fails to recognise because of the cultural paradigms they're accustomed to, the fact that the Albanian flag is a symbol of the Albanian people where ever they may live, not just the official symbol of the internationally recognised state of Albania. And of course she neglects (mainly because she does not believe it to begin with) that a goodly part of the reason Albanians in Kosova eventually came to demand that it be a separate state from Serbia was because they came to realise that it was the only way to end the periodic harrasment and nearly continual apartheid imposed on it by Belgrade. And her use of the tired old "California-Mexico/Kosova-Albania argument falls apart because most Mexican-Americans are quite content and in fact more often than not quite proud to be Americans (with the exception of the miniscule but loudmouthed minority involved in the so-called "Aztalan" movement) and aren't clamoring for a return to rule under Mexico precisely because America isn't harrassing them and doesn't treat them like 3rd class citizens anymore, and because (the occasional rare exception notwithstanding) they are treated the same as any other American not only by our country itself, but by the vast majority of it's citizens.

Does Mostert have the same influence as say, a Julia Gorin? Not really. But I have never held to the idea that relative influence/power should determine who we (the Albanian community, it's friends, and it's supporters) should be keeping an eye on. As I've said more than once on this blog, the Nazi party started out as a group of six disgruntled German WWI vets meeting in a bar.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Well, I guess our ol' "buddy" Julia was so busy seeking out more "evidence" for the formation of a so-called "Greater Albania" that she missed THIS...


Regarding official national holidays in Kosova:

"Two dates not included in the list are the Kosovo Liberation Day, which was celebrated by the ethnic Albanian majority on June 12 – the day NATO forces entered Kosovo after the conflict, and Albania’s Flag Day, November 28, which used to be marked in the UN protectorate.

“Kosovo is an independent, sovereign, democratic and multiethnic country,” Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci told media upon the holidays’ declaration."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Still here....

Hi folks, just me making a quick "check in" to let y'all know I'm still around, and the blog is still active-if kinda hibernating (not a totally inappropriate analogy, given the kind of weather we've had around here lately....wonder when spring is gonna finally be here for real). The last month has been even more crazy busy for me than the last few, so this blog hasn't exactly been at the forefront of my mind. Anyway, I'm hoping to be able to make some "in earnest" posts in the next couple of weeks or so....even as busy as I've been, I've still been keeping an eye on the "Haters" (and believe me, just as I predicted, Kosova's independence has ensured not that they would go away, but that they'd become even busier than before-and they have). So there's plenty to write about-when I finally get the free time again in my life to start writing again. But until I can do that, keep your eyes open, question everything the "Haters" say, and don't be deceived by their BS!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another "Hater" sits up and takes notice!

With all the craziness going on in my life right now (gotta love tax time, right?), I'd almost forgot about this: A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon (no pun intended) the fact that evidently another of the arch-Haters out there, the tin-foil-hatted nutjob who goes by the handle of "1389" (gee, wonder where she got the idea for that from?), proprietess of the (what else?) "1389Blog", managed to find out about our blog, and did a "review" of it about a month ago on Of course, even though it's not the primary purpose of this blog, this humble blogger is always gratified when he finds out that one more of the "Haters" knows about us, knows we have their "number", and that we're letting the world know about it. :) Anyway, if you want to see her "review" of us, and my note of earnest thanks to her for such wonderful compliments, you can view them here

Yet another Serbian who actually "gets it".

Though this excellent (thanx to friend of the blog Francois for the heads up on it) article is a bit long, it's an easy, fast read, and it's gist supports what I've been saying all along: The reason, the real reason for why Serbian National(Social)ists and their friends and supporters hate, loathe, and despise Albanians has nothing do to with religion, not really, when you come down to it. Religion adds conveinient "rationales" to their hate, but it is not the reason for it. In the final analysis, the sole reason for it is the same reason that ultimately any bully hates the one who he picks on and harasses: Because that person is different. Anyway, enjoy this addition to the "arsenal of the truth", and use it.


'Skanderbeg was a Serb' - or how Serb national ideology constructed the image of the Albanian as an enemy

Author: Olivera Milosavljevic
Uploaded: Tuesday, 25 March, 2008

The author traces the way in which earlier Serbian historians, writers and politicans created a stereotype of Albanians as implacable enemies of all that is Serb

The Albanians are today unquestionably considered the greatest ‘enemies’ of the Serbs. Although this may be ascribed to political events and the distasteful portrayal of Albanians in the Serbian media, it is nevertheless necessary to look deeper into the reasons for the disdain with which they have been treated by Serbian writers and politicians.

Serbian intellectuals today write about Albanians mainly within the framework of a stereotype about their ingrained hatred of - and desire to destroy - the Serbs, which is said to originate from their very nature, characterised by primitivism and banditry. Earlier authors, meanwhile, sought also to prove the Albanians’ alleged incapacity for autonomous state existence, which they likewise derived from their nature. In their view, the Albanian ‘tribes’ neither needed a state nor were capable of becoming a nation. So such authors saw the solution, in line with Serbia’s own state-political programme, in terms of a benevolent colonisation which, by including the Albanians and their lands into the Serbian state, would prepare them for civilised existence. Contemporary writings about the Albanians commonly include such stereotypes, repeated over and over again during the past one hundred years: that they are not a nation, and that their lack of civilisation precludes them from establishing an independent state. From this derives the assertion that Skanderbeg was a Serb.

Albanians hate Serbs

In the 1980s the Albanian name came to be linked exclusively with words such as genocide, terror, banditry, rape - every mention of this population in both political and private exchange carried a negative connotation. Following Dimitrije Bogdanović’s book Knjiga o Kosovu, published in 1985 by the Serbian Academy of Arts and Science (SANU), and his frequent appearances on television, Serbian intellectuals would write about Albanians only in order to confirm in some form that Serbs in Kosovo were the victims of a planned genocide, so that Bogdanović was soon left behind in this display of negative sentiment against Albanians. In his book, Bogdanović had revived the old thesis that Albanian settlement of Serb lands in the 17th century had left a memory of bloody violence suffered by the Serbs, which he elaborated through examples of collective and individual acts of terror, pillage, pogroms and expulsion of Serbs from their land, and with the assertion that the basis of Albanian settlement was to be found in the conversion of Serbs to Islam, accompanied by ethnic assimilation and brute force. According to him, the Serb people thus became the victim not just of some chaotic movement, but of a pre-planned physical destruction. The extension of this negative image to the Albanian people as a whole was carried out by presenting the Albanian political movement as aggressive, invasive, vengeful, conservative and nationalistic, aimed at destroying the Serb people through murder, expulsion and erasure from history, and at the seizure of Serb land with the intention of surrounding and destroying the Serbs themselves. According to Bogdanović, the thesis of the Illyrian origin of the Albanians was racist, because it was used to establish a primal claim to the territory. At the same time, when writing about the settlement of Serbs in the Balkans at a time that he describes as Albanian pre-history, he mentions the ancestors of the Albanians without saying who they were.

According to historian and SANU member Radovan Samardžić, the Albanians were expansionist already in the 16th century: they were unleashed by the Turks against the Serbs in order to drive a destructive wedge into ancient Serb lands. The Serbs were pushed back by methods that included murder and pillage, the torching of their villages, seizure of their land and enforced Islamisation.

For the sociologist Marko Mladenović too, who made frequent appearances in the media at this time, the genocide and apartheid practised against the Kosovo Serbs was self-evident, and the story about the Albanians’ Illyrian origins was an archaeological fog constructed in order to claim the alleged lands of the contemporary Albanians’ prehistoric ancestors. He insisted that there were no Albanians in Kosovo before the 17th century, and that they were not in a majority there before the Second World War. The persecutors of the Serbs in Kosovo ranged from ‘Bashibazouks’ to ‘Ballists’, associated respectively with Islam and extreme nationalism. This circle of Serbian intellectuals never doubted, moreover, that the Albanians even used children for their political purposes. Bogdanović wrote about Albanian children being encouraged to attack Serb children, while for Mladenović they were used to establish an Albanian numerical preponderance.

A bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), Atanasije Jevtić, insists that the Albanians’ aim in Kosovo has always been the following: more land, more children, and more weapons. He stresses in particular that Albanian children have not merely been manipulated, but feel deep hatred towards everything that is Serb and Christian in Kosovo, for which he blames their parents and teachers, and the primitive clan and Muslim spirit.

While for Bogdanović the Albanians were tools in Turkish hands, for Samardžić they were tools of the Roman curia, which counted on them as people of weak faith and honour, who could accordingly be converted to Catholicism without too much effort. In his portrayal of the Albanian national character, Samardžić speaks of their barbaric nature, their fantastic powers of reproduction, their inhuman odiousness, and their bloody orgies.

During the 1990s, a paradigmatic text written by Miodrag Jovičić appeared in the SANU collection of texts: Serbs and Albanians in the 20th century. The Albanians appear here as ‘Arnauti’ - as marauding bandits genetically predisposed to violence. For Jovičić too, it was their Islamisation that explains why the Turks gave the Albanians carte blanche to terrorise the Serb population through the use of violence, plunder and banditry. Adopting the thesis that tradition and accumulated experience determine a certain biological predisposition in a nation, he argues that violence has become part of the genetic make-up of all layers of the Albanian population, together with hatred of the Serbs, whose only fault is that they are alive.

An approach to historical events as a repayment of debts here comes most directly to the fore. Although Jovičić accepts that in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia the Albanians were not precisely pets of the regime, he nevertheless concludes that they had not by any means paid off the debt for what they had done to the Serb people during the time of Turkish rule. In the same style of earned and unearned history is his observation that, in view of past experience, the Albanian minority simply did not deserve to have autonomy within Serbia. On the contrary, Jovičić argues, many believe that in 1945 the Albanians should have been placed in a special quarantine, and been given autonomy only after they had offered sufficient proof of their capacity for civilised cohabitation. For Jovičić too, then, Albanians are genetic enemies of Serbia and Serbdom , bearers of an aggressive chauvinism and racism, a fact which only serves to prove that it is impossible to create conditions for co-existence of the various national groups who live in Kosovo.

According to this author, Albanians feel a primaeval hatred towards Serbia and Serbdom, and their genocidal behaviour has been present in all centuries. He sees a solution to this problem in altering the province of Kosovo’s existing ethnic composition - by returning all the Serbs who have left, by creating new Serb settlements, and by suspending the present autonomy for a certain period. Contemporary authors have also written about Albanian historical inferiority; about the open genocide perpetrated against Serbs in the 19th century by means of pillage, murder, rape and abduction of women then forced to convert to Islam; about the ethnic and religious intolerance towards Serbs that has formed the basis of all political movements of the ‘Arbanasi’; about their aggressive and destructive fury directed against all that is Serb; about their conduct as invaders and occupiers.

It is argued, with reference to the centuries-old relationship between Albanians and Serbs, that a barbaric and aggressive eruption of Albanian nationalism and separatism occurs whenever the demographic balance is disturbed, which derives from the nature of their primitive clan society; and that in their persecution of the Serbs the Albanians were more radical and cruel than all other Serb neighbours, using the most brutal means, as befits their Islamic-Turkish and fascist-Ballist tradition (Dobrica Ćosić, 1992).

Such negative stereotypes of Albanians were elaborated back in the second half of the 19th century, in books written by Serbian authors based on little serious study. Most widespread was the one about the Albanians’ hatred of Serbs. Archimandrite Hadži Seafim Ristić was among the first to speak of Albanians as the worst enemies of Christianity and the worst oppressors of the common people. Radosavljević-Bdin, inspired by patriotic feelings, when numbering the weapons that the enemies (i.e. neighbours) of the Serbs had used in their joint work of Serb destruction, ascribed the scimitar, gunpowder and lead to the Albanians. Hadži-Vasiljević saw the Albanians as ‘the greatest enemies of the Serbs’ (1906), their ‘sworn enemies’ (1909); he maintained that Serbs saw Albanians as their worst enemies, describing their attitude as follows: ‘Serbs are separated from true Turks by the thickness of an onion skin, and from Albanians by that of a buffalo hide’ (1913).

Skanderbeg was a Serb

The stereotype about Albanians as ‘Arbanised’ Serbs, though seemingly contradicting the above, is in fact in perfect harmony with it, given the view of the phenomenon of assimilation entertained by this part of the Serbian intelligentsia. To begin with, contemporary writers manipulate the number of ‘Arbanised’ Serbs. According to Samardžić, at the end of the 19th century 30-40 per cent of the Kosovo Albanian population was of Slav origin, a result achieved by what he calls a veritable pogrom. For Mladenović, meanwhile, two thirds of native Albanians are of Serb origin. Veselin Đuretić, for his part, insists that the true number is 80 per cent. Earlier authors did not deal in numbers, but found other ways, primarily visual, to deduce the Serb origin of the Kosovo Albanians: in their alleged lack of certain physical features present, for example, among Bulgarians.

The thesis that Skanderbeg was a Serb belonged at once to the stereotype of the Albanians’ Serb origins and to that of their inability to create a state. Its primary purpose was to explain this historical exception from the rule of the Albanians’ tribal and disorganised existence, and their lack of desire for a state. Just as contemporary Serbian writers like to stress that Skanderbeg’s mother was from the Balšić family, which in their view makes him a Serb, earlier writers too felt bound to insist on this argument. For these earlier authors Skanderbeg was a Serb, as were his comrades in arms; he was the last Serb dynast, who ruled lands inhabited by Serbs. Vladan Dorđević, while insisting that Skanderbeg was a Serb, wrote in an apologetic tone: ‘It is actually quite embarrassing that we must claim this sole hero whom the Albanians have managed to acquire during so many thousands of years, for in our six-century-long struggle from Kosovo to Kumanovo we have gained so many heroes that we could have done without this one. But we must not allow history to be falsified for the Albanians’ sake.’ Other authors followed him, repeating in unison that Albanians should not claim Skanderbeg as their own, because he was not a full-blooded Albanian but at least half-Serb.

Albanians are unfit for statehood

The most widespread stereotype in the period up to the First World War was that the Albanians lacked any desire to have their own state, which in turn argued that they had no right to have one. In 1878 Dimitrije Aleksijević wrote that the Albanians had the right to form their state west and south of the Drin, but only if they showed that they deserved it morally, for no state had been ever created by thieves and plunderers. Jovan Hadži-Vasiljević complained that the Albanians had started demanding independence and were denying to the Serbs the right to their lands. On the eve of the Balkan Wars, Ljuba Jovanović wrote that the existing situation in ‘Old Serbia’ had been created by wild and unbridled Albanians whom Istanbul could not pacify; that only Serbia could do that; and that in liberating ‘Old Serbia’ Serbia would also end the barbaric extermination of the Serb population there. According to Jovanović, since the legal science did not recognise the right of possession to something gained by criminal means, Serbia and the Serb people were right not to recognise the legality of the existing state of affairs created through banditry in this famous part of the Serbian fatherland. And while he believed that the Albanians had no right to remain in a land which they had taken by barbaric means, he was not in favour of removing them by force or treating them as an enslaved and conquered mass. He argued that they could stay there as Serbian citizens, without loss of their nationality; but he also concluded that Serbia did not need them.

The years that followed the Balkan Wars produced a plethora of books about the Albanians, their past and their character. Serbia’s primary aim was to reach the sea, and it now redirected its expansion from Salonica to Durrës, in the belief that this was necessary for its economic and political survival. This policy needed scientific arguments to back up its plans. It was now necessary to transfer the old stereotypes about the Albanians of Kosovo and Macedonia to the global plane, and to create a general image of the Albanians that would support the argument that they were not fit to have a state of their own. Serbian nationalist intellectuals, who wrote a great deal about the nationality principle, the awakening of nations, and how the Balkans belonged solely to the Balkan peoples - and who insisted upon the right of every nation to be free - never applied these principles to the Albanians, nor thought that any such rights and freedoms might apply to them. The Serb struggle for freedom, in the eyes of these authors, had to be rewarded with territories that were not necessarily and obviously Serb; while Albanian banditry had to be punished by denying their right to a state even in areas that were purely Albanian. This is why one cannot find a single author among this segment of the intellectual elite who supported the Albanians’ right to have their own state. On the contrary, any such demand was treated as unnatural and an unjust attack against Serbia and its progress.

The desire to prove that Serbia had the right to seize part of Albania in order to have its own coast was so strong that even serious authors succumbed to it. Jovan Cvijić published several articles in connection with the First Balkan War aimed at justifying Serbian political demands. Writing that ‘Old Serbia’ had an exit to the Adriatic Sea in a narrow belt between Shkodër, Lesh and Durrës, he advocated building a railway line to this coast. He was worried, though, that it would pass through Albanian-inhabited areas, saying that this people’s distrust of communications was well known, and that it was also well known that they were very excitable and easily provoked. Serbian demands at this point in time were, in fact, justified not so much in terms of Serb rights, but by an alleged incapacity of Albanians to live as an independent nation. The basic argument was that this primitive people was not fit to have its own state, and would therefore benefit from being exposed to Serb civilisation within a Serbian state.

Jovan Radonić wrote that at the time of the disintegration of the Serbian empire, the Albanians did not try to create their own state, but continued to live as tribes feeling no need for a wider community, thus proving that they did not have the capacity to become a nation. And since these tribes treated everything beyond their own borders as strange and hostile, it was not possible to speak of the Albanian people as a whole. He also argued that the Albanians had not produced their own leaders, but had remained largely subject to the beneficent effects of Serb culture, a state of affairs interrupted by the Turkish invasion. Protesting against the creation of an autonomous Albania that would cut Serbia off from the sea, Radonić insisted that there was no Albanian nationality; that the Albanians did not feel the need to have a state of their own; and that in any case they could not form one, because they showed no cultural disposition, no will, and no capacity to create a state-like community, preferring instead to live as they had done since the middle ages. He complained that this people, who had always been prone to disorder and violence, and who were the strongest opponents of equality, were now supposed to be rewarded with freedom. Rather than being incorporated into the states of the Balkan alliance, where as equal citizens now that Turkey had been defeated they would enjoy the benefits of culture and civilisation, it was now being proposed that they should be independent (Radonić, 1912).

Vladan Đorđević called the Albanians Europe’s Redskins; the Albanian port of Durrës a Serbian port; and the Albanian state that Austria and Italy wished to create a sad episode in the bloody but glorious Balkan epic poem. He asked: ‘Will this tremendous effort by Austria and Italy to create a state out of these Redskins come to anything? And will the colossal damage that the Great Powers will thereby inflict upon themselves be as great as the injustice they will be committing against the Balkans states? Arguing that the Albanians’ backwardness was an unsurmountable barrier to the creation of an Albanian state, he found its surprising that these people - people who did not know what such a thing was, and who thought that snow was sugar - were now claiming to be ready to die for their fatherland. Seeing in the future Albanian state only a barrier to Serbia’s advance, he wrote that the great powers had decided to turn these indolent barbarians into a state solely in order to hinder the progress of other diligent and brave nations, who within a single century had created cultured states through power and application.

Although he wrote his book in order to prove the justice of the Serbian quest for exits to the sea, he also felt the need to point to the profit that would accrue to Europe by Albanians not having their state, arguing that an Albania, being a Muslim state, would be an anachronism for Europe and for its ideals. This is why, in his view, the colonial principle was the only way to solve the Albanian problem, because only a foreign state could create law and order in Albania, and create the conditions that would make it possible for the Albanians to become a nation. Wondering how a people who did not see themselves as constituting a particular nation could henceforth be treated as one, and insisting that the Albanians in their development remained at the stage of pre-history, he concluded that it would take at least a hundred years before they could rightly call themselves a nation. In other words, the slogan ‘The Balkans to the Balkan peoples’ did not apply to the Albanians (Đorđević, 1913).

In the same year that Đorđević’s book was published, the Serbian minister of the interior Stojan Protić published one of his own under the pseudonym of Balkanicus. Although seemingly more moderate in tone, this book used the same arguments and with the same intention. It was published, moreover, by the same publishing house, which makes one wonder whether this was a coordination of efforts to meet given political needs. The main message of Protić’s book too was that it was Serbia’s right to demand an exit to the sea on the Albanian coast. Citing all kinds of ‘scientific’ authorities, Protić argued that the Albanians of northern Albania had lost much of their racial purity, for their blood contained a large Serb component. He repeated the argument that the Albanians had no common language or alphabet, no folk literature or crafts of their own, and noted that it had become fashionable in Italy and Austria-Hungary to portray the Albanians as a talented race and to paint their character in attractive and sympathetic colours.

Against this, Protić quoted a number of foreign authors who had written about the Albanians’ backwardness, concluding that they had remained at the level at which they had found themselves a thousand years earlier. Wondering about the failure of the neighbouring civilisations to influence them, and their inability to evolve into a state community, he concluded sarcastically that such a healthy, spiritual and talented nation - as some gentlemen gave it out to be - had managed to absorb nothing of all their neighbours’ cultures and civilisations, but remained singular and sufficient to themselves. He argued that the Albanians were not capable of independent national existence, because, being committed to self-will and freedom of the wilderness, they did not have nor could have had any feeling for social freedom.

Their reward for their loyal service to the sultan, according to Protić, was permission to kill and exterminate the Serbs, and to seize from the latter their property and land, which was the Albanians’ only talent. Buttressing further his political position, he sought in religion the reasons for deterioration of the relationship between Serbs and Albanians, who in his view had used to be good before becoming Muslims: We have seen in this war too that only Muslim Albanians fought against the Serbs, while Christian Albanians welcomed the Serbs practically everywhere as liberators.

Protić argued that no Albanian question had existed before others had posed it, because the Albanians did not seek a state for themselves. Austria’s fervent advocacy of the lowest and most uncultured race in the Balkan peninsula, which had proved unable to move beyond tribal life for the past two thousand years or to create the smallest state - and its demand, in accordance with the alleged principle of nationality, of extensive borders for this race at the expense of the Serb race, which was stronger, more cultured and far more capable of state life - was in his view nothing but a screen for its own territorial expansion (Balkanicus, 1913)

The key argument of Serbian writings at the start of the century was that Albania was not the product of the Albanians’ national aspirations, and that it did not have the necessary conditions for an independent life, because the Albanians were not nationally united. The state that was being created was not created for them, but as a means to turn the Balkan peninsula into a colony of Great Germany (Cemović, 1913). The idea of independence could not have arisen from among the Albanians themselves, but was the work of others. In this independent Albania, not a single Serb, Christian or indeed Turk would be able to survive (Jaša Tomić, 1913). It was also said that the Serbian army could have taken the area around Vlorë without a fight, but had left it - under pressure from an ill-intentioned Austria - in favour of an independent Albania in which Austria was seeking to multiply, with the aid of its political bacteriologists, the cultures of bandits without ideas, in order to facilitate its own struggle against Serbia, Montenegro and Greece (Stepanović, 1913).

The Albanian character

Yet certain of these authors were ambivalent about the character of the Albanians. Even those who generally painted them in the blackest of colours, when they came into direct contact with them on their travels also acknowledged their many positive sides, which at times even raised them above Serbs. Thus the travel writer Ivan Ivanić described the Albanians of Kaçanik as handsome, tall men known for their bravery, whose love songs were very emotive, because their strong southern blood made them passionate lovers, and reported that guests were fully protected in their homes and their women untouchable (Ivanić, 1903). Hadži-Vasiljević praised their diligence; he stated that their fields and vineyards were of the best quality; that they were the best at animal husbandry and the best craftsmen; that when they had enough to live they were peaceful and good neighbours, and even trusted friends; that they were healthy and tough; that they did not say much, but liked to show off; that they were proud and conceited (Hadži-Vasiljević, 1909). He stressed their moderation, in that they drank little other than coffee; that they ate better than Serbs and cared more than the latter for cleanliness and health; that they were handsome, though not so much their women; and that the pretty women you did find among them derived from an Albanian-Serb mingling, and from beautiful Serb girls having converted to Islam. He said they were hospitable, quiet and polite, sober and clever, but also crafty and jealous (Hadži-Vasiljević, 1913).

Stojan Novaković described them as bony, slim people, healthy and as hardy as flint; but he complained that they were also wild, robbing and often killing every Serb peasant they met (Novaković, 1906). Jaša Tomić acknowledged their military prowess, saying that they were exceptionally skilled warriors, and that no one could accuse them of cowardice; that they did not attack women, and were very hospitable (Tomic, 1913). Although he did not see them as fit to have a state, Toma Oraovac admitted that they were native to the Balkans and one of its more cultured and advanced peoples; while Dragiša Vasić argued that they were supremely more honest and humane than Bulgarians - which is understandable in a book about the Bulgarians (Vasić, 1919).

Interest in Albanians rapidly declined following the formation of a Yugoslav state. They were mentioned in writing only accidentally; negatively, of course, but no longer as the main subject of interest or the main enemy. This role was taken over by Croats, who replaced first the Bulgarians and then the Albanians.

Extracts from ‘U tradiciji nacionalizma ili stereotipi srpskih intelektualaca XX veka o "nama" i "drugima" [In the Tradition of Nationalism, or Serb intellectuals’ stereotypes about "us" and "them"]’, Ogledi no.1, The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, 2002, reproduced on Radio B92's Pescanik [Hourglass] website from which this translation has been made. The original version has a full scholarly apparatus of bibliographical references, for the most part omitted here.