Sunday, September 10, 2006

Koco Danaj and Internet Weasels

Who is Koco Danaj?

According to Italian news agency AKI, relying presumably on Pristina daily Epoka e Re, Danaj is a "political adviser to Albania's prime minister, Sali Berisha."

Days after I described Danaj thusly in my column, started getting angry emails from Albanians. Koco Danaj, they all claimed, is no adviser to Berisha, but a marginal political figure; I manufactured falsehoods, and should retract his qualification at once; even Danaj himself wrote eventually - albeit in Albanian, so I could not understand a word of what he was trying to say.

So, who is Koco Danaj? I don't know - and honestly, I don't much care. Neither the Albanian government, which denied ties to Danaj, nor my numerous Albanian detractors to, have at any one point taken exception to the content of Danaj's comments to Epoka e Re: namely, the need for a "natural Albania" in the Balkans. It's these comments, rather than Mr. Danaj's identity, that interested me in the first place. Given that no one made a point of disagreeing with him, he may as well be a political adviser to Mr. Berisha, or the KLA "government" of "Kosova" for that matter.

One of my favorite bloggers often resorts to seeding his writings with "weasel traps" - details deliberately askew, so that the typical internet critic (who enjoys taking potshots at people but flees an actual debate like the devil from a cross) would latch onto them instead of challenging the actual points of the argument.

I wish I were clever enough to do this, but apparently, I don't need to; as the story of Koco Danaj goes to show, my critics are good at making their own weasel traps and springing them without any help on my part.

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