Monday, February 18


New York, Capital of the World, Again

I was informed of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence yesterday not by turning on the TV but by caravans of Albanians in SUVs warp-speeding through Midtown at top speed, the red flag of Skanderbeg flying, horns honking and blasting out music that sounded like it was produced by the Funky Disco Terror Section of the Nagorno-Karabakh Internal Revolutionary Organization, if one exists. (Surely they have some sort of largely artificial traditional folk music like every other European nation?)

The flags were, as I said, all Albanian. I didn't actually see any Kosovan flags, though, no surprise given they're a tepid U.N.-inspired rehash of Bosnia's next door, and don't really seem to have much history to add sentimental shine. In the long run I have no clue if this independence development is that great, or all that terrible, or neither (though I suggest they could make things far more entertaining if they invited in the current Prince of Wied to be King) considering the fact most of the crazy-quilt of proud and ancient peoples down that way tend to have had historical borders as flexible as Play-Doh, and, as with Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro, myth and legitimacy blur together so frequently it's hard to say who owns what, and why. What would Franz-Joseph do?

In any case, congrats to the Kosovars. Break out the mint-flavored meatballs. I just hope, now that the Turkish slipper is on the other foot, they respect their non-Albanian neighbors in the vast, squabbling time-share condo that is the Balkan peninsula. I'm not saying, the way of the world being what it is, that it's likely, but one can always hope.

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