Rule in Kosovo Discriminated Against ALL non-Albanian Minorities
Why is there Civil War in Kosovo, Why Did Clinton Get Involved and
What has Been Accomplished?
By Dr. Stephen K. Stoan (Ph.D. History, Duke University, 1970}
Director of Library and Information Services, Drury College
Springfield MO 65802
friendly version 2
Why is there a civil war in Kosovo, why did the Clinton administration
get involved in it, and what has been accomplished with more than
two and a half months of warfare? Let's review pertinent facts.
Kosovo was an integral
part of Serbia when the area was conquered by the Turks in the fifteenth
century. In Serbian history books it is often called Old Serbia.
Albanians began arriving in the seventeenth century during the Turkish
occupation. It has been recognized as an integral part of Serbia
by the international community since 1912.
When the Axis powers
invaded and dismembered Yugoslavia in 1941, they attached Kosovo
and Albanian-speaking regions of Montenegro, Macedonia, and Greece
to Albania to form a greater Albania under the rule of a fascist
dictator. The Kosovo Albanians formed military units to fight for
the Nazis, killed more than 10,000 Kosovo Serbs, and drove more
than 100,000 out of the province into the rest of Serbia. They brought
immigrants in from Albania to fortify the Albanian presence in the
When the Croatian Communist
dictator Tito came to power in Yugoslavia in 1945, he forbade the
Serbian refugees to return to their homes in Kosovo. He then signed
a deal with the new Communist dictator of Albania to bring in another
100,000 Albanian settlers. The Albanian majority in Kosovo appears
to date from the years around World War II.
An upsurge of Albanian
Kosovo violence in 1969-1974 caused another 200,000 Serbs and Montenegrins
to leave Kosovo and gave Tito an excuse to separate Kosovo from
Serbia. He made it an autonomous province under the total control
of the now Albanian majority.
Autonomy under Kosovo
Albanian control did not result in ethnic peace. Once in control
of the province, the Kosovo Albanians continued harassing non-Albanians
through legal and extralegal means. They required Gypsies to use
Albanian first names. They enacted zoning legislation designed to
break up non-Albanian residential communities. They outlawed use
of the Cyrillic alphabet even among the Serbs, who had always used
it. They refused to permit federal authorities to participate in
census-taking, claiming they didn't know how to count Albanians.
The Kosovar Albanians
required mandatory instruction in Albanian for all inhabitants of
Kosovo, and they imported history and social science texts books
from Albania for use in the schools. These taught Albanian nationalism
rather than Yugoslav citizenship and praised the era of Turkish
control over the Balkans. There were continuing incidents of violence
against Serbs and frequent attacks on Orthodox churches, shrines,
and monasteries. More Serbs and Montenegrins left. Ignoring Yugoslav
immigration laws, the Albanian Kosovars permitted more illegal aliens
to immigrate from Albania. By the early 80s, the province was three-fourths
Albanian, large numbers of them born in Albania.
After Tito's death,
there was another upsurge of Albanian violence beginning in 1981.
Throughout the 80s, Western news media, including the New York Times,
reported on the ongoing murders and rapes of Serbs and Montenegrins
perpetrated by Albanians, the constant attacks on Orthodox churches
and monasteries, and the inability of the local Albanian authorities
ever to punish anyone.