Dua Lipa is not generally a controversial figure. Indeed, a key part of her appeal is that she makes the kind of old-school down-the-middle pop music that rarely gets any purchase on the American charts anymore. But last night, Lipa made a political Twitter statement that got a lot of fans arguing and forced many more to look into old ethnic and geographical conflicts that have ambiguous connotations.
Lipa basically came out as an Albanian nationalist. She posted an image of a flag with the two-headed Albanian eagle over a map of “Greater Albania” — the idea of Albania absorbing some of its surrounding regions. The idea is that Albania should expand to include parts of Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia — areas that have historically been ethnically Albanian. That includes Kosovo, the Serbian city that was the center of 1998’s Kosovo War, which pitted Serbia and Montenegro against Kosovar Albanian rebels.
Lipa was born in London, but both of her parents are Kosovar Albanians, and she spent some of her childhood in Kosovo. In that tweet, as Pink News points out, Lipa included images of Albanian state founder Ismail Qemali and Kosovar Albanian associate Isa Boletini, as well as a definition of the word autochthonous, meaning indigenous or native.
The implications here are a little confusing for those of us who haven’t paid enough attention to historic Central European tensions. In claiming that ethnic Albanians are indigenous to their region, Lipa seems to be advocating the idea that Kosovar Albanians, who are frequently Muslim, are ethnically as Albanian as anyone else. That means she’s arguing for their rights and taking on far-right Albanians who claim otherwise. But this could also be read as Lipa arguing for the annexation of territory from other countries. It’s complicated!