As in 1999, they thought it would be easy: they show up with overwhelming force, string barbed wire across the road, install Thaci's "customs agents" and prevent any Serb traffic in or out of the province until they recognize the occupation government. They did not expect resistance. They did not expect the local Serbs, betrayed and abandoned by the government in Belgrade, to block the "peackepeers" in turn - with trucks, concrete blocks, earthen berms, and even their own bodies.
For eleven days, KFOR and the Serbs faced off. KFOR would tear down a Serb barricade, only to find a new one built to replace it. German and American troops - together in a mission of repressing Serbs, how ironic - threatened to shoot, but never dared. Until this morning, when they did.
They claim "self-defense." Sure they do. They claim it was the Serbs' fault. Sure they would. Isn't it always? Yes, by all means blame the local population for refusing to submit to an illegal occupation and its illegal blockade, harassment and repression. Keep in mind that those Serbs who use the Albanian checkpoints routinely get arrested, beaten, or have their vehicles impounded or destroyed - yet KFOR and EULEX do nothing. So much for the U.S. and NATO standing for "freedom". Yes, "freedom" is when you get the right to do as you're told, and nothing else. Dare refuse, and you become a "rogue."
Here is something the "repressive, lawless military occupation force" (in the words of former UNMIK official Gerard Gallucci, an American) doesn't seem to understand: they are up against the people who have nothing to lose but their lives. The fact that they decided to stay and defend their homes, facing down the Albanians, KFOR and even the betrayal of their own government - well, the quislings in Belgrade anyway - ought to indicate these people will not surrender. As did the barricades and the sit-ins.
|Serbs passing a cabbage dish to a German soldier at Jarinje, September 18, 2011|
Last week, the Serbs at that very barricade shared their food with the German occupiers, in an act of good will. Today, that was repaid with bullets.
KFOR claims it was targeted by "pipe bombs." Amateur Serbs, reporting from the area as they have for the past two months, say the locals used clumps of dirt, rocks and "cheerleader flares" (sparklers used at soccer games). Those are not "pipe bombs." And unarmed people facing off heavily armed troops is not a "clash," but a massacre waiting to happen. KFOR also lied about using rubber bullets. Video evidence clearly shows live ammo.
Apparently it was Americans who opened fire. How ironic. They've effectively changed sides from 70 years ago, assisting Germans and proud heirs of Hitler's allies against their own historical ally.
If you think my invocation of WW2 is improper, consider this: one of the Serbs detained this morning - prior to the shooting - protested (see source account here) his treatment to KFOR by saying that "it's beginning to look like Auschwitz around here" (referring, presumably, to thick barbed wire and armed German guards). KFOR's response was, "Not yet. We don't have gas chambers for you."
For shame, KFOR. If you still have any.
UPDATE (17:30 EDT): I just spoke to RT about the events. Not sure when the video will be available.
Again, these weren't "clashes". This wasn't KFOR acting in "self-defense." It was KFOR being the muscle for Hashim Thaci's illegal government, abusing the population that protested in a peaceful and civilized manner. In 1999, KFOR stood idly by as KLA rampaged across the province, driving hundreds of thousands out and burning their homes and churches. In 2004, KFOR stood by again, letting Thaci's followers expel and burn out thousands more. Now KFOR is assisting Thaci openly, and to what end? Hoping that these last Serbs either submit to Thaci's thug "state", or pack up and leave?
Some "democracy." Some "freedom." Some "law and order."