Page 946 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 946

Dušan T. Bataković
ity to achieve tangible results or to protect their rights. in turn, eide confirmed that the Kosovo albanians had done little, if anything, to dispel this widespread fear.34
Moreover, the Kosovo albanians’ condemnation of eth- nically-motivated violence against the Serbs since june 1999 has always come tardily, reluctant and mildly phrased, and exclusively under strong pressure from UNMiK or Con- tact Group representatives, who demanded public con- demnation from the Kosovo albanian leaders of orches- trated campaigns of ethnically motivated crimes perpe- trated by albanian extremists.
The return of at least 230,000 internally displaced per- sons expelled from Kosovo and Metohija since june 1999 remains an unresolved issue. The main obstacle to their sustainable return is strong opposition from both local al- banian communities and the albanian-dominated PiSG. according to UNCHR, for the eight years of UN adminis- tration (june 1999-june 2007) only 7,100 iDPs returned, most of them elderly peasants. Furthermore, despite joint efforts by both KFOR and UNMiK, the systematic perse- cution of the Kosovo Serb population and of non-alba- nians in general carried out by extremists and tacitly ap- proved by the majority of albanians, has continued to be the main impediment to any viable progress toward re- building a tolerant multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi- religious Kosovo society that would function under the rule of law. according to the UNMiK office for returnees, more than 1,467 of 4,100 Serbs forcibly displaced in March 2004 were still outside of their previous households more than a year later.35 according to a Beta-Press report quot- ing the UNHCR representative in Belgrade, in mid-2005 there were 226,000 Serbs and members of other non-al- banian communities and ethnic groups still living as dis- placed persons in central Serbia and more than 25,000 in Montenegro.36
Concluding remarks
The orchestrated ethnic cleansing of the Kosovo Serbs, or- ganized and carried out in several waves after june 1999, has continued throughout 2006 and 2007 with occasional
34 “The continued existence of camps inside Kosovo is a disgrace for the governing structures and for the international community. The Roma camps in Plementina and Žitkovac are particularly dis- tressing. They should be dealt with on an emergency basis.” “The Serbian Orthodox religious sites and institutions represent a critical element of the spiritual fabric of Kosovo Serbs. They are also part of the world cultural heritage. There is a need to create a ’protective space’ around these sites, with the involvement of the international community, in order to make them less vulnerable to political ma- nipulation.”
35 Beta-Press, Belgrade, 16 june 2005.
36 Beta-Press, Belgrade, 21 june 2005: “Roughly 220,000 Kosovo
citizens are still living as internally displaced persons in other parts of Serbia and Montenegro.“ according to UNHCR, after the arrival of international peacekeeping forces in 1999, 230,000 Serbs and Ro- ma left Kosovo, while 800,000 albanians returned to Kosovo.
attacks, bombing of churches and random killings. The fi- nal goal of albanian extremists was to reduce radically the number of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija from eighteen to less than ten percent, in order to be able to present them as an insignificant minority not entitled to the rights of a con- stituent nation that they have elsewhere in Serbia. The num- ber of Serbs remaining in northern Kosovo (in several mu- nicipalities with a Serb majority, Zvečan, Zubin Potok, Le- posavić and the northern part of the city of Mitrovica) and within several KFOR-guarded, variously-sized enclaves scat- tered throughout the Province (Gračanica, Novo Brdo, Štrp- ce) is between 130,000 and 146,000. Hence, roughly sixty percent of the Serbian population has been expelled from Kosovo and Metohija during the last eight years of interna- tional rule; most of them still live as iDPs in central Serbia. The actual number of registered displaced and expelled persons is 212,781 in Serbia, and 29,500 in Montenegro.
all of the province’s cities, with the exception of the Serb-controlled northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, were ethnically cleansed of Serbs in 1999, and remain so today. There are practically no Serbs left in large cities such as Priština, Prizren, Uroševac or Peć. in Priština, there were about 40,000 Serbs prior to 1999, while today there are less than a hundred of them living in a single building, under appalling conditions and constantly guarded by KFOR. The conditions in different Serb enclaves in terms of personal security and freedom of movement are still precarious. There is rampant unemployment among Serbs (up to 93 percent) and extreme poverty, while the living standards in general remain far below the average in the region and the Province itself. The number of returnees, despite many writ- ten agreements with UNMiK and frequent promises by both UNMiK and the albanian-dominated provisional in- stitutions, remains insignificant. So far, only 5.5 percent of the total number of internally displaced Serbs and other non-albanians have returned to the UN-administered Prov- ince since june 1999, and in practice, very few of the re- turnees have been permanently resettled.
The export of the Kosovo war model of ethnic domina- tion, first, in 2000, to the mixed Serb-albanian munici- palities in the Preševo Valley in southern Serbia, and then, in 2001, to the predominantly albanian-inhabited areas of neighbouring Slavic Macedonia (FYROM), demonstrated that the anachronistic concept of albanian nationalism in the region is not motivated by the noble struggle for hu- man, civil, collective or any other internationally sanctified rights, which is how it is usually presented to internation- als, but by a narrow-minded long-term project of estab- lishing full and uncontested ethnic domination over a ter- ritory through systematic persecution, pressure and dis- crimination of all other, numerically weaker ethnic groups.
in essence, the albanian war concept means making life impossible for members of every other national group or ethnic community until they become numerically and politically so negligible that they no longer represent any

   944   945   946   947   948