Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Prishtine buildings 23: the writing on the premises on the left reads, "pronar shiptar [Albanian owner] / M. Hoti"; curiously, the word for "Albanian" - "Shqiptar" - was misspelled, "Shiptar", as it is when it is used as a racist term. I presume that, as the writer is Albanian, a mistake is excused by those who would otherwise be offended; it It is also possible that, as the term "shiptar" is equivalent to "nigger", it is similarly being reclaimed by its targets.

[Edited and citations added on 16th September 2009]

(I don't think it's pre-war, Kosovo Serb graffiti. The peculiar Racial Slur Database does say that 'its use parallels that of the word "nigger".... [i]n that Albanians use the word "shiptar" to address/describe one another, while taking insult from its use by non-Albanians'. Nonetheless...)

I shouldn't have presumed that the writer was Kosovar Albanian; but Hoti is an Albanian surname (and a Catholic Albanian tribe).

I initially assumed a Kosovar Albanian had written it after the war, because of other graffiti on other buildings that 'this house is Albanian [shtepi eshte Shqiptari]' and 'this house is Albanian-owned [sht[e]pija e Shqiptarit pronarit]'.

In the Urban Dictionary, Strahinja G. wrote that 'Shiptar is a slang word, used by the Serbs, Macedonians and other slavs for albanians. Albanian [i]n alb language is called Shqiptar, so "shiptar" derives from that, but it's mainly used as an insult, not just a term of expression'.

On Fistful of Euros, Douglas Muir commented that '"Shiptar" is a fairly nasty slur, very roughly equivalent to the American "nigger"'.

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