Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Futbol and Drones and Flamethrowers, Oh My!
In what came as a surprise to no one, the Albania-Serbia soccer game, held in Belgrade last night, was discontinued midway through the game due to totally expected insanity. (I tried to find a video to embed from YouTube but literally every video had either "Exterminate the Albanians!" or "Die, Serbian scum!" as the tag line and that's not really my cup of tea. So here's the link to a video at ESPN Go.)
In efforts to prevent violence, Albanians were not allowed to attend the game (risking arrest if they attempted to access the stadium - though why any Albania would want to get past Serbian border control is beyond me), so some enterprising young shqiptar decided that a flag-flying drone would bring some Albanian spirit to the game. For reasons beyond my comprehension, they decided to attach the flag (showing a map of Albania plus the contested Kosovo region - which Serbia still claims to possess, despite its independence being recognized by, like, everyone) to said drone with insanely long string...long enough that a Serbian player was able to grab the flag and pull down the drone.
Off course, the mature response to this is to FIGHT. This immediately incendiary act led to actual incendiaries - as the fight continues, check out the flame thrower action occurring in the upper right hand corner. Fans started throwing garbage onto the field, before breaking past barriers to rush the field. The Albanian team quickly abandoned the fight and ran to the safety of their locker room, but not before a invigorating round of "ubi ubi ubi siptare" chants from the Serbian fans ("Kill kill kill the Albanians!" - charming, no?).
Officials waited over an hour for tempers to cool - because, you know, fifteen years has worked so well to calm ethnic hatred between the two countries since the civil war ended - but eventually declared it hopeless and cancelled the game, upsetting soccer brackets everywhere.
For hours last night, Lushnje was insane with men screaming, whistling, parading down the main street, honking their car horns, singing Kosovar pride songs (Kosovo is largely ethnically Albanian), chanting, running, and wreaking general havoc.