I’d wish to live in “boring times”, but that does not depend on me, now does it. Until I decide to move faar away on some forgotten Pacific island, I’ll have to live in historically exciting times, which is, as we all know, a bad thing.
So, yeah, Kosovo declared independence a week ago. I just “love” to read online comments on this, coming from the people all over the world. Especially coming from the people who don’t have any knowledge on this matter.
Now, before I state my opinion, I’ll tell you that I live in Serbia and therefore my opinion (and historical knowledge) can differ than those posed by CNN (or similar). If you want to know my position better, I can tell you I’m a student of a historical humanity (archaeology), I’m a female, and I’m not 100% Serb, I’m part Croatian, Bulgarian, Austrian and Polish (ethnicity does matter in this story, I’m afraid). I’ve been living in Belgrade, capital of Yugoslavia, then Serbian and Montenegro, now Serbia, for all my life. I was anti- Milosevic since I was 10 and I do believe he did many bad things even to his own people, but all of the major sides involved in breaking up of Yugoslavia had their own Milosevics. I have friends and relatives from all over former Yugoslavia, just like most of the people here do. My best friend is a Serbian refugee from Bosnia, and I know some things that happen in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia during the 90s, so yeah, I do feel competent to say a few things here. More competent than random chick from … somewhere who could not find Balkans (or Europe for that matter) on the map.
Anyway, Kosovo declared “independence” last Sunday, an event that polarized the world. Sure, Albanians are happy, Serbs are not, because they’re left without a very important part of their country. Though you might not see it, many politicians, journalists, and general people are also intrigued with Kosovo independence and there’s no general opinion on the matter.
So, why did I use quotation marks when I said “independence”? Because Kosovars are not independent, all they got is “limited recognition” under EU and other world organizations. Now, the term “Kosovars” itself is really bad, it does not really exists here. All you have is Serbs from Kosovo, and Albanians from Kosovo, not “Kosovars”. So, “Kosovars” already have their own, independent country, and it’s called Albania; they consider themselves Albanians, so there’s no need to call them differently.
Albanians make 92% of today Kosovo’s population, while Serbs and other nationalities make under 8%. But that land is incredibly important to all Serbs, because it’s cradle of Serbian cultural identity. Kosovo was part of medieval Serbian kingdom, and most important Serbian monasteries are built there. It is, in all meaning of the words, the heart of Serbia. And not to mention Serbs who still live there, who are now cut off from their own country. So, you can’t just give such important part of your country to other people, now can you?
We were bombed in 1999 because Milosevic did war crimes against Albanians (which he did, more than Serbian media reported, but less than westerns and Albanians claim), yet, Albanian terrorists did war crimes against Serbian civilians on Kosovo at the same time, and nobody cares. Serbia got bombed, more than 500 civilians (both Serbian and Albanian) were killed, and that was not violation of human rights? Many thousands of Albanians became refugees in 1999, but many thousands of Serbs had to leave their homes as well, but you just hear about “Kosovar” (meaning: Albanian) refugees. Those refugees got back to Kosovo after the bombing, but Serbs never got back to their homeland and still live as refugees. Many Serbian civilians were killed by Kosovar terroristic organization KLA, but some of KLA leaders, such as Agim Ceku or Hashim Thaci, are now high Kosovar politicians (Taci is PM). Do you believe Serbs from Kosovo feel safe? Many of them were killed by KLA in 2004, medieval monasteries were damaged, yet, nobody called that ethnic cleansing. Double standards, perhaps?
So, why double standards? Why US wanted so badly to give Kosovo independence? Because they care about poor Albanians tortured by evil Serbs? First of all, Albanians tortured Serbs as well. Second, “evil Serbs” did not have any power within their own land since 1999, because it was UN protection territory and KFOR forces were there to decide about war, peace and all the other things. Kosovo had its parliament (let by war criminals) and yet, Albanians did not live any better than before, because Kosovo’s economy is very low and the only things that blossom there, are smuggling of heroin, weapons and women. Serbs are left on the north parts of Kosovo or enclaves on the south, and are really afraid for their lives.
But, for some reason that we can discuss, US wanted independent Kosovo at all causes. US even made a pressure to many European countries to recognize Kosovo. Why? We can all have our own conspiracy theory, including interest in Kosovo’s oil (unexplored till now), destabilization of Europe, or Russia, but the most popular, and the most likely, is the need for a strategic military base in Europe. They need a military platform in Europe, and Poland and Czech are not really keen on giving Americans build platforms in their countries (or anybody else, for that matter). That has nothing to do with Serbs, Albanians, ethnic cleansing, freedom, or somebody’s cultural identity.
I do not hate Americans (though I’m not fan of their government), but what would such a young nation know about medieval shrines and hundreds of years of somebody’s cultural identity? The only people who live that long (and much longer, for that matter) in America are almost all killed or forced to live in reservations. They do not rule America today.