December 2013


That’s almost as impressive as I am: Not only do I speak some Russian, but also English, American, Canadian, Australian, and even Pennsylvanian and New Yorkan! (And I understand some Texan.)

As Liz, who circulated this November item below, commented: “Wow, look at all of them-there languages of Yugoslavia.”

Ex-Kosovo author makes new start in Edmonton (By Michael Hingston, Edmonton Journal, Nov. 14)


Author Kadrush Radogoshi with his works at the library at Norquest College
John Lucas , Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON - Kadrush Radogoshi has been many things in his life. Teacher in the former Yugoslavia. Translator. Union leader. Political dissident. Political prisoner. And, most frequently, author — of 16 books of Albanian poetry, fiction, literary criticism and non-fiction.

Radogoshi moved here with his wife and their three adult children from Kosovo on Sept. 1, 2010, and it hasn’t been a seamless process…Radogoshi himself arrived in Edmonton with next to no knowledge of English. Thankfully, he has some experience with other languages: back home he studied and has long been fluent in many of the languages of the former Yugoslavia, including Albanian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin. To help with his English here in Canada, Radogoshi takes classes at NorQuest College.

After the Kosovo War concluded in 1999, “Kosovo became a new country, but it is difficult to be an established country,” Radogoshi says. “It needs more time to build democratic institutions. It’s too hard. Because Serbia crushed everything in Kosovo. After the war, it was very difficult.”

So while some of his fellow Kosovo Albanians have made the first step to national maturity by admitting here and there that Kosovo is a bigger, more dangerous mess, with less freedom of the press, than under Serbian rule, this supposed intellectual is still playing the Blame-Belgrade card.

Among Radogoshi’s literary credentials are the Pjetër Bogdani Prize, the highest award for literature in Kosovo…as well as the prize for Kosovo’s best poetry collection….Before immigrating, he also served for two years as president of the Writers’ Union of Kosovo.

(Imagine. President of the writer’s union, yet nothing from him about the muzzling of the press and attacks on journalists in Kosovo, which even its international makers are honest about.)

If life here in Edmonton has sometimes been difficult, it’s nothing compared to what Radogoshi has already endured. In 1981, amid a wave of protests against the ruling Communist party [does he mean the fascio-Ottoman-nostalgic Albanian race riots of 1981?], Radogoshi was teaching high school in his hometown of Gjakova. One evening, Radogoshi says he witnessed the Yugoslavian police provoke and then shoot two of his students, point-blank, in the middle of a busy street. One died of his injuries.

The next day, however, government officials showed up at the school and tried to argue that it was the deceased student who was, in fact, to blame.

“It was nonsense,” Radogoshi says, “and I disagreed, publicly.” He was thrown in jail for his efforts.

And on March 28, 1989, as Kosovo’s nascent autonomy was effectively revoked by Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic [really?], Radogoshi was one of more than 200 Albanian intellectuals rounded up and imprisoned.

Now, after so many years fighting against censorship and tyranny in Kosovo [apparently giving up once the censorship and tyranny emanated from the “former” KLA now running Kosovo], Radogoshi is ready to try something new in Edmonton… “My goals are to publish something in English,” Radogoshi says. “I will try. I treat many universal motifs. They are the same everywhere. But my point of view is different, because I came from another reality. I came from hell.”

At least he’s honest about that. Albanians usually claim they came from Illyrians.

Now, I recently brought up the farcical American faux informed-ness vis-a-vis “the Bosnian language.” When I did, I heard from Draga, who wrote the following note:

As you are aware, the languages are used as political tools. As early as 1980, The New York Times reported that approximately 12,000 new words had been injected into ‘Croatian” in order to separate it from Serbian. In the early 90’s Bosnian ambassador Mohammed Sacirbey was interviewed by Vladimir Posner, who asked the ambassador what language is spoken in Bosnia-Hercegovina, to which Sacirbey responded “Bosnian”. Not skipping a beat, Posner said it is not listed among the world languages, and asked what language they had spoken there the year before. Sacirbey cleared his throat and sheepishly admitted they spoke “Serbo-Croatian”. To that Posner responded something to the effect of: In other words, an entire country learned a new language in one year? The Bosnian language also has additional words reflective of the Islamic faith. In Montenegro the Serbian language has been thrown out, although it is the language of the revered prince-bishop Njegos. In Montenegro, they added a new letter or two to reflect their particular dialect. At first they wanted to call their language ‘mother’s tongue’ until they were ridiculed. It is now called Montenegrin.

Don’t know how authoritative this Pravda article below in Serbian is for you, but roughly translated it essentially says:

“A proposal of the German linguist and member of the Parliament of Europe, Michael Shatsinger, is that upon admission to the European Union, countries once comprising Yugoslavia, for the reward of better relations and ‘peace in the EU house’, should forget their differences, most reflected in language. That way, official correspondence among ex-YU republics will not utilize Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian or Montenegrin, but rather the “formerly Yugoslav language’. ”

Naturally, this sort of idea traditionally hasn’t gone over well with the Serb-distancers: Croatia upset over EU language proposal

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro, Apr. 9, 2007 (IPS/GIN) — Many Croats are seething about an European Union parliament member’s suggestion that EU institutions should use a single Serbo-Croatian language for residents of the West Balkans, rather than translating everything into four different languages.

Croatian media commentators called the proposal a sign of “disrespect” and “lack of goodwill” towards the small nation. The daily Vjesnik called for the EU to “respect [the] particularity for Croatia” once it joined the union.

The proposal to introduce a single Serbo-Croatian language in EU institutions came from member of the European Parliament Charles Tannock, who suggested that the single common language be introduced, mostly for practical reasons, once the nations join the EU.

“I hope you’ll not burden us with expenses for translations into Croatian, Bosniak, Montenegrin or Serbian,” Tannock said at a recent discussion in the Parliament, attended by officials from Western Balkans countries. “People from Western Balkans have to agree on the language they all understand, and that is Serbo-Croatian.”

The EU spends about 800 million euros ($1.04 billion) a year of its 100 billion euro ($130 billion) budget for translation into languages of its 27 member nations.

Language is a sensitive issue in the West Balkans, where several ethnic groups are seeking to distance themselves from each other.

Some Croatians are trying to forget the past because the language it left in the Balkans is too mixed up with Serbs and Bosniaks. Croat linguists are now producing a language of their own. [A language of their own: ‘Sieg Heil’]

The varieties spoken are distinct due to region, not ethnicity. Serbs in Croatia speak as Croats, Croats in Serbia speak like their Serb neighbors. Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks in Bosnia cannot be ethically distinguished by the language they speak.

Croatia has been moving towards a separate language that is distinct from Serbian and other influences. Its leading linguists have turned to history, old literature and their own imagination to invent new terms that would detach Croatian from Serbian.

New expressions were introduced for fax, which became “dalekoumnozitelj” (distant reaching copy device). Helicopters were named “zrakomlat” (air beater), phones became “brzoglas” (quick voice), and it was decided that “zoroklik” (cry at dawn) would replace the Croatian “pijevac,” which sounded similar to Serbian “pevac” for cock. [And the internationally used French word for “airplane,” also used by Serbs, became ‘zrakoplov’ (plough the air).]

But some of the new language has been chilling, rather than amusing. New language for military ranks has been taken from the days of Croatia’s Ustashi regime…. [Gee, didn’t see that coming.]

The International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, founded by the United Nations, translated all its documents into one language called “B/C/S” [or B/H/S], or Bosnian, Croat, Serbian…

(Notice the order of that acronym: first, the UN-revered Balkan belligerent; second, the acceptable belligerent; and last, the actual but reviled originator of the language.)

I must say, it’s cute the way Croatians think they have their own language and distinct culture. It’s sort of poignant that the uniqueness of their culture consists of killing off the people they derive from in order to have an identity. They just tweaked a few words so they could differentiate a Serb from a Croat, so they’d know whom to kill.

It seems the U.S., like the UN and EU, also wishes to simplify matters by regarding the people whose separation it fomented, as speaking one common language. A 2011 Tanjug article appears below, translated by Draga, who added she’s not sure if ‘Inspector’ is the correct title of the position named below or if she got the spelling of the last name ‘Gejsel’ right (I tried looking it up, but wasn’t successful):

14 February 2011 US: Serbian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Bosnian - one language

The General Inspector of the Secretary of State in September 2009 sent an internal document to the Department of Human Resources and the Institute for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, entitled “Balkan Linguistic Problems” in which he expressed concern about the practice of treating Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian as three different languages.

Zagreb’s “Jutarnji List” reports that the deputy chief inspector Harold V. Gejsel [Geissel?] informed the authorities that their office visited U.S. embassies in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia and on that occasion came to the conclusion that the languages spoken in those countries are basically the same language. It is a matter of “dialects of one language” …

The U.S. diplomats came to the same conclusion which the reputable Croatian linguist Snjezana Kordic proved with authority in her book “Language and Nationalism”. Namely, she argues that language rights on the territory of the former Yugoslav republics became justification for extreme nationalism.

“In linguistics, it is defined that it is the same language if at least 81 percent of the basic vocabulary treasure is in common, and the Croats, Serbs, Bosnians and Montengrins, when they speak the standard language, have 100 percent of the basic vocabulary treasure in common,” said Kordic.

Noting that it is easy to understand the slight variations that can be overcome by brief conversation, the suggested conclusion is “if an officer who has been trained, for example, in the Croatian language, and is going from Zagreb to Sarajevo, it is unnecessary that he must pass the whole Bosnian language course as though it is a new language”.

The conclusion, namely, is that all American universities with well-established Slavic language programs, including Harvard and UCLA, treat it as dialects of one language…U.S. administration had significant savings in training employees, and [is demonstrating] tangible evidence of U.S. support for strengthening cooperation among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia.

Strengthening cooperation among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia? Too bad we didn’t think of that in 1991. So after separating them, now we support unifying them.

A related excerpt from a 2010 article:

War, peace and the Virgin (Guardian, Andrew Brown’s Blog, Aug. 20, 2010)

…[In Medjugorje, Bosnia] there is a Franciscan monastery a little distance away where a particularly zealous Croat catholic was presented with a prize for cutting the throats of more than 1,400 “schismatics” as the orthodox Serbs were then known…

Twenty nine years ago, in the week after 24 June 1981, six village children started to see the Virgin Mary… “She speaks purest Croatian”, explained one enthusiast on Crossing Continents, an important point since when I was growing up the language did not exist at all: rather, it was known as Serbo-Croat, and the two girls who looked after us children, one Serbian and one Croat, understood each other perfectly well, as we understood them. Nowadays…children who have grown up in Serbia and Croatia seem genuinely unable to understand one another.

Medjugorje was a Franciscan parish, and the Franciscans are deeply implicated in Croatian nationalism, and correspondingly suspect to the authorities in Rome. The official church refuses to recognise that apparition….None of the others has the same association with blood soaked nationalism…I don’t doubt the sincerity of the people who believe they find peace there, and that they can spread it…But that is, in a way, the really frightening thing about the whole story. The pilgrims and believers seem to suffer from a kind of migraine there, which blocks out half the world in a bright interior light, so that they see the Virgin’s presence in their hearts, and don’t see her picture pasted on the soldiers’ gun butts or hear the rantings of the politicians. […]

The farce of treating one language as three or four is even appreciated by Washington mouthpiece Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:

Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Or Montenegrin? Or Just ‘Our Language’? (RFERL, February 21, 2009)

…The distinctions sometimes reach extremes even locals find absurd. Street signs often give multiple versions of the same designation, to accommodate all likely users. Bookworms look for translated works by writers from neighboring states. Films produced in Serbia are released elsewhere in the Balkans with subtitles.

Zhivko Bjelanovic, a linguist based in Split, on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, says to the trained eye, the languages are fundamentally distinct.

“Serbs and Croats can understand each other on the level of basic communication. [Isn’t that fundamentally?] But when experts start to actually analyze the languages, there are in fact a lot of differences — in grammar, syntax, and every other way,” Bjelanovic said.

Croatians have coined entirely new words, Bosniaks have peppered their speech with Turkic terms and phrases, and Serbs throughout the region remain committed to using the Cyrillic alphabet instead of Latin script. [Damn originators. Always depriving usurpers of satisfaction. Meanwhile, should the Russians and Hebrews also switch?]

The issue becomes even more complicated….Entry into the European Union entitles member states to have their languages recognized as official tongues, obligating the EU to provide translations in all formal settings.

Egon Fekete, a linguist in Belgrade, says most academics still say a single language is spoken in the Balkans — albeit one with numerous dialects. But he says the issue is more about politics than it is about language. “…If you take a scientific approach, you can’t accept that there are distinct Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin languages.”

Ah, but the scientific approach would interfere with the whole point of creating new languages out of one: to create fictitious new nationalities, which will then want to fictitiously claim land from the original thing:

LINGUISTS’ DISPUTE: Croatian Language Causes Dispute in Bosnia (Javno (Croatia)/Dalje.com, March 10, 2009)

An association of young linguists and translators in Bosnia-Herzegovina several months ago created a web site ‘bosanski.ba’, but lately they are being attacked by linguists from the Bosnian Serb entity, Republika Srpska.

They were angered by a statement by the association’s executive director, Djermana Seta, who said that the web page was created to enable the studying of the Bosnian language. Mirjana Vlajisavljevic, a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Republika Srpska’s Banja Luka, said the Bosnian language was nothing but a Sarajevo version of the Croatian language and that the Sarajevo authorities are using young people to achieve the goal of a unitarian Bosnia-Herzegovina. [Mirjana calls it “Croatian” because she is likely Croatian herself, given that Bosnian Croats have been flocking to the Serb Republic since we ‘fixed’ Bosnia.]

Academician Slobodan Remetic thinks that history from the Austro-Hungarian occupation is repeating itself, when Benjamin Kalay tried to create a hybrid nation and language, that is, Bosnian language, to separate the territory from Croatia and Serbia.

Also targeted were Serb politicians in Republika Srpska, who are slammed for using “Croatisms”. Linguist Milorad Telebak claims Serb politicians do not have a developed awareness about their culture and tradition. […]

Or we’ve successfully taught them to have an aversion to it.

Weighing in on the issue in January of last year was Bosnia’s former ambassador to Turkey, Hajrudin Somun, though he seems to be espousing two opposing views on it at once:

Confused Balkan Languages

There was and still is, in fact, one common language that is written in two alphabets and spoken in four countries, but with different names. As was emphasized in an Academy of Finland study, Balkan languages…are a reflection of the regional developments that “seem only to resume the aggressive nation-building process which had partly been in check during the Cold War era,” according to Croatian linguist Snjezana Kordic. “…Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin are the same languages,” she concludes…In Belgrade’s elevators, for example, floors one and two are written “sprat 1” and “sprat 2.” But in Zagreb, they are written “kat 1” and “kat 2” just to be different from Belgrade. Most people probably don’t know that “kat” is neither Croatian nor Slavic, but a Turkish word.

All nations have the right to call their languages as they want, of course. It is normal that Serbs and Croats call their languages Serbian and Croatian. But denying the same right to Bosnians and Montenegrins recalls old, still-existing nationalist ambitions…Bosnian Serbs and Croats think that Bosnian Muslims, officially Bosniaks, should call their language Bosniak. [Which is already too generous.] They think Bosniaks are striving to call it “Bosnian” because this implies it is the language of all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnicity, and accuse them of pursuing a policy of “majorization,” whereby Bosniaks can dominate the country.

(Gee, when have they ever tried to do that before?)

…In all historical documents and travel books from before the Ottoman arrival in Bosnia — during the rule of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires…the Bosnian language was not Bosniak, but Bosnian. It was spoken by Bosnian Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Catholics and Jews. It was the third official language of the Ottoman Empire. Bartol Kasic, author of the first Croatian grammar book from the 16th century, noted that people in Bosnia were speaking Bosnian. The Bosnian poet Muhamed Hevai Uskufi is the author of the first Turkish-Bosnian dictionary, completed in 1632 and written in Arabic script…Evliya Çelebi, the famous Ottoman writer from the 17th century…noted that the people in Bosnia spoke a Bosnian that was similar to Latin. Austro-Hungarians, ruling Bosnia from 1878 to 1918, encouraged the official usage of Bosnian, but they switched to Serbo-Croatian under pressure from increasing Serb and Croat nationalism…

In other words, ‘Don’t take my Bosnian-Muslim word for it, take the Ottomans’ or a few assorted Arabists’ and Croats’.’ If we’re supposed to be impressed by some ancient-sounding dates Somun cited for the “Bosnian” language, one wonders where that language was being spoken in the year 50 A.D., when Serbs were already around and speaking either Serbian or something that would evolve into it. Or in the year 1217, when Rome recognized the Serbian kingdom. What language were those ancienter Serbs speaking? Bosnian?

Mirko Kovac, a celebrated Croat novelist, who says: “Foreigners have a better relationship than we do with our languages. They consider them as one language, which is what is most correct from the linguistic point of view. The state [Yugoslavia] fell to pieces, but not the language.” Bosnian writer Nenad Velickovic believes language should not be used as a marker of national identity, explaining, “In my opinion, that means adopting the ideology of nationalism — something I despise.”

So why can’t they all just admit they speak Serbian? And why can’t Somun figure out which side of the issue he’s espousing: Speak one language but let anyone call it whatever they want?

So, rather than the Ottomans’, Arabists’, Croats’ or Austro-Hungarians’ word, I’ll take Irish-American linguistics Professor Emeritus John Peter Maher’s word for it, in his 2009 article “What did they call it before they called it ‘Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian-Montenegrin’?

In 1958 the U.S. Army called it “Serbo-Croatian”. That was during the Cold War. I was a soldier in Military Intelligence, just beginning to learn the major language of Yugoslavia at the US Army Language School, on the old Spanish Presidio of Monterey in California. Thirty-some years later the Berlin Wall came down. In Slovenia in the year 1990 I learned from an American working there (it was still Yugoslavia then) that the Army had closed down the Monterey course. The Pentagon apparently had not yet received their orders to attack Yugoslavia. They thought the Cold War was over.

Someone in Washington had other ideas. The old contingency plan to dismantle Yugoslavia was taken off the shelf, updated and implemented by the mercenaries of MPRI, and invisible government countermanded the shut-down. In 1992 a call went out for teachers of “Serbian and Croatian” at the re-named US Defense Language Institute. The announcement was a classic farce. Some petty bureaucrat at a loss how to phrase the official advertisement took his phraseology from want-ads for interpreters. It was spelled out that job applicants must be able to teach the “two languages” simultaneously or consecutively. “It” was now two languages.

One colonel took the Monterey course in Croatian and/or Serbian; he developed the Pentagon plan for the big ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Croatia in 1995.

At the University of Michigan the linguistics department chairman opposed the New-Speak and retained the designation “Serbo-Croatian” …The University of Calgary in Canada ran with the political-correctness. Doctoral candidates there could now fulfill the requirement of reading ability in two foreign languages by passing exams in Serbian [and] Croatian. Queuing up to apply for the test in “the two languages,” Croats and Serbs were united in laughter.

Then there were three. At the ICTY in The Hague “it” became “Bosnian-Croatian- Serbian”, all three spoken simultaneously. Consequently, Vojislav Šešelj demanded that court interpreters should turn Croatian testimony into Serbian for him.

Then “it” was four. Americans applying for Fulbright Grants in 2005 and 2006 were “informed” that the language of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro/Srbija I Crna Gora ought to be to be called “Montenegrin”, a separate language, if Montenegrins wanted it so. Language teachers in Montenegro were ordered to call “it” Crnogorski/Montenegrin or Mother Tongue, if they wanted to keep their jobs. Dozens of honest Montenegrin teachers felt otherwise, that the language they were teaching was in fact Serbian. They were fired and stripped of their pensions.

The linguistic theory of Vuk Stefanovich Karadžich, that south Slavs – Catholic and Orthodox – spoke the same language, was declared passé. The policy of the multi-ethnic Austrian Empire and, later, the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918) was both liberal and reactionary. It was liberal in that subject nations had the right to be schooled in their own languages, use them in court and see them printed on the currency. The policy was reactionary in that this was a measure to keep the Slavs, who were a 60% majority in the Dual Monarchy, subject to German and Hungarian rulers.

Both Vienna, with an eye to coherence of the Empire, and Rome with an eye to conversion of Eastern Orthodox “schismatics”, smiled on the efforts of Archbishop Strossmayer to teach a new auxiliary language to the Croats to hasten their integration into a broader society and function as missionaries. It was some time before many Croats at all could speak their new literary language…

…Muslim Bosnians take no united stand in practice. In Chicago a school for Muslim Bosnian children displays a big banner “Govori Bosanski! – Speak Bosnian!”. At Northeastern Illinois University in 1992 the debate “got physical”. I watched as a Junoesque blonde gave a good shove to a young man who had called “it” “bošnjaèki” [’Bosniak’]; she told him in no uncertain terms that “it” was “bosanski”.

At Truman College in Chicago I asked students with Muslim names “what country do you come from?”–“Bosnia” they all said. “What language do you speak?”. “Bosnian.” Then I responded (in Serbian) that I too speak – “… bosanski i bošnjaèki i hrvatski i hrvatsko-srpski i srpski i crnogorski…” They always laughed. One smiling man flatly said: “it’s the same language”.

At a nearby grocery store, a clerk with the Muslim name Amira revealed the stress normal people are put under. When we first chatted at the check-out counter, she asked me if I was of Yugoslav origin. Her surprise was great to hear I was “irskog porekla”. Since then she always greets me with “moj irac / my Irishman”… One day she remarked that she was pleased that I always greeted her in srpski. She then hesitated, rolled her eyes and said the PC word “bosanski”…

The literary Croatian word for “wedding” is vijenchanje, derived from the noun vijenac “wreath”, which in turn is from the verb viti “to twine, braid, wreathe”. One infers from this example…that the literary Croatian language is historically a Serb dialect, since the Eastern Orthodox (Serb) wedding ceremony in its traditional form involves the crowning of bride and groom with wreathes of green, while such a custom is not found in the Roman Catholic (Croat) wedding rite.

Conclusion: Abraham Lincoln in his Illinois lawyering days once asked a witness in court “if you called a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs would a dog have?” The witness: “Five.” Lincoln: “No, even if you call a dog’s tail a leg, it’s still a tail.”

Closing with two anecdotes, the first from Melana in 2011:

I ran into a Croat guy who owns a winery up here [California], who said that the Croats have “gone back to the old words again”. When I asked him what he meant, he admitted that Croats actually made up new words so linguists could declare “Croatian” a separate language from “Serbian”, but the problem was that Croats couldn’t understand each other when one was using the old words and another was using these made-up words which never caught on.

I once told a Montenegrin separatist that if he wanted to be a Montenegrin and not a Serb, then he better be prepared to trade in every Montenegrin hero he ever knew — from Njegos (my great-great-great uncle) to Prince Danilo — because all of these heroic Montenegrins considered themselves “Serbs” first.

And from a 2011 Diana Johnstone email:

‘Serbian’ and Serbia are being pushed into oblivion.

Yesterday I was in the languages and literature branch of the Gibert Jeune bookstore in Paris to buy Spanish books, and went downstairs to the “small languages” section to see what there was for Serbian. On the floor-level shelf I spotted an Assimil package of book plus CDs for learning Serbo-Croatian. Since I have an old Assimil Serbo-Croatian with tapes which I consider one of Assimil’s least successful efforts…I asked whether the closed package contained a new version or the old one. The woman clerk told me that this was the last copy of the old Assimil Serbo-Croatian which was being terminated. A new Assimil Croatian is due to come out soon. No Serbian.

I informed her that this was a political choice, since for one thing there are more Serbs than Croats. “I don’t know about that”, she said, obviously not eager to learn.

This is no doubt linked to the expectation that Croatia will soon be admitted to the European Union. Not Serbia.

Check.

On September 27th, I got the following email from Zoran Almuli:

Dear family and friends,

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that our dear Jasa Almuli passed away yesterday in London.

He leaves a personal and public legacy of which his family is truly proud. We will also always remember and treasure the time he spent with us, his great interest, curiosity, wise advice and, at times, frank comments.

Jasa has been battling with illness for a few months but only learned about his severe lung cancer three weeks ago. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.

Jasa will live on in our memories and hearts forever.

His loving family.

In Serbian:

Draga porodice i prijatelji,

Sa velikom tugom vam saopstavamo da nas je nas dragi Jasa napustio juce popodne u Londonu.

On ostavlja za sobom velika licna i javna dela na koja je njegova porodica vrlo ponosna. Mi cemo uvek pamtiti dragoceno vreme koje smo proveli zajedno, njegov kuriozitet, mudre savete, a ponekad i njegove iskrene primedbe.

Jasa se junacki borio sa bolescu poslednjih nekoliko meseci, ali je saznao za diagnozu raka pluca pre svega tri nedelje. Napustio nas je u miru i okruzen porodicom.

Jasa ce da zivi zauvek u nasim srcima i mislima.

Sa ljubavlju od njegove porodice.

There was contact information for the family listed as well, so if anyone wishes to contact Jasa’s children or wife, email me through this website’s contact form and I’ll send it to you.

I don’t know how old Jasa (pronounced like the Russian “Yasha”), was upon his death, though definitely somewhere in his 80s. We do know that he was a Holocaust survivor, a historian, and defender of the Serbs. Among many of his works was, I’ve been told, a definitive contextualizing and debunking of the popular notion that WWII Serbia was “the first Judenfrei city in Europe,” as minimizers of the Croatian genocide like to decoy. Unfortunately, there is no English version of the text, something Jasa hoped to remedy when he had the chance. He told me, “I wrote about it in my fourth book The Destruction and Rescuing of Serbian Jews, but the text is in Serbian. I will send you my article about the Holocaust in Jugoslavia included in my fifth book They Stayed Alive. Unfortunately it is also in Serbian. When I get a shorter version in English I will send it to you.”

One Almuli book that was translated into English, Jewish Women Speaking, got the first prize at the public competition by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia in 2004, and was sold out in Belgrade. Both were about hidden Jewish children, one in Greece and one in Serbia.

For his efforts at the truth, he was predictably called a revisionist by revisionists, accused of minimizing Auschwitz because he dared to describe the more demonic nature of the killing at Croatia’s Jasenovac complex. Interestingly, just this week The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Ephraim Zuroff told Vecernje Novosti that the Serbs ought to take the lead in fighting Croatian nazism, saying among other things, “The tragedy of the Jewish people is one of the greatest in history. But to be entirely frank, the Holocaust in the former Yugoslavia was a sideshow for the much bigger mass murder of Serbs.”

(Oh, would that the Serbs be ‘allowed’ to take such a lead; as we know, observable fascism ceases to be such if a Serb points to it.)

Here was one site citing Jasa on the topic:

Mass murder and cruelty

According to Jaša Almuli, former president of the Serbian Jewish community, Jasenovac was a much more terrifying concentration camp, in terms of cruelty, compared with Auschwitz. In the late summer of 1942, tens of thousands of Serbian villagers were deported to Jasenovac from the Kozara mountain area (in Bosnia) where NDH [Croatian] forces were fighting against the Yugoslav Partisans. Most of the men were killed at Jasenovac, but women were sent to forced labor in Germany. Children were taken from their mothers and either killed or dispersed to Catholic orphanages.

On the night of 29 August 1942, the prison guards made bets among themselves as to who could liquidate the largest number of inmates. One of the guards, Petar Brzica, boasted cutting the throats of about 1,360 new arrivals with a wheat cutting knife that became known as srbosjek (”Serb-cutter”).

Other participants who confessed to participating in the bet included Ante Zrinusic, who killed some 600 inmates, and Mile Friganovic, who gave a detailed and consistent report of the incident. Friganovic admitted to having killed some 1,100 inmates. He specifically recounted his torture of an old man named Vukasin; he attempted to compel the man to bless [Fuehrer/Poglavnik] Ante Pavelic, which the old man refused to do, although Friganovic cut off his ears, nose and tongue after each refusal. Ultimately, he cut out the old man’s eyes, tore out his heart, and slashed his throat. This incident was witnessed by Dr. Nikola Nikolic.

I don’t mean to mar this tribute to Jasa by such horrific imagery, but the fact is, he was right. Finally, here are two letters he wrote in the early 90s about the (still ongoing today) attempts to equate WWII Serbia with WWII Croatia.

Jasa Almuli, R.I.P.

I think I’ve made the point before that Western political elites have an affinity for the criminal side in the ongoing Kosovo saga (as in other international conflicts), because they’re criminals themselves.

Last month brought this update on one of many KLA-beguiled Brits, Dennis MacShane:

UK Ex-minister pleads guilty to fudging expenses (AP, Nov. 18)


FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 file photo, former British lawmaker Denis MacShane arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court in London… (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

LONDON (AP) — A former British legislator and Cabinet minister is facing jail time after pleading guilty to making nearly 13,000 pounds in bogus expenses claims.

Denis MacShane, who served as Europe minister under former Prime Minister Tony Blair, admitted Monday to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for “research and translation” services between January 2005 and January 2008. The money from those claims was used to fund trips, such as a jaunt to Paris to judge a literary competition.

MacShane’s admission caps several years of scrutiny of his expenses, following the 2009 scandal that found U.K. lawmakers had billed the public for items such as pornographic movies and an ornamental duck house.

MacShane was freed on bail until he’s sentenced Dec. 19. He faces a maximum jail term of seven years.

But in between criminal proceedings MacShane still manages to make time for publishing op-eds advocating on behalf of his criminal KLA friends.

As the results of Bosnia’s census looms for mid-January, I wanted to post the following short item from the online British-Serb magazine eBritic:

Dayton’s Bosnia – Did it ever really make any census?
(By Aleks Simic, Oct. 17)

This month Bosnia began its first census as an independent nation, and the first since 1991. The 15 day long survey is designed to give a detailed picture of the results of the upheaval of the 1990′s Balkan wars in which some 100,000 people were killed and 2 million were driven from their homes…Preparations have been marred however by tension between…Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims). All of the ethnic elements that comprise Bosnia fear being weakened if the census proves that their numbers have dwindled, as this is the basis of their current role in government as enshrined in the system of ethnic quotas set out by the 1995 Dayton peace accord.

The Dayton deal created an unwieldy form of government that stopped the war but which has stifled development ever since. The results of the 1991 census showed the [above-illustrated] declaration of the then 4.4 million population…The run-up to the census has resembled an election campaign, with political and religious leaders calling on their followers to declare their ethnicity and faith as a matter of national duty. “Our religion is Islam,” Muslim clerics across Bosnia read in a message delivered during Friday prayers. “In the census, we shall say we are Bosniaks and our language is Bosnian.”

Roman Catholic priests told their worshippers, mainly Bosnian Croats, to encourage relatives living abroad to return and take part in the census. […]

There was one particularly striking example of this. A series of internet ads showing wrapped-up Muslim children at tea, professing stridently their group identification. which annoyed my friend Alyse (Jewish-American married to a Serb) so much that she told me she posted a “translation” on her facebook page:

Ads for the upcoming census in Bosnia: You know your nationality and language are fictitious when you need public service announcements to tell you what your nationality is and what language you speak.

Translation of instructions in Serbian/Croatian:

Nationality: “Bosniak” (A person whose Serb or Croat family accepted Islam - about half the population of Bosnia)
Faith: Islamic: (That much is accurate)
Language: “Bosnian” (Identical to Serbian/Croatian, the only difference is that the person speaking it is Muslim)

So they also pull quotes from the Bosnian website — cute ones, like:

“I believe that Bosniaks are conscious enough that every Bosniak who survived the genocide — each Bosniak who lived in Sarajevo and by Allah’s will dodged grenades and Chetnik’s bullets from the hills — is obliged to declare himself a Bosniak.”

Alyse closed a recent email to me with an ominous foreshadowing:

Do you know when the war will come in Bosnia? Everyone thinks it is soon but nobody knows when.. Okay, you can’t know because nobody knows, everybody just sits around and waits, I wonder if it was like that every time.

One of my husband’s relatives just went to a funeral for his Muslim friend – the Muslims ASKED him to go – and this is how bad it is. It was older guys who had worked together and they had been good friends during communist times and the family came to the Serb and PLEADED with him to come because it was the wishes of the dead guy to have his friend at the funeral – they promised in advance to KEEP HIM SAFE – that is how bad it has become in some areas (this must be in one or the other suburbs of Sarajevo) – so he goes to the funeral – no problem – nobody makes a fuss – nobody says anything [negative]. But the next day somebody burned the Muslims’ car, some other Muslims, burned the car of the Muslims who had taken a Serb to the funeral. It was punishment. Everybody knew that.

There aren’t “two Americas,” or one. There are only none.

I’ve written in the past about the redrawing of alliances that is taking place amid a U.S.A. that’s M.I.A., with particular emphasis on the Orthodox-Christian and Jewish worlds. While America goes through its Superman III complex (that’s the one where he morphs into the corrupted “evil Superman” and uses his powers for ill), there’s a realignment that extends to places like China and U.S.-betrayed India, as well as to others who aren’t on board with Washington-Riyadh’s remaking of the world.

Last week alone brought a multi-part, microcosmic manifestation of the resulting, interim reshaping. And Amerabia will come to regret the world it created, when it finds itself alone after selling everyone and everything down the river in favor of a futile effort at an inter-species relationship. A relationship that is now therefore more freely emulated by other countries, particularly those unfairly marginalized by the West. It has all made for some interesting times. First the headlines, followed by the abridged items.

Sincere goodwill and an open friendship between Serbia and UAE (Dec. 12)

Air Serbia Launches Maiden Trip to Israel (Dec. 17)

Israel, China Economic Cooperation in Focus With Chinese FM Visit to Jerusalem (Dec. 19)

Putin Surprised Netanyahu With Expression of Support (Dec. 20)

Sincere goodwill and an open friendship between Serbia and UAE (Tanjug / InSerbia, Dec. 12)

BELGRADE – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, agreed on Thursday that there is sincere goodwill and an open friendship between Serbia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan…voiced confidence that the UAE’s investments in Air Serbia would be a good example for other prospective investors.

First Deputy Prime Minister Vucic…previously announced the sheikh’s visit as that of a friend, specifying that he would come with “considerable financial support that will be invested in kick-starting the Serbian economy.”

Air Serbia Launches Maiden Trip to Israel (Arutz Sheva, By Michael Freund, Dec. 17)


Maiden Air Serbia flight after landing at Ben Gurion Airport. Milica Vujovic, Serbian Embassy

In a sign of increasingly close ties between Serbia and Israel, the Serbian national airline launched direct flights between Belgrade and Tel Aviv this week.

A spanking new Air Serbia Airbus A319 made the maiden voyage on Sunday. Among those on board the sold-out flight were Serbian Parliament Speaker Nebojša Stefanović, Serbia’s Minister of Regional Development and Local Self-Government Igor Mirović, Israeli Ambassador to Serbia Yosef Levy and Air Serbia CEO Danny Kondić.

Upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport, Stefanović said he believes that “this direct route will boost tourism between the two countries”, while Kondic expressed the hope that the direct flights between Israel and Serbia would open new opportunities for Israelis looking for a hub city from which to travel to other global destinations.

Air Serbia will offer four weekly direct flights between Belgrade and Tel Aviv. Previously, flights between the two cities were conducted twice a week and stopped in Larnaca, Cyprus, which greatly inconvenienced travelers.

Israel’s relations with Serbia have grown very close in recent years, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman working assiduously to cultivate better ties. Earlier this year, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic visited the Jewish state.


Serbian Ambassador to Israel Milutin Stanojevic (left) and Serbian Consul Milica Vujovic (right) at Ben Gurion Airport greet the flight from Belgrade. Milica Vujovic, Serbian Embassy

Israel, China Economic Cooperation in Focus With Chinese FM Visit to Jerusalem; Iran Nukes Also on Agenda (Algemeiner, Dec. 19)


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Israeli President Shimon Peres, in Jerusalem, on December 19, 2013. Photo: GPO / Mark Neiman.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was offered an Israeli welcome fitting of a head of state this week, with meetings in Jerusalem with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres on Wednesday and Thursday, as each side made it clear what they sought to gain from their budding alliance.

For China, the goal was commerce, and specifically, access to Israeli technological know-how. For Israel, the business angle is a boon, but its more pressing aim was to secure a strong international partner who can echo its concerns over Iran’s nuclear program to sometimes deaf ears in Washington.

At their meeting in Jerusalem, the Chinese foreign minister told Netanyahu that he had “come to pursue stronger cooperation between our two countries.”

“Our two economies are highly complementary, and the mutually beneficial cooperation between us enjoys a very bright future,” he said. “During your visit to China this year, Mr. Prime Minister, you reached a very important agreement with President Xi Jinping, and Premier Li Keqiang of China on how to further deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries. I have come to explore with my Israeli counterpart on how to further implement all the important consensus and explore the various areas of even stronger cooperation between us so as to deliver greater benefits to both peoples.”

In that time since Netanyahu’s May visit, the two countries had signed a $400 million trade agreement, expanding bilateral trade to $2.05 billion; Chinese magnate Li Ka-Shing, among the nation’s richest billionaires, gave $130 million to Israel’s Technion University, to establish the Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology, with Guangdong Province providing another $150 million for the campus — the first time a school from any other country has been invited to establish an entirely new academic college based in China; Tsinghua University sealed an alliance with Tel Aviv University to develop life sciences research and development in China, along with a 100 million yuan ($16 million) investment to seed ventures created by the program; Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, which bought Israeli medical equipment manufacturer Alma Lasers in April, announced plans to open an Israeli technology incubator; and, in December, Israel’s Tower Semiconductor, one of the country’s oldest, largest and most emblematic technology companies (it turns sand into silicon), signed a deal in China to expand the distribution of complementary metal–oxide–semiconductors into their market.

While the Chinese talked business, Netanyahu on Wednesday, and then Peres on Thursday, brought the conversation back to Iran:

“We believe that for the peace of the world, for the peace of the coming years and decades, Iran must be denied the capability – I stress the word – the capability to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said. “It must fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions. It must end all enrichment, dismantle its centrifuges, eliminate all stockpiles of enriched uranium and dismantle its heavy water reactor in Arak so that it will not be able to produce plutonium. I think that this is something that the international community in its entirety must stand firm on.”

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said… “What is important now is for all the parties concerned, Iran included, to fully comply with their respective obligations and responsibilities prescribed in this deal and for all the parties to work together to uphold the international non-proliferation regime and for promoting peace in the Middle East region,” he said.

Experts watching the dance between Israel and China said the closer ties, on both fronts, make sense.

“The reality is the ideas, the joint ventures, the high technology, is all coming from the Chinese working with Israeli companies,” said Dr. Joseph Pelzman, Professor of Economics, International Affairs and Law at the Institute for International Economic Policy the Elliott School, George Washington University, in Washington, D.C….

Prof. Pelzman, who spent the past year as a Fulbright Scholar in Beijing, said that what the two countries also share is the same model, publicized by Israel in the 1960s, where the policy was to invest in public education and growth.

“Although lots of Western countries paid lip service to that theory, China really was the only one that ran with what Israel did, and used the Israel model to develop so quickly, and this has just been in one generation.”

But while China can certainly be at the table as a global economic power, the question of its influence, on behalf of Israel, in political matters remains to be seen.

“On one hand, the Chinese can certainly appear as honest brokers to the Arabs,” Prof. Pelzman said. “China doesn’t need their oil – they get all they need from the Russians, and the fields in Kazakhstan are close enough if they need more. And Israel has natural gas. The Arabs, except for the Emirates, have no technological innovation, anywhere. Meanwhile, the Chinese don’t have the long historical, European-based, anti-Jewish sentiment, while the Muslims in China have their own worries, so it’s not a question of having to appeal to any domestic concerns.” […]

Report: In Recent Meeting, Putin Surprised Netanyahu With Expression of Support (Algemeiner, Dec. 20)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was surprised by a forthright expression of support for the Jewish state from Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting last month in Moscow, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Friday.

Netanyahu had flown to meet the Russian leader in a last minute effort to prevent an interim nuclear deal between Iran and world powers from being signed.

During the meeting, Netanyahu asked Putin to withhold support for the convening of a Nuclear Non Proliferation Conference the stated purpose of which would be to rid the entire Middle East of nuclear weapons, according to the report. In 2010, President Barack Obama first announced plans for the convening of this international meeting. However, due to Israeli pressure, America pulled its support for the initiative late in 2012.

Russia was and remains one of the Conference’s chief backers. Ma’ariv said that in his meeting with Putin, Netanyahu explained that a meeting with effectively the chief aim of dismantling Israel’s nuclear capability – the existence of which has never been confirmed by Israel – will harm the country’s vital national interests.

Netanyahu went on to explain to the Russian President that there will only be a place for the convening of such a meeting after peaceful relations have been established between Israel and Arab countries across the Middle East, Ma’ariv said.

At this point in their hour-and-a-half conversation, Putin surprised the Israeli Premier. “Russia will slow all efforts to convene the conference,” Putin promised Netanyahu, according to Ma’ariv. Putin went even further, making it clear to Netanyahu that Russia will not do anything to harm Israel. He added that despite the alliance between Israel and the United States, Russia stands by Israel.

The reported comments come as somewhat of a policy about-face, as four short months ago Putin stated that Israel should dismantle its nuclear capability. However, the devil is in the details of this apparent change in the official Russian position vis-a-vis Israel’s nuclear program. Specifically, Putin told Netanyahu that Russia supports the ‘slowing’ of efforts to convene an international Nuclear Non Proliferation Conference, not a complete cessation of such efforts.

In short, while Putin is taking the Israeli position into account, he fully intends to keep all options on the table.

Which is the Russian way. Russia works for Russia, just like other ‘great powers’ (’Nations have no permanent allies…only permanent interests’). After all, if historically Russia can screw Slavic Serbia more than once, what does it take to screw Israel? At least Russia doesn’t make pretenses about the nature of its relationships the way some countries I know do. Similarly, things may seem well between Russia and China, yet according to prophecy, China (along with India) will be first to respond when Russia ultimately chooses the dark side and leads Muslim armies into Israel. But for now, the battle between good and evil still rages within Russia. Which is better than giving over wholeheartedly to evil, the way some countries I know are doing. (See also “Putin and Netanyahu joining forces: History of poor relations fading as Israel and Russia focus on shared goals, needs” by Fred Weir)

The world is reshaping. Because even if Washington insists on permanent self-deception, other peoples of the world know that Christians and Jews have something in common: humanity. And that’s what makes them, together, infidels. And therefore targeted. The U.S., on the other hand, thinks it can find commonality with the inhuman. With the targeters. (Which explains why “the collapse of Christianity always follows in the wake of Western meddling,” as Lee Jay Walker and Helmut Joachim Schmidt wrote this month.)

And while Russia stands up for the Christians that America forsakes, it too makes deals with the Mohammedans. But the difference is that Russia doesn’t forget what it’s dealing with. (Ref. The Scorpion and the Turtle.)

A closing aside: Amid the political establishment’s ongoing frame-up of Russia for Amerabia’s own aggressions, it is notable that in 2010 when Bill Clinton fingered Israel as the cause of no-peace-in-the-Middle East, he singled out the Russian Israelis, calling them the key obstacle to peace.

(See also “Israel Recruits Russian Sharpshooters“; “Russia, Serbia and Israel“; “Putin’s Visit and Israeli-Russian Relations“; and “Bill Clinton is right: Israelis from the FSU are not really interested in a peace agreement. Certainly not the kind of deal he helped impose on Serbs in Kosovo.”)

I meant to blog this back in October, when I first got it:

Hi Julia,
I just wanted to bring your attention to an article I read on National Review.

It concerns the 20th anniversary of the “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia.

The article hums along and is, for the most part, cogent, until the writer, Jonathan Foreman, feels compelled to bash the Serbs (seemingly form out of nowhere) by citing our cutting and running in Somalia as an example of emboldening our enemies such as Osama Bin Laden and, wait for it, Slobodan Milosevic!

Here is the money quote: “It was that decision, not the (admittedly skillful and courageous) downing of two Black Hawk helicopters by Somali fighters, that so impressed Osama bin Laden (who cited it often as evidence of the fundamental weakness and cowardice of America and her military) and emboldened the likes of Slobodan Milosevic when he continued his ethnic cleansing in defiance of U.S. threats.”

I don’t understand the continued obsession with the Serbian bogeyman by the anointed at NR and other conservative publications. Such bullshit made me cancel my subscription to the magazine during the Balkans crisis, and other publications such as the Weekly Standard joined in the chorus for punishing the evil Serbs. I wish I could craft a reply to the idiocy of the statement, but I am not as skilled in such matters as you. Anyway, I wanted to bring it to your attention, as it is something I see far too often when a conservative writer writes commentary on American foreign policy (vid the recent debates on Syria).

–Andrew R.