I was born in Cherso when this northern Dalmatian island belonged to Italy. My father in 1947 was forced to exile in the USA by the ethnic cleansing of the Italians done by the Croatian Tito (then dictator of communist Yugoslavia) and brought me to this wonderful country called "America", where I have reached the "American dream" after a life of hard work. Nearly all my family in Cherso has been "exterminated": two uncles have disappeared in the Foibes, an aunt was raped and killed by the "glorious partizans" of Tito, my grandfather was fusilated in Zara and two cousins were drowned while escaping to Trieste from the socialist paradise of communist Yugoslavia. The cementery where most members of my family were buried for generations has been "wiped out" (like many other "Italian" evidences) by the Tito authorities in Cherso in 1952, so that no evidences of the Italian presence in the island can be verified with their graves. This is what I call the "perfect ethnic cleansing" done by the Slavs of Tito in Cherso. Ah, I forgot: I have some property confiscated from my family in Cherso, and sincerely I don't believe I will ever get it back.....but I hope the new Croatia of the European Union will -soon or later- be more civilized in ethnic matters than the one of communist Tito.
Today (february 17, 2008) for the first time since WWII a piece of Yugoslavia breaks away from the Slav control!! KOSOVO IS INDEPENDENT ! I hope soon other parts of ex-Yugoslavia will follow....may be even my CHERSO, or Istria or Zara....who knows?
Anyway, here it is an interesting article about the proclamation of independence of the Albanians of Kosovo from the Slavs:
"....A new line of T-shirts here bears the words "Uncle, It's Over" and a portrait of Adem Jashari, a founder of the Kosovo Liberation Army. His killing by Serb forces in 1998, along with at least 50 other people, many of them his relatives, brought the little-known guerrilla organization into the open.
The self-styled army, once condemned as a terrorist organization by its critics, mounted a classic hit-and-run insurgency against Serb authorities in the province of Kosovo before retreating into mountain redoubts.
What was then Yugoslavia responded viciously, instituting a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Albanian majority that led NATO to bomb the country in 1999. After 78 days of sorties by as many as 1,000 aircraft, President Slobodan Milosevic withdrew his forces from Kosovo, and the military alliance, greeted as liberators by ethnic Albanians, marched in.
Nearly nine years later, Jashari's unlikely dream of an independent Kosovo is about to become reality. The frigid, snow-dusted provincial capital of Pristina is brimming with excited crowds anticipating that Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, will declare independence from Serbia on Sunday afternoon.
Beer flowed freely
For most ethnic Albanians, including many in the diaspora who have returned here, the party has already begun. Fireworks lighted the sky Saturday night, drivers honked their horns and the beer flowed freely in this Muslim-majority but not very observant corner of Europe.
"I lived through the worst times in the war, and now I want to share this special moment," said Mimoza Rushiti, 30, a filmmaker who returned from New York, where she has lived for the past seven years.
The move is expected to be quickly followed by formal recognition by the United States and many, but not all, of the European Union's member states. Some E.U. countries, including Spain, fear that Kosovo's independence will embolden separatists elsewhere on the continent.
Kosovo's Serb minority, which makes up about 10 percent of the province's population of 2 million, has resisted the independence move, and Russia and its ally Serbia, which regards Kosovo as an integral and historically precious part of its territory, are expected to swiftly condemn Thaci's declaration.
"We are all expecting something difficult and horrible," Bishop Artemije, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, said Saturday in Mitrovica, a city in northern Kosovo. "Our message to you, all Serbs in Kosovo, is to remain in your homes and around your monasteries, regardless of what God allows or our enemies do."
Stars and Stripes
Pristina, like much of Kosovo, is festooned with the Stars and Stripes, a recognition of the leading role the United States took in the 1999 bombing campaign and in the drive toward independence. A street here is named after former president Bill Clinton. And a man pushing a wheelbarrow full of empty bottles along a Pristina street Saturday morning had stuck the U.S. flag on the front of his cart.
"Finally, finally, our time has come," said Elora Namadi, 21, one of several women baking a 3,300-pound cake that they expect to serve to 30,000 people in the center of Pristina on Sunday afternoon. "We are very happy."
But T-shirts and flags aside, the formal celebration plans, reportedly vetted by U.S. officials, are to be stripped of any of nationalist triumphalism, especially rousing anthems that praise the violent struggle of figures such as Jashari.
Thaci, the former political leader of the KLA, has attempted to soothe the fearful Serb community, assuring his isolated neighbors that they have a place in the new state.
"In an independent Kosovo, no citizen of Kosovo will be discriminated against or pushed aside," said Thaci, who visited Jashari's grave site Saturday. "Kosovo is the mother of all its citizens."
To some here, such words carry little weight. Most of the remaining 120,000 Serbs of Kosovo live in enclaves protected by NATO troops and barbed wire. Parts of Kosovo's north, which border Serbia, and some communities in the eastern part of the province are enclosed, Serb-only areas seething with resentment...."