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“Politika”, Belgarde May 16, 2018

Uncertain and dangerous future of Serbia with the "Kosovo Covenant"

Instead of advocating for the very risky maintenance of the frozen conflict in Kosovo and the dullening conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia needs to be more creative. We must offer a rational regional solution to the Albanians in Kosovo and Croats and Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both Kosovo and B&H should be organized politically so as to become decentralized and regionalized. A political system in which all power belongs to municipalities (cantons) and in which laws are made by consensus of municipal council (cantons) should be established.

It is a completely wrong policy of groups and individuals in Serbia who call themselves civil and pro-European opposition, not to help with their proposals to the authorities in resolving the Kosovo node. They are waiting for the President of Serbia, Mr. Vučić, to stumble on the issue of Kosovo. They do not realize that Vucic's fall on the issue of Kosovo can bring no benefit to anybody.

No matter how wrong and harmful is behavior of the authorities  causing collapse of institutions in many segments within Serbia, primarily in the area of ​​media freedom and the rule of law, Mr. Vučić must be given support in implementing a policy of reconciliation and resolving the conflict with Albanians.

In the consciousness of the average Yugoslav of Serbian origin, Kosovo and the Kosovo Covenant until the eighties of the last century, until the beginning of the breakup of Yugoslavia, existed only as part of general education in the field of national history. Today, for a large number of Serbs, Kosovo is the heart of Serbia and the myth of the Kosovo Covenant is the starting point for making decisions about today's national problems. This change is a consequence of the wrong response of the group in power in Serbia in the 1980s to the political crisis of the Yugoslav state. In order to achieve the daily political goals they put selected myths from the near and far past into the center of daily political propaganda. Particular focus was given on the Kosovo myth and myth about the “Kosovo Covenant”.

It is incomprehensible how easily  today's propagators of the Kosovo Covenant forgot and embarrassed other Serbian myths, for example - Serbian Montenegro, Serbian Njegos, Old Serbia, Serbian Herzegovina, Serbian Krajina, “Maćedonija”*, etc., etc.

Propagandists of the Kosovo Covenant say that because of the Kosovo Covenant, we do not need to resolve the conflict with the Kosovo Albanians today. Numerous representatives of the Serbian intellectual elite and Serbina Orthodox Church are demanding from Mr. Vučić to choose a freezing of the conflict. They point to the example of Cyprus. They say that we should wait, if needed decades, until international circumstances change, until we shall strengthen economically or militarily, or until our present opponents the Americans and the English shall weaken, or they cross over on our side ... And if the Albanians and their NATO allies in the absence of an agreement now go to the war against the Serbs, that this war should be accepted and with Russia's help we should win it.

So what shall we gain? In both cases, whether the solution comes after twenty years of frozen conflict without war, or sooner but after the war (no matter how militant advocates of the Kosovo Covenant might want the consequence of the war to be that Albanians disappear from Kosovo), we must count that in Kosovo, with or without war, Albanians will be majority. It is obvious that Serbia can not be a peaceful, successful democratic state, in which there is rule of law, and in which human rights are respected, if there shall be one quarter of hostile, anti-Serbian citizens - Albanians from Kosovo and Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac.

We got and lost Kosovo and "Maćedonija," but we expanded to the north, we got Vojvodina, where the Germans, who were the largest national minority in Yugoslavia before the Second World War, lived in large numbers.

Serbia won the whole of Kosovo in the battle with Turks in 1877. Kosovo then included the whole of "Maćedonija",  including Thessaloniki. But Russia, that was entrusted to protect Serbian interests, stabbed the knife in the back of Serbs and gave all those areas to its beloved Bulgaria at San Stefano peace treaty. "This blow was very harmful for the Serbs, in particular because this did not come from the enemy, but from the state that was regarded as completely friendly and who enjoyed unlimited trust. Through the mouth of Zmaj** all of our people answered to Great Russia: "Thank you, thank you, the Serbian non-mother!" - a quote from the book "Great Serbia-Unification" Vladimir Ćorović, Narodno delo, Beograd, 1924.

Kosovo should be organized as Switzerland, which has five times more inhabitants and three times more complex ethnic structure than Kosovo. This is the only way to prevent the reign of an ethnic group over the other. Such Kosovo, in which the Serb minority lives peacefully in their cantons, will be able to join EU together with Serbia in a couple of years, and in my opinion, we together should join NATO.  Such a solution will enable a much better future for us and Albanians than the dangerous and uncertain freezing of the conflict.

Aleksandar Lojpur

*Maćedonija – this was pronunciation of the region of Macedonia that was in use before WWII. Macedonia was part of Serbia when Yugoslavia was created in 1918.

**Jovan Jovanović Zmaj, Serbian poet from 19th century