December 07th 2015 01:30:55 AM
Well, NY Post has the best, to-the-point title for what happened yesterday: “Serbian handball team takes down crazed airline passenger” (thanks to Melana P.) But since my computer for some reason won’t call up anything in The Post, I have to go with the UK Daily Mail version of the story, which for some reason avoids the adjective “Serbian” to illuminate what sort of handball team was responsible for the heroic actions. Not only in the headline, but in the first four paragraphs as well:
‘Unstable’ American passenger on Lufthansa flight demands to be let in the cockpit and threatens to open plane door (UK Daily Mail, Reuters, Dec. 6, 2015)
A Jordanian-American man was taken into custody after he tampered with an airplane door on a flight from Frankfurt to Belgrade.
Crew aboard Lufthansa Flight 1406 and passengers including members of a professional handball team guarded the unidentified man after he went to the door about an hour into the 110-minute flight on Saturday.
He was arrested by police and questioned after the plane landed at its destination.
Serbian media outlet Blic had previously reported after the plane landed that the man had been yelling he was going to bring the plane down if he was not allowed into the cockpit.
Passengers allegedly tackled him during the incident.
The account featured quotations from Milan Djukic, the president of the professional handball team Vojvodina, who later said that the situation was ‘not so dramatic’ as Blic made out and was not a terrorist attack.
He told news agency Tanjug that he thought the man, who sat next to the coach at one point…was most likely mentally unstable.
One is almost surprised that we haven’t yet seen headlines reading, “Serbians Attack American Aboard Lufthansa Flight.”
But let’s just take a moment to contrast what we deem worthy of being called an “American,” and what we deem worthy of bombing. No less, “to defend our way of life.” Our increasingly Islamo-Arabic way of life.
Other recent Serbian sports news underscores the point. Though in this case the worthies aren’t Arabic, but Albanian:
Serbia bus hit by stones ahead of Albania clash (Sky News, Oct. 8, 2015)
A bus carrying Serbia’s squad was hit by stones in the Albanian capital Tirana ahead of Thursday’s Euro Qualifier.
Albania has stepped up security for the politically-charged match, after their first meeting in Group I in Belgrade was abandoned when a drone carrying a flag depicting ‘Greater Albania’ flew over the stadium and a brawl ensued between players.
No one was hurt, but Serbia said the incident raised doubts over security for the game on Thursday evening in the central Albanian town of Elbasan.
Tomislav Karadzic, the president of Serbia’s football federation, commended the Albanian police for securing the route from the airport to the hotel.
But, he said: “Several rocks were hurled from the crowd towards the bus. A sizeable one landed in the vicinity of the second or third row of seats, where our players were sitting.
“If this level of security remains unchanged, there will be problems. But they [Albanian police] have guaranteed that this will not happen again. We are waiting to see what happens next.”
The man behind last year’s drone incident was arrested on Wednesday in Albania in possession of a handgun and 36 match tickets despite himself being banned from the game.
“We know that there is tension…” Serbia’s captain and Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic said. “We know we face a cauldron; we don’t expect the applause of the Albanian fans.”
And just an abridged upshot of the drone incident from a year ago:
Ending an Albania-Serbia Game and Inciting a Riot, With a Joystick (NY Times, Oct. 7, 2015)
…The fallout was intense. The Serbian government considered the drone and the flag a provocation. “If someone from Serbia had unveiled a flag of Greater Serbia in Tirana or Pristina, it would already be on the agenda of the U.N. Security Council,” Serbia’s foreign minister, Ivica Dacic, told the newspaper Blic.
UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, initially ruled the game a forfeit by Albania, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport reversed that decision in July, awarding a 3-0 victory to Albania and docking Serbia 3 points for failing to control the crowd.
[Now there’s a surprise.]
The sanctions ended any chance Serbia had of qualification for next year’s Euro 2016 tournament in France. But on Thursday, Albania and Serbia will meet again, in the central Albanian city of Elbasan.
The seeds for [Morina’s stunt] were planted in 2010, he said. He had finished his shift working on a crane in Milan, where he had lived for the six years with his Italian wife and two children. When he went home and turned on his TV, he saw Italy playing Serbia in a 2012 European Championship qualification game. The match was abandoned after seven minutes because of crowd violence, but in the disturbances, two Serbian supporters wearing masks scaled a fence and used a flare to burn an Albanian flag.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Morina said…
Morina’s mission, he said, had been to send a message. The flag he attached to the drone bore the double-headed black Albanian eagle, a map of Greater Albania — a nationalistic concept that also includes territory in Macedonia, Greece and Serbia — and the date Albania won independence from the Ottomans in 1912. At the bottom was the word Autochthonous, an obscure English word that means indigenous, or native.
“I am a patriot, not a nationalist, and I chose it to say to the Serbs that it is the Albanians that are native to the Balkans,” he said last week, sitting in a cafe in the Albanian capital, Tirana. “That is not to say the Serbs can’t live here,” he added. “But they have to respect our flag.”
[That’s rich. The invaders graciously ‘allow’ the indigenous to live in the Balkans.]
In Albania, the drone has made Ismail Morina a national hero. On any given day, dozens of people — students, war veterans, even the police — stop him to pose for pictures. His actions are still discussed on Albanian television regularly, although not always favorably. “One analyst on TV said I was both from ISIS, because the flag was black, and that I was paid by the Serbian secret service!” he said.
Thursday’s rematch could be a significant moment. Assured of at least a third-place playoff spot, Albania can move to the verge of qualifying for its first major international tournament by beating Serbia. But the Albanian soccer federation has told Morina not to come; the match has been deemed high risk by UEFA, meaning no Serbian supporters — aside from 70 students — will be allowed to attend.
But even after the game, life will not be the same again for Morina. He is now back in Albania permanently, having left Italy three days after the drone incident because, he said, “people knew where me and my family lived.”
He knows of the threats made against him online and has even heard tales that there is a reward for his capture. “I’m not worried about the Serbian state, but extremist groups,” he said.
He pulled out a gun that he bought recently. He says he keeps it with him, loaded, at all times. It is a Zastava pistol. Made in Serbia.
But in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Morina was arrested. The police reportedly seized the pistol and about 30 tickets to Thursday’s match. More important, they said Morina did not have a permit for the gun. It is unlikely that he will be allowed to watch the match in jail.
Kosovar troops on Saturday with Ismail Morina, who piloted the drone that stopped the 2014 Albania-Serbia match. On any given day, dozens of people stop him to pose for pictures. Credit James Montague
At least the term “Greater Albania” has finally entered the media-managed language lexicon, though so far we’re only up to “so-called” Greater Albania. The next step will be a leap to the dismissive “Oh-yeah-everyone-knows-that” status, similar to that of the once inconvenient and taboo fact that “our” side in Bosnia was fought alongside jihadis. (Previously this had been relegated to the domain of ‘Serbian rumor/myth/propaganda,’ but in recent years it’s been written about with a casual shrug. Of course, in light of our more open jihad-support in Libya and Syria, this is understandable.)