Saturday, June 20, 2009


Quote from Albanian communist music text: "The great deal of the cultural artistic traditions of our people are a direct expression of the great care which the Party of Labour of Albania, and Comrade Enver Hoxha personally, have shown towards them."

Today we had a wonderful lecture from a professor from The New School who was the former Media Regulation Minister (0r something like that) in Kosovo. We learned all about "The Brooklyn Connection," which I never had heard of before. Apparently when Kosovo was left out from the Dayton Accords, the subsequent revolution was financed by Albanian immigrants in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Yonkers. There were even plenty of Albanian immigrants who travelled back to Kosovo to fight with the KLA for independence.
After the lecture we took a cab into the city to goto what I assumed was another NGO visit. The cab driver came pretty close to kicking us out (if not worse) because he thought Kumjana, my teacher, was Serbian. After she volunteered that she was Macedonian he opened up a lot and we somehow found out that he spoke Turkish, so I had a conversation with him. We pulled up to the NGO (?) and met a guy who worked there. We had a pretty normal chat in the garden about how his organization, "VETËVENDOSJE!" advocates -and translates to- "self determination." In other words they'd like UNMIK and other international orgs to allow Kosovo to govern itself. After his presentation, it began to pour and so we went inside to look at photos from the group's... events.

It turned out this was no NGO, but actually one of the most infamous activist groups in Kosovo with quite an intense reputation. They deface UN cars by changing the lettering to "FUND," the Albanian word for "The End." They also forced the UNMIK building to evacuate and have thrown paint "malatov cocktails" at it. They even cut off the air-stalks from all the UN vehicle tires and mailed them to the UN with an "illegal parking" notice. We all got fantastic Alabanian\Kosovar nationalistic teeshirts courtesy of SIT. Mine says, in Albanian, "We are one," and then lists all the provinces of Greater Albania. The guy presenting has a court-date in 2 days... when we wished him luck, he laughed and says he doesn't acknowledge the legitimacy of the courts and wouldn't be going.

After the presentation, I met my accordion teacher Raif's friend Ylber, who is a very prominant local musician, conductor, and producer. It looks like through him I'll be meeting the Minister of Culture later this week and also be able to goto a taping of a popular local TV show. I post on those things if and when they happen though.

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