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Slavic au pairs in humanitarian London...
Slaves of the 21st Century

by Urban Fox, Times online correspondent

Followed by Comment
by Jared Israel
Editor, Emperor's Clothes

[10 January 2005]

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If you want ruthless cruelty, find a London mother of small children and ask her about her childcare arrangements. The sweet-faced madonna smiling beside the crib, or cooing at her little darlings in the playground, instantly turns into something altogether redder in tooth and claw.

The emergence of a whole new batch of countries from which to source au pairs (hooray for the collapse of communism) has proved a godsend for hard-pressed parents in one of Europe's most expensive cities. Cheap, cheap labour, in the hugely exploitable form of young girls unsure what people in this country consider hard work, and what is frankly no better than abuse, is flooding into London. There are no controls. And complete freedom over a 50-a-week skivvy is going to the heads of my hitherto blamelessly humanitarian friends. One by one, they're turning into the kind of racist, bullying, heartless employers whose appalling behaviour they would indignantly condemn if they came across it in any other walk of life.

"I'm getting a Serb from Kosovo," Friend A confided at the end of the summer, with a devilish glint in her eyes. "She wept in the interview when I asked her how her parents would get along without her once she came to live in London. It turned out I'd reminded her that her father had been beaten up by Kosovan [sic! see comment] teenagers the other day. But I figure coming from a war zone is good. She'll be too freaked out to want to go out in the evenings. That means more babysitting and cleaning for us. The downside is that she might go around crying all the time and get on our nerves. But I've sorted that out too. I've told her she's not allowed to cry in the house. And she's banned from using our phone to call home." She beamed happily.

Friend B, meanwhile, having picked a series of apparent innocents who, within seconds of being in the house, turned into drug-taking, fag-stubbing, pole-dancing, child-hating menaces - or at least failed to do the mountains of washing up, cleaning, ironing, feeding, folding and separating of psychotic small boys brandishing swords that made up her list of duties - fired the lot and turned for her next wee slavey to a German Catholic religious agency. "Fabulous," she gloated. "They'll be practically nuns. They won't drink. They'll have been properly brought up, and know how to wash up and fold clothes. And they won't ever have fun or go out - too virtuous. Which means more free babysitting for us."

The London mummy's au pair of choice, it appears, is an abject victim. Friend C chose a Russian girl from a ghost town near a nuclear power plant in Lithuania, though she was worried that "she might glow in the dark and irradiate us all". Friend D picked a "chavvy" Hungarian girl from the wrong side of the tracks in Budapest. Friend E suggested I only employ au pairs who were too fat to attract a social life. "I find that roughly twice the normal weight guarantees you endless babysitting," she said sagely.

When these business relationships go wrong, no one could be more surprised and upset than the mothers. Their eyes widen innocently as they list the young miscreant's crimes. "She threatened to walk out, just because I was kept a couple of hours late at work again and forgot to call her!" they bleat, or "She had the cheek to give two weeks' notice - just two weeks before the Christmas holidays!"

All five of the au pairs I mention above have, of course, been fired - and all in very similar ways. When the Serb from Kosovo tried to hand in her resignation, pleading homesickness, and begged to be allowed to go home after the two weeks agreed in her contract, Friend A threw her out in the street on the very same December evening, her possessions following half an hour later, in a black binliner. "She'd ruined my Christmas! I wasn't having her staying in the house a moment longer!" Friend A raged. "I don't know where she went! And I don't care!"

Friend B, who had been disappointed to discover that the German religious agency supplied just the same pretty, leggy, party-minded teenage girls as all other agencies, lost her temper when her latest was discovered having a fag in the back garden. She got her husband to have the row and fire the girl, but the result was the same - au pair ejected by nightfall, black binliner in hand, with no notice.

Friends C and D also "lost" their au pairs in the space of an evening. Friend C joined forces with her husband for a row over the au pair's excessive use of the shower ("twice a day, can you believe?"), and out she went into the night. Friend D lost her temper with the au pair by phone, on a motorway, at midnight, when the au pair called to see what time her employer was likely to get home and relieve her from babysitting. "How dare you call me so late?" Friend D screamed; the au pair was parked on the doorstep by dawn.

Luckily for the au pairs, they aren't always the victims their employees take them for. However little time they've been in a new country, most of them will have made friends, through English classes or friends from home. So they aren't completely destitute. They turn up, with their black bags and alarming stories, and sleep on a friend's floor (if the friend's boss will let them). And then, resilience and good temper miraculously restored, they go back to their agency and get another job.

History is full of examples of casual cruelty by employers to their staff. Black women keeping house for white families in colonial Africa, never seeing their own children growing up in faraway villages; ayahs brought back from imperial India with the family whose children they'd raised, only to be abandoned on the streets of London once they'd outlived their usefulness.

But it's a bit unnerving to find the same tyranny flourishing in London's liberal suburbs in the 21st century.

Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd.* Posted for educational purposes and fair use only
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-16149-1428074-16752,00.html

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Comment
by Jared Israel

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In the article above, a woman is quoted using the term, 'Kosovan,' a  word created for a political reason: to lend seeming linguistic credibility to the claim that the province of Kosovo is really something called 'Kosova,' properly populated by Albanians. According to the plans of Albanian fascists and their NATO sponsors, this 'Kosova' is later to be combined with Albania, parts of Macedonia and northern Greece, and voila: Greater Albania. (True, the only time Greater Albania ever existed in history was when Adolph Hitler controlled the Balkans during World War II, but...)

The woman quoted by the Times reveals the racist essence of the term, 'Kosovan':

"'I'm getting a Serb from Kosovo,' Friend A confided at the end of the summer, with a devilish glint in her eyes. 'She wept in the interview when I asked her how her parents would get along without her once she came to live in London. It turned out I'd reminded her that her father had been beaten up by Kosovan teenagers the other day. But I figure coming from a war zone is good.'"

In this account, the Albanian teenagers and the Serbian father they beat up are all residents of Kosovo. Indeed, since Kosovo was the birthplace of Serbian culture, the Serbian victim probably has  ancestors in Kosovo going back many generations. If "Kosovan teenagers" simply means 'teenagers who reside in Kosova,' how is it that we know, immediately, that these "Kosovan teenagers" are Albanians - not Gorani (Slavic Muslims) or Romi ('gypsies') or Jews, or ethnic Serbs, all ethnic groups that have lived in Kosovo for hundreds of years, or longer? How do we know they are Albanians?

We know because the media has always used 'Kosova,' 'Kosovar' and 'Kosovan' to communicate exclusion: 'Kosova' is a place for Albanians only. Thus the project of turning 'Kosovo' into 'Kosova' has been a matter not of liberation but removal; non-Albanians being the ones who've been removed.  (True, this was the same project pursued by Albanian Nazis and their German and Italian sponsors during World War II, but...)

The Times article is sympathetic to the Serbian father, beaten by teenage thugs; nevertheless the Times repeats the woman's statement without comment and thus endorses the use of this loaded term, this linguistic sleight of hand. The Albanian fascists and their sponsors in Washington, London and Berlin have driven most non-Albanians from Kosovo; those who remain live under a reign of terror. Paralleling this physical violence, 'Kosovo' becomes 'Kosova' in the media and the Serbs who, ironically, made Serbia, including Kosovo, the most tolerant of the Yugoslav Republics, are defined as foreigners in the land of their ancient dreams.

--Jared Israel
Emperor's Clothes

Further Reading

For a learned study of the linguistic absurdity of the term, 'Kosova,' source of the therefore absurd 'Kosovan,' see John Peter Maher's 'Kosovo, Kosova, What's in a Name'? at
http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/maher/inaname.htm

For a look at how non-Albanians have been terrorized in or driven out of Kosovo, see the following two articles:

* 'Interviews with three Serbian women from Kosovo: Nightmare by Design - How NATO Changed a Kosovo Town into a Racist Hell,' at http://emperors-clothes.com/misc/savethe.htm

and

* 'Driven from Kosovo: Interview with Chedomir Prelinchevich, Chief Archivist of Kosovo and leader of the Jewish Community in Pristina, capital of Kosovo province (Serbia),' at 
http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/ceda.htm

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