Jasmina Tešanović: State of Emergency

(ED NOTE: Essay by Jasmina Tešanović, who writes as I prepare this post, "The situation is still underway -- lootings all over town are reported on my blog, and the number of the participants today in the rally might be much bigger than previously believed. I dare not go out in the streets to take photos." Image courtesy of this blog.)

The Mourning for Kosovo


9 a.m Morning, a big silence in the streets: even some schools will be closed because of the planned rally in the afternoon, 5 p.m.

1 p.m

Buses from all over Serbia are coming into Belgrade city. The buses and trains are free, state-organized for people to come and perform the big show with the official title "Kosovo is Serbia." This is the motto that runs constantly on national TV channels.

My friend from inner Serbia wanted to come to Belgrade in a free ride, to have a coffee with me and then go back home. But then, maybe better not to be seen around you, he said, you are a notorious Woman in Black, somebody might hurt you.

The official organizers, meaning all Serbian political parties except for the 5 percent dissidents, all claim that Belgrade has to show its real face: that of a calm dignified Serb. And what about is calm and dignified about the busted MacDonald's, burning embassies and window-broken shops with foreign names? Those are nothing compared to the loss of Kosovo, justify our high-ranked officials on almost all tv channels.

My father lives behind the Parliament, while I live next to the biggest church in the Balkans. The official rally starts in front of the Parliament where Kostunica the premier will give a public speech, and it ends with a prayer in the church. They estimate that all the streets in between will be full of people, just as crowded as Belgrade was during the toppling of Milosevic in 2000, or the Djindjic funeral in 2003. I attended those two events, it was my conscience, it was my duty. This particular rally I will omit, although I am curious and I would love to see their faces.

On the stage it will be the usual crowd, really: Serbian prominent nationalists , like the world famous film director Kusturica and the president of Bosnian Serbs Dodik maybe somewhere in the crowd. The war criminals are hiding in the massive crowds too: Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Rumor says they are both in Belgrade now.

Before the rally began, I crossed the square in front of the Parliament. A lot of half drunk teenagers, turbofolk fans, and the sad, miserable and angry people I used to see in Milosevic rallies. It is a lovely spring day, but instead of relaxing I trembled: what if something goes wrong and massive violence bursts out? Who is responsible now for riotous damage to our lives and property? Nobody and everybody, really; Kosovo Albanian or Serbians apart, Belgrade itself is the only place at risk today.

I hear phrases on TV such as "Kosovo is the heart cut from the body of Serbia," and also lamentations about how much money was lost there, for instance in coal mines. These seem absurdly large sums for such a poor province -- who lost those investments, I wonder?

A big, nationalist, screaming speech by our prime minister. I don’t remember ever hearing Kostunica so angry, loud and pathetic, like an aging rock star, this guy who hardly ever addresses his people. He is calling various world powers bad names and condemning the fake state of Kosovo, almost publicly cursing them. And extolling the Great Serbs with their pride and honor. Now Putin is a Slavic hero. He swears oaths, uses words like life, death, Serbs, brothers, freedom, blood and all that; here in 21 century.

World famous stars are here too: Novak Djokovic the tennis player speaks like a robot on the screen, saying he will never let go of Kosovo. Emir Kusturica the film director interrupted his movie in US and came to speak live in Belgrade. The prime minister calls him a Serb -- actually Kusturica has changed his name from the rather unl-Slavic "Emir" to "Nemanja," the ancient Serbian king. The swaggering film director speaks against the local traitors and calls them "mice." The mice would be us, me, Women in Black. He says he doesn't not believe in Hollywood myth but in Kosovo myths. Why embrace myths at all? In the meantime, on my blog, which I put up to follow the news in the city: Turkish and Croatian embassies attacked, a Nike shop looted. Where are the police? They claim this is the biggest meeting ever held in Belgrade.

Close to my home, the hooligans are in some pitched conflict with the police. Should I remove my name from my own door? No; when things really get bad in Serbia, the police arrive in company with the hooligans.

The American embassy is attacked right now, 7 00pm, no police around there; the reporter sounds really afraid as he reports the smashing and burning.

The German bank in downtown Belgrade is attacked too: gosh this is like during the NATO bombings, but in reverse.

Tonight at 2 am it will be a full moon eclipse -- Earth Moon and Sun in alignment, a perfect excuse for madness.

Right now I hear that the American embassy is broken into and burning with Molotov cocktails. The TV coverage reminds me of when people looted the parliament to topple Milosevic.

The newly elected president of Serbia is right now in Rumania. He avoided this rally in the last minute, even though his party has backed up the rally.

The country may be on the verge of a state of emergency.

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Jasmina Tešanović is an author, filmmaker, and wandering thinker who shares her thoughts with BoingBoing from time to time. Email: politicalidiot at yahoo dot com. Her blog is here.

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Previous essays by Jasmina Tešanović on BoingBoing:

Jasmina Tešanović: Kosovo
- Christmas in Serbia
- Neonazism in Serbia
- Korea - South, not North.
- "I heard they are making a movie on her life."
- Serbia and the Flames
- Return to Srebenica
- Sagmeister in Belgrade
- Jasmina Tešanović: What About the Russians?
- Milan Martic sentenced in Hague
- Mothers of Mass Graves
- Hope for Serbia
- Stelarc in Ritopek
- Sarajevo Mon Amour
- MBOs
- Killing Journalists
- Jasmina Tešanović: Where Did Our History Go?
- Serbia Not Guilty of Genocide
- Carnival of Ruritania
- "Good Morning, Fascist Serbia!"
- Faking Bombings
- Dispatch from Amsterdam
- Where are your Americans now?
- Anna Politkovskaya Silenced
- Slaughter in the Monastery
- Mermaid's Trail
- A Burial in Srebenica
- Report from a concert by a Serbian war criminal
- To Hague, to Hague
- Preachers and Fascists, Out of My Panties
- Floods and Bombs
- Scorpions Trial, April 13
- The Muslim Women 
Belgrade: New Normality
- Serbia: An Underworld Journey
- Scorpions Trial, Day Three: March 15, 2006
- Scorpions Trial, Day Two: March 14, 2006
- Scorpions Trial, Day One: March 13, 2006
- The Long Goodbye
- Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
- Slobodan Milosevic Died
- Milosevic Funeral


  1. ‘m srry,bt hv n s fr Srbs. hv sn frsthnd wht thy dd n Bsn nd Ksv.

    n my pnn,th Srbs r rc f crmnls,wh,f thy s th ndpndnc f Ksv s n xcs t strt rpng,rbbng nd mrdrng,shld b bmbd mrclssly ntl vry Srb cty,twn nd vllg s nthng mr thn rbbl.

    Ths ppl r bynd rdmptn nd shld nt b llwd t rsm thr mnstrs wys.

  2. @#1 “In my opinion,the Serbs are a race of criminals”…

    Wow, way to be racist and bigoted. It’s that kind of black and white thinking that leads to the very thing you’re condemning, you know… Ah, sweet irony.

    And yes, I know I shouldn’t feed the trolls, but this one had such cute purple hair.

  3. Who said democracy comes cheap? Not us Americans. Not the French. Not the Irish…

    If you want to be a rebel, well, this sort of thing can be the price.

  4. It’s a bit of a treat to have the Muslims considered reasonable and the Christians being demonized for a change.

  5. Jasmina, I really like your texts on Serbia, and I really like your pro-western attitude. It really stands similar to the pacifist approach I also feel – that’s “Man (or woman) before the state”.
    But even the people with most sympathy to the Western world (i.e. – me) cannot understand this move.
    International laws have been broken. Creating a authonomous country from a piece of someone else’s land. And all of this becouse of that moron Milosevic.
    But he’s gone now, and his loser suporters are less and less each day. The international comunity is actualy helping their numer rise by this decision.
    I didn’t feel this way in 1999, when they bombed you. I thought “the moron must step down – he fucked up all of the balkans and everything is acceptable – even this”. Anything that’ll make the average Serb vote ‘no’ for Milosevic and evict him. But today, I feel things are really different. And I’m sure other solutions could’ve been found.
    So stop being a “bigger pope than the pope”, and stop feeling sorry for Nike and McDonald’s. For Christ sake, they’re destroying McDonald’s in Sweden too, when they feel “antiglobalist”. Street huliganism is not the worse thing in the world.
    It’s better to let the mob destroy a McDonalds or two or torch the american embassy than to have unexpected moves of apsolute violence outburst. It’s a kind of vent. It’s not something that’ll make Serbia less European. The west should be aware that they’re breaking international laws.
    I know that it’s days before my country also recognises Kosovo, I’m sure that we don’t have much choice but to make the smarter move and “dance to the American tune”. Pretty sad feeling, and I could only imagine how those poor people who live in Serbia must feel now. Let them have there anger!
    Support from Macedonia!

  6. My family lives in Serbia. They’re Hungarian and became Serbian back when Yugoslavia stole a border town on the edge of Serbia and Hungary. If this turns into an all out war my uncle will be drafted immediately into the army and forced to fight anyone who claims to be an enemy of Serbia. He loves america, speaks english very well, watches american TV shows and movies. Fight Club is his favorite. How sad will it be when some patrioticaly cranked-up yahoo goes over there and kills my uncle because he is one of these “criminals”.

    During the last conflict over there the bombings were very strategic and avoided places like Subotiza, that Hungarian town, because it had nothing to do with what the Serbs wanted. I wonder if George Bush will handle the situation with the same grace and sophistication…

  7. Jocoska, I’m more than a little confused. Why is it all right for Macedonia to peacefully separate from Yugoslavia but not for Kosovo to peacefully separate from Serbia?

  8. I’d saddened by all this, of course.

    #1- I’m afraid this sort of thing just gets us right back to where we started from, no? Not all Serbs are bad, of course not. What a silly, reductionist point of view… What is race/ethnicity but a mere construction, even if it feels very real to us, but such constructions can take other non-ethinic, non-nationalistic, non-religious forms.

    #7- I have to agree with #9 here. What makes Macedonia any different from Kosova? Why do the people of Kosova not get the chance to make that choice instead of having choices imposed on them? And yes, I think that, due mainly to the imposition of state structures by UNMIK and now the EU, this is all under the thumb of the west and it will ultimately be reinforcing of ethnic/religious lines, mainly because the people in charge do not think that people who are different can get along in any meaningful way, hence they set up structures that reinforce that. That’s a load, but hey… if the people in charge say it, everyone dances to that line then, don’t they? There is no real reason, if you put Serbs and Albanians together, Muslims and Christians together into a situation where they are mutually dependent that they will eventually come together and work things out, because their future will depend on it, and more importantly so will the future of their children. That is of course the biggest problem of the current “independence” of Kosova, that it is reinforcing of the ethnic divisions that began to exist after the Ottoman Empire was driven out. If Serbs and Albanians, Christians and Muslims can’t get along, how did they do it for so very long, I’d like to know?

    Anyway… as usually, Jasmina’s posts are informative, thoughtful, and well put. I’m glad that she’s sending post to Boing Boing about Serbia’s situation… I wish there were more like her in the world.


  9. Apparently Europe did not learn anything from the blunders made in 1991, once more supporting an unilateral declaration of independence.

    When the Albanians in Macedonia will try to break away from their country, what are Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, going to do? And when the Basque will decide to leave Spain? And the Turks in Bulgaria, and the Flemish in Belgium, and the Germans in Italy, and the Hungarians in Romania, and, and, and.

    Serbia is a democracy now, was it to hard to try to find a different solution than breaking the country?

  10. Oh dear…. sorry… I double posted. I’m a loser! Can I remove the extra one? Can some wonderful moderator do so. Sorry for my utter tech-uselessness.

    #12! What an excellent point!!! I heartily agree, with something approaching gusto! Maybe it has to do with nation-states holding a supposedly monopoly on violence? Perhaps?


  11. #13- Where does this supposed “intrinsic violent nature” hypothesis come from? maybe it’s other factors that make us violent, not our natures. How can we really even know what are very natures are if we are constantly bombarded by information about who we are and what we are supposed to be. I don’t think this is just a function of the modern age either.


  12. International laws have been broken. Creating a autonomous country from a piece of someone else’s land.

    Or, a majority of people living in a given area could decide their own destiny. No, no, that’s stupid. They should be forced to maintain the artificial state set up at the end of World War I. Decisions made by imperial powers should never be questioned. A UN veto is the mandate of heaven. International law is always correct and good.

  13. Look at our closest cousins: Chimpanzees.

    They have everything they need to compete with humans. Except: Impulse control. They will never effectively challenge us because although they behave almost exactly the same as us and have the same faculties, they just can’t wait. Human violence is on the same continuum. We wouldn’t have conflict if people could patiently wait and share. We are better than chimps, but still not good enough. Therefore; intrinsically violent.

  14. dcnt, wtty wbst shld nt ftr Tsnvc’s rnts. ll sh cn cnvy s htrd, rcsm nd ntlrnc. Sh clms Kstrc t b prncs ntnlst smply bcs hs wrk hs chvd wrldwd rcgntn, n mnnt sccss. Th vry sm sccss Mrs. Tsnvc hs bn lngng fr, prdcng prl dcmntry flm nd wrtng brchrs sh clls “bks”. Th mr rd Tsnvc’s pnns (whch r lwys mrktd s Th ndnbl Trth), th mr rlz th knwldg f Blkn ffrs s dmd. Ppl shld hv th rght t rd mprtl nd ws pnnsts; sdly, ths wh scrm ldr chsng dms sch s “stt f mrgncy” gt xpsr. Jsmn Tsnvc s nt cncrnd wth Ksv r hlgns vlnc; sh’s jst lkng fr plpt t prch frm.

  15. I confess: I am not surprised that no kind of reply or interaction from the author has arisen from my comments to the last post.

    I do believe that freedom, life, death, brotherhood and so on are concepts, and even realities, that exist even in the 21st century, although some people may find it more comfortable to try and ignore them. It seems to me that it hasn’t proved to be a viable long-term strategy in the history of this world. Maybe things are different in Jasmina’s, but the astrology pun makes me wonder where this piece of writing is trying to be serious and where it is ironic.

    The interested reader, the reader who wants to think on his own about how much of Europe is on the verge of a state of emergency with an independent Kosovo here and now, is encouraged to compare the Serbian minister of FA’s speech and this post.

  16. #10: “If Serbs and Albanians, Christians and Muslims can’t get along, how did they do it for so very long, I’d like to know?”

    They didn’t. That’s part of the reason for the situation now. Kosovo has been full of conflict for very, very long. And the division between Serbs and Albanians isn’t a question of faith.

    #14: I don’t know what anyone’s going to do, but, for example, Belgium is currently undergoing totally serious discussion on the possible dissolution of the union. If they decide they’d rather part, why should they not have the right to do so?

  17. I look forward to all the detailed and passionate explanation that is soon forthcoming. We will be regaled with incredible detail and intricate reasoning as to why that face had to be smashed with a brick, why that 14 year old girl had to be raped, why that ancient building had to be burned, why that mass grave had to be filled.

  18. Antinous, I get your point. However, we should keep in mind that Serbs were the majority pre-World War II. Then, the Serbs lost that majority when the Nazi-created Kosovo Albanian SS division (Skanderbeg) ethnically cleansed the area of Serbs (and Jews as well). After WWII, Tito didn’t let the Serbs who managed to escape the Skanderbeg return to the region. At the same time, Albanian illegals continued to rush over the border.


    When an ethnic majority was achieved through these means, how can one rely on it as the moral justification for independance?

  19. “A decent, witty website should not feature Tesanovic’s rants.”

    She’s Bruce Sterling’s wife, and Sterling is one of BB’s patron saints. That’s the only reason I can think of why her posts are here and are so prominent (much more of her posts are ‘above the jump’ than most other posts.) What she writes does not otherwise fit in with the subject matter on BB, except in the most nebulous sense of ‘we don’t like repression’.

    The argument might be made that if someone wanted to write about the continuing repression in Burma, they’d link to it, but I’m not sure that I would agree. Nor do I think that BB is the best place for it. We don’t often (or ever) see articles about the shooting of East Timor’s veep, or bombings in Kashmir or Colombia or the Basque region. Just one very slanted look at the Balkans, because that’s what one friend of the family likes to write about.

    And that’s fine, because it’s not our site. But it’s also telling, because it illustrates an unpleasant bias. And it’s also disappointing, because I don’t think it’s what most readers come here for.

  20. #22- You don’t think they got along for the most part under the ottoman empire? Considering the amount of intermarriage that occurred? Many call Muslims in the Balkans Turks, but is that accurate really? If someone liked Islam, and felt it was right for them despite being a Slav or Greek or whatever, why wouldn’t they convert? The use of “turk” to describe Balkan Muslims is surely a misnomer, in so much as it now describes an ethnicity. I do think these tensions are more a product of the modern era, a product of the imperial and nation-state context? How do we define these terms in the early modern or pre-modern era, anyway? Did they actually have the same meaning then as they do now? That is not to say that violence didn’t happen, but I just doubt they were built around such terms… if that makes sense.

    #19- Can we really compare ourselves to the chimps, in any meaningful way? What really is the fundamental difference between us and apes? Can’t it be argued that it is our ability to see ourselves in an abstract way and to represent the world in abstract notions? I’m not promoting that idea per se, cause what makes us human is up for debate- I have no clue what really makes us human. But if we get bogged down in things like “we are violent by nature” or “we can’t overcome our differences” or “we are defined by our nationality, race, or the like” or “all good music comes from major labels so why should I make my own” or “I have no role in shaping our government” don’t we turn it into a self fulfilling prophecy? It’s like people who use the bible (or whatever holy book you like) to justify wars, the whole “wars and rumors of wars” until the end of time… well, okay, we can define our modern condition by a book written 2000 or so years ago, or we can actually try to use the brains that are there for a reason (again- take you pick) and work our problems out. I just find that kind of thinking self-defeating on some level… Not that you aren’t right to be pessimistic on some level about human nature. We tend to do some pretty crappy things, I’ll grant you. But we do some pretty kick ass things too, if you ask me. Just look around at this fine example of human ingenuity- meaning not only boing boing, but many of the fine things found on the tubes, or music, or books, or Alan Moore… Just to name of few.

    Blah… I type too much.


  21. Citing facts to provide some historical perspective is vitriolic crap? Engaging in debate is fomenting hate? I would disagree with you Mrfitz, but I would hate to see what you’d accuse me of.

  22. @28

    I never liked chimps instinctively. They always frightened me. I have learned about them and now I see why: they are us. Go study a bit, you will be surprised.

  23. Haven’t chimps been caught making spears? Seems a fairly human-ish action to me.
    Also, aren’t humans very frequently caught making hot, sweet MONKEY love?

  24. #30- I too cower in fear of chimps, of humans often times, too. I’m not denying that we do some craptacular things. We are scary chimps, often the scariest. But we are just more than that, too. Why should we be constrained by perceived limitations when so often the limitations that we’ve applied to ourselves have been shown to be false. As much as chimps are like us, there is some fundamental differences, don’t you agree or no?

    #29- I would say your facts are a bit in dispute by a number of historians. I’m not so sure that the whole “muslims ethnically cleansing serbs during the Nazi era” is agreed upon in the literature…


  25. As I remarked, the only observable difference is impulse control. Teach chimps to hold their tempers better and look out. Everything else is a matter of degree. They cooperate, have language, do have the capability for abstract thought (at least as much as an internet addict anyways). The spear thing is new observation; they break, strip, sharpen and use branches as spears to catch bushbabies. They do cooperative gang raids on other chimp groups.

  26. Let’s go back few years, like before war in Iraq. How did American people acts when France announced that they will not send military forces to Iraq?
    During last 8 years, there’s long list killed or missing Serbs, burnt down Serbian villages and churches. Serbia asked EU and USA to protect Serbs on Kosovo, but, answer was: Albanians are frustrated, it is naturally for Albanians to cast bombs on Serbs.
    Present time: USA violated Serbian sovereignty. Frustrated, young, I-see-no-future-for-me Serbs made violent demonstrations, raging in their capital city, and setting USA Embassy on the fire.
    Now, USA representative in UN are angry because that Serbs violated USA sovereignty!!!

    Do you see a pattern? At least, Serbian angry youngsters didn’t took a gun and kill half of their class.
    At least, our forces of law and order arrested those angry, young man.

    And how hypocritical sounds Bernard Kushner: “Kosovo and Serbia will be together in EU”? What he saying?

    I was “lucky” to see mob live on TV (not CNN or any other reports”). I counted less than 100 teenagers. On Fox TV they reported more “few thousands”, and CNN reports looked like they are organized Nazi Brigade.
    What Jasmina and CNN forgot to say is those kids for last 10 years listened from US, EU and some Serbian media that they are bad. That they need apologizes to everyone, even to Germany, because Hitler killed 2 millions of Serbs. They are taught that visa for EU or Green Card is their only ticket for future. They lost any hope.
    If they are patriots, nazi label are applied from some media. If they are left, they are identified as followers of Milosevic by same media. If they are centrist, they are branded as snails (again by same media). And if they are with that so called Euro-Serbs (Obey what USA and EU say!), they are labeled as traitors.

    And now came this. For them, who looked in EU and West values as God, this was like end of the world. How to strive for European values when EU violates them?!

    Serbia got their lost generation.

  27. When an ethnic majority was achieved through these means, how can one rely on it as the moral justification for independence?

    Not to disagree, but we really should stop using indelible ink when we print maps. By your argument, every country in the New World, not to mention Israel, is illegal. Shit happens. Populations shift and will probably continue to do so. The only point that I could see in forming the European Union is that Europe could break up into organic (and mutable) states while being party of a larger political entity.

    To paraphrase Cole Porter: When Serbia lectures the world on international law, anything goes.

  28. Serbia! Kosovo! Impress us! We are watching. Humble the whole world before you by JUST NOT KILLING ANYONE. Or are you no better than us?

  29. Mindy: As I said earlier, Albanians are not all Muslims. The conflict in Kosovo is not about faith, but rather about ethnicity. And yes, they did not get along. Ottoman rule merely simplified the situation, by subordinating both groups — the Albanians and the Slavs.

    At #34: Yes, there are long lists of killed or missing — but they are on both sides. I’m not excusing the slow and extremely bundling way in which the whole Balkans mess has been handled by the West. But blaming the whole situation on outside factors, when inflammatory speeches were held before deliberately created mobs is simply not tenable.

    And there were more than one hundred teenagers out on the streets. I know this not from TV, but from friends and relatives who looked out their windows and counted.

  30. #31 Steve


    Best put them on detention so. And call their mothers for a parent techer meetiing :)

  31. The good news is that Boris Tadić, Serbia’s president, is a moderate and unlikely to rush into a war. He’s also toe-curlingly sexy, but that doesn’t really enter into this discussion.

  32. Milarepa, I’m sorry, but that was ad hominem from start to finish. I’d have disemvowelled anyone who posted it.

    Pico Tazo, majorities come and go. What territory is Armenia now? The country moved around when its people did. Countries and peoples do that. Have you ever seen a writeup of mitochondrial DNA? We’ve all moved, and moved again, and moved some more after that.

    There are many differences of opinion about what happened during World War II, but there’s one thing we know for sure: few if any of the people rioting in Belgrade were there when it happened, and the same goes for the inhabitants of Kosovo. Revenge is a dubious thing for anyone to take. There may be justice owed to the victims of WWII, but it’s not owed to the individuals who are violently claiming it.

    Jim Cowling, the boingers can write about anything they find interesting, and invite the participation of any writers they please.

    Antinous, more for the rest of you.

  33. #7 Th rsn t s dffrnt frm Mcdn s tht thrgh hgh brthrts, crm nd ntmdtn th lbnns drv th Srbs frm Ksv, whch thy rgrd s thr htlnd. Whn thy trd t stp t thy gt ccsd f th crm thy wr th vctms f. Th rwrd fr ths rl thnc clnsng s tht th lbnns gt nw slmc stt n rp.

    Th S tttd t Ksv s prvrs xtnsn f th cld-wr plcy tht rthdx Chrstns Rssns r bd. W hv nw nms nw, nd t grnt thm lnd n xchng fr thr mltncy s bd plcy.


  34. The reward for this real ethnic cleansing is that the Albanians get a new Islamic state in Europe.

    I’m afraid that Serbia is the only player in this game that’s invoking religious fanaticism to stir up trouble. And once again, I refer only to ultra-nationalist factions, not to the Serbian people or its current government. But really, thanks for providing a link to a “news organization” that has articles denying global warming, outing Obama’s mentor as a communist and condemning idolatry. Are you related to Vlad the Impaler by any chance?

  35. Sparkzilla, I don’t believe we’ll let that stand as fact.

    I’ve been poking around on the web to see what I can turn up about the history of Kosovo. It’s as muddled and overlaid and recombined as any patch of ground on earth. The original inhabitants may have been Thracians and/or Illyrians, about whom we know almost nothing. Kosovo has belonged to at least four empires (Roman, Bulgarian, Byzantine, and Ottoman). Random weird fact: at the high point of Serbian power — which was clear back in the 13th C., for pete’s sake — Saxons were one of the identifiable ethnic groups in Kosovo.

    So far, my favorite line in Wikipedia’s history of Kosovo is, “The case of ĐorÄ‘e Martinović has come to symbolize the predicament of all Serbs in Kosovo.”

  36. The case of Đorđe Martinović has come to symbolize the predicament of all Serbs in Kosovo.

    We had a patient once who was, er, romancing a coke bottle. His, um, passion was so forceful that it shattered his, ah, partner. Many surgeries.

  37. (Why did my text display strangly?)


    From here: http://lamar.colostate.edu/~grjan/kosovohistory.html

    In 1967 Tito made his first visit to Kosovo. He purged Alexander Rankovic, who was a strong Serbian “centralist” and much hated in Kosovo, from power in Kosovo. This created euphoria among the Albanian population. More concessions were made to Albanian nationalism dealing with languages, education and other cultural issues. A veritable flood of Albanian nationalism was the predictable result. Because of immigration of Albanians, emigration of Serbs and a very high Albanian birthrate from 1961 to 1971 Albanians increased from 67% to 74% of the population.

    Evn if you don’t like that source, the Wikipedia article on Demographics of Kosovo gives 71% Ablanians in 1971. This has now increased to 92% Albanians in Kosovo according to Wikipedia. There’s even a chart here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Demographic-history-of-Kosovo-in-20th-century.png

    So as I said above, it is the Serbs who have been ethnically cleansed from Kosovo.

  38. Sparkzilla,

    Your source on the history of Kosovo is the head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State. Try again.

  39. Read my post again — in addition to the Col State info I gave you information from Wikipedia, which references many more sources on the incease in the percentage of Albanians in Kosovo in modern times. The ethnic cleansing of Serbs out of Kosovo (through high birthrates, crime and intimidation) is a plain fact.

  40. Sparkzilla,

    Your wikipedia link is to a chart described as “self-made” by a user who doesn’t even have a wikipedia user page. Every citation that you’ve given so far is either from a nut job or a non-expert.

    Just because you keep saying it, doesn’t make it true.

    –from the Analects of Takuan-sensei

  41. Anyway, you have achieved your aim and bored me now.

    Well, my day’s complete. Your previous link was only to the graphic, not to the wikipedia article page. The article in question is heavily disputed on the talk page on the basis that the data comes solely from Serbian sources. Your numbers might actually be completely correct, but you haven’t provided any credible documentation. Allegations of ethnic cleansing are serious business.

    I’m going to play with my straws now.

  42. Just as a matter of interest, why are you reposting the URL of the nutjob website with the Kosovo article?

  43. “Th ntjb wbst”?

    rpstd t bcs BngBng lnks ntjb wbsts ll th tm nd nly dsmvwld tht cmmnt —

    Dj v. Wrd.

    nywy, ddn’t rpst t bcs thnk t’s “th trth” r bcs gv sht bt Ksv.

  44. #39: “the boingers can write about anything they find interesting, and invite the participation of any writers they please.”

    No argument here: again, ‘that’s fine, because it’s not our site.’ But Tesanovic’s articles stick out like, say, a recipe for cookies would on a gaming blog.

  45. #9 and #10
    Don’t expect you to understand, as you don’t really know balkan history and understand international law, but are always prepared to stand “for democracy and civil rights”.
    Actually, my point wasn’t really to lamentate on the final solution for Kosovo, but to remind Ms. Tesanovic that people have every right to be angry at the western comunity.
    As for the independance of Macedonia, you should check the oldest book (the bible) for the name Macedonia and see how far back we go. Actualy it’s very strange for me to quote on the bible, since it’s not really my favourite reading, so I’ll try to explain why is the independance of Macedonia different from the independance of Kosovo.
    Worst case (let’s forget antient times, Alexander the Great and bible mumbo-jumbo), Macedonia was a Republic since 1945. That’s 50 years of own parliament, own government and government bodies and institutions. Kosovo has never been a republic. It was an authonomous suplement of Serbia, and the worst thing Milosevic has done is to take away their authonomy in the 90’s. We were all a part of Yugoslavia, but only two Republics had apsolutely no legal problems in proclaiming authonomy in 1990 – that’s Slovenia and Macedonia. All others were either in the middle of bloodsheading or weren’t really a republic.
    That’s the main difference between Kosovo and Macedonia. Glad I could help.

  46. #36:Yes, there are long lists of killed or missing — but they are on both sides.

    One side killed much more than other. There was 2500 killed Serbs and none was trailed.

    #36:But blaming the whole situation on outside factors, when inflammatory speeches were held before deliberately created mobs is simply not tenable.

    I’m blaming hypocrisy of USA and EU. They were mere watchers while Albanians were burning down churches (same one they now pronounce of Albanian-Byzantium origin).

    #36: And there were more than one hundred teenagers out on the streets. I know this not from TV, but from friends and relatives who looked out their windows and counted.

    How much more? one hundred and ten? two thousands? In Knez Milosh St. there was no more than one hundred. I don’t know how much was in other parts of city. Still, if there was 200 people, it is much smaller than “few thousands” as CNN and Fox reported.

    My post was about young people lost in today Serbia and destroyed values by two-faced western countries. That youngsters even don’t know how to hate! If you saw reports from BG, you’ll saw people stealing Nike apparels, not to destroy, but to wear. Maybe they hate USA, but they love Nike.

  47. All of that history aside (hahaha), I guess you all know that the Kosovan constitution was written 6 months ago. The US and EU basically told Serbia’s leaders that their entry into the EU hung in the balance, so it was basically blackmail, and of course none of this was made public.

    Whether Serbia deserves to keep Kosovo(a) or not, this was ham-handed at best, sleazy at worst. For a new country, it augurs as well as a field of ravens. Proclaiming independence this way left Serbia without face, and reversing it (if that’s even possible) would leave everyone else without face. You’d almost think someone was deliberately baiting the Serbians.

    But Condoleeza Rice has been dispatched to scold Serbia for acting so childishly, so that should solve things.

  48. #58: I could counter your claim, but I won’t. Any licitation with numbers of the dead is pointless. It’s the kind of false reasoning that can only create more vicious circles.

    And you are again putting the blame solely on outside factors. I’m not saying they’re blameless. But saying “the USA embassy was attacked because Americans are hypocrits” is simplistic, and it does not exonerate Serbian officials who brought the mob to Belgrade and then held inflammatory speeches until they got the desired result — a bunch of people ready to smash something – anything – just to get rid of the tension.

    As for the exact number of protesters, “a few thousand” is pretty close to “two or three thousand”. I don’t know what CNN and Fox reported, but even official Serbian sources claim almost 200 people arrested, and 130 people injured. So your calculations of a few hundred are definitely not correct.

    As for the fact that a number of people used the opportunity to steal things, that is a different matter, and one where, I suspect, we actually agree. It’s sad to see young people who have accepted the “hate the West” spiel on one side, yet fell for the consumerism trap on the other. But, again, it’s not only the West’s fault. It’s also the fault of everyone who encouraged hate, in any form. Accepting that may help change some things in Serbia.

  49. #43- Wait, what? What did I do? What was that for? Thanks, though… ;-)

    Both Takuan and Milena, I think we’re gonna have to agree to disagree on these two topics. I’m not convinced that humans are doomed to violent actions, nor am I convinced that all problems in the Balkans can be essentialized to ethnic tensions that the people in the region can’t overcome. I just think human nature is more complex than all that (maybe I’m too optimistic, I don’t know). I do like reading both of you post very much, and I think you both bring up great points which I try to take into consideration… so thanks!

    #45- I do think that the problem with wikipedia can be that it can be very inaccurate on controversial topics (as is often shown by the debate that is often up on such topics). The history of Kosova is much in dispute now because of modern politics. How a history is written is largely due to modern politics, nationalistic (in this case) or otherwise (in the case of Ottoman history, it’s all too often informed by certain prejudices), sadly. Historians (myself included) are not completely objective purveyors of fact, as many believe. What we study, how we study, the sources we use, the way we set up our time periods in our work- these can all can show a subjective point of view in our work. It’s just the way it is (didn’t marx say the point was not just to study, but to change things). I just don’t believe that history is or can be an objective science. We can, however, not distort facts or stuff theme into the structure of our thesis when writing just to fit our political ends. If something contradicts our thesis, then we must revise our thesis and move forward from there.

    #57- Because after all, the bible is a story of facts (also it’s hardly the oldest book by any stretch of the imagination)? Plus, Macedonia has no history of being in dispute, does it? Not between Greece and Hungary? Have not both countries claimed it the region in the past, and isn’t that now why it has the name F.Y.R.O.M instead of Macedonia (at Greek insistence)… And I guess since I’m in the west I’m incapable of reading a book and thinking critically about the subject matter. I mean, after all, that’s just what I plan on doing for a living, so I guess I never do that… Not to be a bitch and I’m not trying to pick on you, but I just don’t think it’s fair to say that because of where I’m born I can’t possibly understand another place in any meaningful way. If I said that about someone from another country, everyone would rightly say that I’m being biased. I’m no expert on the region and I’m not claiming that at all, but I do like to think I have some sort of grasp on events there, at least more than the average American… At least I care about something other than American Idol.

    #55- I say I’d have to take anything at World Net daily with an ocean of salt…

    #59- I think this independence is a shell game for Kosovan’s as well, actually, not just for Serbs. It’s not “real” independence, just yet another supervised that will lead to more hostility between Serbs and Albanians in Kosova. It has no real meaning, if you ask me. The EU/UN will still have ruling bodies there not accountable to the voting public.

    #60- I do think it’s sort of convenient that no one was around in the American Embassy to get killed, don’t you? I mean how did they know this was going to occur unless they had been told in advance. Not like the people in the embassy in Iran had advanced warning in the 70s was it.

    Anyway- great discussion you guys! I’m thinking hard and learning alot!


  50. #61 It’s not because you’re an american. As you can read above I’m not fighting the Serb’s war. Especialy not against the U.S. – only morons do this:)
    It’s because you didn’t read enough. You read something and you didn’t understude it. The worst kind of knowledge.
    “Not between Greece and Hungary? Have not both countries claimed it the region in the past, and isn’t that now why it has the name F.Y.R.O.M instead of Macedonia “>
    WTF has Hungary to do here. As for the name dispute, Macedonia has been recogised by the US by it’s constitutional name and so have 130 other countries in the world.
    Cheers from trying to care for something more than American idol, and beleive me this is not the image I have for the americans in general. But if you try to make a point, read more and have a more open mind – that’s what boingboing’s all about:)
    That’s the main issue here. People in Serbia that share the same simpathy for the western community (and there are more of these that you imagine) are being let down.
    You see, albanians aren’t your only friend on the Balkans. You are pushing away all others.
    Nevertheless I spent a lot of time on un-pretty things. Never really thought I’ll get into a discussion on Kosovo on BoingBoing:)
    Over and out.

  51. #62- Well, that’s good. I’d hate to think you think I was some dumb American… Maybe I am… I don’t know. Maybe I am biased towards Kosovan Albanians. I’m not for what is happening, don’t get me wrong. I’m firmly on the side of Albin Kurti’s view of self-determination. He makes the most sense to me.

    First, can you tell me what I’m not understanding, in your view? Thanks.

    Next, I want to say that I don’t imagine that I’m only the friends of Kosovans Albanians. I’m a friend of anyone, I could care less where people come from. I do take issue with jingoism and ultra-nationalism, however, even here. I have no illusions about my country. Nor do I blame the serbian people (not all of them, anyhow) for any/all of this. It’s clear to me that it is a crazy mix of outside pressure over the the end of the 19th and into the 20th century, the bickering of major colonial and then post-colonial powers that is largely responsible. However, I think someone else said it- why can’t we let the people decide? What is wrong with that? I think it was #16, Antinous. The big issues is once again Western countries looking down their nose at everyone else and imposing what they think is right- which is what is happening in Kosova. Check David Chandler’s book on Bosnia to see the mess the UN made there and is making in Kosova. Corruption scandal and lies. Everyone worries about Serbs in Kosova, but hey, I have to deal with living in a country where less than half of the eligible voters decided to elect a moron as the president for these past 8 years. Democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s better than dictatorship of whatever kind. If they (Serbs and Albanians) are forced into a situation where there economic well-being is interdependent, if their children’s future is interdependent, will they not have more of a reason to work together in the first place? Seems like they would.

    As for Macedonia…. First, I think I meant bulgaria not Hungary, so I apologize for that. The bulgarians were quite active in trying to have a claim in the area in the early part of the last century. This is not true now, as far as I know, but that does not mean it’s irrelevant. Check out Keith Brown’s book “The Past in Question” which is a discussion on Macedonian nationalism. I actually think that Macedonia should be an independent state and in fact it is. I’m glad about that, actually. No reason it shouldn’t be. Greek Nationalist should not be trying to impose a view of the area that ignores the Macedonian people and their wishes. But we do have to get back to the concept of what constitutes a national identity and question it, especially considering it’s constructed not natural, though that doesn’t make it less real. If being Macedonian or American, or Irish, or what have you is a construction, where does that leave us in terms of the creation of a nation-state?

    Honestly, I have no answers, I just know that the ones I hear from all sides I find wholly unsatisfactory for the most part. And maybe I’m just sticking my opinion in where it does not belong, and that is more than fair to say, of course. But, we live in a mutually dependent world now, and what happens there matters here and vice versa. I think the biggest democratic failure here is most certainly that American voters lack of interest in foreign policy, so it becomes the playground of special interest and specialist with axes to grind (Bernard Lewis comes to mind- how we just immediately adopt his view of Muslims without questioning it’s historic accuracy). It’s this lack of interest, as well as too much of our government making these decisions by fiat as opposed to democratically, that makes me worry. More people should care about the rest of the world and take an active interest, and a critical look at what is happening.

    Also- I think that everyone sort of wants the EU to be this bastion of tolerance and acceptance, when clearly it is not. There is a hell of a lot of racism that still is pervasive in the EU (against Romanians, Turks, Muslims of all kinds, Algerians, need I go on). I’m all about trying to get past all that. Americans are bad too. Boy, some people just go on and on about Mexicans in a really racist tone. If they said the same things about black people, then they would rightly be called a bigot… You can also compare it to turn of the 20th century rhetoric about Irish and Italian immigrants. Breeding is always my favorite, considering Americans have the highest birth rate of any developed nation. I know tons of people with 3 or more kids.

    As for international law- shouldn’t people and human rights be at the center of that? The UN in the post cold war era has failed time and again to protect people all around the world. My question, what are we to do about that, when all too often it is international law that prevents us from making the moral choice. It angers me no end to think about Rwanda, when for so long my government spent all that time defining what genocide was while all those people were murdered. Does it matter what you call it when peoples limbs are being hacked off? Should we preserve international law at all cost, even if it leads to such atrocities?

    Anyway… I hope I’m not pushing you away. I think sadly we do spend time on un-pretty things… But I find this discussion interesting, like I said. And it is important to talk about.

    Again, I blah way too much. Hope you can forgive me for that!


  52. As for international law – shouldn’t people and human rights be at the center of that?

    My god!!!! What kind of lunatic are you? Law exists to justify one’s own crimes and to enrich lawyers.

  53. Clearly I’ve lost my marbles and gone off the deep end. Sorry. God forbid I step out side the agreed upon narrative!

    You so rock, Antinous!


  54. the only thing that could save the situation is some kind of miraculous economic boom. The joy of getting rich is the only thing stronger than the bliss of murdering your neighbour.

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