During the Kosovo conflict of the late 1990s, Yugoslav and Serbian forces under Slobodan Miloševi? persecuted ethnic Albanians — killing thousands and driving out hundreds of thousands.
After NATO became involved in 1999, thanks in large part to pressure from UK prime minister Tony Blair, the conflict was eventually resolved.
More than a few thankful Kosovan Albanian parents proceeded to named their sons “Tonibler,” “Toni,” and “Bler” in honor of Mr. Blair. Some examples:
- Tonibler Dajaku
- Tonibler Gashi (born in 2001)
- Bler Podrimaj
- Tonibler Sahiti (born in May of 1999)
- Bler Thaqi (born in August of 1999)
When Blair visited Kosovo in 2010, he was “told that his name was ‘quite common’ in the country” and got a chance to meet nine of his namesakes.