It’s such a pity that I was raised as a Kosovan all my life and yet never knew that carp roach and perch along with other freshwater fish are a delicacy among ‘Kosovans’. As the Yorkshire Post states, those fishes are said to be a delicacies among Kosovans, and Polish people as well.

Now I wonder how in my 20 years of being a ‘Kosovan’ and during the two months in the student exchange that I had in Poland in 2005, I never came to eat a carp or roach, no not even e perch! I had to learn from Yorkshire Post Journalist Jeni Harvey what people from my country consider delicacies, because according to her story, published on 22nd of May 2009, the so called immigrants who are ‘netting fish’ illegally are said to be of the Polish and Kosovan background.

Harvey mentions no names and yet she claims to not only know the ethnic background of those unlicensed fishers but also their taste in food. As she puts it: ‘Polish and Kosovan workers in South Yorkshire have been blamed for taking carp, roach, perch and other freshwater fish which are delicacies in their homeland’.

But I don’t blame Harvey for these claims, I think her story is probably just based on another poor researched article which the The Star had published the previous day, stating the same: ‘Polish and Kosovan workers in South Yorkshire have been blamed for taking carp’ and even though The Star claims that there is evidence for the accusations.

‘(…)they had received evidence people had been seen catching fish to eat using nets. (…) anglers use rods and lines and return any fish caught to the river.

There seems to be not any evidence that proves the stated ethnic background of these ‘illegal fishermen’ whatsoever.

Either Kosovan and Polish people are the only ones who use nets to fish, or they must be the only ones who eat it, otherwise these accusation smell less like fish but more like anti-immigrant propaganda.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Immigrants are accused for eating ‘illegal food’, The Sun’s banner headline on the 4th of July 2003 ‘ Asylum seekers steal the Queens birds for barbecues’ was followed by a very similar structured story.

And it goes on with further made up stories like ‘ Asylum seekers eat our donkeys’ (31st August 2003) for which the newspapers could not deliver any evidence.

‘Police swooped on a gang of East Europeans and caught them red-handed about to cook a pair of royal swans. The asylum seekers were barbecuing a duck in park in Beckton, East London. But two dead swans were also found concealed in bags and ready to be roasted. The discovery last weekend confirmed fears that immigrants are regularly scoffing the Queen’s birds.’

However as journalist Nick Medic investigated the story back in 2003, he found out that the whole story had been a completely roasted lie: ‘Information about arrests usually includes the names and ages of those involved, but the normal details were conspicuously absent. I called police officers across East London – in stations at West Ham, North Woolwich, Forest Gate and Beckton – but none of them could confirm that anyone had been arrested, charged or even cautioned over such an offence. I then called Steve Knight of the Surrey-based Swan Sanctuary, who had been quoted in The Sun as saying: ‘To these people [Eastern Europeans] they are a perfectly acceptable delicacy.’

Coming from the Balkans himself Medic, never heard of any ‘swan meals’ and as some one who comes from Kosova I can confirm that no swan made it on our menus too – at least not that I know of.

By Kaltrina Ademi

Links:

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/Illegal-fishing-warning.5289014.jp
http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Immigrants-39netting-fish-in-illegal.5294182.jp
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-5603545-details/%27Asylum+seekers+eat+swans%27/article.do
http://tinyurl.com/p7fbax