August 12th 2012 12:41:19 PM
You don’t have to be a genius to know that when you hear of a mass grave excavation site in Kosovo being set on fire, that the grave probably holds, or is expected to hold, dead Serbs. That’s the whole reason to set it on fire.
But if you’re an outfit called BalkanInsight.com, which means you’ve assigned an Albanian to report on something that resulted from Albanian ethnic violence, you’re going to hope for reader ignorance and try to keep them guessing.
In this 13-paragaph article by Fatmir Aliu, you don’t find out that the Zhilivoda mass grave is of Serbs…until the 10th paragraph.
And now for the standard “It’s Being Investigated” portion of this typical Kosovo story. From Tanjug, which tells you in the first paragraph who’s in the grave:
OBILIC - Representatives of the EU mission in Kosovo released that the cause of the fire in Zilivode near Obilic in Kosovo, which the authorities believe holds the remains of some of the missing Serbs, has not been established yet and EULEX has launched an investigation into the case.
Co-head of the EULEX Forensic Medicine Department Alan Robinson…stated that considerable damage has been done to the site which is believed to hold the remains of some of the missing Serbs.
This constitutes an important step back for EULEX as regards the assessment of the site….
The families of persons kidnapped or gone missing claim the right to say that somebody purposefully lit the fire at the site so as to destroy the evidence about the existence of a mass grave of Serb civilians at Zilivode as was done in the previous years when in cases of crimes committed against Serbs, a letter sent on the occasion states.
The families of the victims were embittered and appalled to learn about the fire at the moment when the excavation teams reached the level of 25 metres which, as the satellite photos show, holds remains of at least 26 persons.
EULEX forensic medicine experts and their colleagues from the Department of Forensic Medicine, in cooperation with the Kosovo Security Force, recently restarted excavation at the site, which had stopped four years ago.
The remains of 26 missing Serbs, including nine miners from the Belacevac coal mines, who were kidnapped in 1998, are believed to be buried at the site, in a coal mine 25 meters below the surface. A total 1,796 people are considered missing in Kosovo, including 537 Serbs and other non-Albanians, and several more sites are waiting for excavation.
A week later, with no further insights into the cause of the fire, no bodies had yet been found in the grave either, and so this time Fatmir has no problem announcing in his very first paragraph — and even in the subhead — that it was supposed dead Serbs that were to be found there — and even brings in Serbia as having been the source of the ostensibly mistaken suspicion:
An official from the Kosovo Missing Persons Commission says no evidence has been found at Zhilivoda to support Serbian claims of a mass grave.
Digs at a suspected mass grave site in Zhilivoda, where Serbia suspects Kosovo Serbs are buried, have shown no results to date and the final results of the findings should be announced in couple of days, a Kosovo official said. […]
Meanwhile, even the AP got wind of this fire, though it tries to make it seem like it was one of many recent fires caused by “high temperatures”:
…[A] fire severely damaged an alleged mass grave believed to contain the bodies of Serb civilians killed during the 1998-99 Kosovo war.
…[E]xcavations have been put on hold. The mission is investigating the cause.
Robinson says in a statement that authorities fought a 12-meter (40-foot) wall of flames for over 7 hours Monday before subduing the fire. High temperatures have fanned several fires in Kosovo since last week…
Interesting that, during the four years that the dig had been on hold, there were no fires in the area. But suddenly, now that it’s been taken up again, there’s a fire at precisely the site of the excavation.