Football clash turns into Yugoslavian flashback
The Balkans, a region that constantly shifts and changes, once again faces dangerous tensions among its members.
Wednesday’s football clash between Serbia and Albania, what was supposed to be a relaxed qualifier, turned into a gruesome nationalist conflict, as a drone, carrying the Albanian flag and a map of Kosovo flew into the stadium.
As the crowd spotted the insulting object, many flooded the pitch and violetly attacked the Albanian players, stopping the game in the process. The stadium security also joined the fight, forcing the Serbian footballers to take a stand and shield their opponents from the aggressors.
Tension between the two countries spiked with Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008, when they were proclaimed a Republic, despite protests from Serbia. This came as a result of a bloody conflict between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo that claimed the lives of more than 11,000 Albanians, according to UN numbers.
“What I’m angry at is that the whole world saw what happened in Belgrade,” says Adnan*, a proud Kosovar, “yet the media still tries to blame the Albanians and tries to shame them. This time, however, their propaganda will not work.”
The football clash is only one of a series of conflicts between Eastern European countries in the past few months.
*Names have been changed.
Picture: Gordon Flood @ Wikimedia Commons.