September 2009

Thanks to Liz for all three items.

Ramadan 2009: America and Islam
Saudi Gazette | 06 Sept 09
James J. Zogby

I HAD the distinct honor of being invited to address this year’s Iftar dinner at the Pentagon, together with Ms. Farah Pandith, the State Department’s Special Representative to Muslim Communities, and Ms. Dalia Mogahed, of the Gallup Corporation. In attendance were over 125 American Muslims, members of every branch of the US military, and their guests from the White House, Congress and other government agencies.

The evening provided an opportunity for reflection on the changes that are occurring among American Muslims and in the US’ relationship with Islam.

When I first came to this city, over 30 years ago, there were no Iftars, nor was there any formal recognition of Ramadan or the Eids by anyone, anywhere. I can recall going to the Reagan White House to propose a presidential Eid message and being asked to write it. And then reminding them each year after that.

The practice was broadened and institutionalized during the Clinton years, with President Bush adding an Iftar dinner, which he hosted each year of his presidency.

At this point, there are Iftars all over this city — the White House, State Department, Congress, National Security Agency, and more.

A primary factor accounting for this change and the growing recognition being given to Ramadan, is the presence and vitality of a growing Muslim community. There are thousands of Muslims serving in the US military and hundreds serving in every branch and agency of the US government.

It is not just that the US is heavily engaged in the Muslim World, it is that America’s Muslim community is no longer invisible. Their presence, hard work and contributions to our country are being recognized. And with that, their faith is being appreciated.

Yeah, that’s what did it — that’s what made us “appreciate” their “faith” — it was all that hard work and “contributions”. Nothing at all to do with the more “explosive” contributions, or this:

A tribute to American Muslims, yes — but also a tribute to the capacity of America to grow and change…America possesses an alchemy, of sorts, with its remarkable capacity to transform people and itself. With citizenship you get more than a passport and the right to vote — you become American. And that is not all, because, in the process, America becomes changed. As each new wave of immigrants has come to our shores and become Americans, the very character and definition of the country and its culture has changed.

Yeah, that’s all this is — it’s just like every other immigration wave before it. And here he sums up the American arch in a nutshell:

…Twenty-four years ago, for example, I was called to Dearborn Michigan, where the leading candidate for mayor in that year’s election had just sent out a mailing to every household in the city. Blazoned across the front page were the words “The Arab Problem” — which he went on to describe as the danger posed by a large influx of Arab immigrants flooding the city, who don’t share “our darn good way of life”.

As that community grew and prospered and changed, the city and mayor changed, as well. Years later, I went to Dearborn to receive, from that same mayor, the official “masbaha” of the city of Dearborn. He opened the ceremony with greetings in Arabic, quoted the Qur’an and then spoke of the contributions Arab-Americans had made to his city. (Note: in this year’s Dearborn elections, five of the fourteen candidates for city council are Arab-Americans!).

Fall in!

On another occasion, I was called to Michigan to deal with a crisis that had erupted in the schools during Ramadan. Muslim children who wanted to fast had asked to have a study period during lunchtime. Instead, they were made to sit in a corner of the cafeteria. Other children began to taunt them, some threw food at them. Fights broke out and some of the Muslim children had been suspended.

When I met with the Arab-American children and their parents, one 14-year-old girl told me that she had spoken with the principal and suggested a solution.

The problem, she said, was that the non-Muslim children “don’t understand our culture. Maybe we can help them learn about us.” To which the principal responded “our job is to teach you our culture, not to learn your culture”.

With past immigrations, incidents like this were pervasive and they built character. Every new group to the melting pot got a whole lot of shit. Yet somehow, with this immigrant group the opposite is happening.

That 14-year-old Yemeni-American girl was right and her principal was dead wrong.

When America is at its best, it is growing, learning, changing and becoming more diverse and better.

And so, as I looked out at the Pentagon audience of young men and women, dressed in the uniform of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and saw the pride their commanding officers had in them, and heard the stories of their service and valor, I thought of that 14-year-old Michigan Muslim girl (who, incidentally, is now a grown woman teaching US military personnel about Arabs and Islam) — and of the America that is embracing Muslims, transforming itself and becoming new. And I was proud.

In continuance of the free world’s Mountain coming to Muhammad, Brits this year are being invited to join in the fast during Ramadan. Vital practice for what will soon no longer be a mere invitation:

Non-Muslims invited to join Ramadan fasting

NON-MUSLIMS have been invited to find out what Islam is really about by fasting with The Wycombe Islamic Society next week.

The organisation is encouraging people of other beliefs and religions to join them for Iftar, the meal which ends a days fasting during Ramadan on Thursday September 10.

During Ramadan - the holiest month in the Muslim calendar - believers must abstain from all food, drink, gum chewing and any kind of tobacco use or sexual contact between dawn and sunset.

They are also not allowed to gossip, lie, or slander. [Though killing infidels is allowed before, during and after sunset.]

The aim of the event is to give an insight into how Muslims feel during the religious period.

A short presentation will take place at the end of the feast [at the] new Wycombe Islamic Centre off Totteridge Road at 6.15pm. A meal will follow at 7.30pm - when the sun sets. …

Mr Jawed said he hoped the event will help foster better community relations.

“It will give people a valuable experience into another faith which is prevalent in our community but suffers from misconceptions,” he said.

He added: “People will have a chance to experience the real Islam which is about prayer, fasting and charity.”
Anyone who wants to take part can contact Mr Jawed at….

Prayer for our demise, fasting to get god to help them, and charity to Hamas, Hezbollah et al.

We’ve got a taker! The arch is complete. In Canada, here is just the latest recruit:

It was smooth sailing for this new Muslim, until Ramadan came along. But Alex Carter is fasting

For the past nine months, Alex Carter has been taking a crash course on how to be a Muslim.

He has spent much of his time focusing on the basics of the new faith he accepted last December at an Islamic conference in front of thousands of people.

He’s learning how to pray, slowly getting used to the Arabic alphabet and immersing himself in the local Muslim community.

Until now, it had been smooth sailing.

But as Ramadan approached, Carter began to get a little worried about fasting for the first time. Some Muslims consider it the most physically and mentally challenging time of the year.

“There is a lot of preamble before the month,” said Carter, 27, who grew up in the suburbs of Vancouver, and was raised Christian. “As you get closer (to Ramadan), everyone is talking about how long you have to fast, what day it has to start and how many days it will last…

“My wife and I started fasting together,” he said. “And every time we would get hungry, we would just look at each other and say we’re hungry.”

It was comforting to know they weren’t alone. “For me, the strength really comes from the community,” he said. “To know there are millions of people out there and we are doing this together really helps.”

And good to remember why he was doing it. “It really makes you think about the blessings, the food, water, sustenance that we have,” he said.

On a few days, he has taken a few sips of water to get him through the day. He knows it isn’t technically allowed, but for him it is a small concession in the life-long process of becoming Muslim.

This is the second of three Ramadan profiles to run this month.

Keep on rocking in the free world…

Received from Betsy:

Croatian medic ‘denied Serb help’
By Mark Lowen
BBC News, Belgrade

Croatian police and the country’s health ministry are investigating claims that a doctor refused to treat a stroke patient because he was a Serb.

If the complaint is upheld, the doctor involved could be struck off.

The United Nations refugee agency - the UNHCR - has expressed “grave concern” over what it calls an “inter-ethnic incident”.

The Serb, Bosko Radic, was admitted to his local clinic in the town of Vrhovina, central Croatia, on Sunday.
He was suffering from stroke-like symptoms.

According to local media, after examining him, the overnight doctor said there was nothing wrong, suggesting he return home.

The local mayor then intervened, asking for the patient to be referred to a larger hospital.

Again, the doctor refused, allegedly telling the mayor to “get out”, and calling him a “Chetnik” - the name of the World War II Serbian nationalist resistance force , also used to refer to Serb paramilitary groups during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

The patient was eventually taken to a nearby hospital and diagnosed with a stroke. He has now been released.

Following a complaint from the mayor, Croatian authorities have launched an official investigation.

Mr Radic was a Serb who fled Croatia during the war but has since returned.

Many international organisations say they are worried that only around half of the Serbs who left Croatia have gone back, with over 100,000 still displaced.

This is exactly the same phenomenon as when a Muslim doctor denied a patient care because the patient was a Jew:

When Your Doctor is a Muslim: Medical Terrorism Comes to America (Muslim doctor lets Jewish man die)

By Debbie Schlussel
May 17, 2007

Sometimes — so many times — diversity is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Just ask Joseph Applebaum. Well, you could ask him. But you won’t get an answer. He’s dead. And he’s dead because he was a Jew, and his doctor is a Muslim and grad of “Ayman Al-Zawahiri” Medical School.

But Applebaum wasn’t denied treatment for being a Jew in Egypt. Or elsewhere in the Muslim world. It happened right here on U.S. soil. In Chicago.

As Muslim doctors continue to flood into the country under lax immigration laws, hospitals around the country have acquired their fair share of them. Many hospitals in the Detroit area are now dominated by Muslim doctors and have been for some time.

But even in hospitals where they do not predominate, Muslim doctors are starting to demonstrate behavior toward non-Muslim patients that is beyond alarming.

On December 1, 2003, Joe Applebaum was admitted to Rush North Shore Medical Center, a major hospital in Chicago. He was stricken with an acute (or distended) abdomen — a swelling of the stomach that is easily diagnosed and treated. But it was never treated by anyone at the hospital. For 12 hours, Joe Applebaum was left alone — left to die, which he did the next day.

A Jewish man, he was identified as a Jew on the front page of his medical chart. The chief resident doctor assigned to treat Mr. Applebaum, Osama Ahmed Ibrahim, MD, sure noticed the religious notation on Applebaum’s chart. And it appears that this is why he never once checked or examined this emergency patient, Mr. Applebaum, and left him to die. When another doctor at the hospital finally examined Mr. Applebaum — not his assigned doctor, Dr. Ibrahim, he told Applebaum’s son, Michael, to say good-bye to his father because he was about to die.

Dr. Ibrahim, is a Muslim from Birmingham, England — a hotbed of Islamic radicalism and terror planning. It is breeding ground for anti-Semitic hate. He is a graduate of Ain Shams University Medical School in Egypt. This extremist school is also the alma mater of Al-Qaeda mastermind and number two, Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri’s father — a Muslim Brotherhood enthusiast — also taught at the University.

Why did Dr. Ibrahim neglect a patient who came in with an easily treatable condition and leave him to die, 12 hours later? It appears it can only be because he did not want to treat a Jewish patient and let him live. There can be no other reason.

Mr. Applebaum’s son, Michael, is a medical doctor and an attorney. While he was waiting for Dr. Ibrahim to see his father, he called Dr. Ibrahim and alerted him to the growingly severe condition his father was in and that his father was suffering from an acute abdomen. Dr. Ibrahim claimed he examined Mr. Applebaum. But that was a lie. He’d never seen him.

And he essentially murdered him by denying treatment. It’s a case of extreme negligence and medical malpractice for the apparent purpose of anti-Semitic murder.

Joseph Applebaum’s son Michael is now suing Dr. Ibrahim, the hospital — Rush North Shore Medical Center, and others involved in his father’s murder…This isn’t the only case where a Muslim doctor deliberately let his Jewish patient die, it is just the first that we know of. And it likely won’t be the last. […]

Now, before Balkans novices start trying to distance what happened to the Serbian patient from what happened to the Jewish patient — by saying, “Well, why is that so strange? Everyone knows those people in the Balkans have profound mutual hatred for each other” — before anyone goes saying that, let me just underscore that this kind of discrimination almost always happens to Serbs and not by Serbs. Just like Jewish doctors don’t do this to Arab or Muslim patients, but vice versa. No doubt we would have heard about it if a Serbian doctor pulled a stunt like this on a Croat, Albanian or Bosniak. Indeed, if this were “standard” for the Balkans, it’s unlikely Mr. Radic would have expected any other kind of ‘treatment’ from a Croatian doctor to begin with, and wouldn’t have been caught off-guard by this.

Of course, the difference between the anti-Jewish example and the anti-Serbian example is that when it comes to denying Serbs medical care, the U.S. joins in. When Elizabeth Dole was president of American Red Cross and needed permission from the Milosevic government for the aid trucks to cross through Serbia to get to Bosnia (a much shorter route than over Hungary and Croatia), Milosevic allowed all foreign aid for Bosnia to pass through his starving, sanction-besieged Serbia. The aid also passed by the bleeding Serbs of Bosnia, to be delivered directly to Bosnian Muslims. Milosevic did ask Dole if she could leave some bandages, gauze and medicine for the Serbian maternity hospital, where they had no proper supplies due to sanctions. She flatly refused, saying the aid is for Bosnian-Muslim children, and commanded the convoy through Serbia to the Muslims in Bosnia.

Svetlana Novko remembers this incident well, writing, “All of us knew about it when it was taking place, it was throughout Serbian media, which criticized Milosevic for allowing some of the most humiliating convoys the use of Serbian state territory. The scandalous behavior was also noted in some independent or semi-independent Western media after the fact.”

From the Australian Macedonian Advisory Council:

Say My Name by Dean Kalimniou

…Just three months after the official state visit of Greek PM Karamanlis to Albania, a visit touted as a great success by his government, and his undertaking to support Albania’s accession to the EU, the Albanian PM, Sali Berisha, former doctor of the paranoid Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, has chosen to reciprocate, by announcing his plans to change all Greek toponyms in Albania to ones derived from “ancient Albanian.”

The ludicrousness of such a decision is immediately apparent. Firstly, no archaeological or literary records exist, attesting to an ancient Albanian language…The vast majority of toponyms in Southern Albania and coastal Albania are of Greek origin, simply because these places were or are founded and inhabited by Greeks…To change the names of these places is to deny their history.

One may ask why this is particularly offensive. After all, Greece too has indulged in intensive name changing, especially of Turkish and Slavic toponyms. The answer lies in the fact that most of these toponyms have been altered subsequent to the passage of those ethnic groups from the regions in question. Slavs have not existed in any significant numbers in Epirus for hundreds of years. Yet the prevalence of Slavic toponyms and words in the local patois attests to a time when Serbian kings such as Stefan Dušan incorporated much of Greece into their empire. The changing of these is thus inoffensive, since the intention is not to deny the Serbian occupation of Greece, which is a historical fact, but rather, to revert toponyms to their original forms.

In Berisha’s case, the opposite seems to be the case. Given that Northern Epirus forms part of the same cultural and geographical entity as southern Epirus, the prevalence of Slavic toponyms such as Lambovo, Gorantzi, and Kossovitsa for Greek villages, is also acute. If Berisha sought to revert to original names for these places, pre-dating their inclusion within Serbian and Bulgarian medieval empires, the only names he should find would be Greek, as up until the twentieth century, Albanians had not existed in any appreciable numbers in this geographic region. Berisha’s intent is thus clear: By imposing upon villages in which Greeks still reside, Albanian names, he seeks to deny their inhabitants their basic right to freely choose their ethnic and cultural affiliation. In short, he seeks to deny the historical Greek character of those villages and towns

Acknowledging a people’s current and historical presence in a region does not in any way impinge upon a nation’s sovereignty. At no stage since the fall of the Albanian communist regime have the slightest hint of irredentist or secessionist intentions been made by either Greece or the Northern Epirotes. Berisha’s act is thus racist and highly offensive and it is embarrassing for the Greek government to undertake to support the accession of such a politically immature country to the EU.

Indeed, the Greek government’s lack of protest at yet another abrogation of the human rights of ethnic Greeks in Albania exposes their stated ‘concern’ as to the welfare of Greeks living beyond the borders of Greece, as mere rhetoric…Greek foreign ministry officials are quick to meddle in the political affairs of the Greek minority but rather slow to defend them when their rights are compromised. Northern Epirote organisations within the region and around the world have expressed their indignation at the fact that not once during Karamanlis’ expression of empty platitudes, did he substantially address the vast gamut of problems endured by the Greeks of Albania.

Even more concerning is the fact that Berisha’s announcement comes just days after the Albanian Cabinet rejected an application by His Beatitude, the Orthodox Archbishop of Albania, Anastasios, to build a private educational institution. The Orthodox Church in Albania and its saintly Primate have played a key role in the reconstruction of Albania and the provision of welfare to all Albanian citizens, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation. Nonetheless, the Church’s application was rejected, not on its merits, but rather because the proposed name of the school was to be “Logo” (from λόγος the Greek word for the ‘Divine Word.’) […]

Imagine the uproar if countries hosting large Albanian minorities — even though those minorities are always irredentist and secessionist — started de-Albanizing the names of places. But this is what Albanians do to the far less seditious minorities living among them. The writer summarized Albania best: racist and politically immature — indeed, politically tantrumous. Now, what does that say about Albania’s even more volatile, evil, degenerate spawn, “Kosova”?

And yet “mature” countries like the U.S. are trying to con the world into thinking this non-country is all ready for international organizations like the IMF and NATO — a way of legitimizing Kosovo by stealth as usual, making statehood a fait accompli:

U.S. Hosts Republic of Kosovo’s Signing Ceremony of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

June 29, 2009

MODERATOR: Good morning, and thank you for joining us today. As a depositary for the Bretton Woods Accords, the United States is pleased to host this ceremony for the Republic of Kosovo’s signature and acceptance of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Before we begin, I would like to introduce Deputy Secretary James Steinberg, who will be accepting Kosovo’s instruments of acceptance of the agreements. I would also like to introduce President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, who will be signing the agreements for Kosovo.

At this time, I would like to invite President Sejdiu and Prime Minister Thaci to sit at the Treaty Table and sign the International Monetary Fund and World Bank agreements. The president and prime minister are now signing the International Monetary Fund agreement.

MODERATOR: The president and prime minister are now signing the World Bank agreement.


DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Well, thank you all very much. Thank you, Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister. On behalf of Secretary Clinton, I’m just delighted to be here at this really momentous occasion to congratulate you and the people of Kosovo for this magnificent achievement. It’s one of the nice privileges that goes with being the Deputy Secretary of State here in the United States and our role in the IMF and the World Bank to be able to serve as the depositary for the IMF and the World Bank and to have the honor of accepting these agreements.

And this is a – it’s a very memorable occasion, indeed. The documents that you’ve just signed are documents to two of the most important international institutions that we have. The World Bank and the IMF reflect the cooperation of the broader international community to address the economic challenges that we all face, and they will be important partners for you, as you continue the journey that you’ve embarked on over the last decade to build a stronger and more capable Kosovo for all of your people, and they will be important partners for you. And it really represents your growing integration into the international community, which is something that we all welcome and are delighted to see happen.

This is really a sign of your being a contributor and a participant in some of the most important work that the international community does. This will help you develop a sound budget and sustainable fiscal policies and to work with you. And we stand ready to support your efforts, and have pledged $150 million to help Kosovo reduce its debt. So you have an opportunity here to use the bank and the fund to help build a strong economic climate for investment in your country, to build transparent rule-of-law institutions that will attract investment and create jobs. And this is something that the United States is very deeply committed to.

The Vice President was honored to be able to visit you recently. And the Secretary and I are committed on behalf of the State Department to continue those efforts as well. So congratulations to you for this fine achievement, and we look forward to our cooperation both in the IMF and the Bank and bilaterally in the days and months ahead. Thank you. (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER THACI: (Via interpreter) Honorable Mr. Steinberg, Honorable representatives of the World Bank and the Monetary Fund, now the – now Kosovo has built its own institutions which are transparent and efficient. We have the rule of law and we have the perspective of implementing the democratic institutions. This is the new history of Kosovo, and we have worked for this together very much. Kosovo’s membership in IMF and the World Bank has not only economic repercussions, but also political. It strengthens the sovereignty of our country, opens up prospects for the economic development of the country, and creates the work for an independent Kosovo. […]

The KLA just announced that Kosovo’s institutions are already transparent and efficient and that the rule of law exists in Kosovo. Well that’s a relief — phew!

I didn’t have a chance last month to mark the passing of a great American, and great Serb. Alexander Dragnich, whom I had the honor of interviewing for a story in 1999, passed away on August 10th at the age of 97. Below is the obituary his family submitted to the Washington Post:

Alex N. Dragnich, 97, a retired professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, died August 10 at the Collington Episcopal retirement community in Bowie, MD.

A specialist in Slavic studies, and an authority on the multinational state known as Yugoslavia from its origins in 1918 to its demise in 2003, Prof. Dragnich was a prolific author. He published his last article, on relations between Serbia and Montenegro, just a few months before he died.

Prof. Dragnich joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1950, retiring in 1978 after having served as chairman of the political science department from 1964-69. Reflecting his multiple elections to Vanderbilt’s Faculty Council and University Senate, he received the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1970 for “distinguished service to Vanderbilt through extraordinary contributions as a member of the faculty in the councils and government of the university.” He also served as President of the Southern Political Science Association, and Vice-President of the American Political Science Association, during the 1960s. He held the Chester Nimitz Chair at the Naval War College in Newport, RI from 1959-60, and afterwards remained a consultant to the Department of Defense.

He was a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California from 1978-81. He was a Distinguished Lecturer at Washington & Lee University (Lexington, VA) in 1982. Following a brief retirement in Spokane, WA, he settled in Charlottesville, VA where he continued scholarly research and writing. In 1988, he and his late wife became charter residents of the Collington Episcopal retirement community in Bowie, MD. From there, he continued to author books, journal articles, Op-Eds, and a steady stream of letters to the editor. Among his eleven books, Prof. Dragnich is probably best known as the original author of the textbook, Major European Governments (1961), which added more authors and is still in print, and used worldwide, forty-eight years and nine editions later.

Prof. Dragnich became an expert on Yugoslavia during World War II while serving in Washington as a foreign affairs analyst for the Department of Justice and the Office of Strategic Services. Following the war’s end in 1945, he taught at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio until joining the US Foreign Service in 1947. From then until he returned to academia in 1950, he was Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. That experience spawned his first book, a scathing critique of the new communist regime, Tito’s Promised Land, in 1954.

He continued to write on Yugoslavia and Serbia for the rest of his life, including a short monograph written in 1992 for general readership, Serbs and Croats: The Struggle in Yugoslavia, that went through multiple printings. A frequent panelist at Washington policy gatherings, Prof. Dragnich made guest appearances on the then MacNeil/Leher News Hour as the Balkans erupted into conflict. Prof. Dragnich was critical of US foreign policy in the region, believing that the Dayton Accords of 1995 would not have been necessary had the US played a more constructive role in the early stages of Yugolavia’s disintegration. The Serbian Government awarded him the “Yugoslav Star, First Class” in 2002 in recognition of his efforts to foster a positive image of Yugoslavia and Serbia in the United States.

The son of Serbian immigrants from Montenegro, Prof. Dragnich was born in 1912 on his parents’ homestead outside Republic, Washington. When he was nine, the Ferry County truant officer found their log cabin in the mountains and informed his father that education was compulsory in America. He and two siblings entered a rural, one-room schoolhouse not knowing a word of English, the first of their kin to ever sit in a classroom. Although his education was frequently interrupted by Depression-era poverty, including an entire year spent cutting logs and building roads during college, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1938, and completed work on his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley in 1942 (wartime service delayed his Ph.D. until 1945).

A keen gardener whose belief in homegrown vegetables reflected his farming roots, Prof. Dragnich left the growing of flowers to his wife, Adele Jonas Dragnich, who died in 2000.

Survivors include a daughter, Alix Lombardo of New York City, and a son, George Dragnich of Geneva, Switzerland, and three grandchildren, Marisa, Paul, and Alexander. A son, Paul Dragnich, predeceased him.

Aleksandra Rebic also posted the obit on her site, in far more timely fashion than I have, and she closes with a recommendation:

A must read, especially now in the 21st century, is The Saga of Kosovo by Alex Dragnich and Slavko Todorovich, Columbia University Press, New York, 1984. A remarkable book, especially in light of future [subsequent] events.

Albania Muslims Can Wear Headscarf In New IDs
Tirana | 23 January 2009 |

Albanian Muslim women who wish to wear a headscarf when having their picture taken for the country’s new biometric indentity cards will be allowed to do so as long as the headscarf fullfils certain conditions, the Albanian government said on Thursday.

The new documents are seen as crucial to avert election fraud in the upcoming parliamentary election in June. They have also been one of the conditions of the European Union before it will include Albanian in its ‘White Schengen List’ that allows visa-free travel to and within the bloc.

Local NGOs said only a tiny minority of Muslim women in Albania wore headscarves, and the government’s decision met with far from universal approval.

“The religious rights of a small groups should not override the society’s need for security,” said Ermelinda Kapedani, a project manager with the NGO ‘For Albanian Women’. “The identity card process is too important for women and the general public in this country to be compromised.”

Unofficial statistics suggest some 70 percent of Albanians are culturally Muslim — mainly Sunni, with a significant number following the Bektashi order — , some 20 percent oare Christian Orthodox, and 10 percent are Catholics.

The last census to include religious denomination was carried out in 1946, and in 1967, Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha declared the country the first atheist nation in the world. According to the 2007 Religious Freedom Report by the U.S. State Department, less than 40 percent of all Albanians are currently actively religious, and intermarriage between different groups is so common as to be completely unremarkable.

For the purposes of the ID pictures, the Ministry of Interior agreed with Muslim authorities and settled on three particular models of headscarf attire that will be allowed.

The Bill Clinton Statue is complete and about to move to its home:

Bill Clinton Statue to be Unveiled in Kosovo’s Capital in September

The long-awaited statue of former President Bill Clinton will be unveiled in Pristina at the end of month, the team behind the tribute has said.

Agim Rexhepi, head of the Friends of the USA association, which has previously hosted many events to show gratitude to the US for its support of Kosovo, told Balkan Insight that the statue will soon be moved to its home on Bill Clinton Boulevard.

Bill Clinton is viewed as a hero by Kosovo Albanians, following his support for NATO’s intervention in 1999.

In 2007, Friends of the USA obtained permission from Pristina Municipality to use the land directly under a large Bill Clinton poster hanging on the side of an apartment building on Bill Clinton Boulevard.

…“The government has given us 30,000 euros to finance the organisation of the inauguration of the statue, which has to be a great spectacle because of the importance of the work Bill Clinton has done for us,” he said.

As far as the attendance of the former president is concerned, Rexhepi said that he has received positive signals from Clinton’s people.

“He [Bill Clinton] has received an official invitation from the government and, more importantly, the people of Kosovo, who will never forget what he has done for us,” he said.

Rexhepi told Balkan Insight that he expects the event will be held around the end of September.

The Bill Clinton Statue is 6m high, with the base included. He is holding the May 24, 1999, document which allowed the insertion of US troops into Kosovo.

The statue is currently in Tirana, [Albania] receiving a coating of bronze.

Rexhepi added that the area surrounding the future statue will converted into a square, with shrubbery and seating for visitors.

In case you thought Clinton’s was the dumbest face you could see on the side of a building, here’s one better:

And if President Obama helps Albanians kill non-Albanians and secure Serbian land for Albanians for a second Albanian state, he too can have his name added to the landscape that hosts Bill Clinton Settlement, Congressman Engel Boulevard, Wesley Clark Avenue, Bob Dole Avenue, George Bush Street, Madeleine Albright Street, and atrocity stage-manager William Walker Street. And if you do the same, you can have Albanians named after you; for now, the most popular names for Albanian Muslim toddlers are Hillary and Bill.

“The most disturbing part of Kosovo (for me) is the Bill Clinton posters everywhere, if they could put this guy as the president here, they would. Wait till you start telling the taxi driver to bring you to [Bill Clinton Boulevard], [NATO Lane] and [Blair Street]; I am not kidding about the names.” — Cheeky Thoughts blog

The first one goes to Madonna who, after a two-decade hiatus, is finally controversial again. In a departure from her opposite-of-controversial bashing of Christians, military, and Republicans, she has finally taken a real and unequivocal stand for the only Jewish and therefore pariah state of Israel, ending her last concert there by draping herself in the Israeli flag and meeting even with non-left politicians this time. Worse, she didn’t bother to give equal time during her Middle East visit to the killers of Jews the way every other “balanced” personage does. I’m starting to think that maybe she really is the mother of the messiah, as her name alludes, and perhaps does receive messages from the Other Side, as she claims, to impart to us benighted masses. Though one still wonders what divine inspiration led to the name of her current tour, “Sticky and Sweet”. Still, she’s come a long way since 2004, when she cancelled her three Israel concerts after receiving threats to her and her family from the killers of Jews, who complain now that she didn’t visit with them on this trip.

After thanking Madonna, I think we can thank Sir Paul McCartney for setting an example last year when he refused to cave in to threats by an Islamic cleric in Lebanon that suicide operatives would greet him if he went through with the Tel Aviv concert — as always reinforced by ‘peaceful’ Palestinian groups asking him to cancel the show. Essentially, his response (to be read in a British accent) was: “Excuse me, what? Hello, I’m Paul McCartney, and you are? what? terrorists? — what’s that?”

Thank you for putting things right, Sir Paul. And let’s always remember Rule Number One of the CIVILIZATION we built: CELEBRITY TRUMPS TERRORISM, BITCHES!

In contrast to these celebs of conscience, who actually put life and limb on the line to take a stand for democratic ideals, we have Jane Fonda, who continues with her far safer variety of “controversy”, this time adding Israel-bashing to her otherwise America-bashing repertoire. She, along with some 50 other activists, signed “a declaration that condemns Israel as an ‘apartheid regime’ and dismisses the work of Tel Aviv filmmakers as ‘Israeli propaganda,’” in protest of the Toronto International Film Festival’s spotlight on Tel Aviv filmmakers.

Ironically, the film of the dumbass that started the boycott of the festival is about the Muslims who shut down the queer festival last year in Sarajevo — where gays got almost as bad a reception as they do in “Palestine,” from which gays haul their busy asses to Israel, where the separation fence keeps them safe. This is something that was pointed out by Emmy award-winning Israeli-Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, who added, “‘It seems that nothing the Jews do is right and nothing the enemies of the Jews do is wrong.’…The idea of an Israeli apartheid is also ‘a lie,’ said Mr. Jacobovici, noting that 1 million Palestinians live in Israel (about 20 percent of Israel’s population), ‘while not one Jew lives in the Territories or is even buried there because they have disinterred those bodies.’”

At least I can thank Jane Fonda for breaking the media taboo that will allow me to publicly call her a cunt.

On to the next kudo. In San Antonio, Judge Sharon Keller’s career is at stake in a “misconduct trial” because she declined to keep court open late so that a last-minute pre-execution appeal could be made — and says she would do it again:

…Lawyers for convicted killer Michael Wayne Richard had asked for more time to file an appeal on the day of his execution. They sought a reprieve based on a Supreme Court decision that morning to review whether Kentucky’s means of lethal injection was constitutional.

Keller received a phone call at 4:45 p.m. asking to keep the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals open past 5 p.m. She said no twice in the conversation, which lasted less than two minutes.

Richard, twice convicted of the 1986 rape and slaying of a Houston-area nurse and mother of seven, was executed at 8:23 p.m. that day. He was the last Texas inmate to be executed until the Supreme Court reaffirmed months later that lethal injection was acceptable.

Keller is facing five counts of judicial misconduct that could lead to her removal from the bench. She says Richard was not refused a final appeal, because his attorneys could have filed directly with a judge on the nine-member court after-hours.

“You declined to allow any grace period?” asked Mike McKetta, the prosecuting lawyer for the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.

“I declined to keep the clerk’s office open past closing time,” Keller responded.

Keller said earlier Wednesday that there was no legitimate reason to keep the court open because his attorneys had “all day” to file and also had other options.

Richard’s sister and two other family members shook their head at times while listening to Keller, the presiding judge of the state’s highest criminal appeals court….On the morning of Richard’s scheduled lethal injection, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a case that challenged whether a three-drug combination Kentucky used in executions was constitutional. Lawyers for Richard, who had had numerous earlier appeals denied, sought a reprieve based on that because Texas uses a similar lethal cocktail.

Keller said she knew about the move by the Supreme Court on Richard’s execution day. Asked if she held a general view that last-minute pleadings in death-row cases are often less substantial, she agreed.

“They do tend to be voluminous and meritless,” Keller said.

Richard’s never-filed appeal provoked a nationwide outcry against Keller, nicknamed “Sharon Killer” among critics for her tough-on-crime reputation. Lawyers filed complaints to the state and one state lawmaker tried to have Keller impeached. […]

Now, back to that far scarier, more insidious and pervasive thing than Texas killers.

In an item I missed last month, a Florida church reminded America what’s what when it posted signs reading: “ISLAM IS OF THE DEVIL.”

Refreshingly, uniquely ballsy and honest. And when CAIR came a-calling, the pastor wasn’t impressed. From the blog Islam in Action:

The Gainsville Florida Church which has recently put up a sign that stated “Islam is of the Devil”, was approached by the Hamas supporters, the Council on American Islamic Relations, (CAIR). CAIR of course wanted the Church to take the sign down but the Church stayed strong and told them no. I applaud them.

Islamic advocate holds a meeting with Dove Outreach pastor over sign
Ramzy Kiliç was unable to persuade Terry Jones to take the sign down.

An advocate for the Muslim community in Florida, during a one-on-one meeting Tuesday, was unable to persuade the senior pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville to remove a sign that reads “Islam is of the devil.”

“I was pleased that at least he was making the bridge to meet with me,” said Ramzy Kiliç, Tampa’s executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “It doesn’t seem like (taking down the sign) is going to happen, and he didn’t want to know more about Islam.”

Kiliç met with Jones for about 25 minutes Tuesday at the Dove World Outreach Center, 5805 N.W. 37th St., which has a series of hand-painted signs that read in red “Islam is of the devil.”

Senior Pastor Terry Jones was not available for an interview Tuesday.

Jones told The Sun at the beginning of the month that the sign was “an act of saying there is only one way, and that is actually what Christianity is about. It is about pointing the people in the right direction, and that right direction is Jesus and only Jesus.”

Jones called the sign a “great act of love.”

Kiliç said his concern isn’t based on the fact that the sign is offensive to him personally, but rather the fear that it might galvanize a subset of the population to act violently against a Mosque or even worse a Muslim individual.

“I don’t think (Terry Jones) had any intent to be hateful to Muslims, but I just think he sees the Bible as the only way to God,” Kiliç said of Jones and the church.

Kiliç said that Jones demonstrated very little knowledge about Islam during the meeting. […]

As usual, it’s not a lack of understanding of Islam that bothers the likes of CAIR. It’s when folks understand it all too well.

As for Kilic’s feigned fear of something violent happening to Muslims as a result of the signs, he must have us infidels confused with Muslims. Finally, it was nice of Kilic to give Pastor Jones the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the signs being less about Islam per se, and more about Jesus being the only way. But notice that the signs didn’t read, “Judaism is of the Devil” or “Buddhism is of the Devil.”

Thank god for the Christians who remain un-duped and still know what’s what. In a footnote to the news item above, let’s just note the name of the CAIR representative: Ramzy Kilic. Another “non-Muslimy” Balkans Muslim, perhaps? And Kilic has had a busy summer, apparently. He weighed in on an incident last week in which a high school girl reprimanded a Muslim girl for wearing a hijab and not standing during the Pledge, though it’s disputed as to whether the girl did or didn’t stand. A WND item about the incident recalled that Kilic “successfully pressured CBS in 2007 to suspend a Christian television program that had been airing in the Tampa, Fla., market for four years.” America, Bosnia thanks you.

Our final kudo of the summer goes to the Dutch, the only Europeans fighting the Beast.

Dutch university fires Islamic scholar Ramadan

A Dutch university fired Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan on Tuesday for hosting a show on Iran’s state television, which the school said could be seen as endorsing the regime.

Ramadan — known as a reformist who condemns terrorism, seeks to modernize Shariah law and urges Muslims living in Europe to integrate — has recently been criticized in the Dutch press for allegedly voicing more conservative views for Muslim audiences than he does in the West.

Both the City of Rotterdam and Erasmus University dismissed Ramadan from his positions as “integration adviser” and professor, saying his program “Islam & Life” airing on Iran’s Press TV is “irreconcilable” with his duties in Rotterdam.

Ramadan “continued to participate in this program even after the elections in Iran, when authorities there hard-handedly stifled the freedom of expression,” Rotterdam and the university said in a joint statement.

It said Ramadan had “failed to sufficiently realize the feelings that participation in this television program, which is supported by the Iranian government, might provoke in Rotterdam and beyond.” He had worked at the university since 2007.

Ramadan has lectured in France, England and the United States, and also has had trouble with the U.S. government.

He had his U.S. visa revoked in 2004 shortly before he was to receive tenure at Notre Dame University in Indiana. He was denied entry to the U.S. in 2006 on the grounds that he had given $1,336 to a charity linked to Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

Ramadan had opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and said he sympathizes with the resistance there and in the Palestinian territories. He also was among the most prominent Muslims to condemn the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Condemning terrorism while spreading the caliphate through non-violent means. Yeah, that’s really hard.

Reader Frank Zavisca’s take on why the international community has been “unable” to help the gypsy children being poisoned in Kosovo: Because they don’t lob rockets at Jews. If they did, they’d get that refugee status pronto.

While we’re at it, here’s an update on the Roma of Kosovo:

Kosovo: Investigate Attacks on Roma

Source: Human Rights Watch

(Brussels) - Kosovo and international authorities should act in concert to halt the recent wave of attacks and harassment targeting Roma communities, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. The action should include both speedy investigations leading to identification and prosecution of the perpetrators and measures to prevent any future attacks.

The attacks were initially reported in the Kosovo Roma media in mid-August, 2009. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, in cooperation with Roma nongovernmental organizations, have worked since then to document the incidents and the responses made by the authorities.

“These incidents underscore how vulnerable the Roma in Kosovo remain,” said Wanda Troszczynska-van Genderen, Western Balkans researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The only way to stop these attacks is for both Kosovo and international police and prosecutors to make it clear that they will bring the perpetrators to justice.”

A Roma language television program (Yekhipe) on Radio Television Kosovo, the state broadcaster, reported on August 13 that a flurry of attacks against Roma by ethnic Albanians took place in Gnjilane (Gjilan) in the last week of July. At least four Roma, including a community leader, were physically assaulted and injured in separate incidents, the program reported. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Kosovo said that the victims had reported the assaults to the police and that investigations have been opened.

 The Yekhipe program reported that additional attacks had taken place at that time but that they were not reported to the police because the victims feared retaliation. Sources at the OSCE Mission in Kosovo also confirmed a burglary of a Roma house in Gnjilane the same week.

Another series of episodes was reported on August 25, when 20 Roma families from the Halit Ibishi neighborhood in the town of Urosevac (Ferizaj) submitted a petition to the Urosevac Municipal Community Office saying that the families had been verbally and physically harassed on a number of occasions between August 17 and 22 by “unknown perpetrators.” They sought protection from the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) and the municipal authorities. The police are investigating the allegations.

International organizations mandated to monitor security and conditions for minorities in Kosovo - including the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), OSCE and the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo (EULEX) - initially did not respond to the reports. The organizations have since been looking into the incidents, and they currently lack sufficient information to determine whether they were ethnically motivated.

Kosovo and local police in Gnjilane and Urosevac have reportedly increased patrols in tense areas in response to the incidents. But no arrests have been made and neither the Kosovo government nor international authorities in Kosovo have issued any official statements condemning the attacks.

“It is not enough to react when an incident occurs,” said Sian Jones, Balkans Researcher at Amnesty International. “A proactive response is needed, including expanded police patrols, to protect the rights of the Roma community, as well as outreach to these communities to encourage people to report incidents to the police, who should promptly and impartially investigate all such allegations.”

Over the last decade, the Kosovo and international authorities have routinely failed to protect minority communities from violence and intimidation. This has left the Roma vulnerable to repeated attacks, including a series of ethnically motivated attacks in March 2004.

Human Rights Watch has documented these shortcomings in its reports, including “Not on the Agenda: The Continuing Failure to Address Accountability in Kosovo Post-March 2004” and “Kosovo Criminal Justice Scorecard.”

Of course, the perpetual punch line about Kosovo is: “It’s being investigated.”

I’ve just heard from Glenn at Instapundit, saying he would pass the letter below on to his wife, Dr. Helen. Whether or not she prints a correction, I’m glad to know these two conservative bloggers are standouts from the rest, willing to read a corrective letter even when it mentions the word “Balkans” or “Kosovo.”

As often happens, people who know nothing about the Balkans other than what the propagandists filled their heads with will bizarrely inject a chapter from those wars into a completely unrelated discourse. And they will sound like lunatics only to the miniscule fraction of their viewership or readership that has a clue. The rest of the ignoramuses will nod their heads as the false wisdom and false analogies issue forth from the ignoramus who’s speaking.

And so we have yet another, otherwise wonderful conservative site — as always skeptical of liberal propaganda except when it concerns the Balkans — falling victim to this tired, laughable pattern. The site belongs to Dr. Helen Smith, a good woman who was kind enough to mention my “Clintonisms” book on her site after her husband, Glenn Reynolds (a.k.a. “Instapundit” ), passed it on to her.

But last week she interviewed a woman named Dr. Barbara Oakley who, in trying to illustrate a simple point about people being deaf to evidence of their badness — as many well-intentioned psychologists are — dragged in, of all things, the Racak “massacre”.

You may be wondering: What does Racak have to do with the American Psycho Association?

Barbara Oakley adopted two Albanian Muslims from Kosovo, that’s what.

Dr. Helen opened the interview with the question: “What got you interested in the dark side of psychology?”

And Oakley responded first with a short story about how her sister stole their mother’s boyfriend — 40 years her senior and suffering from emphysema — then dropped him after he took her and his oxygen tank to Paris. The rest of the answer went like this:

We all wonder: why do people do things like this? But for me, it also became something personal. We have two adopted sons from Kosovo, they were refugees. They were right next to the village of Racak, where there was a massacre, and that massacre is what brought NATO into the war. And our sons actually heard that massacre taking place. It was a half a mile from their home. So several years later we went to Kosovo and met with some of their relatives.

I was watching Slobodan Milosevic on television and they asked him, “Why did you do this sort of thing — massacring these people?” And his answer was “Oh, well, it’s because there was a war.” And then they said, “Well why did you torture them before [they] were killed?” And his answer was, “I can’t hear you.”

I just thought, Gosh that’s very similar to the kinds of things my sister would do. She literally couldn’t hear you if you said some things she didn’t want to hear…I kept seeing this personality pattern at every level of society.

I was alerted to this farce by a regular reader and fan of Dr. Helen, named Vincent. Here was the relevant portion of his letter:

…I’m a native-born Polish-American who has followed Serbian events since I began to smell a rat in the mid-1990s. I was a liberal back then (until the terrible spring of 1999)….These days, I’m much more anti-government and libertarian and I frequently visit the site of conservative psychologist Dr. Helen Smith and I did so the other day and watched a video from Pajamas TV featuring Barbara Oakley, Ph.D. who spoke of the horrific and offensive liberal bias of the APA.

Dr. Oakley’s interview was ruined for me by her opening reference to the “Racak massacre” that you and many others have so thoroughly debunked, and Helen Smith did absolutely nothing to correct Oakley! Amazingly, Oakley ends her interview by describing her next book as being about “nice people” with “good intentions” who end up doing more harm than good despite their “good intentions”! (If that isn’t old news, I don’t know what is.) Anyway, I wasn’t going to let her rehashing of old, tired, long-discredited Racak mythology stand unopposed so I sent her a brief civil email describing her error and linking to your recent Republican Riot post “The Hoax that Continues a War”.

She replied by merely saying that she doesn’t trust journalists but that she does trust her sister who worked at a Macedonian refugee camp in 1999 and she trusts her adopted Muslim sons (who now live near me here in SE Michigan!) who lived “nearby” Racak. (As for me, I distrust those who claim to be purely innocent “victims”, (cough…Muslims…cough), along with those Albanian sympathizers who conveniently forget to mention the KLA’s use of civilian villages as cover for their schemes and ambushes.) She then went ad hominem and further stated that she doesn’t trust Racak skeptics Diana Johnstone and Renaud Girard because they are “notoriously radical and unreliable leftists”. She failed to debunk your specific article or engage or acknowledge the arguments of non-leftist folks like you, Michael Savage, and Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Shlafly, and other conservatives who opposed Clinton’s attack. I’m sorry to remind you that your work is still needed in keeping the truth alive and that even conservative outlets like Pajamas TV and Dr. Helen Smith are being used for pro-Muslim propaganda…

Vincent is that miniscule fraction of the non-clueless readership I mentioned in my first paragraph. None of Dr. Helen’s or Dr. Oakley’s hundreds of other readers/viewers know anything is amiss. And so these ladies would have had nothing to be embarrassed about…except that Vincent was also listening.

So the first question is this: Is the sister who was doing her good deed at the Macedonian refugee center the same sister for whom Oakley’s book is titled: Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend

The next point is in answer to Vincent’s remark, “Helen Smith did absolutely nothing to correct Oakley!”

Of course she didn’t. Dr. Helen did not have the wherewithal to correct Oakley, since when it comes to our very recent, final pre-9/11 war — the only recent war launched by a Democrat — she knows as much as the rest of the conservative pundits whom I admire: Nothing. However, I hope she will print at least a single-sentence blog post with a correction, or disclaimer, or at least a link to the updated, post-propaganda, version of events, along with an apology to her readers.

To that end, I generously composed and sent the following letter, documentation included, to her husband, since there is no visible email address for Dr. Helen.

Dear Glenn,

You might remember me from the time that you were nice enough to pass my ‘Clintonisms’ book on to your kindly wife, who gave it a blurb on her site. I don’t have an email address for Helen, but my attention was called to the fact that she had interviewed a Barbara Oakley who rightly had a few reproaches for that awful APA organization.

The reason I was alerted to it was that unfortunately, the interview was blighted by some of Oakley’s opening remarks about the long-debunked staged atrocity known as the Racak “massacre”, used by Clinton to start the war against Slavs on behalf of Muslims in Kosovo who were claiming repression and exclusion while actually boycotting the host society’s institutions and setting up a parallel system. This should sound all too familiar by now, but in 1999 we called it “racism” by the host society — as a terror war was being waged against it on its own borders. To which we lent the full might of NATO.

Ironically, Oakley used the debunked propaganda to make a point about blocking out the truth. We learn that she gets her perspective on that region the way most pro-Albanian Americans do: having Albanian friends, acquaintances, contacts. In this case, it’s her adopted Muslim-Albanian sons. I also understand that her sister worked at a refugee center in Macedonia at the time, and this further underscores Oakley’s views. Unfortunately the “on the ground” people are often mistaken when they think they see the big picture, as related to Oakley by her sister. (Is this the sister who stole their mother’s boyfriend, by the way?; she went into that in the same breath practically.)

Anyway, the reason I’m writing is that I wanted to at least let Helen know, so she can do a one-line disclaimer blog after-the-fact or something, or at least say “for a more up-to-date view than Dr. Oakley’s opening remarks on the Kosovo conflict (which is still playing out)…”

She could link either to a Racak piece of mine, documented with links, or if she doesn’t want to link to me, there was a much shorter piece debunking the “massacre” in The Toronto Sun as early as 2001: “The Hoax that Started a War.”

The reason I’m allowing for the possibility that she may not want to link to me is that if you ask any of your mainstream conservative colleagues about “Julia Gorin and the Serbs,” you’ll get the typical, hasty response dismissing me as some kind of Serb-lover or Serb apologist or propagandist. That’s something that comes with the territory for anyone who deigns to look under the Balkan rock and find the horror — then makes the mistake of trying to let the world know. But I started on this unpleasant, unpopular, and confusing journey as just a mainstream conservative like you or any of your blogger colleagues, who didn’t trust the Clinton-led involvement there at a time that Lewinsky/Broaddrick threatened to be his defining legacy. But while everyone else moved on when cued, I continued watching. And saw the fallout, along with the underlying truth that steadily seeped out after the fact, away from the public eye once the spotlight left.

Unfortunately, most conservatives have forgotten that they did not support that “humanitarian” bombing, and need only to see Albanians waving American flags to accept the peculiarly bipartisan policy supporting the Kosovo surrender/giveaway, deluding themselves that they have found at last the truly moderate Muslim ally America thinks it needs. Sorry for the length of this, but please do pass it on to Helen. I hate to see her good work so sullied.

I have yet to hear back from either Glenn or Helen, and a correction has yet to be posted. But I have to allow for the possibility that my letter didn’t reach them, or that they haven’t had a chance to read it, since I only sent it last Wednesday. After all, what other reason could there be for responsible professionals to not respond to such a letter? Aside from the usual reason that I don’t hear back after taking the time and energy to inform these otherwise informed folks: they don’t have time for the truth in the Balkans. But since that would be too painfully predictable, I’m hoping it’s just an issue of time in the case of the good Dr. Helen.

But there is more to be said here in response to the abominable Dr. Oakley. Let’s get back to that Macedonian refugee center where her sister was working — and let’s illustrate my point about it being difficult for people on the ground to get the big picture. From Hague observer Andy Wilcoxson:

Muharem Ibraj and Saban Fazliu, two ethnic Albanian witnesses from Kosovo who testified in Milosevic’s trial, said Serbian security forces encouraged civilians to remain in their homes, and that it was the KLA who made the civilian population leave the province.

Fazliu testified that the KLA would kill anybody who disobeyed its orders. He said, “The order was to leave Kosovo in later stages, to go to Albania, Macedonia, so that the world could see for themselves that the Albanians are leaving because of the harm caused by the Serbs. This was the aim. This was the KLA order.”

During the war, the London Times reported how “KLA ‘minders’ ensured that all refugees peddled the same line when speaking to Western journalists” by threatening the refugee’s loved ones. Unfortunately, that report was one of the few honest pieces of journalism to come out of Kosovo.

Goran Stojcik, a Macedonian ambulance driver who worked in the refugee camps during the war, testified under oath at the Hague Tribunal that he had eye-witnessed Western news crews stage-managing fake news footage in the refugee camps…In one example, he said a news crew threw a refugee child into the mud to make him cry for the camera.

On another occasion, he said his colleague’s medical supplies were stolen so a perfectly healthy man could be wrapped in bandages and placed on a stretcher to be portrayed as wounded in front of the TV cameras.

I guess the boyfriend-stealing sister might have missed something like this while doing time at a refugee center making amends for her past behaviors, at the Serbs’ expense.

Here is more on this, from Wilcoxson again:

Eve-Ann Prentice, the British journalist who testified at the Milosevic trial that she saw bin Laden at [Bosnian President] Izetbegovic’s offices, covered the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict for The Guardian and the London Times.

The difference between Ms. Prentice and most Western journalists who covered the war is the fact that she covered it from inside Kosovo, while her colleagues chose to report the war from the sidelines — particularly from the refugee camps in Macedonia and Albania.

The problem with reporting from the refugee camps was that the KLA had minders in the camps to ensure that all of the refugees peddled the same line when speaking to journalists.

Unlike her colleagues in the refugee camps, Ms. Prentice took great pains to ensure that whenever she interviewed civilians, neither the KLA nor the Serbian security forces were present.

According to Ms. Prentice’s testimony, the vast majority of ethnic Albanian civilians she interviewed told her that they were under immense pressure to leave Kosovo and that most of the pressure was coming from the KLA.

Only one of the Albanians that she interviewed told her that he was afraid of the Serbian security forces.

According to Prentice’s testimony, “The KLA told ethnic Albanian civilians that it was their patriotic duty to leave because the world was watching. This was their one big opportunity to make Kosovo part of Albania eventually, that NATO was there, ready to come in, and that anybody who failed to join the exodus was not supporting the Albanian cause.”…

Alice Mahon, who served as a British MP from Halifax and a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels during the Kosovo war…told the Tribunal of one particularly dramatic incident when an ethnic Albanian woman, who came to Britain as a refugee from Kosovo, had a nervous breakdown in her office. This poor woman had been chased out of Kosovo by the KLA and was terrified at the thought of going back. Fortunately, Ms. Mahon was able to use her influence as an MP to allow this woman to remain in Britain.

The next point is this: The “massacre” heard by the Muslims whom Oakley trusts and whose Albanian word she accepts at face value (despite the Balkan saying “He lies like an Albanian witness”) was the gun battle between the KLA and the Yugoslav police in the famous operation that Yugoslavia invited the international press to observe.

So the question becomes: If the boys were just half a mile away from the battle — and the only people left around Racak by the time of the legitimate police operation that became the “massacre” were KLA and a handful of their relatives and other harborers — then the Albanian boys in need of new parents were more than likely either children of a fallen KLA fighter, or children of uncooperative Albanians killed by KLA. That would be the KLA that was known to everyone at the time — including media, politicians and the majority of Kosovo Albanians — as terrorists. In any case, the boys have been cooperative since, as all Albanians were quick to become once they saw who had won Western backing: the terrorists.

Enjoy your KLA spawn, Dr. Oakley. Sleep soundly.

The boys’ hearing the sound of gunfire and not of a “massacre” of course assumes that they heard anything at all. Why would I say this? Because they might have been simply told to say that they heard something, since every remaining “civilian” in the area, as usual, did as instructed, peddling the same story about Racak to international observers and media:

All the Albanian witnesses gave the same version: at midday, the policemen forced their way into homes and separated the women from the men, whom they led to the hilltops to execute them without more ado.

It went straight from Albanian lips to Bill Clinton’s and Madeleine Albright’s microphones:

Five days before beginning airstrikes, Bill Clinton thundered, “We should remember what happened in Racak…innocent men, women and children were taken from their homes to a gully, forced to kneel in the dirt and sprayed with gunfire.”

Madeleine Albright told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that there were “dozens of people with their throats slit” and that the only solution was “humanitarian air strikes.”

From BBC: “President Clinton and the head of the international observer mission in Kosovo [William Walker] both blamed Serbian forces for the killings…Those killed in the village of Racak, south of Pristina, were mostly men who had been rounded up and shot at close range. Some had been mutilated.”

In his report, former CIA operative William Walker, “spoke of ‘arbitrary arrests, killings and mutilations of unarmed civilians’ at Racak,” Peter Worthington wrote for the Toronto Sun in 2001, and cited the London Times’ even more imaginative touch: “…victims had their eyes gouged out, heads smashed in, faces blown away at close range, all ‘farmers, workers, villagers, aged 12-74, men, women, children.’”

Which is why, if you’re Slobodan Milosevic being asked repeatedly by journalists itching for a Democrat’s “righteous” war, about why you committed the atrocity staged by the KLA and international operatives, eventually you just might start to answer: “I. Can’t. Hear. You.”

Further, if we deigned to put the other part of Oakley’s Milosevic quote into context, we would in all probability find that he was not answering the question “Why did you massacre?” with the answer “Because there was a war.” But that he was answering Racak was a war.

It’s an easy contortion to achieve, especially if you remember that an oft-referenced Milosevic speech in Kosovo in 1987 “inciting nationalist fervor” was similarly doctored. His telling onlookers outside the hall where he was having meetings that local police shouldn’t be beating them for crowding to listen, turned into: “Nobody should dare to beat you.”; “No one has the right to beat you. No one will ever beat you again.”; “Nobody shall dare to beat you. We shall win.” — and so on, depending on how creative the reporting news organization felt like being, but all of them inserting the words into a speech he gave that day, “raged” from a platform.

In her response to Vincent, Oakley engaged in a common ploy used by conservatives who don’t have time for the truth in the Balkans: dismissing the updated, evidence-based “view” on the conflicts there as belonging to “leftists.” Conveniently forgetting that it was leftists who started our interventions there, supported by some “mainstream” conservative publications and think tanks.

Sorry you’re so common, Dr. Oakley. Now, if you could just point us to John Bolton’s leftism.

And yes, Vincent, it is a shame that conservative outlets like Pajamas Media have been infiltrated by the Balkans-based pro-Muslim propaganda. With contibutors like this, it’s unavoidable. Even Stephen “Suleyman Ahmad al-Kosovi” Schwartz gets print space at Pajamas Media — something that was only a matter of time for the man who guided The Weekly Standard to the dark side in the Balkans in the 90s. Fortunately and fairly, since Pajamas Media has a sense that it has no sense of which side is right, it gives space to the opposing view as well.

I’ll close by suggesting some further reading for Dr. Oakley, so that she might one day understand the psychology of her sons, and why they would do the KLA’s bidding, willingly or not, and wittingly or not:

How NATO Staged Albanian Flight During the Bombing

An Albanian Tragedy: A Stranger in Belgrade

Earlier this summer there was a spate of articles about the suffering of the gypsies of Kosovo. I’m excerpting from two of them, reading between the lines, of course:

NORTH MITROVICA, Kosovo | Gypsy Families in Kosovo on Toxic Land (Malcolm Garcia The Washington Times May 3, 2009)

Displaced by conflict and stranded by bureaucratic inertia, dozens of gypsy families remain on toxic land 10 years after they were relocated there by the United Nations after the Kosovo war.

Lead blackens the children’s teeth, blanks out memories and stunts growth. Other symptoms of lead poisoning include aggressive behavior, nervousness, dizziness, vomiting and high fever. The children swing between bursts of nervous hyperactivity and fainting spells. Some have epileptic fits.

The two resettlement camps — the Osterrode and Chesmin Lug — were established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1999 for gypsies, or Roma, as they are more commonly known in Europe…The camps, near a closed mining and smelting complex that includes a slag heap of 100 million tons of toxic materials, were intended as a temporary measure after a neighborhood that had been home to 9,000 gypsies was destroyed by ethnic Albanians as Serb security forces pulled out of the area in the final days of the Kosovo conflict in June 1999.

Time out. Sentences in which Albanians are wreaking havoc are always related in neutral tones and analysis is absent. So what the writer is casually saying is that Albanians were getting what they wanted — the Serb security forces were pulling out — but they nonetheless felt the need to burn stuff. And not just Serb stuff, but gypsy stuff. What the writer also reveals (and let’s credit him for doing at least that much) is that the Serb security forces in fact served to prevent such acts, their withdrawal allowing for such goings-on to occur. Most importantly, what is revealed is yet another chip of a mountain of evidence that the NATO intervention Albanians bought and won had nothing to do with “protecting Albanians agains Serbian repression” and everything to do with creating an opportunity to cleanse the province of everything non-Albanian. Because the people we went to war for were Albanian supremacists, today known as Albanians. (Since you won’t find a living or vocal non-supremacist among them today. Thank you, USA! Shared American and Kosovan values indeed!)

The neighborhood was on the southern shore of the Ibar River, which separates Serb-dominated northern Mitrovica from a southern, Albanian-dominated part.

The Albanians, furious at what they called atrocities by the Serbs during the war, accused the Roma of collaborating with the Serb army. The Roma say they hardly were in a position to do anything but struggle for their own survival and that the Albanians used them as a scapegoat.

Time out. Have we officially moved on to alleged atrocities, as opposed to taking the Albanians’ and NATO’s word for it? Such that we are now more accurately using “what [Albanians] called” atrocities — as opposed to “Serbian atrocities”? The implicit question in the reporter’s phrasing is a nice start — strangely not dogmatically taking Albanian ‘truth’ for the truth — ten years late, but refreshing nonetheless.

Whatever the truth behind the accusations and denials, moving Roma families next to a slag heap of toxic materials including lead, zinc, arsenic and other metals has made dozens of families suffer severe health problems and spawned a generation of brain-damaged children. [Is this what they mean by “Albanization”?]

When the World Health Organization tested the camp residents’ blood for lead in 2004, the readings for 90 percent of the children were off the scale, higher than the medical equipment was capable of measuring…Such children fall into the category of “acute medical emergency” and require immediate hospitalization.

Instead, the Roma children have remained in the camps, ingesting lead through the air, the dirt they play in and through their clothes dusted with lead tailings while drying on laundry lines. Even before their birth, lead enters them as they grow inside their mothers’ wombs from the water they drink.

One reason the situation has become so dire is that the Roma are not considered refugees by the U.N. but rather “internally displaced people.” That means they do not fit U.N. criteria for financing their resettlement abroad.

Indeed, we gave “refugee” status only to the culprits in the Kosovo war, resettling them throughout the U.S. and the rest of the Western world so they could plot attacks here and abroad (see Ft. Dix in 2007 and North Carolina last month). No one else got the refugee status out of that NATO gig — not Kosovo’s gypsies, Serbs, Jews, Gorani, or Croats — not anyone but our prized Frankenstein’s monsters.

…Like HIV/AIDS, lead attacks the immune system and can be fatal, though death from lead poisoning is difficult to determine. Most of those who have fallen ill in the camps have been treated in Serbian hospitals

So, just as with the Serbian Red Cross that the mountain Muslims, the Gorani, are dependent upon to survive, these largely Muslim Roma depend on Serbian hospitals. Not unlike the humanitarian aid coming from all over Serbia to the “Kosovar” refugees during the war their clan leaders waged. Or the Albanians escaping that war — to Serbia. In other words, after devastating Serbia’s environment and economy based on fabricated tales of “anti-Albanian” and “anti-Muslim” policies — devastation the country has yet to recover from — we’ve also put them in the position of footing the bill for the damage we caused. That’s in addition to Serbia’s struggling to absorb or place the highest number of refugees in Europe, thanks to Western defacation on the Balkan peninsula.

“My children get sick often,” said Muzafera Seljimi, sitting on a bench in Osterrode where she lives with her husband and four children. The left front tooth of her 4-year-old daughter was almost entirely covered by lead emerging from her gum. …

Thomas Hammarberg, European Commissioner for Human Rights… [said,] “It is sad the international community has not found a solution 10 years later. It is the single most major environmental disaster in Europe.”

Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since June 1999, as the war ended after a six-week NATO bombing campaign on the troops of President Slobodan Milosevic.

Pardon? On the “troops” of Slobodan Milosevic? This is the pro-American Washington Times reporter trying to preserve some semblance of decency about American actions in the Balkans. Unfortunately, he picked the wrong region, since the U.S. did not play by any rule book when it came to its war on Serbia. Ours was not a bombing campaign against troops; the bombs specifically targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure. But the writer continues struggling to explain our inscrutable war:

The war was aimed at halting Belgrade’s repression of the majority ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo.

Again, Belgrade’s “repression” of the Albanians was the Albanians’ voluntary retreat from their host society into the parallel structures that multi-culti Yugoslavia allowed them to build up over the decades — precisely in preparation for a war of secession.

…Hajrizi Rodna, 53, an Osterrode camp schoolteacher, holds classes in an aluminum shed built by UNHCR…
“A lot of them have bad memories,” she said. “When I dictate something, some of them only write a few words and stop. They are confused and look lost.”

…Feruz Jahirovic, 44, a father of four children…[said,] “My son is sick,” he said. “All of my children have high levels of lead.” He displayed medical documents from the Institute of Public Health in Mitrovica that indicated his 9-year-old son’s blood lead level was 43.7 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, more than four times the amount that causes brain damage.

“He has pains in his bones like rheumatism,” Mr. Jahirovic said. “He has stomach pains and headaches. He can not walk well and his memory is weak…”

Mr. Smajliji’s 10-year-old son has a lead blood level of more than 65 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, more than six times the amount that causes brain damage.

Between 2005 and 2008, Zoran Savich, a pediatrician with the Health Center of Kosovo Mitrovica, saw more than 300 patients in Osterrode and Chesmin Lug. In that time, he said, 77 people died of lead poisoning, many of them children.

Mercy Corps, an American aid organization, has budgeted $2.4 million to resettle 50 Roma families — about 250 people — this year in either north or south Mitrovica away from the contaminated sites… Some Roma who have been resettled by other international aid organizations face other dangers.

“I have seen many times Albanians beating up Roma here,” said Gushani Bekim, 24, who with his wife and three children was resettled in a newly built apartment in the Albanian stronghold of south Mitrovica. “I need work, but it is not safe to work here.” …

Here is an excerpt from another article about the gypsies, that came out the same week:

Abused, driven out and poisoned: the scandal of the Kosovo Roma
A shocking new report reveals the desperate conditions in which one of Europe’s most vulnerable populations is forced to live

An institutionalised crime against the Roma people is taking place in eastern Europe. A forthcoming report from Human Rights Watch documents an ongoing scandal at Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo, which began 10 years ago in the wake of the looting and burning to the ground of the entire settlement known as the Roma Mahalla.

This was once a vibrant home to some 8,000 people, most of them Muslims. But the inhabitants fled, fearing attacks by ethnic Albanians who saw the Roma as “collaborators” with the Serbs, with whom they share a language. Some 6,500 of these Mitrovica Roma have never returned — indeed, only about a tenth of a prewar population of 200,000 Kosovan Roma remain. The Nato-led Kosovo Force did not intervene at the time in the blighting of the Mahalla, but the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was quick to help the newly homeless, organising food and, over some months, places to live until their settlement could be restored.

The lead poisoning case is worse in one important particular. The UN created the camps, and the UN, along with the Kosovo authorities, bears legal responsibility for these people. It is a responsibility they all in their various departments continue to flout…

The Roma aren’t the only European people against whom an “institutionalized” and “ignored” crime has been in progress for over a decade. A report from almost two years ago mentioned the condition of the Roma and, unlike the two more mainstream Johnny-Come-Lately articles above, didn’t neglect to mention that in Kosovo Serbs suffer under much of the same conditions that the Roma do.

Serbs and Roma live in horrible conditions in Kosovo (Oct. 2007)

BRUSSELS, Oct 12 (Tanjug) - Serbs, Roma and other non-Albanian population[s] in Kosovo-Metohija continue to live in horrible conditions in Kosovo and Metohija, eight years after the arrival of international administration in Serbia’s southern province, participants of the session on “Multi-ethnicity, KFOR and UNMIK in Kosovo,” organized by the Independence and Democracy group in the European Parliament, have concluded.

Representative of the Roma community in France Nedzmedin Meziri said that the status of the Roma in Kosovo is catastrophic, giving a number of shocking examples of discrimination and limited movement of the Roma in Kosovo. […]

Also coming before the Guardian and Washington Times articles, back in January, was an article from the BBC, which was similarly revealing. Excerpted:

Kosovo’s poisoned generation

…In 2004, the WHO recommended the evacuation of Cesmin Lug, and two more Roma camps at Kablare and Zitkovac.

All had been set up by the UNHCR in 1999 as a temporary measure, when the Roma Mahalla, on the southern shore of the Ibar River, was burnt down by Albanians in the dying days of the conflict over Kosovo.

The US government has also launched a new project to re-house 50 families from Cesmin Lug — but there are complications.

Some Roma at Cesmin Lug told me…they would not feel safe living among Albanians again, after what happened in 1999.

And has been happening ever since…

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