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Kosovo's Unwelcome Role In Frankfurt Terror Deaths


It feels like a day of mourning in Pristina. Shock, anger, and dismay are palpable in the streets of Kosovo's capital against the backdrop of today's headlines: "Kosovar Kills Two U.S. Army Men At Frankfurt Airport."

The suspect in yesterday's tragedy is Arid Uka, a 21-year-old Kosovo Albanian, born and raised in Germany, where his family has lived for four decades.

Police claim he is not registered in any database on alleged terrorist acts within Kosovo, while information on his family is limited and his profile remains unclear.

What is clear, though, is the anger and revulsion that Kosovars felt and continue to feel.

Upon hearing the news, a group of young students from Pristina University gathered in the center of the city to light candles in memory of the U.S. soldiers killed in the shooting.

Candles were lit in Mitrovica, too, Arid Uka's city of origin, where young people gathered and expressed their condolences to the American people.

The authorities were quick to react, claiming it was "a macabre act against the values of civilization and against the tradition of Kosovo people, to endlessly show gratitude toward the U.S. for its role in freedom of Kosovo."

When the news came out on RFE/RL's Albanian-language website www.evrropaelire.org, the flow of the commentaries was unbelievable.

More than 100 commentaries poured in from Kosovo and around the world, and the flow continued with expressions of condolences and demands of capital punishment for the perpetrator.

"He cannot be an Albanian," one went. Another equated shooting at the U.S. with "being a traitor." "How can one shoot against a helping hand?" asked another. All seemingly bringing the grim atmosphere dominating Kosovo society today into sharp relief.

The president of the Albanian-American Democratic Club in New York, Alban Dega, wrote an open letter to Kosovo's highest authorities suggesting that the suspect be stripped of his Albanian nationality and Kosovo citizenship.

"We are the most pro-American and most pro-Western nation on Earth. The Albanian Pro-Americanism is not only a value, but a national cult which honors the Albanians wherever they are on Earth", Dega proclaims.

"God bless U.S. men and women in uniform and the USA! Amen!" Dega concludes.

Similar expressions of solidarity can be heard today all over Kosovo.

Kosovo's parliament held a moment of silence today to express condolences to the U.S., its people, its army, and to the families of the victims.

-- Arbana Vidishiqi

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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