welcome to the future
February 22, 2008 Leave a comment
From MSNBC on Feb 22 2008:
… Serbia said it regretted what it called acts of isolated vandals who did not represent a nation which, while bitter at Kosovo’s declaration of independence on Sunday, did not want further violence.
In the context of an MSNBC report on Feb 21 2008, ‘isolated vandals’ sounds like a bit of an understatement.
Masked men broke into the U.S. compound in Belgrade, which has been closed this week, and tried to throw furniture from an office. They set fire to the office and flames shot up the side of the building.
… For several days, Kosovo’s Serbs have shown their anger by destroying U.N. and NATO property, setting off small bombs and staging noisy rallies.
… On Thursday, the neighboring Croatian Embassy also was targeted by the same group of protesters at the U.S. Embassy, and smaller groups attacked police posts outside the Turkish and British embassies in another part of the city but were beaten back.
… Groups also broke into a McDonald’s restaurant and demolished the interior. A number of other shops were also ransacked and people were seen carrying off running shoes, track suits and other sporting goods from a department store.
… Hundreds of Serbs have launched attacks on border outposts, prompting NATO to reinforce the northern Serb-dominated part of Kosovo and take control of the borders.
… Serbia — and Kosovo’s Serbs, who make up less than 10 percent of Kosovo’s population — refuse to give up Kosovo, a territory considered the ancient cradle of Serbs’ state and religion.
And then there’s this report from Jasmina Tešanović via Boing Boing on Feb 21 2008:
Buses from all over Serbia are coming into Belgrade city. The buses and trains are free, state-organized for people to come and perform the big show with the official title “Kosovo is Serbia.” This is the motto that runs constantly on national TV channels.
A big, nationalist, screaming speech by our prime minister. I don’t remember ever hearing Kostunica so angry, loud and pathetic, like an aging rock star, this guy who hardly ever addresses his people. He is calling various world powers bad names and condemning the fake state of Kosovo, almost publicly cursing them. And extolling the Great Serbs with their pride and honor. Now Putin is a Slavic hero. He swears oaths, uses words like life, death, Serbs, brothers, freedom, blood and all that; here in 21 century.
World famous stars are here too: Novak Djokovic the tennis player speaks like a robot on the screen, saying he will never let go of Kosovo. Emir Kusturica the film director interrupted his movie in US and came to speak live in Belgrade. The prime minister calls him a Serb — actually Kusturica has changed his name from the rather unl-Slavic “Emir” to “Nemanja,” the ancient Serbian king. The swaggering film director speaks against the local traitors and calls them “mice.” The mice would be us, me, Women in Black. He says he doesn’t not believe in Hollywood myth but in Kosovo myths. Why embrace myths at all? In the meantime, on my blog, which I put up to follow the news in the city: Turkish and Croatian embassies attacked, a Nike shop looted. Where are the police? They claim this is the biggest meeting ever held in Belgrade.
The American embassy is attacked right now, 7 00pm, no police around there; the reporter sounds really afraid as he reports the smashing and burning.
The German bank in downtown Belgrade is attacked too: gosh this is like during the NATO bombings, but in reverse.
Tonight at 2 am it will be a full moon eclipse — Earth Moon and Sun in alignment, a perfect excuse for madness.
a perfect excuse, indeed. and where are the police? MSNBC reports on Feb 22, 2008:
… police were nowhere to be seen when just a few score of rioters — many wearing balaclavas — attacked the U.S. embassy for the second time in a week.
UPDATE: via My Way News on Feb 22 2008:
Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said Friday the move to recognize Kosovo was a “strategic mistake” and suggested that Moscow might have to use “brute military force” if the alliance expands its current peacekeeping operation in the territory.
… Also Friday, the U.S. ambassador to neighboring Bosnia said he had closed the consulate in the northwestern city of Banja Luka a day after protesters burned the U.S. flag and tried to storm the consulate building.
Bosnia consists of two ministates, one run by Bosnian Serbs, the other by Bosniaks and Croats. The Bosnian Serb Parliament has condemned Kosovo’s move and said it will consider a referendum to secede from Bosnia if more countries recognize Pristina’s government.
UPDATE: From the BBC on Feb 22, 2008:
“If the EU develops a unified position or if Nato exceeds its mandate set by the UN, then these organisations will be in conflict with the UN,” he said.
In that case Russia would “proceed on the basis that in order to be respected we need to use brute force,” he said.
Many EU members have recognised Kosovo, but several oppose recognition.
Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, backs Serbia, which has condemned the independence declaration issued by the Kosovo parliament on 17 February.
… The EU will soon deploy 2,000 officials to strengthen law and order in Kosovo, which has a population of about two million. Russia argues that the mission has no legal basis.
UPDATE: From Reuters on Feb 22, 2008:
BELGRADE (Reuters) – A video of two young women looting with gay abandon during rioting in the Serbian capital Belgrade was becoming a Balkan smash hit on the video-sharing Web site YouTube Friday.
UPDATE: From MSNBC on March 8, 2008:
BELGRADE, Serbia – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica dissolved the government Saturday and called for new elections after clashing with his pro-Western coalition partners over Kosovo and EU membership.
Kostunica said that he will convene a government session Monday that will propose to parliament that new elections be held May 11.
“The government will function in a reduced capacity until the elections are held,” Kostunica said.
Kostunica accused pro-Western ministers of failing to support his efforts to preserve Kosovo as part of Serbia.
Kostunica insists that EU governments that recognized Kosovo, which declared independence last month, must rescind their decisions before Serbia resumes pre-membership talks with the 27-nation bloc.
Pro-Western President Boris Tadic opposes tying Serbia’s EU membership to the issue of Kosovo, which has been recognized as an independent state by several leading EU nations, including Britain, France and Germany.