Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former President Bill Clinton joined Kosovo officials in Pristina on Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of NATO's deployment in the province in June 1999.
The celebrations included the unveiling of a statue of Albright in the centre of the province's capital, with the 82-year-old former secretary of state expressing her gratitude to the people of Kosovo for the honour. "I am happy to have a statue here because this country means so much to me," she said.
President Thaci, whose Kosovo Liberation Army has been accused of war crimes against ethnic Serbs during the conflict, gave Albright and Clinton freedom medals and thanked them "for the liberty" they "brought to us and the peace to entire region."
Online however, many users weren't impressed by the commemorations, nor by Albright's new bust. Many immediately recalled her long record of controversial and insensitive remarks, including her claim that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children from US sanctions was "worth it."
Madeline Albright’s bust unveiled in Pristina for the military “intervention” in the 1990s. 🤐 I trust that it’s inscribed with one of her famous quotes—“Disgusting Serbs” or the one about 500,000 dead Iraqi children. pic.twitter.com/dCtPFo0mYo— Nina ☦️ Byzantina (@NinaByzantina) 12 июня 2019 г.
20 yrs after illegal #NATO agresion against Serbia, killing thousands of civilians, destroying the country and creating NATO puppet state for Albanian terrorists, war criminals reunited on the crime scene.— º˅º Apatrid #Ustav (@vrbc) 12 июня 2019 г.
Clinton and Albright recieving medals from terrorists in suits. #Kosovo pic.twitter.com/xPl8ms8veH
In the Second World War, the Serbs were hiding from the Germans a little Jewish girl, Madeleine Albright. For that, she generously repaid them by bombing civilians in Serbia in 1999.— Ивица Костић UN 1244 (@IvicaNg) 12 июня 2019 г.
Са статуама Била Клинтона и Медлин Олбрајт у Приштини десиће се исто оно што се догодило са киповима Садама Хусеина у Ираку. Да ли ће до тога доћи за 10, 30 или 50 година није важно.— Бојан Јовановић (@SerbianSuperman) 12 июня 2019 г.
Tweet reads: "The statutes of Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright in Pristina await the same fate as the statues of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Whether it happens 10, 30 or 50 years from now is unimportant."
Others took a more lighthearted tone, making fun of the statue and saying it looked more like former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, composer Ludwig van Beethoven or even former Communist-era Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito than Albright.
My first impression was Beethoven.— Progresivni Džematlija (@PDzematlija) 12 июня 2019 г.
A few also likened the bust to the hilariously bad Ronaldo likeness which once graced an airport in Portugal.
Tweet reads: "Ronaldo > Albright"
Between 24 March and 10 June 1999, NATO warplanes carried out a series of airstrikes against Yugoslavia after accusing Belgrade of committing war crimes in the region of Kosovo. The strikes left as many as 5,700 civilians dead, and contaminated part of the country with depleted uranium, causing a notable spike in juvenile cancer rates. NATO troops entered Kosovo on June 11, 1999 for 'peacekeeping', and have remained in the province ever since. NATO troops are stationed at Camp Bondsteel, the second-largest US military base in Europe.