Bound By Differences Essay, Research Paper
The Kosovo Liberation Army is still in the midst of peace talks with NATO. The peace talks came after a temporary halt in the slaughter of Serbians and Albanians living in Kosovo. (Oregonian, Front Section A4, pp. 6) The most recent genocide in Kosovo has been the result of long-standing grudges between the Albanians and Serbians living in Kosovo and was developed from opposing views over social and political domination of Albania.
The current differences in culture are obvious in the education and political system. In the last 10 years, Kosovo, a majority-Albanian province of Serbia, was taken back by Serbians. This region was previously autonomous to the Albanians with in the former Yugoslavia. In 1989, Serbian government revoked the autonomous status. This heated already-stressed relations between the Serbian authorities and Albanian civilians. Kosovo Albanians are struggling for an Albanian-language university, media and national system, as they push for independence from Serbia. Albanians are gaining a few opportunities in government. They now have their own political parties and hold a few offices. However they are still largely underrepresented in local government, law enforcement and military. (www.crisisweb.org/mac03, pg. 2)
Kosovo is historically important to Serbian nationalist because of Slobodon Milosevic s launch of his expansionist program in the 1980 s. Since the 1980 s, the Kosovo Liberation Army, an underground organization, has been formed to enforce Serbian ideals in Kosovo through force. This army has grown in strength in the last 5 years has begun to take back Kosovo. During those 5 years, more than 100,000 people have died in concentration camps and hundreds of thousands of refugees have been fleeing the country. This conflict caught the attention of the world and NATO sent international troops in to Yugoslavia temporarily stop the fighting until a further settlement could be reached. Much of this turmoil has the result of political and social differences between the Albanians and Serbians dating back to their ancestors.
The nomadic peoples of Yugoslavia made some drastic changes to their way of life in the 1300 s. They changed from a warrior way of life to protecting their new religion at all cost, specifically against the Byzantine Empire. Osman, a Turkish emir (1299-1326) and founder of the Ottoman Empire, extended his authority from the capital at Bursa into the Anatolian Peninsula. This expansion required more military to control the region. Thus, the army previously based on volunteers became more formalized with recruitment and organization. The source of income for the area was from booty gained by the army from war and the revenues from taxes. The Ottoman government looked down on business and trade and focused on the revenue from war and taxes, yet they still maintained trade routes. However, the commercial life of the empire was in the hands of the non-Muslim and non-Turkish merchants and artisans, not the government. Although, they still paid taxes to the Ottoman government, the merchants and artisans still made large fortunes from lucrative trade with Europeans. There was a large Jewish community in Ottoman, and they enjoyed considerable prosperity under Ottoman rules, too. (World History, pg. 345) Even in the 1300 s the differences of opinion of the people s in Albania were apparent.
In 1362, Murad I (Orhan s son) led forces into Thrace (present-day Greece and Turkey) and took Adrianople. He made Adrianople the new Ottoman capital and took the title of sultan (1360-1389). He then pushed his army further into the Balkans at Kosovo. He defeated the Serbians rulers and lost his life in that battle. His son, Bayezoid (1389-1402) sought to consolidate his own position and killed his own brother. He then started a new tradition for the next 100 years. New Ottoman sultans continued to kill their siblings within palace walls. When he attempted to attack Turkish emirates in Asia, he aroused the anger of Timurlane. Battle of Ankara (1402) his army was defeated and he was taken prisoner. He died en route to Samarkand (Timbulane s capital). Bayeziod s sons swore allegiance to Timbulane and started fighting amongst themselves. In 1405, Timbulane died and his loosely ruled empire dissolved into competing, rival local emirates. (World History, Pg. 346) These emirates made up of the Albanians and the Serbians have continued to fight over the empire up until 1999.
Since 1389, Kosovo has been a place of turmoil while the Serbians and the Albanians continue to fight over who Kosovo belongs to. It is not possible to clearly divide the land, because both parties have inhibitors in Kosovo and Sarajevo and have held possession of that land for short periods of time through the decades. The conflict has culminated in putting each other in death camps and killing civilians by snipers. Still, Albanians have continued to push for independence in Kosovo, a resolution that may be far from reality. The long-standing grudges between the Albanians and the Serbians will continue to fuel the state of war in Kosovo, until one party eliminates the other or a resolution is reached.