Kosovo: From Ideology to Aggression ~ Julia Gorin Truth

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Kosovo: From Ideology to Aggression

Jovan Cvijic (1865-1927) is considered the founder of modern geographic science in Serbia. He did extensive research and writing on Balkan geography. He had a great knowledge not only of the geography of Serbia and the surrounding regions but also of the history and current events of those areas. There is no one work of Cvijic that can be set aside as some kind of geographic doctrine for the Greater Serbian idea, but his political inclinations regarding Serbia’s expansion can be seen throughout his body of work.

First, some of Cvijic’s general thoughts on Serbia’s need and fitness to dominate the surrounding areas. Here he displays a great deal of emotional involvement in the subject at hand:

“. . . all Serbs were inspired by high national morale and a desire to avenge the old defeats and found a new, even larger state.”
(Cvijic, “Balkansko Poluostrvo i juznoslovenke zemlje, osnove antropogeografije, I, Zagreb 1922.)

“The world must know and realize that Serbia can operate with a much larger entity that the territory it now holds. The greatest possible territorial transformations may take place with Serbia. And we must not flinch from this fear pouring into the world if it is useful to our national interests.”
(Cvijic, “O nacionalnom radu”, commemorative speech 1907, reprinted in Govori i Clanci, I, Beograd 1921 p. 51-76).

He has the following to say on Serbia’s need and ‘right’ to an Adriatic outlet:
“. . .the aspirations of Serbia for the Albanian coastline are justified and conditioned not only by geographic but also by historic tradition.” “. . .for economic independence, Serbia must acquire access to the Adriatic Sea and one part of the Albanian coastline: by occupation of the territory or by acquiring economic and transportation rights to this region. This, therefore, implies occupying an ethnographically foreign territory, but one that must be occupied due to particularly important economic interests and vital needs. Such occupation might be called an anti- ethnographic necessity and in such a form it is not against the principle of nationality. In this case it is all the more justified because the Albanians of northern Albania came about through a merging of the Albanians and Serbs.”

A memorandum presented to the Royal Yugoslav government which outlines methods for removing Albanians from southern Serbia - a blueprint for ethnic cleansing

Vaso Cubrilovic (b.1897) was a historian, teacher and politician. As a youth he was in the Young Bosnia political movement and was involved in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. After the war he was a high school teacher and professor in Belgrade. He was also a political adviser for the royalist government of Yugoslavia. After World War II, he became a member of the Communist Party and as such held various posts in the Federal Yugoslav government. He was also a member of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Cubrilovic presented the following memorandum to the Stojadinovic government in 1937.

While it deals with a specific topic, the expulsion of Albanians from southern Serbia, it also expresses Serbian paranoia at losing land or their perceived dominance in the Balkans. It shows the Machiavellian lengths some Greater Serbian ideologists will condone and employ to reach their goals, all of which is apparent in the present conflict. It is also interesting to note that many of the measures Cubrilovic suggests were and still are being used by the present Serbian regime in Kosovo.

Without a doubt, the main cause for the lack of success of our colonization in those regions was that the best land remained in the hands of the Albanians. The only possible way for our mass colonization of those regions was to take the land from the Albanians. After the war, at the time of the rebellion and actions of the insurgents, this could have been achieved easily by expelling part of the Albanian population to Albania, by not legalizing their usurpations and by buying their pastures. Here we must return again to the gross error of our post-war concept about the right to possession of the land, instead of taking advantage of the concept of the Albanians themselves about their ownership of the land they had usurped-scarcely any of them had title-deeds issued by the Turks, and those only for land purchased, to the detriment of our nation and state, we not only legalized all of these usurpations, but worse still, accustomed the Albanians to Western European ideas of private property. Prior to that, they could never have had these ideas. In this way, we ourselves handed them a weapon to defend themselves, to keep the best land for themselves and make the nationalization of one of the regions most important to us impossible.

Besides this block of 18 districts, the Albanians and other national minorities in the other parts of the southern regions are dispersed and therefore, not so dangerous to our national and state life. To nationalize the regions around the Sar Mountain means to bury any irredentism forever, to ensure our power in these territories forever.

As we have already stressed, the mass removal of the Albanians from their triangle is the only effective coursefor us. To bring about the relocation of a whole population, then the first prerequisite is the creation of a suitable psychosis. It can be created in many ways.

As is known, the Muslim masses, in general, are very readily influenced, especially by religion and are superstitious and fanatical. Therefore, first of all we must win over their clergy and men of influence, through money or threats, to support the relocation of the Albanians. Agitators to advocate this removal must be found, as quickly as possible, especially from Turkey, if it will provide them for us.

Another means would be coercion by the state apparatus. The law must be enforced to the letter so as to make staying intolerable for the Albanians: fines and imprisonments, the ruthless application of all police dispositions, such as the prohibition of smuggling, cutting forests, damaging agriculture, leaving dogs unchained, compulsory labor and any other measure that an experienced police force can contrive. From the economic aspect: the refusal to recognize the old land deeds, the work with the land register should immediately include the ruthless collection of taxes and the payment of all private and public debts, the requisitioning of all state and communal pastures, the cancellation of concessions, the withdrawal of permits to exercise a profession, dismissal from the state, private, and communal offices etc., will hasten the process of their removal. Health measures: the brutal application of all the dispositions even in homes, pulling down encircling walls and high hedges around houses, rigorous application of veterinary measures which would result in impeding the sale of livestock on the market, etc. can also be applied in an effective and practical way. When it comes to religion the Albanians are very touchy, and thus they must be harassed on this score, too. This can be achieved through illtreatment of their clergy, the destruction of their cemeteries, the prohibition of polygamy, and especially the inflexible application of the law compelling girls to attend elementary schools, wherever they are.

Private initiative, too, can assist greatly in this direction. We should distribute weapons to our colonists as need be. The old forms of cetnik action should be organized and secretly assisted. In particular, a tide of Montenegrins should be launched from the mountain pastures, in order to create a large-scale conflict with the Albanians in Metohija. This conflict should be prepared by means of our trusted people. It should be encouraged and this can be done easily once the Albanians revolt; the whole affair should be presented as a conflict between clans and, if need be, ascribed to economic reasons. Finally, local riots can be incited. These will be bloodily suppressed with the most effective means, but by the colonists from Montenegrin clans and the cetniks, rather than by means of the army. There remains one more means, which Serbia employed with great practical effect after 1878, that is, by secretly burning down Albanian villages and city quarters.

Hence, if we want the colonists to remain where they are, they must be assured of acquiring all the means of livelihood within a few years. We must ruthlessly prohibit any speculation with the houses and properties of displaced Albanians. The state must reserve for itself the unlimited right to dispose of the fixed and movable assets of the people transferred and must settle its own colonists there immediately after the departure of the Albanians. This must be done because it will rarely happen that a whole village departs at once. The first to be settled in these villages should be the Montenegrins, as arrogant, irascible and merciless people, who will drive the remaining Albanians away with their behavior, and then the colonists from other regions can be brought in.