In July a children’s choir from Iowa, part of something called the Muscatine Group, headed to Kosovo in a cooperative relationship with a Kosovo children’s choir. Here is an excerpt from a January item about the trip that was to come:

MUSCATINE, Iowa — A night of dining and entertainment in Muscatine will assist a group of Muscatine area residents in returning to Gjakove, Kosovo.

The Muscatine Children’s and Youth Choir’s Kosovo Project will present a dinner and variety show at Faith United Church in Muscatine Saturday, Jan. 19, to fund the trip which they plan to make in July.

The Muscatine-Kosovo connection began after Kristin McHugh-Johnston and [Keith] Porter, both of Muscatine’s Stanley Foundation, traveled to post-civil war Kosovo to make a documentary.

McHugh-Johnston, a program officer and radio producer for the Foundation, and Porter, director of communications and outreach, returned to Muscatine eager to tell everyone they knew about a music school they visited in Kosovo that was changing the lives of children.

The Kosovo Children’s Music Initiative was founded by Liz Shropshire, an American composer and music teacher, in 1999 after she came to Kosovo as a volunteer.

Muscatine residents welcomed Shropshire, three volunteer teachers and 10 Kosovo students to their town in 2004 [the year that the “Kosovars” cleansed much of the remaining non-Albanian, non-Muslim remnant from the province].

The group quickly made friends with Muscatine residents and delighted area audiences with their musical performances.

In 2005, 32 children and adults from Muscatine, including McHugh-Johnston and Porter, visited Gjakove and conducted health clinics, eye clinics, music classes and helped with other projects.

Since the friendships began, five students from Kosovo have begun attending Muscatine Community College and another attends Muscatine High School.

Bujeta Vokshi, Ereza Vejsa, Nita Bicurri, Kaltrina Luzha and Ali Shehu attend MCC and Lum Hajdari, a Rotary Exchange student, attends Muscatine High School. […]

So in case we still needed it, these Albanian-only names confirm that indeed we’re talking about an ethnically pure group of Kosovo children. Here is a description of day one of the July trip:

This month, 37 Muscatine-area adults and children will visit Gjakove, Kosovo, to continue an exchange program between the Muscatine Youth and Children’s Choir and the Shropshire Muscatine Foundation’s Kosovo Children’s Music Initiative which began in 2004.

To read more detailed notes about the trip, visit www.muscatinekosovoproject.org or
www.muscatinekosovoproject2008.blogspot.com

The only mention of the word “Serb” in this multi-contributor journal at the blogspot address above — and the only nod to the possibility that all is not well for non-Albanians in Kosovo — is the following entry at the very bottom of the page, by a Kristin McHugh-Johnston:

A First Hand View of Destruction
Large construction cranes and newly constructed apartment buildings are the most obvious signs of Prizren’s expanding prosperity. But the path to the fortress has not changed for the better since our 2005 trip. The area just below the fortress was a Serb enclave up until ethnic violence in March 2004 destroyed the hillside neighborhood. Then, riots swept across Kosovo after a group of young Albanian boys drowned in the river that divides the flashpoint town of Mitrovica (in northern Kosovo).

The burned-out shells of former houses and shops are frozen in time, save for some added weeds. For our new travelers, this former Serb enclave was their first glimpse of the widespread destruction Keith and I saw throughout Kosovo in 2002.

I must admit I was stunned the former Serb enclave had not been rebuilt. The international community demanded Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanians guarantee the rights of the several thousand Serbians that remained here after the 1999 war, as well as those of the other minorities as a condition of independence. KFOR billboards plastered throughout major cities and Kosovo roads urge Kosovars to “Be Tolerant.” I do believe Kosovo has come a long way since the 1999 conflict. But the ruins of Prizren’s Serb enclave are a vivid reminder that the deep seated mistrust between the Kosovars and Serbs will likely take a very long time to heal.

What Americans insist on mentally blocking out is that there is only one kind of “healing” process for Albanians with regard to other ethnicities: Get out.

The Muscatine do-gooder event this summer prompted the following email from a source named Nancy, who in the 1990s had been involved in refugee resettlement of Bosnians and Serbs in her town:

My Dear Julia,

Back about 45 years ago, when I was a teenager who had just finished reading the Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich, I wondered where, just WHERE did Hitler get all those folks who manned the towers and the gates at the concentration camps???? Not to mention those doing most of the killing.

Or, where or HOW, he got enough people to believe his bullshit. Albeit colorful and staged like some sort of MAGICAL event with torches , singing and great big flags.

How did he do it? Or how did his “people behind the scenes” get it done??

Well, now we know how he did it now and it is still as horrific to me now as it was then. But,wait — IT IS NOW MORE HORRIFYING because, my dear friend:

Today I have FULLY realised that right here in the USA there are just plain folks still falling all over themselves to believe HITLERESQUE BULLSHIT about Kosovo and the Serbs!!

I have been in Muscatine Iowa. It is FARM after FARM. It is semi-rural America. Its main street, “old timey” main street. It has a chicken processing plant on the river that draws so many flies, that it makes a picnic in the park up the road a life threatening event!! And that park is covered with Indian burial mounds. Not even honored either.

Mid-America Methodists on a trip to muslim-terror-land and happy to be there. Happy to sing for the killers and tormentors of Christian Serbs, Romas and Goranis. Happy and PROUD to sing for a people who would tear the living organs from a captive Christian and sell it to the highest bidder.

They might as well be standing guard in the watchtower at a concentration camp and singing and smiling while a guard gets his German shepherd dog to rip the guts out of a captive Serb monk from Decani or a Jew from Pristina.

Oh my goodness.

This country is so far down the road to hell that I told my husband I do not know how I can stand this injustice to the people of Kosovo and the rest of Serbia.

[I suspect there may be] government forces behind some of these so-called “goodwill” tours by brainwashed (heart dead) Americans and that fact of US Govt involvement makes the trips even more heinous, IF that could be possible.

As I told you before, we, the Orthodox Christians and the Jews are in for a much worse time. If we thought that it has been bad so far, I am afraid we have yet to see the worst of it. It has started and the villain is, well, you know who they are. I need not spell it out.

May G-d help us…… HE is our only hope.

I am henceforth a conscientious objector in regard to the US govt and its operation. No more voting for me. It is a complete waste of my time and my SOUL.

I am of course very saddened for my Serbian friends in Kosovo and the whole world. Kill Serbs and go free and even get sung to. Nice huh?

Bye for now,
Nancy W.