News 19 Jul 13

Albanian Writer Raises Storm in Kosovo

Kosovo officials have rounded on Albanian writer Fatos Lubonja for saying that the political elites in both countries turned a blind eye to the crimes of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA.

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana
Albanian writer Fatos Lubonja

In the article published in the May edition of the magazine Sudosteuropa, Lubonja focused on the reaction of Albania’s political class to the acquittal of the former KLA commander and Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj by the Hague Tribunal.

Lubonja wrote that following Haradinaj’s release, the elite in Pristina and Tirana celebrated him as a hero, despite having enough information that the charges brought by prosecutors in the Hague were correct.  

According to Kosovo public broadcaster RTK, Hardinaj has called Lubonja’s comment slanderous and has hinted that he may sue the Albanian writer for defamation.

Haradinaj was acquitted in November 2012, of all charges of war crimes during the Kosovo conflict of the late 1990s, following a retrial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Prosecutors had alleged that, together with two co-defendants, Haradinaj tortured and killed ethnic Serbs, and Albanians who were deemed to have collaborated with the Serbs in a KLA-run camp at Jablanica in 1998.

The Trial Chamber ruled that the prosecution did not prove any of the counts of the indictment, including that the defendants had been part of a joint criminal enterprise aimed at establishing KLA control in western Kosovo through detention camps.

According to Lubonja, the reaction to Haradinaj’s acquittal in Albania and Kosovo encapsulates the hypocrisy of its political and cultural elites who use nationalist ideology to brainwash people.  

“As in Communist times, Albanians are fed with the idea that they are nothing as individuals in front of the interests of the nation, and should sacrifice everything for the fatherland, turning a blind eye to every crime committed in its name,” Lubonja wrote.

According to Lubonja, this brainwashing create a form of schizophrenia, as Albanians glorify the heroes that sacrifice themselves for the nation while deploring the scoundrels that steal from and even kill them – both being the same.

The writer's claims have angered members of Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, party.

The party spokesperson, Ernest Luma, lashed out Lubonja on social networks calling him "a son of bitch".

“Lubonja’s last name sounds like a Serbian name," Luma wrote, calling him “a Serb who speaks Albanian”.

Kosovo’s Minister of Integration, Vlora Citaku, said she was “shocked and speechless” about Lubonja’s writings.

Kosovo's Minister of Culture, Memli Kraniqi, accused him of making shameful and "sick comments about the liberators of Kosovo".

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