|Projekat Rastko Gračanica - Peć: Istorija: Old Serbia and Albanians|
KOSOVO, SERBIAN ISSUE AND THE GREATER ALBANIA PROJECT
In academic circles, both domestic and foreign, there has been no analysis of the historical and conceptual roots of the Greater Albania project, which would help unravel and explain the current events in Southeastern Europe1. Unfortunately, this has left the field wide open for a very powerful kind of propaganda which rejects the only reliable facts, and in their place sets up new and imaginative confabulations on which whole theories about the past and present of the region are often based. This article seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the foundations of the national project for a Greater Albania.
The concept of a greater Albanian state did not appear as an authentic expression of the Albanian national movement. Until the beginning of the Great Eastern Crisis (1875-1878), Albanians, unlike other Balkan nations – Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, Rumanians – did not attempt to create a national state through modern political organization. A regional and religious identity was dominant among the Albanians. Disorganized forms of disobedience to the central authority were the only expressions of conservative resistance from feudal Muslim lords to the reforms which the Ottoman Empire tried to implement during the 19th century, under pressure from the great European powers. It is well known that Bosnian and Albanian feudal lords were the sternest defenders of Islamic theocratic society and offered the most sustained and strongest resistance to attempts from central power in Istanbul to introduce a little order into the functioning of the state.
This state of affairs among the Albanians was not simply the result of the economic, social and cultural under-development of Albanian society, or the absence of even an embryonic modern political elite. The main power of the expansionist Albanian movement came from Muslim Albanians. With the exception of isolated examples of cultural efforts among the Albanians, mostly those in Diaspora (Istanbul, Egypt, South Italy), Albanian Muslims were the iron fist of the Ottoman Empire in its efforts to suppress the Christian movement in South Eastern Europe. With their patriarchal-oriental society of Asian type, they constituted the main obstacle to Europeanization of this part of Europe in the 19th and 20th century. Exceptions to this were an insignificant catholic minority in the north of Albania, mainly in the region of Skadar, and the more numerous orthodox community in the south of Albania, which was strongly influenced by the Greek cultural orbit.
All attempts by Balkan Christians to win over the Albanians to the common struggle against the Ottoman Empire and for the aim of national liberation and modernization of their societies were fruitless. At the beginning of the Great Eastern Crisis Albanians were at the forefront of the Turkish regular, and particularly irregular troops (bashibozuk) and committed numerous atrocities in battles against the Christian rebels. During the crisis the Albanians did not join the liberation movements of the Balkan Christians in any way.
It is completely clear that the birth of the Albanian league in 1878 and its political program were not an expression of Albanian original liberation efforts, which anyhow were late in coming compared to other peoples. The league was an instrument, primarily in Turkish hands, and later in the hands of other powers, for the preservation of the Ottoman Empire. The Albanian central revolutionary committee (Abdul Frasheri, Pashko Vaso, Sami Frasheri, Zija Prishtina, Jani Vreto and others) was founded in April 1878 in Istanbul and its was to organize Albanian popular resistance to the liberation actions in Montenegro, Serbia and Greece. Abdul Frasheri used the foreign press to publish alleged protest by the Albanian population against the actions in above mentioned Christian states2. According to the reports from Krijevski, a French consul in Thessaloniki, Turkish powers gave weapons to the Albanian leaders3. It was a way of manipulating the interests of the Albanian people. This is also shown by the fact that Turkey abolished the League as soon as it started claiming greater autonomy from central authority.
It is not by chance that the formation of the Albanian league coincided with the preparations for the Berlin Congress with the Eastern Question on its agenda.
The attempt by Russia, as a major power, to solve the so called Eastern Question on its own, and thus to secure its interests by creating a greater Slav state / Greater Bulgaria, at the peace conference in San Stefan (1878) was met with fervent opposition from other major European powers. Although the project of Greater Bulgaria encompassed a significant part of territory inhabited largely by Serbian or, in other parts, Greek population, Turks, with the support of English diplomacy, persuades other powers that the Albanians would be the best defenders against the Slav and generally Christian “threat”. From that time until the present day the Albanians have been presenting themselves to the public of Western Europe as major defenders against an alleged expansion of pan-Slavism into Southeastern Europe and as a supposedly genuine factor of Europeanization in this region. In essence, the “Greater Albania” project, as a product of the great powers, Balkan policy, is directly opposed to the liberation movement of an overwhelming majority of the Balkan Christians, which have all been (allowing for some exceptions) in the spirit of modernization, based on the original principles of the liberal and democratic European tradition.
This megalomaniac project in the hands of Turkish and other powers was to designed to counteract another equally megalomaniac project originating from Russia. It was yet another sign that neither Russia nor other great powers cared about a just solution to the Easter Question but only about such state creations whish would guarantee their strategic interests in the Balkans.
The Greater Albanian political concept in its original and authentic program was totally imbued with the spirit of pan-Islamism and radical political Islam. Only from time to time did the Albanian political elite try to hide the distinctive Islamic feature of the foundations of their ideology, usually prompted by a desire to secure the support of some Western power. A militant from of Islam prevailed in Old Serbia, primarily in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as in the regions of today’s Western Macedonia, brought by the Albanian population from the mountainous parts of North Albania who forcefully descended into the gentle and fertile parts of this region. The forceful intrusions followed by centuries-long Muslim violence against the local Christians are today insistently presented as alleged repression of Albanians by local Christians.
In the European literature it is well known that the regions of today’s Middle Albania constitute the original centers of Albanian population. A distinguished German Albanologist, Georg Stadtmuller points out that the original regions of Albanian settlement encompass the valley of the river Shkumba, both sides of the river Mat, Kroja and some other neighboring parts4. The history of the Albanians and the Albanian society is far more complex than is usually presented today. This is true not only of the region of today’s Albania but also of the neighboring countries in which Albanians live as national minorities. Their religious heterogeneity and a distinctive tribal identity have always been a permanent source of internal conflict which result in the chronic instability of this country. This “unstable” condition of the young state threatens primarily non-Albanian people in Albania itself, but also in the neighborhood. We must not overlook the fact that in the territory of today’s Albania large Slav settlements have existed for centuries and that Slav toponymisc have been largely preserved up to the present day. In recent time, from the creation of the first Albanian state in 1912, and especially during the rule of the Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoja, a large part of non-Albanian, particularly Slav population, excluding Greeks, were assimilated by the most brutal means of state repression.
The Greater Albania project is directly connected with the consequences of the Turkish conquests in South Eastern Europe, and especially with the wars of European Christian powers against Turkey towards the end of the 17th century. It has remained, in a sense, as a long reaching hand of the Ottoman spirit in Europe, as a vehicle of that kind of life, customs and mentalities which were characteristic for the territory of the South Eastern Europe at the time of Ottoman rule. The Christian population of the European Turkey, primarily of Old Serbia and the northern part of Macedonia, joined the struggle of the European powers after the siege of Vienna en-mass (1683) to oust the Turks from Europe. After the defeat of the Europeans (1690) as a reprisal this population was subjected to massive atrocities and, in essence, the first major ethnic cleansing. Turkish destructive military campaigns allowed the overflow of Albanian people from their original regions into the countries of their neighbors, both Slavs and Greeks. It was not before the 18th century that masses of Albanian stock breeders from the hilly regions of their country started descending into the fertile lands of Kosovo and Metohija populated by orthodox Serbs in overwhelming majority, as well as into the regions of today’s western Macedonia, form Skoplje to Bitolj populated by undoubtedly Serbian and Macedonian Slav population.
Besides the massive and almost regular atrocities which characterized this conquest of Old Serbia, there were also numerous other ways in which the compact Serbian ethnic body was broken up (forced Islamisization, different forms of robbery, plunder, destruction of religious sites, and many other forms of terror). This is testified to by many travel writers, and particularly Roman missionaries and visitors. These processes were convincingly described in, among numerous other Vatican sources, the report of the archbishop of Skoplje Matija Masarek in 1764. The archbishop reports on fresh colonies of Arbanas who had left their hills and settled in the gentle region of Metohija, in the vicinity of Djakovica. These Arbanas, new comers in Serbia, wrote archbishop Masarek, did not obey the orders of Christ’s Apostles, but quickly converted to Islam pushing out the orthodox and catholic population from their villages and taking over their lands (“maledetti Albanesi, I quali per forya si soo impadroniti di quasi tutti li terreni scismatici e cattolici serviani”).
A similar process went on in the Albanian-Greek boundary regions. Albanian migration under the Turks went towards Greek lands, particularly Epir. With the strengthening of the Greek liberation movement Turkey used Muslim Albanians to secure the rule over the largest possible parts of Epir and Thesalia. The Greater Albania ideology explained it thus: “From the banks of the river Bojana up to Janjina lives a unified and homogenous people. From Janjina to the gulf of Ambracia is the terrain which Greek religious and other propaganda denies to the Albanians who prevail there, if not in number, then in strength and power to resist”.5
That Kosovo and Metohija, of which Albanian authors often speak as “Albanian land” were irrefutably the central regions of Serbian settlement, is testified to by the fact that the most important monuments of Serbian architecture and Serbian spirituality were erected there. In Kosovo and Metohija alone 1,400 monasteries, churches and other Serbian monuments were built. The most famous among them are the Patriarchy church in Pec, monasteries Banjska, Gracanica, Decani, St. Archangel near Prizren, Bogorodica Ljeviska in Prizren etc. A logical question can be asked: why would Serbs erect their central church, the Patriarchy in Pec, in the region where they were not in majority and which was not the central point of their people’s homeland?
The greatest changes in ethnic structure of the population of this part of Old Serbia occurred from the middle of the 18th up to the middle of the 19th century, and from the Berlin congress in 1878 up to the liberation of these regions from Turkish rule in 1912. They were basically a consequence of the conflict between the Islamic Ottoman-feudal concept on the one hand, and the European Christian concept of society on the other hand. Samuel Huntington is quite right when he defines similar processes today as “conflicts of civilization”. Kosovo and Metohija may be the most convincing example of such a conflict today, bearing in mind that the radical Islamic features of the Albanian secessionist movement are quite skillfully masked by European phraseology and European symbols.
Numerous foreign authors testify to the ethnic, political and religious circumstances in these regions. These are the works of Ami Bue, Joseph Muller, Johan Georg von Han, Ivan Stepanovich Jastrebov, Aleksandar Giljferding, Viktor Berar, Gaston Gravier and others. For example, Joseph Muller reports the data from 1838 about the religious and linguistic structure of the population in Metohija – in Pec, Prizren and Djakovica; in Pec, orthodox and Muslim Serbs were in a majority (92.09%) in relation to the catholic and Muslim Albanians (4.17%). In Prizren the percentage of Serbs, Muslim and Christian, from the total population (24.950) amounted to 73.68, whereas the percentage of Albanians, Muslim and catholic, amounted to 16.63%. Only Djakovica had a clear Albanian majority – the percentage of the Albanians, Muslim and catholic, amounted to 80.76%, whereas the percentage of Serbs, Christian and Muslim, amounted to 18.05%.6
The facts that Prizren, a town in Old Serbia, and on the outskirts of the Albanian ethnic region was chosen as the place for the session of the Albanian league in 1878 testifies to the extremely expansionist nature of Albanian aims. That is exactly were it was necessary to create a strong obstacle to further strengthening of the Serbian liberation movement in Old Serbia. And it was not a coincidence that the session of the Albanian League was not held in Albania, say in Drac, Valona, Tirana or some other town. From the time of the Great Eastern Crisis (1875-1878) the neighboring regions of Albania such as Kosovo, Metohija, today’s western Slav Macedonia and northern Epir, were Albanians had massively settled, mainly in the 18th and 19th century, started being referred to as “Albanian lands”. So the Albanian league, created on the eve of the Berlin Congress, took it upon itself to prevent the liberation of the “Albanian lands” from the neighboring peoples. The Leagues`s documents reveal the essence of the movement. The sessions were held in a Prizren mosque, and the special feature of the Statute (Kararname) was Islam. Albania and Albanians were not explicitly mentioned in any of the 16 articles of the Statute, but instead they speak in general terms of “nation and motherland”, “country”, “our land”, “Balkan country”, “in the Balkans” and similar. The political subjects of the Union (League) are simply Muslims; the article 7 talks of the need for the Union with “our long-suffering fellow countrymen and members of the same faith in the Balkans”, and the last 16th article qualifies the abandonment of the Union as the abandonment “of Islam”.7 It is also telling that Muslim land owners from Raska, and even Bosnia and Herzegovina were present at this meeting.
Basically the same ideas served as a foundation program for the so called Pec league in 1899 and so called second Prizren league in 1943. After the Turks were ousted from Europe in 1912, and after the formation of an independent Albanian state, the programme`s aims were clearly adapted somewhat to the new political circumstances and new protecting powers. The insistence on a totally pure ethnic Albanian state is typical for the conceptual program of Greater Albania, as is the rejection of any multi-ethnic concept. In accordance with such a program, the organized ethnic cleansing of non-Albanian population from the regions which were proclaimed as “Albanian lands” started right after the Berlin congress. During the period from 1876 to 1912 around 150,000 orthodox Serbs were forced to leave Old Serbia, that is the then Kosovo vilajet.8 We find similar ideas in Ismail Kemal Bey Vlora, the president of the first Albanian interim government. As the government president he demanded that the great powers cleanse “Albanian lend” of Slavs and Greeks.9 He also praised Albanians for having ousted “Christian Slavs”with their guns and violence.10
After the First Balkan war in 1912, in which the Albanians fought on the Turkish side, the conference of ambassadors in London in 1913 determined the borders of the newly created Albanian state. In November 1921, at the conference of ambassadors in Paris it was agreed to recognize Albania as an independent and sovereign state (before that, in 1920, Albania was received into the League of National). Although the conference of ambassadors in Paris determined principally the borders which basically reiterated the decisions from the London conference, the definitive border between the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians on one side and Albanians on the other side was determined by the protocol on borders decided by the International committee in Florence, 26th June 1926.
The Albanian state encompassed the biggest part of ethnic Albanian territory. It is perfectly clear that in the Balkans with its large-scale migrations and mixing of races, languages and religions, particularly during the centuries-long Turkish rule, it was not possible to draw clear and pre ethnic borders. A number of Albanians who, as has been mentioned, settled in Old Serbia in the 18th and 19th century, remained within the borders of the Kingdom of Serbia, but also tens of thousands of Serbs, orthodox and Muslim, remained in the newly crated Albanian state, as well as a large number of Greeks, who, following the decision of great powers, were left in the Albanian state. The regions which Greater Albania propaganda claims, have never been a part of an Albanian state. However, a certain number of Albanian political leaders from the time of Ottoman rule, who lost their privileges with the disappearance of Turkey, did not want to accept the borders of the newly created states in the Balkans, and they immediately started their activity aimed at the breaking up these new states, primarily Serbia and Greece. This activity, particularly strong in the eve of the Second World War, was directly supported by fascist powers, especially fascist Italy.
The Greater Albanian irredentist activity between the two World Wars enjoyed strong support form fascist powers, which were also interested in breaking up the newly created Yugoslav state which, they claimed, was the creation of the”Versailles siystem”. Italy was in the firs place, but there was also the Third communist international (Kominterna) with its headquarters in Moscow. The grater Albanian “Kosovo committee” joined the Kominterna in 1920 ; in December 1921 Baajream Curi, one of the leaders of this organization, visited a Soviet emissary in Vienna and discussed the issue of Kosovo and Metohija with him, having handed him a memorandum on the Committee’s intentions.11
It is conspicuous that between the two world wars the leadership of fascists and communist political organizations competed in supporting separatism among the Albanians of Kosovo and Metohija. The fascist Italy directly supported the actions of Albanian terrorists (kacak) in Yugoslavia in the years after the First World War. Hasan Prishtina and Mustafa Kroja, leaders of this movement, received 50.000 liras from the Italian government at the beginning, and later 200.000, and form September 1927 much larger sums. The Italian government coordinated the activities of Croatian and Bulgarian fascists led by Ante Pavelic and Ivan-Vanco Mihailov respectively, and the activities of Hasan Prishtina and other leaders of separatist great Albanian movement among Yugoslav Albanians.12
From 1939 an even stronger and better organized activity of fascist Italy was directed toward Greece and Yugoslavia. As it is known, Italy occupied and annexed Albania on the 7th April 1939. Already in July 1939, Count Cano gave instructions to Albanian emigrant for action in Epir and Kosovo and Metohija; he often repeated that irredentism in Kosovo and Metohija was “a knife aimed at the backbone of Yugoslavia!” The some year a bureau for the organization of the Albanian irredentist movement was opened in Roem. Italy generously helped the new leaders of great Albanian "Kosovo committee” Bedri Pejani and Ibarhim Djakova. The Albanian fascist party was created in Albania, and on the occasion of Count Cano`s visit in Tirana, he promised the speedy realization of the Great Albania project. At the beginning of 1940, Kolj Biba, the secretary of the Albanian fascist party, said in Skadar that Italy would soon annex the parts of Yugoslavia and Greece populated by Albanians. A new “Kosovo committee” with Cerim bey Mahmudbegovic from Pec was formed in Tirana, in the same year.
With the beginning of the Second World War and shortly after, when fascist powers, headed by Germany and Italy, attacked Yugoslavia, a bloody realiyation of the Greater Albania project started. A larger part of Kosovo (with the exception of municipalities of Podujevo, Vucitrn and Kosovska Mitrovica) and the whole of Metohija were annexed to fascist Greater Albania. Parts of Gnjilani, Urosevac, north of Pasjan, Kacanik, Vitin a;nd Sirinic district were annexed to the newly created Greater Bulgaria. Parts of western Macedonia with Tetovo, Gostivar, Kicevo, Debar, Strug and St. Naum were also absorber into Greater Albania. The Vienna agreement from April 1941 determined the demarcation line between Greater Bulgaria and Greater Albania, but the Bulgarians were not content with this division.
On 30th May 1941 Mustafa Kroja, the president of the puppet government, held a lecture in the Italian Royal academy on the natural and historical roots of Greater Albania. In June 1942 he visited Kosovo and Metohija and at the meeting with Albanian leaders he publicly declared that “the Serbian population in Kosovo should be removed as soon as possible… All indigenous Serbs should be qualified as colonists and as souch, via the Albanian and Italian government, be sent to concentration camps in Albania. Serbian settlers should be killed.”13 It was revealed, yet again, that the Greater Albanian national programme leaves no room for any other people but Albanian.
In the four years of occupation a great deal was done towards the realiyation of the Greater Albanian project in Kosovo and Metohija. Local Albanians with the help of their fellow countrymen from Albania and under the protection of the occupying powers, committed massive atrocities against Serbs. The European public is not familiar with the scope of these crimes. According to the data of the American Office of Strategic Service, in the period from April 1941 to August 1942, Albanians killed around 10.000 Serbs.14 Even priests of the Serbian Orthodox church were arrested and killed. Serafim, the Bishope of Raska and Priyren, was arrested and interned to Tirana where he died on January the 13th 1945. In the territory under Italian occupation the Albanians killed 14 priests and one nun. For example, Damaskin Boskovic, the head of Devic monastery, was killed in a beastly way, and some priests Luka Popovic, Uros Popovic and Slobodan Popovic were killed during the service of Holly liturgy.15
After Italy occupied these territories not only did etnic cleansing start, but also a systematic implementation of the Greater Albanian polical and culutral programme in all spheres of life. A small number of Serbian children who attended schools under Italian occupation were forced to study in Albanian language. It was the same with children in western Macedonia. Serbs were massively expelled from Kosovo and Metohija and tens of thousands of Albanians from Albania settled there (some historians say that the number is as high as 100.000 people). By April 1942 as many as 60.000 refugees from Metohija and parts of Kosovo had amassed around the southern borders of Serbia under German occupation which became part of Greater Albania. These events significantly changed the etnic structure of this part of Serbia, that is Yugoslavia, and in essence it was one of the most important assumptions for a successful continuation of the Greater Albanian programme after the Second World War under the communist rule. Such activity of communist oligarchy (Hoja, Nimani, Deva, Bakali, Vlasi) of the Kosovo-Metohija Albanians was fully supported within the party and state elite in Tito`s Yugoslavia.
After the capitulation of fascist Italy, Germany encouraged the formation of a socalled “Second Priyren league” towards the end of 1943 in Prizren. The league was organized under the auspices of Abwehr, the German military secret service and headed by Jafer Deva, Bedri Pejani, Ismet Krieziu and other. The terror to which Serbs were subjected, with numerous individual and large scale crimes lasted until March 1944 when it began to slacken.
Among numerous testimonies to the scopes of ethnic cleansing of Serbs from these regions, there is that of Hermann Neubacher, a special political representative of the Third Reich for Southeast Europe from autumn 1943: “Shiptars were in a hurry to expel as many Serbs as possible from the country. From those expelled local tyrants often took a gift in gold for permission to emigrate… When general Nedic complained bitterly to me, I urgently recommended the Arbanas government to put an end to these expulsions. When I saw that my intervention was unsuccessful, I offered my resignation from the mission in Albania: I will have to give up Albania to someone else to defend it from the territorial greed of Bulgarians. Jefer Deva, who has influence in the Kosovo region, promised me that he would intervene. He did it successfully. Despite that many evils were committed after 1941.”16 After the capitulation of fascist Italy the infamous “Skenderbeg SS division” made up of Albanians was formed under the direction of the German occupation forces. This organization pursued the project of Greater Albania until the final liberation of these regions.
The Communist movement between the two world wars, headed by the Comintern, counted heavily on the activities of Albanian Irredentism. Albanian emigrants in the USSR founded the Communist group of Albania in 1928. As in other parts of Yugoslavia where after 1928 communists started cooperating with fascist groups in what they called “national revolutionary groups”, Yugoslav communists also counted on the cooperation of extreme Albanian nationalists. So, for example, the Fourth Congress of the Yugoslav Communist Party, held in Dresden in 1928, stressed in its Resolution that the Party expressed solidarity with the revolutionary workers and peasants and “Albanian national-revolutionary movement in the shape of the Kosovo committee and invited the working class to fully support the struggle of the dismembered and suppressed people for an independent and united Albania”. Somewhat later, mid-1937, the Yugoslav Communist Party founded a Regional Committee of the Yugoslav Communists Party for Kosovo and Metohija which represented the foundation for future autonomy of this region in communist Yugoslavia. The structure of Tito`s Yugoslavia rested almost totally on the pre-war organizational-territorial structure of the Communist Party.
A whole set of decisions made by Tito`s communist movement show quite clearly that the leadership of Yugoslav communists with Josip Broz Tito on the top were consistent with their strategy of weakening the Serbian factor in future Yugoslavia, and that the Albanian factor was an important means in that strategy. This was also noted by foreign observers of political developments in Yugoslavia during the Second world war. Towards the end of 1944, major John Hanicker Major, a member of the Britsh military mission to the south of Serbia, serving as a chief of the local allied forces mission to the Headquarters of partisan movement in Serbia reported: “I believed Tito when he said that he was not interested in the future of Kosovo, which he was ready to give up to Albania just for asking.”17 Only when we bear in mind this global national strategy of the Communist party of Yugoslavia does it become clear why the communist leadership did nothing to counterbalance the consequences of a forced change of ethnic structure in this part of Serbia which occurred under fascist occupation. It was completely logical to expect that the expelled Serbs would return to their land in Kosovo and Metohija after the Second World War and that the unjustices which had happened as a consequence of fascist aggression against the Yugoslav communist government, headed by Tito, passed a “Temporary prohibition of the return of colonists to their earlier places of residence” (although it was not a case of colonists only but also of indigenous Serbs), which also said: “It has been noticed recently that families of colonists (settlers( who were earlier settled in Macedonia, Kosovo, Metohija, Srem and Vojvodina are migrating and returning without obtaining permission from the people`s authorities”, and therefore a decision was passed which said – “colonists are temporarily prohibited from returning to their earlier places of residence and are ordered to stay in their present places of residence”.18 Soon after the liberation on a “Law on revision of the allotment of land to colonists and farming applicants in Macedonia and Kosovo-Metohija region”19, and on November 2nd 1946, a “Law on the revision of allotment of land to colonists and farming applicants in the National Republic of Macedonia and in Autonomous Kosovo-Metohija region”.20
Thus the result of the occupation of fascist Italy and fascist Germany during the Second World War and the sanctioning of these results by the leadership of Yugoslav communists, represented actually the first stage of the Greater Albanian political project. Everything that was done in Tito`s Yugoslavia contributed to the strengthening of Greater Albanaian political ideology which in new circumstances was cleverly disguised under the communist parole of “brotherhood and unity” and under essentially, false internationalism.
Yugoslav communists remained consistent to the strategy of the communist international to indulge the extreme nationalism of “small nations”. In practice, the Albanian political oligarchy carried on ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and Metohija on a daily basis and prepared the terrain to join the future Greater Albania, and in all of this it used all the means of state government (police, education, judiciary system, cultural institutions) which in this part of Serbia were totally in the hands of Albanians. Albanians as a national minority in Serbia had their Academy of Science in Pristina (probably the unique example for a minority in the world), a University with classes in the Albanian language and numerous other institutions. They abused this maximum possible framework of autonomy obove all European standards and used the total power theu had to indocrtinate the Albanian population and particularly young people with the Greater Albanian national ideology.
The Greater Albanian chauvinist propaganda achieved its greatest success in the period 1975-1980, after the adoption of the federal Yugoslav Constitution in 1974, which gave the provinces in Serbia attributes of statehood and federal constituency. In practice there was no border between Yugoslavia and Albania. At the time when Stalinism was at its peak in Tirana, inspiring incredibly fanatic ideology of hatred towards Serbs, delegations from the Albanian capital come to Kosovo and Metohija almost every day. A lach of any freedom and democracy in Albania was augmented with regressive ideology of entice cleansing of Serbs in Old Serbia and pseudo-academic production. In the period from 1975 to 1980 (according to still incomplete data) 237 professors and teachers from Albania held lectures at the University in Pristina and other schools in Kosovo and Metohija (among them was the current president of Albania, Mejdani); 62 professors and teachers from this Serbian province spent a period of time in Albania, and 62 came from Albania to Pristina. More than 20% of all textbooks used in schools in Kosovo and Metohija, particularly those on social studies, were imported from Albania.21
Together with the processes of stifling Serbian and Slav enclaves in Albania, the same was done in Kosovo and Metohija. In the 70`s the albanological institute composed lists of names which would substitute the existing Serbian and Slav names in order to hide the etnic origin of these settlements.22 Until the beginning of the 80`s the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija had several scientific magazines, such as Gjurmime Albanologjike, and 10 other publications of general interest in Albanian: Rilindja (daily paper with the circulation of over 100.000 in 1979), Zani I rinis, Jeta e re, Pioneri, Perparimi, Shendeti, Fjala, Bata e re, Skendija, Bat. However, they used all these publications to disseminate national hatred, instead of the spirit of tolerance, understanding and cherishing of civilized relations with other peoples. The paradox of the whole situation lies in the fact that the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija, who claim to have been systematically repressed and pursued for centuries, have reached such a level of development precisely in Serbia, that today Pristina instead of Tirana wants to play the role of main crator of a Greater Albania.
“Greater Albania” with the leading idea “all Albanians in one state” represents not only a belated example of the national romanticism of the 19th century, but also questions existing internationally recognized borders, jeopardizes stability in the whole of Southeast Europe and threatens to cause a new, third Balkan war. The ambition to set up an ethnically pure Greater Albania at any cost represents an even greater anachronism. The Albanian political and intellectual elite obviously suffer from a large deficiency of European logic.
18. The decision of the National Committee for Yugoslav Liberation, Temporary Prohibition of the Return of Colonists to Their Previous Places of Residence, Sluzbeni List Demokratske Federativne Jugoslavije. No. 13, 16th March 1945.
19. The Law on revision of Land Allotment to Colonists and Farming Applicants in Macedonia and in the Kosovo Metohija region. Sluzbeni List Demokratske Federativne Jugoslavije No. 56, 5th August 1945.
20. The Law on revision of Land Allotment to Colonists and Farming Applicants in the national Republic of Macedonia and the Autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija. Sluzbeni List Federativne Narodne Republike Jugoslavije No. 89, 5th Nov. 1946.
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