November 2001- The events of September 11 and the subsequent military and diplomatic reactions have consumed the attention of the world's media and viewing public. While the horrible events have been condemned by the global community, that does not mean they have been immune from manipulation by the unscrupulous. Unfortunately, September 11 has provided the latest rhetorical backdrop for a number of personalities in the Balkans who seek to recharge a rationale of war. With its attention directed elsewhere, the mainstream media has failed to cover how policy-making entities in the Balkans have actively sought to associate so-called Islamic terrorism with the region's millions of Muslims. This is a rhetorical gesture that had been frequently used in the past to promote social tensions and create a sense of siege. The new wave instigated by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic and counterparts in Skopje must be addressed if Western diplomats want to bring lasting peace to the region.
February 2005 - In his 1978 novel The Great Winter, Ismail Kadare paints a chilling picture of a family that doctors its personal photo albums with ink to remove (most of) the faces and figures of people who have fallen out of favor with the Party of Labor. Readers might find themselves immediately reminded of Milan Kundera's great work from the same year, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, in which the Czechoslovak party boss Klement Gottwald appears first in company, and then alone, on a balcony, wearing the hat of a colleague airbrushed from the photograph after his fall from grace. There is, indeed another novel that underscores these themes of manipulation and expendability: The Taste of Power (1967) by the Slovak writer and journalist Ladislav Mnacko, in which a "major retouching department" in the state press office tweaks photos and "rubs out" people who are now undesirable. That Stalin's regime made widespread use of tactics such as these has also been demonstrated by David King in his 1997 study The Commissar Vanishes. Kadare, an internationally famous, prolific and highly regarded author from Albania, has written a number of works about communism that show similarities to fiction from other East European countries and can be fruitfully examined in a comparative context. It is my assertion in this essay, however, that he also makes use of innovative and unique modes of writing about his homeland under the Hoxha dictatorship.
November 2002 - There are moments in life when a development that one does not find particularly desirable may generate a great sense of relief and even elation. Once a struggle is over, the side effects of its outcome may be seen and appreciated as the harbinger of a new and hopefully auspicious beginning.
October 1997 - Why did the Yugoslav state end? And why was its dismemberment violent? One approach to answering these questions is to compare Yugoslavia with Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union--the other two states in the region that broke apart following the collapse of Communist Party rule, but significantly did so in a peaceful manner.