Time and again there are ethnic conflicts in Kosovo between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority. The Serbian politician and journalist Dragana Trifkovic talks for ZUERST! about the causes of problems
Mrs. Trifkovic, 20 years ago the situation in the Serbian Kosovo province was heating up. German mainstream media reported about genocidal activities of the “Yugoslav” – mainly Serbian – security structures against the Albanian population in the province. What did really happen in those days?
It is true that the situation in Kosovo and Metohija has been escalating during 20 years now, but the reports of Western media were completely inaccurate. At that time, Albanian terrorist groups strengthened their activities in the southern Serbian province, and the security structures of Serbia were forced to react. I must point out that the terrorist activity of the Albanian groups is not something that we were confronted with only then. Namely, it has been present for decades before these events, especially in the 70s and 80s of the twentieth century in Yugoslavia. In the late 1990s, after the wars in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo Albanians strengthened their terrorist activities, above all with the support of the United States.
William Walker had one of the main roles in the commencement of the war in Kosovo, who was an American operative and head of the OSCE Monitoring Mission in Kosovo. Otherwise, he is openly advocating for the creation of the so-called „Greater Albania“ today. It is known that Walker worked closely with the terrorist organization „Kosovo Liberation Army“ and, together with Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke and James Rubin, financially and logistically helped Albanian terrorists to provoke conflicts. When he succeeded, he used the events in the village of Racak in Kosovo and Metohija to launch a war propaganda machine and thus enable NATO to begin its aggression against Serbia (the former Yugoslavia). I would like to remind you that an anti-terrorist action was launched in the village of Racak, which was the anchor-hold of the Sadik Shala battalion of the terrorist organization „KLA“.
At that time, the Serbian security forces fought against terrorists from the „Kosovo Liberation Army“ after the Albanian terrorists were constantly attacking and killing policemen. During the conflict in the village of Racak, dozens of terrorists of the „Kosovo Liberation Army“ were killed. They were all wearing uniforms with the „KLA“ mark and had weapons. According to their wounds, one could conclude that they were killed in an armed conflict.
However, the OSCE mission did not want to allow the Serbian authorities to conduct an investigation. What followed, can be called a typical US special operation, under the command of the American operative Mr. Walker. The dead terrorists were dressed up in civilian clothes, photographed and this was published in the media as if the Serbian security forces carried out a massacre on civilians. Human Rights Watch stated in the report that the „Yugoslav forces were guilty of war crimes in Racak“, confirming these allegations, and immediately afterwards the German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping launched a propaganda campaign, which in turn led to the satanisation of Serbs through CNN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post and other Western media.
The full OSCE report has never been published. Walker’s coarse falsification of data was immediately confronted by a group of experts from the OSCE who were present at the scene. Henning Hess, a member of the OSCE mission, said in connection with this: „The Defense Minister Rudolf Sharping is responsible for the bombing of Serbia in 1999 because he falsely presented the rebels of the KLA as civilian victims.“
The humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo started with the NATO intervention, and the NATO aggression began with lies. Just as described in the documentary: „It began with a lie.“
Many commenters, journalists and politicians in Europe and generally in the West didn´t seem to understand the nature of the conflict. Why can´t they simply “let the region go” as many Western commenters demanded already back then? Why is Kosovo so important for the Serbs?
I think that many western politicians did not even want to understand the nature of the conflicts in Kosovo and Metohija. The Balkans is an extremely complex topic, a region whose history is not easy to understand. In order to be able to come to some conclusions, it is necessary to have a lot of knowledge and to be properly informed about events, which in the end of the 90s of the 20th century was virtually impossible.
At the time, we only had Western sources of information, which the president of the United States calls fake news today. We did not have RT, we did not have a social network, Facebook, alternative sources of information. Today is not the ideal situation for information, but it’s far better than it was then. Kosovo is essentially important for the Serbian people as a whole because it is the cornerstone of Serbian spirituality, history and culture. The basis of the Serbian identity is the Kosovo Vow. It is linked to the Kosovo battle that took place in Kosovo in 1389, when the Serbian army, headed by Prince Lazar, opposed the far stronger army of the Ottoman Empire.
The Serbian army then defended their homeland from the Ottoman invaders. Although the Serbs knew that they were opposed to the then most violent army, they did not give up, they did not retreat. They fought all the way, although they knew in advance that it was a lost battle. We say that they have chosen the kingdom of heaven, instead of the earthly kingdom, and this is what the Orthodox Church teaches us. They sacrificed their lives for their faith and their homeland. That’s what has been for centuries motivating the Serbian people to fight and never let go.
The battle of Lazar’s soldiers, has become a code of conduct for us. For this reason, Kosovo is a sacred land for the Serbs. Kosovo is also a treasure trove of the Serbian cultural heritage, with numerous medieval monasteries. Unfortunately, after the arrival of international forces UNMIK and KFOR, over the last 20 years, over 150 monasteries and churches have been burned and destroyed in Kosovo. It is an irreparable damage to human civilization.
The demographic development shows that there were and are living less and less Serbs and that there is today a vast majority of Albanians. How could that happen? And why?
The Serbs were the majority population in Kosovo and Metohija until the end of the 19th century, when the composition of the population began to change for the benefit of the Albanians. There is a document dating back to 1330, called the Decani Golden Bull, which contains a list of households in Metohija and today’s northwestern Albania. It was recorded that only 3 settlements out of 89 were Albanian in that territory.
A few years after the Battle of Kosovo (1389), the arrival of the Turks began, or the Ottoman penetration into the Balkan Peninsula and the territory of Serbia. The next 4 centuries, the Balkans was under the occupation of the Ottoman Empire. In 1455, the Turks made a cadastral list, and the original document in the Arabic language is in the Istanbul Archives. This census was done in order to determine the number of population due to the imposition of tax and military obligations by the Ottomans. This document is also proof that Kosovo is a Serb country.
Of its population, 96% were Serbs. There was no record of any toponyms of Albanian origin on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. During the 17th and 18th centuries under the Ottoman occupation, the Serbs migrated twice from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, that is, from the south to the north in the then Habsburg monarchy.
During the Austro-Turkish conflict, the Serbs fought on the side of Austria. After Austria withdrew, in order to avoid the retribution of Turkey, the Serbs demanded church-school autonomy and guarantees for their rights, and then moved to Austria. The condition of Austria was that the Serbs defend the borders of the military landscape from the Turks. As a result of these migrations, in which a large part of the Serbian population from Kosovo and Metohija and from Central Serbia moved to Austria, the Albanian population began moving to these parts, so at the end of the 19th century there would be an equal number of Serb and Albanian population Kosovo.
After the liberation of Serbia from the Turks, the territory of Kosovo and Metohija and today’s Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, became a part of Serbia as „Old Serbia“. In the 20th century, several colonizations of Kosovo and Metohija were carried out. After the First World War, about 60,000 Serbs from other parts of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia moved to the territory of Kosovo. During the Second World War, about 200,000 Albanians from Albania moved to Kosovo.
After the Second World War, Albanian immigrants also immigrated to Yugoslavia during the SFRY. At the anti-Yugoslav demonstrations in Kosovo in 1968, the Albanians asked for the first time for the „Kosovo Republic“. After that, the separatist activities of the Albanians were increasing, and the Serb population was forced to move out of these areas due to constant threats and dangers.
Serbs become victims of murders, rape, kidnapping, destruction of crops and livestock and desecration of graves. Finally, because of the NATO intervention, about 230,000 Serbs were expelled from Kosovo and Metohija and their property was usurped. The Americans even used Serbian private land to build the Bondsteel military base. Completely illegally.
October 1998 marks also for Germany an impact in our foreign relations. The Bundestag decided that the German army, the Bundeswehr, will be permitted to join a NATO attack against Yugoslavia – even without a mandate of the UN. Some months later German Luftwaffe attacked some strategic objects such as bridges in the region while the majority of the German population strongly objected the participation of the Bundeswehr in that war. How was this seen in Belgrade?
The attitude of the majority of Serbs towards the NATO bombing is extremely negative and I do not think that it will ever change. Serbs believe they were unjustly bombed and satanized by the media, for the purpose of realizing American interests in the Balkans. The far more negative feelings in this respect have the Serbs towards the United States, because they were the leader of this action. The other thing is the fact that the Americans were our allies in World War II, and it is even more inconceivable that they begin such an insidious attack.
However, there is little known fact that Serbia in the World War II was more bombed by the allies (US and Great Britain) in 1943 and 1944 than Germany with which we were at war, in 1941. That can explain a lot. In general, in many countries the people protested against the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and were on our side, but the political elites decided differently.
The US has exploited such a geopolitical moment when they were able to violate international law and introduce the law of force. As far as the role of Germany and German officials is concerned, the role of Gerhard Schröder, then German Chancellor, Rudolf Scharping of the Minister of Defense and Josef Fischer, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is particularly noteworthy. They have led a very dirty and insidious campaign against Serbia, although they knew that the information released to the public was inaccurate.
In fact, it is a coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party, that led Germany to war for the first time in the aftermath of 1945, by gross manipulation and counterfeiting. Most of the deputies who voted to participate in the attack on Yugoslavia had no real information about what was really happening in Kosovo and Metohija. On the other hand, the United States needed the support of Germany.
The NATO bombing of Serbia is a milestone in international relations and a key moment in the expansion of aggressive US foreign policy with the help of the NATO military force. Schroeder recently stated that the bombing of Yugoslavia was a mistake that violated international law, but after the human casualties, material and environmental damage we suffered, such a recognition does not mean anything to us. It is additionally irritating that Mr. Schroeder dared come to commemorate the start of the NATO bombing last year, and to kindly advise us how to become a member of the EU. From my point of view, this is a sure sign that we should never have such a goal.
There is, however, another side. We remember that in 1999, during the bombing Rule von Bismarck from Hamburg, the descendant of German Chancellor Bismarck, came to Serbia to bring humanitarian aid. He explained to his compatriots in Germany that there was great injustice on the Serbian people and that NATO bombing was extremely wrong. We also monitor events related to criminal charges filed by lawyer Wilfried Schmid against all Bundestag deputies, including members of the Government, who voted on October 16th 1998 to participate in the Bundeswehr’s decision to bomb Serbia.
The official aim of the NATO – and also of the German participation in the war – was to “prevent a genocide” against the Albanians. It ended with the secession of Kosovo from Serbia and the so-called “independence” of the region. How did the live of the Serb minority change after 1999 in Kosovo?
Actually, nothing has been done yet. The region is under tension because the United States and NATO, by their unlawful acts and aggression, have made great problems. There is a constant threat of the emergence of new conflicts and this is a situation that the United States is using skillfully. I have already said that over 200,000 Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija have been expelled because of the NATO intervention. Other Serbs who did not leave Kosovo survived pogroms in 2004, although international forces of UNMIK and KFOR were there.
The German Bundeswehr withdrew with their tanks and allowed Albanian terrorists to burn down the Holy Archangel Monastery in Prizren. The Albanians came to the German soldiers with a white flag and said they only wanted to burn the monastery. After that, German soldiers evacuated the Holy Archangel Monastery and left the site, leaving the Albanian extremists to burn down our sanctuary. After the pogrom the Serbs continued to live in Serbian enclaves, fearing for their lives, their family, their property. Western media still speaks about some kind of development of democracy in Kosovo, but Albanians attack Serbs with fire arms daily.
The Serbs are completely deprived of their rights and left to the mercy of the mainly criminogenic structures of Pristina, which the West promotes as great democrats. The Albanians are carrying out terror and intimidation, both against the living and the dead. In Albanian areas you will not see any Serbian cemetery that has not been destroyed, the graves are desecrated and the tombstones destroyed. Movement in enclaves is very limited, and often Serbs are not able to buy basic vivers, medication or health care.
Considering that the current president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, has dismantled all the institutions of the State of Serbia in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, it is clear to the Serbs that they are abandoned by their own State. Aleksandar Vucic, under the auspices of Brussels, has signed agreements with the Albanians, which are contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the current UNSC 1244 Resolution.
These agreements set the border between Kosovo and Metohija and central Serbia, and the judicial and security structures of Serbia are integrated into the system of the false State of Kosovo. Not only is it unlawful but is against the will of the majority of the people. It is much harder for Serbs in Kosovo to understand and accept that than anything else they have lived before. They feel betrayed by their own State. For such acts, the president of Serbia does not have the support of the people whose interests he should represent and on whose Constitution he took an oath, but has the strong support of Brussels, Washington and, in particular, Angela Merkel.
Today huge numbers of Albanians from Kosovo are migrating to Germany to apply for Asylum or to benefit from the social welfare. That wasn´t the case before the province became independent. Why did life also for Albanians become harder?
At a time when Albanians from Kosovo lived in Yugoslavia, they enjoyed numerous rights as citizens of that country. Among other things, they received a very good education, as well as the opportunity to become employed after completing their studies. In turn, they often rebelled against the State and openly violated the laws, which were largely tolerated in order to preserve peace. I think that was a big mistake. After the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo, there was great enthusiasm among Albanians.
The West promised them welfare and prosperity. However, this did not happen. US companies led by people directly responsible for the bombing of Serbia, such as Madeleine Albright or Wesley Clark, are now exploiting Kosovo. The criminal structures by which they have managed to lead that false State, of course, are not able to manage or organize a system. These are people who know how to loot and steal. Kosovo is simply not economically viable. It is Europe’s landfill, a place where stolen cars are dismantled and whose parts are then sold, a crime hub for drug trafficking and human trafficking.
Therefore, after the initial enthusiasm, the Albanians themselves realized that they cannot expect any bright future in Kosovo. Their only wish now is to leave Kosovo and move to Germany, Austria, Italy or any other country in the West. There is no chance that things will improve on those grounds established by the illegal usurpation of the Serbian territory. Especially not with those structures from Kosovo, which participated in the implementation of American „democracy and prosperity“.
Common people in Kosovo, which have nothing to do with these structures, simply have no chance to live a normal life, to work, and do business. That is why, in the first wave of migration, before migrants from the Middle East, it was the Albanians fleeing to the West from Kosovo. I think the essence of the problem is the same as in some other countries of the Middle East, where the United States has demolished stable States that existed, and sowed chaos from which everyone has the desire to escape. I am afraid that the most expensive price of such a crazy policy will be paid by Europe.
What would be the best solution for the Kosovo issue in your opinion?
For the Serbs, the so-called independence of Kosovo is unacceptable. Washington and Brussels urge President Vucic to sign a „comprehensive agreement on normalizing relations with Pristina“, which would be Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo de facto. Aleksandar Vucic has taken an oath of the Constitution of Serbia, which clearly states that Kosovo is an integral and inseparable part of Serbia. He has no right to act differently, but in accordance with the Constitution of our country. We consider Kosovo a part of our country and we will never reconcile ourselves with the violent usurpation of our territory.
Especially because Kosovo for Serbs is not just a territory, but a holy land. The best and the only right solution for Kosovo is returning to the scope of international law, that is, the UNSC 1244 Resolution. It is necessary that Serbia files a request for the return of the Kosovo-Metohija issue to the UN. Especially because Serbia is not a member of the EU, and I do not see any reason for Brussels to deal with this issue and intervene in the internal issues of non-EU countries.
The other reason is the fact that the EU in the current international circumstances is not a significant factor and that large powers such as Russia and China cannot be exempted from deciding. Within the UN, we need to discuss the broadest autonomy for Albanians within Serbia, but we cannot talk about an independent Kosovo. There are different models of autonomy, which can serve as an example. I believe that we should agree with the Albanians about an acceptable framework in which they would have jurisdiction in the field of economy and tax collection in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija in the decentralized system of Serbia.
The competences of Serbia would be the protection of borders, foreign affairs and the protection of cultural heritage. We also have to come to an agreement about 200 000 Serbs returning to Kosovo. The big problem is that Albanians do not want to talk to the Serbs at all and to agree on anything, but I think that such a problem could be overcome in the current international circumstances.
If there is no return to resolving the Kosovo issue in the UN, Kosovo will be a perfect example of an illegal usurpation of the territory by violating international law. This would legitimize the US foreign policy of interventionism in which everything is allowed for the achievement of the political, economic and military goals of a country that uses force. We will have new Kosovos around the world. If the Serbian leadership signs a legally binding agreement with Pristina under a foreign pressure, we will not consider it valid.
There will come a government that will annul such an unconstitutional agreement. We are ready to wait and persevere with our assessments. China waited for the return of Honk Kong for 100 years, we are ready to wait as long as necessary. We know that Kosovo is ours and that it will soon be part of the Serbian State again.