[Alb-Net home] [AMCC] [KCC] [other mailing lists]

List: ALBSA-Info

[ALBSA-Info] Daily Telegraph 3

Agron Alibali aalibali at
Thu Feb 10 19:00:16 EST 2000


 February 10, 2000, Thursday

Pg. 20

The Balkans: legacy of war: The terror is over but
peace brings its
own problems Rebuilding shattered lives and homes is a
slow process in Pristina.
Julius Strauss reports on the shadow of organised
crime and hatred


FOR the Deliu family freedom in Kosovo has come at a
terrible price. In one of
the pivotal massacres of the war in September 1998,
more than 20 family members,
from an 18-month-old baby to a grandfather, were
rounded up and butchered by
Serb paramilitaries.

   Besnik, then five, watched as his mother was
slashed to death in front of
him. The family's homes were burned down and they hid
in woods for months during
Nato air strikes.

   Of the young men, Ymer and his brother Enver spent
the 15-month war carrying 
out hit-and-run attacks against Serb forces, earning
their village a reputation 
as one of the most dangerous in the Drenica region.
Their unit killed dozens of 
Serb police and Yugoslav soldiers.

   Today Ymer has mixed emotions. The terror of the
past decade when Kosovo
 Albanians  had to run their own underground schools,
university and ministries,
in protest at Serb oppression, is over. But while he
is proud of his
contribution to the war effort, the horror his family
suffered leaves little
room for satisfaction.

   Such emotions are common to the Kosovars, whose
political and social life is 
still barbed with hatred. Even the most liberal 
Albanian  commentators believe 
that expecting the enmity to dissipate so soon is a
Western pipe-dream. Daut
Dauti, an analyst with the Institute for War and Peace
Reporting, said: "When
the  Albanians  came back they thought that the
Western superpowers would have
this place fixed in no time."

   Instead organised crime has flourished and rising
property prices have
spawned a whole industry of professional evictors.

   The former Kosovo Liberation Army is also a major
problem. Officially it was 
disbanded shortly after Nato arrived and has now been
transformed into the
Kosovo Protection Corps and handed some civic duties.
The head of the United
Nations mission, Bernard Kouchner, and the German
commander of the KFOR
peacekeepers, Gen Klaus Reinhardt, recently invited
journalists to inspect a KPC
work group hacking ice from the roads in Pristina. The
intended message was
clear - the unruly former guerrilla army had been
successfully reinvented as a
force for public good. The reality is different.

   The former leader of the KLA, Hashim Thaci, is the
most powerful of the
Kosovo  Albanians,  even though his party would
probably be roundly beaten by
Ibrahim Rugova's pacifists if elections were held
tomorrow. He controls
widespread business interests in the capital, and his
own secret police and
 Albanians  say his underlings collect illegal taxes.

   There are five illegal KLA police stations in
Pristina alone, although they
are being slowly transformed into "neighbourhood
watch" centres as part of a
determined effort by the Royal Green Jackets. Mr
Thaci's lieutenant, Remi, the
KPC Pristina commandant, has taken over at least one
nightspot and is reported
to have other sources of illicit income. A Nato source
said: "The vice business 
has been stitched up by Remi . . . prostitutes,
cigarettes and low-level
contraband." Other KLA commanders are known to pursue
similar interests.

   And yet there are some positive signs. Baton
Haxhiu, the editor of the Kosovo
daily, Koha, has campaigned against revenge attacks on
the remaining Serbs.

   He said: "The killing is the work of extremists.
Forty per cent of the
population have guns and there are a lot of what we
call post-war patriots who
sat out the war in Germany or Switzerland and now want
to prove themselves.

   "But we need police to deal with criminals, not
moralising from the West. The
streets are dark and there is almost no law
enforcement. That's why these people
can get away with it."

   In Pristina at least there seems to have been a sea
change in public opinion.
Last year the majority of  Albanians  tolerated and
even quietly supported
revenge attacks.

   But following the killing of a Serb professor by a
mob in November,
 Albanian  witnesses broke with tradition and informed
on the killer to UN
Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

More information about the ALBSA-Info mailing list