May 25th 2008 05:58:36 PM
The U.S. Congress should send observation teams to Kosovo to witness first-hand the deplorable plight of minorities whose suffering over the past six years remains largely ignored by the world, according to a proposition delivered this week by a spokeswoman for the Serbian government.
Dr. Sanda Raskovic Ivic, a psychiatrist by profession, is the new head of the Kosovo-Metohija Coordination Center, a non-partisan panel in charge of pooling state, political and social resources to solve problems in the troubled province…Kosovo…has been the site of ethnic cleansing of minority groups for several years, with ethnic Albanians, most of them Muslim, targeting Serbs, Muslim Slavs, Turks, Roma (gypsies) and Ashkali.
Since June 1999, Kosovo has been governed by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) under the authority of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244. The United Nations recently authorized final talks on the status and future of the troubled province. Yet even with this international presence, including the stationing of 7,000 troops, ethnic cleansing and oppression of minorities continues, Raskovic Ivic said. (Click here to view maps of ethnic population changes. Powerpoint required.)
She was in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss Kosovo’s status with members of Congress and the Bush administration’s National Security Council. The province should have “more than autonomy, less than independence,” according to Raskovic Ivic, who called this a “fair compromise” that will not include “victors and vanquished, winners and losers.”
Accompanied by diplomatic personnel, Raskovic Ivic told Cybercast News Service that she was in the U.S. “to convey the real situation of minorities,” in Kosovo. “Basic human rights are breached and there is no freedom of movement,” she said. “The intimidation and shootings continue.”
Schools in minority enclaves are overcrowded, Raskovic Ivic said, but students cannot attend other schools because of attempted hijackings of school buses, beatings and harassment.
Serbs are also said to be unwelcome at the majority of hospitals now run by ethnic Albanians, she said. “Some pregnant women who went to Albanian-run hospitals to give birth did not return alive.”
Property rights of minorities are reported to be almost non-existent…”UNMIK (The United Nations Mission in Kosovo) has made over 70,000 decisions in favor of Serb property rights, yet there is no enforcement,” said Raskovic Ivic. “Thousands of more claims are waiting to be processed.”
Raskovic Ivic is also pushing for an effective security package to be implemented in the region, to address organized crime and potential terrorism.
“When a mobster is arrested he wraps himself in the Albanian flag,” said Raskovic Ivic. “Then riots ensue amid complaints of human rights violations.”
Raskovic Ivic also pointed to the heroin and cocaine that pass through the region. Kosovo is right in the middle of the narco-trafficking path that begins in Afghanistan and after Kosovo, extends to Western Europe and the United States.
Raskovic Ivic confirmed information that Cybercast News Service received last month, alleging that there are three major heroin laboratories operating in Kosovo, under protection of paramilitary soldiers or former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army. The information was received from the International Strategic Studies Institute in Washington, D.C.
“There are a smaller number of labs working undercover as well, but they are all networked together,” Raskovic Ivic said. “Like a cancer, these things are going to spread. Everyone is turning a blind eye to this.”
Raskovic Ivic expressed concern over the law enforcement follow-up to the March 2004 attacks on churches in Kosovo. Albanian mobs allegedly attacked and destroyed 34 churches, monasteries and bishop residences. Since international forces took power in 1999, approximately 150 church properties have been attacked…
“There have been no indictments, even though 23 of the perpetrators were caught on film,” she said. Under pressure from the international community, the 23 were fired from their jobs.
Those who promote independence for Kosovo don’t realize that the violence and lawlessness will not stop with that change in status, she said. U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) are among the American politicians supporting independence for Kosovo, she said.
Despite the ongoing crisis, Raskovic Ivic complained that the international community remains apathetic…”No one even notices [Kosovo minorities’] suffering,” she added. “If you suffer and no one notices, no one cares. It is a terrible thing.”
And last week we heard from another human rights advocate:
“Spending time with Kosovo Serbs who live in the ghettos, I realized the facts were inverted and that those who are considered to be the culprits are in fact the victims, while the designated victims are the culprits”, said Italian reporter in the interview given to Glas Javnosti.
Maria Lina Veca is an Italian journalist, reporter and author who visited Kosovo province Serbs 27 times during the last eight years. She has written three books and made two documentaries about the life of Kosovo Serbs after US-led NATO seized the southern Serbian province in 1999. Veca is the President of the humanitarian organization RinascereOnlus which provides aid for the Serbian children walled off in the Kosovo-Metohija enclaves.
Q: How were your views about the events in Kosovo-Metohija received in Italy?
MLV: This is a taboo subject, even today. Back then, my colleagues told me that those who speak like I ought to be sent to the Hague.
Q: Has Italy violated its own Constitution by the recognition of Kosovo independence?
MLV: By recognizing Kosovo Italy has first and foremost violated the international law. Our Parliament did not recognize Kosovo independence, and at the moment our government recognized Kosovo it was only a technical government, so it could in no way reach a decision on such an issue as recognition of the state.
Q: Why did Italy recognize Kosovo?
MLV: Because it is a United States’ colony.
Q: You stated on several occasions that the recognition of Kosovo independence is a recognition of the mafia state…
MLV: Testimony of the Italian General Fabio Mini, who was a Commander of the International KFOR troops in 2002/2003 in Kosovo-Metohija is the best evidence for that. A day after the secession of Kosovo, he said that the mafia state is being created in Kosovo and Metohija. He revealed to Corriere della Sera that Hashim Thaci had killed by his own hands 28 Albanians from the late Ibrahim Rugova’s party and many Serbs, and said that such a man cannot possibly be the head of a state… Creation of this “state” has given a blessing to the establishing of the mafia state in the midst of Europe. And the Europe is yet to learn what it had done.
Q: Why did you decide to dedicate so much time to Kosovo-Metohija, or rather to Serbs?
MLV: As a journalist, I visited Kosovo-Metohija — the town of Pec, for the first time in December 1999. I realized everything is there, except for the Serbs. When I asked where are the Serbs, I was told they live in the enclaves and that they can’t take me there because it is too dangerous. I requested from the Pristina Carabinieri Command to be taken to the enclaves. They were surprised I was interested in the Serbs, but they took me first to Vitina, then to Partes, Cernica, Strpce…
I have seen the inhumane living conditions, that Serbs live like in concentration camps. I found it incredible that the Western media — actually no-one — talks about this. I realized the facts were inverted and that those who are considered to be the culprits are, in fact, the victims, while the designated victims are the culprits. This is something I simply couldn’t be silent about, and that’s when I wrote the first book “Has Kosovo been Lost?”. I would’ve done the same for any nation on earth.
Q: How is this work of yours received in Italy? Did it help make ordinary Italians better understand what is happening with the Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija?
MLV: They understood that very well from the contacts with children [whom Veca’s program brought to Italy] and they are extremely worried, they are now following the events in Kosovo-Metohija with fear. All the families that received the children had no prior knowledge about their life in Kosovo-Metohija. They took them in as if they were the children from Africa, and it took time to explain those children are not lacking in anything except for freedom—this is what they don’t have. I consider a greatest success the fact that these families understood this and that now each of the families carries the information which spreads mouth-to-mouth…
And here’s the putz who brought on this reality for the non-Albanian underclass:
PEC, Kosovo — …On vacation to visit a friend working in Kosovo, this reporter couldn’t help noticing the pro-American sentiments expressed by an Albanian majority. The Kosovar Albanians are grateful to the United States for spearheading the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999 that resulted in autonomy for the province under United Nations supervision, and for quickly recognizing Kosovo as the world’s newest country after its government declared legal independence[ha!] from Serbia (which had been the de facto reality since 1999) on Feb. 17 of this year. (Many countries within the European Union have also recognized Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia, and its ally, Russia, maintain that the declaration of independence was illegal.) [Actually, international law maintains that the declaration is illegal.]
There are streets in Kosovo named for former President Bill Clinton; Wesley K. Clark, the retired Army general who commanded NATO forces in Europe during the 1999 campaign; and William Walker, the American diplomat who led a peacekeeping mission in 1998 and 1999 that helped draw attention to the plight of Albanians who had been victims of violence. [i.e., Walker was the PR operative for the Albanians’ staged atrocity at Racak which broke the proverbial camel’s back so Clinton could bomb the Serbs.]
Nonetheless, it felt a bit surreal on Sunday, during a visit to Pec (also known as Peja, its Albanian name), a city in western Kosovo, to encounter a main boulevard named for Representative Eliot L. Engel, a Democrat who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester and Rockland Counties.
A giant poster on the side of a building in the center of Pec notes that the street was renamed for Congressman Engel in July 2005. His Bronx district includes many Albanians. Mr. Engel has been a dedicated advocate of Kosovar Albanian autonomy since the mid-1990s….In 1997, Mr. Engel warned that “Kosovo has the potential to be another Bosnia.” In 1998, he urged the White House to attack Serbian positions in Kosovo and impose a no-fly zone for Serbian aircraft.
The makeup of Mr. Engel’s constituency may help explain his advocacy for the province….[So since his CONSTITUENTS support terrorists, Engel does too. Kind of like former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who endorsed Palestinian terror.]
Mr. Engel stopped in Pec for the street dedication during the 2005 trip to the Balkans, where he served as an election monitor in Albanian elections. He was treated like a celebrity.
In an interview by telephone on Thursday night, Mr. Engel, in the United States, spoke of his strong relationship with the people in that region. “I’d been on TV so many times that people on the street in Kosovo recognized me,” he said. “People know me. They know my face.”
He added, with a laugh, “I would like such adulation from my constituents.”
And of course that’s what it’s all about.
In the center of Serb-cleansed Pec is this most literal visual of a giant douchebag, to borrow a “South Park” term:
A giant poster on the side of a building in the center of Pec notes that the street was renamed for Mr. Engel in July 2005.