The Fallacy of Multi-Culturalism in a Bottom-Up Apartheid Culture

August 25, 1999

Comment: #315

Discussion Thread:  #s 263, 264, 265, and 305 (Reference #3)


[1] Denisa Kostovicova, "The UN administrator questions whether ethnic havens are the only way to enable Serbs to remain in Kosovo?," IWPR'S BALKAN CRISIS REPORT, NO. 69, Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 25 August 1999

Wooly visions of a multi-cultural Kosovo and the NATO's ideal of universal human rights are fading fast. The situation seems to be approaching a fork in the road, with one pathway leading to a complete cleansing of the remaining Serbs from Kosovo and the other pathway leading toward some type of enforced segregation along ethnic lines, whether it be canonization, partition, or protected Gaza-like ghettos.

Both of these outcomes would violate the spirit and letter of the ceasefire Serbia and NATO agreed to in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, which guaranteed the safe return of all refugees (including Serbs), limited autonomy and local self determination inside Kosovo, and protection of the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia (which keeps Kosovo in Yugoslavia, thus reaffirming the precedents set by the Peace Conferences and Treaties of London (1913), Bucharest (1913), and Versailles (1919), as well as the Yugoslavia's membership in the League of Nations and the United Nations).

This fork in the road should come as no surprise, given the evident failure to heal the less intense ethnic divisions in Bosnia. Bear in mind, Albanians are not a Serbo-Croatian, or even a Slavic race. Albanians believe they are descended from the Illyrians, a race of obscure origins which arrived in the Balkans around 1000 BC. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) are descendants of those Orthodox/Catholic Serbo-Croatians who converted to Islam during the Ottoman era. In Bosnia, a veneer of multi-culturalism, with common linguistic roots, considerable social intermingling, including intermarriage, particularly in cosmopolitan Sarajevo, obscured the deeper ethno-religious differences left over from their religious conversion and different historical pathways. In contrast, a more primitive "bottom-up" apartheid culture evolved in Kosovo to sharpen ethno-religious differences, with two distinct communities that wanted to remain separate, very different languages, little intermingling, antagonistic religions, and different family/clan structures and traditions, with almost no intermarriage.

The referenced article by Denisa Kostovicova puts the spotlight on the politically incorrect issue of enforced segregation and argues that some form of separation may now be the best way to move forward, given the current circumstances and recent history, because (1) it could be life saving for the Serbs and (2) it would help Albanians retain international sympathy for their plight and cause.

One thing is becoming clear, it will be a long time before K-for troops can come home, and if remaining Serbs are not concentrated into defensible areas, K-for will need more troops to stop the Albanians from killing and looting and cleansing Kosovo of Serbs and Gypsies.

Chuck Spinney

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