Page 827 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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transfer to an all-albanian prison in Kosovo. They wouldn’t, any more, they said, share quarters with Serbs for anything in the world.
Yet, during my two and a half years in two different Yugoslav jails, i have not seen a single instance of anti- albanian discrimination, either by the inmates or the ad- ministration. The albanian prisoners’ grievance, in my eyes, seemed totally inexplicable.
Something, apparently, was in the air among the Ko- sovo albanians of which other Yugoslavs, me included, were not aware. in one of the most federated, ethnically equitable states in the world (for all its other travesties), it seemed as if the albanians, suddenly, wanted nothing to do with anyone but themselves.
“Welcome to the club,” a boyhood friend said to me, when i came out of prison and told him what i learned. Like much else, including my anticommunism, a more re- alistic perception of our albanian compatriots had come to me latter—and deared—than to most of my friends.
Mr. Chairman, Honorable Members of the Congress:
My name is Dr. Dimitrije Djordjević. i am a Professor of History at the University of California Santa Barbara. Let me begin by a grievance of an ethnic Serb from Ko- sovo, quoted in the weekly journal NiN (March 13, 1988, No 1941). “The greatest fear i have,” said the peasant, “is to wait for my daughter to be back home safe, before the sunset.” This atmosphere of insecurity and hopelessness has provoked a continued and massive exodus of Serbs from the land of their forefathers. instead of words, let figures and statistics speak. The percentage of Serbs in the Kosovo area dropped from 27.9% in 1953 to 20.9% in 1971, 14.9% in 1981, and to 10% in 1987. During the last seven years, from February 1981 until December 1987, 24,209 Serbs emigrated from Kosovo, pressured by the albanian majority. On the other side, an albanian demo- graphic explosion in Kosovo occurred. From 450,000 in the 1920’s the population grew to 733.000 in 1948, and 1,805, 000 in 1986. The projection for the year 2,001 is 2,500,000. The birth rate among albanians in Kosovo is the highest in europe: in the 1950’s it was 7.42 pro mille, and in 1984 4.58 pro mille. Recently an albanian peasant etem Shabani celebrated the birth of his twenty first child and obtained at that occasion state support of 41 million dinars.
The story of the Kosovo Province has two faces. On the one side the economic development is more than evi- dent. The investment obtained from the Yugoslav Federal fund assigned to the non-developed regions amounted to 72.3 billion dinars until 1980, and during the last years made 44.3% of the entire amount offered for this purpose to all non-developed areas on the country. Villages got electricity, roads were built, domestic industry developed. Significant achievements were obtained in the field of ed-
ucation. The Kosovo academy of Science was founded; the Priština University became one of the largest in the country. in Prizren the Pedagogical academy and the Medical School were organized. Basically, Kosovo ob- tained all attributes of a republic (except the status of a sovereign state). The albanians have their representative in the Presidency of Yugoslavia, and the right of veto to federal legislation. in 1986–1987, the albanian Mr. Hasan Sinani was President of Yugoslavia.
On the other side of the picture is the fact that Koso- vo is still the least developed region of Yugoslavia. The reasons are manifold. They range from the inherited pov- erty, from the albanian demographic explosion, from wasted and non-profitable investments (coupled with nep- otism and corruption), the emergence of a new class of albanian bureaucrats (white collar workers in Trepča make up 40% of the total workers), the low productivity of the unskilled worker to the hyper-production of local alba- nian intelligentsia, trained in albanian and unable to com- pete in the Yugoslav market.
This situation stimulated the already existing albanian nationalism which turned against the Serbian minority in the Province. exposed to daily pressures, with personal and family existence threatened (desecrated graveyards, mutilated cattle, damaged crops, orchards and vineyards) and feeling unprotected by the albanian authorities, Ser- bian peasants are responding in two ways. They are ei- ther moving out of the Province, selling their property to albanians and trying to find refuge in Serbia proper, or they are spontaneously organizing their self-defense and electing their own leaders. Thousands of these desperate people crowded trains and buses to come to Beograd— their only hope—to present their grievances and to ask for help and protection from the federal government.
For us historians the national irredenta is a well-known historical phenomenon. Nationalism has its historical, so- cioeconomic, and emotional roots—it is rational and ir- rational. The albanian movement in the Kosovo region of Yugoslavia is a typical example of the escalation of na- tionalism directed against the Serbian population in the Province, but also against the integrity of the Yugoslav fed- eral establishment and against the state itself.
Slogans extolled by albanian nationalists during the massive demonstrations that erupted in Kosovo in 1981, are still circulated and are characteristic in this regard. Four kinds of slogans were forwarded.
The first type was explicitly irredentist: “We are alba- nians-not Yugoslavs,” and “We are children of Skender Beg—the army of enver Hoxha.” Maps of a great albania including Sanjak and large portions of the Serbian and Macedonian republics as well as northern Greece were joined with enver Hoxha’s portraits and the albanian flag.
The second type of slogans, also nationalistic, was more complex. The loudest slogan was: “We want a republic,” “Kosovo republic,” and “Republic by treaty or force.” This
a Chronicle of the Contemporary Suffering of Kosovo-Metohian Serbs

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