Articles on the Kosovo Conflict




Newsletter from the Movement for Self-Determination

Newsletter 168 (English version), October 16, 2009

Demonstration in Gjilan

On Saturday 17th October, at 14:00 Lėvizja VETĖVENDOSJE! is organizing a popular demonstration in Gjilan against decentralization and in solidarity with the villagers of Pasjak, Stanishor and Mogilla, and others, who do not want to become part of new Serb municipalities, run by parallel structures of Belgrade.

                Decentralization seeks to create new Serb majority municipalities, of which two (Ranillug and Partesh) are 100% Serb, while Novobėrdė, Kllokot and Graēanica include a few small Albanian villages in the name of multi-ethnicity, but always ensuring that Albanians are a minority.

                Instead of creating the conditions in which all the people of Kosova can live and work toge-ther, regardless of ethnicity, decentralization is being drawn, based precisely upon the notion that we are unable to live together and thus need to be separated by new ethnic walls. The bizarre logic of Ahtisaari was that to be ‘multi-ethnic’ we must be separated. At roughly the same time as Europe celebrates the collapse of the Berlin Wall, dividing Eastern and Western Europe, the EU and international missions in Kosova are demanding that we build new walls which divide us and our country.

                This ethnic decentralization is going to make separation permanent as Serb majority municipalities have the right to teach their children according to Serbia’s educational curriculum; they have the right to select police commanders; their police force will reflect the ethnicity of the municipality, rather than the entire country, hence in all of the new municipalities it will be majority Serb; a similar principle will apply to the courts; and to health. This is a system of apartheid, which when attached to the Six Points, results in institutionalized racism.

                Separation will also be permanent because decentralization is occurring before Kosova is in command of its sovereignty and before the parallel structures of Serbia have been dismantled. Decentralization allows Belgrade to be directly linked vertically with the new Serb majority municipalities, even financing them, and also creates horizontal ties between the new municipalities in Kosova. As a result, the process will simply transfer any remaining vestiges of Prishtina’s control and pass it to Belgrade. This is the centralization of Belgrade’s power in Kosova.

Decentralization, although touted as a necessary reform for the EU integration process, is actually being implemented here contrary to EU regulations. It is not bringing government closer to the people: The people of Pasjak, are being moved from the municipality of Gjilan (just 2 km away) to the municipality of Novobėrdė (25km away). Albanians in these new municipalities, will find themselves run by Serbia’s parallel structures. Those affected by decentralization have not been consulted. The petitions they have submitted opposing decentralization have been ignored, not even in most cases, meriting a response from Kosova or EU institutions. Finally, decentralization has been drawn in order to remove key economic resources from existing municipalities, placing them in Serb majority municipalities, and thus under the control of Serbia’s parallel structures. Most critically, this includes all of Kosova’s key water sources.

Lastly, the borders of these new municipalities have been drawn precisely in order to link Serb inhabited areas of Kosova territorially, thus creating the basis for an autonomous entity inside Kosova. At the same time, this entity isolates the Valley of Presheva, sandwiching it between Serbia and Serbia’s parallel structures. Decentralization is Serbia’s attempt to ensure that Kosova never becomes a free, democratic, functional and economically developed state. Ethnic decentralization will make Kosova the second Bosnia of the Balkans.


Balkan Witness Home Page

Articles index




Contact Balkan Witness

Report broken links