Hagada Hasmalit

a critical review of israeli culture and society

Posted by רני On March - 26 - 2007 0 Comment

As was expected, after the January elections in Serbia, the UN special envoy Marti Ahtissari revealed the plan on the future status of Kosovo. It seems that all sides in this struggle are responding as expected. The international community is maintaining its vague language by refraining from an implicit use of the word ‘independence,’ while practically paving the road to an independent and sovereign Kosovo. The Albanian leadership mostly accepts the plan while promising its constituency that Kosovo will eventually be independent. The Serbian leadership, on the other hand, unequivocally declares that Serbia will never give up Kosovo. Headed by Vojslav Ko?tunica, the Serbian leadership has lined up with the Serbian Radical Party, declaring that it will never recognize an independent Kosovo.

Kosovo was not the main issue in last month’s election campaign in Serbia. Other issues related to corruption, economic and social affairs received more attention in politician’s public speeches and on billboard posters. Only if one looked closely enough at a number of buildings in Belgrade, the capital, one could find graffiti announcing “we shall not give up Kosovo, 1389.” In spite of those graffiti artists, though it is correct to say that a significant portion of the Serbian population of Serbia lost any interest in Kosovo a long time ago. After more than a decade of three wars, eleven years of the Milosevic regime, the assassination of a democratic Prime Minister Zoran Dindic, and on-going promises for improvement and change in the standards of living, the future of Kosovo is not the most important issue of the citizens of Serbia. Most of them have never been to Kosovo and quite frankly have no interest in going.
But beyond those Serbian voices covered in the local and international media when they declare that Kosovo will stay Serbian forever, there are other voices in Serbia that we should pay attention to. These are alternative voices that oppose to Serbia’s claim over Kosovo and reject Serbian nationalism. They recognize the war crimes that were done in their name in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, acknowledge the demographic changes in Kosovo over the last two decades and support the right of Albanians to have self-determination.
Cedomir Jovanovic, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader who headed the liberal coalition in Serbia, announced more than once during his campaign that what truly stands at the center of the political life in Serbia is not the future of Kosovo but the future of Serbia and its citizens – whether they will walk towards the EU or will remain to dwell on their past. In his mid-thirties, a former student leader opposing Milosevic in the 1990s and a minister in Zoran Dindic’s government (before ?in?i? was assassinated in the heart of the capital for his liberal views), Jovanovi? was one of the only politicians in the January elections to explicitly express his support for the independence of the Albanians in Kosovo. The coalition he headed won fifteen seats in the Parliament, supported mostly by the young, urban and educated Serbs who wish to continue to live in Serbia and not emigrate, as many of their relatives and friends did in the 1990s. The coalition slogan “Od Nas Zavisi” (“It Depends On Us”) promotes this plea for another Serbia, a forward-looking society that rehabilitates itself, takes responsibility for war crimes and allows the Albanians in Kosovo to build their lives and future as well.
Many people among Serbia’s civil society strongly support these ideas. Non governmental Organizations working for social change in Serbia predominantly identify with these alternative ideas and struggle for their voices to be heard in the public sphere. They are concerned that the current Prime Minister, Vojslav Kostunica, takes them back in time with the way he expresses himself in regard to Kosovo. He reminds them of Milosevic. And yet unlike Bosnia (and particularly Sarajevo), which elicit memories of the old days of economic and social stability – a sort of Yugo-nostalgia along with memories of the siege on Sarajevo and its bombing, Kosovo raises very different sentiments – nothing as sentimental about it, but among those trying to reinforce Serbian nationalism.
In my conversations with young men and women active for social change in Serbia, I heard various explanations as for the attitudes towards Kosovo and the gap between politicians’ announcements on one hand and the apathy of the public on the other. As one young man heading the “Youth Initiative for Human Rights” explained: “when people in Serbia, mostly politicians, refer to Kosovo, especially after the Nato Bombing (1999), they only relate to Kosovo as to a territory completely ignoring its population.”
Hence, when the international community and local leaders will reconvene next month in Vienne to discuss the future of Kosovo (or Kosova as named by the Albanians), one of the questions left is whether they will discuss the future of the territory only, or perhaps they will also discuss the future of its residents, an estimation of almost 2,000,000 Kosovar Albanians and more than 100,000 Serbs (and other minorities) who live in enclaves, who do not speak Albanian and are afraid to move freely.

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  1. Not for politicall ignorants says:

    Dear Orli,
    this is very good and so very true article about the current situation in Serbia. Among so many other articles in the media that are giving us often wide (without good reason)and manipulative information`s, i vote for such short but very accurate ones with content that will never leave the average reader searching the truth between the lines.
    Thank you, looking forward for the next one.

  2. the West is not ambiguous anymore says:

    Today, US, UK and the European Union all weighted on the independence as a solution to Kosovo’s future status.

    Parts of the article thus became obsolete although some of the important concerns it raises are of course very current.

  3. Kosovo says:

    I have never been to the Vatican so does that mean I do not care about being Catholic? I have never been Ireland so I must not care about being Irish either. This is a ridiculous article filled with people who only care about money and are probably all secular who probably shudder when they are called Serbian.

  4. neo-liberal propaganda says:

    This article could be a carbon copy of many previous articles which were written for the sole purpose of convincing people that Serbs are evil and that whoever is against them is the definition of holiness. It portrays the neo-colonial powers as infallible and demonizes Serbs. It ignores the economic interests the west has(mainly Germany, England, and USA)in a weak and subservient Serbia. This article completely ignores that the more than 200 000 serbian refugees which were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo have still not returned and justifies this crime, calling them “revenge attacks” and saying, “serbs do not want to live in Kosovo anyway”. This is pure propaganda and apologetics of crimes committed by the west and their proxys. The beloved NGOs are supported and financed by the State Department, and are heavily involved in financing politicians whose obedience is to rapacious capitalism and not to the people.

  5. Gaza perhaps? says:

    OK, hand Kosovo (Serbian land for hundreds of years) over to the Muslim albanians. But why should this privilege belong only to the albanians? Israel should immediately withdarw from all Palestinian lands, US should hand back the southern states to Mexico, Britain should grant Ireland complete Independance, etc . . . All these nations preaching ‘democracy’ are doing it at Serbia’s expense.
    Serbian soil is not theirs to give away!

  6. oh..those simplifications…. says:

    First I must say that this article is very propagandist.It is onesided and sympathize with certain political structures in Serbia.It is very important that Liberal Coalition is very much irrelevant political option in Serbia and not to mention that they are everything but truly liberal except in their name.They want to be some civil society representatives, but their political ravings are so detached from reality that they are more of a political joke than some future political force(they had 5% voter support).

  7. some more aspects.. says:

    …sure, we can always find examples of hegemony all over the world, especially in West society. If one nation wants to justified the crime over the other nation, there are plenty of justifications that could be pulled out either trough history or today`s political situation. Maybe Israel will never withdraw from Palestine land, maybe Ireland will never get Independence, but that still does not mean that Ireland or Palestine don`t deserve it, or that this is not right thing to striving for. After all, if Serbia would let Kosovo to be independent (after all atrocities Serbs have done there within decades, who ever is not convinced in this fact, should revise self education level) would that affect the entire American politics? I don’t think so. Would that make some changes in Israeli politics? Hardly. Would that change Serbia`s economic situation? Even less… It would be just decent, non-violent agreement as modern societies deserves in this century. Only possible one. Kosovo`s Albanians, Kosovo`s Serbs and refugee’s from both sides will never be happier with new conflicts or war. All of them can only be truly satisfied with peaceful solution, which is Independence. Sorry for delivering a bad news for all spectators that are hungry for troubles, sitting in safe places far away from conflict zones, commenting easily what it should be done, but Kosovo already have an agenda of Independence, it is only matter of time. Ask anyone in EU. :) So, better make it be civilized – it counts as a good political points. Serbia need it. Not to mention that politicians are never fighting for better future of those people, only for territory.

    Those 5% votes for Liberal Coalition is irrelevant, unfortunately, for any major political impact in Serbia at the moment. But it shows that there is sanity and healthy political thoughts even in radicalized Serbia as it is now. It gives a hope that slowly, but surely, one day again Serbia will have European oriented, modern, reformative minds.

    And.. yesterday in center of Belgrade, Women in Black had a vigil against committed crime in Suva Reka (Kosovo). They had panels written in Albanian. Most of Belgradians are approaching and asking: “What language is that? Danish?” I think this says enough about how much they care or know about the land they claim that is theirs..

  8. This article is drenched in contradictive propaganda. says:

    So you suggest that Serbia should hand over 15% of its land to the albanians? Ok so you go on to talk about “These are alternative voices that oppose to Serbia’s claim over Kosovo and reject Serbian nationalism. They recognize the war crimes that were done in their name in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, acknowledge the demographic changes in Kosovo over the last two decades and support the right of Albanians to have self-determination.”

    1. Which person in their right mind would even think of giving up 15% of the land of the country which they were born in? Reject nationalism? Why don’t you give up yours?

    2.Recognise war crimes which serbs committed? So its only the serbs who committed war crimes. 16,000+ serbian civilians were murdered during the balkan wars. was that not genocide? or is what all you westerners call “war”? Why is it when we have video proof the whole world rejects it? THE ITCY SAID IT WASN’T EVIDENCE. THEN WHAT IN GODS NAME IS IT?When the albanians burned down over 150 serbian churches most of which dated back to the 1500′s and earlier; was this just a revenge attack? Why is it that the UN was there at the time but did nothing? You and the rest of the westerners are so full of utter contradiction. What about the US, UK, and the rest of them? You are saying that they have never committed genocide? They are the worst offenders of the human rights laws. Yet when the finger gets pointed at them they turn a blind eye and declare it was self defence. You should be ashamed of yourself. Your whole argument is pathetic.
    Why don’t you take a look at how many serbs were killed during ww2 by the bosnians? Serbs according to you and the rest of the western world are the modern nazis. It is fine for people to kill serbs in there thousands, we must be animals as none of you care. But should we do one thing you all have a political fat attack.
    Why did the US launch to cruiser missiles into the RTS building when they knew there were people inside? According to the whole world we were spreading propoganda.
    Its simple i should decapitate you right now. Ill take the western approach.

    3. Ceda Jovanovic is a drug addict who doped himself up in the backstreets of germany. Support him? He is an albanian. To give up 15% of your own land is the biggest joke i have ever heard.

  9. Leaving the virtuality says:

    Look… it might be interesting to continue the conversation if you would offer more then just angry, aggressive, insulting tone.. which, btw, is always nothing more then compensation for lack of good communication skills, good manners and knowledge. So, i am checking off from this non creative battle, wishing you more political awareness and less primitive approach. This hate speech you offer is exactly what was leading Serbs for so many years trough suffering. After all, we lost everything that is possible to lost, and yet we kept the hatred. Good luck.

  10. An Independent Kosovo? A look from Serbia??? says:

    An Independent Kosovo? A look from Serbia.

    Mr. Fridman gave wrong headline for the article, it should say: “An Independent Kosovo? A look from the US.”
    Mister Fridman better write about your lovely Israel.

  11. IRAKOS says:

    guys Kosovo will be independent in the matter of few weeks no matter what who says and whats gonna happend,can you not see!and kosovo never was part of serbia kosovo was occupied territory,so now chill out and accept the reality

  12. ujko says:

    when serbia was after 1/3 of croatian teritorry then none of you were screaming and counting destroyed churches and lives in croatia. that was ok i suppose?!

  13. Obiliqi says:

    ujko, no one has committed so much attrocities over Serbian population in Kosovo than Agim Ceku, former Brigadier General of Croatian army and an ethnic Albanian. Not only did he attack Serbian civilians but he also attacked Canadian peacekeepers who messed him up. Croatian justice system turned a blind eye at him and he continued his massacre of Serbs in Kosovo as a KLA’s Chief of Staff and finally a PM of the first terrorist state in the world.

    US does not negotiate with terrorists. US rewards them.

    Mr. Orli Fridman, yes there is this other voice of Serbia, a shameful voice of mercenaries who would do anything for some other citizenship, bribe or simply a visa.

    Cedomir Jovanovic is a failed politician who was just trying to get some Albanian votes as did the President Tadic.

    This is why the independence of Kosovo had to occur after presidential elections in Serbia.

    The greatest betrayal in history.

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