On Saturday, another Serbian teen was gunned down
in Kosovo by Albanian driver-by shooters eager to spark a reprisal, and thus a justification for the “final solution,” i.e., the complete ethnic cleansing of all Serbs from the province.
According to Reuters
, “…U.N. police spokesman Malcolm Ashby said 16-year-old Dimitrije Popovic was killed when gunmen fired from a car into a group of young Serbs at a hamburger kiosk at 2 a.m. Police in Pristina later stopped a suspect car and seized two Albanians with guns.”
The same thing had happened in March, when the shooting of a teen in the village of Caglavica resulted in protests and roadblocks. The boy had been shot when a passing car used the ruse of asking directions in order to get him into “range.”
Saturday’s shooting occurred in Gracanica- the largest and most secure Serbian enclave in central Kosovo. It runs along the Skopje-Pristina road, and unites several neighboring Serbian villages. Caglavica is located on the eastern edge of the enclave, only a couple kilometers west of Pristina. Until now, it had appeared that Serbs were safe in Gracanica.
The Gracanica enclave is a major problem for Albanian extremists, as it contains rich farmland and is strategically located in the center of Kosovo, on major roads and near to Pristina. They view it as a potential threat, a den of Serbian intrigue. There’s also one more very nice church there that they’ve so far not been able to destroy.
The Reuters report veers into the idiotic, however, when it puzzles, “…it was not clear how the suspected gunmen managed to drive in and out of the village undetected. The NATO-led peacekeeping mission KFOR re-established permanent checkpoints on the outskirts of the Serbian town after the March riots.”
Yes, there are (sometimes) checkpoints. But this does not mean that they are particularly well-enforced, especially at 2 AM on a weekend. And were the peacekeepers to routinely stop and thoroughly search every vehicle on this vital north-south road, the traffic backup would stretch for miles and only increase tensions more. In other words, the Serbs are entirely at the mercy of whoever drives through their villages.
Reuters adds that “…Serb spokesman Oliver Ivanovic blamed the U.N. and NATO for failing to stop Albanian militants. ‘There is no living together here... We must seal off all roads through Serb districts,’ he told the SRNA agency.”
Ivanovic is right about the impossibility of multi-ethnic harmony. But we already knew that. Yet his proposal to “seal off all roads” through Serbian areas is not feasible. Not only would it disrupt much of the traffic through the province, it would also serve to isolate the Serbs from the outside world even more than they already are.
Sad to say, but there is no other word for what is happening now than terrorism. To know that at any moment gunmen can drive through one’s town, picking off people at will, leaves very little room for optimism. What kind of a life can any Serbian person in Kosovo hope for, when they are not safe even in the most protected enclave- let alone anywhere else?
Formerly most protected, that is: the Serbian Church blames KFOR
for the incident, noting that Reuters’ puzzlement also owes to out-of-date information:
“…only a few days ago a Swedish check-points at the entrance and exit to Gracanica have been dismantled although they were the only guarantee of security for the local Serbs. These checkpoints discouraged Kosovo Albanian extremists to attack Serbs while passing through the enclave because all cars were searched and any attempt to run away after an attack was impossible. Once again it has been proved that reduction of KFOR troops means a green light for ethnic Albanian terrorists to continue their attacks on unprotected Serb civilians.”
So Javier Solana is coming
. He will certainly make things better. The BBC notes that the last time the former NATO Secretary-General visited, in the aftermath of the March riots, he was “jeered and spat at” by Serbs upset over KFOR’s failure to protect them from the Albanians (who were, according to themselves, the real victims
). So much for Solana’s previous talk
, about the intervention’s great “success.”
The Serbian Church speaks for many when it equates this failure with “tacit approval” of the extremists’ murderous goals. After all, once all of the minorities have been removed, the peacekeepers will be able to breathe a big sigh of relief: no more cause for tensions, no more possible dangers for themselves. Mission accomplished, let’s all pack up and go home.
We cannot expect that the media will show much bravery, let alone any government except perhaps Russia’s
. And it would certainly be too much for any of them to acknowledge that the wholesale persecution of Serbs in Kosovo is neither an isolated nor recent phenomenon. Saturday’s slaying is just the latest move in a long game
for territorial and social domination
being played out in Kosovo. It is a game the Albanians will win, partially because of their ever-increasing population, and also because no one will match their tactics. After all, these days ethnic cleansing is just so very un-European.
Meanwhile, far away in West Virginia
, the good people of Williamstown were holding a picnic on Saturday for their state’s Army National Guard 146th Medical Company Air Ambulance unit. According to Lt. Col. Harold Campbell, 35 of the 129-member unit will be deployed to Kosovo in August, for at least 6 months. “…The unit will be taking four of its Blackhawk helicopters to Kosovo to provide medical evacuation for American and United Nations troops there.”
Indeed, recent experience has shown that peacekeepers are in mortal danger when they try to protect the Serbs (and other minorities) from their Albanian antagonizers. One hopes the medics won’t be needed, but if the Kosovo game continues to unfold as it has, they probably will.