June 2014

We saw April’s, and here was last month’s:

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Personal Security Advisory
May 1, 2014

The U.S. Embassy in Pristina recommends that U.S. Citizens in Kosovo maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Local police have recently informed the Embassy of a noticeable increase in the level of street crime in Pristina, including incidents of purse snatching and theft of smartphones.

…Some preventative measures you can take to reduce your exposure to the risk of crime are:

Travel in pairs, where possible.
Walk in well-lit areas or areas with significant foot traffic; avoid dark, isolated areas such as stairwells and side streets.
While walking, look around and be familiar with who is around you. Muggers target individuals who are distracted or who they can easily approach.
Keep your money or wallet in a front pocket.
Keep cell phones/ smart phones in your pocket or purse. Do not walk and talk or send SMS messages, this reduces your situational awareness.
Do not leave phones, cameras, etc. on the table at a café or restaurant and do not hang your handbag/backpack on the back of your chair.
Carry handbags/backpacks in a secure manner to prevent grab-and-run type thefts.
Always be alert and pay attention to your surroundings.

Never be Serb.

They wanted an Albanian-run Kosovo, and they got it:

Parliamentary candidate shot dead in Kosovo (AP, June 15)

Kosovo police say a parliamentary candidate from Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s ruling party was shot dead early Sunday as he walked out of a restaurant…Elvis Pista — a flamboyant politician recognizable for his spiked hair — was shot four times at close range shortly after midnight in the western town of Orahovac, his hometown. Authorities believe a handgun with a silencer was used.

Police did not discuss possible motives behind the attack but the slaying comes amid heightened tensions between political rivals after Kosovo’s June 8 parliamentary election. The final results were not in from Pista’s race but preliminary results showed him leading.

Thaci’s center-right party won the most votes last week but lacks a coalition partner to form a government. Rival parties have vowed not to govern with Thaci, citing widespread corruption and mismanagement.

In Orahovac, hundreds gathered Sunday to pay their respects.

Thaci, who called Pista “an associate and a friend,” condemned the killing and urged police to swiftly find who was responsible. Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga also condemned the shooting, saying it threatened the rule of law in Kosovo.

Past elections in Kosovo were often marred by irregularities and violence between rival groups but no incidents were reported in the June 8 poll, the second such vote since Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008.

Belgrade still rejects Kosovo’s independence.

How unreasonable.

Meanwhile, another associate of Thaci’s:

High-profile war crimes suspects escape Kosovo hospital
(Reuters, May 20)

Police in Kosovo launched a manhunt on Tuesday for three high-profile war crimes suspects who appeared to have fled a hospital where they were each being treated under guard while standing trial.

They include Sami Lushtaku, a close ally of Kosovo’s prime minister and former guerrilla commander, Hashim Thaci.

“The Kosovo Correctional Services have informed the presiding judge that they cannot locate three out of seven defendants in the so-called Drenica case,” said a spokesman for the European Union’s police and justice mission….He said all three had been due in court on Thursday.

Their escape will stir fresh suspicion about corruption in police ranks, in a country where former guerrillas enjoy hero status and often close ties to the political elite.

Some background on Lushtaku:

EU in Kosovo Indicts 15 for War Crimes (AP, Nov.8, 2013)

A European Union prosecutor on Friday indicted 15 former ethnic Albanian rebels suspected of torturing, mistreating and killing civilians detained in central Kosovo during the 1998-99 war against Serbia.

Many of those indicted are members of the governing Democratic Party of Kosovo of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. He had led the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, which fought a separatist war against Serbia… [Really? Not a war for human rights, but a separatist war? Are we admitting that these days?]

The indicted include Sami Lushtaku, now a mayor of the town of Srbica, and Sylejman Selimi, Kosovo’s ambassador to Albania, as well as one of Thaci’s bodyguards.

Lushtaku is suspected of executing a fellow ethnic Albanian by shooting him in the head….A protected witness told the prosecution that Lushtaku allegedly executed an ethnic Albanian because “the man had killed his cousin.”

“Sami Lushtaku put the pistol to the prisoner’s head behind his left ear and he shot him,” protected Witness D is quoted as having told the prosecution. “He fell to his knees and Sami shot him twice more in the head.”

Selimi, a former top military rebel commander, faces four charges of war crimes, including beating detainees with fists and wooden sticks, and being part of a group of rebels that pinched a detainee’s “genitals with an iron tool and subsequently dragged him on the floor with it,” according to the indictment.

Salustro also alleged that two other suspects, Sahit Jashari and Sabit Geci, allegedly used a chain saw to behead a Serbian policeman, Ivan Bulatovic, in June 1998…Bulatovic was kept in detention and frequently walked to a village square by Jashari for people to beat him in public, according to a witness described in the indictment as Witness C.

Sometime in June 1998, Geci “took the chain saw and beheaded Bulatovic with it. Then Geci made some deep cuts into Bulatovic’s chest, thigh and legs,” according to the witness testimony quoted in the indictment.

…EULEX works alongside Kosovo justice authorities, but the two have often clashed because the mission has targeted high-profile individuals and former rebels, some of whom are considered heroes by majority ethnic Albanians.

Albanian heroes.

War crime accused takes the oath in Kosovo (Xinhua News Agency, Jan. 4, 2014)

Newly elected mayor of the Municipality of Skenderaj/Srbica, Sami Lushtaku, was briefly taken from the Mitrovica detention center on Friday to his hometown to take the oath for third term in office.

Even in detention, Lushtaku was elected the mayor of the municipality on Nov. 3 elections with an overwhelmed support of 88 percent of the voters….Lushtaku returned to the detention center immediately after taking the oath…

The Cruelest Cleansings (Der Spiegel, Sept. 21, 2002, By Renate Flottau)

…Twenty-four Albanians were shot, among them 13 children, and their houses were burned down…

“Everyone in Kosovo knows but none dares to speak about it,” says the former prime minister of the exiled Kosovars and current chairman of the New Party for Kosovo, Bujar Bukoshi. “After the war the cruelest cleansings took place among the Albanians. Under the pretext that they were ‘Serbian collaborators’, the leaders of the KLA liquidated their political opponents; old blood feuds were settled, and Albanian civilians were executed by the Albanians themselves.”

The number of the victims is estimated to be more than a thousand. The perpetrators or instigators were usually former senior KLA leaders; after the war they were integrated nearly without exception into the KLA successor organization, the civilian Kosovo Protection Corps.

Also awaiting trial…are once legendary KLA commanders Sami Lushtak[u] and Rustem Mustafa (”Remi”). The latter is accused, along with three other KLA officers, of having raped Albanian women and killed at least five civilians in private prison camps during and after the war.

…Belgrade presented the chief prosecutor in The Hague with a disk with 27,000 pages on the alleged war crimes committed by the top KLA triumvirate [Thaci, Ceku, Haradinaj]… “We know a lot,” says UNMIK spokesman Lindmeier, “but our problem is witnesses. They have a gun pointed at their head. Many withdraw their original statements after threats by their former KLA fellow fighters”.

The heroic elite which ended up in jail is guarded by about twenty prison wardens from Germany flown in by plane to do the job. Albanian guards received death threats if they attempted to prevent escape attempts.

For many Albanians the imprisoned KLA leaders are still war heroes. Every Friday demonstrators lay flowers in front of the prison in Pristina. They accuse UNMIK of developing “Milosevic tendencies”. The chairman of the journalist federation, Milan Zeka, has even called on his colleagues to fight against the “police dictatorship” of UNMIK chief Michael Steiner. The German, they say, is insulting a whole generation of Albanians. […]

Kosovo’s Mafia: How the US and allies ignore allegations of organized crime at the highest levels of a new democracy (GlobalPost, March 27, 2011)

“There was interference by the U.S. mission [to Kosovo] preventing effective investigation and prosecution of senior Kosovo officials,” said a U.N. official….The official said that the senior Kosovo politicians were being investigated for being allegedly involved in organized crime, and that U.S. officials prevented searches of the suspects’ homes and in one case were involved with U.N. officials in preventing a sentence from being carried out. The U.N. official said that these phone calls were “well known” and deeply frustrated many of the international prosecutors who were working for the United Nations and wanted to prosecute these Kosovo officials.

On June 14, 2008, the most senior U.N. official in Kosovo, Joachim Ruecker, issued an executive decision suspending the prison term of a former KLA commander named Sami Lushtaku, who had been sentenced to a total of 11 months in prison…In his order, which GlobalPost has obtained, Ruecker notes that Lushtaku’s sentence would make him legally ineligible to be mayor and “such an outcome would be politically highly sensitive at this stage and contrary to the public interest.” It is unknown if American officials influenced Ruecker’s legal decision, but a former senior NATO official in Kosovo said that CIA officials in Kosovo had tried to prevent NATO soldiers from arresting Lushtaku prior to prosecution.

Among the handful of non-pro-Islamic Balkans-observers in America, all eyebrows raised on Friday when The New Republic outdid its own famous fabulist Stephen Glass with two new ones, who penned an opinion article clunkily headlined “Putin is Behaving in Ukraine Like Milosevic Did in Serbia.”

Set aside that virtually no one outside the Balkans knows how Milosevic actually did behave in Serbia. And set aside that the headline and article read as if TNR has started outsourcing style- and copy-editing to non-English-speaking countries. (Just check out the ‘correction’ at the bottom, emphasis added: “This piece has been updated. It mistakenly identified Stepan Bandera as an Ukrainian Greek-Catholic priest, rather than the son of a Ukranian Greek-Catholic priest.”) Set aside also TNR’s unequivocal policy-lockstep stance on every 90s war we waged against Orthodox Christians in the Balkans (a September 1999 article-rejection I got from a senior editor there: “i think there are other magazines that would be happy to publish it. the problem is that tnr has a fairly firm editorial line on the balkans, and i’m afraid your piece doesn’t quite match it…were it not for our disagreement on the issue this would have been a good piece for us.”)

Set aside all that, along with the consistent pattern that Balkans material in the U.S. is exempt from the usual editorial checks and balances when it’s written from the ‘correct’ perspective, giving writers free rein to make stories up out of whole cloth and, alternately, to graft their sources’ yarns directly from the reporter’s notebook to the newspaper.

One supposed it was only a matter of time before the deceased Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic was yet again dredged from his grave, this time in service of some pathetic attempt at a Putin analogy. But if you can imagine, this product was a notch more ridiculous even than the usual. This morning the Reiss Institute published director Nebojsa Malic’s reaction to the TNR “article” (some links added):

Holocaust Denial at The New Republic (Reiss Institute, June 23, 2014)

On June 19, The New Republic published an article by Vera Mironova and Maria Snegovaya, that not only violates the rules of journalism in a manner reminiscent of Stephen Glass, but also engages in outright Holocaust denial by declaring the very real genocidal atrocities committed by Croatian and Ukrainian fascists during World War Two to be “old myths” promoted by Serb and Russian “propaganda.”

Snegovaya…and Mironova, a first-time contributor, describe Croatia and Ukraine as “Catholic and much more pro-Western” nations upon which Serbia and Russia “…imposed their rule.” While Catholicism is indeed a defining characteristic of Croats, most Ukrainians are not Catholic by any stretch of imagination.

Having thus made up a key “fact”, the authors go on to describe both Croatia and the Ukraine as “colonies” of Serbia and Russia, respectively. Therefore, they argue, “Understandably, both Croatia and Ukraine resisted what they perceived as invasion, and in the 1940s, this resistance translated into substantive support for fascists in both countries.” (emphasis added)

Though they identify, however grudgingly, Ante Pavelić and Stepan Bandera as fascists, there is no mention in their essay – not a single word - about the atrocities Pavelic’s Croatia, or Bandera’s followers, committed as Hitler’s allies. This is not an accidental omission, but a crucial one; just a paragraph later, the authors claim that Serbs and Russians – in the 1990s and today, respectively – created ethnic conflict “where none existed before”, clearly implying the 1940s atrocities never happened.

But the worst outright lie is Snegovaya and Mironova’s claim that “Russian and Serbian propaganda referenced the old myths of Croatian (and Ukrainian) fascists”, [and conjured] the imagery of Bandera and Pavelić to unjustly accuse modern Ukrainian and Croatian nationalists…:

“To personalize the link with the Nazis, the historic character Ante Pavelić was used in Croatia, just as Stepan Bandera was used in Ukraine.”

Note the passive “was used”, suggesting it was the Serbs and Russians using Pavelić and Bandera to smear the Croats and Ukrainians as Nazis. The clear implication is that no actual connection exists between the followers of Pavelić and Bandera in the 1940s and the Croats and Ukrainians of today, and that any such connection is purely a product of Serb and Russian propaganda. In actual fact, not malicious fantasy, present-day Croats routinely give Mass for Pavelić and his Ustasha, whom they have promoted to Christ-like martyrs (e.g. Bleiburg), while modern “Ukrainian nationalists” organize torchlight parades in which they march carrying Bandera’s portraits. Simply put, Croat and Ukrainian chauvinists consider Pavelić and Bandera their national heroes. This is not something the Serbs or Russians made up.

[The writers attribute the 1990s Ustasha revival to a “Serb portrayal” of modern Croatia. Whence came, then, all the hard copies of 1990s articles that I have in my drawer, put out by mainstream media and Jewish news agencies and making the same inescapable observations about Croatian streets being renamed for Ustasha “heroes;” about actual Ustasha who’d served in WWII being brought back from Latin America and the Arab world and given official positions; about the popular band Thompson’s songs rhapsodizing about concentration camps, Pavelic and the Black Legion. These news outfits, ranging from Guardian, to Christian Science Monitor to NY Times, aren’t named Slobodan Milosevic. And that’s without mentioning the busts to the Croatian fuehrer Pavelic which still adorn Croatian cultural centers across the globe. And what did Snegovaya and Mironova make of the sieg-heiling by FIFA-sanctioned Croatian soccer player Joseph Simunic last November, or of Croatian soccer player Mario Mandzukic doing the same a year earlier? Do they think Bob Dylan was just talking out of his rear end?]

There are multiple gross factual errors in the essay by Snegovaya and Mironova. One example is their use of “Greater Serbia” to describe “the region with self-proclaimed pro-Serbian republics, partially located in modern-day Croatia”…“Greater Serbia” is but an Austro-Hungarian propaganda canard predating the Great War, and used by Serbophobes ever since.

Another factual error is their accusation that “Milošević went as far as to suggest that Croats were Serbs converted to Catholicism.” There is ample evidence to support that contention as historical fact – but they offer no evidence that Milošević himself ever said so. Then again, it would not be the first time Milošević has been deliberately misquoted. [Besides which, one might ask: Where did all those Serbs converted to Catholicism in WWII go? And do Croats and Bosnian Muslims just happen to have Serbian first and last names by accident? And speak the Serbian language?]

Stephen Glass made his stories up to advance his career. Mironova and Snegovaya go a step further, making up or outright inverting facts in order to whitewash the atrocities of the Kiev junta today, and those of the Croatian and Ukrainian fascists in the 1940s, by accusing the Russians (and ethnic Ukrainians in the East) trying to defend their lives, property and identity from attack — as well as the Serbs who tried to do the same in the 1990s — of being the real aggressors.

Mironova and Snegovaya need to be sanctioned for their gross misconduct, while the The New Republic owes both the Serbs and the Russians an apology. However, having seen the impunity with which the Serbs and the Russians have been demonized in the Western press for almost 25 years, we’re not holding our breath.

And all that’s without mentioning the incongruity of the strained and contrived Putin-Milosevic analogy to begin with. Milosevic acted within his country, and to keep it whole. The very comparison gives Putin claim to Ukraine. And as a uniter.

A Kosovo Albanian recruit (accompanied by another at his right) to the new marauders in Iraq, speaks in Arabic while brandishing his U.S./EU-minted, Facebook-approved “Republic of Kosovo” (Republika e Kosoves) passport, which our Congress, State Department, White House, Pentagon, and National Guard have worked—and are still working—so hard against Christian Serbia to “achieve.”

At the end of his short speech, he rejects the passport by tearing, stomping, and putting his dagger through it. Starting from the 2:20 mark of this video recently posted at jihadology.net, thanks to Mickey at Serbianna.com:

“al-Furqān Media presents a new video message from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām: “Clanging of the Swords, Part 4″:

Praise be to Allah who has granted us the blessing of emigrating for His sake, and has blessed us by causing us to be a part of The Islamic State of Iraq and Shaam. We praise Allah for his blessings and for gathering us together with the lions of The Islamic State from every corner of the world. We praise Allah who granted us the blessing of pledging allegiance to the Ameer (Commander) of the Believers, Abu Bakr Al-Qurashi Al-Baghdadi, may Allah preserve him. Oh Ameer, we’ve pledged to listen and obey, and we’ve pledged to die [for the sake of Allah], so lead us wherever Allah commands you.

We say to the Tawagheet (tyrants) and the disbelievers everywhere, we say to you as Ibraheem—peace and blessings be upon him—said to his father, {Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah. We have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred forever until you believe in Allah Alone.} And we say to you as the Prophet Muhammad—peace and blessings be upon him—said, “We have come to you with nothing but slaughter.”

So rejoice, oh disbelievers. [Dramatically and audibly pulls out his dagger] Declare Allah the Greatest! Allah is the Greatest! I swear by Allah the Almighty, we will cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of you, oh filthy ones. We will conquer Jerusalem, oh Jews. We, the children of Isaac, will conquer Rome. We will conquer Rome and take back Andalus with the permission of Allah the Exalted. Declare Allah the Greatest! Allah is the Greatest! Declare Allah the Greatest! Allah is the Greatest! Declare Allah the Greatest! Allah is the Greatest!

These are your passports, oh Tawagheet (tyrants) in every place. For I swear by Allah that we are Muslims. We are Muslims. We are Muslims.

Passport destruction ensues.

1. Hillary Clinton this month again confirmed that she doesn’t know whether she will run for president in 2016. It’s funny how everyone in the world knows she’s running — only she doesn’t know she’s running. Is that the kind of vision we want in a leader?

2. Also this month, when a gust of wind revealed that Kate Middleton doesn’t wear underwear and a photographer snapped a shot of her bare bottom for all to see, the chattering classes tried to paint the incident as a bold fashion statement that Kate chooses to avoid panty lines. But I sense a car accident in a tunnel in her future.

3. According to the May 22-28 Vegas Seven magazine’s “Tweets of the Week” section (@7Vegas ), @alexandergold posted the following on Twitter: “Every time Lorde is on a stage, I get a little worried that she’s going to go all Carrie on us all. #BBMAs”

Well, she is after all Croatian.

4. Why my husband watches the new “Cosmos,” legacy of the late Carl Sagan and now hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s for lines like the following (a close paraphrase) about our universe. See if you can catch the inconsistency, contradiction, and incoherence in it:

People thought that such perfect machinery, such perfect organization…the only answer must be god. That, however, closes the door on further questions.

Along came Isaac Newton. He was a god-loving man, but he was also a genius. Newton, of course, discovered gravity.

Can you imagine?! Believing in god — and being intelligent — all at the same time!

So what Tyson has just said is that a man who knows that god was responsible for everything, also had a lot of questions. And he went about finding the answers. Thus, god being the answer didn’t exactly shut the door on further questions, did it?

This, then, led to a discourse on Halley’s Comet and how it inspires awe and curiosity while going around the sun at a very wide orbit so as not to get sucked in.

To illustrate the awe and curiosity, the program cuts to a mosque-dotted skyline, panning to an apartment, and to a girl in headdress looking out her window to catch sight of this once-in-a-lifetime marvel.

Thus, what we have is that ubiquitous but still priceless compulsive inclusion of things Islamic where they have no place, given that the Muslim world is compelled by its imams specifically to be uncurious. The very deliberate choice of Muslim character, meanwhile, was a girl. A girl, incidentally, wearing glasses so as to make her look studious, thereby telling you she’s one of those Muslim girls who’s allowed an education. Therefore this a relatively ‘enlightened’ place in the Islamic world.

In terms of Space curiosity — and Malaysian astronauts and interplanetary tea parties aside — if there’s a Muslim aboard a shuttle, chances are the spaceship is being hijacked.

Or the Jews have finally left the Middle East for another planet.

5. In closing, a conversation between my husband and a young new consultant his company has just hired:

Consultant (pointing to a bust on Hubby’s desk): Is that Reagan?

Hubby: Yeah.

Consultant: That’s cool. And is that one Napoleon?

Hubby: Yeah.

Consultant: That’s cool. You’re from Russia?

Hubby: Yeah.

Consultant: Well, I don’t know how you feel about Putin. I know he’s not a good guy. But I think he’s the only real leader left in the world.

Hubby: Yeah.

Thanks to Alexandra Rebic for the heads-up on this:

Twitter project will mark 100th anniversary of assassination that sparked World War I (University of Kansas News, June 11, 2014)

Lawrence – On June 28, [2014] the event that unleashed World War I and forever shaped history will unfold through 140-character tweets in an elaborate e-reenactment featuring more than 25 historical figures and multiple languages.

Students, staff and faculty at the University of Kansas, as well as local community members, have taken on the Twitter personas of significant and minor participants in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which occurred 100 years ago in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914. These characters will tweet as though the events were occurring in real time.

Twitter users can follow along through the hashtag #KU_WWI, which will provide dozens of historical perspectives – ranging from world leaders to members of The Black Hand terrorist group – on the assassination that launched Europe into total war…

Thanks to KU foreign language classes, select tweets have been translated into German, Bosnian and Serbian. [MULTIPLE languages — I see here only two, not three or more.]

Among the project partners is Slavic languages and literatures lecturer Marta Pirnat-Greenberg, who had her intermediate Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian language students translate the tweets into Bosnian and Serbian… [But not into “Croatian”?]

“Equally exciting for students as creating the tweets in Bosnian and Serbian was using their language skills in the medium that is part of their everyday communication in English, as well as the prospect of showcasing their language work,” Pirnat-Greenberg said.

Sounds like they need more work. Or a different professor.

In closing, I should have included this item when illustrating a few months ago that languages are used as political tools in the Balkans:

New Montenegrian language ‘discriminates against Serbs’ (Balkan Insight, Sept. 23, 2010)

“The adoption of a new style of Montenegrin grammar has been criticised as a ‘classic form of discrimination’ against Serbs in Montenegro, the country’s Serbian National Council, SNS, opposition party has declared. Critics believe the changes to the language are politically motivated, aimed at forging a separate Montenegrin identity following the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

They claim the recent official adoption of ‘Montenegrin Grammar’ is designed to expel the Serb language and discriminate against the large Serbian minority and those who, until recently, claimed Serbian as their native language…

Over the border in Serbia, linguist Ivan Klein dubbed the Montenegrin language ‘an artificial creation and a political decision.’

One of the authors of the Grammar, Montenegrin linguist Adnan Cirgic, denied claims by the Serbian and Montenegrin opposition that archaic forms of words were being revived, saying the new grammar only included words that were still in use. He said: ‘The archaic forms that local ‘experts’ have quoted in the media haven’t been included. This is just propaganda conducted to prevent the use of the new spellings.’

The beginning of a new term in educational institutions in Montenegro have marked the begining of the new Montenengrin language being adopted. The government approved The Grammar of the Montenegrin Language as the country’s official grammatical code last month. The first edition of a book on it appeared in bookstores on September 4 and a lexicon of the Montenegrin language was published days later.

According to a recent poll conducted in 2010, 41.6 per cent of respondents claim Serbian to be their native language and 38.2 per cent Montenegrin.”


Montenegro Says Farewell to ‘Mother Tongue’ (Balkan Insight, Sept. 20, 2010)

With the official introduction of a new Montenegrin dictionary and grammar, the country has taken further steps to consolidate its own language – much to the annoyance of the Serbian community.

Montenegro’s pro-Serbian opposition parties are threatening to appeal to the Constitutional Court over the government’s drive to establish the official language of the country as “Montenegrin”.

“The authorities… have started a project to delete the Serbian people from the Montenegrin map,” Ranko Kadic, head of the Democratic Serbian Party, declared. “This is the beginning of our extinction.”

As recently as 2003, an outright majority claimed Serbian as their native language. According to the most recent census, in that year, only 21.53 per cent of the population declared “Montenegrin” as their native language, whilst 59.67 per cent named Serbian.

Before the collapse of Yugoslavia, four of the six constituent republics, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro, shared a common language, then known as Serbo-Croatian.

After independence, however, Croatia made strong efforts to highlight the distinct aspects of its language, which was now called “Croatian”. Bosnian Muslims have made similar efforts in Bosnia Herzegovina, promoting official use of a codified “Bosniak” language.

At the time, Montenegro, which remained in a state union with Serbia until 2006, appeared content not to have its own separate language.

But as the movement for independence gathered strength, the authorities started to promote linguistic changes. In 2004, the government changed the school curriculum, so that mandatory language classes were no longer labeled “Serbian” but as “Mother Tongue (Serbian, Montenegrin, Croatian, Bosnian).”

Later, following the independence referendum, a new constitution on October 22, 2007 named the official language as Montenegrin.

Its orthography was not established until July, 2009, with the addition of two letters, ‹ś› and ‹ź›, to replace the digraphs ‹sj› and ‹zj›. Using the old 30-letter alphabet, the word for tomorrow was spelled “sjutra”. The correct form is now “śutra”, for example. The new alphabet has 32 letters.

After the government’s Council for Education last month adopted the Grammar of the Montenegrin language, this year will be the last in which language students study “Mother Tongue”.

The involvement of a Croat in the newly published grammar meanwhile has further fuelled Serbian suspicions that there is a political agenda behind the language drive, which is to push Serbia and Montenegro further apart.

Work on the grammar, which lasted two years, was led by Montenegrin linguist Adnan Cirgic and Croats Ivo Pranjkovic and Josip Silic.

Cirgic defended their involvement, saying Croats were established experts in the field of Slavic languages, as is Ljudmila Vasiljeva from Ukraine, who co-authored the lexicon along with Milenko Perovic and Jelena Susanj.

But some locals have continued to object, criticising what they call artificial revivals of archaic forms and an excessive reliance on Croatian grammatical forms.

The new grammar “takes us back several centuries,” the socio-linguist Slavica Perovic scoffed in the opposition newspaper DAN. “It’s hard to imagine a modern speaker, talking about business, clothing or car brands, using the same words as his great-grandfather.”

Perovic dismissed the new grammar – and the two new letters - as forced attempts to create differences to other languages in the region.

“To merit being called a language requires greater differences than those represented in the Grammar of Montenegrin,” said Perovic, a professor of philosophy at the University of Montenegro.

Those arguments are supported over the border in Serbia. The respected linguist Ivan Klein told Belgrade’s Blic newspaper that Montenegrin was “an artificial creation and a political decision”.

Pero Kaludjerovic, a third-year student of Serbian and South Slavic literature at the University of Montenegro, said he used the new phonems privately but would not use them in formal speech or writing.

“In private speech I would say ‘Đe si, što činiš?’ [’Hi, what’s up?’], but in formal speech, during exams and lectures, I would say ‘Gdje si, šta radiš?’,” he said, the latter being the standard Serbo-Croat form. “You can’t call this informal speech an official language.”

Montenegrin, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian were all virtually the same and there were more important issues in Montenegro than the language, [University of Montenegro advanced English student Milos Marovic] maintained.

The creation of a separate language was “a political decision” he said…Others are more welcoming about the changes. Blazo Marinovic, a student of political science, conceded that there are no major differences in the “new” language, but said it was good that expressions which form part of Montenegro’s national identity and culture now had official approval.

“From now on, we’ll be able to write and speak officially as we always used to,” he said. “Our formal language is being enriched with many beautiful, picturesque and powerful words, phrases and expressions, which can be easily understood by everyone.”

Adnan Cirgic says Montenegro has seized the opportunity to reject its inferiority complex and linguistic subordination to other cultural centres that guided language policy in Montenegro in the past.

“The adoption of the first official spelling of the Montenegrin language is an historic event,” he said. “No matter what some ‘experts’ and politicians claim, it is designed to strengthen the multi-ethnic harmony [in Montenegro] that already exists here.”

As we know, Facebook is a place — nay, a world — where people make just a little more of themselves than what they really are. Where they’re something other, something greater, something better. Quite often, it’s also the epicenter of ‘Thou Dost Protest Too Much.’

Take one Facebook friend of a friend, who posts things like, “At least my kids know they have a mother who loves them more than anything else in this world.” This being a mother who, when the kids were just out of kindergarten, found a new love more exciting than their father, bringing on divorce and lost custody, and now makes the kids commute between states every month to see her. Sounds like there’s something she loved, or at least chose, over the kids.

Or how about another acquaintance who, every time her husband does something else stupid, takes to Facebook to reaffirm how happy she is to have found him, and professes her undying love.

Or take my dad, the dog lover. He’s always posting heart-warming doggy pictures and writing things like, “I’d have a hundred if I could.” This is a man who said that the deaf blue-eyed terrier I adopted doesn’t know how to behave and has strange eyes; who sent my mother’s adopted beagle mix to the shelter after two months because he couldn’t be bothered to keep an eye on the dog so it wouldn’t bite the furniture (”He has angry eyes, anyway.”); who more recently, when my mom said she wouldn’t mind getting one more dog, said, “I already have a dog, but do what you want since I won’t have anything to do with that dog”; and who randomly hurls insults at family but is prone to posting Rockwellian scenes of blissful family life.

On Facebook, you are what you’d like to be, and would like to be perceived as being. And so, if Kosovo is a country on Facebook, that probably means it’s not a country.

Then again, Facebook recognition could make it official, despite the social network’s protestations of modesty:

Kosovo Gets A Facebook ‘Like’ (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nov. 20, 2013)

The world’s largest social network, Facebook, has finally listed Kosovo as its own country — more than five years after the breakaway territory proclaimed independence from Serbia and after more than 100 countries…have extended formal recognition.

…Kosovars who wanted to create or promote a Facebook account would now have the option of choosing “Kosovo” as their location. Until now most users simply had the option of “Serbia.”

Kosovo’s prime minister, Hashim Thaci, welcomed the move, saying that senior Facebook executives had informed him earlier in the week about the company’s decision…Kosovo’s minister for EU integration, Vlora Citaku, went even further in her enthusiasm, stating on her Twitter account that Facebook now “recognizes Kosovo as a state.” She included the hashtag #digitaldiplomacy with the tweet, underscoring the increasing importance that social-media websites have for smaller, emerging countries like Kosovo.

Facebook confirmed the move to RFE/RL, though was quick to tamp down any suggestion that Facebook had the power to “recognize” Kosovo (or indeed any other country)… “Companies have clearly no role to play in the formal recognition of countries as this is a matter for the international community to decide. We do try to ensure that our service meets the needs of our users….”

The move appeared to validate the activities of groups like DigitalKosovo and others who have tried to raise public awareness of the importance to the economy of being correctly identified by websites like Facebook (as well as other e-commerce sites like hotel-bookers, car-rental agencies, and internet retailers).

In addition to helping Kosovo, the move underscores the overwhelming — and sometimes uncomfortable — importance of Facebook with its approximately 1.2 billion monthly active users.

Facebook did not comment on what prompted it in this instance to identify Kosovo as a location, but clearly the move has vast implications — and not just for Kosovo’s relatively small user base. […]

Here’s what may have prompted it:

[A] Group of Facebook users recently launched an online campaign to gather signatures for the letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg, founder and the owner, asking him to recognize Kosovo.

“Asking” appears to be a subjective term. I did a search to find this appeal, this ‘letter’ that surely must have been an effective piece of digital diplomacy and political sophistry to have achieved such swift and defined results. Here is what I found:

Kosovo is not Serbia Mark Zuckerberg: We want from Facebook to recognize Kosovo as an independent state

Luard Kullolli

Petition by

Luard Kullolli

clinton twp, MI

Kosovo is recognized the world over 100 countries and is an independent state, we regret that still qualifies facebook.com Kosovo as Serbian province. As every country in the world and Albanians in Kosovo have the right to be represented at Facebook.com them as citizens of Kosovo.

Kosovo is not Serbia Mark Zuckerberg
We want from Facebook to recognize Kosovo as an independent state

[Your name]

Indeed, the “letter,” and the “asking,” come across more like an order, to the extent they come across at all. This is the sort of thing that Facebook high-ups respond to? Meanwhile, do they have any clue that in a few years they’ll have to change the Kosovo designation again, from Kosovo to Kosova, the usurper pronunciation. (Already by 2010, the ‘Kosovo passport’ accepted by EU countries was marked “Republic of Kosova.”) Then, a few years later when the full Albanian jig is revealed, Facebook will have to change the designation yet again, to Albania, after the temporary ‘country’ merges with the fatherland then adds pieces of Macedonia, Montenegro, more Serbia, Greece and maybe Bulgaria.

Thank You, or Else. From “Europe’s Youngest State.” (So Young, it’s Not Even a State .)

The tone of the Albanian ‘request’ is reminiscent of something in a July email from Canadian military reporter Scott Taylor:

Just a heads up. The ‘Kosova’ Foreign Minister is in Ottawa today. He did an interview with my colleague at Embassy magazine and then demanded that he be allowed to see the copy before it goes to press. When she advised him that is not the magazine’s policy, he berated and verbally threatened her [raised voice, insults, menacing presence]. She was reduced to tears and very frightened! These guys are total thugs. And his reason for being in Ottawa? To thank Canada for recognizing ‘Kosova’ and all of our past support. Unbelievable.

The foreign minister was there also to get — as with all things Kosova — a little ahead of himself, and of his not-yet-country: to seek “Canada’s support for Kosovo’s eventual bid to join NATO.”

Ah, but this is all too inside-baseball for the blind leaders of the blind, the American media who give Kosovo’s thugs (’leaders’) carte blanche ink, without caring to know the nature of those they’re promoting in toe with the State Department. Huffington Post, for example, knew only to publish the minister’s seemingly humble thanks:

“Thank You, Canada!” From Europe’s Youngest State (Enver Hoxhaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kosovo, July 22, 2013)

On my official visit to Canada this week, I want to thank Canadians for all that you have done to support the sovereignty and security of the youngest state in Europe and a new member of the worldwide family of multi-ethnic democracies. [Or, at least, the illusion of such. See also “Young Albanians Reject Serb Friendship.”]

Shortly after Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008, Canada recognized Kosovo on March 18 [incidentally, the fourth anniversary of the 2004 pogroms against non-Albanians], and now our nations have full diplomatic relations. Earlier, Canada sent some 1,300 troops to NATO’s Kosovo Force peacekeeping mission, and 20 Canadians gave their lives in the former Yugoslavia. Additionally, Canada contributed $135-million in development assistance to Kosovo from 1992 through 2010.

Today, there are few if any excuses for countries not to recognize Kosovo’s statehood. We ask that they do so to cement our region’s Euro-Atlantic integration on a durable foundation of peace and democracy.

Thank you, Canada.

Facebook got the message, apparently, and laid some of that cement. As always, exceptions are made for Albanians and they get what they want. But really, what Jewish C.E.O. could resist an appeal from Michigan (that ‘letter’ from Luard Kullolli), where the ever so eloquent petition originated? Keffiyeh Central, with its Greater Dearborn headquarters of Hizbullah rallies that bring the Muslim community closer together. Particularly during Israel’s 60th birthday in 2008, the same year Muslim Kosovo declared its own birth (again). Which brings up an interesting inconsistency by Facebook: Unlike Kosovo, if one tries to fill in “Palestine” as the country option, that still doesn’t work. And yet, all things being relative, Palestinian terror has gone about achieving statehood over the decades far more ‘legitimately’ and patiently.

The Albanian-Jewish Paradox

A December follow-up on the Facebook recognition somewhat illuminated “what prompted” it, bringing little surprise to those who have been following the aftermath of the least discussed and least analyzed war in American history, the little war that happened just when Americans decided that what a president does in his private life doesn’t affect how he runs the country (or ruins others). And so, as ever, the name Eliot Engel popped up, the wide-smiling congressman whose job description is to please his dangerous constituency in the Bronx (links added):

Kosovo’s independence is Facebook-official (Boston Globe, Dec. 26, 2013)

The small Balkan country of Kosovo might not have a seat at the United Nations, but it has won recognition from an organization that may be more influential: Facebook…Facebook generally only lists UN-recognized countries, but a lobbying campaign by Kosovars and by New York Representative Eliot L. Engel, a steadfast supporter of the country, convinced Facebook to make the change.

Recognition by Facebook is just one entry on Kosovo’s wish list. The government also wants a slot in the ever-popular Eurovision song contest [especially after the dreaded Serbs won it on their first go] and the right to field an international soccer team. And who knows? In light of how Tonibler — an Albanian-language rendering of Tony Blair — has become a popular boys’ name in honor of the former British prime minister’s role in the NATO air strikes, it’s possible that the first Kosovar winner of the Eurovision song contest will be named after Mark Zuckerberg.

Or, perhaps, after Simon Wiesenthal. In a microcosm symptomatic of, and embodying all, the Kosovo dilemmas, contradictions, and historical blasphemies, a month ago the Simon Wiesenthal Center proudly announced: “Wiesenthal Centre Partners Yom HaShoah in Kosova.” The press release:

Tel. +33-147237637 - Fax: +33-147208401
E-mail: csweurope@gmail.com
For further information contact Shimon Samuels on 0033609770158

Pristina, Kosova, 28 April 2014

By invitation of the The Kosova-Israel Friendship Association - Dr. Haim Abravanel, and its President Leke Rezniqi, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre-Europe co-sponsored its 2014 Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day) commemoration.

This followed an October 2013 visit by the Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels who stated:

“I travelled through Kosovo to meet with children and grandchildren of the rescuers of Jewish fugitives from the Nazis who were escaping from other regions of the ex-Yugoslavia”, adding, “I visited, with the KIFA, the mountain passes through which the refugees were taken to safety in neighboring Albania, where they survived the Holocaust”.

Samuels continued, “I was greatly moved by the story of ‘the 100 White Hats’ — the egg-shaped headgear worn by Kosovar peasantry — purchased by Leke’s grandfather, Arsilan Mustafa Rezniqi, to disguise the fleeing Jews.

For this, Arsilan was recognized by Yad Vashem as a ‘Righteous among the Nations’”[.]

The ceremony was held on 24 April and featured the opening of the exhibition: “Rescue of Jews in Kosovo during the Holocaust - Uncovering a Hidden Legacy”

Samuels stressed that “this exhibition sets a remarkable example by Muslim Kosovo to the Muslim world”, continuing, “the naming of your Kosovo-Israel Friendship Association for Dr. Haim Abravanel is testimony to our interdependent humanity. Leke’s Muslim grandfather who was his rescuer, was, in turn to be saved by this Jewish physician”.

The Centre congratulated KIFA for the essay contest it is launching in Kosovo’s schools and universities, in association with Verbe et Lumiere — Vigilance — on “The Holocaust and Jews in Kosovo”.

“These initiatives have brought together three heroic figures who overcame ethnic and religious boundaries to care for ‘the other’: Arsilan Mustafa Rezniqi, Dr. Haim Abravanel and Simon Wiesenthal. May they be our guides through the dark passages of contemporary hate”, concluded Samuels.

So much for that.

Apparently, there’s a lesson that organized Jewry still hasn’t learned. A monster who favors Jews is still a monster. He’s just more interesting than most. Put another way, just because someone likes or saves Jews, it doesn’t mean he gets to kill Serbs. Therein lies the Albanian-Jewish contradiction. If one cares to notice it. The Wiesenthal people can be assured that if it were Jewish lands that neighboring Albanians were after, they’d redefine the word anti-Semitism.

One might also care to notice that, for all the de-Jewifying of the Holocaust lesson, diluted to general messages of “tolerance” and applied to every aggrieved group, here is one case where the application would actually serve, given the very direct Jewish-Serb Holocaust connection. But sure enough, here one finds the aggrieved group’s case being callously ignored and even quashed.

Meanwhile, the blatant historical perversion of such high-minded blather as “overcoming ethnic and religious boundaries to care for ‘the other’” almost goes without saying. The sentence is being uttered, after all, in a state founded on ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic cleansing, and murderous racism of ‘the other’, morphing into a current state of apartheid. In March 2004, National Review deigned to publish the fact that “A pogrom started in Europe on Wednesday. A U.N. official is quoted as saying that ‘Kristallnacht is under way in Kosovo.’ Serbs are being murdered and their 800-year-old churches are aflame…[T]oo many of Kosovo’s Albanians have shown that all the speeches about democracy and multi-ethnicity…are false.”

It’s also really something to see Simon Wiesenthal Center using the terro-Fascist pronunciation “Kosova.” Then again, who ever heard of Jewish escapees from the Nazis being described as “fugitives”?

Pogrom of the Dead

The Wiesenthal-’Kosova’ partnership ceremony came just two days after one of those ‘responsible’ and ‘mature’ officials — as we’re constantly assured Kosovo’s governorship is — threatened to demolish an Orthodox church going up in Pristina (and to turn it into a “war crimes museum” in memory of Albanians); it came a week before the Kosovo prime minister himself called the church a “Milosevic monument,” a tag used for 15 years now to cleanse everything non-Albanian; it came days before a (supposedlydismantled‘) KLA commander announced to a local TV station his intention to destroy the UNESCO-listed Decani Monastery, which was built in 1327 and which sheltered Albanian women and children during the 1999 war, and which last year was forced to shut its doors (despite our NATO’s “protection”), as Albanian terror celebrated five years of independence by trying to take land that churches are “occupying” (the plan being to then hijack the landmarks asKosovo history” so as to remove evidence that anyone predated Albanians there) — and by smashing or desecrating any Serbian headstones still standing, this time ostensibly because a monument to Serb-killers was disallowed in Serbia proper. Just some scenes from what Reuters saw as “signs of a thaw with Serbia as Kosovo turns five“:

This is all without mentioning the KLA (”UCK”) graffiti that was going up on Decani’s walls in April while the Wiesenthal people were en route back to Israel and Los Angeles.

The Judeo-Albanian lovey-doveys capped a month that opened with continued unlawful seizure of monastic land by Albanians, this time near Orahovac, another town that has been almost entirely cleansed of Serbs (with early help from the UN, OSCE and KFOR, which “supported the KLA’s violence most openly, on the principles that ‘every Serb is a war criminal’ and that anyone has the right to accuse, try and sentence a Serb,” as the otherwise Serb-unfriendly Humanitarian Law Center laid out in February 2000). Orahovac became a sort of “barbed wire-enclosed concentration camp for Serbs,” whose “freedom of movement was limited to a circumference of 500 meters,” outside of which they needed an armed KFOR escort, even for ambulances. The monastic land seizure there in April involved the Saints Cosmas and Damian Monastery, which is being threatened by local Albanians while it undergoes restoration after being blown up in 1999 and its flock driven out. (What we in the West called — and still call — ethnic cleansing of Albanians.)

The previous month, amid graffiti reading “The only good Serb is a dead Serb” on the Church of the Dormition in Djakovica (which had been burned to its foundations during the March 2004 anti-Serb riots and where four elderly nuns are what remain of the Serbian community), a group of Serbs was prevented by Kosovo police from visiting the convent and a nearby graveyard on the Saturday of the Reposed; and on Orthodox Christmas Eve this past January, “Albanians held mass rallies in front of the convent, stoning two buses of Serb pilgrims, preventing them from visiting the convent and preventing the sisters from attending a Divine Liturgy on Christmas.

After creating this environment for Christians, the American embassy had the courtesy to post the following advisory this Easter:

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Pristina (Kosovo), Easter Holidays

The upcoming Easter holidays are of particular religious significance for Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities, and it is expected that their places of religious worship will likely be significantly more crowded than normal. Given occasional threats against religious institutions in Kosovo, particularly the more prominent churches located in urban centers, the U.S. Embassy would like to remind all U.S. citizens in Kosovo to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the Kosovo Police.

Funny thing, Easter was never a dangerous time in the Yugoslav region under communism; the West has really outdone everyone, not least of all when we bombed right through that “religiously significant” Easter, both in ‘99 and ‘95. We take only Ramadan off from that sort of thing.

Someone Please Fire the Incompetent Minister of Genocide

Jewish Albanian-appreciation is complicated further by the glaring Serbo-Israeli parallels that are swept under the rug: Everything that Albanians have done to the Serbs successfully — including the image war that turned the world against them — has been right out of the Palestinian playbook, as blogger Pamela Geller recently nailed it. Particularly nasty is the similarity wherein Palestinians are trying to achieve a Jew-free Middle East while claiming ethnic cleansing and genocide — and while growing in population.

Likewise, the ever-growing Albanian population shouted ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘genocide’ in pursuit of a Serb-free Kosovo.

U.S.-NATO Alliance with Extremists and Fascists Spawns Vicious Web of Deceit

“Kosova” is founded on torture, slaughter and remnants of WWII Fascism. It is with the architects of such a ’state’ that Simon Wiesenthal Center and too many other Jewish organizations and institutions are bonding — while the remnants of a people whose Jerusalem this was are under siege. Never mind the additional fact that the besieged belong to a nation that was first to endorse the Balfour Declaration, breaking the icy international silence and referring to “Israel” 30 years before the name was adopted. And never mind the words of Israeli ambassador Yossi Levi last year upon the 14th anniversary of the NATO bombing: “We Jews will never forget the incredible human and heroic role of many Serbs who saved Jews during the Holocaust…[T]he Serbs provided arms to the Jews…and were often killed together in the same pits.”

Similarly, Serbia provided one of the first loans to America, whose independence it recognized as fast as America recognized against Serbia’s sovereignty in 2008. Washington may be too deep in a moral abyss as regards these people, but Jerusalem and those who love it are not.

Albanian Nazi slaying a Serb Orthodox priest in Devic, Kosovo in WWII

1944. The Kosovo-Albanian SS Skanderbeg division, which rounded up Kosovo Jews later killed at Bergen-Belsen

Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, commander of the Nazi SS Division Handzar in Bosnia. He is shown wearing the Albanerfez, or national Albanian skull cap made by the SS for the [300] Nazi Albanian Kosovar Muslims in the division.

Xhafer Deva…interior minister of the Nazi-created Greater Albania…helped form [Skanderbeg].

Troops of the fascist Balli Kombetar (’balists’), a volunteer Kosovo Albanian Nazi organization formed in 1939

Balists murdering Serb civilians in the road, 1941.

The Balli Kombetar (also spelled Bali i Kombetar) insignia on a Pristina wall in 2006.

Gjon Marka Gjoni, the fascist leader of the Albanian Roman Catholics, whose followers were in the Skanderbeg SS Division.

Kosovar Albanian Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division on the move in Kosovo, 1944.

Kosovar Albanian political leaders with German and Italian occupation officials.

And the images below are from the 80s. Like WWII, the 80s came before the 90s, the decade that supposedly caused all the Serbs’ ills:

Serbian gravestones destroyed…in Srbica in 1985.

Kosovo Serbs flee en masse from Kosovo, June 20, 1986.

But hey, the perpetrators of all this have nothing against Jews (historically and for now). Congratulations, Wiesenthal folks. What a ringing endorsement.

They’re not entirely out of order, of course. Between killing Serbs in WWII, Albanians did save Jews. (Though not the Jews of Kosovo).

But Pope Pius XII also saved Jews. And yet the Jewish community repeatedly has asked the Vatican to hold off on canonization until more information could be learned, for a fuller picture of Pius’s role during WWII. Why isn’t the same analysis required for the full “Kosovar” story, and the same prudence exercised? As ever, the Albanians get a pass on their hasty path to the next prize.

It goes without saying that the Alba-Judeo humanity fest did not end with an appeal to the victorious-but-still-punching Albanians that they put into practice the ideals they were being honored for demonstrating in WWII, by showing the pummeled Serbs even a fraction of the non-barbaric side they once showed Jews.

And it goes without saying that the 2013 Facebook recognition, which on November 20th came just in time for Albania’s independence day of November 28th, was bestowed with nary a raised eyebrow over the way that year opened: with a pogrom of the dead that was kept out of the presses, their bones scattered in honor of Kosovo’s fifth anniversary. As with the “letter” to Zuckerberg itself, primitiveness gets rewarded.

Now to determine if Kosovo statehood is to be celebrated on February 17th, when it immaculately self-birthed in 2008; on November 28th, as ‘Kosvoars’ have been celebrating Albania’s holiday all along; or on November 20th, when the Albanians’ latest Jewish sucker made the unilateral declaration “official.”

And you thought Facebook was a dangerous place before.


The May rains in Serbia and Bosnia poured for days before there was any coverage of the floods in the West, prompting tennis star Novak Djokovic to implore media to raise awareness, and to accuse CNN and BBC of “virtually ignoring a ‘total catastrophe of biblical proportions’,” as The Guardian deigned to report five days in. He added, “Half the country is in danger of not having any electricity, there is total immobilisation, evacuations…I see that on CNN, the BBC and other big networks there is a lot about the miners in Turkey, and so forth. This is another disaster, but there is no broadcast [about] Serbia and Bosnia, nothing about the biggest floods that we have ever seen, that maybe Europe has ever seen. This is incredible. I just hope that people can find [some] common sense and broadcast this….We need help.” (Djokovic pledged his $750,000 Rome Masters prize to aid, and is asking everyone to help through his foundation.)

Three days into the flooding, Canada’s Globe and Mail finally started reporting (though the government hasn’t issued so much as a press release or any aid, a pattern among Western governments, prompting a petition that leaders speak publicly about the events, and one that they send aid). Another three days later, Reuters relented and reported that Russia and the EU were helping, the latter somewhat reluctantly at first: “The European Union has been half-hearted, even cold, asserting its bullying posture over admitting Serbia to the club but indifferent to its times of need. In the words of Svetlana Maksovic, writing for the Serbian monthly Geopolitika, “many Serbian people are upset by the…lack of reaction…especially after EU Foreign Policy Head Catherine Ashton did nothing more than send her condolences.” And while a massive Macedonian charity drive collected $165,000 just over the first weekend after the flood, U.S. ambassador Michael Kirby offered $100,000 from the embassy, after first lecturing Serbia about gay rights. Pretty pathetic, considering we didn’t help rebuild after the NATO-assisted terrorism against a country that, unlike some under the Marshall Plan and more recent examples in the Middle East, did not declare war or attack us first.

Such a natural disaster and state of emergency occurring anywhere else in the world would be headline news, and every American celebrity would be doing a telethon (on that point, thank god for Billy Idol and Russell Crowe; Angelina Jolie also pitched in). However, since the floods happened where Serbs live, and humanity had sympathy for them surgically removed, only Russia took notice in the early days, sending food, water, rescuers, boats and diving equipment. Only once landslides started dislodging landmines, it appears the wrathful flooding was finally newsworthy. That, and the sappy stories they realized they could write about former belligerents — Serbs, Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Abanians — reaching out to help one another, something that UNLV professor Dr. Michael Pravica wrote about from a more intimate perspective in his Pravda.com op-ed this week, adding a few other important observations from his visit to the region:

Doctors, nurses, and other aid workers from a variety of [Slavic] nations were working in Hotel Slavija, rushing to and fro….and I found very few (if any) citizens from Western nations. [M]y government (USA) gave next to nothing in aid…and neither did Canada (roughly $30,000 CAD). In two days of fundraising, Serbian-Americans in Las Vegas collected some $50,000, to give some comparison….[T]he West and NATO squandered billions of dollars illegally arming combatants…and illegally bombing Serbia, [under the guise of] “humanitarian concern” …This demonstrates that the “humanitarian” intervention in the former Yugoslavia then was really political and regime-changing in nature…and that Western governments could[n’t] care less about helping these peoples when they really need it unless there is something in it for Western leaders.

(Note that he wrote “Western leaders,” not “Western countries,” for which there is no national interest in the “help” we’ve been raining on the Balkans.)

Americans shouldn’t let Russia be the only good guy in the region yet again, and should help the victims even if they’re the politically incorrect Orthodox Christians and not, for example, our kindred Muslims (sarc). Though to be sure, Muslims were affected, with the AP reporting that almost a third of Bosnia “resembled a huge muddy, lake,” so there’s at least hope for that region, the only one that NY Times seems to be mentioning. As Nebojsa Malic wrote me, “I get the ‘Serbs aren’t people, so their suffering can’t be human interest’ mentality of the Western press, but Muslims have died and lost property in the flooding too.” As for the Serb part of Bosnia, consider that it’s Israel’s best friend in the Balkans, and Israel has been delivering aid to Serbia. The region has not seen such a catastrophe since the last time we “helped” it, in 1999.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (incidentally which in 2012 also made the usual unusual move of accepting Kosovo membership despite its not being a country) so far estimated the damage at $4 billion. Here is a list of needed items, and here are additional instructions. British-Serb publication “eBritic” also has a helpful Flood Issue and update, this weekend adding a Red Cross SMS number at this full directory of how to help. Three other donation sites, with the last two being most reliable are http://brussels.mfa.gov.rs/cir/, International Orthodox Christian Charities in Baltimore (already on the ground), and lifeline.org. There are also the good people at the Serbian diaspora organization 28June, whose efforts can be helped via PayPal at 28jun.org@gmail.com. And this accidental Serbia-lover on Huffington Post recommends this site.

25-year-old Kosovo refugee Slobodan “Jumbo” Nedeljkovic, who lost his entire family in 1999 and is now looking for his wife and two-year-old son, has been on the front lines of flood rescue

Albanians, meanwhile, demonstrated the depth of their humanity:

While Albania sent five search and rescue units (to Bosnia), and Pristina took the opportunity to help Serbia, giving the appearance of good faith as it seals the Kosovo deal this year, Albanian fans of Kosovo’s Drenica football club went to a recent Sunday match with Pristina.

And fans at a basketball match in Pristina.

Shefqet Krasniqi, imam of Pristina’s Grand Mosque: “What is happening in Serbia is undoubtedly God’s punishment for all the…injustice against the Albanian people. NATO stopped but did not condemn Serbia for all the crimes and genocide against the innocent population in Kosovo. I am sorry for the children who got born after 1999 because they have the least guilt.”

SMS 1003, http://t.co/EqIhQfxkK3, serb.in/my, #SerbiaFloods, #SerbiaNeedsHelp