Friday, December 09, 2005

South Mitrovice building 13: playfully appropriating the global brand of McDonald's, though simultaneously converting it into the Albanian community's icon, the two-headed eagle, this is the "MeDonald's Qebaptore [MeDonald's Kebabery]".

[Updated on the 3rd of February 2006]

I'm glad to see B. Sefaja's work is appreciated by others; the University of Pittsburgh's Professor Mike Madison has just blogged his colleague Prof. Mark Walter's photograph of this kebabery. Mike Madison does, however, say that, "the dragon heads sprouting from the golden arches come from the flag of the Kosovo Liberation Army".

To be clear, I didn't speak to this kebabery's owners or staff, whereas Mark Walter may well have done and so may know that the eagle ("dragon") is a symbol of allegiance to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) (Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves (UCK)).

The KLA flag, nonetheless, is simply the national Albanian flag - the flag of Albania - or the ethnic Albanian flag - the flag of Albanians in Albania, but also in Kosovo, Macedonia and elsewhere - inside a border formed by the acronym, "UCK", over the top and the name, "Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves", under the bottom, as shown on Drobesh's UCK/KLA blog.

Unless Mike Madison, Mark Walter or someone else can tell me otherwise, I'm going to err on the side of caution and continue to categorise this sign as an expression of ethnic Albanian cultural identity, as a marker of the Kosovo Albanian community, rather than as a KLA symbol; after all, not all Kosovo Albanians supported the KLA, let alone some of its members' (unofficial or unsanctioned) violations of human rights.

There was another reworking of McDonald's iconography in Prizren.

[Updated on the 22nd of November 2006]

A friend, Sabina, confirmed that the MeDonald's sign was derived from the Albanian flag, not the Kosovo Liberation Army emblem.

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