Aleksandra Rebic (click here for more info) provides an “insightful” view of the “Albanian Issue” in Kosovo. She does so with great gusto, reason, and the use of “quotes.” I can only imagine that if Serbia had a Fox News, this is what it would report about Kosovo and the “Albanian Issue.”
I would generallly knock Ms. Rebic and her article as being from another planet, but when you think about how many people watch and believe Fox News, you have to wonder when reading the attached article whether any reconcialiation is possible between Serbs and Albanians.
Surely, the danger with the beliefs expressed below are when opinions of village shamans — masquerading as academics — become national policy. In the case of Serbia, Rebic’s viewpoints not only have been expressed by Slobodan Milosovic during his rule to justify horrendous war crimes and the abrogation of civil rights, but also by certain government officials now in Serbia and Russia. At the same time, the myth of the “Albanian Issue” is one that has been ingrained into Serb national psyche. A vicious cycle of myth is perpetuated, so difficult to unlearn.
To be sure, Albanians are equally guilty of the types of viewpoints expressed below. I will post those soon. Welcome to Balkanization.
THE ALBANIAN ISSUE IN KOSOVO
Who are these “Kosovars” that engendered such sympathy and such a call to action by the world community and its leaders on their behalf at the end of the 1990s and who continue to agitate for “action” today, as the fate of Kosovo once again lies in the balance? In my view, this is who they are:
What the modern day Albanians have been attempting to “finish” over the course of these last couple of decades in Kosovo, with the full support of NATO and prominent American politicians, is a fascist program that Benito Mussolini began in 1941 during World War II but that in essence was initiated years earlier.
On November 27, 1918 the United States State Department was informed by Thomas Page, U.S. Ambassador to Italy 1913-1919, that the British Foreign Office favored the creation of a “Greater Albania” in order to block Serbian advances to the Adriatic. Years later, Mussolini had the same idea. On June 25, 1941 Mussolini proclaimed the annexation of Kosovo, the cradle of the Serbian nation, “Serbia’s Jerusalem”, to Albania. The first concern of the Albanians, led by their notables, tribal chiefs, and the so-called “Kosovo Committee” was to get rid of the Serbs and Montenegrins in their midst. Serbs were promptly murdered or expelled, and their property was looted.
Before World War II, Serbs comprised 50 percent of the population of Kosovo. By war’s end they had been reduced to 25 percent of the population. Still later, as of 1989, they were reduced yet further, to only 10 percent of the population of Kosovo. Thus, the Albanian “Kosovars” were successful in their ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Serbian sacred land.
Although Mussolini and his fascist allies lost the war, communist Josip Broz Tito, who came to power in Yugoslavia at the end of World War Two, would not allow Serbs to return to their homes in Kosovo. However, he would maintain Kosovo within Yugoslavia, stifled further expulsions, and would, with his iron fist, keep secession a moot point.
Serbs made one big mistake in regards to Kosovo. In 1945 the Provisional National Assembly of Serbia passed a law establishing the autonomous Kosovo-Metohija region known as Kosmet. Kosovo became an “autonomous province” of Serbia. This act was, in fact, the constitutional instrument of Kosovo and Metohija, and from the very outset it guaranteed the equal rights of all citizens without distinction as to nationality, race, religion, or sex, and the equality of the language of all the national groups within the region before the authorities. Similarly, the right to education in their mother tongue was also granted to all national minorities. In 1974, with the revision of the Yugoslav Constitution, the autonomous regions in Yugoslavia, (Vojvodina and Kosovo and Metohija), were endowed with many of the sovereign prerogatives of statehood. It is then that the Albanian terrorists and drug traffickers, with the support of some local ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, began planning the establishment of a second Albania in the Balkans. They began paralyzing work and progress in the Republic of Serbia, of which Kosovo and Metohija were still a part. The constitution of the Republic of Serbia could not be changed without the express consent of the Assembly of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija where Albanians had become a majority due to the cleansing of Serbs and Tito’s policy of not allowing the expelled Serbs to return to their homes.
Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo enjoyed all the human and civil rights due them before the intrusion of the Albanian terrorists and drug dealers who would organize the Kosovo Liberation Army, the notorious KLA. Just prior to the recent war in Kosovo, the University of Pristina in Kosovo had 37,000 students enrolled in it, eighty percent of whom were ethnic Albanians. The Pristina Radio and Television Station was broadcasting their programs in the Albanian language all day. There was one Albanian Daily and eleven periodicals. Just prior to recent war the government of Yugoslavia was providing enormous subsidies to the province of Kosovo. The mistake made by the Serbs was setting up a party-run state instead of a constitutional government that would give effective sovereignty to the Republic of Serbia over its entire territory, including Kosovo and Metohija. The assumption was that all the people of Kosovo and Metohija, including the majority of Albanians who lived there, would remain loyal citizens of the Republic of Serbia, endowed with all the same rights and privileges accorded to the Serbian population and in some cases, above and beyond those rights that had been accorded to the Serbs.
If the educated group of politically powerful policy makers who were so instrumental in fashioning policy towards the Serbs in the 1990s had taken one serious, honest look at the real status of the Albanian and other minorities in the Republic of Serbia, they would have discovered that these individual ethnic groups enjoyed national, cultural, and civil rights on par with the most modern and best constitutional systems in the world. Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that persons belonging to ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities shall not be denied the right in a community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to communicate in their own language. The ethnic Albanians in Kosovo had all of this guaranteed them and more. But it wasn’t enough. They wanted and continue to demand TERRITORIAL autonomy. Imagine the implications this scenario would have in the United States of America if such demands by different national and ethnic groups were initiated and granted. There would be no more United States, and there would be no more America.
With all that would transpire between the years of 1980 following Tito’s death and 1988, it was determined by the government in Belgrade that it was necessary to start a process of bringing the autonomy enjoyed by Kosovo and Metohija in line with autonomy as understood by the civilized world, in legal, political, and constitutional theory. The government of Belgrade did what any civilized, sovereign nation and leadership, including the United States, would do if one of her territorial areas was becoming too independent and terrorism was being used as a means of gaining that independence. Due to the nature of the trouble, in 1989, out of necessity, Slobodan Milosevic and the Belgrade government cracked down on Kosovo’s autonomy. If one examines the events of the decade prior to this, it was the only thing that could have been done to maintain civilized order in Kosovo and to protect its citizens.
It was in 1981, after several years of preparation and obtaining various arms and whatever else was necessary for conducting terrorism in Kosovo, that the Albanian separatists began their armed attacks on the local authorities loyal to the Serbian government in Belgrade with simultaneous attacks on the civilian population to drive the remaining non-Albanians out of Kosovo. Between 1981 and 1988 500 assaults on military personnel, 80 cases of harassment of military units, and 251 attacks on military facilities were recorded. What went unrecorded and the civilian casualties incurred can only be imagined. Atrocities against the Serbian population were committed in Kosovo as these events unfolded. The Serbian government was given no choice but to crack down. I don’t know of any government in the civilized world that would have done otherwise to protect its people. Yet, incredibly, the Serbian government was vilified and condemned and the criminals were elevated to victim and “liberator” status. The crackdown, however, did not stop the Albanian terrorists.
Every civilized country in the world is trying to limit the kinds and number of arms its citizens carry around. The owner of a weapon is generally legally obligated to register his weapon when such ownership is allowed. Yet, in Kosovo, still an integral part of Serbia, Albanians were in possession of all sorts of guns and arms, including machine guns, explosives, detonators, and even pieces of artillery, just prior to the Kosovo war of 1998. The Serbian police force, given these threatening and hostile circumstances, was more than justified in taking action to protect its citizens. However, the situation unfortunately only got worse, not better. What the Serbs were faced with in their own backyard would require a separate essay alone to describe so let me suffice by saying this:
The Albanian moslems destroyed more Serbian Orthodox Churches and historical monuments in Kosovo in the last five years of the 1990s than the Turks did in their 500 years of domination in the Balkans. The desecration and destruction of Serbian Orthodox and Christian monuments, symbols and places of worship in Kosovo continues today, but there is no outrage. Where is the outrage? Thus, not only should the West have considered the Albanian affiliations with the fascists and the Nazis in the 20th century as it was choosing sides in the recent conflict, but it should have considered the crimes being committed against the Christian heritage in the Balkans.
Another unconscionable Albanian crime was setting fire to the Pristina City Library. This library held tens of thousands of Serbian books collected over a long period of time. They have burned and thrown into the garbage books of Serbian origin throughout Kosovo. And they have terrorized civilians mercilessly, killing at will. For the Serbs in Kosovo, this has been an ongoing Kristalnacht.
The tragedy of western action in response to the Serbian crackdown is that the U.S. and NATO ended up aiding and abetting this Kristalnacht against the Serbs, finally bombing a people who have never been anything but a loyal, good friend of the West, particularly the United States. They ended up rewarding the terrorists. I’ll say it again: The Clinton administration, using NATO as its tool, ended up rewarding the terrorists.