Outrage in Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo over Handke’s Nobel win

Austrian writer Peter Handke in Chaville, in the surburbs of Paris, after he was awarded with the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2019

Outrage in Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo over Handke’s Nobel win

  • In the 1990s, Handke emerged as a vocal defender of the Serbs during the bloody collapse of the former Yugoslavia
  • At the 2006 funeral of Milosevic — who died while on trial for crimes against humanity — the writer made a speech in front of thousands of mourners

BELGRADE: Austrian writer Peter Handke’s Nobel literature prize win on Thursday sparked outrage in Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo, where he is widely seen as an admirer of late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
In the 1990s, Handke emerged as a vocal defender of the Serbs during the bloody collapse of the former Yugoslavia, even comparing them to Jews under the Nazis, a remark he later retracted.
His 1996 travelogue “A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia,” caused a storm, and in 1999 he returned Germany’s prestigious Buechner prize in protest at NATO’s bombing of Belgrade.
“Never thought would feel to vomit because of a Nobel Prize,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on Twitter.
“Given disgraceful choice made from a moral authority like the Nobel Academy, shame is sealed as a new value. No, we can’t become so numb to racism and genocide.”
The Muslim member of Bosnia’s joint presidency Sefik Dzaferovic labelled the decision to award Handke “scandalous and shameful.”
“It is shameful that the Nobel Prize committee easily neglected the fact that Handke was justifying and protecting Slobodan Milosevic and his executors (Bosnian Serb wartime leader) Radovan Karadzic and (his army chief) Ratko Mladic sentenced by a UN court ... for the most severe war crimes including genocide,” he said in a statement.
By awarding Handke the Academy’s Nobel committee has “completely lost its moral compass,” Dzaferovic added.
Bosnian actor Nermin Tulic, who was seriously injured during the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces, greeted the award by tweeting an emoticon of a smiley vomiting.
Liberal Sarajevo politician Reuf Bajrovic said he could not understand that a jury thought that “Handke is a great writer and that his support to Slobo (Milosevic) and genocide makes part of his work great.”
Emir Suljagic, a survivor of the massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim males from Srebrenica by Serbs, echoed him.
“A Milosevic fan and notorious genocide-denier gets Nobel prize in literature ... What a time to be alive,” Suljagic, a Sarajevo-based professor of international relations tweeted in English.
The 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II, was deemed genocide by international justice.
The reaction was similar in Kosovo, which was devastated by the 1998-1999 war between Serb forces and pro-independence ethnic Albanian guerillas.
“The decision of Nobel Prize brought immense pain to countless victims,” Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on Twitter.
“Milosevic’s supporter and denier of Serbian genocide receives the Nobel Literature Prize,” the main Koha Ditore newspaper said.
At the 2006 funeral of Milosevic — who died while on trial for crimes against humanity, and who wanted Handke to testify in his defense — the writer made a speech in front of thousands of mourners.
Some stood up for Handke, including Nobel-winning compatriot Elfriede Jelinek. But many others, including Susan Sontag, lined up to lambast him.
Serbia newspapers hailed that the Nobel Prize was awarded to a “friend of Serbs” who has been a member of the country’s academy of sciences and arts since 2012.


Disney tops earnings estimates ahead of streaming launch

Updated 10 November 2019

Disney tops earnings estimates ahead of streaming launch

  • Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operation
  • Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox
SAN FRANCISCO: Walt Disney on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly results, fueled by the release of blockbuster films “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” as it prepared for its new streaming television service.
Disney profit in the recently ended quarter was $1.05 billion, down from $2.3 billion a year ago, on revenue that grew 34 percent to $19.1 billion.
The slump in profits came as Disney absorbed key film and television operations of 21st Century Fox and geared up for its launch of the streaming service Disney+ that aims to compete globally against Netflix and others.
“We’ve spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience,” said Disney chief executive Robert Iger.
“We’re excited for the launch of Disney+ on November 12.”
Iger said the company reached a deal for the service to be on Amazon’s Fire TV platform, the latest distribution agreement for Disney+.
Disney shares were up more than five percent in after-market trading following release of the earnings figures.
Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operations with box office hits “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4” and “Aladdin” fueling gains.
The entertainment giant expects revenue in the current quarter to be boosted by the forthcoming release of a sequel to “Frozen” and the final installment of the “Star Wars” film saga.
It will thereafter take a “hiatus” from “Star Wars” box office films but has an array of spin-off shows planned exclusively for its streaming service.
Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
However, integrating Fox into Disney has cost more than expected and the newly added studios have brought in less money than hoped.
Disney saw smaller revenue gains in its cable and broadcasting operations as well as its theme park division.
Iger would not disclose details of pre-sales of Disney+ subscriptions, but said the price — $6.99 monthly — has met with “great enthusiasm” by consumers.
The Disney+ online streaming service will debut in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands before gradually expanding internationally in Europe then rolling out worldwide.
Its films and TV shows will be available, along with the library it acquired from 21st Century Fox. That includes the “Star Wars” and Marvel superhero franchises and ABC television content.
Disney+ will also combine offerings from powerhouse brands including Pixar, with content from Hulu and sports network ESPN.
Apple last week launched a streaming television service that features a budding library of original shows starring big-name celebrities, aimed at winning over its gadget lovers at home and on the go.
The Apple TV+ on-demand streaming service launched in more than 100 countries at $4.99 per month.
Original Apple TV+ shows have so far been met with lukewarm early reviews, but the low subscription price and an offer of year-long memberships free with purchase of the company’s devices was expected to encourage viewers to tune in.
Netflix, meanwhile, has budgeted $15 billion this year for original shows, on top of the billions it has devoted to exclusive productions in recent years.
Amazon, which has deep pockets thanks to its e-commerce and cloud services, has also poured cash into original shows for its Prime Video service.
This sets up a potential spending war among the major streaming players, according to analysts.
Even more competition looms on the horizon, with AT&T’s Warner Media to launch its “HBO Max” in early 2020 after reclaiming the rights from Netflix to stream its popular television comedy “Friends.”
NBCUniversal’s Peacock service is also launching next year.