Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Elections test Albanian Identity and resolve

18 May 2010

How did we get to this part: The northern-most region of Malёsia e Madhe on the verge of ethnic realignment? And the most intriguing part might be that Albanians will be ushering this phenomenon in with their vote on May 23rd.

On a warm Saturday evening inside the QIK in Tuz you would have thought that a rock concert was taking place amidst the jubilant crowd inside. Loud chants followed by continuous applause echoed off the walls as Montenegro’s political rock stars staged a massive campaign rally under the slogan, “For a European Tuz.” The audience emphatically cheered their Premier, Milo Djukanovic along with his close political allies, most noticeably Ferhat Dinosha.

In a scene bewildering to most Albanians from across the Balkans, the hall was draped with Montenegrin and Bosnian flags and symbols, but if one looked closely you could make out a red a black fabric resembling the Albanian eagle, which looked more like a sparrow struggling to stay in flight amidst all the Slavic jargon.

So what is going on in Malёsia?

Sources in Washington have revealed that the U.S. Department of State has pressured Podgorica to announce an implementation plan for a “Malёsia Municipality” in time for the elections on May 23rd. The DPS, along with the Democratic Union of Albanians (UDSH) and the Bosniak Party (BP) rallied in Tuz and announced that the fate of a Malёsia Municipality will be realized through a referendum in the next four years. Djukanovic, sensing the seriousness of U.S. pressure, decided to make the fifteen minute drive to Tuz and assert that, "I'm sure you believe me because you have reason to believe - I have no fear of the new municipality of Tuzi. We will support what you will choose in a referendum for the municipality.” Djukanovic went on to stress that minorities in Montenegro have never felt like second class citizens, a claim that he says separates Montenegro from the rest of the Balkans.

The coalition is running under the slogan, "For European Tuz," and playing to the drum of Podgorica’s interests as the DPS continues to utilize its Albanian anecdote, Ferhat Dinosha where on stage he announced that in four years the referendum will be held for the full municipality. Sensing that he needed to solidify his ego amongst the rambunctious crowd, Dinosha reminded them that the man (referring to himself) who four years earlier had organized a referendum to restore the independence of Montenegro, and now the same man (again referring to himself) “will in four years organize the referendum for the municipality of Tuzi…Malёsia will be what you decide…this will happen because that is the agreement of the stronger parties,” referring to the Montenegrin DPS and the Albanian UDSH.

So where were the “Malёsia Albanians”?

The desperation in Malёsia was never more evident than when a new coalition, of sorts, formed only after it was clear that non-Albanians might contend for local seats. Long-time rivals and bitter opponents Vasel Sinishtaj, Gjergj Camaj, Maliq Cunmulaj, and Nikolle Camaj formed an unlikely alliance to secure as many votes as possible and thwart a DPS-led takeover.

This show of “unity” could not have come at a more coincidental time, in the weeks leading to the elections that otherwise would have witnessed these gentlemen running on opposing platforms, but now here they were basically forced to swallow their prides and run along one another.

Their campaign slogan is a simple one: Vote for Albanians (the Coalition for Malёsia) or risk losing “everything.” Their battle cries have attempted to make citizens of Malёsia realize that if their coalition loses on Sunday, Malёsia will be overrun by Slavs and Bosniaks and, according to Sinishtaj, “Albanians will have Slavs acting as the men of their households.”

Playing the nationalist card is nothing new in the Balkans, but it has taken a new twist in Montenegro where Albanians and Montenegrins live peacefully side by side – an unrealized threat that is only now making its presence felt. Because of the perceived peace in Montenegro, it is assumed that Albanians will coexist with Bosniaks in a region historically overwhelmingly populated by Albanians. As true as this is, the coalition is playing the realignment into the fears of Malёsia’s Albanians, where a Malёsia Municipality run by Slavs and Bosniaks will seal the fate of Albanians in the region for a very long time to come.

On the surface, it seems like all the pieces are falling into place – Malёsia will get its municipality and the people will vote in the politicians to take their seats. Multi-ethnic parties will flourish in a Montenegro destined for EU integration, a model for Balkan unity amid the tragedies of the 1990s. What is not so clear is the future of Albanians in the realigned Malёsia region. The fate of their homeland is at risk, where a new political order consisting of non-Albanian representatives directed by Podgorica will terrorize their future ambitions of equal representation and nondiscrimination. Suffice to say, if the Coalition for Malёsia loses on Sunday, Albanians in Montenegro will certainly be candidates for endangered species.


Anonymous said...

It is quite distressing to think for a moment that any municipal institution in Tuz will be run by Slavs and/or Bosnians.

It is sickening to read these articles and then realize that ultimately all these things are in teh hands of teh voters, who are predominantly Albanians, yet a considerable number will vote for others.

Where on earth is the logic here? Have Albanian political leaders in Tuz screwed the political process so much that their own will not even vote for them?

Unknown said...

Has anyone spoken to friends/family in Malesia? I wonder what the mood is over there upon these upcoming elections. Is there a sense of urgency or have they given up on the "Albanian Alliance"?

And you know what is really distressing, the video of Dinosha and Co. at the cultural center in Tuz. Do the Albanians in Malesi have any sense of pride and national self-determination left? It is a shame to see people chanting 'MILO MILO MILO', after he promises a referendum that is four years too late. Let us not forget that it is the ALBANIANS IN MALESIA that secured the referendum a few years back. Let us not forget that we were promised a municipality at that point, not four years later when Milo Djukanovic and his right-hand man Ferhat Diniosha stroll in Tuz being greeted with the Montenegrian national anthem and Montenegrian flags being waved.

Shame on the Albanians in Malesia... from this current vantage point it seems as if they have lost all pride in their heritage, in their land, in their culture and in their future. Camaj & Cunmulaj had four years to deliver. Four years later, they have to form alliances with every Tom, Dick and Harry to gather every last vote. Shame on them, they should have secured this election from the day they were first elected.

You know, I am keeping my fingers crossed that come Sunday evening I will not be seeing images of Montenegrian flags being waved in Tuz as they were last weekend. But, at this point I am so fed up with the Albanian political leaders in Malesi that my anger and anguish seem to be a lost cause.

And lastly, kudos on this article... very enjoyable read.

Anonymous said...

There is really nothing more to say about this that has not been said years before.

Albanians had a chance to show Montenegro that they could run an urban municipality on their own and break its dependence on Podgorica. However, Camaj amd Cunmulaj somehow fucked the whole apparatus up, deliberately by all accounts.

Just think about it, you received thousands of euros per month to run a municipal government the way Podgorica wants, and if you dare start acting patriotic or anything resembling such a thing, YOU'RE OUT! No more position, no more salary, no more future in Montenegro.

So they asked themselves, "do we want to risk everything?"

Oh yeah, they would periodically write a couple of tough-minded articles here and there, say a few choice words at weddings and funerals, but at the end of the day, the folded their tails between their legs and wobbled back to their villages. This can also be said about Sinishtaj and Gjergj Camaj as well. Nothing more than inexperienced, habitual liers that are only in it for notoriety and money, they can care less about the fate of Albanians because if they did, there would have at least been one God-damned legislation introduced in Parliament encouraging increased rights for Albanians.

Whatever happens Sunday, nothing will change at all.

My guess is that Albanians will win, but they will also breath a sigh of relief knowing that they will continue to receive those bloody paychecks every month, at the expense of all teh other Albanians that will be swept under the Montenegrin rug.

How soon we forgot what happened in September 2006 ...

... whip our asses, torture and humiliate us ... and now plead for our votes.

Anonymous said...

you finally see these dumbasses coming together because of the threat of losing malesia/ tuzi. their selfishness has come full circle to bite them in the ass. now we have bosnian and serb garbage taking over our last nook to push us out and disolve one of the last albanian dominated areas.

if they were only fully aware of their ability to bring our land back to albania.

back in 2000, kosova was ready to help the malsor and malesia but of course the malsor were too stupid and didnt consider themselves "that albanian" to be mixed up with kosovar. now that have to suck it up and accept the sad reality that the montengrin serbs look at them like a bunch of niggers; and honestly, the malsor are hopefully coming around and realizing that they are second class citizens on their own land.

maybe they'll get their shitty commune, but i think its not enough considering that they deserve much more than just a little slice of their own pie. i dont think they deserve that commune. being that half of them dont give a shit about it.

maybe they need to get a little taste of serb hatred (like an ass whipping) to really get it through their thick skulls to know that serbs hate us and always will.


oso kuka

Anonymous said...

God bless the Albanians.