Page 829 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 829

Following his break with Tito’s Yugoslavia, Hoxha’s at- tention was riveted to Kosovo—since 1963 an autono- mous Province within the Republic of Serbia. Other speak- ers will examine the details of Kosovo’s principal contra- diction: as cradle of the Serbian medieval state, it was for centuries, and still remains, a sacred land for the large majority of Serbs; its loss would represent an irreparable blow to Serbian self-confidence. On the other hand, the native albanians represent a large ethnic majority in Ko- sovo; the most politically active among them, especially the university youth (in 1981 the Priština University num- bered 37,000 fulltime and 14,000 part-time students, over- whelmingly albanian by origin) feels little allegiance to the Yugoslav State and the Communist League of Yugo- slavia. in their alienation they were looking with differ- ent degrees of admiration at enver Hoxha’s albania. Pro- letarian internationalism, the basic tenet of Marxism-Le- ninism, or the workers’ self-management, Tito’s contri- bution to post-Stalin communism, have lost any signifi- cance or attractive power at Kosovo.
Since the autumn of 1968 Kosovo became a theater of both underground agitation and occasional violent out- bursts against the established order. The climax occurred between March 11 and april 3, 1981, when thousands of albanian students and other citizens took to the streets in Priština, the capital of Kosovo, and other cities, shout- ing various slogans, ranging from requests for the instau- ration of Kosovo as full-fledged Republic within Yugosla- via, to demands for an ethnically pure Kosovo as part of a Great albania under enver Hoxha. Strangely enough the authorities were unaware of the well-planned dem- onstrations, and reacted with the force of police and army units. There were casualties on both sides, mainly among the demonstrators. Repression followed, causing even greater determination among the militants to restructure or destroy the Yugoslav state.
Kosovo confrontations have become more tense and ugly during the last few years. On the one hand, the anti- Serbian feelings among the albanians have assumed vio- lent forms. Large numbers of Serbs and Montenegrins have been forced to leave their homes with their families and find refuge in Serbia. Stories of their predicament aroused strong emotions among the Serbs in other parts of the country. Simultaneously, terrorist acts were per- petrated against the symbols of Serbian existence in Ko- sovo: churches and monasteries were fully or partly de- stroyed, Orthodox priests were persecuted, nuns molest- ed. it was indeed a Nazi-like campaign of denial of basic human rights to the non-albanian population in Kosovo. Violence caused repression. Yugoslav regime’s special po- lice units arrested many albanians (without always dis- tinguishing between perpetrators of crimes and simple citizens) who later were sentenced to stiff prison terms. The LCY leaders, still disoriented by Tito’s death on May 4, 1980, were not of a single mind on how to pacify Koso-
vo, while the military brass openly criticized the “politi- cians’” inability to cope with an explosive situation.
My final remarks pertain to the asymmetrical relation- ship between the albanian and Yugoslav states and their respective ruling parties. On the state level relations ex- ist: there are trade exchanges between the two countries, and albanian representatives attended the recently held meeting of Balkan countries’ foreign ministers in Belgrade. On the Party level mutual enmity is total and it is hard to envision any change in the foreseeable future. a major paradox of the 20th century is that the Communist par- ties, ideologically conceived and built to eliminate con- flicts among the states, have served and are serving as conflict promoters.
My report to you, ladies and gentlemen, is mute on the crucial issue of what the Kosovo confrontations mean for the United States foreign and human rights policies. For- tunately other participants of this meeting will address these questions. and if i have added some relevant grains of insight, my mission has been accomplished.
My name is Dr. Veselin Djuretić, and i am a Learned Fellow of the Balkan institute in the Serbian academy of Sciences and arts, Beograd, Yugoslavia. i published three books and seventy papers and articles. i completed my graduate and post graduate studies in Beograd, where i was granted the title of Doctor of History. i specialized in the history of the October Revolution and Soviet Society at the Lomonosov University in Moscow.
Divisive forces and diverse national characters have stood in the way of Yugoslavia and her unifying idea from the first day of the existence of the country. What began as fictional “Great Serbian Hegemony” has become a care- fully orchestrated campaign of disinformation to perpet- uate the alleged Serb oppression of other peoples in Yu- goslavia. in Kosovo and Metohija the albanian anti-Yu- goslav philosophy called for the liberation of the albanian spirit from the oppression of the “terrible Serbian regime.” along with this obvious falsehood, the albanians today claim historical continuity of ownership of Kosovo, trac- ing their purported origin back even to illyrian times.
With such posturings, they ignore hundreds of ancient Serbian historical monuments which represent a cultur- al center of europe. They ignore the churches and mon- asteries which have withstood the centuries of Ottoman oppression, much of which was accomplished with assis- tance from the Moslem albanians themselves.
The origins of various Balkan anti-Serbian forces date back to the old austro-Hungarian politics which opposed the Serbian Revolution of 1804. This revolution initiated a liberating wave which threatened to mobilize the Slav population en masse, triumphing over the parochial Cro- atian nationalism, anti-Yugoslavism and anti-Serbianism. Petty interests agitating for separatism gained their ideo-
a Chronicle of the Contemporary Suffering of Kosovo-Metohian Serbs

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