About words that find their way

The call of Robin Cook, the dance of the Duchess of Alba and the absence of the term "mother" and "husband"


Where would I have been in the last week of January a quarter of a century ago?

How long is the name of the penultimate Duchess of Alba?

How can the lack of value of Palestinian life be statistically measured?

These three readings of today come to mind as I sit down to write the column, with the expressed will not to comment on everyday life in Kosovo, Albania or the region. It seems to me that whatever I will write about the Western Balkans today, will either be a repetition (Serbia and Kosovo must normalize relations, the Western Balkans has a European future, the region must once and for all turn towards the future) or an article that because it's repetitive, it won't last more than a few hours, a day at most.

Consequently, the test of writing is that these three questions will remain in the reader's mind, as I did from the readings of the morning, with no other connection between them, except for the fact that they reminded me during today's reading.


In the last week of January 1999, I was in the editorial office at "KOHA Ditore". I clumsily followed the diplomatic movements after the Reçak massacre, talked with foreign friends, journalists and diplomats, met with other members of what could become the Kosovo negotiating team. And, at the end of the week, I read the information that the Contact Group (the five Western powers plus Russia) has met in London and that they have decided to invite Serbia and the delegation of Kosovo Albanians to Rambouillet, France to conduct negotiations on peace and the future of Kosovo.

Robin Cook, head of British diplomacy, will call me on the evening of the end of January to confirm his assertion more than to ask me that "of course, I expect you to be in Rambouillet with your delegation".

In the history of Kosovo, there was no instance when its representatives were invited to discuss, to be asked or to decide on the future of the country. Suddenly, with a decision, the words accumulated in Kosovo were let out, even arriving at a Castle started in 1368, something before the Ottomans arrived in these lands.


The 18th Duchess of Alba was called Maria de Rosario Cayetana Paloma Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Fernanda Teresa Francisca de Paula Lourdes Antonia Josefa Fausta Rita Castor Dorotea Santa Esperanza Fitz-James Stuart y Silva, Falcó y Gurtubay – she even had more titles (over 40) than names. Doña Cayetana, as she was called, was the most titled aristocrat in the world and until her death in 2014, she kept the Alba name in the public eye, mostly by doing and dressing as she pleased.

Her son, today's duke Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, writes "The New York Times", decided to open the four family palaces to the public, all of which are full of works of art inside. One of the palaces was the Palacio de Dueñas in Sevilla, which the family bought in 1612 from an unfortunate who needed bail money for a family member kidnapped in North Africa.

This was the favorite house of Doña Cayetana who used it even in her eighties to play flamenco every day instead of morning gymnastics and to let other words come out, with the express decision to open the palace of confessions from the Duchy of Alba.


The devaluation of Palestinian life is not an assumption, it is a statistical fact, writes Owen Jones, columnist for The Guardian. According to a new study of coverage in major US newspapers, for every Israeli death, Israelis are mentioned eight times – or at a rate 16 times higher per death than in Palestinian cases. An analysis of BBC coverage by data specialists Dana Najjar and Jan Lietava found a similarly devastating disparity, and that humanizing terms such as "mother" or "husband" were used far less often to describe Palestinians, while emotive terms such as "massacre" or "slaughter" was almost only ever applied to Israeli victims of Hamas atrocities.

The columnist describes something that can be called the loss of the West's moral compass.

Consequently, of the decision to put a dam against the words that describe the suffering, the need for life and freedom of the Palestinians. They must remain surrounded in Gaza until there is a decision so they can flow across.