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What in the heck is going on in Belgrade????

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The Serbs see Kosovo as the cradle of the Serb nation because of the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. Here's the wikipedia link:




If your interest is peaked, you might like Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West. It's huge (1200 pages) but it does explain why all the peoples of the former Yugoslavia do not get along. For a lighter read, try Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book, this one is historical fiction set in postwar Sarajevo.

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They have been fighting for a very very time. The US Army has been there for several years now. My husband was there in 2000-2001. While there hasn't been the same level of violence since NATO intervened, the reasons for the conflict haven't changed. The hostilities are still there between the ethnic groups.

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Kosovo is predominately Albanian Muslim. They have a minority Serbian Orthodox Christain population. The rioters are primarily Serbs who are angry that they've been separated from larger Serbia/Bosnia.


The reason they're attacking the American embassy is because they hold us responsible for supporting and encouraging this seperation. Please remember that Molosevik, the ex-Serbian leader was put on trial for crimes against humanity at the Hague, for ethnic cleansing in Bosnia/Hertzogovina (sp)in the region (ie the Bosnian War). It's much more involved than this, but it's a quick overview.

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And I'm going to post here the email he sent regarding the independence. Interesting reading - enjoy!


(It was pretty neat - at his wedding, he and my sil led everyone in a Kosovar dance. Very fun!)


Friends! Although I haven't been to Kosovo in more than five years, independence cooincided with my visit. I've been witness to celebrations in Gjakove and Pristina, and thought you might enjoy the snapshot below. Tim



February 18, 2008 - 21:00


Celebrations broke out in the streets here yesterday afternoon as PM Hacim Thaci proposed independence to the Kosovo Assembly. Each of the 109 sitting members of the assembly stepped forward to sign the document and congratulate the PM, President, and Majority Leader on the self-declaration of an independent, sovereign, and democratic nation.

Party time! More than 24 hours later I can still hear honking of VW Golfs and Mercedes from my hotel window in Pristina! Urime Pavarsia! Happy Independence!


TV 21 provided live coverage from around the country, breaking only to broadcast their own pre-recorded songs and messages congratulating everyone for the birth of a nation.


Tens of thousands flooded Pristina's central walking street, Mother Theresa Boulevard. Every third or forth male I saw waved a ten-foot wooden pole with an Albanian or American flag. Flags are everywhere here - taped to cars, or simply flying free from a closed window. One new flag was a curious blend of Albanian and American designs.


Firecrackers and drums interrupted folk music blaring from balconies. Street vendors sold red independence day t-shirts, and children circulated among the crowd to sell phone credit cards and cigarettes. 21 women spent 10 days baking a 3300-pound chocolate- and-vanilla independence cake molded in the shape of Kosovo.


At a giant metallic sign reading "NEWBORN" down the street from the U.N. headquarters in Pristina, hundreds of denim-clad young Kosovars had partied through the night, drinking openly and dancing to Tupac Shakur's "California Love."


In Gjakove, a town of 150,000 in the west of the country, a large stage with video screens hosted hours of singing, dancing, and speeches. The Mayor rode through the old town on horseback to greet thousands of people in the street in spite of the freezing temperatures. Most paraded up and down the main street, waiving Albanian, US, and Italian flags under banners that read "THANK YOU AMERICA" and "THANK YOU EUROPA"


In Prizren, to the south, revelers danced around a 100-meter-long Albanian flag. TV 21 also provided coverage of celebrations in Albania, Macedonia, Denmark, Canada, and Holland – and the 20 car convoy that drove from Germany yesterday.


Of course not all of the 2 million people in Kosovo, an area roughly the size of Connecticut, are celebrating. Prospects are uncertain for the estimated 130,000 Serbs scattered along the northern and eastern borders with Serbia and in isolated pockets to the south of Pristina.


The road to Gracanica, a village still flying the Serbian flag five kilometers south of Pristina, is guarded by French peacekeepers carrying automatic weapons and occasionally stopping cars. Residents in the town of 10,000, home to a Serbian Orthodox monastery, burn garbage in oil drums on the side of the road near a Raiffeisen International Bank outlet and generate light with portable generators.


Kosovo's claim to independence rests on the principle of national self-determination. Whatever Serbia's historic claims to the province, it is abundantly clear that the majority of its inhabitants do not wish to live under Belgrade. This is a strong argument. But, by the same logic, the Serbian minority – particularly those close to Serbia proper - also claim the right to self-determination.

Celebrations were largely peaceful, with only one known incident, and no one injured or killed.


International recognition follows. The US provided the first nod, with the UK, Germany, France, Turkey, Italy and Afghanistan (!) among today's acknowledgements. Azerbaijan, Russia, and Serbia voiced opposition, while officials from Grozny and Taipai sent enthusiastic messages of congratulations.


No one I spoke here with believes that this is now the land of milk and honey. But Kosovo, which has been run by the UN since 1999, will likely see better days.



Timothy( P)

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Thank you so much for this. It does make for very interesting reading.


We are currently reading about partition of India and Palestine which will make these events more understandable for my younger son, I believe.


I hope that the transition will proceed more smoothly in days to come. The heavyweights weighing in with approval/disapproval make me a little nervous right now,



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Just stumbled across your question, but it looks like others have answered in as much as is possible. There has been ongoing religious and cultural strife in this region, and Kosovo's declaration of independence doesn't come as a surprise. This is of particular interest to me because I traveled throughout (what was then called) Yugoslavia in 1986. Our guides (appointed by the government) at the time were so proud of the alleged "unity" that had been achieved there. What a joke. A short time later it all blew up in their faces. So sad to see the people and places ~ Sarajevo, Dubrovnik ~ that I so loved, torn asunder. Fwiw, Croatia is absolutely lovely. Great place to soak up history and beauty.


Any-hoo. I think (hope) the current melee will soon pass. The reality is that most people ~ Serbian or Albanian ~ see the value in allowing Kosovo its independence. This flare-up is the result of the malcontents.

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