******UPDATE AT BOTTOM******

I just had to excerpt the following article, published by a military outfit called DVIDS, Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System. Note the passive tense being used in the first half of the item, making it unclear who is doing what to whom.

On one hand, it’s not as nasty as the constant “Serbs did this to Albanians, then Serbs did that to Albanians.” On the other hand, I suspect that the soldier who wrote the article doesn’t really have a clue as to who was supposed to have done what to whom, which is why she just plops down a mish-mosh of generalized chronology. It’s maddening and relieving at the same time. Either way, I really should charge for these writing lessons:

Refugee, now US soldier returns home (DVIDS, Feb. 7)

121st Public Affairs Detachment

Story by Sgt. Angela Parady (Indeed.)


U.S. Army Soldiers with the Multinational Battle Group East secure the area as other Kosovo Force soldiers remove concrete barricades from the Pristina-Raska road near Rudare, Serbia, Jan. 31, 2013…(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Angela Parady/Released)

GIJLANE [sic], Kosovo - As a 10-year old girl Yllka Cana went to school every day where she and her family lived. Like many in Livic, a village outside Gjilane, Kosovo she and her friends spent the summer of 1999 playing games and being kids. While tensions mounted all around Kosovo, they never thought their lives would be turned upside down. As the situation continued to deteriorate and violence escalated, Cana and her friends were not allowed to begin their fourth grade year.

No elaboration here. She just drops it and moves on. Such are our military “writers,” a reflection of the level of thinking involved, or allowed.

In the 1980s, opposition to sovereignty of Yugoslavia caused rioting in Pristina. [Opposition by whom? Rioting by whom? We know the answers, of course. Opposition by Albanians to being under Yugoslav sovereignty (not “sovereignty of Yugoslavia”). As for “opposition caused rioting,” now there’s another interesting Romper-Room-level sentence. The pot-stirrers incited race riots by the Albanian masses of Kosovo. Ibrahim Rugova, leader of Kosovo Albanians, initially advocated non-violent resistance. As tensions mounted, the opposition evolved into a separatist movement, and the Kosovo Liberation Army took a different stance to the resistance. [I think she meant to use the word “approach,” not “stance.”]

The KLA launched a guerrilla war that featured regular attacks on Yugoslav security forces. In spring of 1998, the Yugoslav military partnered with Serbian police to fight the separatists. In the months that followed, thousands of civilians were killed and more fled their homes. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that 460,000 people had been displaced in the year prior to NATO’s involvement in March 1999.

Thousands of “civilians” were killed? She’s still on that? We’re at least a few years into being allowed to acknowledge that the people dying, at least on the Albanian side, were KLA fighters (plus a few hundred KLA-slaughtered civilians). And that’s not to mention the mass graves of Serbs that Bill Clinton’s guy John Clint Williamson was finding but kept mum about. But at least she leaves the reader guessing, using “thousands of civilians were killed,” rather than “thousands of Albanian civilians were killed,” and again the passive tense for “460,000 people had been displaced,” rather than saying “Serbs” displaced “460,000 Albanian people.” While doing it this way is bad writing, the “good writing” we’re used to would mean including more of the recycled, inverted garbage we’re used to.

UN reports estimate that nearly 40,000 Albanians fled or were expelled from Kosovo between March 1998 and the end of April 1999. [NOTE the subtle adjustment here, as if the public had been given to understand all along that plenty of Albanians fled the fighting, as opposed to what we were really told ad nauseum: that they were victims of systematic expulsion, a.k.a. ethnic cleansing.] Most of the refugees went to Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or Montenegro. Thousands more were driven out by intimidation, attacks and a wave of crime after the conflict as NATO’s Kosovo Force struggled to restore order in the province.

Here she’s slapped together two or three things. Intimidation of whom, by whom? We know the answer: intimidation of Albanians, by the KLA (though if this is what she means, or doesn’t mean to mean, then it’s a first that it’s mentioned by an official organ). But by the time you get past the first phrase, you realize she’s now talking about Serbs being driven out, intimidated and attacked after the official end of the war.

Fourteen years later, Cana, who had relocated to Allentown, Pa., early in 2000, is sitting in the principal’s office at the very school she attended in Livic. She is now a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, deployed as part of KFOR.

BEAUTIFUL!

“The local shops closed” said Cana, remembering that part of her childhood. “All that could be heard was shots and the ground shaking from bombs. It all happened very fast.”

For their safety, Cana, her mother, three sisters and two brothers went to Camp Stankovec, a refugee camp in FYROM. Her dad stayed behind to work with KFOR at Camp Monteith, rejoining them in 2003 in Pennsylvania.

As Cana overcame the odds in America, she received her education, going on to study international relations and political science at Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, Pa. There she was part of the Reserve Officer Training Corps. She always remembered the American soldiers she met in 1999. They were superheroes to her.

When her first deployment happened to be to the very place she left all those years ago, it was almost a surreal experience.

“I came because I thought about all the soldiers that have deployed here and risked their lives to save mine, soldiers that left their families to make a difference, and now it’s my turn. I had to do it, and I will continue to do it no matter where in the world.”

Cana brought Sgt. Maj. Timothy Griffith to visit the town she grew up in. They visited her house, and her elementary school. He said that he believes that no matter where you are, education is most important.

“Without education, people are taught by word of mouth. They believe what they are told, rather than going out and validating information. If they are able to read and write, then you can direct them to sources that educate them, they can find sources of information and they don’t have to just believe what they are told.”

Could this be a cryptic reference to the fact that for a century Albanian children have been taught to hate Serbs? By their parents, uncles, grandparents and teachers. Which would explain why Season 10 “American Idol” contestant Melinda Ademi repeated on national TV what her family told her: that “Serbia wanted to get rid of all the other cultures”?

Cana tried to hide her squeals of excitement, as she walked into the same classrooms she had sat in 14 years ago, and saw teachers she had had all those years ago. With Griffith, they talked to the new principal and the teachers to see how the officers at Camp Bondsteel could help this school.

“We can’t do the big stuff, the construction and what not, but I can focus on the smaller stuff,” said Griffith, who has been with South Carolina’s 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade for the last 31 years. “The science teacher said it would make his class much better if he had microscopes. The art teacher had limited brushes, small amounts of water colors, and the kids are very talented. It doesn’t seem like much, but when these are in limited supply, it’s very much appreciated.”

Griffith and other senior officers don’t always get the chance to be a part of the community. They donated their own money to purchase microscopes, art supplies, warm gloves and hats, and smaller school supplies. They took the items back to Cana’s school, where the students and facility were very appreciative of the effort. [Did the writer mean facility, or faculty?]

“As a senior leader, I am very busy. I get pulled from all directions, and I am just happy to be able to do this,” said Griffith. “Not only are we helping out the local community, but we are also showing our junior NCO’s, our junior officers that senior people care, too.

Care about Albanian children, not Serbian ones. Those would be the ones who, even if they had the money for such materials, would have a hard time procuring them safely.

Cana agreed. Besides doing her work as an intelligence analyst, working with the children is the first reason she wanted to be a U.S. soldier. Sitting next to the man who taught her first through third grade, Cana laughs as she looks through old photographs and grade logs. She laughs as she explains that the numbers written are equal to an A or B in the American school system. She laughs, as her teacher tells her how she loved to learn and always wanted to do more. [What fun time they’re having in ethnically pure Kosovo.]

Cana’s face blushed at the praise of her teacher, a man she says taught her so much, lessons she has taken with her through her travels. The value of kindness, of having compassion and gratitude for the life you have lived is best reflected in helping others. “Knowing that a great impact can be made on others’ lives, through simple actions, makes the work worthwhile,” said Cana. “Giving to the community provides a rewarding sense of pride. Each act of kindness and help contributes towards a brighter future for all.”

Can anyone else see the 800-pound gorilla in the room?

Nezir Jahija, Cana’s teacher, beamed with pride at the young woman sitting beside him.

“I am very proud of Yllka,” he said. “I knew that she would be successful by how hard she worked here. Now, she has decided to join the U.S. Army, which is the world’s best, most powerful army, with values that are unlike any other.”

The students here are very appreciative of what the soldiers have done, and the difference they have made here in Kosovo.

And that’s what it’s all about. That they like us. That they really, really like us. Now brace yourselves for oncoming cavities:

“The students are a younger generation and many were not alive during the conflict,” said Jahija. “The older generation, teachers, older students, we experienced it, we know the difference the army has made in Kosovo. The older generation does a really good job of telling the younger so that they can know the history of what happened here, and see the effort KFOR put into Kosovo. It is our responsibility to teach the students so they are aware of the history of their country.”

Hearing what KFOR does is one thing. Interacting with soldiers first hand is an experience for these students.

“Just knowing that KFOR is in their country, making a difference and trying to help people is one thing, seeing it in action is different,” said Jahija. “ For the students here, the visit will leave a lasting impression. When they can physically see the care and concern the Americans have for the people, it makes a huge difference. It goes from being something they believe is happening, to something they have concrete evidence of.”

Cana’s visit not only allows these students to interact with the soldiers they hear about every day, but gives them hope. She shows these students what is possible for a child who faced challenges and had to leave her home, said Jahija. Cana also helps to override the common tradition that women should stay within the home. As a soldier in the U.S. military, a native of Kosovo and a strong role model, she left a young, scared girl, only to return a strong and determined woman. Her return is not only felt in the school, but in the houses of the children, and in the community. […]

Well at least there’s that.

******UPDATE******

I just wanted to add that, overall, the tone and even the content of the above piece smells of pure desperation. It’s bad enough they need to resort to “local girl makes good” stories, but notice how removed the “facts” are from the mainstream propaganda. No longer “800,000 Albanians ethnically cleansed” (now “460,000″), or “10,000 Albanian civilians killed” (now “thousands”). And, as previously noted, everything is neatly fudged so as to be plausibly denied when criticized. It’s almost as if it were calculated to feed on the “everybody knows” conventional wisdom, without actually saying anything that might catch fire if exposed to direct sunlight.