Issue #22/103, November 9 - 23, 2000   smlogo.gif

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by Mark Ames

After two shitty months in Kosovoóa dusty unkempt valley so hopeless that you canít even call it ďthe asshole of EuropeĒ... better to say ďthe raw dripping hemorrhoid of EuropeĒ for the sake of professional accuracyóI decided that enough was enough. I was sick of skulking my way past one peasant-fascist after another. I zipped up my 10-year-old Jansport, hopped from suffocating overcrowded bus to suffocating overcrowded bus until I reached Skopje, and took the first Aeroflot back to the Rodina.

Driving into Moscow from Sheremetyevo is always an emotional experience. Even moreso now, on an afternoon in late autumn, during a holiday weekend with few cars on the road. The city seems cleared just for you: no humanoids to spoil it. My first drive from Sheremetyevo into central Moscow, back in 1993, was still the most epic, dramatic moment of my life: Moscow had delivered on its promise to evacuate me from even the impression of being stuck in California. Thatís an impossible feat in post-Fukayama Europe. The middlebrows described Moscow then as ďgray and depressingĒ; it struck me as beautiful and uplifting, radiating colors on a spectrum no smiley middlebrow could possibly detect. Seven years later, Moscow has changed, almost entirely for the better. There is a confidence and a greatness now that seemed hidden back then, while the defiance and otherworldliness are as attractive as ever. Itís not often you feel as full of possibility as on that drive in from Sheremetyevo.

Another reason I felt relieved coming home to Moscow is that I finally got laid. You canít get laid in Kosovo, not unless youíre willing to mercy-fuck one of the lumpy, chinless internationals. I canít do that. Russia has spoiled me, itís set my pole vault bar a little too high to even consider tapping into assius americanus. Iíd rather go whack off in Mr. Andersonís tool shed.

The reason why itís so hard to get laid in Kosovo is that Albanians are hyper-clannish to the point of being outright racists. The most vicious, unrepentant racists Iíve ever encountered, more venomous than the Brits, more bloodthirsty than the Israelis. Serb racism is just hyperbolic snottiness by comparison, but Albanian racism is Hutu-like in its scope and passion. This is one of those ugly non-politically-correct facts that every international working in Kosovo knows and loathes, and yet no Westerner is willing to commit to print. Too many middlebrow journalists committed themselves to promoting the Albanian-as-holocaust-victim tale, which we now know was only marginally true, so barely true that all of the horrible things theyíve done since taking over Kosovo have canceled out their victim creds, and replaced them with shame and ugliness. Even many Albanians understand that. Thatís why they voted for the Eurofag-wannabee Rugova; itís as if theyíre ashamed of the Thacióa violent, mean, corrupt peasantólurking all too largely inside of each of them. Nothing else could explain how a successful guerrilla army could get thrown out of power a year after liberating its people from alleged Nazi-like oppression. It wasnít simply KLA terror that led Albanians to vote for Rugova. Albanians, for example, still speak fondly of the Nazi occupation and happily tolerate the present Bundeswehr occupation of southern Kosovo, despite numerous reports of beatings and abuse. The truth is that the Albanians know the Thaci side of themselves too well and arenít proud of it. At the very least, they donít want the rest of the world to see them that way.

While the Albanians have a blood-hatred for all non-Albanian inhabitants of Kosovo (including non-Albanian Muslims), they only tolerate us Westerners. Tolerating means they donít rig grenades to our front door gates or run down our children in schoolyards or pick off our senior citizens as they pluck apples in their orchards, the way the Albanians do on a daily basis to the few remaining Serbs and gypsies. No, the Albanians thankfully tolerate our presence there, but just barely. They donít want us hanging out in their bars, dancing in their discos, and Allah forbid they donít want us pawing their womenfolk, which, as any honest UNMIK cop will tell you, are about the worst-treated women this side of Ike Turnerís duplex. Albanian men donít want anyone else slapping their bitches around. Theyíre conservative folk, you see. Simple folk with simple ways.

I did get to know, over two monthsí time, one American OSCE worker and one British journalist with Albanian girlfriends. Thatís two foreigners. The OSCE worker had to keep his affair completely secret. He and his cute, busty Albanian girlfriend couldnít be seen on the streets holding hands or even appearing to have feelings for each other. They only dared show affection for each other once safely inside of his house, curtains closed. If the Albanians in her city found out that she was dating an American, sheíd have been ostracized and worse. In Pristina, the capital, internationals and Albanians drink and dance in Jim Crow-like apartheid. Self-imposed segregation. Worst of all for a recovering pervert like me, single Albanian women just donít go out past ten at night. Youíre considered a whore in Albanian society if youíre a single woman out past ten.

So that scratched out 80 percent of the potential pussy in Kosovo for your humble columnist.

On the other side of the Ibar, the side where I lived, the Serbs are so resentful for having been bombed, occupied and colonized that, well, itís kinda hard to work up a mojo.

ďSo uh, heh-heh, come here often?Ē

ďFuck off, spy.Ē

That would pretty much sum up my attempts at getting laid in Mitrovica.

In fact, thatís what all the Kosovo Serbs thought of me. A spy. They thought theyíd really cracked the code on me. I couldnít be anything else. It was impossible that a shaven-headed American would CHOOSE to live on their side of the Ibar. Even my Playboy accreditation only confirmed their suspicion. I had to be a spy. Clever people, arenít they? They whine and moan that no one in the press treats them fairly, and when one tries to go hear their side of the story, they chase you out of town with torches, rakes and hoes. One American free-lancer wrote me last week that he tried to do the same thing I did this past April. He moved to Mitrovica, tried to blend in and understand the so-called enemy, and within three days, was warned by a Serb mob to get the fuck out of Dodge or else. He snagglepussed, exit stage left, and never returned.

I was never chased out, but I was attacked a couple of times by the Bridgewatcher mob. The fact that I spoke Russian threw off enough of the lead-headed thugs and out-of-work ethnic cleansers to keep them from popping a cap up my ass. The others, the younger Westernized Kosovo Serbs who hung out with me at the Shar or Black Lady or Palladium, they were convinced that I was a spy. No one likes to fuck a spy, especially an aging, poorly dressed, cheap-ass spy like me.

It wasnít until I went to Belgrade... Iíll watch myself on this subject. Sometimes you just have to shut your mouth and show a little respect. I have too much respect for Belgrade. A Eurofag-free city right in the heart of Europe, tough beautiful people with superior taste in everything. The EU and the IMF are bound to destroy Belgrade, but Iíll always remember that city as it was the week after Milosevic was overthrown. And Iíll remember the tall Morticia-like girl who let me in.

ďFirst you bomb my country, now you fuck me,Ē she told me. It took Herculean strength for a notorious premature ejaculator like me to keep from blowing after she said that. Turns out, I donít have that Herculean strength. I jizzed, passed out cold, and skulked out the door early the next morning, back to Mitrovica for more paranoid celibacy.

Coming back to Moscow, the first thing I did was dust the cobwebs off of my address book, peel it open, and tap into some old school snapper.

One great thing about this city: everybodyís always up for trying something stupid. Even if, as in my case, itís bound to disappoint them. Even disappointment is something special in Moscow.

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