The Pandemic as Pretext

By Ashk Sylejman

As a resident of San Francisco, I have wondered how many of my neighbors might have seen the hasty imposition of a day time curfew by “our” mayor, machine politician London Breed – a conception subjected to a necessary critique by New York governor Andrew Cuomo – as an unintended authoritarian consequence of the virus. In this scenario, fascist repressive measures are enacted with the pandemic as a pretext.

Such musings may seem excessively conspiratorialist, but may likewise derive credibility from the recent illegal overthrow of the legitimate government of the Kosova Republic and its prime minister, my friend, mentor, and comrade Albin Kurti, founder of the Self-Determination movement (Vetëvendosje– LVV).

The coup against the Kosova Constitution was directed allegedly by the devious and repellent Richard Grenell, an incompetent degenerate named by Donald J. Trump to subvert the office of the Director of National Intelligence. The patriotic hero Kurti would, obviously, never gain the respect of Putin’s Trumpist spawn.  The immediate excuse was disagreement over the Kosovar response to the pandemic.

In a world dominated by the likes of Putin, Trump, Erdoğan, and other scoundrels, Albin represents a sole source of hope.  He is the most authentic anti-Trump: both are products of the political apocalypse beginning in the West in 1991, with the Russo-Serbian destruction of ex-Yugoslavia.  The political viruses spread by Trump were invented in Moscow, and found their worst “hot spot” in Belgrade, the laboratory of late fascism. These viruses are ethnic polarization, lawbreaking as a policy, and promotion of disinformation. Albin has stood throughout his intellectual life for rationality, dialogue and fidelity to truth.

Leading European thinkers including Slavoj Žižek, Michael Hardt, Saskia Sassen, and G.M. Tamás have called for support to Albin. Let us join them in defending freedom. The defense of Albin Kurti is not the private affair of the Albanians, but the cause of all civilized humanity.


[Ashk Sylejman (Stephen Schwartz) is the founder of the Second Bektashi Sufi Mission to the West and Emeritus Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism at]