Choice for Kosovo
And the Real Choice for the Balkans
days from now, denizens of Kosovo will have the opportunity
to vote for a "legislative assembly" of that occupied province,
likely believing that they are exercising their right to choose
a government. Not "citizens," mind you, for to be a citizen
one must first have a country, and even the UN/NATO occupiers
are not ready to declare Kosovo an independent state yet.
Furthermore, since little or no serious proof is required
that a voter resided in Kosovo before the war (and even if
they did, that does not mean they were Yugoslav citizens),
most "citizens" among the voters will owe their allegiance
to the neighboring Albania.
under the "constitutional framework" imposed by the UN administration,
this Assembly will have little real power, but great symbolic
significance. By holding a vote, the UN and its NATO occupying
force (KFOR) aim to show that their occupation is just and
benevolent. Who ever heard of elections in an occupied territory,
after all? By giving the Albanians a semblance of government,
they temper the fires of separatism while ensuring they continue
to burn. And by having the Kosovo Serbs vote, they gain both
the recognition of the occupation's legitimacy, as well as
leverage for when Kosovo Albanians do declare independence.
the UN and NATO win all the way; the Albanians get at least
something; and the remaining Serbs lose what little they had.
though the "constitution" does not give them outright independence,
it does provide for the major attributes of sovereignty
a president, an assembly, a judiciary. Kosovo already has
a separate currency (the German Mark, and soon the Euro),
a separate curriculum (mostly imported right out of Albania),
and a separate banking system (mostly owned by Germans). It
even has a paramilitary the Kosovo Protection Corps,
formed out of the "disbanded" KLA and paid for by the UN.
this de facto separation from Serbia, Kosovo Albanians
or "Kosovars," as pathetic excuses for journalists persist
in calling them remain committed to full independence. This is
a recurring theme on all sides of the political spectrum,
from Ibrahim Rugova's ostensibly pacifist LDK, to parties
led by KLA thugs Hashim Taqi and Ramush Haradinaj.
A LA CARTE
is, of course, a shoo-in for "president." He was even publicly
endorsed by Daan Everts, head of OSCE mission in Kosovo charged
with organizing the election.
is guaranteed a big slice of the pie as well. His party's
presidential candidate is Flora Brovina, a former
KLA physician whose claim to fame is spending 19 months in
a prison in Serbia. Thanks to this, Brovina also enjoys the
admiration of Albanians' foreign sponsors. She carefully nurtures
this sympathy by well-chosen platitudes, from her lip service
to UN/NATO's bromides about "multiethnic" Kosovo ("Serbs are
citizens of Kosovo and they have to be part of Kosovo"), to
the slick sales pitch for independence (an "inevitable, life
or death issue" that would lead to "better times for the impoverished
economy," an "independent Kosovo will guarantee the minorities
equality" all from Reuters). Most of all, Taqi is playing
on Brovina to dispel the stereotype of Albanian patriarchal
Ramush Haradinaj, a frequent
guest at the US Department of State and one of America's favorite
KLA commanders, is another strong candidate. That Haradinaj
is still at large and becoming more influential by the
day despite a fight with Russian peacekeepers and a midnight
arrest following a shooting at a henchman's home, shows that
he must have some very powerful protectors. Perhaps it was
they who coached him to advocate Kosovo as a "regular society,
a stable one, with high standards of respect for human rights
and minority rights." (Reuters)
course, Brovina and Haradinaj's KLA has never paid any heed
to lofty proclamations of tolerance, multi-ethnicity and human
rights not when they blew up Serbs in refugee buses;
not when they killed Serbs in the fields, barns and homes;
not when they stole or torched Serb and Roma homes; nor when
they murdered Serbs and even their fellow Albanians in the
course of their separatist quest. Their pronouncements are
not aimed at the victims of separatist terror; they are either
dead, or know better. The only likely customers are the foreigners
the occupying authorities themselves and the public
of their countries.
officially US, EU, UN and NATO disavow any intention to grant
Kosovo independence, their unofficial minions are busily agitating
for just such a course. So, there is plenty of reason for
suspicion when the election is endorsed
by these minions the omnipresent International Crisis
and the "independent" international commission on Kosovo,
to mention just two. The latter (currently led by the former
ICTY Head Inquisitor Richard Goldstone) issued a call for
"conditional independence" of Kosovo just before last year's
LEFT TO LOSE
all that in mind, the Belgrade regime nonetheless instructed
the Kosovo Serbs to take part in this weekend's vote. Scattered
in exile or surrounded by barbed wire, KFOR guards and mobs
of murderous Albanians, even if the Serbs could vote,
why should they?
would taking part in Kosovo's quisling government mean? A
respite from incessant attacks? Unlikely. Even if it does,
that would only show who had been behind the attacks for so
long, or who had the power to stop them but did nothing. Freedom
of movement? Only in one direction out. Security of life
and property? Only if they disappeared, or sold their property
for whatever pittance the Albanians offered. A voice in decision-making?
They have been ignored before; there is no reason to listen
to them now. More aid? More food in the ghetto would be nice.
It would be nicer not having the ghetto, though.
Belgrade, Kosovo is but a means to boosting individual politicians'
vanities and influence. They feel important and jubilant when
the UN and NATO invite them to sign meaningless
treaties. These perfumed princes also believe that the
same people who terror-bombed the Serbs for 78 days on behalf
of the KLA
(which they armed and trained) and occupied Kosovo to begin
with, can somehow be their partners in bringing Kosovo back.
Perhaps there is a word in the English language more fitting
to describe this than "idiocy," but it doesn't readily come
these pretentious morons have to do is look south, where NATO's
obedient ally Macedonia continues to be framed for its own
murder. Whether it is the Albanian parliamentarians who refuse
to show up for the vote on constitutional "reforms," or
the supposedly disarmed UCK attacking
Macedonian police with rockets and assault rifles and
hostages, both the Western press and the Imperial representatives
in that semi-occupied country lay the blame squarely on the Macedonians.
has Belgrade forgotten that yesteryear's Bombers of Belgrade
and yesterday's Aracinovo Taxi Service have armed, trained
and sheltered the Albanian "liberation army" of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac
for almost a year, then agreed to its "disbandment" in order
to create a precedent for eviscerating Macedonia? Perhaps
they failed to notice that the "National Liberation Army"
of Macedonian Albanians operated unhindered from Kosovo for
months, or that a new "liberation army" is budding in
NATO-occupied Kosovo, ready to swoop into the Presevo valley
again. Will they, in a couple of years, encourage the surviving
Serbs in "Eastern Kosovo" to vote for Albanian institutions
may sound like rhetorical questions, but even a cursory glance at the behavior
of local leaders throughout the former Yugoslavia and the
Balkans in general is proof enough that this sycophantic
bootlicking is not an exception, but rather a rule.
is as if everyone assumes that the Empire (manifested through
the UN/NATO/OSCE/EU et al.) has a right not only to interfere,
but also to set itself up as the ultimate authority, judge,
jury and executioner anywhere it pleases.
no law, no writ, no divine providence grants these people
this right, save for the fact that they say so, that they
have the bombs to kill anyone who might disagree, and that
they can get away with it. What would have been denounced
as tyranny a hundred years ago is now accepted as normal.
What would have been inconceivable just a decade ago is now
taken for granted. What has possessed the minds of human beings
so, that they are selling out this cheaply what generations
of their forebears earned with rivers of sweat, tears and
this column's deeply held conviction has
always been that the Balkans will not see any progress until
the Empire's occupation is lifted, perhaps this sentiment
has not been entirely accurate. Even before this physical
liberation can occur, the people of the Balkans those
in the former Yugoslavia as well as their neighbors
must face what they have become and start taking responsibility
for their future. Right now, they are but slaves of the Empire,
of their own demagogues, and of illusions. Unless they choose
to think differently, this is all they will ever be.
and only that, is the real choice; today, this Saturday, and