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OPPRESSION AND THE REVENGE:
The two NATO's most favorite lies


NATO's story is a simple one. Here is the KEY:

1) The alliance had to breach the international law in order to stop Serbian oppression of the Albanian population in Kosovo. Simply - the human rights have taken precedent over the Charter of the United Nations.
Lives [the Albanian ones] were at stake.
2) Once the bombing have stopped [the bombing that have killed more Albanians and Serbs than the actual "crisis"] and the alliance have forced its way into the province NATO was surprised and helpless in stopping the killings of Serbs [and Gypsies and Gorani and Albanians not loyal to KLA-gang].
Simply, the West have never heard about history long tradition among Albanian Ghegs; the history of blood feud and revenge..



So what is the truth about the above claims? Were the Serbs oppressing the Kosovo Albanians? Was the West caught by surprise - when seeing KLA revenge?

This story about "oppression" and the revenge (the blood feud) reads like the best novel. As usual the truth has surpassed any fiction. There is NOTHING in Twigh-light Zone series that got even close to simple truths about daily life of Albanian Ghegs.
That Albanian tribe lives in Northern Albania and Kosovo.

What follows are seven Western articles - the rare ones that dared tell the truth. The first five are from The New York Times.



"[T]he predominantly Moslem population in Kosovo, unlike their kinfolk in the adjoining Communist country of Albania, is FREE to worship and pursue its customs...

Nominally part of the Republic of Serbia, [Kosovo] was endowed with almost republican autonomy and independence under the 1974 federal Constitution, which was written under Tito's authority.

As a result, virtually the only remaining operable lever of power in the hands of Belgrade is the ruling party...

...In reality, ETHNIC ALBANIANS ALREADY CONTROL ALMOST EVERY PHASE OF LIFE IN KOSOVO - the police, the judiciary, the civil service, the schools, the university, the farmland, the factories, the villages, towns and cities...

Now [1987]... the Serbs... are on the run, in the face of increasing Albanian violence - 20,000 have left Kosovo in the last seven years..."




The above quote was taken from:
The New York Times
Tuesday, November 10, 1987,
Page A4,
Late City Final Edition

Pristina Journal;

Blood Will Have Blood;
It's the Code of the Clans

By DAVID BINDER,
Special to the New York Times

Here is the integral text of this educational article:

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia

Despite 40 years of strict Yugoslav laws against
blood feuds, including capital punishment, a feud in
which one murder must be answered by another is under
way in Kosovo Province.

It started long ago between the ethnic Albanian clans
of Gashis and Morinas. Last spring a Morina asked a
Serbian friend, Jovan Matic, to guard him against the
Gashis as he took a walk. A Gashi suddenly emerged
from ambush with a knife. Mr. Matic, sworn to protect
his friend, shot the knife wielder dead.

At this point the Gashis swore revenge against Mr. Matic,
who sought refuge to the north in Serbia. All efforts
at mediation have failed. A blood tribute is still being
demanded by the Gashis from the Matics; the feud with the
Morinas has been put aside. The progress of the feud is
being reported on Yugoslav television.

The rules by which the feud is carried on is part of the
Albanian code, the Canon of Leke Dukagjini, a 15th-century
figure who is generally thought to have written down the
common law of the Albanians. The long treatise contains
such axioms as ''the roads are the roots of the land,''
'water is the blood of the soil,'' ''the house of Albanians
belongs to God and guest.'' The Dukagjini code declares
that once a house has been erected, it may not be moved,
that to move a border marker is ''the same as to move
the dead.''

Xalit Trnavci, an Albanian professor on Belgrade
University's philosophy faculty, has called the Dukagjini
canon ''extremely significant'' for understanding
Albanians.

Canon or no, it is now clear that the vast majority of

Yugoslavia's two million ethnic Albanians, concentrated
in the Autonomous Province of Kosovo, are conducting their
lives collectively and individually in ways increasingly
separate from that of the country's majority - in their
resistance to learning or using Slavic languages, their
confinement of women to the home, their high birth rate,
their conservative politics and their hungry acquisition
of land.

On the road from Pristina to Suva Reka a traveler sees

dozens of new Albanian farmsteads of traditional fortified
construction, with tiny gunports instead of windows.

And the predominantly Moslem population in Kosovo, unlike
their kinfolk in the adjoining Communist country of Albania,
is free to worship and pursue its customs. In the countryside
women wear the veil as in the pre-Communist era. Albanian
men occasionally marry Slavs, but Albanian women never marry
non-Albanians, a visitor is told.

The Legacy of Tito

In the ethnic crazy quilt that is Yugoslavia, Kosovo
is one of the oddest patches. Nominally part of the
Republic of Serbia, it was endowed with almost republican
autonomy and independence under the 1974 federal
Constitution, which was written under Tito's
authority.

As a result, virtually the only remaining operable
lever of power in the hands of Belgrade is the ruling
party, the Yugoslav League of Communists. But the party
organization has been so greatly fragmented -again under
Tito's aegis - that it has extreme difficulty in exercising
the central control so highly prized by Marxist-Leninists.

For Serbs, and more recently for Albanians, ''Kosovo''
has the evocative magnitude of ''the Alamo'' or ''Pearl
Harbor'' for Americans. It is the region where the Serbian
nation was constituted as a kingdom 770 years ago and
where Serbian painters and architects created priceless
objects of art. But a little more than one and a half
centuries later the Serbs were subjugated by the Turks
after a crushing defeat in the Battle of Kosovo Field
in 1389.

Albanian nationhood did not come until 1912 - across
the mountains on the Adriatic - and then only as an
artifical creation of the great powers. To the north
lay Kosovo, a region settled by ethnic Albanians during
the centuries of Turkish domination. But 99 years ago
in the southern Kosovo town of Prizren - the capital
of the medieval Serbian empire - the first Albanian
nationalists issued a political manifesto, calling
themselves the League of Prizren and proposing a kind
of greater Albania.

Kosovo lands changed hands during and after both
world wars, and thousands of Slavs and Albanians
lost, regained and lost farmsteads in forced movements
of population. Now it is the Serbs who are on the run,
in the face of increasing Albanian violence - 20,000
have left Kosovo in the last seven years.

Equality Is a Facade

The rivalry between Serbs and Albanians becomes
evident as soon as the evening JAT flight from Belgrade
taxis onto the tarmac at Kosovo's main air terminal.
The floodlit building carries bilingual designations,
"Aeroporti - Prishtine" (Albanian) and "Aerodrom - Pristina"
(Serbo-Croatian).

But the equality of languages on airport or road signs
is merely a facade. In reality, ethnic Albanians already
control almost every phase of life in Kosovo - the police,
the judiciary, the civil service, the schools, the
university, the farmland, the factories, the villages,
towns and cities.

On the main street near a mosque, two high-school boys,
Bajram and Azup, stopped to chat and have their picture
taken. "You are Albanians?" "Yes," Bajram said. "There
are only Albanians here." "There are no Serbs in Pristina?"
"No," said Bajram, with a hint of a sneer. "The Serbs are
all in Serbia. But we are all brothers." Bajram and Azup
broke into hilarious laughter, as though they had made
a great joke.

(End quote)




The New York Times
Saturday, April 7, 1990,
Late Edition - Final

Page A4,
Pristina Journal;

Albanians' New Way: Feuds Without Blood

By CHUCK SUDETIC,

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, March 31

...The age-old practice of blood vengeance continues
among the ethnic Albanians of Yugoslavia's Kosovo
province, but a campaign is under way to end the
carnage of feuds and vendettas.

Motivated in part by what they say is the need for
Albanian unity in the face of Serbian designs on this
overwhelmingly Albanian region, ethnic Albanian
intellectuals and students have gone out among the
region's rural families to persuade them to abandon the
tradition of revenge.

..."It is not easy for the families who are required
to draw blood to forgive," [Anton Cetta, a retired cultural
anthropologist from Pristina University here in Kosovo] said,
adding that for centuries families who did not carry out
vengeance were considered cowards.

The law of blood vengeance requires the family of a
victim of a slaying or accident either to kill an
adult male from the family of the person who caused
the death or to force that family to make a stiff
payment for the loss. The elders pick a male family
member to exact the vengeance, which can be carried
out in any way.

Fear of Vengeful Attacks

"Even from behind," said Ismail Haradinai, whose
family is negotiating a reconciliation with a neighbor
over the fatal shooting of his brother during a dispute.
"It is best to kill the murderer himself, but if you
can't, then you kill a brother, father, uncle or anyone
you can get."

Blood vengeance has accounted for as many as 100 deaths
a year in recent years in Kosovo, said Muhamet Pirraku,
a researcher at Pristina's Institute for Albanian Studies
who has studied the tradition...

Fear of vengeful attacks has many times forced Albanian
men to flee abroad or to remain inside their walled family
compounds for decades, he said. In some cases, only women
venture out of the compound.

Traditionally, Mr. Cetta said, elders from the two hostile
families formally settle the conflict once the vengeance
has been exacted. But he noted that there have been instances
when blood vengeance set off a chain of killings that did
not end before claiming 25 to 30 lives.

From Tradition to 'Cult'

The practice... has survived despite its being forbidden
by ... Islam... Government campaigns have also failed to
end the practice.

Judges usually give 10- to 20-year sentences to men
convicted of blood-vengeance killings, Mr. Cetta said,
adding that such sentences have not deterred the killers.
"They think they have to do it," he said. "It is a
tradition that has grown into a cult."

Mr. Cetta said his group was trying to change behavior
by appealing to patriotic instincts in a time of turmoil,
when many Albanians are resisting what they contend is
growing pressure from the central government in Belgrade.



The New York Times
Monday, November 9, 1992,
Late Edition - Final

Page A8;

Note that under "people" in the quote - the author
means: Kosovo Albanians - but does not dare put
"Albanians" and "blood feud" in the same sentence.

Ethnic Conflict Is Threatening in Yet Another
Region of Yugoslavia: Kosovo

By STEPHEN KINZER,

...Most of the two million people here [in Kosovo] are
farmers, and in some rural areas society is still largely
tribal. Until only a few years ago, many families were
caught up in blood feuds passed down through generations...

Under the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution proclaimed by the
Tito Government, Kosovo was granted wide autonomy. Local
people were given control over most aspects of public life.

In 1989, however, the post-Tito Government revoked
Kosovo's autonomy and turned the region into an integral
part of Serbia...



The New York Times
May 9, 1993, Sunday, Late Edition - Final

Section 6; Page 22; Column 3;

A Holy War in Waiting

By Brian Hall

...Blood feuds ran deep among Albanians, but recently
more than 1,000 feuds between families, many going
back generations, had been patched up; the Albanians
had to present a solid front if they were going to
resist the Serbs...

[I]n 1968, demonstrations broke out in Pristina, with
the Albanians demanding republic status. (Of the six
republics of the old Yugoslavia, Serbia was the only
one to have two provinces: Vojvodina and Kosovo.) They
did not get it, but Tito gave the province a
university, language rights, its own court system, its
own police force and an independent vote in the Federal
Presidency. Throughout the 1980's. Serbia discovered
that its own Jerusalem could be counted on to vote
against it on almost every issue.

Worse, Serbs were leaving Kosovo in a steady stream.
They told stories of harassment by the Albanians and
of the impossibility of redress in the Albanian-run
courts. By 1987, the Serbs remaining in Kosovo made
up only 10 percent of the population. They were
frightened. They carried guns when they went out to
work in their fields. They petitioned the Federal
Parliament but got nowhere. They were persecuted anew
by Communist leaders who were terrified of facing the
growing unhappiness among all Serbs...

In April 1987, at a hearing of Serb grievances, one
of the faceless gray Communists stepped forward and
startled everyone by breaking the code of silence on
nationalist issues and publicly pledging his support
for the Serbs' cause. Any Serb can recite the opening
lines of his speech: "You must stay here. Your land is
here. Here are your houses, your fields and gardens,
your memories."

His name was Slobodan Milosevic...



Encyclopedia Britannica,
Edition 1990, Vol 13, Macropedia,

Page 207
entry "Albania" (quote):

...the People's Socialist Republic of Albania was long
regarded as the MOST BACKWARD of European states.
(end quote)

The New York Times
November 22, 1998,
Sunday, Late Edition

Section 6;
Page 50; Column 1;
Magazine Desk

From Brooklyn to Kosovo,
With Love and AK-47's

By Stacy Sullivan

...Poverty in northern Albania rivals that of
undeveloped Africa. The villagers of Bajram Curri
still use the barter system, and most of their
energy goes into fulfilling the basic needs of food
and shelter. Blood feuds are the law of the land --
children live indoors for fear of being gunned down
if they set foot outside. The lack of formal institutions
means the only things that really matter in Bajram Curri
are how big you are, how many guns you have and whom
you know....





The Guardian 30th September, 1998
Main Section page 15

Thousands of Albanian children in hiding
to escape blood feuds

Vengeance of the most direct kind is making a
comeback in the wild north of [Gheg] Albania,

Owen Bowcott in Shkoder reports

GJIN Mekshi is a school teacher and a man of "good
reputation". His flat is decorated with icons of the
Virgin Mary. His calling involves reconciling vendettas
and bloodfeuds.

In a cramped fifth floor flat looking out on Albania's
semi-lawless northern mountains, he deplores the
spread of violence and the lack of respect for traditional
codes of behaviour.

As a leading member of the Shkoder-based Committee for
BLOOD RECONCILIATION, he works within a moral framework
devised by a tribal chieftain excommunicated for his "most
un-Christian code".

The 15th century kanun (code) of Lek Dukagjini which
regulates revenge killings to preserve the honour of
the clan, or fis has been revived in northern Albania
since the demise of communism. Up to 6,000 (SIX THOUSAND!)
children are said to be in hiding from blood feuds.
[There is your - humanitarian catastrophe! NATO should
intervene].

But the code's harsh justice is no longer being respected.
"The kanun is a good way for resolving ar guments, but
not in the way most people interpret it as always ending
in killings,'! Mr Mekshi explains.

"The code doesn't allow women to be killed, but there
have been cases in Tropoje [on the Kosovo border] this
year where women have been forced into hiding by death
threats.

"In some families there are no men left. So far no
women have been killed."

Modern reproductions of the kanun are on sale in the
Tirana's kiosks. Its author is thought to be Lek Dukagjin,
Lord of Dagmo and Zadrima, who fought the Turks until 1472,
then fled to Italy. His intention was to limit the cycles
of bloodletting among the mountain tribes which sometimes
destroyed entire communities by enabling a council of tribal
elders to arrange a besa, or truce once honour had been
obtained.

Enver Hoxha's regime suppressed it. But the privatisation
of land, which reopened ancient disputes, and the breakdown
of law and order last year, when Albania's armouries were
looted, have encouraged direct retribution.

"Since the committee was set up in 1991 we have resolved
365 cases in Albania and 38 feuds abroad," Mr Mekshi records.
"One feud has been running for more than 80 years.

"Sometimes the vendettas start through killings or
land disputes but they also begin with a fight over a
drink or a car accident. Usually it's a killing for a killing,
a beating for a beating. The kanun doesn't specify how killings
should be carried out, but if you mutilate a victim's face,
attack him from behind or kill him after you gave your word
not to, the bad blood comes back to you.

"Within the first 24 hours you may kill anyone from
the clan to which the person who carried out the initial
killing belonged-but not a woman. After that you can kill
a member of the family. After a year, it must be only the
murderer or whoever lives in his house."

The Committee of Blood Reconciliation has 3,000 members
in Albania and is pressing the government to accept its
arbitrations as part of the legal process.

"I have a good reputation and my father was a man of
good reputation, too," says Mr Mekshi. "I am approached
to arrange truces by those who are in hiding and dare
not go out during the day. When we agree a deal, we
sanctify the arrangement with a procession led by the
local priest."

-- End quote --



Los Angeles Times
Mon, 12 Jul 1999 06:49:35 EDT

Family Feuds Are No Game in
Albania

Tradition-bound farmers follow the kanun,
a centuries-old code that regulates revenge.
The 25 men of one clan have barely stepped
outside in 7 years, fearing retribution
from neighbors.

By MARJORIE MILLER, Times Staff Writer

GOLAJ, Albania--For 11 weeks, Zeke Rrushi could feel the
tremors of NATO bombs and Serbian shells exploding on the
border with Kosovo less than a mile away. He listened to
intermittent sniper fire and to the staccato of automatic
rifles so close to his farmhouse.

But to Rrushi's mind, the only real danger to his
family came from the barrel of his neighbor's shotgun.

The Rrushis have been fighting their own war for
seven years, locked in a blood feud with their neighbors
that has taken at least four lives and threatens to
take many more.

Except for a few weeks during planting season and
the harvest each year--when their enemies grant them a
truce--Rrushi and 24 other adult males in his family
have not set foot outside their compound of rustic
farmhouses since 1992 for fear of being killed.

A few lucky ones have escaped the country, but the
rest are prisoners in their own fortress and do not expect
to be freed any time soon. The North Atlantic Treaty
Organization may have negotiated a peace with its
foes, but not the Rrushis.

"No one has come to mediate between us and the other
family," Rrushi, 60, said. "There is no light at the end
of this story."

Rrushi's story takes place deep in the mountains of
northern Albania, where little has changed for centuries.
Land, family honor and revenge are the currency of these
forgotten parts; the arm of government and rule of state
law do not reach here.

Instead, the farmers of northern Albania live by
a 500-year-old code called the kanun of Lek Dukagjini,
which dictates rules of behavior for family and village
life. The kanun of Lek, named for a 15th century
Albanian hero, lays out formal "laws" for marriage, birth,
death and inheritance and also determines when it is
permissible to kill an enemy in a blood feud.

It was, adherents and academics say, a system for
administering justice among the warring tribes of a
remote mountain region of northern Albania and southern
Yugoslavia that even the occupying Ottoman Turks found
difficult to control. Originally, the kanun meant to limit
revenge killings in the hinterlands by regulating them.

Handed down orally from generation to generation,
a version of the kanun was put into writing in the 1920s
by a Franciscan priest from Kosovo, a province of Serbia,
Yugoslavia's main republic.

The Communist government that ruled Albania from
1944 to 1991 tried to wipe out vendetta killings and
the kanun. Publication of the code was prohibited, and
possession of the text was outlawed. Blood-feud crimes
dropped dramatically.

But the number of feuds has climbed steadily in
Albania since the fall of communism and, particularly,
since the collapse of the central government in 1997,
when many Albanians lost their life savings in
get-rich-quick pyramid schemes. A new Socialist-led
government under 31-year-old Prime Minister Pandeli
Majko that took office last year has been struggling
to assert its control over armed bandits, tribal
leaders and a cynical public.

An independent blood-feud reconciliation agency
says there are more than 2,700 ongoing feuds in Albania,
some of them old quarrels revived after lying dormant for
half a century.

Although some academics say this estimate is far
too high, inflated by Mafia-style killings and
run-of-the-mill crimes, there is no doubt that
Albanians are resorting to the kanun to fill the
vacuum of modern law and government. Today, paperback
copies of the kanun can be purchased in kiosks in the
Albanian capital, Tirana.

The Rrushis own a dogeared copy that is full of
pencil notations, as if they have studied for a
life-or-death exam. They say they are following the
book in their feud with the Bardhoshi family, their
neighbors who live less than half a mile away.

Blood feuds have been known to start over anything
from a game of cards to untoward advances on a woman.
But like many post-Communist disputes, the one between
the Rrushis and Bardhoshis is over land--about six
acres.

To hear the Rrushis tell it, the Bardhoshis are
Johnny-come-latelies to the region, having arrived
about 160 years ago to settle on a plot of land the
Rrushis say they once owned.

"We have been here for centuries. We gave them a
small piece of land at that time, and then they abused
our hospitality," Rrushi said.

After the collapse of communism, when collective
ownership of the land was abolished, the Rrushis say
the Bardhoshis "occupied" a plot of land that belonged
to them. The Rrushis countered by seizing another plot
of land belonging to the Bardhoshis, triggering the
family feud.

"They started slapping and hitting. Then we got
our weapons," said Isuf Rrushi, 70, another family
elder.

The Rrushis attacked in June 1992. They say three
Bardhoshis died in the gun battle; the Bardhoshis
insist that they lost four family members.

According to the kanun, "blood is paid for with
blood." An eye for an eye or, in the kanun, "a head
for a head." Killing violates family honor, and "an
offense to honor is never forgiven."

The Rrushi killers had to retreat into the
confines of their home or face execution, because
the Bardhoshis were entitled to avenge the deaths.
According to the old kanun, only the killer could be
targeted for revenge, but later versions extend the
blood feud to all males in the family, which is
interpreted to mean all males over 18.

Now the Rrushi men are pale from so much time
spent inside. Their shoes are splitting and their
clothes threadbare, a sign of their sore finances
since only women and children in the family go outside
to work.

"This is all because we lack a good government,"
Rrushi said. "Laws exist, but they are not applied.
That is why we were forced to do [the feud]. And now
the result is that we all have to stay indoors."

For years, the Bardhoshis waited and watched.
They agreed to a few short truces under the kanun
so the Rrushis could reap enough food to eat. They
were patient. Then, in 1997, they got their chance:
They killed the son of 71-year-old Ali Rrushi as
he stood by his front door.

According to Ali Bardhoshi, this is a moral
punishment for the loss of his cousins and of land
the Bardhoshis insist is theirs.

"We can even live without the land, but if you
consider what they have done to us, it's quite another
thing," the 45-year-old Bardhoshi said.

Although the kanun sets out the values of family,
hospitality, honor and community that are still deeply
felt in Albania today, Bardhoshi considers the code
out-of-date on many topics. For instance, it treats
women as the property of men, whom it says they must
serve in an "unblemished manner." A father selects
his daughter's husband, whose family pays a "bride
price" for marriage.

Bardhoshi says the blood feud also should be a
thing of the past.

"We are waiting for a real government to take
responsibility and establish law even in this corner
of the world. But when there is no law, there is the
kanun," Bardhoshi said.

Not to take revenge, he explained, is akin to
admitting guilt or wrongdoing. "Then you have suffered
the abuse and are embarrassed in the community too,"
he said.

Under the kanun, the Bardhoshis still may avenge
the other deaths the family suffered. Once they do,
however, the Rrushis will be free to come out of hiding,
and it is the Bardhoshis who will have to go indoors
to escape the continuing cycle of revenge unless
there's a truce.

Theoretically, the two sides could negotiate a
besa, or sworn truce, to end their feud with the
mediation of a committee of village elders or respected
members of the community. In some instances, the pact
includes cross-clan marriages to ensure peace.

But the Rrushis and Bardhoshis say there is no
trusted and impartial mediation team in this case.

There have been several attempts in Albania to
establish formal mediation councils, but they have
met with only limited success.

Other people have tried to tackle the problem
through education. A Peace Studies and Conflict
Resolution Center was established at Tirana University
in 1995 to promote nonviolence in schools and between
feuding families.

"The message, especially to young people, was to
find new ways of dealing with old, traditional revenge,"
said
British anthropologist Antonia Young, who was involved
in the project. "The message was not to take revenge.
It's something that doesn't happen overnight."

But after the government collapsed in 1997, the
center closed for lack of funding. Young and others are
looking for the means to revive it.

Police forces do exist in Albania, but they are
rarely called in on kanun cases and are hesitant to
intervene, in part because they often come from the
same region and share the mind-set of the families
involved.

"Reconciliation would be good for us, but we
don't want to get involved in this business," said
Naim Allaraj, chief of criminal police in the nearby
town of Krume.

"Frankly speaking, the people don't want kanun,
but the government is weak, so the people find a
solution," Allaraj said.

"We don't recognize kanun, but kanun exists. It
is a reality."
(end quote)


CONCLUSION:

The lie #1) - the Yugoslav "oppression" of the Albanian population in Kosovo was used as an excuse for NATO attack on Yugoslavia (and the Serbian people).
The lie #2) - "NATO was surprised and helpless seeing KLA behavior" -  was used as an excuse for not protecting the Serbs and other non-Albanians.

 


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Last revised: November 2, 1999