Monday, June 21, 2004

Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro

/ balkan / past and present/
In light of an interesting discussion we're having with Doug Muir in the comments of my latest post on Kosovo, I'd like to present the opinion of Andrej Grubacic on Kosovo and his seemingly utopian solution for the province... his analysis is right on the money as well IMHO.
Of note also is Alex Dajkovic's piece on Montenegro, an old article which is descriptive of the financial recolonization of the Balkans in general.

1 comment:

talos said...

old comments

Doug Muir:

The Grubacic piece is a mix of good insights and… well, bafflegab. Plus some stuff that seems cut-and-pasted from the same ex-Yugoslav source document of indignant rhetoric. (Can Balkan intellectuals give up the ritual excoriation of George Kennan? Yes, yes, he called you a bunch of primitive tribes. It was fifty years ago, move on.)

Grubacic is quite right about, for instance, about Serbian civil society. There are exceptions — Otpor, the student movement — but yes, by and large it's dominated by a "diverse but class-homogenous group of rent-a-intellectuals and NGOs".

But when he starts to talk about Kosovo… "the alchemy of restructuring society by doing away with borders and differences through mobilizing the energies of the social movements"? A "left-libertarian solution… going from a mutual struggle to mutual aid, through putting together a mosaic of mutually linked alternative approaches in a new kind of politics?"

I understand the individual words, but I have no idea what he's trying to say here. (Yes, I read the article he cites. Ah, a unitary Israeli-Palestinian state where Jews and Arabs will live in peace… and that's just the /first step/ to a neo-Marxist utopia. Oh kay.) I'm not suggesting that anybody in the region is a primitive tribe or anything like that, but it's a fact that "the energies of the social movements" in the FY have tended to express themselves along sharply exclusivist lines — usually nationalistic. And that's been true for a good long while now.

I'm not seeing a vision for Kosovo here. More like some vague, "wouldn't it be nice if" ideas.

Well, yes, it /would/ be nice if Serbs and Albanians could live together in peace. Unfortunately, at this point virtually every single Serb and Albanian in the province has good reason to hate and distrust the other group.

Every last Albanian was either chased out of his home by armed Serbs, or has close friends or relatives who were so chased, and thousands of them have family members who are still missing and presumed dead. And every Albanian over the age of fifteen has some humiliating memory of misery or oppression from the bad old days of Serb colonial rule. Most of the Serbs, meanwhile, have been chased out of /their/ homes by armed Albanians, and have even fresher memories of terror and ethnic cleansing.

Furthermore, unlike, say, Bosnia, there's a very ugly racial element to the conflict. Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks raped and killed each other with gusto, but they didn't /loathe/ each other. There was a history of toleration, and even in war a certain grudging respect. What's between Serbs and Albanians is uglier than that. There are honorable individual exceptions, but /as groups/ they really, really don't like each other at all.

So how can Kosovo be fixed? I don't know, but right now cantonization sounds like it might be the least bad option. This puts me in the odd position of agreeing with Kostunica on a major policy point, but I guess it had to happen sometime. It will indeed outrage the Albanian leadership, but since they've pretty convincingly failed to lay the groundwork for a peaceful and prosperous Kosovo, they're not really entitled to complain IMO. And physically separating the two groups will at least make it harder for them to kill each other — as we've seen in Cyprus and elsewhere.

The Dajkovic piece… maybe when I have time. Oh, wicked, wicked USAID, tool of the global liberal capitalist regime.

Doug M.

2004-06-22 19:29