How “Died” Naman Demolli in Syria

In November 2012, the media reported the death of a Kosovo Albanian in the fighting of the Arab Republic of Syria. Albanian press should review their coverage for possible...

In November 2012, the media reported the death of a Kosovo Albanian in the fighting of the Arab Republic of Syria.

AL_click_to_readAlbanian press should review their coverage for possible murder of Kosovo Albanian Naman Demolli fighting in Syria, during November. Some details were missed; some conclusions were given without credible evidence.

The sounding titles, occupied the front pages of the print, online and radio television news editions. This was normally followed also by several portals (there’s no more people without creating portal in nowadays technology!).

Albanian press competed over who would be the first to report the news of the killing, as they reported, the death of Naman Demolli. Even they have had labeled the story with all kinds of labeling such as “The Jihad of Naman”, “The Suicide mission”, “Kosovo Volunteer killed fighting Assad” etc..

Proceeding with descriptions such as: “Survived the bullets of the Serbian regime, but not those of the regime of Bashar Al Assad. Former KLA fighter, Naman Demolli, was injured in the mountains of Kosovo in 1999, but after 13 years he was killed in a battle in Syria. “

On one occasion, “” agency reported among other things “Demolli has been studying in this country (Syria)… He was killed on Wednesday in Tbilisi locality.” I’ve asked family and he had finished high school in Pristina only, while there were no university studies I was told by his brother. Tbilisi is the name of the capital of Georgia.

Fine indeed for reporting about it, but did their editorial desks had a journalist to witness on what they report? If they did not, which was the source of our Albanian press on this story? How is it possible to report the death of someone without verifying it, as this is just an information which is distributed on a “copy / paste” action all over the place, starting from Tetovo, continue with Pristina up to Tirana.

Let’s have a look of a TV reporting glance done by “Klan Kosova”, known for news quality reporting, since this medium has proven and at least talked with the family. The material can be viewed on the following link (Albanian language)

“Kosovar Naman Demolli is killed in Syria,” confirms central news title of Wednesday’s early-November 2012 at Klan TV. Proceed with the elaboration that it is believed Namani took part in a suicide attack, according to Klan Kosova, which took place in Hama province. The report goes on to say that the family did not want the door opening ceremony for condolences to be filmed by the media and even less have had to talk about this topic. Continue with that the family members have told Klan Kosova that they have received news from other Albanians who have been struggling with Naman.

First, the story says, “Namani was killed in a suicide mission,” and further continued by saying that he “was buried…”

Sorry, but you have nothing to bury after a suicide attack of this nature, since in such cases generally is not easy to find any part of the human body. Less, in a suicide case which resulted in the killing of 50 soldiers, who belonged to Syrian government forces, as the report states. But, above all, there is no confirmation of this burial.

So far, we have the scene of the attack and burying, but news seems to be wrong or unsupported by facts. I’m not trying to teach anyone anything, but deeply believe that we have to deal with the improvement of such details – aiming to increase the quality of our journalism for public awareness and professional ethics.

Back to the MURDER

Bullet holes seen in the window of the civilian house in the city of Mera on saturday May 26th, 2012 after a raid of Syrian state army on April 10, 2012. (THE Frontliner Photo/Vedat Xhymshiti)

Bullet holes seen in the window of the civilian house in the city of Mera on saturday May 26th, 2012 after a raid of Syrian state army on April 10, 2012. (THE Frontliner Photo/Vedat Xhymshiti)

On 10th November 2012, the media relations office lead by the armed opposition forces in the Arab Republic of Syria, confirmed to me that an Albanian was killed in the fighting of 5th November 2012 in the province, “Al-Hasakah Governorate SYRIA”, the first Albanian to be killed in this civil war ever since Albanians are committed to supporting the rebel forces – from June 2012.

But this media office could not provide information on the origin of the killed Albanian or his identity. In Syria, the conflict now enters the 21st-month of development taking more than 40 thousand lives, including women and children, and causing an influx of more than 2.5 million people just inside Syrian territory, according to data reported by the media and activists who are identified as credible by the United Nations and the organizations for the human rights and freedoms.

After my appearance on the television show “Info Magazine” KLAN television and providing a pronunciation for the daily Koha Ditore, Namani family contacted me. “We have been called by somebody on the phone, which has said that ‘Naman is dead’. We didn’t hear the caller that well. So, brother is there any possibility to help us with what you know about our brother. We need to know weather he is alive or not?”

Family members of Naman said the decision to open the door to receive condolences is made since the death of our son/brother was reported in the media. While not confirmed if they (family) knew weather Namani had gone to Syria. They knew that Namani had said he would travel to Turkey without ever confirming to the family if Syria was a plan on his trip.

During the second half of November, the British authorities have announced the sister of an Albanian from Albania that they suspect that her brother is killed in al-Hasakah province in Syria. UK state authorities have confirmed that they are informed about the death of only one Albanian, ever since when Albanians have started to join the rebel forces. According to the information that they claim to possess, the Albanian killed in Syria in November, could potentially be Anri Maliqi from Albania, but still cannot confirm the veracity of their statements and information that are available.

I also encountered certain individuals via “Facebook” who claim to know that Naman Demolli is killed, but they did not accept their claims to be subject to verification.

I have been in touch again on Saturday with Namani’s brother, and they still have nothing but assumptions that come that their family member was killed. Only now they were told that he was killed somewhere near Aleppo, would like to explain to the reader that ‘Al-Hasakah’, is located about 374/km in Southern Aleppo.

Consequently, I consider that the news of the killing was not credible. Of course it is difficult to verify, but it is also possible not to report a news story that guarantee more confusion rather than real information to the public. If you have news on the grounds that “the family believes that…” why have you called the story as “killed…” and have concluded with “suicide…”

Because there is a difference between reporting that someone was killed, and that it is believed that someone was killed. Given that such severe unverifiable information should affect psychological welfare of the groups who are subjected to it, I think publishers and editors need to be more careful in what they offer to the public.

In this case, it is not sure that Naman Demolli is killed nor is buried. Official information, suggest that it is likely that only Albanian killed in the Syrian rebellion is from Albania. Just believed that Demolli went to Syria and believed that he could be killed – based on a short call from someone in Pristina, that family received a November evening.

Vedat Xhymshiti had stayed for five months in the Arab Republic of Syria, from where he reported for the prestigious German news magazine “Der Spiegel” and has collaborated with numerous prestigious U.S. and European media. Xhymshiti also published a reportage in the Albanian language in Kosovo for the Kosovo Albanian renowned online newspaper “Gazeta Jeta në Kosovë” under the title “Aleppo and the unknown Revolutionary”.

Vudi Xhymshiti; is an independent journalist, editor and photographer. He is focusing on the issues of the domestic politics of Kosovo, Foreign Policy of the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the Middle East. Xhymshiti is also focused on the issues of the politics of race, gender, identity, migration as well as displacement of people due to climate change and armed conflicts. He has been published in various media including Der Spiegel, NY Times, TIME, Paris Match, Le Monde etc. Xhymshiti is also a print media critic and founder of THE Frontliner.

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