Wednesday, February 27, 2008


“Mickey Mouse was to me, a symbol of independence. He was a means to an end.”
Walt Disney.

Viewed from a Western perspective, it is difficult to sympathise with the Serbs over their loss of Kosovo-Metohija (Косово и Метохиja), as evidenced by the unilateral declaration of that province’s independence by its Albanian “parliament” recently. This is because Serbs are invariably linked to and blamed for the internecine strife accompanying the breakup of Yugoslavia - a construct of western powers - especially the incarceration and systematic slaughter of Bosnian Muslims. The removal of Kosovo-Metohija from such a rogue state, is seen as a just punishment to the perpetrators of heinous crimes, as well as a just reward to an ‘afflicted’ people in their quest for freedom.
However, in actual fact, the declaration of independence for the Albanians of the province signifies the apogee of bankruptcy for Western concepts of democracy and international law. This is because at the same time that it has tacitly allied itself to the “War on Terror,” removing the terrorist regimes of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, it is now supporting a regime that has asserted its right to rule over the region through acts of terrorism.
As far back as 1999, NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days, ostensibly in order to support the ethnic Albanian majority of Kosovo-Metohija. In doing so, it destroyed much of the infrastructure of Serbia and brought its economy to a standstill. Its use of depleted uranium in the weapons it employed for this purpose have caused untold health problems in hundreds of infants. Yet who in fact was NATO supporting? Was it in truth supporting the Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës (Kosovo Liberation Army) a group reputed to have had ties to Osama Bin Laden, and a group recognized by the United States’ own state department as a terrorist group. (That is until President Clinton found them a useful poster boy for a group of freedom fighters and had them removed from the terrorist list in 1999)? Or was the bombing merely an expedient by ‘democratic’ countries to forcibly remove the tyrant Milošević? Most probably we shall never know.
What we do now about the regime that currently purports to have ‘liberated’ Kosovo-Metohija and wishes to rule it is that though Serbian rule over Kosovo-Metohija was harsh and did repress expressions of Albanian nationalism, it was the KLA that began to attack the government in the region, along with civilians that it regarded as ‘collaborators.’ It should be noted that Albanian aggression in the region has historical precedents. During the fascist occupation of Kosovo by Albanians, until August 1941 alone, over 10,000 Serbs were killed and between 80,000 and 100,000 were expelled, while roughly the same number of Albanians from Albania were brought to settle in the region. Mustafa Kruja, quisling prime minister of Kosovo during that time, issued a chilling declaration that has had repercussions decades later:
"We should endeavor to ensure that the Serb population of Kosovo be – the area be cleansed of them and all Serbs who had been living there for centuries should be termed colonialists and sent to concentration camps in Albania. The Serb settlers should be killed."
Though there is no justification for the oppression of innocent people, Serbian hysteria over Kosovo should be viewed in the context of their people’s tribulations and their attachment to what was historically, the heart of the medieval Serbian state.

Thus, that the track record of the terrorist KLA has been a sorry one, should not surprise us. They seem to have picked up where the fascist Albanians have left off. There have been widespread reports of war crimes committed by the KLA both during and after the Kosovo conflict. These have been directed against both Serbs, other ethnic minorities (principally Roma) and against ethnic Albanians accused of collaborating with the Serb authorities. According to a 2001 report by Human Rights Watch, “The KLA was responsible for serious abuses… including abductions and murders of Serbs and ethnic Albanians considered collaborators with the state.” It is also believed that the KLA has played a key role in the ethnic cleansing, kidnappings and murder of Serbs and other ethnic minorities after the end of the war. Human Rights Watch writes: “Elements of the KLA are also responsible for post-conflict attacks on Serbs, Roma, and other non-Albanians, as well as ethnic Albanian political rivals... widespread and systematic burning and looting of homes belonging to Serbs, Roma, and other minorities and the destruction of Orthodox churches and monasteries... combined with harassment and intimidation designed to force people from their homes and communities... elements of the KLA are clearly responsible for many of these crimes.” The KLA is also accused of intentionally provoking attacks by Yugoslav security forces against civilian targets by, for example, staging attacks from villages, knowing that the response would create bad publicity for the government forces in the international media: “The KLA… engaged in military tactics in 1998 and 1999 that put civilians at risk. KLA units sometimes staged an ambush or attacked police or army outposts from a village and then retreated, exposing villagers to revenge attacks. Large massacres sometimes ensued, helping publicize the KLA's cause and internationalize the conflict.”
Following the end of the war several of the leading figures in the KLA have been convicted of war crimes by the International Tribunal for the Foreme Yugoslavia, including crimes against humanity (torture, murder, kidnapping and rape). In 2005 the then ‘Prime Minister’ of Kosovo-Metohija and former KLA commander, Ramush Haradinaj, was indicted together with two of his lieutenants on 37 counts of war crimes. According to the Tribunal, he was responsible for a plot to drive out Serbs and other ethnic minorities from Kosovo through a campaign of murder, rape and torture. Despite this, Ramush Haradinaj remains popular with many Kosovo Albanians.
Handing Kosovo-Metohija to the control of such organisations is tantamount to handing Afghanistan back to the Taliban. No guarantess have been provided for the safety and security of the extremely small (after ethnic cleansing) and frightened Serbian minority, nor for the protection of World Heritage Listed monuments such as the medieval churches of Gracanica. Instead, members of the ruling regime have been permitted to vandalise such irrepleceable monuments to civilization, as if to erase the history of the Serbian presence, from the region altogether. Today Serbs are less than 10% of the population. They live in ghetto like conditions, unable to leave their fortified neighborhoods without risking violence being inflicted upon them by their ‘liberated’ Albanian neighbours. They are prisoners in their own homes, and prisoners in their own country
The life and times of the Prime Minister of the so-called Democratic Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, also make one raise their eyebrows at the ferven western support displayed towards his regime. A founder of the People’s Movement of Kosovo, (Lëvizja Popullore e Kosovës (LPK), a Marxist-Leninist political party devoted to Albanian nationalism and the movement to unify all Albanian-populated areas into one state, in 1993, Thaçi was sent in and became a member of the inner circle of the KLA. Thaçi, also known by his nom de guerre "Gjarpëri" (the Snake) was responsible for securing financial means, training and armament of recruits, teaching them in Albania under the auspices of its Kosovar-sympathetic government, to be dispatched to Kosovo.
Thaçi also founded the infamous "Drenica-Group" an underground organization that is estimated to have controlled between 10% and 15% of all criminal activities in Kosovo (smuggling arms, stolen cars, oil, cigarettes and prostitution). The Group relied on its close connection to the Albanian, Czech and Skopjan mafia; one of the most important factors in these connections being Thaçi's sister's marriage to Sejdija Bajrush, one of the largest Albanian mafia leaders. One of the group's first military activities in Kosovo was the 25 May 1993 attack on the railroad crossing in Glogovac in central Kosovo, when a band comprised of Thaçi and various others, killed four Serbian policemen and severely wounded three. On 17 June 1996 Thaci and several other members of the KLA opened fire on a Serbian police car in Sipolje in northern Kosovo, on the Kosovar Mitrovica-Pec road. Later the same year another unit under Thaçi threw hand grenades into the Serbian military barracks in Vucitrn, in central Kosovo. Rightly, in July of 1997, the District Court of Priština sentenced Thaçi to 10 years of prison in absentia for criminal acts of terrorism.
Now this convicted terrorist, with the connivance of the west, is ruling over a province that it has detached from a country, through force and violence. Is this a manifestation of the new form of Western Democracy? How does it not differ from those marginal groups in the world that seek to impose sharia law upon states, by force?
Already the message of Kosovo’s declaration of ‘independence’ has been welcomed by other regimes that have broken away from their countries of origin through acts of violence and oppresion. Notably, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, whose civil war caused the death and extirpation of thousands of native Greeks, have also signified their intention to unilaterally declare independence. As Russian President Putin adroitly oberserves, there is much irony in intervening to create an independent Kosovo, while permitting the existence of an unrecognised illegal regim in the north of Cyprus. But then again, that regime was able to invade the island and establish itself with the use of NATO weapons as well and there is no chance that the West will intervene to redress this act of singular injustice, decades later. Sadly, owing to NATO irresponsibility, there shal lbe wars and rumours of wars for decades to come.
A proper solution to the issue of Kosovo would be not to encourage separatism or irredenitsm for it has an unprecedented domino effect. If Kosovo is to be independent today, why not Northern Epirus tomorrow? Indeed. why does not America, whose Congress has in the past voted for the autonomy of Northern Epurus, pick and choose which separatist regimes it will support? Instead a process of ethnic reconciliation and peace should be implemented, that guarantees the inclusion and security of all members of society, safe from nationalist hysteria.
Too many miscarriages of justice have been perpetrated by the leaders of the ‘Free World’ to have us belive in the myth of the moral superiority of western governments, or in their belief in any inherent responsibility to assist the afflicated or oppressed of this world any longer. If the illegal declaration of Kosovo’s indepedence harbours any lesson for the western world, it is this, gleanied from the cogitations of Mormon leader Bingham Young, that: “True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what is right.”


First published in NKEE on 25 February 2008