Gatestone Institute March 5, 2014
The flag of the Albanian nation.
Prishtina: The name of Alma Lama, a feminist political leader in the Balkan republic of Kosova, is unknown to Americans and Western Europeans. That is unfortunate, because Lama has taken a necessary, strong stand in favor of women’s rights. Although Kosova is under U.S. protection, the legacy of Yugoslav Communism and recent radical Islamist infiltration have merged to foster incidents of aggression against dissenters.
Ostracism is a common form of intimidation employed by the Stalinist left. While fascists and Islamist extremists act typically against their opponents by direct physical assault, Stalinists in the West have reserved such crude methods for the few opponents they consider genuinely dangerous to them. They prefer, when they can, to isolate their critics by oral slander and gossip, supplemented by printed libels, with the aim of discrediting them and preventing a wider audience from paying attention to their views.
Continue reading Radical Islam’s Intimidation in Kosova The Attempt to Destroy Alma Lama by Stephen Sylejman Schwartz
Illyria [New York] February 24, 2014
The Hero [Heroi], a 2013 feature film produced in Kosova by Luan Kryeziu, with Arben Bajraktari as its protagonist, is a magnificent film achievement. It is also a work that must leave Albanians and non-Albanian friends of Kosova alike with feelings of disgust and shame. It has been released with English subtitles, which is useful and offers hope of a wider audience.
In simple terms, the motion picture shows the desperate predicament of veterans of the Kosova Liberation Army (UÇK) who find themselves, after the war, ignored or solicited to participate in corruption, when they are owed a substantial and honest reward for their service to the nation. The Hero begins with what appears to be authentic footage of Serbian chetniks burning and looting houses, refugees in flight, and the arrival of a handsome, modest man in unform, “The Hero,” an UÇK volunteer who organizes civilians effectively to defend themselves against the aggressor.
Continue reading THE HERO: A Devastating Portrait of Betrayal and Corruption in Kosova by Stephen Sylejman Schwartz
The Weekly Standard Blog March 3, 2014
Sarajevo: As the world watches the Ukrainians in their effort to defend themselves from Russia and become a fully European nation, close attention to the situation in Kiev and the crisis in Crimea is notable in the Balkan Muslim countries—Kosova, Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina—and in two with significant Muslim minorities, Montenegro and Macedonia.
In the Balkans, the threat of Serbian aggression has receded, but in a parallel with Ukraine, Russian influence is perceived behind intrigues from Belgrade. The events in Ukraine are seen in a context of the struggle against corruption and the phenomenon of the post-Communist “mafia state.”
The flag of the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
In the first week of February, a wave of protest began in the Bosnian city of Tuzla, which is known for its tradition of multiethnic harmony among Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. An old industrial redoubt now plagued with unemployment ranging between 40 and 60 percent, Tuzla boiled over quickly, as reported by BBC News, with attacks on official buildings.
Solidarity demonstrations spread to other Bosnian cities with economic problems, including Mostar in Hercegovina, which is divided between Muslims and Croats and has an aluminum industry, Zenica in central Bosnia, where a steel complex has been owned by ArcelorMittal since 1998, and then to Sarajevo, the capital. There, on February 7, demonstrators set fire to government buildings and fought police.
Continue reading Ukraine Fever Sweeps the Balkans by Stephen Schwartz
Uyghur Human Rights Project and Uyghur American Association February 25, 2014
The flag of East Turkestan.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) expresses alarm upon hearing that Uyghur economist Ilham Tohti has been formally arrested and charged with “separatism.” UHRP believes the charge reflects not only a zero tolerance policy to Uyghur dissent, but also the growing intractability of China towards international criticism of its ethnic policies. UHRP challenges the Chinese government to present compelling evidence to prove its charges against Mr. Tohti and to respect its own laws.
It doesn’t matter who you are, no one in China is safe from the government,” said UHRP Director, Alim Seytoff in a statement from Washington, DC. “Outspoken or silent, pro-government or anti-government, moderate or extreme, it is of no concern to the Chinese Communist Party. If you displease the leadership in China for any reason, you’ll quickly find yourself in trouble. The government, through its police force, will not hesitate to trump up charges in order for the courts it controls to rubber stamp guilt and a harsh sentence. The case of Ilham Tohti shows there is no space for constructive Uyghur dissent in China.”
Continue reading “No One in China Is Safe from the Government” Charges Against Uyghur Academic Ilham Tohti by The Uyghur American Association
CIP February 24, 2014
The Center for Islamic Pluralism has posted a translation from Serbian into English of Serbia and Albania, a major document by the prominent Serbian socialist Dimitrije Tucović [1881-1914],
Serbia and Albania is of importance today for numerous reasons. It explained the policy of Serbian imperialist conquest of Kosova in 1912-13, an injustice that did not end until the Kosova liberation war of 1998-99. Tucović also anticipated the outbreak of the first world war in 1914, a century ago. The assassination in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina, of Habsburg Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his royal consort Sophie by a group of pro-Serbian terrorists brought about general hostilities between Britain, France, and Russia, as patrons of Belgrade, and Germany, Bulgaria, and Turkey, the allies of then-existing Austria-Hungary.
Unfortunately, in journalistic and academic discussions of the events of 1914, the role of Serbian expansionism is, today, often elided by commentators.
While CIP does not share the outdated vision of Tucović, who argued that Balkan antagonisms would be resolved by creation of a regional federation, many truths articulated by the Serbian socialist remain relevant.
Finally, Serbia and Albania is additionally useful for understanding the social protests sweeping Kosova and Bosnia-Hercegovina at present.
The text was translated from Serbian by Dragan Plavšić and published in 2003 by the British-based Marxist journal Revolutionary History. It has been edited for CIP style. CIP thanks Revolutionary History for permission to repost this uniquely significant historical resource.
The flag of the Crimean Tatars.
CIP February 22, 2014
As the dramatic crisis in Ukraine escalates, with shocking scenes of bloody repression that remind us, if on a smaller scale, of the horrors in martyred Syria, the Center for Islamic Pluralism, an international network of Muslim scholars, clerics, authors, journalists, Sufi shaykhs, and other believers, active in 32 Muslim-majority countries and Muslim-minority communities, expresses its concern for and solidarity with the Crimean Tatars.
A Turkic people numbering some half-million, Crimean Tatars are faithful to Islam although their complex and fascinating past includes some conversions to Judaism. (The latter chapter in Crimean history should not be confused with pseudo-historical fantasies about the Khazars.)
They were victimized with gross brutality by the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, which deported them in their entirety to Central Asia in 1944. We recall that in 1967 the Soviet government absolved the Crimean Tatars of charges against them.
Continue reading Crimean Tatars in the Ukrainian Revolution by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
New York Daily News February 22, 2014
Throughout history the United States of America has made a difference in the life of Albanians.
After World War I, President Woodrow Wilson made sure that Albania remained intact and was not divided between its neighboring countries.
In 1992, as then-Yugoslavia was descending into a series of wars, President George H. W. Bush gave his “Christmas Warning” to Serbia’s Milošević against bringing the war south to Albanian-majority Kosova.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton led the United States and NATO in the war against Serbia, stopping the humanitarian catastrophe that was threatening more than a million ethnic Albanians, and eventually liberating Kosova on June 10, 1999.
Continue reading Thank You America! — Faleminderit Amerikës! On the 6th anniversary of Kosova’s independence — Me rastin e përvjetorit të 6 të pavarësisë së Kosovës by Vehbi Bajrami
The Independent [London] February 20, 2014
Fresh plans are being drawn up to erect a modern complex on the site of what scholars of Islam contend is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad as part of a sweeping multi-billion-dollar redevelopment of the pilgrimage city of Mecca that has already ravaged many sacred sites and structures.
If approved, the project, details of which have been obtained by The Independent, would entail the demolition of a small library steps away from the Masjid al-Haram, or Grand Mosque, which sits directly on top of what are believed to be the remains of the house of the Prophet’s birth.
Hopes that the library, which stands on a raised plinth, and the site beneath it would be spared rose briefly last year when Saudi Arabia’s royal family backed off earlier plans to replace it, either with a sprawling metro rail station to drop off pilgrims or an enormous new library dedicated to King Abdul Aziz, founder of the modern kingdom.
Continue reading Redevelopment of Mecca Bulldozers bear down on site of Muhammad’s birth by David Usborne
- The flag of the Albanian nation.
Express [Prishtina, Kosova] February 18-19, 2014
The American journalist Stephen Sylejman Schwartz, who is among the most pro-Albanian Americans, points out that he assisted Lëvizja Vetëvendosje! [LVV – the Self-Determination movement] founded as a party by the Albanian intellectual, Albin Kurti, from its beginning, but “comrades” from the party now have turned their backs on him.
“Perhaps they are concerned to cease being associated with the campaign I and my colleagues wage against radical Islam,” Schwartz says in an interview with Express.
Continue reading The Kosovar Self-Determination Movement [Lëvizja Vetëvendosje!] Shuns Me For Opposing Radical Islam Interview with Stephen Sylejman Schwartz by Visar Duriqi
llyria [New York] February 17, 2014
The flag of the Albanian nation.
PRISHTINA – Monday, February 17, was observed as Presidents’ Day in the U.S., but for me the best place to then see the Stars and Stripes waving in the breeze was in Kosova, which celebrated the sixth anniversary of the Balkan republic’s ultimate independence. Naturally, many American flags and even a few representing Britain appeared alongside those symbolic of Albanian identity.
The weather was auspiciously warm as I left the Hotel Lyon in the Velania neighborhood, near the grave of Ibrahim Rugova, where I joined a stream of pilgrims and recited Fatiha, the Muslim prayer for the dead, on behalf of an American Jewish rabbi who honors Rugova as an apostle of non-violence. I looked up and saw a red-and-black sky-riding kite above Prishtina. I proceeded down the hill to the center of town, with the Qyqavica peaks visible on the horizon, and listened to the patriotic compositions of Xhemil Saliu, one of my favorite musicians from the Kosova Liberation War, whose works I have carried with me since 1999.
Continue reading Six Years of Kosovar Independence by Stephen Sylejman Schwartz