Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rare Kosovo film highlights province's problems

By Nedim Dervisbegovic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Kosovo's first film since the 1999 war tells the story of three mental patients let loose from an asylum after the collapse of Serb rule.

Kosovo Albanian director Isa Qosya, who has not made a film for 17 years, said "Kukumi" was his way of showing how years of ethnic conflict had dehumanised people in the region.

The film, shot entirely in Kosovo, received its world premiere late on Wednesday at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

"I felt uneasy during the first years of this whirlwind and felt a certain dehumanisation of people who did not understand and help each other," Qosya told a news conference.

"The whole movie is a metaphor. Freedom is when you help someone and when you understand the other person too," he added.

The three main characters are two men and a woman -- Kukumi, Hasan and Mara.

Despite coming from a mental institution, they often appear to cope better than others with life in postwar Kosovo, with its ethnic tensions, U.N. bureaucrats and the foreign troops who occupied the province.

But a misunderstanding with NATO forces raises the question of whether the characters were better off inside the asylum.

"The role of NATO troops in Kosovo has had positive but also some negative consequences," Qosya said. "I can't understand their role now; it has become totally undefined."


Qosya said the province's problems stemmed partly from uncertainty over the future.

Kosovo is still legally part of Serbia. The Serbian government and Kosovo's now-tiny Serbian minority hotly oppose the independence Kosovo Albanians want.

Talks over the final status of the province are expected to start this year or next, depending on progress on issues including human rights and democracy in one of Europe's poorest corners.

"Everything is undefined, and that is accompanied by a lack of character and principle among the people," Qosya said.

Through a simple plot and sparing dialogue, the director portrays the tensions between those people who left Kosovo during Serb rule and the war and those who stayed on throughout.

The main characters seem most at ease when left undisturbed in uninhabited settings, such as when they drive a railway car along deserted tracks, gaze at a lake in an abandoned quarry or convert a rundown stable into their home.

Qosya said he had difficulty raising funds for the movie in a region struggling to provide the population with basic services like health care. But eventually Kosovo's authorities agreed to foot the 600,000 euro bill.

Croatia's Jadran Film provided the equipment, and the all-Albanian cast and Qosya worked without pay. "Kukumi" is in the competition programme for the best regional movie award at the Sarajevo festival.


Anonymous said...

It's Isa Qosja, not Isa Qosya.

Anyhow, good luck to him and all his crew. I hope they win the prize!

Anonymous said...

That would be nice :)

Anonymous said...

The plot seems interesting. Kinda like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. And it begs the question, who is the crazy one in all this?

Anonymous said...

Belgrade engineering students win international competition Students of the Faculty of Electric and Technical Engineering from Belgrade first in Chicago

Team of ten students of the Faculty of Electric and Technical Engineering of the University in Belgrade, won the first prize and 10,000 Dollars at the biggest world competition of young electric engineers held in Chicago from August 15 to 17.

With a help of electronics they added to an engine that is being installed in household gadgets for the purpose of saving of electricity, they were proclaimed the best young electronic engineers in the final ahead of the two USA teams.

Apart from the main prize they also got two secondary prizes, for presentation and technical documentation. These prizes are especially valuable for them because they have to make presentation and speak about the technical documentation in English, the mother tongue of their chief competitors.

The 2005 International
Future Energy ChallengeTM
Sponsored by
the IEEE Power Electronics Society,
the IEEE Industry Applications Society,
the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society,
the IEEE Power Engineering Society,
the National Renewable Energy Laboratory,
the European Power Electronics Association, and others.

August 17, 2005 – 2005 Awards Announced
We concluded the 2005 final competition. Congratulations to the following winners.
Topic A:

· First Place (for $10,000) - University of Belgrade, Serbia
· Outstanding Design Innovation (for $6,500) - University of South Carolina, USA
· Outstanding Educational Impact (for $2,000) - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
· Outstanding Presentation (for $2,000) - University of Belgrade, Serbia
· Outstanding Technical Report (for $2,000) - University of Belgrade, Serbia

Anonymous said...

This is cute...the Serbs want to post all over the blog that the Uni team won something. This is a good sign dear compatriots, the Serbs might start being proud of achievements not having to do with murder.

Nice one uni of Belgrade team..

ARDIAN said...

"Belgrade engineering students win international competition Students of the Faculty of Electric and Technical Engineering from Belgrade first in Chicago"

SO WHAT? First time serbian win something!!

Anonymous said...

first time they win something?? hahahh look up tesla, pupin, mileva maric etc etc look at the sporting achivemnets the last 50 years, look up miodgrad stojkovic-the first doctor in the world to clone a human embryo etc etc etc the list goes on and on (look up famouse Serbs in wikipedia.or and compare tehm to albos, u cant caue there is NO COMPARISSON AT ALL)hahahahahha what are albos know for ???who mther teresa? ok she was a nice catholic macedonian. who else? who are the most know people??? pimps and drug pushers, in that category u r #1 of course. and and lets not forget the worl of janitors who clean the office buildings aroudn the world.

Anonymous said...

War by Numbers

by George Szamuely 24 February 2003
The URL of this article is:

"In their search for hidden Iraqi arms, U.N. inspectors have so far faced little conflict, have found little evidence and have received little outside intelligence to guide them" (Los Angeles Times, December 31, 2002). However, stories about not finding evidence of weapons of mass destruction serve to reinforce the idea that the weapons are there but have yet to be found. Since it is logically impossible to prove one isn't doing something Iraq will never be able to certify that it doesn't have what the U.S. claims it has. Absence of evidence is proof of duplicity and thus of guilt.

It's a ploy that was used again and again in the Balkans over the past decade. Back then Serbia, not Iraq, was crying out to be punished by the righteous nations led by the United States. Serbs were beyond the pale. Remember the 100,000 Kosovo Albanians they supposedly massacred? Defense Secretary William Cohen, State Department spokesman James Rubin and Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes David Scheffer all cited the 100,000 figure. The State Department at one point even published a report speculating that the number may be as high as 500,000. ABC News declared that the U.S. "has satellite pictures of close to 100 freshly dug graves." There were the reports of satellite pictures of "mass graves pointing in the direction of Mecca." Then just as NATO was about to march into Kosovo, the numbers were suddenly drastically revised downwards. The New York Times stated: "Photographs taken by United States spy satellites seem to show that Serbian forces dug up the bodies of their victims to hide evidence of a massacre in Kosovo." The Washington Post said the same thing the same day. Recalling how Pentagon spokesman Kenneth H. Bacon had "displayed a satellite picture from May 15 of what analysts concluded was a site that held 143 graves," he was now displaying a different picture: "'This second picture shows what appears to have been a bulldozing over this area,' he said, pointing to a black splotchy section." "Black splotchy sections" always look impressive to people untutored in scientific methods and numbers.

10,000 was the new estimate for dead Albanians. Bernard Kouchner, the first U.N. chief administrator in Kosovo, stated that it was likely to be 11,000. No one ever bothered to explain how these numbers were arrived at or why they were likely to prove more accurate than the previous numbers. But 10,000 soon became the officially accepted number to be repeated as incontrovertible fact. But problems arose right away. Where were the bodies? After months and months of the most relentless digging the world had seen since the building of the Panama Canal, Hague Tribunal Prosecutor Carla del Ponte announced that NATO had exhumed 2,108 bodies. A rather paltry number-yet the hacks jumped on this like a parched desert traveler at an oasis. Del Ponte was unable to say to whom these bodies belonged, what their ethnicity was, how they died or when they died. The tribunal then announced somewhat sniffily that "genocide is not a numbers game" and gave up on the tedious business of forensics altogether.

Numbers are only a "game" when they don't add up to what you want them to add up to. Let us however play the "numbers game." A report published in October by the Office of the Commissioner of Human Rights for the Council of Europe, Kosovo: The Human Rights Situation and the Fate of Persons Displaced From Their Homes, reveals some fascinating numbers. According to the report, "some 3700 persons" have gone missing in Kosovo, of which approximately 2750 are ethnic Albanian and 850 Serb, with the remainder belonging to other minorities." In addition, the report stated, "since 1999, some 4600 bodies have been exhumed, of which only 2100 have been identified. 2500 remain, therefore, to be DNA tested, leaving a further 1200 still to be located and exhumed." The report, interestingly, omits to give an ethnic breakdown of the 2100 bodies that have been exhumed. Let us assume that every one of the 3700 missing is dead. That would make the total number dead as 5800 (3700 plus 2100). Let us assume that the ethnic breakdown of the 2100 exhumed bodies is the same as that for the missing. That would mean 1561 of them are Albanians and 482 are Serb. That would make a grand total of 4311 Albanians dead and 1332 Serbs dead. Now, a fairly substantial proportion of those Albanians will have been murdered by the KLA for their alleged collaboration with the erstwhile Serb authorities or for their general refusal to play ball with terrorists and gangsters.

This is scarcely a secret. A recent article in Der Spiegel, citing as its source Kosovo Albanian leader Bujar Bukoshi, stated that "the cruelest cleansings took place among the Albanians. Under the pretext that they were 'Serbian collaborators,' the leaders of the KLA liquidated their political opponents.'.The number of the victims is estimated to be more than a thousand." Now that is likely to be an extremely conservative estimate. So that leaves us with something like just over 3000 Albanians dead. But that number includes all of the Albanians killed by NATO bombs, those killed in combat, those killed in crossfire between the Yugoslav army and the KLA or due to accident, not to mention anyone who may have been killed for whatever reason before 1999. So the "numbers game" has now taken us not just far from the 100,000 massacred Albanians but even quite a long way from the 10,000 of recent NATO propaganda efforts. More significant, no explanation has been offered as to how those satellite photos were taken to prove something happened that never in fact happened.

Take another atrocity, one that has now become a byword for the sort of inhumanity that cries out for U.S. military intervention. Since 1995 the name "Srebrenica" has acquired the resonance that was once the exclusive domain of the word "Auschwitz." Serbs seized the city and allegedly massacred 8,000 Bosnian Moslems. The origin of that number has always been a bit of a mystery. According to the 1999 U.N. report, "The mortal remains of close to 2,500 men and boys have been found on the surface, in mass graves and in secondary burial sites. Several thousand more men are still missing, and there is every reason to believe that additional burial sites, many of which have been probed but not exhumed, will reveal the bodies of thousands more men and boys." 2,500, and no ethnic breakdown of the bodies. That's a serious omission since Moslem forces based in Srebrenica, under the leadership of the notorious killer Naser Oric, had for years prior to 1995 been attacking neighboring Serb villages. Consequently, a lot of the bodies are likely to be those of Serbs.

The Hague Tribunal has already had one big Srebrenica trial. In August 2001 it convicted Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic of genocide and sentenced him to 46 years in prison for not preventing the crime of Srebrenica. "[B]etween seven and eight thousand Bosnian Muslim men were executed between 13 and 19 July 1995," the court declared. "Despite the efforts which have been made, very few mortal remains have been found. Why? Because in the fall of 1995 measures were taken in order to attempt to cover up the scale of the crimes." So how do we know what the scale was? Well, once again, there were the "aerial photographs provided to the Prosecutor. These photographs have made it possible: to identify the number of mass grave sites at the time the executions were carried out; and to note that other sites appeared after September 1995. The work of the experts has also made it possible to confirm the data by comparing the older mass graves with the more recent ones since the latter are always located in regions with more difficult access than those of the first group. There can therefore be no doubt about the deliberate desire to conceal the existence of mass graves and therefore the mass executions of civilians." Lack of evidence is therefore proof of guilt. So, on the one hand, the Serbs allegedly carry out the most brutal massacres imaginable while innumerable U.N. personnel are in the vicinity, U.S. satellites orbit overhead and Hague prosecutors can't wait to issue indictments against Serb leaders. On the other hand, they go to the most amazing amount of trouble to hide the evidence of their crimes. They speak on the phone in code, they bury and re-bury and re-re-bury the dead.

But the Krstic court had no choice but to offer speculation in place of fact. Here's an example of its reasoning: "Although forensic experts were not able to conclude with certainty how many bodies were in the mass-graves" the experts were able to conservatively estimate that a minimum of 2,028 separate bodies were exhumed".Identity documents and belongings" suggest that the victims were linked with Srebrenica" .In some cases, investigators were able to positively identify bodies in the graves as former Srebrenica residents on the basis of distinctive personal items found with the bodies such as jewelry, artificial limbs and photographs. Other artifacts found at the majority of the gravesites, such as verses from the Koran, suggest the presence of victims with Muslim religious affiliation."

The evidence only suggests that the victims "were linked with Srebrenica," whatever that may mean, but only in "in some cases" were bodies identified as belonging to Srebrenica "residents." And the bodies were obviously all Muslims-why else would one find "verses from the Koran"? The absurdity of this is laughable. At times the court's reasoning became truly bizarre: A demographics expert testified that the overwhelming majority of people missing from Srebrenica are men. The forensic examinations of the gravesites "associated with Srebrenica reveal that only one of the 1,843 bodies for which sex could be determined was female." In addition, "there is a correlation between the age distribution of persons listed as missing and the bodies exhumed from the graves: 26.4 percent of persons listed as missing were between 13-24 years and 17.5 percent of bodies exhumed fell within this age group; 73.6 percent of persons listed as missing were over 25 years of age and 82.8 percent of bodies exhumed fell within this age group."

Needless to say, the judges rejected the commonsense explanation that in any war the vast majority of the dead are likely to be male of more or less combat age and that the vast majority of the population anywhere in Europe is likely to be over 25 years of age. "The correlation between the age and sex of the bodies exhumed from the Srebrenica graves," the court concluded happily, "and that of the missing persons support the proposition that the majority of missing people were, in fact, executed and buried in the mass graves." Here's a circular piece of reasoning if ever there was one.

"It is impossible to determine with precision the number of Bosnian Muslim men killed by Bosnian Serb forces," the judges declared. Nonetheless, they had no doubt that the "total number of victims is likely to be within the range of 7,000-8,000 men." This is likely to prove before long to be a highly injudicious statement. In November 2002 AFP ran a story that opened with a startling announcement: "DNA testing has helped speed up the identification of thousands of people killed in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said Friday. Since being introduced in November a year ago, 1,200 victims have been identified, compared to 73 in six previous years, the commission said." 73? Is that all? With so few bodies identified one really ought to hesitate before bandying about big numbers with such abandon. According to AFP, "there were still some 10,000 bags with human remains waiting to be identified, mostly people who died in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre….. Some body bags contain complete bodies, some just body parts and many merely contain bones dug up from other gravesites." How the wire reporter had established that the "human remains" were from Srebrenica was far from clear.

Over a month later the New York Times ran essentially the same story, but with a few notable additions and omissions. DNA, the Times reporter writes, "has helped forensic experts to match 1,500 more bodies to the list of 30,000 people still missing after Bosnia's brutal war, which claimed more than 200,000 lives between 1992 and 1995." Here the Times is deliberately muddying issues. How does it know that 200,000 were killed during the Bosnian war? Is the paper suggesting that 170,000 bodies have been positively identified and that 30,000 still remain to be accounted for? Or that 200,000 have been declared missing and are presumed dead? So does that mean that the 30,000 will eventually have to be added on to the 200,000? However, the story gets even murkier: "two-thirds of the bodies that remain unaccounted for have yet to be found." This suggests "two-thirds" of 30,000 "have yet to be found." Using the Times numbers we get 170,000 dead that have been positively identified, 10,000 bodies that remain to be identified and 20,000 that are still missing. But where does that 10,000 number come from? It sounds like the Times reporter confused the "10,000 bags with human remains" that AFP talked about with 10,000 bodies. "Just 73 victims from Srebrenica had been identified," the Times states. Again, this seems to be a misinterpretation. AFP did not specify that the 73 came from Srebrenica.

The Times then quotes Gordon Bacon, head of the commission in Bosnia, as explaining that it's very hard to know how many bodies there are. "Just 1,800 of the 4,500 body bags stacked in a morgue in the northern town of Tuzla contain a complete body," Bacon explained. "The rest are just bits and pieces of co-mingled remains." In other words, we have absolutely no idea how many bodies have been exhumed, let alone who they were or where they came from. The Times reporter didn't like where all this was leading, so he resumed the familiar tale of Karadzc and Mladic.

In the last hundred years two world wars were fought in the Balkans, two Balkan wars, not to mention a number nasty civil wars. Dig a hole deep enough anywhere in the Balkans and you're likely to hit a mass grave. The Times or the Hague Tribunal will of course keep telling us that they are all hiding the remains from Srebrenica.

Any lie will do to justify U.S. military attack. Does Iraq have weapons of mass destruction? It scarcely matters. Once the victim-country is conquered and occupied, no one will be much interested in the truth. By then a new victim will have been targeted.

Anonymous said...

hahahah wher e rr the albo doctors?????

Miodrag Stojkovic
University of Newcastle | Britain
Miodrag Stojkovic's biggest fear is that "people think we're crazy scientists creating the latest Frankenstein." That's because the 40-year-old Serb, a researcher with the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, could become the first person to use cells from a cloned human embryo to treat disease—if a British regulator approves the experiment later this year. Stojkovic, who helped clone mammals at the University of Munich before coming to the U.K., fled the former Yugoslavia in 1991 just before the Balkan wars broke out. "I recognized something bad was going to happen," he says. The cloning wars can seem almost as fierce. Using a technique similar to that recently demonstrated in South Korea, Stojkovic plans to create embryos by injecting a patient's own DNA into an egg from which the genetic material has been removed. He then hopes to harvest stem cells—which can develop into almost any organ—and coax them to produce insulin in diabetics. Stem cells also hold promise for victims of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and heart disease.

Trouble is, Stojkovic will discard the embryos just days after making them, and for many people that's morally unacceptable. Many religions maintain that life begins at conception and that throwing away embryos amounts to murder; "I have a clear conscience," says Stojkovic, who holds that life begins after 14 days, when the nervous system starts to form. Nonreligious groups like the London-based Human Genetics Alert warn that the techniques could be used to clone babies, something that Stojkovic opposes. "I believe in embryonic stem cells," he says. If he can come up with a cure for diabetes, a lot more people will believe along with him.—By Mark Halper

Anonymous said...

Martyr we already congratulated you on the university team victory. What else do you want? This is not something we are dealing with, this is Belgrade University, not Prishtina Univeristy.

Congrats, that's it...what else do you want from us? Flowers?

Anonymous said...

Kosovo Serbs' killings end year of calm
28 Aug 2005 12:02:17 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Matthew Robinson
PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Two Serbs were killed and a third was seriously wounded when their car was shot at in Kosovo, shattering a year-long lull in attacks there on Serbs, police said on Sunday.
A fourth man in the car was slightly wounded by the shots from an overtaking vehicle late on Saturday near Strpce by the southern border with Macedonia, a police spokesman said.
The United Nations has run the majority-Albanian province, legally part of Serbia, since a 1998-99 war ended with the withdrawal of Serb forces. Thousands of Serbs left and those who stayed have been frequent targets.
The United Nations is within weeks of deciding whether the province has made enough progress on standards of democracy, minority rights and security for "final status" negotiations, which Albanians hope will bring formal independence.
Serbia's prime minister seized on the killings as evidence such standards are far from being met.
"I want to hear loud and clear from you what kind of standards we are talking about when youths are killed only because they are Serbs," Vojislav Kostunica said in a statement addressed to Kosovo's U.N. governor Soren Jessen-Petersen.
Jessen-Petersen said he was "shocked and appalled by this senseless and tragic crime".
The ages of the four men could not be confirmed. Neither could Serb media reports that three Albanians had been arrested with hunting rifles and spent cartridges in their white Mercedes.
Police said one of the wounded was in critical condition.
Strpce's Serb mayor told Reuters the Serbs' car was carrying old Yugoslav "PR" licence plates denoting Pristina, rather than the "KS" plates introduced by the U.N. after the war and used by Albanians. This clearly identified them as Serbs.
It was the worst incident since a Serb teenager was shot dead in June last year in the Serb enclave of Gracanica. Two Albanians have been charged with that murder.
In two days of rioting in March 2004, 19 people died and 800 homes were razed as ethnic Albanian mobs overran Serb enclaves, overwhelming the 17,000-strong NATO peace force.
Analysts warn a repeat of such violence would almost certainly derail a U.N. review under way into whether to launch negotiations on "final status". Serbia opposes independence.
U.N. envoy Kai Eide is expected to recommend next month whether to launch or delay talks.
The 90-percent Albanian majority is impatient for independence, six years after NATO bombers drove out Serb forces accused of brutal atrocities in fighting separatist rebels.
An estimated 180,000 Serbs fled after the war. Some 100,000 stayed, many in isolated enclaves such as Strpce. (Additional reporting by Branislav Krstic and Shaban Buza)