Tragedy and Farce

Seven months after the horrific pogrom that raged across the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo, the occupiers are poised to lead its perpetrators a step close to their coveted ultimate prize. Elections scheduled for Oct. 23 were designed to establish the Albanian authorities as a legitimate "government" of the province, bolstering their separatist claims just in time for the conference on "final status," projected to take place next year. Serbs in Kosovo, rightly embittered by the complicity of the UN and NATO in their gradual extermination, have by and large refused to give any further legitimacy to the occupation. Washington, Brussels and the UN have tried to pressure Serbs into abandoning their resistance; it is unclear to what extent they have succeeded so far.

The elections in Kosovo will be illegitimate whether one or one hundred thousand Serbs vote this Saturday. It is impossible to conduct a fair election (if ever there was such a thing) in an occupied, ethnically cleansed and terrorized territory. But the Empire seems determined to continue its policy of creeping amputation, effectively rewarding the perpetrators of the March pogrom and further confirming its commitment to the rule of force, rather than the rule of law.

"Birth of a Nation"

That is how Time magazine recently described one possible outcome of the upcoming elections. According to Time, "with conflicts brewing around the world, the UN and NATO are now looking to get out, and fast." Another reason for their haste is the March pogrom, which demonstrated the Albanians’ willingness to use force to get their way. It seems that UNMIK and NATO have wholeheartedly accepted the reasoning of Albanians and their partisans in the West that followed the March terror.

Indeed, this reasoning was recently reiterated by none other than Veton Surroi, the "highly regarded" editor and publisher who recently established a political party. "In March you saw the enormous capacity for destruction in this society," Surroi told Reuters. "Little has changed since March."

Surroi may appear a "moderate" in the Kosovo Albanian political spectrum, but his veiled threats of violence in case independence isn’t forthcoming echo those of the terrorist KLA. Its representatives recently raised funds in the United States for both new weapons and John Kerry’s presidential campaign, not only unmolested by American authorities, but joined by former Clinton administration officials Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.) and Richard Holbrooke.

In addition to Surroi’s party, Ibrahim Rugova’s "Democratic League of Kosovo" and the two major KLA-affiliated parties, several new political entities have sprung upon among the Kosovo Albanians recently. Their programs are identical: first independent Kosovo, then the creation of an "Ethnic Albania." One of the parties is called "Balli Kombetar Demokratik" – Democratic National Front. Except for the addition of "democratic," it is the name of a WW2 movement that supported the Nazis.

UNMIK Lashes Out

Kosovo’s UN and NATO occupiers seem perfectly content to ignore Albanian bellicosity. Some reinforcements have dropped in to boost NATO’s presence during the elections, but there’s been no signal whatsoever that new violence would not be tolerated. Instead, the occupiers have focused their rage on the Serbs, as their withdrawal of consent jeopardizes the Empire’s Potemkin Kosovo. As Financial Times put it, a Serb boycott "could undermine the credibility of multiethnic democracy in Kosovo."

As well it should! There is absolutely no such thing, not with Albanians steamrolling over every other community. Even though UNMIK claims that "the best way Serbs can be heard is by electing their leaders to the new Assembly," (Time) they have had representatives in the previous one, with exactly zero benefit from it. Serbs, Turks, Roma, Ashkali, "Bosniaks" and others serve solely as window-dressing that creates an illusion of "multi-ethnicity" where in reality there is brutal racism and terror. If this is what "becoming an active part of the institutional life" – as Viceroy Jessen-Petersen puts it – really means, no wonder the Serbs want out.

Jessen-Petersen and his underlings have also demonstrated their utter contempt for Serbs by fiercely attacking the Serbian Orthodox Church, the only remaining Serbian institution in Kosovo. There is little doubt that Viceroy Jessen-Petersen referred to the Church when he said Monday, "Those urging Kosovo Serbs not to vote simply do not have in mind the interest of their own people."

After nothing had been done to rebuild or restore any of the churches destroyed in the March pogrom – not to mention over 120 destroyed since 1999 – Kosovo’s Bishop Artemije decided to end the charade and stop pretending the UN is helping. This provoked a fierce attack by UNMIK, which claimed, "The Bishop’s decision . . . runs counter to the overall goal to build a multi-ethnic Kosovo with full respect and security for all communities and religious sites." Thanks to UNMIK’s absolute access to Western media, and the Church’s lack thereof, the condemnation appeared before the Bishop’s announcement. When even UNMIK won’t allow the Serbs of Kosovo a voice – in this instance, through preempting a protest by blaming the victim – how does anyone imagine the Albanian-dominated Assembly will?

Betrayed by Belgrade

The UN/NATO abuses in Kosovo have met with appallingly little resistance in Belgrade, where a fractious and confused post-DOS regime lacks any semblance of a coherent plan, whether for Kosovo or Serbia in general. President Tadic may have been right to say that Prime Minister Kostunica’s government is "doing nothing," but his own obsequious prostrations before the Empire are just as harmful. In an interview to Financial Times last week, president of the Serbia-Montenegro Union Svetozar Marovic favored a Dayton-like conference to resolve the Kosovo issue, while supporting (!) the continued NATO occupation.

It appears that official Belgrade has abandoned Kosovo, and loyal citizens residing there, to the mercies of Albanian separatists and UNMIK. Though Albanian partisans see this as indirect acquiescence to their demands for independence, it is more symptomatic of the overall paucity of character in the Serbian political class. A century of suffering – half of which was under Communist rule – followed by Slobodan Milosevic’s confused post-Communism and siege by the Empire, seems to have destroyed the Serbians’ taste for liberty and capacity for principled thought.

Before his violent ouster in 2000, Milosevic’s opponents argued that "the West" would rethink its position on Kosovo if Serbia became "democratic." What they discovered afterwards is that the definition of "democratic" kept changing with ever-increasing demands from Washington, Brussels and The Hague, while the Kosovo policy changed not one bit. This has surely contributed to the overall feeling of frustration and apathy in Serbia as much as the broken economic promises of the DOS regime and its heirs.

Rewarding Genocide

Kosovo Albanians’ separatist drive rests on two "facts," both created by the NATO occupation. Both are mentioned in every wire and agency report from the province: Albanians make up a "90-percent majority" and Kosovo is "still formally a part of Serbia" (emphasis added). The natural assumption from such "facts" would be that Albanians are actual inhabitants of the province, while Serbs and others are interlopers; as well as that a 90% majority is more than good enough for a "democratic" declaration of independence. The trouble with this is that Albanians became a majority through massive illegal immigration, explosive birth rates, and systematic violence against other communities – whether during the reign of Ottoman Turks (1389-1912), Austrian and German occupations (1915-18, 1941-44), Communist dictatorship (1945-1989), or NATO/UNMIK occupation (1999-present). Creation of an "independent," Albanian Kosovo would not be recognition of democratic self-determination, or any such nonsense: it would be the ultimate reward for ethnic cleansing, and what amounts to genocide.

Force and Justice

Kosovo is not some "mandate" of the UN; it is the territory of a sovereign state, occupied in an illegal and illegitimate war of aggression. By its very existence, UNSCR 1244 violates the UN Charter and makes the world body an accomplice in a crime against peace and the ongoing crimes against humanity. The only "final status" possible under international law would be the reintegration of the province into Serbia.

Those who preach to millions about "freedom" and "rule of law" were willing to trample both in the case of Kosovo in 1999. Judging by their conduct ever since, they still are. Their sermons are nothing but lies, and their only argument, when stripped of nonsense and falsehoods, is brute force.

"We do it because we can," the Empire seems to say, sneering at the rest of the world as if daring someone to object. "What are you going to do about it?"

Well, what indeed?

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for debuted in November 2000.