"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Media Bias About Kosovo

On Thursday I posted the following documentary on YouTube:

In it, British reporter Sam Kylie returns to Kosovo (it was filmed and broadcast in 2008, just months before independence was announced) to see what the situation is 9 years after the NATO campaign and the withdrawal of Serb security forces.

I think Kylie is biased in his coverage, however; not necessarily against the Serbs per se, but more against those who reject the idea of Kosovan independence and leaving their Serbian identity to 'integrate' into Kosovo.

I find this troubling. There are several points when Kylie all but ridicules the Serbs who live in their own little enclaves, generally funded by Belgrade. They have their own currency, their own post offices, their own education and legal systems.

What he fails to note, however, is that the Kosovan Albanians don't all want 'independence' in the sense he means it - they want to be part of Albania.

Many of their organisations and political parties are funded by Albania. They use Albanian textbooks, don't learn Serbian in their schools, and live largely separate lives.

Why is it that if 'integration' is so wonderful, the ethnic Albanians never integrated into Serb culture and society, seeing as they were living in Serbia?

This smacks of a huge double standard. The Serbs have had this territory wrenched from them by NATO for resisting a war of separation (albeit brutally); they must now integrate into the culture of the people who took their territory, the people who smash their cultural and religious symbols, the people who destroy their houses and steal their farm equipment; the people who have in many cases brutally driven them from their homes and villages, attacked them, raped them, murdered and mutilated them.

If integration and forgetting cultural, religious, linguistic and ethnic division is as easy as Kylie seems to suggest, why was the onus never on the Albanians to change any of their ways? Why are they also fighting low-level separation campaigns in the district of any country where they comprise an ethnic majority?

In a sense I understand what he is saying; whatever anyone's feelings on the matter, the reality is that Kosovo has a large Albanian majority and is now independent of Serbian control; however, I feel the documentary does not appropriately deal with just what sort of state he is asking the Serbs to abandon their history and identity for, and just where a lot of the backing, funding and resistance to the majority-Serb areas remaining Serbian comes from.

He does deal with the ongoing campaign of violence against the Serb minority, and the attempts of Albanian nationalists to purge the region of any sign of its Serbian past and its importance to Serbian culture.

However, he seems another multiculturalist dreamer; the US and Britain don't want the three majority-Serb provinces of Kosovo which border central Serbia to split from the rest and become part of sovereign Serbia because they want to create a magical, mythical rainbow nation.

We all know how that turned out last time.


Proudgeordie said...

Kosovo IS Serbia.

The Serbs may have responded with massive force but they were defending their homeland. There was the same vocal response, though not military, to Isreal defending itself with 'disproportionate response'.

I would condone defending Britain against incursion or insurrection using any and all means at our disposal. Does that make me a patriot or a war criminal and bully?

I think the former.

Anonymous said...

It is true that is hard for Serbs to accept the reality. But let's not forget that everything has its own consequences. These same Serbs were the ones who supported the Serbian regime in 90's during the wars in former Yugoslavia, a regime which committed ethnic cleansing as concluded by the UN. Now that hasn't played in their best interest.

It is also true that Kosovo legally, offers the most advantageous minority rights in the whole Europe. Serbs are not taking advantage of these standards as set by the Ahtisaari plan. They should look forward to their future, and not look towards Belgrade if they want to live in prosperous Kosovo.


Ari said...

I don't know where you got the idea that Kosovo Serbs are being asked to abandon their identity. Kosovo has some of the best safeguards for minorities in Europe. The Ahtisaari plan provides them double majority veto rights in the parliament on issues concerning minorities and in the case of Serbs it also provides for decentralization amounting to 25% of the territory although they have only about 6% of the population. Turks also get their own municipality. Serbian language is official across Kosovo. Land around several (in the teens, exact number escapes me) Orthodox religious objects are also made extraterritorial to Serbia.

But the good will of the general Albanian public can only go so far. Now Serbs are expected to take advantage of these rights and for example, join the police so they can help protect themselves. Places have also been set aside in the new Kosovo army recruits and officer corps for Serbs. Milosevic did not provide us Albanians with any of these opportunities.

Furthermore, you seem to swipe under the rug the attempted genocide and massive ethnic cleansing that happened here. 120,000 homes were burned, an estimated 20,000 women raped, 14,000 people killed, 2,000 of which still missing and likely to be in mass graves in Serbia with all Serbian regimes failing to provide information on their whereabouts; 800,000 people were made refugees and 200,000 more lived for months in the mountains. Some of that has no doubt led to isolated acts of revenge against Serbian civilians.

Derius said...

The Serbians, unlike the majority of the Political elite in Europe today, are keenly aware of their history. This causes them to rightly fear recent developments, because they know from the past where it will inevitiably lead:


History has taught non-muslims the fate that awaits them if they live within Dar-al-Islam (see Turkey, Lebanon, Indonesia, Malaysia and most of the other countries of the OIC). There are many precedents; there is simply no excuse for ignorance anymore, and certainly no excuse to listen to apologists, both Muslim and non-muslim, who presume to lecture us on the "tolerance" of Islam, whilst hoping that we will ignore, as our Political elite do, the contents of the Qur'an, Hadith, Sira, Tafsir and 1300 years of Islamic History.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Proud Geordie:

I very much agree with what you're saying - it's easy to take the sort of anger which comes at having one's homeland violated out of context - and of course our media chose to do exactly that because it suited their purpose.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Anon 29 March 19:18:

I'm far from an expert on the Yugoslav wars, but I know the Serbs did some terrible things.

However, I also know that the Bosnian Muslims, the Croats and the other groups slugging it out did some equally terrible things.

Why? An attempt to protect their respectie peoples and ensure the land they currently occupied become part of their respective state.

Why should the Serbs be continually punished for this and the others not punished at all?

As for your talk of 'rights' - technically some African countries have constitutions which on paper make them more free than Britain - but I think I know where I'd rather live. Words are very cheap.

Also, if we use Albania as a measure, what future do the Serbs of Kosovo have to look forward to? A narco-state, growing Muslim influence, the Mafia and a little bit of ethnic cleansing, organ-stealing and church-burning thrown in for fun, all in their own territory?

Your suggestion is simply an insult.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...


Well, from the documentary it seems the 'good will' of the Albanian public expired a long time ago.

What of ambitions to join with Albania? What happens to all these fine words then? How are minorities treated in Albania proper, when Albanians in several other Balkan states are still trying to cleave away territory for themselves?

Who estimates the numbers you quote? I'd be very interested to know.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...


Agreed, and well put. It seems remembering history and cherishing your own identity is a crime in these troubled times.

It seems there really are none so blind as those who will not see.