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Published by: grujic on Oct 31, 2010
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Kosovo knot
Petar Grujic
I started writing the book some years ago, when the Kosovo crisis was not yet acute, but onehad all reasons to expect it to become in a foreseeable future. This expectation turned out true andthe writing soon took the form of a race between the accelerating series of events and the recordabout them. I was not sure that my concept of the approach would withstand the current going on, but I can now look with comfort back to the recent history in this respect, which made the Kosovoissue one of the central concerns in the last two decades, not only on Balkan and Europe, but evenof the global extent. Being a naturalist, physicist, my approach was intended to reach the essence of the issue, which has escaped politicians to my knowledge. Whether this may be considered as ahandicap or an advantage the readers are to judge. To paraphrase a politician – politics is tooserious affair to be left to politicians. In fact, the most appropriate professional status for an author on Kosovo affair would be an anthropologist, even a biologist, like Richard Dawkins. (A possibletitle of the book might have been “Selfish gene – case study of Kosovo issue”).Besides the attempt to infer the crux of the mater at a deeper level, I have tried to put the entireaffair in a much broader context. I do not consider that anything in Europe may be localized andisolated from the entire world situation and global politics. The Kosovo issue appears a paradigmatic case, with so many implications, that any attempt to fathom the essential features of the dispute over the region without putting it in a broader context would be doomed to failure.The book appears neither historical, nor political, nor ideological, nor anthropological, nor religious, nor .., but each of all these aspects. It is certainly not an academic work, since the latter imposes an analytical approach, which I leave to scholars. As a naturalist I experience the world ina synthetic way, which leaves no room to formal pedantry and elegance.I am indebted to a number of people who have helped the book to be written, though some of them not only were not in favour of my interpretations, but even took the opposite view. I owemuch to Dejan Kosanovi
for his supplying me with relevant literature and valuable discussions. Ihave made extensive use of the original work of Vladislav Sotirovi
, who kindly provided me withother important sources. My gratitude goes to Simone Lefebre, who kindly provided me with manyuseful refeences and Aleksandar Loma for his valuable book on Serb archaic language and Kosovomyth.. My principal sources have been, however, public media, both Serbian and from abroad.They turn out to be a part of the affair and thus equally object of study, and not just a source of information.Last, but not the least, my deepest gratitude goes to my wife Ljiljana for her invaluable help,encouragements, patience and love, without which this book have never been written.
In 1912 Kosovo andMetohiabecame a part of Serbia again, after Ottoman Empire was pushedfrom the Balkan by the allied Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian and Montenegrin forces (First Balkan
war). In 1918 Vojvodina, which was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, joined Serbia, whichin her turn joined Yugoslavia, the new state of South Slavs. Kosovo and Metohia (KiM) brought ina sizeable Albanian population (Shqiptars in the following), whereas in Vojvodina lived anapproximately equal number of ethnic Hungarians. But whereas the latter never caused serioustroubles in the new state, Shqiptars became from the start disturbing element within Serbia andYugoslavia. For the last two decades, since disintegration of Yugoslavia, KiM has become a hotspot on the globe. What makes the region of the size of Corsica and population of something over million so special that it forced first Serbia, and then half the globe, to engage in extinguishing thefire which threatens to endanger the entire world order?Kosovo region, the south-western part of Serbia, has been considered a “disputed land” for the lasttwo centuries. The traditional western image of the issue has been that two competing populations,Serb and ethnic- Albanian ones are fighting for the dominance over the region. The actualargumentation for the present day deadlock is that two sides are claiming their rights according twodistinct sources: Serbs referring to their “historical rights”, ethnic Albanians relying on their actualnumerical preponderance.We show that the whole issue is set up upside down and that a number misconceptions, which has been developed and maintained up to the present, are to be rectified before a serious discourse onthe matter can be carried out. We expose historical, political, demographic, ethical, and religious background of the issue and argue that the latter is predominantly of the anthropological nature,rather than of political one. We examine a number of possible solutions of the “dispute”, from anideal to the realistic one, putting the whole issue in the broader historical and actual worldwide political perspective.
One picture says more than thousands words.
Figure 1
 Ethnic Albanian refugees at the Lion airport, April 18, 1999.
 A French magazine published a couple of photos from the Lion airport on April 18, 1999, at thetime when NATO bombers were pouring their lethal burden over Serbia (and partly over Montenegro), in the course of their “preventing humanitarian catastrophe” at Kosovo. One pictureshowed the French weaponry ready to be transported to Kosovo, the other presented an ethnic-Albanian family from Kosovo, refugees just arrived to France. The photo deserves well our attention, for it speaks very much indeed; it exposes vividly the very crux of the matter. Let usanalyze this picture, presenting the unfortunate family of Kosovars (as the ethnic Albanians callthemselves).First of all, it is a single family, consisting of three generations. On the left we see grandmother (with scarf), on the right father and mother of the children posing around. Evidently, it is the peasant family. Tough the children appear well dressed (probably by a humanitarian agency), theadults reveal their modest wellbeing. We notice first three daughters, the eldest (somewhat hidden behind the boy in the centre) and two twin girls next to her. Then we see two daughters in the frontand two boys beside as well.The central figure appears the young girl, of about 8, who shows the V sign in a Churchill-likegesture. What is she trying to tell us? The family is hardly in a “victorious position”. Who is goingto defeat whom? Who instructed her to pose before the cameras in that manner? These are thequestions which come to mind when looking at this scene at the Lion airport. We shall come back to this photo many times later on, but here we need just to bear it in mind.
Kosovo in Serbia
Kosovo is a part of the region on the south-west of Serbia, called Kosovo and Metohija, which wasan autonomous region of Serbia from 1945 to 1989, designated by the postwar Serbian state-republic by
, as the short name for Kosovo and Metohija. The very name Kosovo is a shortname of Kosovo Polje, meaning in Serb language Field of blackbirds (
– blackbird in the Serblanguage).
To avoid confusion we adopt the standard rule for the terms we are going to use hereand in the following: Serb(s) will designate the ethnicity and adverb Serb too, like Serb language.Serbians will mean citizens of Serbia (regardless of their ethnicity), and adverb Serbian also, likeSerbian state etc.Albanianswill designate ethnicity (regardless of their citizenship), and Albanianthe adverb, like Albanian language. Ethnic Albanians who are citizens of Serbia will be designated by Shqiptars (Shqiptare, “sons of eagles”),
as they call themselves and were called in Yugoslaviauntil recently. Another interpretation of the term has been as stemming from
 shqipoj, “
one whounderstands
. This interpretation appears in accordance with similar case of 
– “one whospeaks (slovi)”, as different from
(German), “one who is mute (nem)”. We must mention,however, that most Serbian Albanians consider now the term pejorative, if used by Serbs, for historical reasons.
The principal reason is that many designations of the present-day Albaniansthroughout the history were, to many Balkan people eponymous to wild people, including Turks. In particular the name Arnaut, widely used during the Turkish occupation of Balkan, was synonymousto robber, highwayman, belligerent savage etc.
The name Shqiptar was in many respect similarlyused by Slavic population. Modern equivalent to Shqiptar in our usage, Kosovo ethnic Albanians,is Kosovars, used by Albanians and some foreigners alike. The term appears misleading, however,for it implies “inhabitants of Kosovo”, what includes other ethnicities in the region, at least in
Amselfeld as Germans call it, after Amsel for blackbird...
Derived from shqipojnë, which designates eagle, possibly totem of a tribe.
We note that Shiptar political leaders at the federal level, used to use this term freely, during Tito’s era...
By contemporary Balkan population Arnauts used to be experienced in a similar sense as North-American Indians byEuropean population in 19-th century.

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