January 15th 2013 04:58:53 PM
Albanians Find a Church They Forgot to Destroy — in Serbia Proper; Erect Monument to Terrorists in Presevo and Threaten War if Serbia Removes it; Keep Serbs out of Church on Orthodox ChristmasPosted by Julia Gorin
The new year is off to a repetitive, and possibly amped-up, start. By now, most readers of this blog have read the Jan 4 report about the destruction of the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Assumption of the Virgin:
Albanians last night completely destroyed the monastery “Assumption of the Virgin” in southern Serbia…Mother Paraskeva (62 years old)…[said] “…Albanians from Kosovo were organized with the intention of coming to destroy the Serbian monasteries in this area…Last year on Good Friday they attacked me…’ The Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin is under the auspices of Bishop Pachomius, who was accused for rape of boys…. “Some have been given 35 000 DM (Deutsche Marks) to create a bad image of the Bishop. [ The Monastery…originates from the 4th century and it is the oldest shrine in Vranje district.
First, as to why Albanians would accuse a Serbian bishop of raping little boys, here’s an email I got a few years ago:
I’ve read in various chronicles from and about Kosovo under Islam [that] Albanians were abducting Serb boys and young girls. It is Bat Y’eor who brought up the subject in one of her books that got me curious to look up in more detail. My wife’s parents tell me that it is a public secret in and around Skopje (Macedonia) to hide your boy from a Muslim Albanian, especially if he is good looking, because one will lose him. Look up “Islamic Homosexualities” and there is a chapter on Albanians raping little boys. The book can be read via amazon and it it has stunned me.
Meanwhile, something that’s gotten less attention than the report about the monastery is that on the heels of the destruction — and on Orthodox Christmas Eve — Kosovo Albanians characteristically tried to prevent cleansed Serbs from visiting their old church in Djakovica, with a similar name to the monastery above. It all suggests we may be in the midst of a string of intimidation tactics against Serbs — something that, as the above item shows, extends beyond Kosovo’s “borders.”
B92 (Jan. 6) - A group of Kosovo Albanians have prevented a group of Orthodox believers from visiting the Church of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary in Đakovica. RTS (Radio Television Serbia) has reported that the Albanians were protesting against the visit of displaced Serbs who used to live in the town.
Ethnic Albanian Self-Determination Movement activists and Voice of Mothers organization members gathered in front of the entrance to the church on Christmas Eve and did not allow Serbs to go in. Orthodox nuns did not even go out in the yard on Sunday.
RTS has reported that around 40 Serbs managed to bring the Yule log into the church despite the protest and then safely leave the town in a bus. Kosovo police arrested two protesters and pushed several hundreds of Albanians 20 meters away from the church so Serbs could briefly enter the church.
Well thank goodness for the need to keep up appearances. (At least until the international overseers leave, or until the rest of the UN gives in and recognizes Kosovo statehood.)
On Christmas Day, Jan. 7th, came news that Kosovo police detained several Serbs after Christmas services, first concocting some sort of “Serbian Civil Defense” affiliation as an excuse, then saying they simply “looked suspicious,” and then saying the young men had been tailing the Kosovo Police charged with securing the visit by Aleksandar Vulin, head of the Serbian Government Office for Kosovo. Vulin said, “‘The arrests were a straightforward provocation, crude violence, that was truly caused by nothing… This is about straightforward lawlessness and injustice’… He added that he had unofficially learned that…the Kosovo Albanian authorities ‘do not know what [to] charge the Serbs with’…According to him, the international community should consider whether its unconditional support for Priština can continue - ‘because that support may be interpreted by Priština [and has been all along] as readiness to perpetrate all forms of violence. We have said it countless times that the end of supervised independence was a tragic mistake. The international community and Priština must understand that there will be no lasting and just solution in Kosovo and Metohija without the consent of Serbia and the Serbs who live there,’ Vulin told RTS.
“Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Bishop Teodosije of Ras-Prizren said Monday that the Kosovo police raided the Gračanica monastery on Christmas Day…. ‘With actions of this kind, the Kosovo police is deterring people from visiting their holy sites and demonstrating brutal force in a highly primitive fashion,’ believes Teodosije.
“‘Considering the incidents the Kosovo police caused on St. Vitus Day, June 28 last year, it is practically a rule that every Orthodox holiday is accompanied by fear of police terror and arrests,’ the Diocese of Ras-Prizren said in a release.
“Bishop Teodosije also expressed great dissatisfaction with the Kosovo institutions’ improper treatment of Serbian officials, who are banned from visiting SPC sites or forced, as Aleksandar Vulin was on Monday, to urgently leave Gračanica before the end of the ceremony.
“A similar incident occurred a few months ago, when Bishop Teodosije received a visit from advisor to the Serbian president Marko Đurić, who was later brutally expelled from the territory of Kosovo. According to Teodosije, foreign representatives were also confused and shocked by the actions of the police on Monday.”
They were shocked this time? Not the other 4700 times?
In a follow-up to the incident last Wednesday (the 10 young men were released pending trial, though one is in the hospital with injuries to his legs and urethra after being beaten at the Priština courthouse where he was interrogated), Vulin said “that he hoped the international community would not understand why President Tomislav Nikolić was not allowed to visit the Gračanica monastery and why he and other Office for Kosovo officials had so many problems with freedom of movement in Kosovo.”
He was referring to the news that was dominating local headlines a day before Orthodox Christmas: the Kosovo government denying Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic’s request to visit with his fellow Serbs in Kosovo to mark Christmas.
IMAGINE a president having to REQUEST a visit to his own territory, from the terrorists who are still only in the midst of seizing it (with superpower help). Imagine the U.S. president having to ask a China-backed or Russia-backed La Raza for permission to visit California. Anyway, it’s supposedly quid pro quo for Belgrade not allowing the terrorists into the part of the country they haven’t yet seized, though that doesn’t explain all the other cases of denied access to Serbian officials over the past decade.
… “[I]f our officials are not allowed to go to Serbia certainly we will apply the same measures,” Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi said at a news conference on Saturday [Jan. 5]…While several Serb ministers have been denied entry to Kosovo, some top officials…have been allowed to attend religious festivals in the past…[T]he most recent rejection came after four Kosovo government ministers were denied entry to Serbia during 2012. Last Christmas, Kosovo Albanian protesters hurled stones at a motorcade carrying former president Tadic when he visited a monastery in western Kosovo. Nikolic…has accused European Union authorities in Kosovo of bias by letting Kosovo authorities to decide whether the Serb leader could visit Kosovo.
From a rundown of Albanian press on Jan. 6th, we see once again that the Kosovo government and the “more extreme” Kosovo Albanian political groups that Western politicians are always trying to distance from it were on the same page:
Vetevendosje demands Serbia’s officials not be allowed entry to Kosovo (dailies)
Leaders of the Vetevendosje Movement called on the Government of Kosovo not to allow Serbia’s officials to enter Kosovo ahead of Orthodox Christmas celebrations. …On the possibility of a peace treaty being signed by presidents of Kosovo and Serbia, Vetevendosje officials commented by saying that there can be no peace for as long as Serbia doesn’t apologise for crimes it committed in Kosovo.
In another Jan. 5 report, we get to the wider game, and the next prize the Albanians have their eye on: Serbia’s Presevo Valley. That’s what is meant in the last line below by “southern Serbia”:
“…I will not have Priština deciding whether I can go to our Kosovo….Nikolić pointed out that EULEX had once again shown that it was not status neutral and that it did what Priština said. “They did not let me to go to Kosovo while I was an opposition representative and they do not let me go now that I am a Serbian president,” he stressed. Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci said on Friday…that the Serbian president would be able to visit Kosovo…when Kosovo Albanian leaders were allowed to visit ethnic Albanians in southern Serbia. […]
As if these ‘innocent’ visits aren’t rallies in furtherance of the next phase of Greater Albania’s consolidation. Indeed, if we were to check in on just the most recent moves toward that end, we’d find an even lesser-noticed recent report, from late December. See if you can get your head around this: In the Albanian-dominated Presevo Valley (just north of Kosovo), the Albanians put up a monument — on what is, still, undisputed Serbian land — to the KLA terrorists who tried to seize Presevo just months after their Kosovo seizure. (That particular KLA affiliate is known as UCPMB.) This is like Muslims putting up a monument to al Qaeda in our faces. Because that’s what the KLA are to Serbs. Except Muslims in general aren’t yet as brazen as Albanians — which is saying a lot. For those who poo-poo the KLA-ALQ comparison, what a luxury they have to not be Serb, and to be able to scoff at these people’s pain.
It’s not enough that the few Serbs who remain in Kosovo have to deal with monuments to the killers and torturers of their loved ones as a reminder that they’re not welcome in their own ancient land, but now Serbs in Serbia proper are getting it. Unsurprisingly, the people arrested in this whole thing were the group of Serbs who set out to demolish the stone harbinger of their demise. The monument itself wasn’t touched, nor were the terrorist-worshipers who put it up.
PREŠEVO — The leaders of ethnic Albanian parties in southern Serbia…qualified as “a threat” a statement made by PM and Interior Minister Ivica Dačić on Wednesday. Dačić said yesterday that the memorial plaque for the members of the so-called Liberation Army of Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa (UCPMB; OVPMB) in downtown Preševo represented an unnecessary provocation to which the state must react, and advised those who put it up to remove it themselves.
The terrorist group was an offshoot of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA; UCK), and was disbanded in 2001. After the end of the war in Kosovo, they staged hundreds of attacks against Serbian police, Yugoslav military, local officials in the area, and UN personnel.
One of the group’s former commanders, and until recently president of the Bujanovac municipal assembly, Jonuz Musliu, also criticized Dačić on Thursday. Musliu, who is now leader of the Movement for Democratic Progress party, said that ethnic Albanians were “in favor of solving all conflicts peacefully” and that the prime minister “will have to look elsewhere for a partner for war and warmongering”.
The leader of the Democratic Union of the Valley Skender Destani told Tanjug… “If all the members of the Liberation Army received amnesty, what right does he have to openly threaten Albanians.”…Last Friday, Preševo saw the unveiling of the memorial which contains the names of 27 members of the UCPMB who had been killed during the insurgency. The memorial to cost RSD 3 million to build. Ethnic Albanians said that the ceremony was staged on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Albanian state.
Serbia Threatens To Demolish Albanian Monument (Balkan Insight, Dec. 27)
…[Serbian Prime Minister Ivica] Dacic ordered the authorities in the mainly Albanian towns of Bujanovac and Presevo in South Serbia to remove a monument dedicated to ethnic Albanian fighters.
The ethnic Albanian guerrilla force launched a brief armed struggle with Serbian security forces in 2000. The conflict ended with the help of international mediation. [After it started with the help of international “mediation” (i.e. the Kosovo war) which opened the door to Presevo.]
They agreed to disarm in 2001 following an internationally brokered peace deal, after which the Serbian military re-entered the demilitarized area near the border with Kosovo with the approval of NATO.
When the monument was erected, Ragimi Mustafa, president of the municipality of Presevo, said the history of every nation deserved [respect], including the history of the ethnic Albanians in that area.
In response, the Serbian government filed criminal charges against representatives of the Presevo municipality, saying the monument was not erected in accordance with due procedures.
According to Dacic, the international community had been informed about the memorial and about how its construction was “an open provocation, designed to show that Serbia does not control part of its territory”.
[Did you catch that? Serbia can’t have an appropriate response to provocations in its borders without first asking permission, after briefing, the ‘international community’. That would be the same international community that’s helping Albanians do what they do.]
On December 26, on the website Preseva jone, some former ethnic Albanian fighters threatened armed rebellion if the monument in Presevo is removed. [And yet the headline of this Balkan Insight report has the verb “threatens” after the subject “Serbia.”]
They would “put on their boots and uniforms once again and take up arms,” they said.
Yes, they love reminding everyone that they’re always ready to fight again if the internationals don’t do their bidding. As if the Albanians won’t do it anyway. So it looks like NATO may have to hand them Presevo too. (Indeed, the issue is being internationalized for the past several years already. See the 90th paragraph here, which starts with the word “Obviously.”) Looks like we may have to bomb or otherwise punish Serbia yet again, if it decides to be “intransigent” again.
Good thing we have the president of Albania to straighten us out that it’s actually Serbia that’s doing the “provoking.” Though one might ask what stake the president of Albania has in what happens in Serbia, or Kosovo for that matter — unless it’s the barely concealed fact that he sees these parts of Serbia as futurely part of Albania:
Berisha: Belgrade provokes Albanians, and does not respect minority (Politika, Jan. 6)
TIRANA - Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused the Serbian authorities of provoking the Albanians and urged Belgrade to reject the “old practice of “Albanophoby” and show respect to the Albanian minority in southern Serbia.
“The recent attitude of the authorities in Belgrade, which has shown no respect for Albanian martyrs, is a provocation to all Albanians and their serious efforts towards peace and stability in the region by establishing new relations with its neighbors,” Berisha said in a statement, quoted by ATA .
[Attacking a country’s legal authorities — which is what these ‘martyrs’ did — is a “serious effort towards peace and stability in the region”? And who can forget the Albanian government’s “considerable efforts to ease tensions,” by not cooperating with the international, much less Serbian, investigations into the murder-for-organs operation Albania hosted?]
Noting that the Albanian government has made considerable efforts to ease tensions in southern Serbia and encouraging “constructive and inclusive role of the Albanian minority in Serbia”, Berisha invited Albanians to “not respond to the provocations of Belgrade.”
The monument will be removed “by hook or by crook,” Dacic said, noting that this is not the only monument in southern Serbia, and in Presevo and Bujanovac [are] waving Albanian flags.
The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade has condemned threats of violence, which according to media reports, former OVPMB [alternate acronym for UCPMB] members expressed, and called for resolving political differences through dialogue…
And so, since it’s Serbia that’s doing the provoking, it’s Serbia that “risks spreading the conflict” (notice how the Albanians ensconce their threats of violence by starting the sentence with “Serbia”):
Sarajevo - Azem Vlasi, Kosovo Government Advisor on Foreign Affairs, has warned that the deterioration in relations with the Albanians in southern Serbia is risking wider conflict.
Vlasi agrees with estimates that the Presevo Valley and southern Serbia could be a new potential conflagration.[Certainly not their plan all along or anything.]
“But when it comes to the Presevo Valley, they can not [do] to Albanians whatever they want, without risk of spreading conflict. [If] they attack the Albanians, they attack us all Albanians! Let them know It,” warned Vlasi.
He recalled that Serbia wants to [exacerbate] relations with the Albanians in the Presevo Valley, just because [JUST BECAUSE!] they use their own national flag and want to have a memorial of Albanian victims [VICTIMS!] who died by the Serbian authorities. “For the common sense of all of us it’s a surprise, but it illustrates how Serbia is left in the past and how they can not dig out of it,” said Vlasi for AA…
And from UNMIK Media Monitoring: “Serbia provoking broad conflict”
Political analysts in Kosovo and Presevo consider that the ultimatum issued by the Government of Serbia to remove the monument of [UCPMB] fallen heroes represents a provocation for a new conflict in the region. “I am convinced that the Prime Minister of Kosovo will emphasise support for the political and democratic rights of national identity [at the Jan. 17 meeting between Pristina and Belgrade]. Normalising relations between Kosovo and Serbia cannot happen [at the expense of] the rights of Albanians there,” said Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci, who added that the monument in Presevo represents a symbol of Albanian freedom fighters.
…”The removal of the monument is not in the spirit of European values so [Serbian Prime Minister Ivica] Dacic will not risk the country’s EU path by removing it,” [Skender] Destani, leader of the Democratic Union of the Valley, DUD, told Balkan Insight.
Jonuz Musliu, former political leader of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, also believes that Dacic is “smart enough not to demolish the monument.
“It would not look European, as Europe does not destroy monuments,” Musliu said.[…]
Right. That’s more of a Muslim thing. And an Albanian thing. (Pay not attention to the fact that Albanians are Muslim, we’re told; indeed, it’s a redundancy.) But the Albanians know that if you build a monument — any monument — Europe will indeed have a hard time destroying it. A memorial, or anything that looks like artwork — even if it honors killers of Europeans — will cause conscience-wrestling among the Euros.
Another update came over the weekend:
Internationally-mediated talks on Thursday ended without a deal on the future of the monument in the town of Presevo which Belgrade wants to be demolished, seeing it as a tribute to armed separatism.
The emergence of the ethnic Albanian guerrilla force, which was seeking to unite this part of Serbia with Kosovo in the late 1990s, resulted in armed conflict between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in south Serbia in 2000.
After the conflict ended, the authorities signed an amnesty law which removed the threat of prosecution from everyone who participated in the conflict.
[Dacic] said that Serbian officials would talk to Albanian representatives “to seek an alternative place where the monument can be placed”.
Local ethnic Albanian leaders have said that they will meet on Saturday to make a decision about the monument’s destiny.
An update from just yesterday, from UNMIK Online: ANA: We will enter war with Serbia (Zëri, Jan. 14)
The Albanian National Army reappeared, this time in Vushtrri, where it announced that it would mobilize its members to defend “against Serb threats to secede a part of the Kosovo territory [the north, which wants to remain within the internationally recognized, Kosovo-inclusive, borders of Serbia] and threats to forcibly remove the UÇPMB monument in Presevo”.
In a meeting in Vushtrri, ANA said: “We will most definitely enter a war with Serbia. It still refuses to see that Presevo, Medvegja and Bujanovc are Albanian lands and no one should dare touch them. Albanians are not orphans,” said colonel Kaçak, an ANA commander.
(I think that last sentence is saying, “America, among others, has our back.”)
And another update from Monday: March in support of Presevo Valley (koha.net)
Serbia is even insulting the dead in Presevo Valley, said a group of students of the University of Pristina on Monday, who announced a march on Wednesday in support of the Albanian population in Presevo Valley. “We, students of the University of Pristina, will not remain indifferent towards the behavior of the Serbian leadership against Albanians of the Presevo Valley,” said Arben Mehmeti, one of the organizers of the march.
[The University of Pristina was the staging ground and recruitment center of the Marxist-fascist-nationalist-Islamist-separatist combo that birthed the KLA as more than just a criminal outfit. And I won’t even go into the pot-callling-the-kettle-black irony of Albanians accusing someone else of insulting the dead: overturning graves and spreading around body parts of civilian Slav corpses as old as a hundred years apparently is *not* insulting the dead, but not honoring dead Albanian terrorists is.]
“Let us also show to the institutions in Serbia and Dacic’s Government that if it violates and insults our national values, then it is not violating only the values of the Albanians in eastern Kosovo, but it is affecting all Albanians wherever they are. We request from Kosovo, Albania, and international institutions to pressure for the rights of the Albanians being violated at the Valley and everywhere where there are Albanians,” Astrit Gjoci, another organizer, told RTK.
Arben Mehmeti stressed that the march is organized by students of the University of Pristina and it will begin on Wednesday at 12:00 hours. “We will march from the front of the National Library, towards “Mother Teresa” square, and we will stop in front of the National Theatre,” he said…
Even as the end game is laid bare — that it was never just about Kosovo, but about Greater Albania — we have a case that can be described as Doctor Frankenstein condemning weird science:
US urges end to nationalistic rhetoric in Albania
TIRANA, Albania (AP) - The U.S. ambassador in Tirana has warned of an “unfortunate” rise in nationalist rhetoric by Albanian politicians ahead of elections next year.
Alexander A. Arvizu says attempts to inflame ethnic tensions could potentially destabilize the Balkans. His comments Friday follow calls from a small nationalist party for a referendum on uniting Albania with neighboring Kosovo, whose population is mostly ethnic Albanian.
Prime Minister Sali Berisha recently angered neighboring Greece with talk of Albanian lands including parts of Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. Tirana later said his comments, made ahead of Albania’s 100th anniversary celebrations, had a purely historical context.
Berisha also promised citizenship for ethnic Albanians worldwide — an offer he later retracted.
Arvizu said voters should not fall for talk of an “illusory Greater Albania.”
“Illusory,” only until the establishment is ready to let us know about it.
For some reason, that little Balkans item even made it as far as Denver and Salt Lake City. It was an excerpt from Arvizu’s remarks at the 15th International Conference on Security in the Western Balkans on Dec. 14th. If we look at the rest of his speech, it sounds like the U.S. as Dr. Frankenstein is getting more and more worried about its demon child:
…Recently the United States has observed an unfortunate rise in nationalist rhetoric here in Albania, especially in the weeks leading up to and following the 100th anniversary celebrations.
This rhetoric contrasts sharply with the overall constructive role that Albania has traditionally played in the region, notably with ethnic-Albanian populations. The Government of the Republic of Albania and political parties – this includes the opposition – have typically issued clear, responsible messages encouraging ethnic-Albanian populations residing outside the country to work with their governments to resolve their issues. [He must have missed all this in 2006-07 and this from Berisha in 2009. And how about this Reuters dispatch from 2000 (the third-to-last item), or Berisha and his foreign minister telling the visiting Slovakian president in 2007 that Kosovo would be part of Albania. And that’s without mentioning Kosovo PM Thaci saying just last March that it would “be ‘best and easiest’ for Albanians to live in a single state if borders in the Balkans changed,” whereupon Dacic pointed out that if a Serbian official had made such a statement, it would have caused a UN Security Council meeting. A few days later, Menduh Thaci, leader of Macedonia’s Democratic Party of Albanians, called Macedonia “an artificial country” in an interview with an Albanian TV channel. “He said further he wanted for Macedonia to fall apart and all Albanians to unite in one country.” Note that these comments came at a time when there were ethnic clashes in Macedonia, culminating in the execution-style murders of five Macedonians on the eve of Orthodox Easter, and demonstrations in Skopje chanting “Death to Christians!” A head-scratcher for sure, given that we’re told the problem is Serbia, not Christianity.]
Recently, various political actors in Albania have sought to use negative messages centered on ethnicity for their narrow political ends. This is a dangerous game. Ethnic tensions, once aroused, are difficult, if not impossible to predict or control. It is imperative that responsible individuals refrain from inflaming ethnic sentiment, whether inside or outside Albania. [The Albanian-American ambassador didn’t know that Albanians are ethno-centered? With the very premise of combining all the Albanian-heavy lands being that Albanians should live together in one big country? Indeed, the U.S-supported Kosovo policy is single-handedly changing the definition of what nation-states are founded on: it’s gone from common vision and values to ethnicity and religious identity, as Harry de Quetteville warned in The Telegraph upon Kosovo’s unilateral declaration in 2008.]
In addition to potentially destabilizing the region, nationalistic rhetoric and actions damage Albania’s reputation. Because of various controversial statements and assertions made in the lead-up to the 100th anniversary celebrations, two neighboring countries canceled their participation in this historic event. [He means Macedonia, and see Greek foreign minister cancels trip over Albanian PM’s reference to a town across the Greek border as “Albanian lands.”] This may seem like a minor consequence, a footnote to some, but it sets back relations, hinders communication and cooperation, and makes resolving other outstanding issues that much more difficult. And we, the United States, take note of it.
[You hear that? Fourteen years past our pro-nationalist intervention, we’re finally taking note of the Albanian nationalism that’s meant death to thousands of non-Albanians and less nationalist Albanians over the past several decades. That would be the intervention that happened 18 years after the 1981 race riots that Albanians staged in Kosovo screaming their supremacy from the rooftops. Which of course was 100 years after the Prizren League announced the Albanian nationalist agenda that has guided Albanianism ever since. So if you add that up, it took 132 years for Washington to notice. At least according to this guy. Some might argue that Washington was aware of Albanian hyper-nationalism every step of the way, and allied with it regardless, as it has been doing with other fascist forces since WWII.]
The recent intimidation of ethnic Macedonian minorities in Liqenas by some misguided individuals is completely unacceptable and should be rejected categorically by all Albanians.
The recent call by the Red and Black Alliance for an Albanian-Kosovo unification referendum serves neither country’s Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations, and undermines the progress achieved in regional stability and peace, and movement towards European integration.
Let me be crystal clear, absolutely clear: The United States of America does not support the redrawing of national borders in the Balkan region [except, er, uh…Serbia’s]. Any efforts to do so are counterproductive and destabilizing. [Except when we do it and unleash the Albanian mafia onto the world.]
Political parties and leaders should focus on what they claim is important: Euro-Atlantic integration. Talk of an illusory “Greater Albania” is a distraction from the very real problems that Albania faces today, and the voters shouldn’t fall for it.
We believe a new political movement like the Red and Black Alliance can and should play an important and constructive role in Albanian politics. [He’s saying a party founded on nationalism and ethnic unification can play a constructive role.]
Given the positive role that the Government of Albania has traditionally played in maintaining good relations with its neighbors [such as being the launching pad for a war against its neighbor and a graveyard for Slavs missing their organs], we urge its leadership to be unequivocal in this vein. Elections should not be an excuse for sending mixed messages.
Furthermore, we ask that Albania’s politicians and political leaders across the spectrum renew their commitment to convey responsible messages to all Albanians. [Except the whole point of the U.S.-backed KLA, heroes to 99% of Albanians, was to kill off “responsible” politicians.]
What a difference a century makes. Albania has earned respect and admiration across the globe. Albanians live within secured borders; they no longer need to feel threatened by any external foe. Kosovo is now a sovereign nation, independent and free. And in the course of the past 100 years no country in the world has shown itself to be a more consistent and reliable friend of the Albanian people than the United States of America.
That’s right. Leave it to the good old U.S. of A. to make a messy world messier. The controversial comments that the ambassador referenced, meanwhile, were made in a statement to a museum by Berisha, in which “he referred to ‘the Albania of all the Albanian lands from Preveza to Presevo, Skopje to Podgorica’,” Reuters reported. “Preveza is part of the northern Greek province of Epirus, where some ethnic Albanians lived before World War Two…Skopje is the capital of Macedonia and Podgorica the capital of Montenegro, both bordering Albania. Presevo is in southern Serbia…Greece had to apologize to Albania [in October] for placing its red flag…upside down during a visit by its foreign minister to Athens. [Who dares talk back?! Who risks such tit-for-tat insolence?!] Albanians are by far the largest group of foreign workers in Greece - estimated at up to 800,000 in a country of 11 million people….”
Adds a Nov. 28th AP item, titled by Edmonton Journal “Albania celebrates 100 years of independence, yet angers half its neighbours:
The [Preveza to Podgorica] comments were also inscribed on a parchment that will be displayed at a museum in the city of Vlore, where the country’s independence from the Ottoman Empire was declared in 1912. Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos promptly cancelled his visit to Tirana on Wednesday…Separately, Macedonian President Gjorgje Ivanov called off his visit after Macedonian Prime Minister Nicola Gruevski’s car was hit with an egg last week during a trip to Tirana, the Albanian capital. …[But some good ol’ reliables were on hand.] Montenegro’s president and the prime ministers of Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia turned up, as well as officials from Italy and Kosovo. Tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians — some on foot or on horseback — arrived from Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro for the festivities, which started in Vlore…Berisha’s earlier plans to slaughter 2,000 sheep and publicly roast them for the occasion were scrapped after an outcry by animal rights groups.
Berisha’s exposed ambitions are nothing more than what Albanian American Civic League founder — and the New York Republican candidate for Senate in 2010 — Joseph DioGuardi has been after all along. From the website of the AACL, which pretends to be “Defending the national cause and human rights of the Albanian people”:
…In collaboration with foreign policy leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and a network of committed volunteers around the world, the Civic League works to bring genuine independence to Kosova, equal rights to Albanians in Macedonia, Montenegro, the Presheva Valley, and Chameria….As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the Independence of Albania on Nov. 28, we think that this is a good time to reflect on…freeing Kosova from Serbian domination after it was tragically left out of the internationally recognized State of Albania in 1919.
It’s an open revelation of the true aim of the Albanians’ Kosovo war (i.e. it wasn’t about “human rights violations” as we were told), and a boast of direct engagement of the U.S. government in Albanian territorial pretensions in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and northern Greece (”Chameria“/”Cameria“).
Illustrating the rabidly-celebrated 100-year Albanian milestone in late November, and the troubles Macedonia faces from its 25% Albanian minority was the following from my blog at the time, which included photos from the “March of Eagles”:
Ethnic Albanians [wave] Albanian flags during a rally marking the Albanian Flag Day on November 28, 2012 in Presevo, southern Serbia. At least 2,000 ethnic Albanians, who form a majority in this region bordering Kosovo, gathered today to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Albania’s independence… (SASA DJORDJEVIC - AFP/Getty Images)
An Ethnic Albanian boy waves an Albanian flag during a rally marking the Albanian Flag Day on November 28, 2012 in Presevo, southern Serbia…
Oh, it’s “marking” a lot more than that. It’s marking future territory. In addition to Serbia’s Presevo region, Albanians have also marked Greece. (Remember Flag Day 2011 on that point. And check out 2010’s and here’s 2006’s.)
And here they marked Macedonia this week, where the central ceremony — the main event — was held:
Gray Falcon blog’s Nebojsa Malic remarked: “Imagine Mexico had its central national day ceremony in San Antonio. I imagine it would go rather well with the Texans?
“There is no Macedonia. No country can be this humiliated and still considered existing.
“Balkan Insight, meanwhile, blamed Macedonians for ‘offending Albanians’ by not coming to the Tirana ceremony.”
So, as with Serbia, Macedonians are expected to celebrate their own demise, or else be accused of discriminating or some such thing. (Speaking of which: In August a Serb politician in Croatia was castigated by the prime minister for not joining Croatia’s national celebrations for Operation Storm, the largest ethnic cleansing since WWII, in which about 2,000 Serb civilians were savagely killed.)
Malic’s Nov. 28th blog shed some light the real significance of the spectacle — for the Balkans, and the U.S.:
…On November 28, 1912, what became the Albanian national flag - black eagle on red field - made its first appearance. Each year, the Albanians celebrate this as “Flag Day”, and even though [Kosovo] has its own, politically correct flag [i.e. presenting Kosovo as its own country, separate from Albania], its blue and gold are nowhere in evidence these days, amidst the sea of red and black.
The central, pan-Albanian celebration has already taken place - in Skopje, capital of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Why not Tirana, the capital of Albania proper? Or Pristina, the capital of “independent Kosovo”? Simple. Skopje was the ancient capital of Serbia, and though modern Serbia doesn’t claim the territory of Macedonia, the Albanians do.
Pogroms based on blood libel. Desecrated churches and cemeteries. Pride in terrorism and butchery. All cheered on by the “international community” and the self-appointed defenders of “human rights.” A month ago [October], Secretary of State Clinton declared that the cause of “independent [Kosovo]” was a personal matter - “for me, my family and my fellow Americans.”
Clinton has a shopping center named after her. There are streets and boulevards named after her husband, and an Enver-style statue in downtown Pristina. I guess what’s left to their “fellow Americans” is Kosovo itself - a monument to evil if ever there was one.
And an AP report from the four-day celebrations:
More than 1,000 ethnic Albanians marched in the capital of Macedonia on Sunday to mark the 100th anniversary of Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. Some politicians have opposed such celebrations, saying they could stoke ethnic tensions in Macedonia.
The anniversary celebrations in Macedonia’s capital are scheduled to last for four days, and similar festivities will take place later this week in the capitals of Kosovo and Albania.
In Skopje, Macedonia’s capital, thousands of Albanian national flags — a black double-headed eagle on a red background — were on display Sunday there and in minority areas of northern and western Macedonia. Divers even placed the flag at the bottom of Lake Ohrid, which straddles Macedonia and Albania.
‘‘This is really an exaggeration’’ auto-mechanic Jovan Krstevski, 49, of Skopje told The Associated Press, as ethnic Albanians marched there. ‘‘I have nothing against any flag or celebrations, but placing such huge flags in such a manner and with such noise is nothing but dramatizing the event and has nothing to do with a tribute. Just the opposite, only to demonstrate the (minority’s) power and to provoke their fellow Macedonians.’’
The opposition Social Democrats earlier described a decision by the Macedonian government to join Albania’s independence celebrations as a ‘‘political provocation.’’
Conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has the country’s largest ethnic Albanian party, the DUI, in his coalition government. The DUI is led by Ali Ahmeti.
‘‘We ask whether Gruevski and Ahmeti are aware that their irresponsible behavior and harmful policies will cause fresh ethnic tension and undermine the rule of law?’’ deputy Social Democrat leader Gordan Georgiev said recently.
Even Gruevski allies have publicly argued that the Albanian celebrations are part of a minority drive toward creating a largely autonomous state — a notion dismissed by Ahmeti.
Stojance Angelov — leader of Dignity, an association of Macedonian veterans of the 2001 ethnic conflict — said such a move would be unfair and damaging to Macedonia.
In an interview with Channel Five TV, Ahmeti said… ‘‘We do not have any pretensions to dividing Macedonia because Macedonia is our country, Macedonia is our homeland. Our ancestors were here, our future is here and we need to build our future together.’’
Relations between the two main coalition partners have, however, soured in recent weeks after the country’s ethnic Albanian defense minister paid tribute to the insurgents of 2001. Gruevski responded by presenting draft legislation to grant pensions to former government soldiers who fought in the ethnic conflict — but not to rebel veterans.
Two recent incidents in neighboring Albania also have raised tensions in Macedonia.
Macedonian national flags were set on fire in Tirana, the capital of Albania, and eggs were thrown at a car carrying Gruevski as the Macedonian prime minister visited Tirana. […]
Closing by revisiting some quotes and excerpts:
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that “Albanian clans are funnelling the [sex trade] profits into the coffers of former Kosovo Liberation Army strongmen who are fighting Serbs in the Presevo Valley and attacking their Slavic neighbours in Macedonia.” …The Financial Times reported that “diplomats said the [Albanian] diaspora, which has a significant presence in drugs and prostitution rackets, particularly in Switzerland, Belgium and Germany, is providing financing and weapons to the rebels.”…Business AM reported that “there was ample evidence available two summers ago about the ties of the so-called Albanian national liberation struggle to organised crime, and how intertwined the Albanian mafia was — and still is — with the political militants.”
– Balkan Blog, Feb. 2010
Although the Clinton administration insisted that the KLA met its requirements to demilitarize in 1999, the rebel organization nevertheless has been able to foment an insurgency across the provincial border of Kosovo in Serbia’s predominantly ethnic Albanian Presevo Valley — which Albanian nationalists call “Eastern Kosovo.” In a disturbing replay of the strategy the KLA used from early 1998 until NATO commenced its bombing, ethnic Albanian guerrillas are attacking Serbian policemen and civilians — and ethnic Albanians loyal to Belgrade — in the hope of provoking Yugoslav authorities into a response that will incite the United States and NATO to resume their war with Yugoslavia. As a UN official in Kosovo explained, the guerrillas hope “that the Serbs will retaliate with excessive force against civilian populations and create a wave of outrage and pressure on KFOR to respond.”
In March 2000, the guerrillas promised U.S. diplomats that they would end their insurgency. “We’re happy they did it,” said one U.S. official. “We gave them a tough message, and they believed it.” …The rebel group, however, took no steps to live up to its pledge and announced the next day that it “has not ceased its activities” and that it will not stop until “Eastern Kosovo is liberated.” The guerrillas, moreover, continued to wear KLA-like uniforms, to conduct training exercises, and to cross back and forth across the neutral zone between U.S. forces in Kosovo and Yugoslav forces in Serbia proper. Though the leaders of the supposedly disbanded KLA insist they are not tied to the rebels, those killed in the Presevo Valley are buried in cemeteries reserved for KLA martyrs. Moreover, the “Homeland Calling Fund,” which was set up to raise money from the Albanian diaspora to fund the KLA, has been resurrected to fund the Presevo insurgents.
Notwithstanding those facts, Clinton administration officials downplayed KLA involvement in the violence. In fact, Secretary Albright praised the KLA for “having met its commitment to demobilize” and she stressed that a “spirit of tolerance and inter-ethnic cooperation” will take root in Kosovo as the province’s “democratic forces” come to power. America’s chief diplomat should have had a better grasp of Kosovo’s realities. The KLA and its supporters are committed to taking power in Kosovo and expanding its dominion, not to practicing multiethnic democracy.
Not all foreign officials were as gullible….Jiri Dienstbier, former Czech foreign minister turned UN special envoy for human rights, submitted a 53-page report to the UN Human Rights Commission in March 2000 [accusing] the leaders of the [KLA] of destabilizing the Presevo Valley with a view to creating a Greater Albania. Voicing similar concerns. Gen. Reinhardt, the former commander of KFOR, warned that tensions between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the Presevo Valley could result in a new war… “Frankly, when we see them training with mortars … I do not believe them.” Reinhardt’s concerns were underscored by same-day reports of a grenade attack on a Serbian police checkpoint on the other side of the Kosovo boundary….By the fall of 2000, the security situation in the Presevo Valley deteriorated even further as the number of ethnic Albanian guerrillas operating in the area reportedly tripled and the number of attacks on Serb policemen increased. In December, the rebels fired upon a joint American-Russian patrol, and in January 2001, a British patrol was attacked.
As troubling, ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and Albania, including KLA elements, are also involved in attempts to infiltrate and destabilize Macedonia. News reports, which began appearing as early as June 2000, highlighted the connection among organized smuggling rings, the KLA, and the political leadership in the ethnic Albanian area of western Macedonia.
– Gary Dampsey and Roger W. Fontaine of the Cato Institute, Fool’s Errands
The abductions [of five Macedonian road workers] were part of an increasing pattern of illegal detentions and kidnappings by ethnic Albanian fighters who call themselves the National Liberation Army (NLA)… “The NLA has failed to account for at least fourteen Macedonians abducted from Tetovo during the fighting in late July.” …The abuse started with a severe beating. Then one of the rebels used a knife to carve letters on the Macedonians’ backs and to cut them on other parts of their bodies. One of the rebels forced the men to perform oral sex on each other, and tried to anally rape one of the men with a wooden stick.
– Human Rights Watch, “Torture, Kidnappings by Albanians in Macedonia,” Aug. 2001
…with the aim of creating a “Greater Albania” or at least a “Greater Kosovo”. After months of ever more serious clashes in the Presevo Valley in Serbia, Kfor was alarmed this week when armed Albanians crossed into Macedonia, the Balkan state that provides Nato with its main supply route.
The Macedonian government has reinforced its troops on the Kosovo border after ethnic Albanian rebels killed a Macedonian commando on Wednesday. The trouble is also beginning to generate refugees. The United Nations said 95 ethnic Albanian women and children had fled to Kosovo from northern Macedonia. [Recall the “Serbian ethnic cleansing” concoction.]
In Kosovo, 10 Serbs were killed and 43 injured last week when a Kfor-escorted convoy transporting Serbs returning from a visit to relatives in southern Serbia was bombed. At the same time, fighting has increased in southern Serbia. Four people have been killed in recent clashes between Albanian militants and Serb police in the Presevo Valley.
Royal Marines have in recent weeks been deployed to patrol the snow-clad mountains to stop militants from slipping through dense forests into Serbia. They have also seized shipments of arms bound for the Presevo Valley.
But with no obvious “exit strategy”, the greatest fear of the peacekeepers is being sucked into a direct conflict with Albanian gunmen…
– UK Telegraph, Feb. 24, 2001
The remaining 150,000 Serbs “will all be gone after ten years.”
– High official in the International Organization for Migration in Kosovo, The Coming Balkan Caliphate
In the mid to long term there will be some kind of biological end to the problem here because, you know, one of the population(s) will simply disappear.
– KFOR commander Lt. Gen. Xavier de Marnhac in 2007, on the fact that the average age of a Kosovo Albanian was 28 and that of a Kosovo Serb was 54
I remember one day meeting the UN regional administrator for Mitrovica [David Mitchels] outside the UNMIK offices in Pristina and he told me that Kosovo would be better off if all the Serbs were gone.
– Iseult Henry, author of Hiding Genocide in Kosovo
Return to Kosovo [is] “just a smokescreen to trick the Serbs.”
– Interview with Iseult Henry, “I am a witness to the truth about Kosovo,” Pecat magazine, Aug. 15, 2010
The independence of Kosovo would be a clear “step” toward the restoration of the “Greater Albania” which was sponsored by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany and which terrorised and exterminated Serbs, gypsies and Jews under the same banner now being flourished in Kosovo and, disgracefully, applauded by Washington and London.
– Letter to the Editor, Financial Times, by William D. Myers in Madrid, Dec. 2007
The Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, the key Albanian partner in the ruling centre-right coalition [led] by VMRO-DPMNE, is leaving government…after Prime Minister and VMRO-DPMNE head Nikola Gruevski previously rejected a list of demands the DPA chief had given him on Monday [when] the party gave two days to Gruevski to change his mind and accept their demands.
The DPA wanted guarantees from Gruevski for the quick completion of six key issues, including the immediate closure of cases against former ethnic Albanian guerrillas that fought Macedonian security forces during a short conflict in 2001. The party also insisted on state pensions for former ethnic Albanian guerrillas, on making Albanian an official language across the country and on the wider integration of ethnic Albanians into public office.
In addition, DPA demanded further concessions on the use of the Albanian flag in municipalities where they form a large proportion of the population and urged swift recognition of neighbouring Kosovo’s independence. […]
– Balkan Insight, March 12, 2008
Albanian extremists talk about the start of a “hunting season” against Serbs every spring. In [the] Spring 2004 pogroms of Kosovo Serbs, the mob sprayed [grafitti] UCK! Allah Akbar! Morto Serbi! and UNMIK go home! on the ruins of Serb churches and houses. Busloads of Albanian hordes destroyed and burned everything Serbian, including more than 30 churches and monasteries (bringing the total to over 150 since the occupation began)….KFOR retreated “helplessy” before the hordes…Women and children with sticks and stones shielded the mob from UN-NATO men. According to Visoki Dečani Monastery cyber-monks, ethnically cleansed Serbs were put in KFOR shelters. Asked by an elderly Serb if he could do anything to get Serbs back to their homes, a police commander replied, “I can’t do anything even if you die here like animals”.
Before the pogroms, Kosovo Albanian leader Hashim Thaçi welcomed the return of Serbs to Kosovo. Four months later, his hordes set torches to houses prepared for the returnees, funded from tax and private contributions of Westerners. On the eve of the pogroms (16.3.2004), the European Parliament held hearings on abysmal human rights violations by the Kosovo extremists. According to UNMIK press report at the time, Thaçi visited the US deputy assistant secretary for Europe and Euro-Asia, Kathleen Stephens, who appreciated Thaçi’s “effort for creating necessary conditions for the well being of the citizens in areas such as the rule of law, the fight against crime and corruption, the dialogue, the returns, freedom of movement, economic development and privatization”…
Kosovo Serb Orthodox Church authorities recognized (17.3.2004) that [the] international community’s story of the Albanian leaders’ multiethnicity and democracy “has been and remains pure deception” to buy time for “complete rearmament and creation of paramilitary forces”. The “international community” had long lists of KLA war criminals, commanders and soldiers alike, but did little to prosecute them. After the attempts at pogroms in Čeglavica, based on their own intelligence, the church authorities unmasked “a general campaign by Kosovo Albanians…whose purpose is to destabilize the Province and expel the remaining Serbian population”.
Some Western spokesmen, intelligence sources and strategic analysts, [including] from NATO and UN, concurred. [Most] US troops sat in Camp Bondsteel during the pogroms. A Kosovo Albanian journalist Veton Surroi of Koha Ditore daily said that Albanians had organized the “orchestrated phase” of violence in Kosovo in order to expell the Serbs…In preparation for the pogroms, the National Albanian American Council (NAAC) called for “recognition of independence” of Albanian Kosovo and “resolving Kosova’s final status in accordance with the will of the people”, and blamed Belgrade in advance. After the pogroms, NAAC blamed Serbian intelligence. The violence reflected [the] growing impatience of Albanians, whose leaders and parliamentarians used the self-created “opportunity” to call for independence. US neocon Morton Abramowitz, anti-Serbian since the beginning [of the] Yugoslavia break-up, blamed Serbia, NATO and EU for delaying independence and thus causing the violence. “Moderate” president Ibrahim Rugova believed only independence would cure extremism.
[The] Serbia-Montenegro army’s Gen. Mladen Cirković, in charge of intelligence, accused UN and NATO of ignoring his advance warnings of pogroms. General secretaries of NATO and UN condemned the pogroms as if KFOR and UNMIK didn’t know. Based on Serbian intelligence, Koštunica could point to the perpetrators, including KLA veterans and their comrades in Southern Serbia, all of them tied to KFOR, UNMIK, KPS, KPC paramilitary, and political parties. Those responsible for Kosovo security knew about Albanian pathological hatred of Serbs, but didn’t intervene. KFOR security was even relaxed at the checkpopints at Serb villages and at the Serb Orthodox Patriarchate in Peć, as if inviting the extremists…
– Piotr Bein, “Mass Deception,” Dec. 30, 2009