Israeli media on Tadić's visit

Thanks to friend of East Ethnia O.F. for bringing this to attention. Yossi Melman interviewed Boris Tadić for Haaretz and found out:

*He could not go swimming because he had a flu and was too busy

*The murder of Zoran Djindjić was like the murder of Yitzhak Rabin because "both were motivated by a desire to put an end to historical processes."

*He wants to commemmorate Serbian and Jewish victims in "a memorial center for the common tragedy of our two peoples, which will be built in Belgrade, where two concentration camps were located during the Nazi occupation."

*He sees a parallel between the sense of threat in both states, as (the reporter's words) "many Serbs feel close to and identify with Israel; they feel a common sense of victimization, justified or not. Israel is fighting Palestinian terrorism, and Serbia feels threatened by Albanian terrorism in the fight over Kosovo, most of whose residents are Muslims who want independence from Serbia."

All said, the interview is typical Tadić: a little bit of moderation, a little bit of opportunism, a little bit of playing to the extremes. It makes for an interesting set-piece on hybridity and the uses of victimisation.


Daniel Durini said...

This last part is most unfortunate comparison, I could add. Even more so, when the serbian government is facing the process of probable independance of Kosovo.

What Israel has been doing to the Palestinians is called State-terrorism. Is Tadic justifying the NATO intervention from the '99?

Yakima_Gulag said...

Daniel, I do not think Tadic is trying to defend the NATO intervention. I do not think any leader in Serbia can do that and remain alive let alone in office. I think instead, he is trying to build common ground with the State of Israel.
Another thing, what ever either of us think of the Albanian people, the fact remains that a lot of the problems in the Balkans trace to Kosovo. This has been true for longer than either of us have even been alive.
Today's secret Klingon word is: cvxlnek which is the Klingon attempt to pronounce the B/H/S word for 'flowers' The Klingon accent is so strong that all their efforts to infiltrate Earth have failed miserably!

Eric Gordy said...

It is hard to imagine what he was trying to do. The only thing that makes sense is that he was trying to pander to his hosts, but did not know what he was talking about well enough to do it well.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Pristina right now. It's... really interesting.

I hadn't realized just how bad things got here, back in the '90s. I mean, I knew Slobo had fired all the Albanians -- miners, doctors, judges, everybody -- and turned the province over to be looted by his cronies, and imposed an apartheid regime, and sent petty criminals in to be cops, and all that.

But I still didn't realize just how damn bad it had gotten.

The Albanians were -- and still are -- painfully politically immature. (Their reaction to the March riots of this year was indicative. "Why is everybody mad at us?") Kosovo is going to be a mess for a long time to come.

That said, it's really easy to understand why they were so desperate to get out from under Belgrade. Before Slobo, Kosovo had problems; after a few years of Slobo, it was a black hole of misery and oppression.

-- Idle question: does any Serbian politician or media figure ever use any term to describe Albanian fighters other than "terrorist"?

Doug M.

Eric Gordy said...

Doug, happy travels! I've been following your updates at your site too.
The interview with Tadic might make clear just how hard it is for everyone to get clear of fundamental positions on Kosovo, it is a real sticking point even for the people who are aware that the territory is pretty much headed toward independence.
On the somewhat earlier history, the best light reading I can recommend is the memoir by Mary Motes, who came to Pristina as the first regular English teacher by the good graces of the British Council in 1965.

Anonymous said...


Terrorist? What is the definition of terrorist? Isnt it someone who strikes terror into the minds of the people. So when Albanians destroy churches (100's so far) and kill children, and also shoot at cars killing 2 young men (happened recently), what would you call that? Friendliness? When someone strikes terror into you and forces you to do as they say, what is that? Osama? Is he a terrorist? Doesnt he have a goal, I believe they said for US to pull out of israel and iraq. Very close comparison.

Eric Gordy said...

There are places you can look for better definitions of terrorism, although there isn't a consensus definition the three or four definitions that are used most often make a good ground for discussion. Have a look at the first chapter of Mass Mediated Terror by Brigitte nacos for a good introductory discussion.

oskar said...

I can see how thre's a connection of sorts between Serbia and Israel.

First and foremost, Serbia was on the right side in WWII (against the Nazis).

Second, both serbs and jews suffered in concentration- / death camps during WWII (although at different magnitudes).

Also important, both have a confrontation with Islam / muslim minorities. Partly because of this they have 'common' enemies like Iran (but while Israel enjoys a close military relationship with Turkey, Serbia does not).

Finally, I the fact that Serbia, to my knowledge, is just about the only country in SE Europe (ie incl Hungary) with a relatively 'clean record' during WWII and thereafter might also be of importance. Both Croatia and Hungary don't. Greeks have had poor relations with Jews since antiquity. I'm not too sure about Romania. Bulgaria would probably be the other state with a relatively good record on treatment of Jews.