The Crime Against the Serbs: Kosova Independence

EDITORIAL, 10 Mar 2008

#2 | Johan Galtung

That the USA was the first out to recognize the break-away state was to be expected. From a country devoid of historical understanding but filled with the solid egocentrism of oil pipelines, with an enormous base, Camp Bondsteel, at Urosevac near Pristina, as a part of the encirclement of Russia-China, so militarist that they could not support Rugova’s nonviolence but had to arm the paramilitary UCK (KLA, the Kosova Liberation Army) and launch an illegal war against Serbia in 1999, using their NATO for that purpose to use violence as the final argument–again, all that was to be expected. And empire on its way down becomes even more violent and stupid. Its present president helps, what comes next is to be seen.

But that most of the EU and some others should subvert international law, circumventing the United Nations with tricks concocted by a former Finnish president and a Swedish prime minister was unexpected, unnecessary and unintelligent. We shall live with the problem created for generations, centuries. Why?

Because they have done it before. A state becomes a member of the international community by being recognized not by the USA even if some might prefer that, not by the UN General Assembly, but by the UN Security Council. The General Assembly adopted the division plan for Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish part, Israel declared independence, drove out 710,000 Palestinians, the nakba, the horror, won the war against the Arab states and gained recognition as a fact, grossly supported by European bad conscience and the anti-semitic wish to export “the Jewish problem” away from Europe, into the Middle East.

So, what else do Kosova and Israel have in common? A lot. Europe hosts a Christianity divided by a heavy dialectic between the three Christianities; sidelining Judaism and Islam. The Schism Catholicism vs Orthodoxy came in 1054 (Pope Leo IX), reflecting the division of the Roman Empire in 395; Catholicism vs Islam came in 1095 with the Declaration of the Crusades (Pope Urban II) against the Muslims, killing Orthodox (Serbs) and Jews on the way; the division Catholicism vs five Protestantisms culminated in 1517 (Martin Luther); the lasting front against the Jews culminated during the Second world war, from a center in Nazi Germany with much of Europe joining. An ugly continent.

The Crusades “liberated” Jerusalem in 1099, not to share it with Jews who left after the destruction of the Temple in 70, but for one of their two most sacred pilgrimages (with Santiago de Compostela). The Israelis “liberated” Jerusalem in 1967, not to share it with the Muslims in Western and Eastern parts where the third most important mosque in Islam is located (after Mecca and Medina), but for themselves.

And the Albanians “liberated” Kosova, not to share it with the Serbs, but for themselves.

Thus the Jews lost Jerusalem, the Muslims lost Jerusalem, and the Serbs lost their Jerusalem, their holy sites in the cradle of Serbia in Kosovo. And the Jews said “next year in Jerusalem”, and the Muslims, not only the Palestinians continue fighting for their Jerusalem, and the Serbs will continue, for theirs. In Kosovo with o, not the Albanian a. For how long? Till they get it back; for generations, centuries.

Take some territory and you may get away with it. Take sacred ground and you sow an unrest that may drown you.

We are already seeing the reactivation of the 1054 schism, even within the European Union. The Orthodox Arch, from Moscow-Minsk through half of the Ukraine into Romania-Bulgaria and Serbia, turning South through parts of Montenegro-Makedonia down to Greece-Cyprus, is coming alive, with all of them protesting heavily (joined by Spain for its own reasons). There is more to come: if Israel and Kosova, even tearing out the hearts of other nations, get away with defiance of international law, then others who dare not thread on the sacred ground of others but also run up against a veto or two, are already lining up.

Not that international law is perfect. The veto, whether exercised by Russia and China to protect Serbia or by the USA (34 times) to protect Israel, or by any other “big” country including the rather smallish UK and France, is a shame. But that is not why they subvert it. The veto is international law, at present, but the veto in the Kosovo case is not their veto.

US-EU illegitimate crippling of the UN does not make Kosova independence illegitimate, as expression of self-determination. But there may be a way out, far from unproblematic: independence for a federal Kosova, with very high autonomy for three or so Serbian cantons, some for other nations, mostly for Albanians; encased in an expanding confederation of Serbia with Kosova; With free flow of persons, ideas and products all over.

Today Serbia rejects the independence and Albanians the federation. The day after tomorrow, after rounds of negotiation they might see something like this as a far lesser evil.

But that was not the road to be traveled by countries with heavy interests, thinking that might is right. Shame on you.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 10 Mar 2008.

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