U fokusu rada Instituta za evropske poslove je praćenje pregovora Srbije sa EU i jačanje kapaciteta svih uključenih u procesu. Imajući u vidu složenost i dugotrajnost ovog procesa, Institut okuplja veliki broj stručnih saradnika sa kojima organizuje treninge, debate i druga usavršavanja zato što želimo da svojim radom doprnesemo boljem razumevanju evroatlantskih integracija. Institut radi na organizovanju treninga i pružanju multiperspektivnih informacija kako bismo omogućili aktivno učešće stručne javnosti i građana u procese donošenja odluka. Institut aktivno zagovara i zalaže se za temeljne reforme u okviru pegovaračkog procesa i u saradnji sa partnerima jačamo kapacitete Srbije da se suoči sa izazovima u globalnom svetu kroz zajedničko delovanje, koje za krajnji cilj ima aktivno članstvo Srbije u evroatlantskim okvirima za dobrobit svih građana.

Reconciliation between Albanians and Serbians “The Kosovo Issue”

Well, is it really possible? Can we achieve peace and reconciliation between these two nations that have been in constant conflicts since they first contact, near 1500 years ago? As the Paddy Ashdown quotation says “I don’t think Bosnia is ready for reconciliation, but I do think it is ready for truth”, so yes, it is the same situation at the Albanian-Serbian conflict. Most of Balkans nations were preys of false history, a history that promoted violence for years and consequently causing suffering to mass population of the region. For example the Kosovo issue, what really happened in Kosovo? Balkans need’s the truth, needs the vision to move on and to understand the past.

Reconciliation might become true in fact it must become true, as long as Albanians and Serbians want to have a peaceful relationship in the future. Consequently there are many steps that have to be taken, but it must always be considered that there are two sides of every story. To understand it and to help the reconciliation process I think that for example the school education is a key factor that can help the process, and of course there is will needed. However besides the will and desire, the current politics of Albanians and Serbians are not helping the reconciliation either, not mentioning the discrimination problems in both states, and the constant conflicts caused by illegal Serbian institutions in Republic of Kosovo. So where to start? Lately, there have been many attempts to “break the ice” between Albanians and Serbians, also between other nations in conflict too, and this was done by organizing different events and visits. I was lucky to participate in such a program, as it was the study visit in Belgrade, organized by Youth Education Committee, and financed by British Council. On this program there were 20 participants, or in other words 20 youth ambassadors coming from Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Kosovo. After one successful week of lectures, visits into Serbian institutions, discussions and dialogs, I was very enthusiastic and eager to share my experience gained during this study visit in Belgrade. What mostly impressed me was the non-appropriate sentencing of Special War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office to the war criminals comparing to their scales of crimes. Furthermore there was also a lot of prejudge among the citizens. However, after the study visit in Belgrade there was many conclusions on what specific steps should we take to improve the relations and to reach the reconciliation between our nations. When this topic was discussed with citizens in Prishtina, most of the citizens recalled the Kosovo war, the scales of crimes, and the Kosovo – Illyrian history. But the problem here is that both sides have two totally different versions of history. So again, where to start? While we seek reconciliation solutions, there is a question that we should all ask ourselves, why our conflicts never stopped? Where is the source of all this hatred, between Albanians and Serbians? Well, besides politics and manipulations that were a great source of hatred, I believe that the history can give us the answers. As I mentioned before, most of the western Balkans states were touched by the history forgery phenomena, especially the former Yugoslavia in which there was a huge impact of politics on history. Therefore many artifacts and archeological findings were destroyed, stolen, dispatched and the followers of the new written history were fully manipulated, causing “endless” conflicts between Balkans nations. However today`s the main problem between Serbians and Albanians is again, the Kosovo issue. Kosovo since 2008 it is independent, recognized as a state by around 100 states around the world, and yet there is still a huge dissatisfaction among Serbians and Albanians. Both sides have their interests, and their totally different sides of the history. Looking on this perspective, the reconciliation between Albanians and Serbians it is almost impossible, but if we look deeper we can find a will among the Albanians and Serbians to reach an agreement, because population in both sides are tired from the conflicts, and they are after a better life. If Albanians and Serbians could reach reconciliation between themselves, then the integration processes would be much faster. Consequently the economies of both sides would grow, so Albanians and Serbians would benefit from it. It worth’s to mention that after the Yugoslavian wars, the population of Balkans was very poor compared to the western states of Europe. However this fact is being used to promote peace and reconciliation between nations in Balkans! Dreaming for a better life, leaving behind the hatred, and creating friendships with the “enemies”, is an occurrence that is being very often in western Balkans states societies, and especially at the youth. This is a joyful fact, which shows us that the reconciliation might happen after all. Suddenly, a single political maneuver happens and turns everything upside down. But there again, it is important that at least somebody is trying to reach the reconciliation, or at least someone is thinking about it. I believe that the Serbian and Albanian youth must be well treated, in order to let them freely think and act about the reconciliation. By well-treaded, I intend to say the right education for the youth, learning the argued and corrected history, so then it would have less influence by extremist promoters. If that could be done, a well-educated youth could help all the other reconciliation processes to become much easier, since both sides want to have a peaceful life, and definitely a life within European Union. To move on with the conflict, both sides have to accept the past as it is, to accept the others even why their different, or have different sides of the story. In Kosovo there is a quote that says “Learn from your past because it will never stop being your future.” That shows us the miserable facts that happened to Kosovo people, by regimes that changed one after the other during the history. Letting the past go, will not be easy but we hope that it will come by time. Because of that, the touched territories from the war really need support. And definitely in order not to allow the history to repeat itself, the genocides should never be forgotten, as John F. Kennedy says “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”

Regarding all the above, and regarding to all the historical facts we can exhale conclusions that in order to have peace in Balkans after all that happened, the people must to have their freedom to choose their own destiny, despite the fact that there are some political “circles” that are trying not to allow this to happen. Today the Balkans cannot have a stable peace no more, since wars and politics forced nations to divide in different states, such as Albanian nation which it is divided in 6 different neighboring countries. So likely or not, there will always be a will to unite, even if all the Balkan countries join EU together. Also it is hard to make peace, as long as people still can’t forgive, or neither can forget the war and the crimes. That is because there is still no indemnity paid for the war damages yet, at least non in Kosovo, there was either no apology by Serbian state for the massive crimes done by the same state, and there is no proper implementation of human rights regarding the minorities in both Kosovo, and Serbia. Also the families of thousands of victims cannot live in peace as long as the criminals are still free, or symbolically sentenced. Besides all that, to promote a stable peace there are huge corrections that are waiting to happen in history books, so the youth can learn the truth about what happened in Balkans, and in Kosovo. Even why it seems hard, the Albanian youth, and Serbian youth must find peaceful solutions for themselves, by respecting each other’s rights and thoughts, and by learning more about each other. We must all work hard on this process, we must all strongly support the dialogs between our nations so we can resolve the Kosovo issue, and hopefully perhaps one day we can have a fully reconciliation between our nations.

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