Saturday, February 16, 2008
That's what some media claim. If accurate, the Yugoslavian troubles will have passed page on the core issue that caused them: Serbian imperialism, specially against Albanians, but also against anybody else: Croats, Bosniaks, Hungarians...
Almost two deacdes ago, Serbian intervention in Kosova was one of the main triggers of the disintegration of Yugoslavia: fearing the new imperialist Serbian leadership of Milosevic & co., the non-Serbian components of the federation broke apart one after the other, some in more bloody circumstances, others less so. The worst fell upon Bosnia, where roughly 1/3 of the population claimed Serbian ethnicity (i.e. Orthodox religious cultural frame: otherwise it's impossible to take apart a Serbian, a Croat or a Bosniak) and 2/3 of the territory (compromise: what's that?) beginning the bloodiest genocide of Europe since Hitler.
Meanwhile, in Kosova, the situation remained tense under Serbian occupation, all autonomy wiped out and Albanians being discriminated and often killed by paramilitars under the leadership of Arkan. I saw the pics of the bodies myself. In Prishtina, indeed. We had to follow our guide at some distance by the streets so he would not arise suspicions because of being with foreigners.
The Kosovar strategy was then of nonviolent resistence but it seemed like little couldbe done against such aggressive masters. Eventually, in 1998, the Kosova Liberation Army (UÇK) took the lead, maybe in connivence with some Western powers, including the USA, Turkey and others, who erventually intervened to prevent the announced genocide of Albanians and Roma by the Serbian troops several months later, forcing the surrender of Serbia and the capture of Milosevic.
Since then Kosova has been a NATO protectorate (even if formally under the flag of the Uinted Nations). Yet, what was a very welcomed protection in 1999 became eventually an obstacle for Kosovar goal: independence. The situation was stalled with no chance of agreement with Serbia after so many decades of opression and after the whole Yugoslavia had broken apart. It seems that some more pragmatic western powers realized this and are now willing to support Kosovar independence. Nevertheless many others, including Spain, strongly oppose it, fearing it may set an example for their own opressed stateless nations.
In the 70s Krutwig wrote that, after the decolonization of Africa and Asia in the 50s and 60s, it was time for the internal decolonization of Europe itself. He's proven to be right in many cases: all Eastern Eruope has followed such process and many new (yet old) nations have risen their banners along the rest at the UN. Yet Western Europe still remains reluctant to proceed with it: only Northern Ireland seems to have seen a reasonable settlement by the moment.
But it will happen evenetually: the same that countries like Estonia, Slovakia or Armenia have broken free from their former opressors, the same that Kosova is now standing sovereign and equal among European nations, soon the now stateless western nations like the Basque Country, Catalonia, Corsica, Flanders, Scotland, etc. will do the same.
The decolonization of Eastern Europe happened in the midst of a deep crisis, now we are entering a major crisis also in the West. Maybe the time has arrived.
In any case, congratulations Kosova!