Outrage in Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo over Handke’s Nobel win

Austrian writer Peter Handke in Chaville, in the surburbs of Paris, after he was awarded with the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2019

Outrage in Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo over Handke’s Nobel win

  • In the 1990s, Handke emerged as a vocal defender of the Serbs during the bloody collapse of the former Yugoslavia
  • At the 2006 funeral of Milosevic — who died while on trial for crimes against humanity — the writer made a speech in front of thousands of mourners

BELGRADE: Austrian writer Peter Handke’s Nobel literature prize win on Thursday sparked outrage in Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo, where he is widely seen as an admirer of late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
In the 1990s, Handke emerged as a vocal defender of the Serbs during the bloody collapse of the former Yugoslavia, even comparing them to Jews under the Nazis, a remark he later retracted.
His 1996 travelogue “A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia,” caused a storm, and in 1999 he returned Germany’s prestigious Buechner prize in protest at NATO’s bombing of Belgrade.
“Never thought would feel to vomit because of a Nobel Prize,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on Twitter.
“Given disgraceful choice made from a moral authority like the Nobel Academy, shame is sealed as a new value. No, we can’t become so numb to racism and genocide.”
The Muslim member of Bosnia’s joint presidency Sefik Dzaferovic labelled the decision to award Handke “scandalous and shameful.”
“It is shameful that the Nobel Prize committee easily neglected the fact that Handke was justifying and protecting Slobodan Milosevic and his executors (Bosnian Serb wartime leader) Radovan Karadzic and (his army chief) Ratko Mladic sentenced by a UN court ... for the most severe war crimes including genocide,” he said in a statement.
By awarding Handke the Academy’s Nobel committee has “completely lost its moral compass,” Dzaferovic added.
Bosnian actor Nermin Tulic, who was seriously injured during the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces, greeted the award by tweeting an emoticon of a smiley vomiting.
Liberal Sarajevo politician Reuf Bajrovic said he could not understand that a jury thought that “Handke is a great writer and that his support to Slobo (Milosevic) and genocide makes part of his work great.”
Emir Suljagic, a survivor of the massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim males from Srebrenica by Serbs, echoed him.
“A Milosevic fan and notorious genocide-denier gets Nobel prize in literature ... What a time to be alive,” Suljagic, a Sarajevo-based professor of international relations tweeted in English.
The 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II, was deemed genocide by international justice.
The reaction was similar in Kosovo, which was devastated by the 1998-1999 war between Serb forces and pro-independence ethnic Albanian guerillas.
“The decision of Nobel Prize brought immense pain to countless victims,” Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on Twitter.
“Milosevic’s supporter and denier of Serbian genocide receives the Nobel Literature Prize,” the main Koha Ditore newspaper said.
At the 2006 funeral of Milosevic — who died while on trial for crimes against humanity, and who wanted Handke to testify in his defense — the writer made a speech in front of thousands of mourners.
Some stood up for Handke, including Nobel-winning compatriot Elfriede Jelinek. But many others, including Susan Sontag, lined up to lambast him.
Serbia newspapers hailed that the Nobel Prize was awarded to a “friend of Serbs” who has been a member of the country’s academy of sciences and arts since 2012.


Marie Fredriksson of Swedish pop duo Roxette dies at 61

Updated 10 December 2019

Marie Fredriksson of Swedish pop duo Roxette dies at 61

  • Per Gessle: You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer
  • Fredriksson formed Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986, and in 1989, the pair had their international breakthrough with The Look

STOCKHOLM: Marie Fredriksson, the female half of the Swedish pop duo Roxette, has died at age 61, her management agency said Tuesday.
Fredriksson formed Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986. The two released their first album the same year and went on to achieve international success in the late 1980s and 1990s with hits including “The Look” and “It Must Have Been Love.”
The Dimberg Jernberg agency said Fredriksson died Monday “of the consequences of a long illness.”
It “is with great sorrow that we must inform you that one of greatest and most-loved artists is gone,” the firm said.
On his Facebook profile, Gessle wrote: “You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer.”
“I’m proud, honored and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and your sense of humor,” he wrote in English, adding “Things will never be the same.”
Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002. She underwent aggressive treatment that took its toll but ultimately was successful, her management agency said. However, she was left blind in one eye, with limited hearing and mobility, and was unable to read or write. She was also unable to speak for a considerable period of time after her treatment. Over the years she was able to make a gradual return to the world stage
Fredriksson was born in southern Sweden on May 30, 1958, and had her artistic breakthrough in 1984 in Sweden. Two years later, she formed the duo Roxette with Gessle, and in 1989, the pair had their international breakthrough with “The Look.”
They achieved international success with their albums “Look Sharp!” in 1988 and “Joyride” in 1991, and had six top two hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The pair sold 80 million records worldwide and embarked on world tours.
They were Sweden’s best-known band since ABBA in the 1970s and 1980s, and in 2003, Sweden’s Carl Gustaf XVI awarded the duo a royal award. Fredriksson made her first public appearance after her brain tumor operation to receive the honor with Gessle.
Fredriksson is survived by her husband, Mikael Bolyos, and their two children, Josefin and Oscar.