* Taken from "The Role of
By Ralf Gjoni
Historically, the Albanian Diaspora has played an important role in
Diasporas tend to be more nationalistic than the home country for a number of reasons. First, their geographical division with their home makes them more prone to nostalgia, thus feeding into the construction of stronger myths. Second, as it has been evident through many years of Albanian emigration, diasporas feel the need to express their solidarity with the home country, thus materializing their emotional attachment into political activism. Such political activism can be quite efficient and far more partisan than normal state politics as practiced by the home country for it relies on the idealization of historical myths and national symbols. There are two particular aspects that characterise the activism of the Albanian diaspora as the Kosovo crisis was reaching its climax. First, it was instrumental in organizing financial and human support for the KLA and its increasing armed resistance against the Serb army. Second, it fought a highly successful media and diplomatic war in the west while influencing Albanian and Kosovar politics, thus slowly emerging as an undeniable political factor in the crisis.
Frustrated with several years of passive resistance against Serb atrocities in Kosovo, the diaspora began to move towards the organization of an armed resistance. At first they started to act in sporadic forms such as guerrilla type operations. For example when five Serb policemen were cut down in a hail of bullets in 1996 around the
However, growing popular discontent with Ibrahim Rrugova’s political pacifism which had not fulfilled widespread aspirations for independence or at the least, self-governance, resulted in a major shift in the balance of internal political forces. As the International Crisis Group (ICG) explains at the time, Rugova, elected in 1992 as "president" of the self-proclaimed
Another development of particular interest which needs to be noted is the changing relationship between various Albanians groups in the
However, what made these activities easier to undertake was the collapse of the Albanian government and the weakening of its army due to the pyramid schemes financial disaster in 1997 which had left the country in total anarchy. Such anarchy was the perfect environment for KLA operatives to buy arms and send them over to Kosovo. James Pettifer, a Balkans Expert for The Times who travelled the region during that period, reports that if until then:
‘(…) a Kosovar in southern
The above evidence highlights the transnational nature of the diasporas which make them an undeniable international factor. Diasporas are an important element of global civil society and at times vital in ensuring the internationalisation of a particular crisis concerning their home country. This has been evident among the Cuban community in
 Jacques, 1995, p. 287.
 Pettifer, 2005, p. 86.
 Sullivan, 2004, p. 118.
 Ibid, p. 74.
 International Crisis Group, Balkans Report, no. 41, 2 September 1998.
 Malcolm, 1998, p. 355.
 Lafontaine, 2002, p. 184.
 Standish, 2000, p. 8
 Pettifer, 2005, p. 113.
 Interview with Mr. Paskal Milo, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the