Friday, January 06, 2006

Kosovo citizens in Urosevac forcibly close down bars frequented by prostitutes

Text of report by Radio-Television Kosovo TV on 5 January

[Announcer] A group of Ferizaj [Urosevac] citizens have organized themselves and used force to close a dozen bars. They say that prostitutes were working in the bars and the owners were dealing in human trafficking.

[Reporter] Residents of a Ferizaj neighbourhood closed down ten bars, saying that prostitution was being conducted there. They had sent a petition to the Kosovo Police Service and municipal officials, but according to the residents nothing was undertaken. On 1 January the residents organized themselves and used force to close down all these bars.

[Resident of the neighbourhood, Vigan Hoxha] It is a straightforward matter, there was prostitution. In a lot of these bars women were working, and I as a resident of this neighbourhood together with all the other residents were forced to act. We simply evicted them.

[Reporter] The bars are owned by some of the residents living in the neighbourhood and as of January they will not receive their rent money from the shops, but according to them it is better not to get any money than for their neighbourhood to turn into a place where there is human trafficking.

[Another inhabitant of the neighbourhood] The young people of the neighbourhood got together and we reached a consensus to stop these things from happening in our neighbourhood regardless of the economic consequences. In time we believe that the good image of this neighbourhood will return.

[Reporter] Director of Municipal Inspectors Jahja Emini says that residents in the neighbourhood took the law into their own hands.

[Jahja Emini] If this has really happened, then in a sense the citizens have taken the law into their own hands, which is totally illegal. They should have notified us and we would then have passed on the information to the Kosovo Police Service. If we did not react, or do anything about this issue, they would have the right to request legal action through normal procedures.

[Reporter] The owners of these bars were citizens, of Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria and other countries. The neighbourhood has been raided by police several times, but the bars would re-open as soon as the police left.

Ferizaj Municipality temporarily closed down five bars. This was not done because of the illegal activity of prostitution but because they did not fulfil hygiene standards.

Source: RTK TV, Pristina, in Albanian 1830 gmt 5 Jan 06

39 comments:

Dardania 2006 said...

What more proof do you need than this that Albanians are not a criminal nation as many Serbs that post here claim.

When was the last time Serbs rose up and handed over a war criminal without loosing their Prime Minister in the process?

ivan said...

What your country men did, even though apparently it appears they had good intentions, was illegal. I just cant go and close somebody's shop by force only because i suspect prostitution takes place over there. What if i am wrong? How do i ensure that i am objective? Thats why you have government institutions, legal institutions and UNMIK. But I guess that doesent function in Kosova.

Cvijus011 said...

this act may show a civic consciousness, but it is how ever against the law, because as we all know that in a democratic society the primary rule is the rule of law. even if it appeared to these groups that the police hasn't done anything, it may have undertaken investigations of which these citizens were not aware of.
even their act, was it based on rumours or proofs? if it were rumours, than this is nothing of what they should be proud of. than we are not talking about the rule of democracy, but a rule of mobs, thus, anarchy. now, in anarchy is not in what we serbs would like to leave our countrymen in.

Kristian said...

Ivan you are correct and I can agree with you on that point. But if the question is the rule of law, then why did the serbs start so many wars and commit atrocities against humanity? Again if the rule of law is in question then after the breakup of FROY then Kosovo/a has the right to self rule and independence like any other republic of FROY. How come that is not so?

cvijus84 then how come the serb ppl(kosovo/a) do not participate in the goverment to make sure that the rule of law is followed. It is apparent in your eyes that you are all superior to the rest of the world and the rule of law. Warrants for the arrests of criminals don't count in your book? And sheltering them does not count either.

Look at the Mobile owner in serbia who is claiming that he fears for his life. Why is that? Why would he fear for his life in a democratic society where everyone lives to the most highest standards and are a fervent participant in upholding and practicing the rule of law! Why does he fear for his life is still the question? Tell me Ivan and cvijus84!

We can always take shots at each other and complain and complain about the other side. Nothing ever gets resolved. I'd like to propose something else: Instead of arguing or just voicing out your own opinion and assuming that others believe the same as any of us, what do you propose as the solution to all the problems in the region?

My fist resolve would be to stop stereotyping each other. It takes a lot to do that, on both sides. You must come to the realization that we are neighbors therefore should be friends. Not that we aren't today. I respect all of your opinions, do I agree with all of them, no, but I like the fact that we are talking and not shooting each other.

Kristian said...

to ivan and cvijus84 cheers and thanks for airing your opinions I hope we all have learned that talking is more rational then killing or teaching our children that you are the enemy, no matter what side you are.

Being unbiased and open minded is the key. That region of the world is the most closed minded region in the world. And I'm talking of all balkan ppl. No matter what happens there is always a conspiracy. An example is the west is out to get the serbs, at the same time albania had the same reasoning during its communist era. We are alike in so many ways, but again we do have our differences. We should take those things in common and show ppl that we all bleed red but hey we still have to live together and work things out. A lot of serbs are patiotic and talk about kosovo/a but have never visited it. Why is that? and Don't think that the Albanians will kill you, rob you, or malest you (NOT TRUE) and that is the reason I never went.

Calm words are better at easing tensions and repairing them. The majority of rhetoric is so hard lined that its pathetic on both sides. And remember politicians don't always represent the common ppl at all times. Sometimes they tend to implement their own voice (milosevic is a great example) and now the serb ppl are in a complex about it. And has caused all the ppl of FROY to be ina complex that will require a lot of therapy.

I hope everyone is positive and looks towards the future more so then in the past.

ivan said...

Kristian,

I extremely respect your last post. You are right, instead of arguing whos opinion is the right one, its better to use our time to brainstorm how we can fix the situation that our people are at the moment.

IF you read my posts, I have several times apologized for what individuals in the name of Serbia did to other people. They do not represent Serbian population as a whole. As Mitar and Cvijus 84 stated, not everything is black and white. My people have suffered from the hand of Croats, Muslims, and Albanians. As I apologize, I would also expect others to apologize as well.

My proposal is that Kosovo gets divided into Serbian and Albanian part. Serbs will be happy then, and you will get your independance. Both parts will contain minorities, and these minorities should be respected. Due to economic forces our two countries would then become closer together, and since we are all on the same path to EU, people will forget about the past, and look for the future. Example of this is Serbia and Slovenia. Slovenian products have flooded the Serbian economy, and I am glad about it, because they deliver excellent quality. Serbia and Croatia dont have visa regiems anymore. Bijelo Dugme, a Bosnian group, made a manifest of a concert in the centre of Belgrade. All of Belgrade was singing together with them, and everybody cried about old Yugoslavia. I dont see why such happenings cant happen between people of Kosovo and Serbia.

Chris Blaku said...

It is an isolated situation with its own respective circumstances, and cannot be used to suggest that the Albanians are lawless, nor that they are law abiding.

The chief special circumstance in this case is that it took place in a nation wherein the police, due to a limited budget, are less than enthusiastic with regard to acting against organized crime. In the United States, the mafia operated, and still operates, brothels and gambling gatherings on a regular basis, virtually unbothered by police. Although the act in itself may have been illegal, the special circumstances surrounding the situation, wherein the police refused to act, or were met with resistance upon doing so, forced the residents to take the law into their own hands.

Ivan, in order for you to understand the situation, you have to step out of the Western mindset and place yourself into the social structure of the region. Kosova is a conflicted territory, on the verge of independence, with little or no funding to tackle issues such as regional organized crime, which, for the time being, are left to local townsfolk to engage.

ivan said...

Chris,

the danger where i see in your point is that people themselves will choose what justice is. And in this matter objectivity is lost.

Let me give you a hypothetical example. Lets say one albanian guy didnt have good relations with his ex serbian neighbour. To get to him he would make up a story of how he saw him kill an innocent albanian child. This ofcourse would stir up emotions in the town, and because people would take law in their own hands, this innocent person would be killed.

This i suppose happened in March violance, where the albanian people blamed Serbs for the drowning of the two boys, even though they did not have any real evidence.

Kristian said...

Both of you have valid points.
Chris: In the begging ppl determined law and order in their own neighborhood, then eventually the region, and then the state, and finally the federal government.
I think chris is trying to say that this is the reality of Kosovo/a at the moment. No government branch, be it local or federal is strong enough to uphold the law with its current resources. Not to say that they are not making laws and holding ppl accountable to it, the system is not perfect yet and will need a lot of help from everyone there.

Ivan is right in his reasoning. This happened many times in the past with Catholic vs muslim. And ppl were discriminated against. The catholics had two names, their own then the one used in public to purchase products or trade.
The thing is not to create a situation where ppl will disregard the law, but abide by it. But if it doesn't work then they should hold elected officials responsible.
Secondly, the economy has to improve for the mafia will look into other ventures and will not recruit ppl.
Your both right! Neither of you are 100%, there is gray matter in the area. Not disrespecting either one of you.

Kristian said...

To: Ivan

Your proposal, is similar as to what the belgrade government wants. Which I respect but if implemented do you really think it will bring peace?

The northern region is where the major mine regions are. Basically the money makers. Now for years the governmet of Kosovo/a has been trying to gain Republic status. The reason being to control their finances and improve the region. Yes there were a lot of different ideas as to what the Albanian ppl wanted (one example: "greater albania", but when they saw albania after the communist govt fell they really didn't want that), but in reality what do ppl truly want? Doesn't matter what race you are, ppl want to be in a stable environment where they can work and prosper. I do not see you disagreeing with me on this last sentence.

Now you partition the northern region what is left for the albanian, serb, vlach etc ppl in the southern part? Not much, and they won't prosper economically. What's the point of seperating the province then when your main source of income is partitioned. And this income is not just for the alb. but for all the ppl of Kosovo/a.

Kristian said...

Ok the region is partitioned, now you have ppl that are totally upset. It would take one fanatic (just like Milosevic) to cause the region to fall into chaos. You think the KLA begginings were bad, this is a possability that could come from partitioning Kosovo/a. (THIS IS NOT A THREAT, BUT A POSSIBLITY) And I really don't want to see that happen. I can see the headlines now "another middle east in the balkans." I really don't want jihadists comming to the region and causing trouble, for we already have enough problems already. They've started corrupting ppl in B&H already. I have nothing against the faith of Islam but fanatics are unpredictable. True worshipers value life and I believe that was gods message in all our religions.

My proposal: My understanding of what the EU wants to accomplish is something like the US has here. Many states but without borders in a sense. If Kosovo/a was to become independent who would be one of their main trading partners? Serbia (most likely). and if both join the EU, even though there would be a border on paper, ppl will be able to move, live, work wherever they please. In a sense it would be just like the old FROY., actualy an improved version of it. No one would be able to blame the government(/regime/other ethnic group) for their problems bc we all would have to answer to all the ppl of europe. Our systems will eventually be tied together anyways (be it economic, industrial, political, etc..) So in a sense your not losing anything if it did become independent bc in the future all will be one in europe.

Another option is to make the region neutral as is Switzerland. Why not? No need for a military, so money would be spent on actual development. Belgrade spends some 30+% of GDP on the military. Why when you have ppl throughout serbia that would benefit more if the money were used to develop Serbia and its ppl. There are many benefits to this. And no one loses bc it benefits both parties.

Kristian said...

Even if it remains part of the S&M government, belgrade has repeatedly said it will not govern the ppl. So what kind of situation is this. Will Kosovo/a resources remain in the hands of the ppl? so that they can build the region up and not direct revenues to belgrade first and then belgrade would decided how the money would be spent. You know that is the reason Slovenia, Croatia, B&H, Macedonia wanted to split. Belgrade became greedy and wanted to control everything. You can't do that bc you create mistrust, you have to be fair in a democratic society.

There is a solution where all parties can live with, I don't know what it is but I know that there is an answer, a peaceful one that is.

And please don't point to my example to prove that albanians are terrorist or not able to govern. Every society has extremists (your milosevic) ruined a nation and your ppl's image for yrs to come and looted the governmets money for his own personal objectives.

And a personal note on apologies the day will come when both sides will apologize publicly/
officially. Its inevidable!

fauna said...

That region needs to grow economically. With money, people find happiness or at least they get fooled by it.

Then we will love one another and not think about any of the problems we've had.

We'll think about getting the latest iPod, getting laid, making more money, etc.

everyone must agree with me on this one...

Dardania 2006 said...

Fauna i totaly agree with you.

And to get here people must be free, feel safe, and leave the past to history. In other words, the Kosovars must catch up with Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, and for this we need to deal with our own matters (i.e. be independent)

ivan said...

Kristian,

"The northern region is where the major mine regions are. Basically the money makers. Now for years the governmet of Kosovo/a has been trying to gain Republic status. The reason being to control their finances and improve the region. Yes there were a lot of different"

Kosovo& Metohija has been an asset to Serbia ever since until 1999. Dont you think that Serbian economy would suffer as well? Lets turn the situation around. Lets say that Kosovo does become fully independent inclouding the North of Mitrovica. Would you then approve the will of the Serbian people who are in majority in that region to hold a referendum and have the choice to be independent? They should have the same right as Kosovo albanians, to choose not to be ruled by albanians, just the same as your people chose no to be ruled by Serbs. If it comes to the development of a country, then it is not an issue of another country. What i mean is that you should not expect from Serbia to give you Pancevo only because you do not have an oil industry. So if Kosovo is to be divided( and I see that as the only fair solution), then it should be divided on the basis of its core problem, and that is that Albanian people do not want to live with Serbian people. So to solve the problem, where ever there is an alabanian majority that should belong to independent kosovo, or dardanija, however you want to call it, and where the areas where the majority is serbian, it should belong to Serbia.

Anonymous said...

Ivan,

I don't know where you got the idea that "Northern Region" is Serb majority - far from it. It has been ethnically cleansed and Albnaians and others are still not allowed to cross the bridge to go back to their homes.

armera said...

For clarification reasons, as I was reading comments I got an impression that some of you think that region where all the mines are belongs to Serb majority. I thought the same however it appears that it is not so.
Albanians are majority where the ore is (as well as entrances to mines)
Serbs are majority where the ore is processed.

Bottom line is, whatever we manage to agree upon, or better said whatever internationals push forward as the final/another interim solution, we still have to cooperate.

I believe that northern parts of Kosove where the majority of population is Serbs, and Presheve, Bujanovc, Kumanove where majority is Albanians should be exchanged.

Soon or later when we join EU this will not matter as much.

To Christian Orthodox Kosovars, Marry Christmas

Mir said...

"Would you then approve the will of the Serbian people who are in majority in that region to hold a referendum and have the choice to be independent? They should have the same right as Kosovo albanians, to choose not to be ruled by albanians, just the same as your people chose no to be ruled by Serbs."

A VERY good question.

Kristian said...

its a region and not a place with clearly defined borders as Kosovo/a is. You can't use that arguement bc the same can be said of albanians living in Mont. and Serbia. Those regions don't have clearly defined borders as Kosovo/a does.

Anonymous said...

If it comes down to partitioning, then Albanian will come out victorious. We'll be able to unite our lands in the Balkans finally in one country, not in five as it is now. And that with Serbs doing most of the work for us.
Albanians have to sit and wait this one out as Serbs piss off the West once again with their whining and arrogance and then make the moves.

armera said...

I would approve a referendum for Zvecan, Leposavic and the region around where Serbs are majority. In that case you would have to do the same for Presheve, Bujanovc, Kumanove and the region around with Albanian majority.

Personally I would like this, however I think this depends more on EU and USA and how they see this.

arianit said...

I don't undestand why self-action by the citizens to clear their neighbhorhood from criminals and trafickers in human beings raises protests from the Serb readers of this blog. If there is anything at all that the Balkans is missing, it is precisely this sense of neighbhors acting out together and for one another to clean up their neighborhood from criminal scum before all the other apples turn bad.
With the authorities often failing to act or playing ethnic groups against each other, it should be the communities that decide where their real interest lie and not expect direction from policians in far away places. In Kosova some two years ago there was a crime-alert campaing whose Serbian name sounded much more poetic and powerful, "Strasno je Cutati" (It's deafnening to stay quiet.) And this is what would upset me most during the war, seeing my Serb neighbhors houses turn into paramilitary nests.
Unfortunately, over and over again in the past 15 years neighbhors have turned their backs to each other and hid behind the hysteria of the polictians while their communities were being ripped apart. It's so unfortunate that six years later Serbs still look for direction to Belgrade instead of of directly apologizing to their former neighbhors for joining Belgrade's cabala in 1999. It's also unfortunate that Albanian parents and neighbhors stayed in their homes while their kids were out unloading their anger at the nearest Serb church or house in the March riots.

Srecan Bozic!

Kristian said...

Ivan and a few ppl have said that it was illegal and it is so, the rule of law should be upheld. What the citizens could of done is purposely gone into the cafe (sting operation) ask for a prostitute and if one was provided made a citizens arrest of the owner. The fear of the serbs and I hope of albanians is that if ppl use this all the time, ppl can use it for personal reasons. (eliminate competition, neighbor, or ppl they have grudges against(albo. or serb). That is the fear of civilians taking things into their own hand. They truly did have good intentions, but when do the good intentions turn to something else, then what? The rule of law should always be upheld! You know a simple law punishing such acts and never giving a license to operate a busines would be a start. Then jail time, etc.. Would eliminate such ppl.

Mir said...

"I don't undestand why self-action by the citizens to clear their neighbhorhood from criminals and trafickers in human beings raises protests from the Serb readers "

Because its illegal and vigilante is a foreshadowing of what is to come in independent Kosovo.

illyrianboy said...

Hey Mir, STFU!

Why do you serb posters have to assume the right to judge anything that happens in Kosovo. This has nothing to do with independence. If it has anything to do with it then STUFF LIKE THIS WOULDNT HAVE TO HAPPEN IN AN INDEPENDENT KOSOVO, SINCE THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE FREE TO CRACKDOWN ON HUMAN TRAFICKING AND THE BORDER WITH SERBIA (WHERE THE PROSTITUTES MAINLY COME THROUGH) WOULD BE BETTER CONTROLLED. So, STFU again dude!

illyrianboy said...

Hey Mir, STFU!

Why do you serb posters have to assume the right to judge anything that happens in Kosovo. This has nothing to do with independence. If it has anything to do with it then STUFF LIKE THIS WOULDNT HAVE TO HAPPEN IN AN INDEPENDENT KOSOVO, SINCE THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE FREE TO CRACKDOWN ON HUMAN TRAFICKING AND THE BORDER WITH SERBIA (WHERE THE PROSTITUTES MAINLY COME THROUGH) WOULD BE BETTER CONTROLLED. So, STFU again dude!

Kristian said...

To: Mir
You are right to a point, but no one can predict the future, but it is a concern and an issue that left uncontrolled could lead to something nasty and against the law.

Kristian said...

To: Illyrianboy In a democratic society anyone can post on these blogs and have whatever opinion they want, its their right, and you don't have to agree with them. You should respect their thoughts even if they totally contradict yours.

Dardania 2006 said...

Kristian,

We have hormon raging 13 year olds too...sooner we get a state, sooner these kids will have something better to do with their time.

illyrianboy said...

Hey Kristian,

what is your problem dude? What the hell do you mean when you say "Mir, you are right to a point". You agree with that nonsensical statement?

And what is this BS about blogging in a democratic society? I wasnt born yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Kristian,

You're talking about an ideal world. Kosova is not one. In fact the ideal world does not exist.
I understand your fears (Serbs on the other hand just seek ways to prove whatever their politics is), but looking back in history that is not what your fears should come from.
People went to the police and they didn't respond. It seems like the police (both local and international) always take months and an "operation" to find out that prostitution is going on right after the last kid in the hood has figured that out. I personally doubt they are being honest since according to their own statistics internationals (mainly security forces now) make up some 25% of the customers. Remeber that episode when the prositutes left three French soldiers without clothes in n. Mitrovica?

Once again, the Balkans is messed up because good people choose to look away at crime done right under their noses and in their name, not because they are vigilante.
In Bosnia this is most clearer. UN officials that had witnessed the events there told me that fighting and hatred didn't start until gangsters from Serbia would roll in and start killing and burning randomly with the sole purpose of setting Serbs against Muslims and Croats against each other. When they had the dominoes rolling ("see, we told you Bosniaks are evil? you didn't want to trust us."), they moved on to their next multiethnic target. All targets fell under this spell except Tuzla. Tuzla is a fascinating story of Tuzlan Bosniaks and Serbs coming together to kick out the gangs and the "People's Army."
People of Ferizaj didn't use violence and achieved to clean up their street, so I can only applaud them for that. If the owners have a case, let them sue for damages.

arianit said...

This one too: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing"

Kristian said...

I never said I didn't agree with you guys, but the main concern is that: what if all ppl just took the law into their own hands? Then what! Here in the states you can make a citizens arrest. They could of done that and then let the law deal with those folks. Good ppl can do what they did, but there is a chance that others (misintensioned) can use it for other purposes.

Kristian said...

To: Illyrianboy I don't have a problem. But the guy does have a point in the long term of things. Of course the system is not up to where it is. And as anonymous pointed out 25% of customers are foreingers. The law is the law and good ppl should respect it and uphold it. I do know that the situation on the ground is no way near where it should be. But such acts can have positive intentions but positives in the long run can be used for negative intentions by others with different agenda's. You know how easy it is to set off the ppl there. I bet I could incite a riot of some sort within days in certain areas. And that is reality!

Kristian said...

and annonymous you said the owners could sue if they were unjustly closed down. I think the brothels should be closed entirely. But how long do you think that their case would be heard in court right now? It'll probably take weeks as it took the residents to get anything done by the police there (which never happened). The concern is not what they did that is wrong. The concern is what if ppl use that excuse for other purposes for their own benefit, without letting the law function as it should. And if there is no action by the police then ppl should be held accountable for their inactions, not stopping criminals activities, etc. The police have a duty and so do the security forces. And to point out there were villages in Kosovo/a that protected innocent serbs there as well. And they weren't serb sypathyzers either. You can't have things done immediately without a solid infrastruture which the politicians are working hard to create. And they will have it up and running. Bc I know they will!

illyrianboy said...

Kristian

the guy doesnt have a point. He is just being judgemental and prejudiced against albanians (in line with serbian media and politicians who say that albanians are criminals and if kosovo becomes independent it will be e crime haven). so open your eyes.

Mir said...

"the guy doesnt have a point. He is just being judgemental and prejudiced against albanians (in line with serbian media and politicians who say that albanians are criminals and if kosovo becomes independent it will be e crime haven). so open your eyes. "

I am not prejudice, but I am right and I know it for myself. You cannot take the law into your OWN hands. It's that simple. If I sounded prejudice I apologize, because I truly am not, but that is what I see when I read the article.

illyrianboy said...

Mir,
no one is saying its ok to take the law in your own hands. I am saying, this controversial action (with good and bad sides) by citizens can't be used to say things like: If Kosovo becomes independent crime will be widespread. That is naive.

Kristian said...

Illyrian boy is correct in that point. The government/police should be wary of such actions but the citizens did do the right thing with what was available in their town.