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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

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


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


...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)


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