Albanian Charm Offensive – Soft power via music

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Text: ŽIKICA MILOŠEVIĆ


A nation in Europe uses its “soft power” to reach the hearts of the audiences and transform public opinion about them, which is that they are drug traffickers like the ones from the film „Taken“ in which people are kidnapped and which depicts the place of unrest and revolutions. We are talking about Albanians. Albanian pop stars, all female, have conquered music charts, making „millions of people fall in love with them.“ In that respect, the Albanians can teach a good PR lesson to every-body, especially the Serbs. Turn on the TV or any other mu-sic station or go on YouTube. What do you see there? You see Dua Lipa, born in Great Britain and a daughter of Dukagjin Lipa, a chanson and pop singer from Kosovo back at the time of Yugoslavia. Rita Ora made a video for one of her songs in Kosovo, waving the Kosovo flag. Ava Max dances seductively while your daughter sings her songs and has her poster on her bedroom wall. Did you notice that all of these ladies are beautiful and highly visible? If you didn’t, you are missing out on a lot.

ALBANIAN BEAUTIES OF EASY LISTENING

All joking aside, in the last 7 to 8 years, the Albanians have managed to launch 6 music stars (their mu-sic style is nothing revolutionary, but is popular and specifically targetted) of the Albanian origin – Dua Lipa (from Pristina), Rita Ora (Pris-tina), Bebe Rexha (Debar, North Macedonia), Era Istrefi (Pristina) and the latest MTV sensations, Ava Max (Amanda Ava Koci from Sa-randë, Albania) and Ilira (also from Pristina). You can clearly see that this is a serious pop-project of spreading soft power, which is the most important thing in the world today (just think of Djokovic and Exit festival; these two mean more to Serbia today than all the billions spent on state officials and the country’s promotion). Today, if you ask a teenager from anywhere in the world who are the most beautiful girls in the world, they would say „Albanian“. And our reaction to that would be to jump in horror and say „Whaaaat? Do you have any clue how beautiful Serbian (Croat, Czech, insert other nationality here) are?“. But to no avail…These Albani-an girls made their way through. There is even a story that that this is a project financed by the Kosovo authorities, and there is even a conspiracy theory about the Albanian mafia funding these girls. But before you use the argument „it must be the mafia“, let me remind you that there is such thing as the Serbian mafia too which is no better than the Albanian. Also, there are various kinds of the mafia in South Italy, and there are a few others across the Mediterranean. There is also the Irish mafia, the Jewish mafia, the Georgian mafia and whatnot. So, it’s not the mafia. Then there is an argument that „the state of Serbia has a lot of problems and not enough money to fund music“. Well, Albania and Kosovo are also not problem-free, as far as I know. If you say that „so much money was embezzled in our country and there is none left for pop culture“, can somebody prove it to me that the same has not been done in Kosovo and Albania too? Then there are claims that we cannot spend money on tacky and trivial things. Let me give you a few examples of trivial spending (no, that money was not spent on new schools and hospitals) – the cable car, the mast in Belgrade, the fountain in Slavija (an many other fountains that are going to be built in the capital), the Christmas lights and the most expensive Christmas tree in the world.

SERBIAN HELPLESSNESS AND WRONG ANSWERS

Of course, Serbia is always lagging behind just like „the countries that are right do“ or at least those that think they are in right. Serbia is not trying to prove its point but is rather waiting for everybody to discover it. And that’s is not how you do things. There are even worse examples – instead of trying to resolve the problem with the Albanians in a normal fashion, similar to how the Macedonians did (through inclusion), we (as in the state authorities and the Informer daily) are still behaving in a racist manner. We keep calling the Albanians „the Shiptars“ (the word itself is not a problem because that’s how the Albanians often call themselves too, but the way we say it, usually with con-tempt, is the problem). Do we want Kosovo? If we do want it, do we want it unpopulated? That is sim-ply impossible – just like Ukraine cannot get unpopulated Donetskor unpopulated Crimea or just like Cyprus cannot win back the north part without any Turks in it. The point is to integrate the tearaway territory. That is if we really want that territory. We are drowning in racism. We propose “demarcation” before being “eaten up” (like cockroaches or rats, as if “defunct Serbia” or “Serbia without Kosovo” can be towed away somewhere like a boat and taken away from the Albanians). But that is the Serbian mentality, namely every Serb would like to be the ruler of an exclusive night club booth and possess his very own local singer. Real stars are un-touchable. The one who has a good story wins, not the one who is right (Kosovo is Serbia). When Serbs learn this, it will be 50% of the lesson. When they learn that the territory comes with people, they have learned the other 50%.

 
SERBIA – KOSOVO (AND OTHER ALBANIANS) 0:6

So, what did the Serbs do about disseminating „soft power“? Let me mention another girl from Kosovo who is unfortunate enough to be a Serb – Nevena Božović who represented Serbia at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. In 13 years of her career she sang only 13 songs! Here is a girl that is beautiful and has an equally beautiful voice, but nothing came off that. Sara Jo (real name Sara Jovanović) was also fighting to get to the top for a very long time. She could even become the Serbian „Dua Lipa“because the two are very similar in image and beauty. But nothing happened… Sara Jo now sings for the unfortunate IDJ label (which is not that much of a problem) in the unfortunate language that is Serbian (that is a problem because no-one is interested in that language and nobody understands it, contrary to the popular saying). Back in 2013, we could have used the two of them to present our country to the world at least pop world, but we failed. We allowed talented girls to disappear into the background – one has become a festival singer, and the one is singing for IDJ. We could have found them good songwriters and producers somewhere in the world and that would change the picture that people have of us. Regarding Sara and her singing… Who wants to hear music in the Serbian, Hungarian or Lithuanian language? I’ll tell you who – Serbs, Hungarians and Lithuanians. Nobody else. It’s localized entertainment.

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