Sunday, March 30, 2008
'Skanderbeg was a Serb' - or how Serb national ideology constructed the image of the Albanian as an enemy
Author: Olivera Milosavljevic
Uploaded: Tuesday, 25 March, 2008
The author traces the way in which earlier Serbian historians, writers and politicans created a stereotype of Albanians as implacable enemies of all that is Serb
The Albanians are today unquestionably considered the greatest ‘enemies’ of the Serbs. Although this may be ascribed to political events and the distasteful portrayal of Albanians in the Serbian media, it is nevertheless necessary to look deeper into the reasons for the disdain with which they have been treated by Serbian writers and politicians.
Serbian intellectuals today write about Albanians mainly within the framework of a stereotype about their ingrained hatred of - and desire to destroy - the Serbs, which is said to originate from their very nature, characterised by primitivism and banditry. Earlier authors, meanwhile, sought also to prove the Albanians’ alleged incapacity for autonomous state existence, which they likewise derived from their nature. In their view, the Albanian ‘tribes’ neither needed a state nor were capable of becoming a nation. So such authors saw the solution, in line with Serbia’s own state-political programme, in terms of a benevolent colonisation which, by including the Albanians and their lands into the Serbian state, would prepare them for civilised existence. Contemporary writings about the Albanians commonly include such stereotypes, repeated over and over again during the past one hundred years: that they are not a nation, and that their lack of civilisation precludes them from establishing an independent state. From this derives the assertion that Skanderbeg was a Serb.
Albanians hate Serbs
In the 1980s the Albanian name came to be linked exclusively with words such as genocide, terror, banditry, rape - every mention of this population in both political and private exchange carried a negative connotation. Following Dimitrije Bogdanović’s book Knjiga o Kosovu, published in 1985 by the Serbian Academy of Arts and Science (SANU), and his frequent appearances on television, Serbian intellectuals would write about Albanians only in order to confirm in some form that Serbs in Kosovo were the victims of a planned genocide, so that Bogdanović was soon left behind in this display of negative sentiment against Albanians. In his book, Bogdanović had revived the old thesis that Albanian settlement of Serb lands in the 17th century had left a memory of bloody violence suffered by the Serbs, which he elaborated through examples of collective and individual acts of terror, pillage, pogroms and expulsion of Serbs from their land, and with the assertion that the basis of Albanian settlement was to be found in the conversion of Serbs to Islam, accompanied by ethnic assimilation and brute force. According to him, the Serb people thus became the victim not just of some chaotic movement, but of a pre-planned physical destruction. The extension of this negative image to the Albanian people as a whole was carried out by presenting the Albanian political movement as aggressive, invasive, vengeful, conservative and nationalistic, aimed at destroying the Serb people through murder, expulsion and erasure from history, and at the seizure of Serb land with the intention of surrounding and destroying the Serbs themselves. According to Bogdanović, the thesis of the Illyrian origin of the Albanians was racist, because it was used to establish a primal claim to the territory. At the same time, when writing about the settlement of Serbs in the Balkans at a time that he describes as Albanian pre-history, he mentions the ancestors of the Albanians without saying who they were.
According to historian and SANU member Radovan Samardžić, the Albanians were expansionist already in the 16th century: they were unleashed by the Turks against the Serbs in order to drive a destructive wedge into ancient Serb lands. The Serbs were pushed back by methods that included murder and pillage, the torching of their villages, seizure of their land and enforced Islamisation.
For the sociologist Marko Mladenović too, who made frequent appearances in the media at this time, the genocide and apartheid practised against the Kosovo Serbs was self-evident, and the story about the Albanians’ Illyrian origins was an archaeological fog constructed in order to claim the alleged lands of the contemporary Albanians’ prehistoric ancestors. He insisted that there were no Albanians in Kosovo before the 17th century, and that they were not in a majority there before the Second World War. The persecutors of the Serbs in Kosovo ranged from ‘Bashibazouks’ to ‘Ballists’, associated respectively with Islam and extreme nationalism. This circle of Serbian intellectuals never doubted, moreover, that the Albanians even used children for their political purposes. Bogdanović wrote about Albanian children being encouraged to attack Serb children, while for Mladenović they were used to establish an Albanian numerical preponderance.
A bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), Atanasije Jevtić, insists that the Albanians’ aim in Kosovo has always been the following: more land, more children, and more weapons. He stresses in particular that Albanian children have not merely been manipulated, but feel deep hatred towards everything that is Serb and Christian in Kosovo, for which he blames their parents and teachers, and the primitive clan and Muslim spirit.
While for Bogdanović the Albanians were tools in Turkish hands, for Samardžić they were tools of the Roman curia, which counted on them as people of weak faith and honour, who could accordingly be converted to Catholicism without too much effort. In his portrayal of the Albanian national character, Samardžić speaks of their barbaric nature, their fantastic powers of reproduction, their inhuman odiousness, and their bloody orgies.
During the 1990s, a paradigmatic text written by Miodrag Jovičić appeared in the SANU collection of texts: Serbs and Albanians in the 20th century. The Albanians appear here as ‘Arnauti’ - as marauding bandits genetically predisposed to violence. For Jovičić too, it was their Islamisation that explains why the Turks gave the Albanians carte blanche to terrorise the Serb population through the use of violence, plunder and banditry. Adopting the thesis that tradition and accumulated experience determine a certain biological predisposition in a nation, he argues that violence has become part of the genetic make-up of all layers of the Albanian population, together with hatred of the Serbs, whose only fault is that they are alive.
An approach to historical events as a repayment of debts here comes most directly to the fore. Although Jovičić accepts that in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia the Albanians were not precisely pets of the regime, he nevertheless concludes that they had not by any means paid off the debt for what they had done to the Serb people during the time of Turkish rule. In the same style of earned and unearned history is his observation that, in view of past experience, the Albanian minority simply did not deserve to have autonomy within Serbia. On the contrary, Jovičić argues, many believe that in 1945 the Albanians should have been placed in a special quarantine, and been given autonomy only after they had offered sufficient proof of their capacity for civilised cohabitation. For Jovičić too, then, Albanians are genetic enemies of Serbia and Serbdom , bearers of an aggressive chauvinism and racism, a fact which only serves to prove that it is impossible to create conditions for co-existence of the various national groups who live in Kosovo.
According to this author, Albanians feel a primaeval hatred towards Serbia and Serbdom, and their genocidal behaviour has been present in all centuries. He sees a solution to this problem in altering the province of Kosovo’s existing ethnic composition - by returning all the Serbs who have left, by creating new Serb settlements, and by suspending the present autonomy for a certain period. Contemporary authors have also written about Albanian historical inferiority; about the open genocide perpetrated against Serbs in the 19th century by means of pillage, murder, rape and abduction of women then forced to convert to Islam; about the ethnic and religious intolerance towards Serbs that has formed the basis of all political movements of the ‘Arbanasi’; about their aggressive and destructive fury directed against all that is Serb; about their conduct as invaders and occupiers.
It is argued, with reference to the centuries-old relationship between Albanians and Serbs, that a barbaric and aggressive eruption of Albanian nationalism and separatism occurs whenever the demographic balance is disturbed, which derives from the nature of their primitive clan society; and that in their persecution of the Serbs the Albanians were more radical and cruel than all other Serb neighbours, using the most brutal means, as befits their Islamic-Turkish and fascist-Ballist tradition (Dobrica Ćosić, 1992).
Such negative stereotypes of Albanians were elaborated back in the second half of the 19th century, in books written by Serbian authors based on little serious study. Most widespread was the one about the Albanians’ hatred of Serbs. Archimandrite Hadži Seafim Ristić was among the first to speak of Albanians as the worst enemies of Christianity and the worst oppressors of the common people. Radosavljević-Bdin, inspired by patriotic feelings, when numbering the weapons that the enemies (i.e. neighbours) of the Serbs had used in their joint work of Serb destruction, ascribed the scimitar, gunpowder and lead to the Albanians. Hadži-Vasiljević saw the Albanians as ‘the greatest enemies of the Serbs’ (1906), their ‘sworn enemies’ (1909); he maintained that Serbs saw Albanians as their worst enemies, describing their attitude as follows: ‘Serbs are separated from true Turks by the thickness of an onion skin, and from Albanians by that of a buffalo hide’ (1913).
Skanderbeg was a Serb
The stereotype about Albanians as ‘Arbanised’ Serbs, though seemingly contradicting the above, is in fact in perfect harmony with it, given the view of the phenomenon of assimilation entertained by this part of the Serbian intelligentsia. To begin with, contemporary writers manipulate the number of ‘Arbanised’ Serbs. According to Samardžić, at the end of the 19th century 30-40 per cent of the Kosovo Albanian population was of Slav origin, a result achieved by what he calls a veritable pogrom. For Mladenović, meanwhile, two thirds of native Albanians are of Serb origin. Veselin Đuretić, for his part, insists that the true number is 80 per cent. Earlier authors did not deal in numbers, but found other ways, primarily visual, to deduce the Serb origin of the Kosovo Albanians: in their alleged lack of certain physical features present, for example, among Bulgarians.
The thesis that Skanderbeg was a Serb belonged at once to the stereotype of the Albanians’ Serb origins and to that of their inability to create a state. Its primary purpose was to explain this historical exception from the rule of the Albanians’ tribal and disorganised existence, and their lack of desire for a state. Just as contemporary Serbian writers like to stress that Skanderbeg’s mother was from the Balšić family, which in their view makes him a Serb, earlier writers too felt bound to insist on this argument. For these earlier authors Skanderbeg was a Serb, as were his comrades in arms; he was the last Serb dynast, who ruled lands inhabited by Serbs. Vladan Dorđević, while insisting that Skanderbeg was a Serb, wrote in an apologetic tone: ‘It is actually quite embarrassing that we must claim this sole hero whom the Albanians have managed to acquire during so many thousands of years, for in our six-century-long struggle from Kosovo to Kumanovo we have gained so many heroes that we could have done without this one. But we must not allow history to be falsified for the Albanians’ sake.’ Other authors followed him, repeating in unison that Albanians should not claim Skanderbeg as their own, because he was not a full-blooded Albanian but at least half-Serb.
Albanians are unfit for statehood
The most widespread stereotype in the period up to the First World War was that the Albanians lacked any desire to have their own state, which in turn argued that they had no right to have one. In 1878 Dimitrije Aleksijević wrote that the Albanians had the right to form their state west and south of the Drin, but only if they showed that they deserved it morally, for no state had been ever created by thieves and plunderers. Jovan Hadži-Vasiljević complained that the Albanians had started demanding independence and were denying to the Serbs the right to their lands. On the eve of the Balkan Wars, Ljuba Jovanović wrote that the existing situation in ‘Old Serbia’ had been created by wild and unbridled Albanians whom Istanbul could not pacify; that only Serbia could do that; and that in liberating ‘Old Serbia’ Serbia would also end the barbaric extermination of the Serb population there. According to Jovanović, since the legal science did not recognise the right of possession to something gained by criminal means, Serbia and the Serb people were right not to recognise the legality of the existing state of affairs created through banditry in this famous part of the Serbian fatherland. And while he believed that the Albanians had no right to remain in a land which they had taken by barbaric means, he was not in favour of removing them by force or treating them as an enslaved and conquered mass. He argued that they could stay there as Serbian citizens, without loss of their nationality; but he also concluded that Serbia did not need them.
The years that followed the Balkan Wars produced a plethora of books about the Albanians, their past and their character. Serbia’s primary aim was to reach the sea, and it now redirected its expansion from Salonica to Durrës, in the belief that this was necessary for its economic and political survival. This policy needed scientific arguments to back up its plans. It was now necessary to transfer the old stereotypes about the Albanians of Kosovo and Macedonia to the global plane, and to create a general image of the Albanians that would support the argument that they were not fit to have a state of their own. Serbian nationalist intellectuals, who wrote a great deal about the nationality principle, the awakening of nations, and how the Balkans belonged solely to the Balkan peoples - and who insisted upon the right of every nation to be free - never applied these principles to the Albanians, nor thought that any such rights and freedoms might apply to them. The Serb struggle for freedom, in the eyes of these authors, had to be rewarded with territories that were not necessarily and obviously Serb; while Albanian banditry had to be punished by denying their right to a state even in areas that were purely Albanian. This is why one cannot find a single author among this segment of the intellectual elite who supported the Albanians’ right to have their own state. On the contrary, any such demand was treated as unnatural and an unjust attack against Serbia and its progress.
The desire to prove that Serbia had the right to seize part of Albania in order to have its own coast was so strong that even serious authors succumbed to it. Jovan Cvijić published several articles in connection with the First Balkan War aimed at justifying Serbian political demands. Writing that ‘Old Serbia’ had an exit to the Adriatic Sea in a narrow belt between Shkodër, Lesh and Durrës, he advocated building a railway line to this coast. He was worried, though, that it would pass through Albanian-inhabited areas, saying that this people’s distrust of communications was well known, and that it was also well known that they were very excitable and easily provoked. Serbian demands at this point in time were, in fact, justified not so much in terms of Serb rights, but by an alleged incapacity of Albanians to live as an independent nation. The basic argument was that this primitive people was not fit to have its own state, and would therefore benefit from being exposed to Serb civilisation within a Serbian state.
Jovan Radonić wrote that at the time of the disintegration of the Serbian empire, the Albanians did not try to create their own state, but continued to live as tribes feeling no need for a wider community, thus proving that they did not have the capacity to become a nation. And since these tribes treated everything beyond their own borders as strange and hostile, it was not possible to speak of the Albanian people as a whole. He also argued that the Albanians had not produced their own leaders, but had remained largely subject to the beneficent effects of Serb culture, a state of affairs interrupted by the Turkish invasion. Protesting against the creation of an autonomous Albania that would cut Serbia off from the sea, Radonić insisted that there was no Albanian nationality; that the Albanians did not feel the need to have a state of their own; and that in any case they could not form one, because they showed no cultural disposition, no will, and no capacity to create a state-like community, preferring instead to live as they had done since the middle ages. He complained that this people, who had always been prone to disorder and violence, and who were the strongest opponents of equality, were now supposed to be rewarded with freedom. Rather than being incorporated into the states of the Balkan alliance, where as equal citizens now that Turkey had been defeated they would enjoy the benefits of culture and civilisation, it was now being proposed that they should be independent (Radonić, 1912).
Vladan Đorđević called the Albanians Europe’s Redskins; the Albanian port of Durrës a Serbian port; and the Albanian state that Austria and Italy wished to create a sad episode in the bloody but glorious Balkan epic poem. He asked: ‘Will this tremendous effort by Austria and Italy to create a state out of these Redskins come to anything? And will the colossal damage that the Great Powers will thereby inflict upon themselves be as great as the injustice they will be committing against the Balkans states? Arguing that the Albanians’ backwardness was an unsurmountable barrier to the creation of an Albanian state, he found its surprising that these people - people who did not know what such a thing was, and who thought that snow was sugar - were now claiming to be ready to die for their fatherland. Seeing in the future Albanian state only a barrier to Serbia’s advance, he wrote that the great powers had decided to turn these indolent barbarians into a state solely in order to hinder the progress of other diligent and brave nations, who within a single century had created cultured states through power and application.
Although he wrote his book in order to prove the justice of the Serbian quest for exits to the sea, he also felt the need to point to the profit that would accrue to Europe by Albanians not having their state, arguing that an Albania, being a Muslim state, would be an anachronism for Europe and for its ideals. This is why, in his view, the colonial principle was the only way to solve the Albanian problem, because only a foreign state could create law and order in Albania, and create the conditions that would make it possible for the Albanians to become a nation. Wondering how a people who did not see themselves as constituting a particular nation could henceforth be treated as one, and insisting that the Albanians in their development remained at the stage of pre-history, he concluded that it would take at least a hundred years before they could rightly call themselves a nation. In other words, the slogan ‘The Balkans to the Balkan peoples’ did not apply to the Albanians (Đorđević, 1913).
In the same year that Đorđević’s book was published, the Serbian minister of the interior Stojan Protić published one of his own under the pseudonym of Balkanicus. Although seemingly more moderate in tone, this book used the same arguments and with the same intention. It was published, moreover, by the same publishing house, which makes one wonder whether this was a coordination of efforts to meet given political needs. The main message of Protić’s book too was that it was Serbia’s right to demand an exit to the sea on the Albanian coast. Citing all kinds of ‘scientific’ authorities, Protić argued that the Albanians of northern Albania had lost much of their racial purity, for their blood contained a large Serb component. He repeated the argument that the Albanians had no common language or alphabet, no folk literature or crafts of their own, and noted that it had become fashionable in Italy and Austria-Hungary to portray the Albanians as a talented race and to paint their character in attractive and sympathetic colours.
Against this, Protić quoted a number of foreign authors who had written about the Albanians’ backwardness, concluding that they had remained at the level at which they had found themselves a thousand years earlier. Wondering about the failure of the neighbouring civilisations to influence them, and their inability to evolve into a state community, he concluded sarcastically that such a healthy, spiritual and talented nation - as some gentlemen gave it out to be - had managed to absorb nothing of all their neighbours’ cultures and civilisations, but remained singular and sufficient to themselves. He argued that the Albanians were not capable of independent national existence, because, being committed to self-will and freedom of the wilderness, they did not have nor could have had any feeling for social freedom.
Their reward for their loyal service to the sultan, according to Protić, was permission to kill and exterminate the Serbs, and to seize from the latter their property and land, which was the Albanians’ only talent. Buttressing further his political position, he sought in religion the reasons for deterioration of the relationship between Serbs and Albanians, who in his view had used to be good before becoming Muslims: We have seen in this war too that only Muslim Albanians fought against the Serbs, while Christian Albanians welcomed the Serbs practically everywhere as liberators.
Protić argued that no Albanian question had existed before others had posed it, because the Albanians did not seek a state for themselves. Austria’s fervent advocacy of the lowest and most uncultured race in the Balkan peninsula, which had proved unable to move beyond tribal life for the past two thousand years or to create the smallest state - and its demand, in accordance with the alleged principle of nationality, of extensive borders for this race at the expense of the Serb race, which was stronger, more cultured and far more capable of state life - was in his view nothing but a screen for its own territorial expansion (Balkanicus, 1913)
The key argument of Serbian writings at the start of the century was that Albania was not the product of the Albanians’ national aspirations, and that it did not have the necessary conditions for an independent life, because the Albanians were not nationally united. The state that was being created was not created for them, but as a means to turn the Balkan peninsula into a colony of Great Germany (Cemović, 1913). The idea of independence could not have arisen from among the Albanians themselves, but was the work of others. In this independent Albania, not a single Serb, Christian or indeed Turk would be able to survive (Jaša Tomić, 1913). It was also said that the Serbian army could have taken the area around Vlorë without a fight, but had left it - under pressure from an ill-intentioned Austria - in favour of an independent Albania in which Austria was seeking to multiply, with the aid of its political bacteriologists, the cultures of bandits without ideas, in order to facilitate its own struggle against Serbia, Montenegro and Greece (Stepanović, 1913).
The Albanian character
Yet certain of these authors were ambivalent about the character of the Albanians. Even those who generally painted them in the blackest of colours, when they came into direct contact with them on their travels also acknowledged their many positive sides, which at times even raised them above Serbs. Thus the travel writer Ivan Ivanić described the Albanians of Kaçanik as handsome, tall men known for their bravery, whose love songs were very emotive, because their strong southern blood made them passionate lovers, and reported that guests were fully protected in their homes and their women untouchable (Ivanić, 1903). Hadži-Vasiljević praised their diligence; he stated that their fields and vineyards were of the best quality; that they were the best at animal husbandry and the best craftsmen; that when they had enough to live they were peaceful and good neighbours, and even trusted friends; that they were healthy and tough; that they did not say much, but liked to show off; that they were proud and conceited (Hadži-Vasiljević, 1909). He stressed their moderation, in that they drank little other than coffee; that they ate better than Serbs and cared more than the latter for cleanliness and health; that they were handsome, though not so much their women; and that the pretty women you did find among them derived from an Albanian-Serb mingling, and from beautiful Serb girls having converted to Islam. He said they were hospitable, quiet and polite, sober and clever, but also crafty and jealous (Hadži-Vasiljević, 1913).
Stojan Novaković described them as bony, slim people, healthy and as hardy as flint; but he complained that they were also wild, robbing and often killing every Serb peasant they met (Novaković, 1906). Jaša Tomić acknowledged their military prowess, saying that they were exceptionally skilled warriors, and that no one could accuse them of cowardice; that they did not attack women, and were very hospitable (Tomic, 1913). Although he did not see them as fit to have a state, Toma Oraovac admitted that they were native to the Balkans and one of its more cultured and advanced peoples; while Dragiša Vasić argued that they were supremely more honest and humane than Bulgarians - which is understandable in a book about the Bulgarians (Vasić, 1919).
Interest in Albanians rapidly declined following the formation of a Yugoslav state. They were mentioned in writing only accidentally; negatively, of course, but no longer as the main subject of interest or the main enemy. This role was taken over by Croats, who replaced first the Bulgarians and then the Albanians.
Extracts from ‘U tradiciji nacionalizma ili stereotipi srpskih intelektualaca XX veka o "nama" i "drugima" [In the Tradition of Nationalism, or Serb intellectuals’ stereotypes about "us" and "them"]’, Ogledi no.1, The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, 2002, reproduced on Radio B92's Pescanik [Hourglass] website from which this translation has been made. The original version has a full scholarly apparatus of bibliographical references, for the most part omitted here.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
And the Serbian National(Social)ist wet dream of an "Endlosung to The Albanian Question" yet lives on (unfortunately)!
Author: Ivan Colovic
Uploaded: Friday, 14 March, 2008
Devastating review, by one of Serbia's most distinguished cultural critics, of a heavyweight book on Kosovo just published in Belgrade which laments the historic failure by Serbia, after it annexed the territory in 1912, to adopt a 'final solution' to the problem of its Albanian population
I too agree that the main question is: ‘Why did Serbia lose Kosovo?’ In other words: ‘Why has it been the case for a few days now that this territory remains in Serbia only "forever", rather than in other ways too?’ We have heard, and continue to hear, what politicians, analysts, priests and football fans think about this. Patriotic writers and other artists, sensing probably which way things were going, had made their views on the causes of the loss clear even earlier. We see that collective prayers, political declarations and speeches, slogans on banners and the stones wielded by alleged football fans, largely agree that Kosovo has been granted independence - or as is commonly said ‘stolen’ from Serbia - only because this corresponds to the interests of the United States and other Western powers. And, as always, might is right!
But what do our scholars say about it? Have they a different or at least a more convincing reply to the question of how it happened that Serbia lost Kosovo? Where, if not in scholarly works, should we seek to find sober - or as people say these days tenable - thinking about Kosovo, or for that matter about any important social and political subject? Luckily for us Serbian scholars are hard at work, they are studying Kosovo too, and sometimes they even publish the results of their scholarly endeavours. An extensive scientific study has indeed just been published in Belgrade, not a moment too soon, with the title: Kosovo and Metohija; and this, according to the introduction, should ‘help us to find our way in the chaos of the highly complex and fateful problems of Kosovo and Metohija, and steer us towards practical solutions’. Wonderful! This is what we have been waiting for; this is what we need: new ideas, a new orientation, scientifically based solutions for overcoming chaos.
The scholarly quality of the book Kosovo and Metohija is at first glance quite unexceptionable. The author, Dr Milovan Radovanović, is a noted geographer, an emeritus professor of Belgrade University, former director of the Geographical Institute of the Faculty of Science and Mathematics in Belgrade, former director of the Geographical Institute of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Science, professor at the University of Banja Luka, bearer of the ‘Jovan Cvijić’ medal, honorary member of the Geographical Society of Macedonia, associate of the Serbian-American Centre and of the State Negotiating Team for Kosovo and Metohija.
The book was published by ‘Službeni glasnik’, a leading Serbian publisher, on the basis of a recommendation from two academicians, Vladimir Stojančević and Miloš Macura, with an introduction by Dr Mirko Grčić, professor at the Faculty of Geography in Belgrade, and a brief authorial biography by Dr Milan Bursać, professor of the Faculty of Science and Mathematics at the University of Kosovska Mitrovica. The book contains appendices with extracts from the recommendations, a bibliography of the author’s works, three tables and a dozen maps. This adds up to over 600 large-format pages. Impressive indeed!
The reader will be additionally impressed by the large number of fields that the book covers. Its very subtitle evokes the breadth of the author’s scientific approach to Kosovo: ‘Anthropo-geographical, historico-geographical, demographic and geo-political foundations’. In fact, however, having read the contents and leafed more carefully through the book, the reader will discover that the subtitle might have been considerably longer, and that Dr Radovanović has modestly listed only four scientific disciplines among the far greater number of disciplines, sub-disciplines and scientific research areas whose results and methods he has used in his work on Kosovo. These are listed as follows: geo-strategy, geo-economy, geo-demography, political geography, cultural geography, ethnography, ethno-demography, ethnonymy, ethno-statistics, ethno-psychology, ethno-cartography, onomatology, anthroponomy, demo-politics, historical demography, political history, sociology, etymology, characterology, biometry, eugenics, cultural history, economy... - it is probable that other disciplines or sciences are included which I have missed on a first reading of the book.
Well, then, what conclusion does Dr Radovanović reach on the basis of this rarely seen concentration of multifarious scientific knowledge about the causes of Serbia’s loss of Kosovo? Why the loss, how did it happen? Briefly, Kosovo was lost - this interdisciplinary study reveals - because the Serbians, who in 1912 occupied the territory, allowed the Albanians to remain there instead of removing them altogether, i.e. implementing the so-called ’final solution of the Albanian question’.
This conclusion of Dr Radovanović’s magisterial study may appear at first glance too modest, disproportionate in relation to the grandiose scientific apparatus used to deduce it, and also unoriginal. For, indeed, neither the idea contained in the conclusion nor the term ‘the final solution’ are new. The author himself does not deny this, because for him, undoubtedly, scientific truth is far more important than who may have discovered or formulated it. He does not hide, for example, that he took the idea of the fatefully lost opportunity on the part of the Serbs to get rid of the Kosovo Albanians finally and permanently from Vaso Čubrilović: that -according to Dr Radovanović - ‘superb historian... experienced revolutionary and zealous worker in the field of the revival of brutally crushed Serbdom’. He quotes with approval parts of what we would today call his cult text from 1937, in which Čubrilović accused the government of the day for not having seized the land in good time from the Kosovo Albanians and deported them to Albania, instead conducting a policy towards them based on European civilisational standards, or as Čubrilović said: ‘letting the Albanians become accustomed to Western European notions of private ownership in land’. The Albanians’ primitive civilisation had taught them that everything belongs to the conqueror; but the civilised Serbs, when establishing their government in 1912, had left the Albanians with both life and property, to their great astonishment. So who are we to blame?
In Dr Radovanović’s view, Čubrilović’s analysis remains relevant to this day and provides a valuable guiding idea. ‘His logic, his autopsy, his judgement, the significance and order of the facts he examines, are accurate and confirmed by the evolution of events up to the present day, to such an extent’, he writes, ‘that they represent an exact deterministic (functional) system to which one cannot add or subtract anything, except a demo-statistical component’. The great modesty of the author should not lead us, however, to overlook his own personal contribution to the elaboration and affirmation of ideas about the solution of the Albanian question on sound national foundations, in other words its final solution. Vasa Čubrilović had it easy at the end of the 1930s, when ideas about final solutions to conflicts between races and peoples enjoyed scientific and political prestige among a goodly proportion of European scientific and political thinkers. Today, in the post-Auschwitz world, when it is believed - probably for unscientific reasons - that the price of final solutions is unacceptably high, scientists and patriots who advocate them require very much greater courage. It is fortunate, however, that Dr Radovanović can count on the support of part of our public, and - which is particularly encouraging - on those young people who are ever more openly advocating a revision of humanistic and democratic dogmas - those American fabrications - including the mantra about the equality of all peoples and the universality of human rights: those young people who openly give themselves the beautiful names of Nazis and racists, white power and racial pride. They - or at least the more literate among them - will be delighted to see the author speak of what he calls ‘the renewal of Serbdom in the cradle of Serb statehood and culture’ and refer to a ‘blood’ renewal of Serbdom that differs in kind from ‘demographic’ renewal. For, as the racially and nationally conscious youth will quickly grasp, it is one thing to have a large enough people, quite another for them to have pure blood in their veins.
The importance of this magisterial study perhaps lies not in its coming up with new ideas, but in its restoring the reputation, undermined for unscientific reasons, of good old ideas about races and nations, and their merciless struggle for living space. Sticking bravely to objective scientific methods, refusing to yield to common sense or irrelevant moral considerations, unaffected by political correctness, Dr Radovanović brings us face to face in his study with the essence of the matter: with the naked truth about the eternal struggle of the nation for its living space. It says: Us or Them, and better Us than Them. If it happens, however, that the final solution is applied too late - as happened, to the author’s great sorrow, in Kosovo - then the only thing that remains is an extorted and provisional solution in the form of a division of territory. We are dealing, Dr Radovanović explains, with an ‘acute confrontation between two civilisationally, sociologically, demographically and developmentally incompatible social and national formations in the same space. This is why territorial separation is the only rational solution.’
The reference to ‘incompatible formations’ may appear to some as a reference to Huntington’s celebrated book on the clash of civilisations. Huntington does indeed believe that civilisations clash because they are different; but he does not speak about hierarchical differences between them. Dr Radovanović has in mind precisely such differences between them as are neglected these days for unscientific reasons. The division of Kosovo that he advocates is, in fact, a division between its barbarian and its civilised parts. The motto he chose for one of the book’s chapters reads: ‘Barbarians too, if they increase their numbers sufficiently, may overcome their culturally superior competitors by mass immigration, and appropriate or destroy all their national achievements.’ This is a sentence from a lecture given by a professor of medicine, Milan Jovanović Batut, in 1900. Batut did not mention Kosovo in his lecture, but Dr Radovanović is convinced that his thoughts about barbarians and culturally advanced people refers precisely to the Albanians and the Serbs, or, as he writes, to: ‘the expansion by immigration of a civilisationally inferior population which by violence and numerical superiority ... destroys the original inhabitants and their successors’. And since civilisation has failed to repulse the barbarian invasion over the whole territory of Kosovo, let us help it to withdraw to one corner of the latter, in the hope that it may be able to survive at least there. The whole of the civilised world is bound to see this as being in its own interest too, and the credit for this understanding and solidarity will certainly go to such scientific works as Dr Milovan Radovanović’s Kosovo and Metohija.
Translated from Belgrade Radio B92's Peščanik [Hourglass] programme, 13 March 2008
A couple of articles showing just how racist, elitist, islamo-fascistic, and ignorant those Kosovar Albanians REALLY are!
An American – university – in Kosovo
Chris Hall is president of a three-year-old college that hopes to instill values of free exchange and civil society.
By Robert Marquand |
Pristina, Kosovo - A few years ago, Chris Hall was a state senator from midcoast Maine. He had quit a job as a steel and mining executive, deciding "never again" to do the weekly commute from Portland to New York. But a defeat in 2004 opened the door for Mr. Hall to become the first president of one of the more unusual colleges in Europe: the American University in Kosovo.
After decades of repression and war, Kosovo's schools were in tatters. A privileged few studied abroad. But AUK, formed three years ago with funds from the Albanian diaspora and the only multiethnic private college here, aspires to help the somewhat battered new state build its next generation of leaders. It's a mission the Oxford-educated Hall deeply believes in.
Kosovo's declaration of independence on Feb. 17 may have brought angry protests from Serbs 30 miles away on the Ibar River, but Hall has a college to run. He sits in on statistics classes, juggles scholarships and budgets, coordinates with Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology, which grants AUK degrees, and hires Fulbright scholars.
He's added a public policy program to what is now a business degree and helped create one of the freest weekly political forums in Pristina, albeit one in English. He wants the small school to breathe the values of civil society and intelligent democratic sentiments.
Just last week, Hall was in Chicago signing a partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology for an AUK master's in law, which will be the only such degree offered in Kosovo.
Most important, Hall and many students say, AUK offers Kosovar youths a school where they encounter Western-style debates, interaction, and educational standards.
Student Tefta Kelmendi first considered going abroad for college, since there were "many other possibilities offered to Kosovar students for study abroad and scholarships," she says. But AUK allowed her to "be part of all these significant changes that are taking place" in Kosovo, so she stayed.
The college opened in 2003 in a crowded house with few facilities. But two years ago, AUK moved to a small complex in a hilly suburb, with lecture halls, information-technology facilities, and a cafeteria-cum-student hangout. Some 34 professors – from the Balkans as well asthe US – staff the school. Enrollment is 450, but Hall and company plan for 600. Last year, the school celebrated its first graduating class, of 57.
Of those, more than 40 now work in Kosovo, a point of pride for Hall and the AUK board, whose members include prominent American Albanians like businessman Richard Lukaj and Ron Cami, a partner of the New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Students come mostly from the Albanian diaspora in 11 other countries, including Syria, Nigeria, and Algeria. Four Serbian students attend – and have not left despite Kosovo's declaration of independence.
AUK is "a success story in a part of the world with few success stories at this point," says Louis Sell, a former US diplomat and an AUK board member who helped bring Hall to the school. Mr. Sell feels that after Kosovo's declaration of independence, a school of public service at AUK will make a contribution. The school is seeking $3 million in scholarships as part of a larger Kosovo package now before Congress. Kosovo "is a part of Europe that is nominally Islamic, but overwhelmingly pro-American. The US has been quite cautious in the money it gives. But we hope that is changing," Sell adds.
After Hall lost his senate seat in 2004, he ran into Sell, who lives nearby. Sell knew that Hall, a Briton turned naturalized American, had a longstanding interest in the Balkans. Hall was in one of the first tour groups to enter Albania in 1990 after it had been closed for decades. Sell, with other US diplomats, had worked with the Fund for the Reconstruction of Kosovo, made up of Albanians, to establish a nonprofit college in Pristina with $4 million left over from the monies collected from the diaspora.
Hall, who was going to be in Belgrade, agreed to pop down to Pristina. While the college was "this overstuffed house on a hill," as Hall recalls, he was "deeply impressed" with students. "They don't have the worldliness you find in so many American kids of this generation," he says.
Before 1999, Kosovar students lived in a virtual police state under the Serbs. After NATO intervention, they were going to schools that "suffered every conceivable form of setback. But Hall found "a degree of idealism and passion for learning that I had not expected.... [We] don't have the drugs and crime you would expect, either."
Hall taught public policy courses for two years, then agreed to be president in the summer of 2007. That meant living away from his wife, Jackie Wardell, who heads a staff of 80 at a community bank on the Maine coast that does a small business lending to women and minorities.
"We thought about it long and hard. It took a lot of searching," Hall says, adding that his administration's motto in working out knots and kinks in a highly sensitive locale is "to be diplomats – friends with everybody and allies of nobody."
"Kosovo has a population of incredible talent and energy; I wouldn't be here if I weren't optimistic," he says. Some of his biggest battles in what he calls "management by walking around" is raising faculty expectations of students: "I don't want to hear that we have to go easy because these are poor Kosovars. They have the talent to be every bit as good as RIT students."
Robert McCloud, an IT professor here on a Fulbright from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, describes Kosovo youths as a bright and innovative generation who haven't been exposed to enough differing ways of thinking. But being isolated, he says, "They are much too self-taught." he says. In his graphics classes he tries to get them to expand into different types of software. "Everything is done in Photoshop. They buy the software for $1.50. So finally I tell them, don't show me any more Photoshop!"
For Hall, AUK's success is measured by the help it offers the new state. With a pedigree name (American University) and English fluency requirement, in gritty Pristina the school has a reputation as elite. Only about 20 percent of students are on scholarship, and the tuition is $4,000 a year, hefty by Kosovo standards. Still, an AUK degree is not "a passport out of town," Hall says.
Hall, who deeply loves Maine and its people, says he is giving AUK "three years, about right for this kind of commitment."
Valdete Idrizi works for healing in ethnically divided city of Mitrovica
By Jane Morse
Washington -- Optimism and trust are in short supply in Mitrovica, a city in northern Kosovo, where the Ibar River divides ethnic Serbs in the north from ethnic Albanians in the south. Despite the fear, bitterness and anger that continue to divide the two peoples, Valdete Idrizi, herself displaced by the violence that has racked Kosovo, defies ethnic hatreds and insists on reaching out to bridge the divide.
Since 2000, Idrizi has been the executive director of Community Building Mitrovica (CBM), a nongovernmental organization focused on grassroots projects aimed at bringing the inhabitants of Mitrovica and its region -- Albanians, Serbs, Roma, Ashkali, Bosniaks and other minorities -- back together to live in peace and prosperity. CBM programs focus on seven priority areas: youth, women, minorities, interethnic dialogue, culture, media, and the possibility of returning home for thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
To date, CBM, with a multiethnic staff, has sponsored more than 200 projects in and around Mitrovica. Most recently, CBM extended its activities in promoting freedom of speech by launching the trilingual M-Magazine.
Most remarkable of all, Idrizi and CBM are respected by all sides, having earned the trust of people living in a region riven with suspicion and mutual mistrust.
An ethnic Albanian, Idrizi was driven from her home north of the Ibar River when the Serbs took over the area in 1999. Brutal riots further divided Mitrovica in March 2004. Idrizi has had to move eight times to ensure her safety and remains unable to visit the graves of her parents or the home she owns in the Serb-held parts of the city.
Despite these hardships, she refuses to dwell on the unhappy past and keeps her spirit focused on the future. Risking beatings, kidnapping and death, Idrizi continues to extend the hand of friendship, including counseling hope to Serbian women and IDPs who have suffered violence and dislocation as she has.
On March 10, Idrizi’s efforts were recognized by the United States when she was presented with the International Women of Courage Award at the State Department. In its second year, the award is the result of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s desire to recognize women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in promoting women’s rights and advancement.
Other 2008 awardees are female activists from Somalia, Fiji, the Palestinian Authority, Pakistan, Paraguay, Iraq and Afghanistan, who were selected from 93 nominees submitted by U.S. embassies around the world.
Author: Christopher Hitchens
Uploaded: Tuesday, 26 February, 2008
This comment from 'Slate' argues that 'with Kosovo independent, Yugoslavia is finally dead' - and Serbia killed it
Someone with a good memory of the conversation once told me how Lord Carrington, then one of the ‘mediators’ of the incipient post-Yugoslavia war, came to the conclusion that Slobodan Milosevic was a highly dangerous man. Well-disposed toward Serbia (as the British establishment has always been), Carrington told the late dictator that he understood Serb concerns about significant Serbian minorities in Bosnia and Croatia. But why did Milosevic also insist on exclusive control over Kosovo, where the Albanian population was approximately 90 percent? ‘That,’ replied Milosevic coldly, ‘is for historical reasons.’ It's a shame, in retrospect, that it took us so long to diagnose the pathology of Serbia's combination of arrogance and self-pity, in which what is theirs is theirs and what is anybody else's is negotiable.
We used to read this same atavistic proclamation by the hellish light of burning Sarajevo, and now we glimpse it again through the flames of the blazing U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, and by the glare of similar but less dramatic arsons set by Serbs in ski masks in northern Kosovo itself. But it needs to be understood that ‘Serbia’ itself has lost nothing and has nothing to complain about. With the independence of Kosovo, the Yugoslav idea is finally and completely dead, but it was Serbian irredentism that killed the last vestige of that idea, and it is to that account that the whole cost ought to be charged.
Forget all the nonsense that you may have heard about Kosovo being ‘the Jerusalem’ of Serbia. It may contain some beautiful and ancient Serbian and Serbian Orthodox cultural sites, but it is much more like Serbia's West Bank or Gaza, with a sweltering, penned-up, subject population who were for generations treated as if they were human refuse in the land of their own birth. Nobody who has spent any time in the territory, as I did during and after the eviction of the Serb militias, can believe for a single second that any Kosovar would ever again submit to rule from Belgrade. It's over.
But how did it begin? In fact, Kosovo has never been recognized internationally as part of Serbia. It was only ever recognized as part of Yugoslavia, and with the liquidation of that state Serbian claims upon its territory became null and void. A little history here is necessary.
During the Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913, the then-distinct kingdom of Serbia, with some regional allies, did manage to invade and annex a formerly Ottoman territory that had been the scene of a Serbian military defeat in—wait for it—1389. (In that year, England was laying emotional claims to large and beautiful areas of France.) Serbian monarchist and nationalist propaganda hailed the ‘liberation’ of the ancestral land, but the shrewdest foreign correspondent of the day took a different line: ‘Do not the facts, undeniable and irrefutable, force you to come to the conclusion that the Bulgars in Macedonia, the Serbs in old Serbia, in their national endeavor to correct data in the ethnological statistics that are not quite favorable to them, are engaged quite simply in systematic extermination of the Muslim population in the villages, towns and districts?’
Leon Trotsky, writing this in January 1913 as an open letter in the (Menshevik) paper Luch (‘The Ray’) was addressing the ‘liberal’ Russian chauvinist politician Pavel Miliukov. So, as you can see, the arrogant Russian support for Orthodox Christian ethnic cleansing in the Balkans is not a new problem. (Under Russian President Vladimir Putin's pious rule, though, our own timorous press prefers not to call attention to the way in which Russian political thuggery is increasingly backed by an Orthodox religious hierarchy.)
The same Balkan war—as Trotsky had predicted—went on to draw in the whole of Europe and indeed the rest of the world, and by the time it ended, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires had imploded entirely and there was to be a new state, Yugoslavia, where they had once jostled at the borders. You might argue that Kosovo was now part of Serbia by ‘right’ of conquest (in other words, de facto), but in fact, not even Serbia had adjusted its own laws to make it a legal province de jure, and this was in any case moot because all future treaties and agreements were signed between Yugoslavia and the no-less-new state concept calling itself republican Turkey. Legal instruments agreed between these two entities recognized Belgrade's sovereignty over Kosovo, but solely in the sense that they recognized Belgrade as the capital of Yugoslavia. (For a more extended discussion of this essential constitutional point, see Noel Malcolm's Kosovo: A Short History.) Thus, and if we exempt some decisions made by Stalinist bureaucrats after the re-creation of Yugoslavia in 1945, Kosovo has never been treated or recognized as Serb territory within Yugoslavia and never at all by international treaties outside that former state. Even those hasty Stalinist decisions were later undone by Tito, who granted Kosovo a large measure of autonomy in 1974. It is very important to remember that Slobodan Milosevic launched his own petty and violent career, as the head of a Serb-Montenegrin crime family, precisely by canceling Kosovo's pre-existing autonomy in 1990, remaking himself as a nationalist demagogue instead of a Communist one, and bringing in the roof of the Yugoslav federation.
You will by now have read dark remarks made by partisans of the Russian and Serb Orthodox viewpoint, to the effect that if one ‘secession’ is allowed, then what is to prevent every Gypsy or Chechen or Ossetian from proclaiming their own statelet? You should, first, ask if the Bosnian Serbs ought not to have thought of this first and been better advised by the ‘realist’ or Kissinger school that now weeps such hypocritical tears. You should, second, ask if you know of any case comparable to the Kosovo one, where a national minority was so long imprisoned within an artificial state.
Of course, one ought to acknowledge that this is a calamity for the Serbs and indeed an injustice in the sense of an insult to their pride and history. But the injustice was self-inflicted. I remember seeing, in Kosovo, the ‘settlements’ for Serbs that the Milosevic regime was building in a vain effort to alter the demography. And who were the bedraggled ‘settlers’? The luckless Serbian civilians who had been living in the Krajina area of Croatia until their fearless leader's war of conquest for ‘Greater Serbia’ had brought general disaster and seen them finally evicted from farms and homesteads they had garrisoned for centuries. Promised new land on colonized Albanian territory, they had been uprooted and evicted once again. Where are they now, I wonder? Perhaps stupidly stoning the McDonald's in Belgrade, and vowing fervently never to forget the lost glories of 1389, and maybe occasionally wondering where they made their original mistake.
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is Not Great: how religion poisons everything. This comment appeared on Slate, 22 February 2008: http://www.slate.com/id/2184997/