Archive through November 28, 1999
To Fred Shapiro,
In answer to your message and the questions you raise, yes my critique of the HRW report is sincere. A link to the report was posted in this forum with the following recommendation:
>> Here is a chilling story of 'a day in the life of' a small village in Kosovo, Cuška--Qyshk. This report compiled by 'Human Rights Watch' is also a excellent example of 'good' reporting, not like some of the junk that has been posted previously. > But are you going anywhere with this? > Are you suggesting that the Albanians deserved what they got. > You are probably correct-the Albanians were not "good". > But if you feel that this is significant, or that the incompetence or greed of some bunch of do-gooders is significant, relative to what happened in Kosovo-you are part of the problem. > Next time-instead of spending agonizing hours over a report, work at a 7-11 for 4 hours and give the money to some poor person who has lost his/her home or loved ones to ethnic violence. <<
Unless you follow it yourself, you should never presume to give advice to anyone else. I already work 10-12 hours a day and who I choose to give my money to is a decision that I, and I, alone make.
Well, Fred. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain myself a little. Other than the "advice" part I do appreciated your message.
What to do when facts are different? Why, just stop reporting
Published in The Orlando Sentinel on November 14, 1999.
Charley Reese Commentary
Americans should never forget that their government and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization lied through their teeth repeatedly
to justify the unjustified attack on Yugoslavia.
The attack, which was never authorized by the United Nations, was justified on "humanitarian grounds" to prevent a "human
catastrophe" and "genocide." Why, those nasty old Serbs may have killed 100,000 Kosovars, U.S. politicians speculated. Finally, they
seemed to accept the British estimate of 10,000 to 11,000 dead. The American press frenziedly reported these wild accusations and
added their own.
Well, after months of being totally in control of Kosovo, guess how many bodies NATO has found. A tad more than 2,100. Some
gravesites remain to be examined, but, because the worst were done first, the count isn't likely to go much higher.
Richard Gwyn, a columnist with the Toronto Star, was one of the first to report the discrepancy between NATO assertions and the
evidence found so far. He cites a case in which NATO said that as many as 1,000 bodies had been dumped down a mine shaft. Then
he reports that the International Criminal Tribunal reported the results of its investigation, using Western forensic experts. How many
bodies did they find in the mine shaft? Zero.
Like the soccer stadium at Pristina supposedly filled with Kosovar prisoners, according to our State Department, the mine shaft was
empty. There was no genocide. There was no human catastrophe. There was no second holocaust. It was all lies. Comparing a
two-hour ride on a passenger train from Pristina to the border with World War II Jews being packed like sardines into cattle cars and
shipped all the way across Europe was absurd on its face, but when the national press gets all lathered up, spreading propaganda,
nothing is too absurd to report.
Now one might think that the American press, as it discovers that it was lied to and used as a vehicle for propaganda, might be all
over the story, exposing these lies and exaggerations. No, members of the press are using their typical tactic: When the facts refute
their earlier stories, journalists simply lose interest in reporting it.
So you are probably unaware that, "under the protection of NATO," more than 100,000 Serbs have been forced out of Kosovo and
that numerous Christian churches and monasteries have been destroyed or desecrated.
The kernel of the nut is that NATO lied to justify the attack, lied during the attack and lied about its intentions after the attack.
Furthermore, the organization is denying aid to Yugoslavia on the grounds that Slobodan Milosevic is still in power, which is the
pattern of U.S. and British behavior. After all, 500,000 Iraqi children have died because these toddlers refuse to overthrow Saddam
Hussein. Imagine these kids not obeying the U.S. government.
In the first place, Milosevic was elected. Does NATO approve of democracy only when it likes the result of the vote? It seems so. In
the second place, if there was no genocide, as there obviously was not, Milosevic is not a war criminal. It's true a lot of Serbs want
to throw him out of office, but they are not mad at him for fighting to keep Yugoslavia intact. They are mad at him for losing the
Apparently, though, Americans have become anesthetized to government lying. The American people are lied to all the time about all
sorts of things, and it seems not to bother them. That is a sign of a dead society. We may not be a dead poets society, just a dead
Oswald Spengler in his Decline of the West published in 1918 predicted the end of Western democracies in the 1990s. His timing
made be off a smidgen, but just a smidgen. In the meantime, chalk up Kosovo as one more example of the Big Lie about a genocide
that never happened.
[Posted 11/13/1999 2:41 PM EST]
Related link: http://orlandosentinel.com/opinion/columnists/reese/111499_reese14xx_21.htm
To Fred Shapiro,
I just noticed that my reply to you posted on Monday 11/15 did not include my comments after the << marks. Hence, the last two paragraphs aren't going to make much sense.
My apologies. I will repost it later this evening.
Jewish World ReviewNov. 12, 1999 /3 Kislev, 5760
THE EDITORS of The New Republic have, correctly, demanded that the US apologize for what was clearly a mistake: the bombing of
the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. Based on the reporting of James Risen in the New York Times, it's now clear that no one
in our government had any conviction that the plant was a terrorist operation even at the time. As the editorial says, "Now, more
than 14 months later, after repeated investigative reports and repeated evasions by the Clinton administration, it is clear that the
missile attack was a mistake. It's time to say so."
I wonder when the courage will come to say "it was a mistake" about the Yugoslavia bombardment. Do you remember Harvard
professor Daniel Jonah Goldhagen proclamation that "Serbia's deeds are, in their essence, different from those of Nazi Germany only
Bliss it was to be alive in those days of May. But now the bad news is beginning to transpire: there was no holocaust of Albanians.
There are only a handful of mass graves. There was no genocide, no Auschwitz, no mass extermination. In the face of this
emergency, a grim and desperate body count is going on to verify the NATO claims of 10,000, or 40,000, or even 100,000 dead.
Alas, it is failing miserably.
Last week, one of the EU pathology teams, from Spain, pulled out in disgust. Its leader, Dr. Pujel, was frankly disappointed. He told
the Sunday Times that "I calculate that the final figure of dead in Kosovo will be 2,500 at the most.
This includes lots of strange deaths that can't be blamed on anyone in particular." His team had been prepared to perform 2,000
autopsies, which would take him through November to get through. Instead, "On September 12 I called my people together and said:
'We have finished here.' I informed my government and told them of the real situation. We had found a total of 187 bodies. Four or
five had died from natural causes." And few were in mass graves.
It is sad enough that, under the cover of war, Serbs and Albanians killed one another even in these numbers. It is criminal that,
under the protection of UN forces, Albanians are now killing Serbs with virtual impunity, and are finishing the job of ethnic cleansing
the KLA was formed to undertake a decade ago.
And it is a profound horror that our government undertook a war against unarmed civilians in order to prevent a genocide that was
not taking place, and to stop a mass deportation that had not happened. Moreover, they did so in a way that inflicted killing solely
on civilian targets: over 1,000 Serbian citizens were killed by our bombs, but only a handful of Milosevic's soldiers lost their lives. The
New York Times reported recently that only the conviction that an invasion was about to be undertaken brought the war to an end;
and implied that had such an enterprise been threatened at the beginning, the 89 days of civilian bombardment would have been
And not only western governments, but those among us speaking in the name of the Holocaust bear particular responsibility for this
outcome. Who said this (and I apologize for inflicting this rotten prose upon your ears):
"Any people that commits such deeds in open defiance of international law and the vehement condemnation of virtually the entire
international community clearly consists of individuals with damaged faculties of moral judgment and has sunk into a moral abyss from
which it is unlikely, anytime soon, to emerge unaided. The majority of the Serbian people, by supporting or condoning Milosevic's
eliminationist politics, have rendered themselves both legally and morally incompetent to conduct their own affairs and a presumptive
ongoing danger to others."
Again, this is Professor Goldhagen, whose book arguing that the entire German Volk were complicitous in the holocaust has had great
influence. But who can believe his historical work now? He clearly judgment and common sense are clearly as faulty as his ear for the
English language. He imputes guilt to an entire people in the same language of race-theorists and nationalists he thinks he decries.
One heard the same imputation of blood-guilt on the Serbs in many other Jewish writers at the time.
Even Elie Wiesel brings out his memories of the historical Holocaust in order, coyly, to try to understand the stories he was told in
the KLA refugee camps. "What I saw and heard there was often unbearable to the survivor that still lives in my memory. In fact, I
never thought that I would hear such tales of cruelty again." And now it may turn out that the tales of cruelty may, many of them,
be nothing but tales.
I think that the age of the Holocaust may be coming to an end. And the Kosovo warriors have hastened its demise. Curiously, the
deed was done not by Holocaust-deniers, but by Holocaust-affirmers. On the one hand, there are those who have permanently
debased the currency of the Holocaust by seeing in every war, in every bit of cruelty or bullying, another holocaust. On the other
hand, there are the academic Holocaustorians, who, as Gabriel Schonfeld has so brilliantly shown, have taken the holocaust out of
history and politics, in which its study belongs, and reduced it to trivial social science. No wonder that "Holocaust scholars" are
reduced in desperation to applying academic fads to the death camps, wondering not how it happened, but whether Anne Frank
would, had she not been carted off to a death camp, murdered, and buried in a unmarked grave, or perhaps her bones ground to
dust-have become a lesbian when she grew up. (The answer? Good news! She would have been!).
The Holocaust was not people bullying each other, not people carrying out vendettas against one another, not people being moved
at gunpoint out of their homes, not people being put on trains and sent away from their country, not reprisals and guerrilla warfare,
not teenaged girls being pinched or slapped by teenaged boys. All these things are bad enough in their own right. But it's too late.
The Holocaust, as it really was, is over. Its usefulness has come to an end. And I fear now for its memory.
JWR contributor Sam Schulman is deputy editor of Taki's Top Drawer, appearing in New York Press, and was formerly publisher of
Wigwag and a professor of English at Boston University.
Related link: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/sam/schulman.html
DEN HAAG/THE HAGUE NOVEMBER 19, 1999
LAWYERS MEET WITH CHIEF PROSECUTOR OVER NATO WAR CRIMES
Canadian lawyers met in The Hague today with war crimes Prosecutor
Carla Del Ponte to urge her to act quickly against NATO leaders for
war crimes commited against the population of Yugoslavia in the bombing
campaign. Lawyer David Jacobs and law professor Michael Mandel met for
1 1/2 hours this morning with Judge Del Ponte and two of her top legal
The lawyers delivered three thick volumes of evidence substantiating their
charges that 67 NATO leaders (including Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright,
Tony Blair, Jean Chretien, Javier Solana, Jamie Shea and others) were guilty
of war crimes and crimes of humanity in causing the deaths and maiming of
thousands od civilians and billions of dollars of property damage, among
The lawyers told Judge Del Ponte that there was no excuse for the Tribunal
to wait any longer, that the failure to act was a violation of her duties
under the law and was raising strong suspicions that the Tribunal was
biased in favour of NATO. The lawyers were critical of the Tribunal for
having rushed to indict Yugoslav President Milosevic during the illegal
NATO bombardment and not the NATO leaders. "We want to change the status of
the NATO leaders from unindicted war criminals to indicted war criminals"
For immediate contact:
The Hague - Hotel Novotel - 31 70 3 648 846 - Suites 107 and 114
Jewish World Review Nov. 19, 1999 /20 Kislev, 5760
He wants his brother back!
BRANKO PILISER describes his older brother Slobodan as a simple man of few
ambitions. His life's goals were a job, a house and a family. For 20 years
he had all three, living quietly with his wife and two sons in a comfortable
apartment in the Ulpijana section of Pristina, Kosovo, and working for an
But on July 6th, days after NATO peacekeepers moved into his village, armed
men came to Slobodan's door and told him to get himself and his family out
of the apartment and out of Kosovo.
Slobodan's family is Jewish. But the militant Albanian nationalists of the
Kosovo Liberation Army have never distinguished among the province's
non-Albanian, non-Muslim minority. The Pilisers were the last Jewish family
to be expelled from Pristina, a city which had only about three such
families to begin with.
Today, Slobodan's family is homeless and without income. They are staying
with friends in central Serbia. Branko, who lives in San Diego, found out
only when he telephoned his brother's apartment and a stranger answered,
Slobodan's simplicity was his downfall, says Branko.
"He was a good example of provincial mentality," Branko explains. "My
brother was never interested in seeing the world. He didn't care about any
place but Kosovo. He was happy with his city, his street, his country and
his friends. And
that is the tragedy. They're kicking out people who got along with others
and never thought about leaving."
Yugoslavia's Jewish community, which was a hundred thousand-strong in 1941,
was reduced to about ten thousand by 1945, ninety percent of them killed off
by Nazis and their Croat and Albanian collaborators. Of the ten thousand,
most moved to Israel while the rest stayed on. Very few opted to live in
Kosovo, which until recent months, had a total of 40 Jews living in it, most
of them in mixed marriages.
When Branko's father moved his family to Pristina in 1960, just over half of
the city's inhabitants were Albanian; about 40 percent were Serb; and the
rest a spattering of gypsies, Croats, Macedonians, Turks and Jews. That year
Marshall Tito's government assigned several agricultural experts, among them
Branko's father, to help cultivate underdeveloped areas like Kosovo. When
the family moved to Pristina, recalls Branko, cattle freely roamed its
"It was like the Gaza of Europe--very undeveloped," says Branko. "But my
father loved it. His family died in Auschwitz, and more than anything he
needed to be around nature and to have people to teach, people to listen to
him. He was a born teacher."
Branko describes his childhood as "interesting." But unlike his brother, he
knew early on that he'd be making a life for himself outside of Kosovo.
"I was the one into Judaism and Zionism," says Branko, who was active in
Jewish community centers and traveled to Israel frequently. Then one day in
1983, at the age of 28, Branko quit his translating job near Belgrade and
set off for Israel again, this time leaving Kosovo permanently. Branko, now
44, eventually moved to America and settled in San Diego, where he met his
wife Mary. She is a professor at the state university, and he is an
The 1960s were still the days of Communism in Eastern Europe, and strict law
and order ruled its regions. In Kosovo, this changed in the late '60s, when
Tito began granting increased autonomy to the province.
Almost immediately, a flood of illegal immigrants from Albania began pouring
into Kosovo. Gradually, Albanian became the official language at Kosovo
schools and at Pristina University; pharmacists stopped using the universal
Latin language for drug-labeling and started using Albanian; many shunned
Yugoslavia's language and laws, often not paying their utility bills. An
unwritten second-class-citizen status was bestowed upon the non-Albanian
minority, particularly Serbs, but also Roma, Turks, Catholics and Slavic
For these people, medical care at Albanian-run hospitals was frequently
either denied or unsafe. Minority women often traveled to Serbia to give
birth, as Slobodan's wife Snezana did when bearing their first son, Nemanja,
now 17. For Turks, burned cars and garages served as encouragement to either
flee to Turkey or to lie and call themselves Albanian, which was also the
way to get decent jobs.
"I had Turkish friends and neighbors where brother did not speak to
brother," continues Branko, "because one switched to calling himself
"Like any normal person would, I felt sympathy for the Serb and Turk
populations," says Branko who, neither a Serb nor an Albanian, considered
himself an impartial witness.
Alexander Dragnich, a retired professor of political science who served in
the American Embassy in Belgrade, has written several books on the Balkans
and is an expert.
"There was really an ethnic cleansing going on of Serbs being kicked out,"
says Dragnich. "Their haystacks were burned, their fruit trees chopped down,
their property stolen, all of which forced them to leave." He adds, "The
hope in giving [Albanian-ruled] Kosovo autonomy was that they would become
loyal citizens of
Yugoslavia. But instead they used the increased privileges to clean Kosovo
The situation took a turn for the worse in 1974, according to Dragnich, when
the Yugoslav government, a diverse body composed of Croats, Bosnians, Serbs,
Slovinians and others, attempted to stem such goings-on by reducing Kosovo's
autonomy to what it had been in 1963.
"The Albanians wouldn't stand for it," Dragnich asserts. "They began
boycotting all government institutions and clinics, and holding strikes.
They built up their own institutions, clinics, schools, homes and office
By the 1980s, second-class citizenship--abetted by the stream of
immigration--had evolved into organized terror, including rape most often of
Serb women, plundering of non-Albanian property, and killings of Serbs.
With the 1990s came the birth of the KLA, which "engaged in the systematic
killing of state officials," according to Dragnich, "including Albanians who
made accommodations with the Serbs. The situation came to a head in 1997 and
'98, when it became essentially a low-key civil war."
Branko could have predicted the rise of Slobodan Milosevic. It was an
inevitability that growing up in Kosovo had prepared him for. Nor did the
past 10 years of extreme turmoil in the region come as a surprise.
But what Branko never expected was that his adopted country, the world's
foremost democracy, situation far from Europe and its skirmishes, would take
sides in a Balkan civil war that would leave his brother homeless and
himself, an American citizen, powerless to help him.
For, despite his current circumstances and NATO's role in bringing them
about, Slobodan Piliser is not a "refugee." That is a status the State
Department reserves for Albanian Muslims. Serbs, Jews, Turks, Roma and
Catholics ousted from their homes or still dodging shells fall under the
term "internally displaced persons," and such persons are not eligible for
"We're not saying you have to be Albanian to be a refugee," a State
Department official insists. "Admittedly, the vast majority are Albanian. In
this particular case, the most relevant fact is that Slobodan Piliser is
still in his country of citizenship, under the protection of that country's
According to the official, unlike the tens of thousands of Albanians who
fled into Albania and Macedonia, Slobodan has not crossed any international
border and therefore is not a refugee.
But one need only think back a few months to recall that it was on behalf of
internally displaced Albanians taking refuge in the mountains of Kosovo that
NATO undertook an entire bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. In furtherance
of this initial policy, entry has been made available to 20,000 Albanian
Kosovars, who will also be eligible to sue the Yugoslavian government in
"Twenty thousand Kosovo Albanians are being reunited with family in the
U.S.," Branko despairs. "Why not one Jew?
"I offered to sponsor my family," Branko says. "They wouldn't even need the
$800 a month that the government gives to Albanian refugees here. Especially
in a democracy, there should be a way to help your family. Instead, my tax
dollars helped get my brother kicked out of his home."
Actually, a sponsoring relative can do little more than get a family member
onto an immigration waiting list. Slobodan has long been on one, as he was
approved for entry to the U.S. back in 1993, when Branko filed a petition on
his behalf. But according to Julie Wong, a spokesperson for California
Senator Barbara Boxer's office - which took up the case with the Immigration
and Naturalization Service and State Department - the earliest date on which
Branko is likely to be admitted is 2003.
"We asked if any exceptions were being made for displaced Serbs or Jews,"
Wong reports, "and they said 'No.'"
Branko calls it a "shameful, Aryan kind of approach," and asks, "Where were
the U.S. and NATO for the past 40 years, when more than half a million Serbs
were being killed or kicked out of Kosovo and out of Croatia?"
At least this "Aryan" approach is consistent with U.S. involvement on the
side of Albanians in the first place, who according to Dragnich have never
made any secret of wanting a purely Muslim-Albanian Kosovo. He says he is
not surprised by Slobodan Piliser's story.
"The KLA has always wanted a clean, ethnic-Albanian Kosovo," he says.
"Nothing odd happened here. The militant Albanians are very intolerant of
anyone who is not Albanian."
In fact, the parallel runs deeper.When Germany overran Yugoslavia in 1941,
Kosovar Albanian nationalists
considered the Wehrmacht's soldiers liberators. In 1944 the Waffen SS
Skanderbeg division, named for an
Albanian military hero and composed of militant Albanians, was responsible
for killing half of Kosovo's 550 Jews, along with thousands of Serbs and an
uncounted number of Gypsies.
That is why, given this record, Branko accuses organized American Jewry of
hypocrisy. "Elie Wiesel and other prominent Jews called for the bombing and
burning of Yugoslavia," he says. "But today we don't hear their calls to
help the innocent victims of this tragic scenario."
Challenged on this point, Wiesel replied, "I will try to help Slobodan
Piliser as much as I can, as well as I can," and offered to use his contacts
"at the highest levels" in Yugoslavia.
Wiesel's whole-hearted support for military intervention was seconded by the
Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman, as well as by other world Jewish
organizations, all of which are today actively involved in relief efforts
for Albanian refugees.
In their eager scramble to help Muslims, these Jews have tied their hands to
help their own. Nor do they voice an objection or lobby against the State
Department's anti-Yugoslavia, anti-Serb policy which is unwavering despite
ongoing anti-Serb rampages and the Albanians' turning on KFOR peacekeepers
and UN workers.
The apathy is especially out of place, given the parallels that abound
between the Jewish and Serbian experiences. During the second world war,
while the enemies of the Jews were doing their best to eliminate them, the
enemies of the Serbs took advantage of the Nazi occupation to expel and
slaughter the Serbs and snatch up some land in the process. Jews and Serbs
fought and died side by side in Serb resistance units. Others died together
at the Jasenovac death camp. Serbs hid, fed, housed and some even married
Jews they didn't know in order to save these strangers from death camps.
This was rare among Nazi-occupied Eastern European countries.
Now that the world has targeted the Serbs, Branko says, Jews owe it to them
to look deeper.
"How does a Christian area become 90% Muslim?" he asks. "Villagers don't
sell their lands. They don't move. They leave out of fear and terror." He
adds that when Jewry's most vocal members, many of whom built their careers
and foundations on commemoration of the Six Million, "join politicians in
making cheap Holocaust analogies at the expense of Serbs, they also expend
their Six Million. But I suppose it's easier to see wrong already done than
wrong in the making.
"I'm not saying that people didn't get hurt [by Serbs]," Branko continues.
"No nation is a nation of saints or criminals. Were there killings? Of
course, but the crimes were greatly exaggerated."
Indeed, the "hundreds of thousands" reported dead by the State Department
and White House before the NATO invasion now number just 2,000 -including
both Albanians and Serbs. Likewise, as mass graves--and a mining shaft
thought to contain 700 Albanian bodies--turn up empty, the "thousands upon
thousands" of Albanians "purged" by Serbs during the NATO siege appear to be
closer to a few hundred.
Looking to war for the answer, Branko says, missed the mark. In Yugoslavia
it also destroyed most means of production, leaving the country 90%
unemployed. Winter is on its way, and much of Belgrade's ecology,
infrastructure and economy is devastated from 11 weeks of bombing. The
ongoing embargoes - such as the recent U.S. rejection of Yugoslavia's plea
to reinforce itself for the winter months - continues to miss the mark.
"If the U.S. had put just five percent into Kosovo life of what it put into
the war and destruction, there would not have been civil war," Branko
"Countries that have strong middle classes don't have civil wars. They may
disagree, but everyone has too much to lose."
Today Slobodan has lost everything.
"It's a shock for someone to lose what he's worked for for 20 years," Branko
says. And yet, he considers his
brother among the lucky.
Slobodan's best friend, Bardy, was a Catholic Albanian married to a Serbian
woman. "He had just called me a few months ago," Branko reminisces, "because
he was so excited about his new dog--a Rottweiler, like so many in America
have. When the KLA came in with NATO, he was killed, just for not being a
Another friend, a Serb named Ilija, died while an "internally displaced
person" in Serbia, from what Branko calls "sorrow and anger."
The Serb Ilija, the Albanian Bardy, and the Jew Slobodan were three best
friends who got married on the same day, alternately serving as one another'
s best man.
That his brother is still alive today is Branko's only consolation. And for
that, this Jewish man is once again grateful to the people of Serbia.
JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in
Manhattan. Send your comments to her by clicking here.
(c)1999, Julia Gorin Related link: http://www.jewishworldreview.com
Nato turns a blind eye as scores of ancient Christian churches are
reduced to rubble
By Robert Fisk in Djakovica
20 November 1999
A DAY after Nato forces entered Kosovo in June, I discovered an
abandoned Serb Orthodox church in a field 10 miles north of Prizren. It
was a small, box-like building and its doors were open. I gingerly
walked through a steel gate and into the small field in which it stood
and entered the building. It had been left in haste, its doors
unlocked, its priest's clothes thrown over a bible stand. Icons of
Jesus and the saints stared down at me in a passion of expression and
Outside, Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas were strolling past the
church in the company of German troops from Nato's peace-keeping force
(K-For). "See how we leave their churches untouched after all that
they did to us?" a middle-aged Kosovo Albanian woman asked me later in
the city. I was suitably impressed. "They burnt our mosques. But we
protect their churches." Not any more, they don't.
Last week, I drove down the same road to Prizren and sought out the
same church. I found the field and steel gate. But the church was a
ruin. A single wallstood. The rest was pulverised stone. Goodbye, then,
to the icons and the saints with the staring eyes. Goodbye to Jesus.
Goodbye to the Serb Orthodox church. All across Kosovo I found
identical scenes, places of worship sometimes 600 years old levelled
with explosives and hammers, the very identity of Serb history turned
to dust amid fields and hillsides by Nato's Kosovo Albanian allies.
The Serb church has issued its own list of destroyed or partly
demolished buildings. Between 13 June when Nato troops entered Kosovo
and 20 October, they say, 74 churches have been turned to dust or burnt
or vandalised. The 15th-century monastery of the Holy Trinity above
Musutiste, begun in 1465, has been levelled with explosives. The
monastery of the Archangel near Vitina, built in the 14th century, has
been looted and burnt. So has the church of the Archangels in Gornje
Nerodimlje. And the church of St Paraskeva, near Pec. And the church of
St Nicholas in Prekoruplje razed and its nine 16th-century icons lost,
including that of the apostle Thomas.
The rubble of Orthodox churches across Kosovo stands as a monument to
Kosovo Albanian vandalism and to Nato's indifference or at the least
incompetence. After declaring that Kosovo must remain a "multi-ethnic
society", 40,000 troops from K-For cannot, it seems, look after its
historical heritage against the violence of those whom its spokesmen
treated as allies in the war against Yugoslavia's President, Slobodan
Milosevic, only five months ago.
True, K-For soldiers are now billeted beside Orthodox and Catholic
churches across the province. Floodlights haunt the sepulchres of
ancient keeps, and in the Serb town of Gracanica, Swedish troops order
Kosovo Albanians to strip off the least offensive bumper sticker
advocating independence for the province. Two soldiers from north of
Stockholm guard the entrance to Kosovo's most famous monastery.
But elsewhere, religious desecration is Nato's shame. When I turned up
in Djakovica to find its Orthodox basilica blown up by bombs, Italian
troops now guarding the rubble from anyone idiotic enough to try to
demolish the wreckage instructed me to put down my camera. They were
under orders to prevent all pictures being taken, they said. Back I
went to Pristina, to K-For's local office, to an Italian officer who
said that, yes, I could return to Djakovica and take any pictures I
wished. And back I went.
The Italians were now courtesy itself. They even wished me to identify
correctly the Italian tank a Centaur that stands outside the
demolished church. And I could take all the pictures I wanted of K-For
troops guarding the integrity and sanctity of a church that had already
been blown apart. This time the soldiers were more than friendly. Watch
out for the dangerous walls, they warned me. Would I like a picture of
the soldier in front of the tank with the destroyed church in the
background? What on earth was going on?
Now, I truly believe that the Italian peace-keepers in Kosovo, like
their opposite numbers in Beirut in 1982, are among the best peace-
keepers on our planet; even if their Ariete brigade at Pec does
celebrate its campaign against Montgomery in the North African Egyptian
desert until "unfavourable wartime events" El Alamein, perhaps caused
But this demolition cannot be just "revenge" Nato's usual excuse for
the destruction under its auspices. You do not just fill with rage and
spend days gathering explosives to blow up churches. This is vandalism
with a mission.
Outside Klina last week, I came across another blasted church, blown to
pieces just two months ago. Its shattered dome lay over walls and
crosses and iconstasis. And wandering amid the rubble was a Kosovo
Albanian, Ymer Qupeva. What on earth was he doing here? I asked.
Sympathising with the Serb worshippers? "I have come to view the
professionalism of the destruction," Mr Qupeva said. "They did very
well they planted explosives against all four walls."
Mr Qupeva was a graduate of "pyrotechnics" at the University of Zagreb
and wanted to make sure the Kosovo Albanians had done their job well.
It was, he said, a "Karic" church the Karic brothers in Belgrade are
reputed mobsters and one of many built across Kosovo. "They used the
stones from the Klina Partisan memorial to build the walls," Mr Qupeva
said. "The Serbs claimed someone had a dream that they should build a
church next to the old tree by the road." And blowing up the church?
Did he agree with that? "It was good," he said bleakly.
Now the church is finished. Blown up with great professionalism. And
for good measure so is the old tree beside it.
FEATURE-Belgium faces rising tide of prostitutes
09:12 p.m Nov 15, 1999 Eastern
By Michelle Carlile
BRUSSELS, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Sara laughs self-mockingly as she recalls
her naivete in paying traffickers $5,000 to smuggle her out of Albania
to a new life of prosperity abroad.
It was an adventure that was to end brutally.
On the streets of Brussels she was forced to work as a prostitute for
her pimp-boyfriend who demanded the equivalent of $500 in earnings a
day and beat her if she failed to deliver.
She now lives with an ex-client and works long hours for little money
in a bakery and says that all the young Albanian women working on the
streets of Brussels are controlled and badly treated by pimps who take
most of their earnings.
``He would beat me until my face was black and blue,'' said the
attractive, fine-featured 22-year-old. `When I finally built up the
courage to leave, he said he would kidnap my sister in Albania and
bring her here to be a prostitute.''
Sara's story can be heard from many other young women who walk the
streets of Europe's capital.
They are part of a growing wave of victims of human trafficking in the
wake of the Kosovo crisis that is alarming authorities in Belgium and
Christian Van Vassenhoven, a senior Brussels police officer, estimates
that as many as half of the foreign prostitutes who work in Brussels
They are the largest contingent of women from behind what was the Iron
Curtain who are being shipped in by traffickers.
ALBANIAN MEN AT HEART OF CRIME
Eric Van der Sypt is a public prosecutor who has specialised in the
problem. As Europe ponders its expansion to the east, he says criminal
clans have already made it.
``A new phenomenon is of Albanian men selling women from Albania and
Chechnya, and even Belgian girls. It appears that Albanian criminal
groups and clans are making links with Bulgarian organisations.''
Several hundred women work as prostitutes in Brussels -- either on
pavements or in shop windows in the seedy red light district near the
city's Gare du Nord.
Van der Sypt estimates that some 95 percent of the young Albanian women
engaged in prostitution in Brussels did not know they were being brought
here for this purpose, he adds.
``Some of the girls are abducted, some have been made false promises of
marriage or of work, whatever, and once they get into Italy they are
forced to work as a prostitute,'' he told Reuters Television News.
And the problem is getting worse.
Since the war in Kosovo, police say all the women from Albania working
on the streets have claimed Kosovo refugee status.
Traffickers tell the women to declare themselves as Kosovan in order to
receive political asylum status.
``They all claim to come from Kosovo,'' says one Brussels police
detective ironically. ``But they don't. They don't even know what the
currency is in Kosovo.''
ALBANIAN PROSTITUTES ON THE RISE
Police working at Saint Josse-Ten-Noode station in the heart of the red
light district have seen a steady rise in the presence of Albanian women
over the last two years.
Many who are as young as 14 or 15 years old now constitute around 50
percent of the foreign prostitutes working in Brussels.
Albanian women, who according to Van der Sypt see up to 15 clients a
day, meet their pimps several times a day to hand over their earnings.
Most demand a minimum $500 a day from each woman they control but police
have even heard about demands for $1000 a day.
The emergency is felt all the more strongly by Anne Vauthier, a
co-ordinator at Pag-asa, a Brussels-based organisation that helps
victims of human trafficking who have been forced into prostitution.
Since 1998 the majority of her clients have been Albanian.
``In all cases violence is used against the women by pimps and
traffickers. This can involve knives and cigarette burns. I've even
heard about one woman who was shot to set an example to others,'' she
In spite of beatings and torture, Vauthier says many of the young women
remain emotionally attached to their pimps.
``The man tells the woman: 'I'm in love with you. I want to marry you,
we will go to another country we will make a new life together,''' she
``But after one or two months the girl realises that it's money and not
love that the man is after. By then, she's working the streets.''
SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS
Recognising that victims are caught in a no win situation between
exploiters and authorities, Belgium introduced a law in 1995 against the
trafficking of human beings for the purposes of sexual and economic
Two Ministerial Circulars of July 1994 and January 1997 established a
special system which grants victims temporary residence of 45 days on
the condition that they leave the abusive world they are in.
In that period, victims receive support and protection and are given the
opportunity to either go back to their country of origin or to
collaborate with authorities against the person or network that has
The victims get the chance to gain permanent residence and the police
get a clear shot at the criminals.
In the last few years, Albanian gangsters have been brought to trial on
the basis of victims' declarations.
But local officials say that for every criminal brought to justice,
several more take their place. And meanwhile the number of victims is
To Phil, et.al.,
Ah! The old silent treatment ~:O) ~:O) ~:O)
Well, for me it's been a much needed break, what with work demanding more and more time as Y2K approaches.
It's also provided an opportunity to organize my files and do some research.
In light of recent reports, now even reaching the mainstream media, regarding NATO'S lies and the true nature of the KLA, I hope each of you are taking this time to reassess your own wildly exaggerated claims and accusations over the last several months.
Having studied the archives extensively I'd have to say that Maja, Nick, Ddc, and a few others have been fully vindicated. The truth does eventually come out.
I'll leave off for now with an often repeated line from Nick:
'There was no genocide committed by Serb forces in Kosovo.'
perhaps you'd like to take the teachings of h'niq
just a little further, and speak of the dutch,
albanians, et al as being the 'scum of the earth'
or however he put it.
m'sieu gunns is not the only reader of the
archives. he's gotten further than i have, tho
Well sorry for posting late, but i can only say this. Im not a native English, so ofcourse i make funny mistakes.
I also looked at the website you asked me to look.
I saw it before i think 2 years ago. So i guess the ladies have to update their site more regular.
Foremost i won't give you any advice anymore. As it seems you don't like advice.
Another thing people who dare to use phrases like there was no genocide committed in Kosova. Problably say this too. ICH HABEN ES NICHT GEWUST
That phrase was and still is very famous. Don't you think.??
About me giving constructive things i really wish i could. My problem is that i only have little access to a computer. Not everybody has money growing trees. I sure don't
Wishing you well
I anticipated that someone would bring up Nick's rather unsavory posts, however I wasn't expecting it to be you.
Yes, Mr. Nick did say some pretty rotten things near the end of his time here. I considered pointing it out myself but decided to let it ride and see who noticed.
What I'm about to say is not meant to lessen his sins, however I can understand why over time his posts became uglier and nastier considering some of the egregious attacks made on him from early on. It's the same pattern I noted while going through the archives, e.g., a number of "innocents" arrived in this forum unaware of the lurking danger that awaited them and at the first hint of expressing a thought or opinion contrary to the 'party line' that prevails here they were pounced on and torn to shreds. Do you remember Jenny, an elderly woman who didn't write English well? She was trying to convey her experiences from WWII. I really was appalled at the way she was treated. It was totally unnecessary. Jenny didn't stay long, nor did several others. Nick, however, was one who did and he started giving as good as he got.
And that's how it is today, November 22, 1999.
'Nalini', the famous sentence has 'KosovO', not 'KosovA' - that is how Albanians would only write it...
RE: ICH HABEN ES NICHT GEWUST
Sorry, I don't even know what it means.
RE: Giving advice
In one of your very first messages here you wrote:
"in my opinion you can ONLY know IF people are lying IF you know their idenity. Like friends, relatives, aquaintances, and so on."
If you believe this, then why expect ME to take advice from a stranger on the internet?
Do you have any thoughts about the current situation in Kosovo? or Bosnia? or Macedonia? or the Balkans in General?
I'd prefer to hear your views and opinions about those subjects.
Wishing you well, too.