Two Years After: the Independence of Kosovo
By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS
San Francisco–Your reporter has held up writing the particulars of this speech by the current President of Kosovo for a month and a half to wait for that democracyâ€™s second anniversary of their independence from Serbia (on February 17th) of the largely (ethnically Albanian) and (religiously) Islamic nation in the Southern Balkan Range of the Southeast Europe).
About two to three years ago, personalities from that greater area were making themselves available to American opinion makers quite regularly â€“ including journalists, but after the freedom of Pristina (the Kosovar capital), interest waned in North America. Yet, his Excellency, the President, (Doctor) Fatmir Sejidu spoke here on the Pacific Coast of the United States of America during January.
The Delaware-sized Republic of Kosovo is (politically) considered the worldâ€™s latest nation. Currently, sixty-four countries have recognized the Republika Kosovo (Kosoves) as sovereign including Washington, NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the European Union (EU) plus the continued fiscal support of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank. Despite the dire warnings of twenty-four months ago, Kosovo has become a stable political entity over the past two years.
American citizens failed to recognize the complexity of the struggle partially because of the failure of U.S. media outlets to explain the historical roots of the conflict:
In the Seventh Century, the ancestors of the modern (now Orthodox) Serbs (Kososki) immigrated into the region, but were to be replaced by a branch of the Albanians, the Kosovars (now 88% of the population) who were eventually subsumed into the Medieval Serbian Empire, but were later incorporated into the Ottoman (Turk) State as a result of the Battle of Kosovo fought in 1389. The modern history of the Kosovans began after the First Balkan War (1912) which was fought just before the First World War. At first it was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia founded in 1922; then, the Federal Peopleâ€™s Republic of Yugoslavia as a result of the Second World War (established in 1946). The great tragedy of the federation of Yugoslavia was that the former State Executive, General Tito, did not build the political basis for the union of States after his presence; so, this country degenerated into its constituent warring factions. Under the Former Yugoslavia, the Kosovarâ€™s territory was an autonomous Province within Serbia itself, but its self-government was revoked by Belgrade in 1989. On February 17th of 2008, Pristina declared itself independent.
Although it is the 168th largest country the world in land mass (10,887 sq. km.), it is miniscule in compassion even to most U.S. States. The Kosovars border three countries that block its access to the sea, and is poor in natural resources. The demographic ratios show promise for the future, though, (highly tilting towards people in their mid-20s). The majority of the citizenry are Albanian Muslims with the (Christian) Orthodox weighing in at fewer than 10% with six negligible minorities over three Muslim and Christian groups.
The host of this program of the World Affairs Council of Northern California and the Commonwealth Club of California that had invited Sejdiu to San Francisco, surprisingly, stressed that there were â€œMany strong views on Dr. Sejdiuâ€™s subject. Threateningly, the host stated that â€œDisrupters will be ejected and cited! Join me in deference to a head of State!â€
Fatmir stated on this the second anniversary of the success of our struggle to join the community of nations; we should remember our horrific (epic) battle with (our neighbors,) the Serbs. It was a conflict for the indigenous Kosovars to reclaim their birthright (terrain) from ethnic cleansing. He claimed it was the first incidence of a foreign intervention for human rights. (Your author disputes this, but the interventions by the West against the reactionary and repressive forces in the Former Yugoslavia were one of the more noble ventures in the latter part of the Twentieth Century.)
Sedjiu asserted we could not succeed through negotiations alone with Serbia. Thus, the international community of peoples supervised the talks. We now have military co-operation with your country (the U.S.A.) as well as cordial relations with our neighbors. A state of peace presently exists!
We are having good economic growth despite previous predictions. Doing what heads of States often do, he â€œmade a pitchâ€ for the Republicâ€™s financial prospects: We have minerals (unfortunately not strategic ones), and the basis for energy (again, unfortunately, it is coal which adds to Global warming). Our most valuable asset is our well-educated youth (who are leaving Kosoves in droves because of the lack of opportunity in their native land).
A severe strain upon the commonweal is the fact that the Serbians were stole well-earned pensions from the Kosovans before they left. The new Administration in the Capital, Pristina had to â€œpick up the pieces,â€ and had to devote much needed legal tender to maintain the hard-earned social safety net of the workers!
Concluding the Doctor-President stated â€œKosovo isâ€¦committed to a peaceful societyâ€¦Kosovo is committed to integration with Europe,â€ and friendship with the United States!