Just a short follow-up on my post last week titled “Imagine a Kosovo-Albanian Prime Minister from ‘Srbica,’” whose point was that Kosovo’s Albanian “prime minister” says he’s from “Skenderaj,” which is the Albanized name for Srbica (after the rightful owners of Kosovo). There were also some points about Albanian revisionism in general. Further to that issue, I heard from Nebojsa Malic:

It is generally fascinating how the Albanians are trying to obliterate Serb toponyms in Kosovo with Albanian words that have no meaning.

So while “Kosovo” comes from Kosovo Polje (Blackbird Field), “Kosova” means absolutely nothing.

But there are other examples as well:

Pristina (Srb) = Boils (”prist”); Albanian “Prishtine” = nothing
Vucitrn (Srb.) = Wolfbramble; Vushtrri (Alb) = nothing
Pec (Srb) = Oven, stove. Albanian “Peje” [or Peja] = nothing
Djakovica (Srb) = Student town. Albanian “Gjakova” = nothing
Mitrovica (Srb) = Dimitri’s town (Mitar is Serbian derivation of Greek Demetrios, like the Russian Dimitri). Albanian “Mitrovice” = you’ve guessed it, nothing.
Orahovac (Srb) = Walnut town. Albanian “Rahovec” = nothing
etc. etc.

The ONLY exceptions are Srbica (”Skenderaj”) and Urosevac (”Ferizaj”).

Srbica was renamed after Skenderbeg - however, there is documentary evidence that his mother was a Serb and that his father and brother are buried in an Orthodox cemetery (on Mt. Athos, no less), so his “reversion” to Catholicism is more properly a “conversion” instead. Either way, he has nothing whatsoever in common with the modern Albanian nationalism or ideology (founded as they are on Albanians’ role as Ottoman enforcers in centuries past, whereas Skenderbeg fought AGAINST the Ottomans and alongside the Serbs!). That’d be like Mahmoud Abbas invoking Crusader King Baldwin I of Jerusalem as a “Palestinian hero”…

According to the heavily Albanian-edited Wikipedia page, Urosevac was the name given to a village previously called “Ferizovici” or “Ferizovo”, after an inn (”hotel”) owned by an Albanian named Feriz. It was renamed Urosevac after the liberation of Kosovo in 1912. So Ferizaj, the Albanian version of the name (Ferizoviç in Turkish), might be considered legit.

And from S.J., about the same post from last week:

Well put. But Skenderbeg is a perfect embodiment of what Albanians seem to be (forgive me for generalising, but when everyone in sight and known history, behaves a certain way, I can do little more than assume it a national characteristic). He [was] an opportunist, with little regard for what most people hold very dear (i.e. religion). He switched to Islam the moment it became advantageous, and then back to Catholicism (assuming he was Catholic previously, but there isn’t enough hard evidence to conclude anything, really)…That seems to have been the Albanian attitude as well…Catholics when it suits them, Orthodox when that is advantageous, and also Muslim, when that’s in fashion. Never mind that they ALL drink [un-Muslim], and do just about everything no TRUE Muslim would. They’re stuck in the realm of fairy-tales and revisionist history, but who can blame them? What they know of their history is what is written by others, and given that they lived in the hills, while all other locals [preferred] to farm land, means that there was little contact, and little to write. They claim to be descendants of Illyrian tribes, but this is based on absolutely NOTHING apart from them living in the same region.

In some ways it’s rather sad, and under normal circumstances I WOULDN’T DREAM of mentioning something like this, which is bound to be hurtful to them, but these are NOT normal circumstances! […]

Given that we do hear much about the supposed Illyrian origins of Albanians, I think they would more properly be called Illbanians.

A post script from Nebojsa about those Illyrian “roots”: “That was just a fanciful Austrian theory manufactured at the end of the 19th century to facilitate the creation of the Albanian nation and state. Try as they might, they can’t prove the Illyrian thesis. (See here: Illyrian and Other Myths)”