May 13th 2008 07:09:26 PM
Over the weekend I wrote a response for Jihad Watch to a blog post by war reporter Michael Totten in Commentary magazine online, titled “This is a Kosovar Muslim” and showing a photo of a Kosovo Albanian wearing a pro-USA sweatshirt.
TOTTEN: You do know that the majority of people here are atheists, right? There is no religious state or religious majority. “Dhimmi” does not apply to anyone here. The local troubles are ethnic, not religious. Catholics are very deeply respected. It is the Serbs and the Orthodox who are not, thanks to Milosevic and his apartheid and ethnic cleansing regime.
You are never going to understand this place through a Muslim/infidel lens.
BOSTOM: Do you think “secular/atheist” Kosovo will join the OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference], which has clamored for its creation?
TOTTEN: I don’t know. But I wonder why you are putting “secular” and “atheist” in quotation marks. Do you actually believe most people are religious Muslims? I wish we could have this argument in Prishtina. It would be a different argument.
BOSTOM: Not only don’t you know (why you don’t know, or won’t at least hazard your best guess is one question), you apparently don’t think the question is relevant, when what actually happens may be pathognomonic of the problem of creating truly secular Muslim societies in the first place…Can’t you see that? The OIC serves one primary purpose: Islamization. Why would a secular society need to join such an entity?
TOTTEN: Albania joined in 1992, and Albania is overwhelmingly atheist, even more so than Kosovo which is also majority atheist. I’m done arguing with you about this, Andrew, unless you come out here.
BOSTOM: It probably won’t register with you, but “secular” (NOT!) Turkey — which has progressively re-Islamized since the Menderes government was elected by pandering to an Islamic revival in 1950, and now has an openly fundamentalist govt which represents a majority fundamentalist populace — is a major player in the OIC, and a (rather vile) Turk heads the OIC.
Again, I ask you, why would any truly secular nation be part of the OIC?
Let’s start with Totten’s most embarrassing and callous but commonly used canard about the Serbs: “It is the Serbs and the Orthodox who are not [respected], thanks to Milosevic and his apartheid and ethnic cleansing regime.”
In addition to U.S. policy analyst Martin Sletzinger’s casually stated comments that it is “nonsense” to think that Kosovo’s becoming a country has something to do with Milosevic’s supposed oppression — and in addition to the fact that when Sletzinger started working in Congress in the 1970’s, the Albanian lobby was “giving us maps of Iliria, which included Kosovo, half of Macedonia, a good portion of Montenegro, and of course Albania” — we also have Andy Wilcoxson laying it out in this post:
On April 2, 1981, rioting erupted in Kosovo. Nine people were killed and scores injured as police broke up a mob of 10,000 ethnic Albanian demonstrators who were rampaging through the streets of Pristina smashing shop windows and destroying factory machines. The demonstrators, some armed with guns and firing at the police, pushed children in front of them to make it more difficult for security forces to disrupt the march.
The Yugoslav Government said the rioting was the “worst outbreak of separatist demands” since World War II, and imposed martial law to bring the situation back under control. Eyewitnesses reported that cars and trucks were overturned and burning in the center of Pristina while the army guarded public buildings and ambulances toured the streets to pick up the injured.
The separatist nature of the rioting was clear to one and all. When the New York Times reported on it their lead paragraph read: “Yugoslav tanks and troops took up positions today in a province in the south to put down anti-Government riots by Albanian separatists … the separatists want to unite with Albania, the small and selfisolated Communist country on the Adriatic.”
According accounts published in the Washington Post, the demonstrators were said to be chanting “Long Live Enver Hoxha” along with slogans demanding Kosovo’s unification with Albania.
Things flared up in Kosovo a month later when Pristina University was forced to close its doors amid student demonstrations demanding Kosovo’s unification with Albania.
In 1982 Becir Hoti, an ethnic Albanian official in Kosovo’s ruling Communist Party, explained the situation quite well. He told the New York Times: “The nationalists have a two-point platform. First to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then the merger with Albania to form a Greater Albania.”
This is significant because today’s Western narrative claims that the Kosovo-Albanian population wants to secede from Serbia because they allegedly suffered mistreatment under the rule of Slobodan Milosevic.
That thesis is exposed as fallacy because Slobodan Milosevic’s political career didn’t even begin until 1983, when he took a job as economic advisor to the mayor of Belgrade…Kosovo-Albanian separatism had already erupted violently in 1981 and 1982 — long before the public even knew who Slobodan Milosevic was.
Totten’s State Department ventriloquism reminds me of this unbelievable sentence from a November email from, appropriately enough, a “Wilhelm”:
The reason orthodox churches are burnt is only due to their identification with Milosevic-type politics not because Albanians are Muslim let alone them being extremists.
What this airhead is saying is that as the Albanians increasingly expose their long-awaited designs on the region through, among other things, the ongoing, viscerally carried out destruction of Orthodox churches eight years after the Serb-led ouster of Milosevic, we should instead believe that this has something to do with the 1990s decade, and not with the similar attacks on Serb holy sites in Kosovo that went on for a century before that, including during WWII when Greater Albania was undergoing a similar ascension, under the sponsorship of Adolf Hitler. Like Totten, Welhelm wants to believe that the desecration and destruction of thousand-year-old churches by Albanians not only has nothing to do with religion (despite the demonic-like zeal with which Albanians pried off, by hand, the crosses from the churches during the 2004 pogrom), but it doesn’t even have to do with the ethnic intolerance which preceded Milosevic and which tripled after his ouster — that is, after the Albanians were “freed”.
Never, never has the world seen such a persistent, widespread, irrational and singular hatred as that reserved for Serbs. Even age-old anti-Semitism doesn’t compare, given that there are so many thinking, fair-minded people who don’t engage in it. In contrast, people who otherwise have minds make sure not to use them when Serbs are involved.
Notice Totten’s insistence on continuing to use the term “ethnic cleansing” in reference to Kosovo regardless of how many times and ways that notion has been debunked — including by every major U.S. paper in late 1999 after Americans lost interest in Kosovo, and most recently by documentation I provided in my Jihad Watch response to his piece. But Serbs aren’t worth the trouble of a mouse click.
On Totten’s ventriloquism regarding the religious question — “There is no religious state or religious majority…The local troubles are ethnic, not religious. Catholics are very deeply respected” — here is Chris Deliso on Kosovo’s direction, based on developments in long-independent Albania:
Perhaps the most significant emerging trend in the case of Albania is the rise of internecine strife based on religious difference. Rallying a decade ago under the nationalist banner of “one nation, three religions,” the paramilitary KLA claimed support from Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox Albanians during its war in Kosovo. Today, while most Albanians still do feel their ethnicity strongly, religious tensions have nevertheless been growing. In october 2003, police arrested author Kastriot Myftari, charging him with inciting religious hatred against Muslims for writing that Albanian Muslims should convert to Catholicism.
In the northern, Catholic majority city of Shkodra, which borders on Montenegro, mutual provocations between Catholics and Muslims are suddenly emerging. A cross was put up in the city, and then mysteriously vandalized in January 2006. And when civic leaders decided to honor national hero Mother Teresa with a statue, three Muslim groups — the Association of Islamic Intellectuals, the Albanian Muslim Forum, and the Association of Islmaic Charities — publicly protested. The [Albanian Muslim Forum], which allegedly supports interfaith relations, declared that a statue of one of the world’s most renowned humanitarian figures would be a “provocation” to Muslims, and that the religious situation in Shkodra was “not so calm.”
Deliso also explains that “the end of the national question in Kosovo is the beginning of the religious one, as new challenges to the social and clerical order arise from radical Islam.”
Regarding Catholics being “deeply respected” in Kosovo: Aside from Catholics and Muslims having some deep roots in eliminating Serbs and Jews together during WWII, I addressed Kosovo’s religious “pluralism” in my blog post titled “Kosovo’s Religious Pluralism“, which demonstrated, among other things, how an Albanian Catholic priest felt more in common with, and was better to, Albanian Muslims than his Croatian Catholic flock. Because the point is Albanianism Uber Alles. Until it isn’t. As Jim Jatras reminds us:
Typically these begin as what are represented as “national liberation movements,” the desire of a group of people described in national or ethnic terms — Algerians, Afghanis, Kosovo Albanians, Pakistanis, Palestinians, Iraqis, etc. — to have their own independent national state. But at some point — either after achieving that goal…or in the process of the “national liberation” struggle…the movement shifts to a primarily Islamic jihad orientation, in which the national element is downplayed and the jihad element is emphasized. This transition coincides with the marginalization or elimination of the non-Muslim social elements (Christian Arabs, Albanian Catholics, etc.), some of whom may have been militant supporters of the first, national phase but who will have no future in the Islamic new order.
But apparently the big picture is irrelevant to Totten, who is interested only in what he observes on the surface and two feet in front of him. Trends? What’s that? Indeed, what is all this nonsense about the Islamization of the world and a caliphate forming? You don’t see me wearing a burqa, do you?
Let’s hear from another Catholic Albanian priest:
Some tensions appeared after the war. In its December 1999 report, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation, OSCE, said that following the withdrawal of Serbian troops from Kosovo, ethnic Albanian fighters of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, were harassing Catholic Albanians over their alleged lack of commitment to the KLA cause.
The OSCE report said: “Catholic Albanians and evangelical groups have faced continued intimidation and harassment.” It went on: “A common feature of many attacks was the underlying intention to force minorities to leave and/or to ensure their silence through fear. This strategy was effective.”
According to a US State Department report for 2003, certain Catholic-populated areas within Kosovo had previously been “under suspicion of collaboration with the Serb regime,” adding: “Such suspicion was fuelled by the fact that Catholic Albanian villages suffered relatively little damage during the conflict.” [Indeed, clearly they weren’t doing enough for the KLA terrorists/separatists.]
The Catholic Church in Kosovo condemned ethnically-motivated riots in 2004 when dozens of Serbian Orthodox Churches and other properties were damaged or destroyed. “I felt ashamed after what happened in 2004. We were under some pressure as well,” said a Kosovo Albanian Catholic who has since moved to neighbouring Montenegro.
Gosh, I wonder what made him move out of Kosovo. But notice that this Albanian feels shamed by the actions of his fellow Albanians, and considers them reprehensible. Too bad Totten can’t be as honest. But then, Serbs deserve to suffer, according to Totten’s first paragraph at the top of this post. Note also that bullying of Catholics in Kosovo didn’t start only after the war, but was practiced in the 70s and 80s as well, and many of the Albanians who moved out of Kosovo (often to Serbia) along with the Serbs who were fleeing in those decades were Catholics. From one of my earliest articles on Kosovo, based on an interview with a Jew who was raised there (Branko, whose brother is Slobodan):
Slobodan’s best friend, Bardy, was a Catholic Albanian married to a Serbian woman. “He had just called me a few months ago,” Branko reminisces, “because he was so excited about his new dog — a Rottweiler, like so many in America have. When the KLA came in with NATO, he was killed, just for not being a ‘good’ Albanian.”
Another friend, a Serb named Ilija, died while an “internally displaced person” in Serbia, from what Branko calls “sorrow and anger.”
The Serb Ilija, the Albanian Bardy, and the Jew Slobodan were three best friends who got married on the same day, alternately serving as one another’ s best man.
As for Totten’s point about most Albanian Muslims not being religious, surely we don’t have to explain that a Muslim doesn’t have to be religious to sympathize with the cause and buy into the universal Muslim sense of aggrievement. He also states above that there is no religious majority, which is strange, given that about 95 percent of Kosovo is Muslim. That these Muslims are still recovering from their communist-imposed atheism is irrelevant. But it shouldn’t be too long a process, given that Islam is a popular religion among recovering atheists. Does Totten think that Kosovo lends itself to Islamic indoctrination less than Russia, where “especially the atheist groups are gradually getting inclined towards Islam because of extensive propaganda and activities of the Islamist NGOs.” And here is something related from a 1994 article in the London Chronicle by former Thatcher adviser Sir Alfred Sherman:
[I]t should be noted that in Britain and Western Europe, individuals and groups faithful to Moscow’s line in world affairs for years, though mainly atheist, inexplicably back the Muslim fundamentalist government [of Bosnia].
Incidentally, does Totten think that the Bosnia war we abetted, which brought Bosniaks exponentially closer to Islam, doesn’t have echoes in the Kosovo war we abetted?
Totten’s shrug at Albania’s membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, meanwhile, is also worth noting. Like I said, all thinking is suspended if the subject is the Balkans. Here was the OIC upon Kosovo’s “independence”:
RIYADH (Reuters) - The Organisation of the Islamic Conference has welcomed Kosovo’s declaration of independence, saying it would be an asset to the Muslim world.
“Kosovo has finally declared its independence after a long and determined struggle by its people. As we rejoice in this happy result, we declare our solidarity with and support to our brothers and sisters there,” Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the head of the OIC, said at the opening of a meeting in Dakar on Monday.
“The Islamic (umma) nation wishes them success in the new battle awaiting them, which is the building of a strong and prosperous state capable of satisfying its people. There is no doubt that the independence of Kosovo will be an asset to the Muslim world and further enhance joint Islamic action,” he said in comments sent to Reuters.
It doesn’t matter if both we and the Albanians take Totten’s advice and steer clear of seeing “this place through a Muslim/infidel lens.” The umma certainly sees Kosovo through a Muslim/infidel lens — as was the premise of Deliso’s book and the reason for its title The Coming Balkan Caliphate.
“‘Dhimmi’ does not apply to anyone here,” Totten admonishes Bostom. Aside from the fact that one can be a dhimmi just to the Albanian violence being threatened should their cause not be promoted to its conclusion (as that Hungarian parliamentarian demonstratedwhen he explained the awarding of a state to an intolerant population by saying “we’re afraid of them”), what do you call the populations (Serbs, Croats, Roma, Jews and even Gorani Muslims) who are at the mercy of their Albanian-Muslim “hosts” in the event that the armed KFOR guards blink?
Beyond that, there is this fact: Even if dhimmitude weren’t being imposed by the master population on the untermenschen in its mist, or on the master population’s Western benefactors, that doesn’t mean people won’t behave as dhimmis preemptively, of their own accord (we are seeing this everywhere now) in an attempt to please the wider population of Masters. We started calling Albanians ‘Muslims’ and declaring the Kosovo project to be about the U.S. creating a Muslim state in Europe even when the Albanians didn’t — with Tom Lantos asking Muslim countries and jihadists to take this action into consideration, and outgoing Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns hailing support for Kosovo from the OIC and “happily claiming that a ‘vastly majority Muslim state’ has been carved out of Serbia, a European Christian country.”
Which brings us to a phenomenon that I’ll call Dhimmi Irony. Because despite our efforts to please our masters, only five out of 57 member states of the OIC (which includes a “Palestine” that would benefit directly), have recognized Kosovo’s independence:
More and more countries are getting ready to recognize Kosovo’s independence, but many are hesitant, including some Arab and Muslim countries despite Washington’s appeals to display solidarity with Kosovo Muslims.
During a briefing on Kosovo after its declaration of independence, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns welcomed the recognition of this step by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and hence, by the governments of its member countries. He said: “And we think it is a very positive step that this Muslim state, Muslim majority state, has been created today.”
Today, the most urgent issue is whether Kosovo will create a precedent for other territories. This is why many Muslim and other countries do not rush to accept Kosovo’s independence. The United States hoped for Islamic solidarity, but in vain.
Only three [sic] OIC members - Turkey, Afghanistan and Senegal [plus Albania and Burkina Faso] - have recognized Kosovo’s independence out of almost 60 members of the organization. Others have adopted a wait-and-see attitude because of the potential threat of a domestic split, or destabilization in neighboring countries.
For the time being, no politician in these conflict-prone zones has loudly expressed readiness to follow Kosovo’s example…Kosovo’s independence is threatening primarily because a decision on it was made without a UN Security Council resolution. It is solely based on the support of the United States and some European countries. In other words, political circumstances have prevailed over international law.
To close, here is a blogger lamenting the lack of Muslim solidarity in walking the Kosovo walk and not just talking the talk:
With the new government one hopes Kosovo is recognized sooner rather then later. The above map shows the countries which have recognized Kosovo in blue. The ones who are expected to soon are shown in yellow. It is startling how many countries in the Middle East are still to recognize the country.
By the way I do not support how Kashmir is shown as a part of India in the map. I got the map of a website called ‘Kosovo Thanks You.’ The Kosovons of all people should know about the struggle for freedom of the Kashmiri people.
For a laugh, here is a comment under the post, from “Kosova_girl”:
Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan….cmon people, support your muslims brothers and sisters. I am sooo dissapointed by the lack of recognition by so many muslims countries. Oh and then we wonder why are muslims always oppressed.
Stumbled onto this relevant item from early 2005:
The fact that the man arrested in Pakistan is a native of Albania and not Kosovo is also an indicator of the degree of radicalization that [the] previously atheist Muslims of Albania are undergoing. When, after forty years of brutal communist and anti-religious policy, somebody manages to get involved with the Al Qaeda on his way to struggle for Islam, this shows more than anything else how strong Islam [is] among Albanians in the Balkans.