It’s no coincidence that on Fran Drescher’s State Department-sponsored international cancer-awareness tour, the obscure territory of Kosovo made it onto her list of stops. Celebrities are high-profile and as they go about promoting their various causes they are very useful in helping to legitimize Kosovo as a “country” in the world’s psyche. I’d say that at least this actress — unlike Nicole Kidman during her UN-sponsored “good will” tour in 2006 — met with Serb women in the non-country. However, that too is all part of the State Department’s PR effort. As our NATO peacekeepers may know, it must be a pretty futile feeling trying to “help” a population that your own government has marked for extinction.

US actress visits Kosovo to raise awareness of women’s cancer

Women need to take responsibility for their own health and fight cancer, said US actress Fran Drescher on a two-day visit to Kosovo last week.

“Kosovo, as a new country, must be focused on raising the awareness of women regarding this disease, because it’s easier and cheaper to treat a cancer caught early,” said Drescher, who spent October 7th through 9th in Kosovo as an envoy of the US State Department for women’s health issues.

She was also representing the Balkans Breast Cancer Initiative, a partnership founded late last year 2007 by the then-US Office in Pristina and Kosovo healthcare institutions and leaders.

“I am seriously concerned about women’s rights … Women need to take control of their health,” she said following a meeting with members of the Women of Kosovo’s Parliamentary Group, whom she asked to do more in the war on cancer.

Drescher herself overcame uterine cancer. “I needed two years and eight different doctors to treat the cancer right,” she said, urging women to undergo screening in order to ensure early detection of any malignancies.

Best known for starring in the US TV comedy series The Nanny, Drescher had a busy itinerary during her short visit to the fledgling country. She interviewed with ten media outlets, including several serving the Kosovo Serb market, and taped an introduction to a documentary on women’s health that aired on Kosovo TV on October 8th. She met with the Women’s Caucus of the Kosovo Assembly and with young Serb women in north Mitrovica. […]

The subject of celebrities and Kosovo gives me an opportunity to follow up on rumors, based on Serbian media reports in January, that George Clooney along with Sharon Stone (who grew up near Pittsburgh, PA with many Serbian friends) would mobilize Hollywood against Kosovo independence. I had blogged at the time that Clooney was opposed to the land theft and said so to the Frankfurt-based Serbian daily “Vesti.” Most likely he did, but we’ll never know for sure — at least from his people — since the damage-control kicked in after he was swamped with emails related to the statement, with his publicist denying that Clooney said anything of the sort.

How it went down:

During his humanitarian campaign in Darfur in Sudan, the Hollywood actor George Clooney expressed his disagreement with George Bush’s idea of unilateral declaration of Kosovo independence. However, UN soon exerted pressure on the actor, who has recently been named a Messenger of Peace of this world organization. This accounts for the statement of Stan Rosenfield, Clooney’s publicist, which appeared on “Clooney Studio” site, that George “neither made those statements nor did he authorize anyone to make it on his behalf.”

Hollywood actors are currently working on an interesting and important project directly related to Kosovo and Serbia. Numerous famous names from the American film industry, who do not agree with Washington’s policy in the Balkans, are incorporated in the project, according to “Blic” interlocutor from the centre of world film industry. However, he could not confirm whether Clooney will take part in the project due to the pressure from UN.

When asked to explain the stance of Sharon Stone concerning the Kosovo issue, PR agency “Momentum” gave a brief comment that there is no truth in the newspaper articles, not clarifying the issue at all. In an interview for the weekly “Europe”, Stone expressed her attitude against the unjust situation related to Kosovo seeking independence.

One hopes that the rumored project is the one that has been speculated upon, but which is taboo to talk about unless one wants to have it killed before it even gets to theaters: a historical tribute to the WWII hero whom the Allies betrayed: Draza Mihailovic and his Chetniks.

On a more recent celebrity-related note, Robert De Niro — whose nannies and other household help consist of Serbian immigrants — tried to explain his bizarrely unaffected-by-official-truth affinity for Serbs by speculating, “Maybe I’m part Serb.” Here he is a couple weeks ago meeting with Serbian president Boris Tadic:

(Thanks to

Finally, Richard Gere comes to mind here as well. After sticking his nose into Kosovo in 1999, visiting Albanian “refugees” in Macedonian refugee camps (Macedonia promptly then becoming the next target of Albanian aggression), Gere ultimately got the (correct) impression that the truth of the situation wasn’t as black-and-white as it was sold to us, saying, “We had been told it was a totally black and white situation and in my estimation it’s not black and white. Obviously the violence is horrific, but it’s horrific on all sides.” Though it didn’t occur to him to apply the same skepticism to Bosnia, about which he made the deserved flop “The Hunting Party.”

[Thanks to SerbBlog’s Melana Pejakovich for the Drescher tip.]