Friday, December 28, 2007

A little off topic, but....

Normally, you'll probably notice that I stick pretty stringently to the subject of defending the Albanian people against the scurrilous lies being perpetrated out there by the "Haters", and exposing the hypocrisy of the selfsame "Haters" as well. Heck, I've even been sent articles about Serbian atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia and have opted not to print them, not because I don't think they're any good, or that they're not true, but simply because I choose to stick to the above mentioned parameters, instead of wandering off far afield. However, this time I'm making an exception, to show just how guided by emotion (to say nothing of personal hypocrisy) and not by reason most of the "Haters" are in ALL things, not just those pertaining to the Albanian people.

In a couple of recent blog entries, our ol' buddy La Julia rants over Wal-Mart allegedly "dissing" (her exact term) Jesus. How did they do this? By allowing some sacrilegious book or movie to be carried in their stores? By carrying some Death Metal group's album that has Anti-Jesus lyrics or something like that? Noppers! She had her undies in a bunch because-TA DA!-what turned out to be ONE Wal-Mart store (not the whole chain, as she originally assumed) started taking down their Christmas decorations a couple of days before Christmas, and putting up Valentine's Day ones.

Now unlike La Julia, I'm not a big Wal-Mart person. I don't like the crowds (then again, I'm not usually crazy about crowds anyway), and I also don't like the way the company has IMO betrayed founder Sam Walton's original vision, including his dedication to featuring products made in the USA (remember those old 80's ad campaigns?), not outsourced to companies in foreign countries. But I do find myself going there from time to time, including at Christmas time. Being a fairly observant guy when it comes to my surroundings, I have to say that I have noticed what have come to be considered "Christmas" decorations (things like holly, Santa Claus, wreaths, tinsel, colored lights, reindeer-pictures of them, not the real thing-etc.), not because they have anything to do with Jesus and his birth per se, but because they have been "adopted" into the celebration over the centuries by way of several different twists and turns in the culture. They have nothing to do with Jesus (unless you count Santa, and then only by way of his origins), to say nothing of his birth But I can't honestly say I've ever seen any Creches, pictures of the Baby Jesus (or of Mary and Joseph, for that matter), Wise Men, Shepherds, Stars over silhouettes of Bethlehem, or other decorations regarding Christmas as a specifically Christian holiday in a Wal-Mart, or at least not in the Wal-Mart I go to.

So at this point I have to ask, "why the rage"? The decorations taken down may have been "seasonal", but I strongly doubt they had anything to do with the birth of The Christ. So how's that "dissing" Jesus? Where's the "reason" in this? Seems to be more spleen than sagacity to our favorite little Albanophobe's protestations. Well, according to La Julia, what it's really about is "commercialisation". Sayeth she:

"One thing I can’t stand about the commercialization of Christmas is that everyone just uses God for their own seasonal enjoyment or business."

Well, if that's the case, then I'd think she'd actually be happy if Wal-Mart, or our whole culture/society, for that matter, did not put up "Christmas" decorations in commercial establishments, or promote the hell out of "Christmas Sales", or even have such a thing as a "Black Friday" (shows how much people in retail must love their jobs, if they refer to the day they get the most business by that moniker)! But evidently she is oblivious to the contradiction of bitching about the taking down of decorations that are all a part of the commercialisation of something she feels should be held as sacrosanct, and not commercialised at all. She then goes on to say:

"Doesn’t the Bible say something about how when you start placing the dollar above God and meaning, you get in trouble?”
Um, that would be found in Matthew 6:24, Julia: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and Mammon". But anyway, welcome to the "real world" of American style Capitalism, Julie baby. In case you haven't noticed, America has been commericalising the heck out of Christmas for well over a century now. See, that's the thing about Capitalism-it may be the best system in the world (and I speak as someone who is very definitely pro-free-enterprise and pro-free-market), but it's also a product of human minds, and hence subject to the imperfections of those minds (and hearts). You want merchants and people in general to respect Christmas? So do I and many others. But you can't have it both ways-either putting up decorations in commercial establishments is respectful of a religion or it's holiday(s) (or at least can be if done right), or it is not. (IMO it can be, if it is tasteful and respectful-but few store Christmas decoration schemes are.) Simple as that. You can't say first:

“One thing I can’t stand about the commercialization of Christmas is that everyone just uses God for their own seasonal enjoyment or business."
and then go on to later say:
"But really, Wal-Mart — to not even keep the decorations up long enough for the man’s birthday, the occasion you just made a huge profit off of, is reprehensible."

As a certain Robot from a certain 60's Sci-Fi show would say "That does not compute!" But then the topper comes here....

“I never even read the Bible, but I know that’s in there. This is just using religion, and it’s disrespectful.”
Interesting. Someone who supports devout religiosity in others (so long as the religion in question is Christianity or Judaism), and complains about the co-option by their beloved socio-economic system of religious holidays admits they never crack a bible. Someone who is unabashedly "pro-capitalist", yet complains about one of the things that is at the very core of the free-enterprise system (or at least in those countries that have their roots in English colonisation). But then again, this is someone who, for example, is also pro-life, calls women who use birth control "whores", yet admits herself that she doesn't particularly like kids, or evidently intend on having any, either. To use another quote from the Bible: "Physician, heal thyself!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I'd like to take a moment to wish all those who celebrate it a very Merry Christmas! Also , I'd like to briefly explain why I haven't posted anything here in almost a month. No, I haven't given up on the blog; nor have I run out of rebuttals to the "Haters" propaganda and lies. The reason, simply put, is because I have been busy dealing with a family matter (I will not go into it here-if you are a friend of the blog, feel free to write and ask me, and I will tell you), one which I anticipate I will be dealing with for some months to come. Therefore, it's entirely possible that my contributions here will be sparse for some time to come (barring that I find some more contributors to help out, of course). But I am by no means giving up the blog! So bear with me as I take care of this matter, and I will eventually be back to doing my bit in the war against the "Haters"-and that's a promise!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


95-të vjetori i pavarësisë së Shqipërisë-RROFTË SHQIPRIA PËRGJITHMONË!

Friday, November 23, 2007

An Albanian analysis of the Serbian campagin against the Kosovar Albanians

Though some parts of this memorandum by the Association of Philosophers and Sociologists of Kosova have, with the passage of time, become outdated (it was originally published in December 1991), it is still worthwhile reading that debunks the notion the "Haters" love to engender that even after Kosovar autonomy was revoked, the Albanian people of Kosova were treated by Belgrade like "kings and queens".


1. The Campaign to Destroy Kosova's Autonomy

Many observers today agree that the present Yugoslav crisis has historical roots in structural defects of Yugoslavia, which determined the country's permanent instability. So it is no accident that this crisis should have manifested itself soon after Marshal Tito's death. Very soon it was realized that his charisma, more precisely his uncontested authority, had been a key element holding the balance in the delicate federation of Yugoslavia. For Serbia almost at once began to seek a redefinition of the federation, with the aim of either acquiring' complete hegemony in Yugoslavia or creating a Greater Serbia.

Serbia opened its campaign with Kosova, calling its long-established autonomy into question. Unfortunately the other Yugoslav republics, faced with Serbia's aggressive insistence, agreed to its demands for a reduction of Kosova's autonomy (naturally, until a later stage Serbia hid the fact that its real goal was a complete abolition of that autonomy), in the hope that sacrificing Kosova would satisfy Serbian appetites. The Albanians thus remained alone in their struggle to defend their autonomy, and Serbia received the go-ahead to use the authority, instruments and military and police potential, of the Federation itself in subduing Kosova. The Albanians offered a great deal of determined resistance against the Serbian campaign to destroy Kosova's autonomy, but in the constellation of forces/interests in the Yugoslav federation everything was against them.

In 1988, after an eight year systematic campaign of repression, Serbia was trying to finalize the project of abolishing Kosova's autonomy. In the public discussion regarding the proposed constitutional changes, organized in October of that year (albeit in an atmosphere of unprecedented propagandistic and psychological terror and enforced police repression), Albanians declared themselves in a plebiscitary manner against the changes

and for preservation of the autonomy that had been guaranteed by the constitution of 1974. Since in its final proposal for constitutional changes Serbia completely disregarded the will of the Albanian people, in November 1988 for ton successive days they marched from all the cities and villages of Kosova towards the capital Prishtina, where they peacefully demonstrated against the Serbian proposal to strip them of their autonomy. 800,000 Albanians took part, which is more than half the adult population of Albanians in Kosova. After this, Serbia deposed the leadership of Kosova headed by Azem Vllasi - which disagreed with its aims - and installed Rahman Morina, the Kosova police chief, as head of a new regional leadership. In protest against this act, some 4,000 miners from Trep�a on 20.2.1989 looked themselves deep in the mines and started a hunger strike. Nine days later Morina handed in an irrevocable written resignation - only to withdraw it as soon as the miners came out of the mine.

While preparing for the meeting of the Kosova assembly at which the voting charade was to take place, Serbian police questioned all the Albanian deputies (even including some who at the time were in hospital), threatening persecution of their families and their own liquidation if they did not vote for the changes demanded by Serbia. Nevertheless, on 23.3.1989 - the day this meeting took place - in order to make more certain the organizers filled all the empty seats in the Kosova assembly with civilian police and local functionaries of the Communist League: there is photographic evidence proving that these persons took part in the voting. On 28.3.1989, the day the assembly of Serbia was due to vote on these changes, in many cities of Kosova Albanians rose to demonstrate in protest. I In order to disperse these peaceful demonstrations, Serbian police used firearms and killed at least 23 persons.

In 1990, however, the new Kosovo assembly initiated a discussion aimed at annulling the imposed amendments. But Serb deputies in the assembly tried all kinds of procedural obstruction, and the police on several occasions prevented the entry of delegates, into the assembly building. This went on until June, when the Serbian parliament adopted a law that - in clear breach of the Yugoslav constitution - gave it the right to dissolve Kosova state organs. Now running against time, the Albanian delegates on 2.7.1990 in front of the assembly building adopted a Constitutional Declaration declaring Kosova equal to other Yugoslav federal units in any future federal or confederate arrangement. On 5 July 1990 Serbia took the decision to dissolve the assembly and government of Kosova; following this, the Serbian police dissolved all the organs of local authority in Kosova. On 7 September 1990 the Kosova assembly, meeting at Kacanik, adopted a new constitution under which Kosova proclaimed itself an equal republic within the future federation or confederation of Yugoslavia.

2. Consequences of the Abolition of Kosova's Autonomy

a) Police disbanded. 3,500 Albanian policemen were sacked.

b) Courts abolished. In seven cities, municipal courts were either closed down or abolished, while other courts were placed under 'imposed rule' from Serbia. 210 Albanian judges and public prosecutors were sacked. By decision of the Serbian authorities, the Higher Court of Kosova, the Constitutional Court of Kosova, the Public Prosecutor's Office of Kosova and the Court of Associated Labor of Kosova are to be abolished from 1.1.1992.

c) Economy destroyed. Almost all enterprises (380 up to now) have been placed under 'imposed rule'. Serbs have replaced all Albanian managers and higher personnel. Over 85,000 Albanian workers - around 70% of all Albanians employed in the social sector - have been sacked, either for participating in the one-day general strike of 3.9.1990 or because they would not sign a declaration supporting the introduction of 'imposed rule' (loyalty oath) and Serbian control over Kosova. If one bears in mind that an Albanian family on average has six members, this means that over 500,000 people have been left without means of existence: at the moment they are surviving only thanks to an impressive national solidarity. In addition, the Serbian police have started throwing these workers out of council flats. In general, economic activity has been practically paralyzed This year not a single industrial or public building has been built, &part from a few police barracks. The entire system of payments has broken down. Serbian sources themselves admit that economic activity this year in comparison with last year which was already very bad, is down by around 40%. The banking system has been destroyed: Kosova banks have been closed down and their assets taken over by Serbian banks (Albanian citizens cannot draw their money out).

Industrial plant has also been dismantled and taken away ('Kluz' in Glogovc; a factory manufacturing car components in Peje; a factory making suspension systems in Prishtina; etc). The Serbian authorities have, in addition, closed down 3,064 private Albanian businesses for one year, on the grounds that their owners solidarized with the general strike of 3.9.90. Taxes on private Albanian enterprise have risen by 600%.

d) The closing down of schools in the Albanian language Last year the Serbian authorities ordered Albanian schools to stop working according to the existing Kosova curriculum and change over to the new Serbian one. In the latter, Albanian history and literature are replaced by anti-Albanian and chauvinistic propaganda. During the campaign aimed to impose this new curriculum, rejected by Albanian teachers and pupils alike, the Serbian authorities at the start of the 1990-91 academic year closed down 11 primary and 4 secondary schools. From 1.1.1991, the salaries of 3,574 primary-school teachers and 6,000 secondary-school teachers were stopped. From 1.3-1991, the same

happened with the remaining 14,265 primary-school teachers. A few days before the start of this academic year (1991-92), the Serbian authorities decided to sack also the remaining 8,000 secondary-school teachers. 620 Kosova university teachers have also been sacked, and Albanian-language education completely ended. Primary schools have not opened. When teachers and pupils in some schools tried to open their classrooms, the Serbian police came in to prevent them. The police habitually use truncheons, tear gas, firearms and armored personnel carriers to disperse pupils and teachers, students and lecturers.

e) The destruction --of Albanian- 1anguage media On July 5, 1990 a Serbian special police unit suddenly attacked and occupied the Prishtina Radio and Television Center. Outside management was imposed. 1,300 Albanian journalists and other staff were sacked. The same happened to all local radio stations in Kosova. As a result in Kosova, where Albanians form 90% of the population, there is no Albanian-language television or radio. On 8.6.1991 the Serbian authorities banned Rilindja the only Albanian language daily in Yugoslavia. Also banned was the student journal Bota e Re where the police broke into and destroyed the premises, including the archives. Up to now 150 Albanian journalists have been prosecuted and sentenced, with prison sentences of up to 14 years (Hidajet Hyseni). Jusuf Gervalla, a journalist working for Rilindja, was killed in Germany by the Serbian secret police.

f) Destruction of the health institutions .All hospitals and clinics in Kosova have been placed under imposed administration. 1,500

Albanian doctors and medical staff have been sacked. The Serbian police used violence to throw out Albanian doctors, sometimes directly from the operating theatres. Sacked Albanian workers and their families (i.e. over 500,000 people) have no right to medical care. As a result, the level of health care of Kosova inhabitants, already the lowest in Yugoslavia and Europe, has fallen drastically. In the Gynecological Clinic of the Medical Faculty of Prishtina, for example, more than one-third of all births in Kosova would normally have taken place. However, all Albanian doctors and mid-wives have now been expelled and as a result, whereas in 1989 the Clinic had 11,652 births (93% by Albanian mothers), between 1.1. and 30.4.1991 there were only 823 births (less than 13% by Albanian mothers). Moreover, TB, previously on the decline, is now rising sharply again.

g) Occupation and blockade of cultural institutions. The Kosova National Theatre, the National and University Library of Kosova, the Institute of Historical Studies of Kosova, the Kosova Archives, etc. have all been occupied by the Serbian police. The police has forcibly expelled Albanian directors and most of the staff, introducing instead an imposed outside administration. Archival treasures of priceless value - key documents relating to Albanian history and Albanian-Serb relations - have been removed from the Kosova Archives, while in the National Library a major proportion of Albanian-language books have been destroyed on the grounds that they were enemy propaganda. Local libraries in the Albanian language are also being closed down (e.g. 12 such libraries in the commune of Podujeva). On 16.10.1991 the Serbian assembly passed a law closing down the Kosova Academy of Arts and Sciences.

h) Postal Services These have been placed under 'imposed rule' and practically all their Albanian workers sacked. In Albanian villages, local post offices have been closed down.

i) Red Cross. The Kosova Red Cross too has been placed under 'imposed rule'. Its Albanian staff has been sacked, while funds and aid collected beforehand, including food and medicine, have been confiscated.

j) Sport - 'Imposed rule' has been introduced also into sports 0 clubs and premises. The Albanian staff has largely been dismissed. Sports competitions have been stopped.

k) Usurpation of funds The Serbian authorities have usurped all Kosova funds for culture, education, health, sport, etc. They have stopped financing all Albanian institutions (the Albanian Studies Institute, the Academy, schools, journals, sports clubs, etc). By docking the pay of Albanian teachers alone, the Serbian government has usurped DM 122 million. This money is used to finance the police.

3. Forms of Repression

The repression conducted against the Albanian population in Kosova is total: it affects all aspects of life and all categories of the Albanian population. Between March 1981 and October 1989, 564,373 Albanians passed through police hands according to official figures. Since then the intensity of repression has grown vertiginously, to reach the figure of 740,000 individuals - at a time when the entire electorate amounts to just 1,051,000 persons. Here are some of the forms of repression:

a) Media terror Since 1981, the Serbian media have been conducted an intense anti-Albanian campaign, abusing Albanian history, culture and language. There has been a white terror against Albanian intellectuals and officials. Albanians are presented as a primitive people with destructive non civilized drives. We are dealing, in other words, with racist propaganda which aims to justify the violence conducted against the Albanians.

b) 'Ideological differentiation' This is a euphemism for Stalinist anathematization of people (counter-revolutionaries, iredentists, etc). The person who is anathematized - and as often as not his family too - lose all civil rights (the right to work, publish, etc). Between 1981 and 1989 this form of terror affected 700 primary and secondary school teachers and 18 university professors, while 2,000 students and over 1,400 pupils lost the right to education.

c) 'Isolation'. Euphemism for police kidnapping and imprisonment of people In March 1989 the Serbian police took away 245 Albanian intellectuals and officials without filing any charge against them. They were kept in prison for several months and badly beaten. The beatings were supervised by prison doctors, who decided on the number of blows. The families of the 'isolated' were kept in ignorance for weeks.

d) Political trials. These were organized continually after 1981, usually several of them at the same time. Up to 1989, 75,000 Albanians were prosecuted for political offences, 30,000 received sentences of up to 60 days in prison and more than 2,000 sentences of up to 20 years under 'strict regime'. Such trials were organized also in the Army, where 1,100 Albanians received sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Kosova deputies and former government members (now in exile) are also being prosecuted, together with Albanian political party leaders.

e) Demonstrators killed. The police uses highly concentrated tear gas for breaking up peaceful demonstrations, also firearms, dum-dum bullets, armored personnel carriers mounted with 12.7 mm machine guns, and helicopters. Since 1981 the police has killed 107 Albanians, including 18 children between 11 and 18 years of age (the majority shot in the back).

f) Mysterious Army deaths. Since 1981 the Army has sent back 53 dead Albanian bodies in metal coffins saying that they had committed suicide. The signs of torture and the nature of the

wounds in most cases refute this explanation. We must add to this number 30 more Albanian soldiers who have died in strange, circumstances during training.

g) Punitive expeditions. Since last year, the Serbian police has been organizing sporadic nightly raids on Albanian villages. The village is surrounded at night and attacked just before dawn. The police first shoots at the houses, then enters them, demolishing the furniture, destroying the food, looting women's jewelry and stealing money. They manhandle and beat the peasants. These raids as a rule end with a number of dead and wounded, as well as dozens of men arrested; these are then beaten and/or kept in prison for several days.

h) Poisoning of children. In April 1990 some 7,000 Albanian school children needed medical treatment with signs of spasms in the stomach and limbs, vertigo, reddening of ears, vomiting, shivering, etc. The Serbian police prevented the children from entering hospitals and persecuted Albanian doctors who helped them. Foreign experts (e.g. Bernard Benedetti of Medicins du Monde), basing themselves on blood analysis, established that the children had been poisoned by nerve gases. These poisoning happened after the Serbian authorities had decided that Serb children should attend school in the morning and Albanian children in the afternoon.

4. Albanians in Yugoslavia.

Apart from Kosova (2 million, or 90% of the population), Albanians live in ethnically compact territories in Macedonia, Montenegro and southern Serbia. In western Macedonia there are 800,000 Albanians or 40% of the population of the republic. In Serbia, according to the 1981 census, there were 72,484 Albanians living mainly in the communes of Presheva, Bujanovc and Medvegja,

where they form a majority. In Montenegro, there are about 55,000 Albanians in areas bordering on Albania (Ulqin, Plava, Guci, Tuz, etc). Macedonia and Montenegro solidarized with the repressive policy of Serbia in Kosova and undertook similar measures against Albanians living on their territories. Macedonia, especially, showed exceptional zeal in this regard by closing down even before Serbia secondary schools in the Albanian language, drastically reducing the number of Albanian pupils in primary schools, applying massively the instrument of 'political differentiation', organizing many political trials in which the sentences passed were even harsher than in Serbia, pulling down traditional Albanian houses, etc. Since last year, when the multiparty system became legalized, the intensity of repression has diminished - but it has not stopped. Two months ago the Albanian party leader, Nevzat Halili, was himself sentenced to sixty days in prison. The Albanians boycotted the recent referendum on the sovereignty and independence of Macedonia. Albanian deputies in the assembly did not vote for the new Macedonian constitution, since their demand that the constitution should guarantee Albanians equality in regard to national and civil rights had been rejected. Kosova is, therefore, only one

- albeit the central and most difficult - aspect of the Albanian question in former Yugoslavia. Despite the specificity of the various aspects of the Albanian issue, it represents a whole (Albanians live in an ethnically compact territory) and as such demands a comprehensive solution.

5. Perspectives.

Kosova is at present cast into the shadows by the war in Croatia. But it is a fact that this crisis point could escalate into a full-scale armed conflict, which would then arguably involve an even greater military potential than the war in Croatia, especially since it would spill over the borders of former Yugoslavia.For this reason, neglect of this question by Europe and the USA is unwise.

Some observers believe that Serbia's repressive measures in Kosovo are designed, among other things, to provoke 'an Albanian armed uprising so as to create an alibi before world public opinion for a full-scale military intervention, leading to mass expulsion of Albanians and their replacement by Serb settlers. This 'Serb intention has been articulated especially by the Chetnik leader Vojislav Seselj, who at the beginning of October 1991 in Prishtina declared that it would suit Serbia very well at this moment if Albanians were to stage an uprising, thus allowing Serbia to solve this problem once and for all. It is in this context that the Serbian propaganda claim that 500,000 immigrants from Albania are living in Kosova should be understood (despite official statistics showing only 726 of them), as well as armed incidents on the Yugoslav-Albanian border in which Yugoslav soldiers and Serbian policemen have killed 10 Albanian soldiers and civilians.

Up to now the Albanians in Yugoslavia have manifested a high degree of self-discipline, answering all Serbia's repressive measures by peaceful resistance. In this way they have demonstrated an enviable democratic culture, believing that a just and lasting solution to the Kosova/Albanian problem can be achieved only by peaceful means, and placing their hopes in the international community creating the framework for a political solution to the Yugoslav conflict. However, the Hague Conference was a great disappointment to them, given that Kosova's representatives were not invited to attend. By not inviting Kosova's legal and legitimate representatives to the Hague, the European Community has drastically infringed the principle of non-recognition of changes achieved by force. For Serbia has achieved all the changes in Kosova by naked force. These changes not only have no democratic legitimacy, they also stand in total contradiction to the Yugoslav constitution. According to this constitution, Kosova is one of the eight federal units and, on the basis of principles of legality and international law, one of the eight inheritors of the state subjectivity of Yugoslavia. For this reason, Kosova should be recognized as an equal participant at the Hague negotiations.

Kosova, and the Albanian ethnic territories in Yugoslavia, remained outside the borders of the Albanian state on the basis of the decision of the London Conference of 1913. In reality, Serbia had simply occupied these ethnic Albanian territories already liberated by Albanians themselves - at a time when the Albanians were weak and exhausted following three years of anti Turkish uprising (1909-12). Breaking with the ethnic principle and the principle of self-determination, the Great Powers recognized in 1913 the result of this occupation. Today the Albanians expect of the Hague Conference and other international forums that they should correct those unjust decisions of the London Conference, which lie at the foundation of their tragic history over the past eighty years. Up to now they have shown a sense of realism, and a readiness to respect the Helsinki principle of inviolability of international borders. They have accepted the idea of entering an association of Yugoslav republics, provided that they are treated as equal i.e. that Kosova is recognized as a republic.

Albanians will not accept any solution that negates their right to self-determination, the right to free existence. Today they are an educated people (with 50,000 having graduated from Prishtina University alone, while several hundred thousand have completed secondary school). They have passed through the stage of industrialization and the Sociocultural transformation associated with it. They have, with rare sacrifice, preserved and developed their national identity (language, culture, national consciousness, authentic traditions, etc). Over the past eleven years, they have shown that they are ready to sacrifice everything to defend their natural right to self determination, freedom and independence. They have confirmed all this by their massive participation in the referendum for a Kosova Republic, sovereign and independent state with the right to participate as a constitutive element in the possible alliance of republics of Yugoslavia organized by the Kosova assembly on 26 of September 1991. Though the Serbian police did everything it could to prevent this referendum, out of 1,151,000 registered Kosova voters 914,802 or 67.01% voted, and of these 913,705 or 99.679 voted in favor.

Isuf Berisha

President of the Association of Philosophers and Sociologists of Kosova

London, December 1991

Note: This document has been presented for informative purpose only. Since it was written in 1991, many conclusions drawn here are no longer supported by Kosova's population. group

An essential classic-Albania's Golgotha!

I've decided to reproduce here Leo Freundlich's classic work, Albania's Golgotha. For those who don't know, Freundlich compiled the work, published in 1913, from contemporary news reports coming out of the Balkans during the First and Second Balkan Wars. It is a harrowing and horrifying documentation of brutality against the Albanian people by the Serbian crown under the rule of King Aleksander Karageorgevic. I'm publishing it here because I believe it behooves one to know that the roots of the struggle for Kosova independence do not begin with Milosevic's revocation of the autonomy of Kosova and Voijvodina in 1989, but go back much further. It is just one of the reasons why a Kosova which continues to be a part of the Serbian state is no longer an option from an Albanian point of view.


On the eastern banks of the Adriatic, a mere three days journey from Vienna, live an autochthonous people who for centuries have been fighting for their freedom and independence against enemies and oppressors of all types. This nation has clung steadfast to its roots through countless wars and the cataclysms of history. Neither the great migrations nor wars with the Serbs, the Turks and other invaders have hindered the Albanians from maintaining their nationality, their language, and the purity and originality of their customs.
The history of this nation is an unbroken chain of bloody battles against violent oppressors, but not even the most unspeakable of atrocities have managed to annihilate this people. Intellectual life has flourished among the Albanians even though their oppressors endeavoured to cut off all cultural development at the root. This nation produced great generals and men of state for the Ottoman Empire. Albanians were among the best judges in Turkey and among the greatest authors of Turkish literature. Almost all the merchants of Montenegro were Albanian, as were many fine businessmen in the major cities of Romania. The Albanians played an important role in Italy, too. Crispi was one of them. Greece's bravest soldiers were of Albanian blood.
In the wake of the cataclysms wrought by the Balkan War, the ancient dream of freedom and independence for this people is now becoming a reality. The Great Powers of Europe have decided to grant Albania its national autonomy.
But the Serbian thirst for conquest has now found a means of destroying the fair dream of this courageous and freedom-loving people before it can be realized. Serbian troops have invaded Albania with fire and sword. And if Albania cannot be conquered, then at least the Albanian people can be exterminated. This is the solution they propose.

* * *

On 18 October 1912, King Peter of Serbia issued a declaration 'To the Serbian People', proclaiming:

"The Turkish governments showed no interest in their duties towards their citizens and turned a deaf ear to all complaints and suggestions. Things got so far out of hand that no one was satisfied with the situation in Turkey in Europe. It became unbearable for the Serbs, the Greeks and for the Albanians, too.
By the grace of God, I have therefore ordered my brave army to join in the Holy War to free our brethren and to ensure a better future.
In Old Serbia, my army will meet not only upon Christian Serbs, but also upon Moslem Serbs, who are equally dear to us, and in addition to them, upon Christian and Moslem Albanians with whom our people have shared joy and sorrow for thirteen centuries now. To all of them we bring freedom, brotherhood and equality."

How have the Serbs understood the declaration of their monarch, which is not even half a year old?
The thousand and thousands of men, women, children and old people who have been slain or tortured to death, the villages marauded and burnt to the ground, the women and young girls who have been raped, and the countryside plundered, ravaged and swimming in blood can give no answer to this question.
The Serbs came to Albania not as liberators but as exterminators of the Albanian people. The Ambassadors' Conference in London proposed drawing the borders of Albania according to ethnic and religious statistics to be gathered on site by a commission. The Serbs have hastened to prepare the statistics for them with machine guns, rifles and bayonets. They have committed unspeakable atrocities. The shock and outrage produced by these crimes are outdone only by the sense of sorrow that such vile deeds could be committed in Europe, not far from the great centres of western culture, in this twentieth century. Our sorrow is made all the heavier by the fact that, despite the reports which have been cabled home for months now by the journalists of many nations, and despite the impassioned indictment launched to the world by Pierre Loti, nothing has been done to put an end to the killings.
A courageous people full of character is being crucified before the eyes of the world and Europe, civilized Christian Europe, remains silent!
Tens of thousands of defenceless people are being massacred, women are being raped, old people and children strangled, hundreds of villages burnt to the ground, priests slaughtered.
And Europe remains silent!
Serbia and Montenegro have set out to conquer a foreign country. But in that land live a freedom-loving, brave people who despite centuries of servitude have not yet become accustomed to bearing a foreign yoke. The solution is obvious. The Albanians must be exterminated!
A crazed and savage soldateska has turned this solution into a gruesome reality.
Countless villages have been razed to the ground, countless individuals have been butchered. Where once the humble cottages of poor Albanians stood, there is nothing left but smoke and ashes. A whole people is perishing on Calvary cross, and Europe remains silent!

* * *

The aim of this work is to rouse the conscience of European public opinion. The reports gathered here are but a small portion of the material available. More than what they contain is already known by the governments of Europe from official consular and press reports.
Up to now, however, the governments have chosen to remain silent. Now, any further silence means complicity.
The Great Powers must tell the crazed barbarians once and for all to keep their 'Hands off!' This wave of extermination must be ended with all possible rapidity. An international commission must be set up to investigate accusations made against the Serbian government.
Most important of all, Serbian and Montenegrin troops must withdraw from Albanian territory at once and the Greek blockade, which has cut the country off from all food supplies, must be lifted.
I call upon the governments of the Great Powers, I call upon European public opinion in the name of humanity, in the name of civilization, in the name of the wretched Albanian people.
I turn to the British public, to the nation which raised its voice so virtuously to protest against the Armenian massacres.
I direct my appeal to the French public which has shown so often that it will defend humanity and human rights.
A poor nation, suffering a horrible fate, appeals from the cross for help. Will Europe hear its call?

Leo Freundlich
Vienna, Easter Sunday 1913

The Albanians Must Be Exterminated!

In connection with the news report that 300 unarmed Albanians of the Luma tribe were executed in Prizren without trial, the Frankfurter Zeitung writes: In the case in question, it seems to have been regular Serbian troops who committed the massacre. But there is no doubt whatsoever that even the heinous massacres committed by irregulars were carried out with the tacit approval and in full compliance with the will of the Serbian authorities." At the beginning of the war we ourselves were told quite openly by a Serbian official: "We are going to wipe out the Albanians." Despite European protests, this systematic policy of extermination is continuing unhindered. As a result, we regard it as our duty to expose the intentions of the Serbian rulers. The gentlemen in Belgrade will then indignantly deny everything, knowing full well that journalistic propriety prevents us from mentioning names.
It is evident that we would not make such a report if we were not fully convinced of its truth. In the case in question, the facts speak louder than any full confession could do. One massacre after another has been committed since Serbian troops crossed the border last autumn and occupied the land inhabited by the Albanians.

A War of Extermination

Professor Schiemann published an article in Kreuzzeitung, writing: "Despite the rigorous censorship of Balkan allies and the pressure exerted upon war correspondents, private letters which have managed to reach us from the region in which the Serbs and Greeks are conducting their war offer an exceptionally sorry picture." The Serbs, as the article notes, are conducting a war of extermination against the Albanian nation which, if they could, they would eradicate completely.
The Daily Chronicle reported on 12 November 1912 that it was true that thousands of Arnauts (Albanians) had been massacred by the Serbs. 2,000 Moslem Arnauts were slaughtered near Skopje and a further 5,000 near Prizren. Many villages have been set on fire and their inhabitants slaughtered. Albanian householders were simply slain during house to house searches for arms, even when no weapons were found. The Serbs declared quite openly that the Moslem Albanians were to be exterminated because this was the only way of pacifying the country.
The war correspondent of the Messaggero of Rome reported heinous Serbian massacres of Albanians in the vilayet of Kosovo. After Albanian resistance, the towns of Ferizaj / Uroševac, Negotin / Negotino, Lipjan / Ljipljan, Babush / Babuš and others were completely destroyed and most of the inhabitants slaughtered. A Catholic priest reported that fierce fighting around Ferizaj / Uroševac had lasted for three days. After the town was taken, the Serbian commander ordered its fleeing inhabitants to return peacefully and lay down their arms. When they returned, three or four hundred people were massacred. There remained only half a dozen Moslem families in all of Ferizaj / Uroševac. Destitute Serbian families hastened to take possession of the homes of the wealthy families.
The Humanité of Paris published an official report submitted to a consulate in Salonika. The report described the activities of the Serbs in Albania: plundering, destruction, massacres. The number of Albanian villages totally or partially but systematically destroyed by the Serbs was estimated at thirty-one. The Kristos of Kumanova / Kumanovo, the Siro Diljovs of Skopje, the Alexandrovos of Štip and other leading guerrilla bands looted all the villages in the districts of Kratovo and Kocani, set them on fire and killed all the Moslem inhabitants. All the Moslems of Zhujova / Žujovo and Mešeli were slaughtered, as were a further two hundred people in Vetreni. In Bogdanc / Bogdanci, sixty Turks were locked in a mosque. They were then let out and slain, one by one. Thirty-four of the ninety-eight villages in the district of Kavadarci have been destroyed. The Turks, some of whom had made payoffs to one guerrilla band hoping to save their lives, were then butchered by another band of guerrillas. All the inhabitants of Drenova / Drenovo were put to death. Between this village and Palikura, a number of graves were found with the heads sticking out of the earth. These are the graves of wretched individuals who were buried alive!


Fritz Magnussen, war correspondent for the Danish newspaper Riget, who is generally known for his pro-Serbian sympathies, described the crimes committed by the Serbs against the Arnaut population in a telegramme that he had to send by special courier from Skopje to Zemun to avoid the rigorous censorship:

Serbian military activities in Macedonia have taken on the character of an extermination of the Arnaut population. The army is conducting an unspeakable war of atrocities. According to officers and soldiers, 3,000 Arnauts were slaughtered in the region between Kumanova / Kumanovo and Skopje and 5,000 near Prishtina. The Arnaut villages were surrounded and set on fire. The inhabitants were then chased from their homes and shot like rats. The Serbian soldiers delighted in telling me of the manhunts they had conducted.
The situation in Skopje is equally appalling. Rigorous searches of Arnaut homes are carried out and if anything vaguely resembling a weapon is discovered, the inhabitants are shot on the spot. It is very dangerous to travel the roads because of the constant shooting in and out of the houses.
Yesterday, 36 Arnauts were sentenced to death by a military tribunal and shot on the spot. No day passes without Arnauts being put to death in the most barbarous manner. The river upstream is full of corpses. Hunting expeditions take place every day in the surrounding villages. Yesterday, a Serbian officer invited me to take part in such a hunt and boasted that he had put nine Arnauts to death the previous day with his own hands!

The Reichspost received a dossier about the massacres committed by Serbian guerrilla bands and regular troops in Albania from a person whose name and high rank is guarantee enough of the authenticity of the reports it contains. In the dossier we find the following information:

The city of Skopje and the surrounding district have been witness to inhuman crimes committed against the Albanians. For days on end, I saw manhunts conducted by armed Serbian bands and regular troops. For three days I could see the flames of burning villages in the sky. When the horrors were over, five villages in the direct vicinity of Skopje lay in ruins and their inhabitants were almost all slain, even though the Albanians offered no armed resistance to the invading Serbs. Behind the fortress of Skopje is a ravine which is still filled with the corpses of over one hundred victims of this campaign. Eighty Albanian bodies are also to be found in the ravine of Vodno / Vistala Voda near Skopje. Shortly after the invasion, a reliable informant of mine, whom I spoke to myself, visited the hospital in Skopje and encountered during this first visit 132 Albanians patients. The next day he could find only 80 and a few days later a mere 30 of them. The treatment meted out to these wounded Albanians is beyond imagination. They were refused food and drink, such that, according to witnesses, some of them died of starvation. Many of the patients, it is alleged, were still alive when they were thrown into the Vardar. The river flows through the town and is carrying with it twenty to thirty corpses a day. There were a number of Serbian volunteers quartered in my hotel in Skopje who boasted quite candidly of their marauding and manhunts, in particular when the wine got their tongues. One evening, they went out onto the street and shot a couple of unarmed Albanians who were simply passing by and minding their own business. The two murderers, who thereafter returned to the hotel and got drunk, were not bothered by the military authorities at all, even though everyone in town knew that they were guilty of the crime. A bloody scene also occurred in town at the Vardar bridge. Three Albanians who tried to cross into town to go to market were attacked by Serbian soldiers and simply murdered without trial. Digging graves seemed to be a problem for the soldiers, in particular since the earth is frozen over, so bodies have been thrown into wells. An informant counted 38 wells around Skopje which have been filled with Albanian corpses. Bandits play an important role in the pogroms, too. I myself was witness to a Serbian soldier who was showing off the two watches and 150 Turkish pounds he had taken as booty. When he saw a well-dressed Albanian pass by, he shouted in an almost genuine show of sympathy, "Pity there are so many of them. Otherwise, I would gladly spend a bullet on him." The Albanians are considered fair game and are protected by no law or court. Many of the excesses are, however, committed under the influence of drink. The most outrageous crimes were, indeed, committed by bands of drunken soldiers breaking into homes.
As I speak Serbian fluently, many Serbian officers and soldiers regarded me as one of theirs. And so it was that a Serbian soldier boasted to me of their attack on an Albanian village near Kumanova / Kumanovo. "Many of the villagers who were not able to flee, hid in their attics. We smoked them out, and when their houses were in flames, they came out of their hiding places like moles, screaming, cursing and begging for mercy. We shot them at the doorways, sparing our bullets only with the children on whom we used our bayonets. We destroyed the whole village because shots had been fired out of one of the houses bearing a white flag." The military authorities did nothing to hinder these bloodbaths and many officers took part in the atrocities themselves. There was no Serb to be found who had not acted in the full conviction that, with these atrocities, he was doing his country a great service, and one which his superiors wanted of him.

* * *

Eighty-five Albanians were slain in their homes in Tetova / Tetovo and the town was looted without sign of an armed uprising beforehand. The heinous deeds committed against the women and girls, including twelve-year-old children, are indescribable. To top off such horrors, the fathers and husbands of the victims were forced by revolver to hold candles and be witness themselves to the outrages committed against their daughters and wives in their own homes. The town of Gostivar was only saved by paying off the Serbian commander with a sum of 200 Turkish pounds. Here only six Albanians were shot.
In Ferizaj / Uroševac, as opposed to the above-mentioned towns, the Albanians offered organized armed resistance. Fighting continued here for twenty-four hours, during which a woman whose husband had been slain seized a rifle and shot five Serbs before she was killed herself. Over 1,200 Albanians fell victim to the carnage in Ferizaj / Uroševac. The town is almost devoid of inhabitants now. There are only three Moslem Albanians over the age of fifteen left. In Gjilan / Gnjilane, too, where the Albanians put up no defence, almost all the inhabitants were killed by fire and sword. A very small number of fugitives survived the carnage. Now only ruins are left as witness to the destruction of Gjilan / Gnjilane.
The Serbian occupation of Prishtina was even bloodier. The Albanians estimate the number of their dead at 5,000. In all fairness, it must be noted that the flag on the parliament building was severely misused. After the white flag had been hoisted, Turkish officers suddenly opened fire on Serbian troops, apparently with the intention of thwarting the latters' cease-fire negotiations with the Albanians. Hundreds of Albanian families, even babies in their cradles, paid for this deed with their lives.
In Leskovac near Ferizaj / Uroševac, eight unarmed Albanians were stopped by Serbian soldiers and shot on the spot.

* * *

The town of Prizren offered no resistance to Serb forces, but this did not avert a bloodbath there. After Prishtina, Prizren was the hardest hit of the Albanian towns. The local population call it the 'Kingdom of Death'. Here the Serbian bands did their worst. They forced their way into homes and beat up anyone and everyone in their way, irrespective of age or sex. Corpses lined the streets for days while the Serbian victors were busy with other atrocities, and the native population which had survived did not dare to venture out of their homes. The attacks continued night after night throughout the town and region. Up to 400 people perished in the first few days of the Serbian occupation. Despite this, the commander, General Jankovic, with rifle in hand, forced notables and local tribal leaders to sign a declaration of gratitude to King Peter for their 'liberation by the Serbian army.' As Serbian troops were about to set off westwards, they could not find any horses to transport their equipment. They therefore requisitioned 200 Albanians, forcing them to carry goods weighing up to 50-60 kilos for seven hours during the night along bad roads in the direction of Luma. Seeing that the wretched group of bearers had managed to reach their goal, though most of them collapsed under the inhumane treatment they had suffered, the Serbian commander expressed his satisfaction and approval of the action.
A Fani woman called Dila took the road to Prizren with her sons, another relative and two men from the village of Gjugja in order to buy goods for her daughter's dowry. Before reaching Prizren, she applied for a laisser passer for herself and her companions from the command post of General Jankovic in order to proceed unimpeded. She was given the passes. When the group of five arrived in Suni, about four hours from Prizren, they were robbed of their possessions and the four men were tied up and thrown into a pit. Soldiers then shot the men from the edge of the pit. The mother, who had witnessed this scene, called out in desperation to her son. Seeing that he was no longer alive, she threw herself to the feet of the soldiers, begging them to kill her, too. They had tied her to a tree by the time some officers came by, having heard the shooting. The soldiers showed the officers a loaf of bread they had seized from the women, in which they had pressed two Mauser bullets as proof that the men had been trying to smuggle ammunition. The officers thereupon ordered the soldiers to go their way. The poor woman remained tied to the tree at the edge of the pit, in full view of her slain son, from Monday afternoon until Wednesday. On Wednesday, starving and exhausted by the chill of the late autumn nights, she was taken to Prizren. She was locked up that night and presented to the commander the next day. Although General Jankovic must have known that the poor woman standing before him was innocent, she was still not released. Instead, she was taken to the residence of the Serbian bishop where she remained in custody until the following day when she was given over to the Catholics, taken to a church and tended to.
In Prizren, there lived a baker named Gjoni i Prek Palit who supplied the Serbian troops with food. One day, a sergeant came by to order bread for the troops and happened to leave his rifle in the bakery. When soldiers later entered the bakery and saw the rifle, they arrested the baker for violating the weapons ban. He was taken to a military tribunal and executed. When Gini, the baker's brother, heard of the arrest, he ran to the sergeant and took him to the military police where the latter admitted the rifle was his and that he had only left it in the bakery for a short time. He knew the number of the rifle and recognized it immediately. Gini and his Serbian witness were then beaten up and chased away. Gini learned nothing of the fate of his arrested brother. Ten days later, the mother of the dead baker, who had been searching day and night for her son, came upon the body outside of town. She requested to be given the corpse so that she could give her son a Christian burial. This request was refused. A Catholic priest then hastened to the commander and in the name of religious freedom requested that the body be buried in the Catholic cemetery. He, too, was refused, and they were obliged to bury the body on the spot where they found it.
Officers also took part in the atrocities. It is said in Prizren that a soldier asked his officer for shoes or sandals. The officer replied he should confiscate the sandals from the next Albanian who happened to pass by. "Why else do you carry a rifle?" asked the officer, pointing to his own sandals.

* * *

Three Albanian villages in the vicinity of Prizren were totally destroyed and thirty local officials slain. They were accused of being pro-Austrian. In one of these villages, the soldiers forced the womenfolk out of their homes, tied them to one another and forced them to dance in a circle. They then opened fire and amused themselves by watching one victim after another fall to the ground in a pool of blood.
When it was reported to General Jankovic that the Luma tribe was preventing Serbian troops from advancing westwards towards the Adriatic, he ordered his men to proceed with extreme severity. All in all, twenty-seven villages on Luma territory were burnt to the ground and their inhabitants slain, even the children. It is here that one of the most appalling atrocities of the Serbian war of annihilation was committed against the Albanians. Women and children were tied to bundles of hay and set on fire before the eyes of their husbands and fathers. The women were then barbarously cut to pieces and the children bayoneted. My informant, a respected and thoroughly reliable man, added in his report: "It is all so inconceivable, and yet it is true!" 400 men from Luma who gave themselves up voluntarily were taken to Prizren and executed day after day in groups of forty to sixty. Similar executions are still being carried out there. Hundreds of bodies still lie unburied in the Prizren region. Gjakova / Djakovica is also in ruins and its population decimated.
Sixty Albanians were slain in Tërstenik / Trstenik, thirty-two in Smira, twenty in Vërban / Vrban, nineteen in Ljubishta / Ljubište and all the males in Kamogllava / Kameno Glava, which is home to fifty families. In the latter village, the men were forced to appear for roll call and to salute. They were then tied up and executed without trial. Not very many survived in Presheva / Preševo either.
The total number of Albanians slain in the vilayet of Kosovo is estimated at 25,000, a figure which is by no means exaggerated.

* * *

On 20 March 1913, the Albanische Korrespondenz published this item: We have received the following report from reliable Albanian sources in Skopje. Serbian troops and volunteers are committing unspeakable atrocities in the vicinity of Skopje against the population of the territories they have occupied. European circles have been particularly outraged by the following events which were reliably recorded. The Serbian army took the village of Shashare at the end of February. Having removed all men and boys from the village, the soldiers then proceeded to rape the women and girls. Serbian soldiers committed the same heineous crimes in the village of Letnica. It must be stressed that both Shashare and Letnica have an exclusively Slavic and Catholic population. Serbian troops, thus, do not even stop at committing such degenerate acts against their own Christian people. Shashare is a settlement of over one hundred families.
These savage troops have committed even worse crimes in other areas. Two hundred eighty farms belonging to Albanian Moslems were set on fire in twenty-nine villages in the Karadag (Black) mountains and all the male inhabitants who had not flown fell under a hail of bullets and under the bayonets of the soldiers. The Serbs marauded like the Huns from village to village. Other such pogroms have been carried out in the villages of Tërstenik / Trstenik, Senica, Vërban / Vrban, Ljubishta / Ljubište and Gjylekar / Djelekare. Two hundred thirty-eight men were pitilessly slaughtered here. In Sefer, an old women was burnt alive together with her Catholic servant. The suffering of the population knows no limits. In the village of Ljubishta / Ljubište, the atrocities have reached such a point that Moslem Albanian women have sold themselves to surviving Moslem men to serve them more or less as slaves. The Serbs took a man, an old woman and two children captive and burnt them alive in this village. In Gjylekar / Djelekare a pregnant women had her belly slit open with a bayonet and the offspring wrenched out of her body. In Prespa, an Albanian women whose husband had been taken away shot five Serbian soldiers. The Serbs then set the whole settlement aflame, ninety farms in all, and let it burn to the ground.
The Serbs are laying waste to whole regions and slaughtering their inhabitants. Their fury is directed against both the Moslems and the Catholics. The survivors remain behind in unspeakable misery and despair.
In a report published on 19 February 1913 by the Deutsches Volksblatt, we read: Few towns and villages (in the occupied areas) have escaped the attention of the Serbs completely and there are many Albanians who now press to take vengeance for the deaths of their wives and children. When the order was issued in the towns for the immediate surrender of all weapons, only very few people complied. Most of them hid their weapons at home or fled with them, for it is easier to separate an Albanian from his whole farm than from his rifle. In order to enforce the order, patrols were sent out to search homes. A gruesome fate awaited those caught with weapons. The military tribunal came to its findings within a matter of hours. One spectacular case took place in Tirana. Serbian soldiers went to the shop of a local merchant to buy goods. As they had no money with them, one of them left the merchant his rifle as security. Petrified at his own deed, the soldier subsequently went to his commander and brought charges against the merchant for stealing the rifle. A patrol was sent out in search of the Albanian and found him with the rifle in question. He was taken to a military tribunal and, despite his protestations that the rifle had only been left as security, was shot.
An Albanian from the village of Zalla, west of Kruja, shot a Serb who had broken into his home and was assaulting his wife, and took to flight. When the Serbs subsequently arrived at the scene of the crime and could not find the culprit, and - such is the sad truth - they slaughtered all the inhabitants, over one hundred persons including women and children, and set the village on fire.

* * *

The Serbian Thirst for Blood

The special correspondent of the Daily Telegraph reported the following: All the horrors of history have been outdone by the atrocious conduct of the troops of General Jankovic. On their march through Albania, the Serbs have treacherously slaughtered not only armed Albanians, but in their savagery even unarmed individuals - old people, women, children and babies at their mother's breasts.
Drunk with victory, Serbian officers have proclaimed that the only way of pacifying Albania is to exterminate the Albanians. They slaughtered 3,000 people in the region between Kumanova / Kumanovo and Skopje alone. 5,000 Albanians were murdered by the Serbs in the Prishtina area. These people did not die with honour on the battlefield, but were slain in a series of gruesome raids. The Serbian soldiers have found new methods of butchery to satisfy their thirst for blood. Houses were set on fire in several villages and the inhabitants slaughtered like rats when they tried to flee the flames. The men were slain before the eyes of their wives and children. The wretched women were then forced to look on as their children were literally hacked to pieces.
Executions were a daily entertainment for the Serbian soldiers. All inhabitants who had been found with weapons in their homes were executed. They were either shot or hanged. Up to thirty-six executions took place a day. How strange it is that the Serbian nationalists living in Hungary should complain about massacres in Albania. Mr Tomic, the former secretary to the Serbian Prime Minister Pašic, reported on his trip from Prizren to Peja / Pec that on both sides of the road he saw nothing but the remnants of burnt-out villages which had been razed to the ground.
The roads were lined with gallows from which the bodies of Albanians were hanging. The road to Gjakova / Djakovica had become a Boulevard of Gibbets.
The Belgrade newspapers reported quite without shame on the heineous atrocities of the Serbs. When Colonel Osbic's regiment took Prizren, he commanded his compatriots, "Kill!" When his order was heard, so the Belgrade papers report, "the Serbian soldiers stormed into homes and slaughtered every human being they could lay their hands on."
The Daily Telegraph then gives the authentic statement of an Albanian notable: Anyone who denounces an Albanian to the Serbs can be sure that the Albanian will be executed. There were people who owed money to Moslem Albanians. They went and denounced them to the Serbs as traitors. The wretched Albanians were immediately hanged and the informers later found ways of acquiring the home and land of their victims for a ridiculously low price.
In Skopje, unarmed Albanians were simply shot and killed by Serbian officers. If even a hunting knife was found in a home, its owner was executed.
In Ferizaj / Uroševac, the Serbian commander invited Albanian fugitives to return to their home and surrender their weapons. When over four hundred of them did return, they were slaughtered. There were no more than a dozen Moslem families left alive in Ferizaj / Uroševac. The war correspondent of the Messaggero has confirmed this report.
In Pana, the Serbs killed their prisoners, in Varosh / Varoš and Prishtina the population was literally decimated. Serbian officers admitted themselves that they were on the 'hunt' for Albanians, and one of them boasted having killed nine Albanians in one day with his own hands.
A doctor working for the Red Cross reported, according to the same source: The Serbs have been massacring throughout Albania with no sign of mercy. Neither women nor children nor old people have been spared. I have seen villages burning in Old Serbia every day. Near Kratovo, General Stefanovic had hundreds of prisoners lined up in two rows and machine gunned down. General Živkovic had 850 Albanian notables put to death in Senica because they had offered resistance.
The Albanische Korrespondenz reported from Trieste on 12 March: A letter from Kruja near Durrës (Durazzo) dated 27 February of this year was read out at the Albanian congress here. It read: All the buildings as well as the villas of Mashar Bey and Fuad Bey (n.b. who were taking part in the congress at the time) have been burnt to the ground. Ali Lam Osmani's brother was caught by the Serbs in Vinjoll near Kruja, buried to his thighs in the earth, and then shot. The letter concludes with the words: We shall never see one another again. Farewell until we meet in the other world!

The Marauding Serbs!

Ahmed Djevad, secretary of the Comité de Publication D. A. C. B. reports, according to several witnesses: The most incredible amounts of valuables have been robbed and stolen by the Serbs in Strumica. Major Ivan Gribic, commander of the fourth battalion of the fourteenth Serbian line regiment alone had eighty wagons filled with furniture and carpets transported back to Serbia. All the young women and girls of Strumica have been raped and forcibly baptized. The rest of the wretched Moslem population is dying of starvation, destitution and disease...
The Albanische Korrespondenz reported from Trieste on 21 March 1913: The suffering in Albania has reached an unspeakable zenith. The Serbian troops who took Durrës (Durazzo) were immediately ordered to proceed into the countryside although no provision had been made for their food and drink. They were therefore forced to rely on food they confiscated from the population, which they did with exception cruelty. They took nine-tenths of all the stocks available, and refused to give written receipts for the goods they requisitioned.
The Serbian troops not only confiscated goods for their own usage. They seized or destroyed all the food that fell into their hands. Ancient olive trees which had been planted in the Venetian period and had provided sustenance to generations were cut down by the Serbs. Farm animals were slain. No sheep, no chickens, no corn which the Serbs could get their hands on remained untouched. They conducted extensive raids and looted wherever they could. In Durrës (Durazzo), the Serbs loaded ships with carpets and other stolen goods for transportation to Salonika whence the cargo was transferred back to Belgrade. Even antique benches from the government offices in Durrës were confiscated and loaded onto the booty ships.
Fazil Toptani Pasha, to whom we showed this report for confirmation, stated: Everything written in this report is true. These facts are but a small portion of the outrages committed in our country by these barbarians. They flooded into Albania slaughtering, looting and burning, and have caused more destruction than anyone could possibly imagine.
Dervish Hima told us: Tell the public that a good proportion of the Albanian people is on the verge of starvation. Spring has come, the time to sow the land, and the Serbs have stolen all the seed. Even if the Albanians had seed, they would not sow it, for they now have a saying: "Even if something manages to grow, the Serbs will destroy it." Such is the fear of the Serbs among our people!

Wholesale Murder

A Romanian doctor, Dr Leonte, reported in the Bucharest newspaper Adevarul on 6 January 1913 that the horrors he saw committed by the Serbian army far outdid his worst fears. That hundreds of Moslem captives were forced to march a hundred kilometres was the least of what these wretches were to suffer. Whenever any of these poor individuals collapsed of hunger and exhaustion at the roadside, they were simply bayoneted by the first soldier passing, and the corpses were left to rot. The fields were still strewn with the bodies of slaughtered men and women, young and old, even children. When Serbian troops marched into Monastir / Bitola, all Turkish patients being treated in the hospitals were slain in order to make room for wounded Serbs. The soldiers stole whatever they could get their hands on. Even banks were robbed. A Bulgarian professor who made himself unpopular by proposing a toast to King Ferdinand has disappeared without a trace since the evening of the toast. Dr Leonte gives other reports of atrocities similar to those committed in Kumanova / Kumanovo, Prizren etc.

* * *

The well-known war correspondent Hermenegild Wagner reported from Zemun on 20 November 1912: During my three-day stay in Nish, I heard shocking details of the inhumane acts committed by Serbian troops. I wish to note in this connection that I have respected witnesses for all details referred to.
In the fortress of Nish was a fifty-year-old Albanian woman being held on suspicion of having thrown bombs at Serbian troops marching into Ferizaj / Uroševac. Instead of bringing the accused before a military tribunal, she was given over to Serbian soldiers who literally shattered her skull with the butts of their rifles.
A Turkish lieutenant named Abdul Kadri Bey was beaten to death in the fortress of Nish. The autopsy showed a broken nose and a traumatized liver. The victim was kicked to death.
An Albanian who attempted to escape was bayoneted to death. The body was dreadfully battered about by the soldiers even while it was being taken to the morgue.
In the hospital of Nish, a number of Serbs entered a ward where Turkish patients were being treated. One of the Serbs called out, making a joke, "That's the one who wounded me!" Thereupon, a whole group of Serbs attacked the helpless patient and kicked him to death.
A Red Cross doctor told me with horror that the prisoners and injured patients one encountered in Nish and Belgrade were only there for show. "The Serbs," he added, "know no mercy. All Albanians caught, whether armed or not, are butchered on the spot. Women, children, old people. Dreadful things are happening down there (in Old Serbia). I don't know how many villages have been razed to the ground by Serbian troops. I saw them burning day after day... Near Kratovo, General Stefanovic had hundreds of Albanian prisoners lined up in two rows and mowed down with machine guns. The general then declared: This brood must be exterminated so that Austria will never find her beloved Albanians again.
General Živkovic massacred 950 Albanian and Turkish notables near Senica when ten thousand Albanians slowed down the advance of Serbian troops.
The Serbs took very few of the wounded prisoner after the Battle of Kumanova / Kumanovo. King Peter himself visited the field hospital in Nish. One of the injured Serbs complained that the Albanians were firing upon the Serbs with rifles stolen from the Serbs themselves, and that he, too, had been wounded in this manner, to which King Peter replied: "The swine will pay for it!"
Serbian witnesses who were present at the battle told me with smiles on their faces how after the battle, all of the dead and injured Turks and Albanians were hurled into a shallow grave. The battlefield looked frightful after a heavy rainfall because the Turkish mass grave collapsed, leaving the hands, feet and skulls of distorted bodies sticking out of the mud.

Devastated Villages

In Skopje, a returning Serbian officer explained quite seriously to me the justice of burning down eighty villages in Luma territory.
On 14 February, the Deutsches Volksblatt published a report from southern Hungary, warning: The Serbian government must come to realize that their official denials only serve to destroy Serbian credibility even further. We saw examples of such rallies following the murder of the king. At that time, the government solemnly and officially denied that King Alexander and Queen Draga had been murdered by the perjured officers, insisting instead that they had been quarrelling and had killed one another...
With regard to the Albanian massacres, it is extremely sad to note that the description of events which has filtered through to the public is indeed in full accord with the facts and has only one shortcoming, that it is incomplete. Many Serbs have confirmed the events themselves, often with great pride. Let it suffice for us to quote a statement made by someone who himself took part in the first stages of the war and who, though a Serb from the Kingdom, prefers to exercise his profession in southern Hungary for the moment, under Austrian 'oppression', in order to avoid as far as possible the 'cultural and religious liberality' reigning in his native land. This classic witness took obvious satisfaction in declaring that Serbian soldiers had ruthlessly mowed down whole groups of Albanian farmers, whose only 'crime' was that weapons had been found in their homes. When I expressed my astonishment at his statement, he replied placidly, "Should we have wasted our time escorting these people to some distant garrison town? It was much less work this way. We were then free and could go for a drink!" This pragmatic attitude seems to be extremely widespread among Serbian soldiers. An injured patient at a Belgrade hospital told a visitor, "We left the Turks alone but slaughtered the Albanian dogs wherever we could get our hands on them." Another indication is to be seen in the letter by a Serbian officer, published in the journal Magyarorszag, whose Balkan correspondent was Ivan Ivanovic, Austrian deserter and former head of the Royal Serbian Press Office. In this letter, the officer declares that, after the occupation of Monastir / Bitola, he had with his own eyes seen his soldiers seize ten Turkish men, women and children each and burn them alive. Such statements can be heard from all the Serbs returning from the war. To their misfortune, they have not read the official Serbian denials published in the foreign press...

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An Albanian from near Skopje reported: "When we saw the Serbian soldiers approaching our village, everyone ran back home. I myself was not afraid and, wanting to get a look at the strangers, came out in front of the house. There they were already. I offered one of the soldiers a small coin. He struck me on the head and I fell to the ground, where the soldiers left me. Storming into the house, they murdered my mother and father, set the house on fire, and proceeded to slaughter everyone else. When I finally got back up on my feet, everything was in flames."
In Sefer in the region of Gjilan / Gnjilane, the Serbs set fire to a cottage and hurled its two elderly owners, who had not had time to flee, alive into the conflagration. They tied the hands of one man together, told him to run away, and then shot him as he ran off.
Varying explanations were given this month for the burning down of the following towns and villages: Limbishte, Koliq / Kolic, Tërpeza / Trpeza and Gjylekar / Djelekare. In the last three villages, everyone was slaughtered, including women and children.
In the village of Bobaj in the district of Gjakova / Djakovica, four Serbian soldiers who had been caught trying to rape the women, were beaten up. This was enough for a punitive expedition to be sent in and Bobaj was put to the torch. All the inhabitants were slaughtered. When they had finished their work, the soldateska came upon seventy Catholic Albanians from Nikaj, who were going to market. Here, too, the soldiers carried out their bloody handwork.
In Peja / Pec, Serbian soldiers carried off three women. The Montenegrins also carried off three girls.
In Luma territory, thirty-two communities were burnt to the ground, and anyone who was captured there was slain.
In Dibër / Debar, too, Serbian soldiers committed dreadful atrocities. They stole whatever they could get their hands on. Then fresh troops arrived and set twenty-four villages on fire, killing all the inhabitants...
In Prizren, the Catholic priest was not allowed to administer communion to the dying. Whoever approached the parish priest was brought before a military tribunal.

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The following report was received from Durrës (Durazzo) on 6 March: Serbian troops have burnt the following villages to the ground: Zeza, Larushk, Monikla, Sheh and Gromni. In Zeza, twenty women and girls were locked in their homes and burnt alive.
The inhabitants of the village of Kruja-Kurbin have taken to the mountains, in order to save their lives, leaving behind all their possessions.

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On 12 March, the Albanische Korrespondenz reported from Trieste: Letters from Tirana inform us that Serbian troops have recently been committing atrocities in the vicinity. The inhabitants of Kaza Tirana had offered accommodation to a unit of Albanian volunteers and given them food and drink. When the Serbian military commander got word of this, he had his troops encircle the village, whereupon all the houses, including the estate belonging to Fuad Toptani Bey, were burnt to the ground. Seventeen people died in the fire. Ten men and two women were executed.

The Serbs Are Also Murdering Christians

On 20 March, the Reichspost published a letter from Albania, reading as follows:

The parish priest of the sanctuary of Cernagora or Setnica, Don Tommaso, was robbed by Serbian soldiers of all the funds belonging to the church. The soldiers drew their bayonets, forced him to open the safe and took out all the money belonging to the pilgrimage site.
The parish priest of Gjakova / Djakovica was threatened with death. He was told, "Either you give up your links with the Austrian protectorate or we will roast your brains!" The courageous reaction of the priest blew the wind out of their sails, however.
For three months now, the Serbs have been hindering the parish priest of Ferizaj / Uroševac in his freedom to exercise his office. They have been jailing anyone who talks to him or who goes to mass or confession. The same thing has happened to two priests from Prizren.
All imaginable pressure has been exerted against the Catholics of Janjeva / Janjevo (four hundred families, almost all of whom are ethnic Slavs) to convert to the schismatic church.
For hundreds of years now, about 8,000 Catholics, so-called Laramans or secret Catholics, have been living in this archdiocese. Because of Turkish persecution, they did not profess their faith openly. When the Serbs arrived, several hundred of these Laramans wanted to declare openly that they were Catholic. When a representative of the new government got word of this, they were ordered, "Either Moslem or Orthodox. Not Catholic!"
Near the sanctuary of Letnica is the village of Shashare (ninety families, all of them Catholic). Serbian soldiers took the village, assembled the men on a field and tied them up with ropes. They then looted the homes and brutally raped the women and girls.
Countless Albanian Catholics have been murdered. In Ponoshec / Ponoševac, for instance, thirty men were slaughtered one day while they were going about their business in the village. Their only crime was to admit that they were Albanian Catholics.
Near Zhur / Žur, entire families of innocent Catholic tribesmen who had come down to Prizren to purchase salt, oil, sugar etc. were treacherously murdered on their way. The same thing happened near Gjakova / Djakovica where a further seventy Catholics from the parish of Nikaj were slaughtered. The Catholics are persecuted, whereas the native Orthodox are left alone.
In the vicinity of Dibër / Debar and Monastir / Bitola, as well as in Kosovo, many villages have now been burnt to the ground. The looting is unspeakable. It is sufficient to note that sheep are now being sold at a price of two francs each because nobody knows what to do with them all. So many have been stolen from the Albanians by the Serbs and Montenegrins.
They are now trying to stop us from speaking Albanian. A number of schools teaching Albanian have already been closed down.

The letter ends with the words, "May God have mercy upon us, and may Europe come and save us. Otherwise we are lost!"

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In its issue of 21 March, the Neue Freie Presse reports: We have been told by informed sources that, according to recent reports, Catholics and Moslems are being persecuted both in the district of Gjakova / Djakovica and in the district of Dibër / Debar. Many deaths occur every day. The population has fled, leaving behind all their possessions. It is not only the Albanians who are the object of such persecution, but also Catholic and Moslem Slavs.

Slaughtered Priests

On 20 March, the Neue Freie Presse reported: On 7 March, the soldateska joined fanatic Orthodox priests in and around Gjakova / Djakovica to forcefully convert the Catholic population to the Orthodox faith. About 300 persons, men, women and children, among whom Pater Angelus Palic, were bound with ropes and forced under threat of death to convert. An Orthodox priest pointed to the soldiers standing by with their rifles in hand and said, "Either you sign the declaration that you have converted to the one true faith or these soldiers of God will send your souls to hell."
All the prisoners then signed the forms prepared for them which contained a declaration of conversion to the Orthodox faith. Pater Angelus was the last. He was the only one of them who had the strength, in a calm and dignified manner, to refuse to give up his faith. Pater Angelus stood by his word, even when ordered three times to convert and even when entreated by the other forcefully converted Catholics. The result was one of the most appalling scenes imaginable in twentieth-century Europe.
After a sign from the Orthodox priest, the soldiers fell upon the Franciscan, ripped off his tunic and began beating him with the butts of their rifles. Pater Angelus collapsed after several of his bones and ribs had been fractured. At this moment, the Orthodox priest stopped the soldiers and asked him if he was now willing to convert. Again he shook his head and said placidly, "No, I will not abandon my faith and break my oath." Pater Angelus was beaten with the rifle butts again until one of the soldiers plunged a bayonet through the priest's lungs and put an end to his suffering.

A Serbian Decree For More Bloodshed

A decree was issued to the local authorities in the district of Kruja in western Albania, reading: "If anything occurs in the future or if but one Serbian soldier is killed in the town, in a village or in the vicinity, the town will be razed to the ground and all men over the age of fifteen will be bayoneted." The decree was signed: Kruja, 5 January 1913. Commanding officer: A. Petrovic, Captain, first class.
Kruja is the birthplace of Scanderbeg, the national hero, whose castle still stands in the town. It is a place venerated by all Albanians!

Serbian Voices

The Deutsches Volksblatt reported on 8 February: The Serbian Minister of Culture and Education, Ljuba Jovanovic, has published a declaration in a Slav newspaper, stating: "The Moslems will of course be treated the same as everyone else with regard to their rights as citizens. As to their religious affairs, the Vakuf properties (belonging to religious foundations) will remain under Moslem jurisdiction and their monasteries will be held in the same respect as are the Christian ones. With the exception of the regular troops, the Moslems have not put up any resistance to Serbian occupation and, as a result, were not harmed by Serbian forces. The Albanians, for their part, have resisted the Serbian occupation and even shot at soldiers after having surrendered. Such shootings have taken place not only outdoors but also from within houses in occupied villages. This has led to what happens everywhere when non-combatants oppose a victorious army" (i.e. the massacre of the Albanians).
The Belgrade newspaper Piemont, which serves as the mouthpiece of radical circles within the army, dealt in its issue of 20 March with the problem of Shkodër (Scutari) and declared that Shkodër must fall to Montenegro. "If this does not happen," continued the newspaper, "the town must be razed to the ground."

Serbian Officers Boast of their Vile Deeds

The Albanische Korrespondenz reports from Durrës (Durazzo): The carnage perpetrated by the Serbs in Albania is outrageous. Serbian officers boast openly of their deeds. Serbian troops have acted infamously in Kosovo in particular. A Serbian officer reported here: "The womenfolk often hid their jewellery and were not willing to hand it over. In such cases, we shot one member of the family and, right away, were given all the valuables." Particularly shocking was the behaviour of the Serbs on Luma territory. The men were burnt alive. Old people, women and children were slaughtered. In Kruja, the birthplace of Scanderbeg, a good number of men and women were simply shot to death and many houses set on fire. The Serbian commander, Captain Petrovic, published an ukaz officially announcing the evil deeds. In Tirana, several Albanians were sentenced to corporal punishment. The Serbs thrashed the wretched individuals until they died. In Kavaja and Elbasan, people were also officially beaten to death by the soldiers. A well-known, respected and wealthy gentleman, son of a Turkish officer, was shot in Durrës (Durazzo). The Serbian command later made his sentence known by wall posters on which they wrote that he had been accused of theft and sentenced to death. The Serbs have destroyed Catholic churches, saying that they are Austrian constructions and must disappear from the face of the earth. Serbian soldiers and officers harass the population day and night.
A Serbian soldier was recently found murdered. The Serbian commander ordered the immediate arrest of five Albanians who had nothing to do with the murder and had them shot.

A Bloodbath in Shkodër (Scutari)

The Albanische Korrespondenz reports from Podgorica: After the battle of Brdica, which resulted in a sound defeat for the Serbs, Serbian forces entered the village of Barbullush on their retreat. The terrified inhabitants came out of their homes with crucifixes in their hands and begged for mercy, but to no avail. The crazed troops attacked the unarmed villagers and slaughtered men, women, old people and children. The maimed body of an eight-year-old child was found to contain no less than six bayonet wounds.

The Serbian Denials

In recent times, the Serbian government has countered most reports of atrocities with official denials. Such disavowals have always been issued promptly, but all too often they lacked any semblance of credibility. Such grave and detailed accusations cannot be repudiated by a simple statement that the events in question did not occur.
The present and by no means complete selection of reports from various sources, not only Austrian, but also Italian, German, Danish, French and Russian, should have more weight in any court of human justice than all the formal denials issued by the Royal Serbian Press Office.
In an official denial dated 8 February, the Serbian Press Office declared that, "Such atrocities alleged to have been perpetrated by the Serbian army are simply unthinkable today on the part of a people who are exceptionally religious and tolerant." We can only answer: An army whose officers assault their king and queen in the middle of the night, murder them, maim their corpses with fifty-eight sabre cuts and then throw them out the window is quite capable of such atrocities, in particular since the leader of the bloodbath which took place in the konak of Belgrade was none other than Colonel Popovic, one of the leaders of the Serbian attack on Albania and currently commander of Serbian occupation forces in Durrës (Durazzo).

Vienna 1913