Monday, October 29, 2012

The Autonomous Province of Kosovo

Prishtina, February 17, 2008

Even the Siberian temperatures that have occupied the Balkans these days did not manage to stop the influx of the world media to Prishtina and Belgrade on this historic day, which is believed to be stabilising the region. Celebrations in the Mother Theresa Square and the Republic Square have started since the early morning.

Everyone is counting down to 3pm with eyes turned to RTS and RTK to watch the live broadcasting of the extraordinary session in the Parliament of Kosovo. The world is waiting for the historic moment when Tomislav Nikolic and Hashim Thaci address the world and deliver the great news from Prishtina.

The festivities in the parliament seem endless. Guests, friends and diplomats from across the world are waiting seated to witness this rare historic moment for humanity. The hospitality of Atifete Jahjaga and Ivica Dacic is quite evident while they escort Bill and Hillary Clinton, Milorad Dodik, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Marti Ahtisaari and Boris Tadic to their seats. Few yards further, one can see Edita Tahiri and Borko Stefanovic feeling proud that their negotiations were fruitful.

It is 3pm now and the Assembly Speaker Jakup Krasniqi kindly asks all the guests to stand, while Tomislav Nikolic and Hashim Thaci prepare their speech. The noise in the Mother Theresa Square in Prishtina and the Republic Square in Belgrade turns into silence as everyone listens to Catherine Ashton, who has just given the opening speech.

Tomislav Nikolic addresses the world by promising that equality and mutual understanding will be the main pillars between the two nations.

He publicly apologises for all the crimes, persecutions and damages caused by Serbia to Kosovo while adding that Serbia has already started paying war reparations and is returning the stolen pension funds.

Hashim Thaci reaffirms that Kosovo will continue to progress in its Euro-Atlantic path, even though it has now been transformed into a Serbian province. He stresses that the European perspective of Kosovo will be the engine of development and adds that the new Ahstisaari based Constitution is more glorious than the 1974 one.

Belgrade, March 2, 2008

Two weeks of celebrations, joy and music seem to have been enough for the Serbs in expressing their happiness for returning Kosovo to Serbia's sovereignty. Everyone, from retired grandmothers all the way to the Serb youngsters with 1389 tattoos on their chest, cannot hide their happiness that the cradle of their civilisation is back in the hands of Tsar Lazar's successors.

A Monday full of sunshine has dawned on Belgrade, where a new chapter for the institutions of Serbia commences.

Dozens of official cars arrive from Prishtina to Belgrade as the MPs convene for the first time after the enforcement of the new Constitution.

Hashim Thaci, who flew with JAT airways from Prishtina to Belgrade is taking the steps to parliament entrance.

The Deputy President of Serbia Atifete Jahjaga arrives in Belgrade by high-speed train, a generous donation of Japan to congratulate the reconciliation between the two nations. The Japanese were going to call it the Kosovo-Serbia Bullet Train, but decided there had been quite enough shooting between the two countries.

Jahjaga is accompanying Jakup Krasniqi, who is currently busy checking whether Albanian signs and denominations have been put in the parliament building.

According to the Ahtisaari Plan, Albanians as the biggest minority group in Serbia have 28 percent of the seats reserved for them in Serbia's parliament. The ministry of foreign affairs, education and health are governed by Albanian ministers, while the Albanian language has been installed as the joint official language in Serbia.

Serbia's flag has been changed to a blue background where the map of Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina is accompanied by six doves symbolising peace. The new Constitution strictly prohibits the use of the old Serbian flag in order not to provoke the Albanian minority and spread the message of a multiethnic Serbia.

Belgrade and Prishtina, June 21, 2008

Guided by the special rights guaranteed by the Ahtisaari Plan, Albanians managed to imprison Serbian Academic Dobrica Cosic, for being one of the drafters of the SANU Memorandum in 1986, which brought violence and terror to Albanians in Kosovo two decades ago.

Last week, the Regional Court of Belgrade sentenced a Serb youngster from Kurshumlia to 5 years of imprisonment for singing the constitutionally banned "Boze Pravde" anthem in Kalemegdan. The sentence of the youngster in conjunction with the Vidovdan celebrations led to nationwide Serbian protests in Belgrade claiming that Albanians are occupying Serbia.

As a response to the Serbian demands, the Academy of Sciences of Belgrade drafted yet another memorandum expressing concern over the dangerous and miserable state of Serbians in Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina. The memorandum demands imminent imprisonment of all those that who pose a threat to this nation. Nearly 2 million Albanians are yet again faced with nationalism in Serbia and experience the 90s déjà-vu.

These events transform Prishtina into a nest of terror and police forces from Belgrade are raiding the University of Prishtina and expelling Albanian professors.

Dozens of engineers and journalists in Kosovo's public broadcaster RTK are physically assaulted and persecuted, while Albanian broadcasting is banned. Tomislav Nikolic initiates the amendment of the Constitution in order to revoke the autonomy of the provinces.

The West is finally convinced that Kosovo's return to Serbia would be successful only if it did not include those nearly 2 million people. The region heads towards a new wave of destabilisation as it becomes evident that Serbia is predisposed to repeat the crimes of 90s in the name of country's protection.

Reality, September 2012

Nowadays, the public opinion in Serbia has been taken by surprise with the potential referendum that could be called to decide between Kosovo and the EU.

The initiative surfaces at the time when pressures for a political dialogue on northern Kosovo are on the rise.

However, it would be more logical if, instead of nationalistic weeping, the Serbian nation was presented with a more pragmatic question: Do they want Kosovo as a province, when in this day and age it is evident that you cannot rule it with the oppression you imposed on Albanians for nearly two decades?

Are they prepared to have Albanian ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers due to proportional representation?

Or simply put, would Serbs accept an Ahtisaari Plan and a flag that substitutes the eagle and tricolour with six doves symbolising peace?

They must understand with the discrimination, violence and the state terror, which they imposed on Kosovar Albanians during the 90s, they lost Kosovo once and forever.