Mentioning the March 2004 riots in the midst of the organ-trafficking story breaking was an Albanian journalist living in Brussels. The article in the EU Observer starts out uncharacteristically reasonable, then devolves into the usual creative chronology and inverted cause-and-effect when it gets to the part about the 2004 riots being sparked by a drive-by shooting of a Serbian teenager — leading those who don’t know to assume that the 2004 riots were done by Serbs rather than by Albanians:
Eleven years after the 1998-1999 war, Kosovo is once again becoming unstable in a way that threatens Macedonia and southern Serbia, despite EU and US efforts…There are four reasons for raising the alarm and the blame lies with the US, the major EU powers and the greedy, power-hungry Kosovar elite.
Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is coming under international pressure to accept special status for northern Kosovo…The West is leaning on all the leaders of the seven ethnic Albanian political parties to accept a deal on the north.
The developments come after the EU and US endorsed Mr Thaci’s victory in the 12 December Kosovo elections despite widely observed irregularities…The Marty report is creating a new momentum in which ethnic Albanian leaders in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia are putting up a united front in support of Mr Thaci and his ex-KLA guerrilla friends.
Albanian President Bamir Topi, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, the speaker of the Albanian parliament Josefina Topall and the former leader of the Albanian NLA guerrillas in Macedonia, Ali Ahmeti, have all accused Mr Marty of secretly working for Serbia to create anti-KLA propaganda ahead of the Kosovo talks.
The best thing Mr Thaci could do is to step down, at least temporarily, in order to avoid the kind of violence we saw in 2004, when a drive-by shooting of an ethnic Serb youth led to ethnic clashes that claimed 19 lives and displaced 4,000 people.
He should immediately seek to clear his name via legal action against Mr Marty - after all, his cabinet says the report is groundless and that it was fabricated by Belgrade. […]
I cannot tell if Mr. Krasniqi’s ignorance is a product of his self-serving Albanian lack of honesty about Kosovo, or whether from the distance of Brussels he really has no clue about what triggered the March riots. Given his last line, one has to assume it’s the former, unless written with a touch of disbelief and sarcasm.
Either way, this writer has it in his head that the orchestrated ALBANIAN riots of 2004, sparked by a manufactured rumor fanned by Albanian media and started by notorious 1999 propagandist Halit Berani that Serbs drowned some Albanian boys in a river, were SERBIAN riots sparked by a drive-by shooting. And so his mind has turned those riots into a cautionary tale for the need to stave off SERBIAN violence, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the now SERBIAN riots of 2004.
Here the whole world has just been offered a glimpse of the reality, in which the international community has been tip-toeing around “Kosovars” and covering up for their crimes so as to avoid hair-trigger-sensitive Albanian violence that will erupt the moment that the Albanian side is displeased. Yet this apparent cave dweller will have you believe that it’s the Serbian minority that is dangerous and needs to be constantly appeased, lest it start rioting “again.”
There was indeed a drive-by shooting by Albanians, of 18-year-old Jovica Ivic, but it was not what touched off the province-wide riots, which had been planned weeks in advance, awaiting a false trigger; the drive-by was likely an attempted provocation of the Serbs, reinforced by the drowning rumor the following day. Either way, the writer is engaging in a subconsciously purposeful inversion. (More inversions: Some months before the riots, six Serb youths were shot while swimming in a river in Gorazdevac, two of them fatally — perhaps providing a premise for the inverted rumor the following March. As is the rule in Kosovo for crimes against non-Albanians, the perpetrator(s) were never found.)
Meanwhile, the March drive-by shooting was a somewhat typical headline for Kosovo at the time, with the next one occurring just two months later, on June 4. Indeed, this is what young Serbs in Kosovo increasingly started to look like for a while:
Serb teenager shot dead in Kosovo — A Serb teenager has been killed in a drive-by shooting in the village of Gracanica in Kosovo, triggering fears of new ethnic clashes in the province. Police arrested two armed suspects, both ethnic Albanians, soon after the attack in the nearby town of Pristina. Sixteen-year-old Dimitrije Popovic was shot dead at an outdoor fast food stall in the early hours of Saturday. […]
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