Hatred between Kosovo and Serbia did not suddenly grow after the last war in 1999; hatred was seeded well before that time as Serbians and Albanians have cohabited this region for several centuries past. Bearing in mind the chronological order of sequences in these areas, since the 19th century Kosovo has been predominated by Serbians. Shortly after, the region was captured by Ottomans, alas Serbians took over Kosovo in 1912.
In 1945, Yugoslavia became a communist country and created six republics where Kosovo was given a special autonomous status. Even though different political approaches were taken during WWI and WWII, Kosovo remained under the same status. What was seen as concerning and threatening, were the high number of Albanian birthrate, however, the money allocated for the development of the economic sector helped further the education of Serbians while not so much the education of Albanians. After Tito’s death, the system was somewhat destabilized and students of the University of Pristine demonstrated and protested in large factions. For instance, students of this university were dissatisfied by the fact that they were placed on schools where they were constantly discriminated; the case being Serbians would study on the first floor of the building while Albanians on the second. Sharing the same building and courtyard was incomprehensible since neither Serbians nor Albanians shared the same culture, religion, or history. Furthermore, Albanians pride on being ancestors of Illyrian’s and one of the oldest languages. Tension only grew from then on.
Albanians have felt as foreigners under the Yugoslav regime and have been aware of their vulnerability under the rule of a president who at any time may order the army to enforce law and order as seen fit. For instance ethnic cleansing, murderous intents and rapes were few of the issues that concerned Albanians while in Yugoslavia, especially during the time Milosevic came into power. During the ’90es the political situation in Kosovo changed when the constitution of Serbia changed as well and enabled it to take control of the issue of Kosovo. Hence, Kosovars adopted the constitution “Republic of Kosovo” with the first president Dr.IbrahimRugova. What Albanians wanted were for their rights to be recognized, rights such as that of freedom of movement, speech and employment.
Even under the same statute, Albanians and Serbians have always led separate lives. What I condone as a mistake by the Albanian part is their boycott of the Serbian elections. By taking an active approach on the elections, Albanians perhaps could have made a difference and Milosevic might have not come to power, anyhow, only time could have told. As Albanians began to spread ideas of a “Great Albania”, by suggesting the union of Kosovars and Albanians into one great nation, Serbians were outraged and threatened towards that perspective. Therefore, Serbians began to enforce their culture upon Kosovars by changing the names of the streets, schools, etc.
Eventually, the situation escalated to the point where the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Serbian forces started fighting therewere countless casualties in both sides. The world was witnessing a gruesome war in the heart of the Balkans. Yet, the only meeting of Ibrahim Rugovawith Slobodan Milosevic held in Belgrade made it clear that International support will be needed for all the ethnic cleaning and murdering that were happening in Kosovo and that during that time Albanian people needed protection.
Since peace talks had failed, the NATO intervention was the final act by the International community to bring war to an end. Media report was showing the constant horrors of the war; the long lines of refugees leaving their homes, hoping that one day they would be able to go back. When the war finally brought to an end, the International Criminal Tribunal charged Milosevic with crimes against humanity including ethnic cleaning, at the same time, the ICTY charged KLA members of the same crimes.
Nine years after the war, in February 2008 Kosovo declared itself independent. Although many countries recognized its independence, there are still a few EU countries that won’t do so and their main argument is that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence is not in line with the international law. Nevertheless, the International court of justice concluded that declaration of independence was legal.
Kosovo after many years
“…and history has proven that you can bring every nation in wrong direction”- ZoranĐinđić, Metafore Dr. ZoranaĐinđića “Evropskipokretprijateljstva”, 2010, p.140
That was exactly what these two nations had faced, wrong history, the history that caused blood and hate among people. Kosovo is still in live wounds, a question of missing people is the main theme, one of the most sensitive, above all although my people suffered a lot but is still ready for reconciliation for better future life. What concerns me is sometimes the tension that our political leaders create making it difficult to overcome many things. I have talked to many of them explaining them the main point of being Youth Reconciliation Ambassador and for the opportunity that is given to me to see from close how I can contribute to this process. I asked many of them that what they think that Serbs should do so we can have better relations. Most of them answered to me with the same answers: They should apology for committed war crimes, they should use they’re nationalism for country developing and not for seizing other countries…but what is most important for now is that both parts keep their focus on the agreement that they signed so that Kosovo Serbs can see themselves as the part of our society and ongoing process, this way agreement opened the way to membership of EU but there are many unresolved issues that both parts need to take care of. Collaboration between us is what will put us on a right way of resolving all the problems and live in a peaceful way without prejudice. Our new generations need new life without hatred in it and we should make it happen, we as a youth should rewrite the history and make the life good living, and we can achieve it by awareness rising. We must know our history, we must respect our neighbors and we should move on with secure steps toward European Union.
Enough wars, enough hate…live the happy life.