(via The Glory of Carniola) I just read this incredibly insightful article by Croatian writer, Vladimir Arsenijevic, about the history of the conflict in Kosovo.
Here are some of the most amazing quotes
But right at the very bottom came the Albanians who lived in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo. Their language wasn't a Slavic language. They were poorer than the rest of us. Their culture was pretty alien. In the motley collection of different kinds of Yugoslavs they, as the southernmost ethnic group, were condemned to play the role of the absolute outsiders.
Anything that the rest of us in former Yugoslavia claimed to know about the Albanians was put together from a hodgepodge of offensive cliches.
A few years ago the Serbian media reported for months on end on mass graves whose dead had been identified by forensic experts as Kosovo Albanians. One of the most horrific images was that of a refrigerated lorry out of which murdered Kosovo Albanian women, children and old people were disposed in Lake Perucac, near the mouth of the river Derventa. On our screens we saw half-decayed, clothed corpses being pulled out of the water, we heard the shocking confession of the driver, who had been told to transport the dead out of Kosovo in order to cover up the crime. At the time a Belgrade television station broadcast an interview with a man bathing untroubled in this beautiful lake from whose green waters the corpses had just been pulled. When the reporter asked whether this bothered him the simpleton stood there shaking his head as the water dripped off him. Blinking innocently and smiling laconically, he looked at the camera and said without turning a hair: "To be honest, I don't believe all that," and dived defiantly back into the water.
This article is definitely a must read. When I tell friends and family where I have moved, I always inevitably get questions about these Balkan conflicts. My friends here sometimes try to argue that this is a totally unique situation and push "ancient enemies" explanations on me. I know I still have lot to learn, but when, in the first sentence, the writer says "Kosovo Albanians used to be simply 'our negroes'", I know I am not treading on terribly unfamiliar territory.
Definitely check out that article!