Kosovo and Metohija (Old Serbia)
the cradle of the Serbian statehood
and spiritual life
The region of Kosovo and Metohija was populated, since the early
medieval ages, by homogenous Serbian population. Under the Byzantine rule, until the final
inclusion in the Serbian Medieval State of the House of Nemanjici by the end of the 12th
and by the beginning of the 13th century, Kosovo and Metohija was an ethnically Serbian
country. This is confirmed by the historical documents (the Charters of the Serbian
rulers), and especially by antroponomial (analysis of personal names) and toponomastic
research; the old toponims of Kosovo and Metohija are mainly of Slav origin. The very name
of the region Kosovo and Metohija is derived from the Serbian words "kos", which
would literally mean "the field of the bird kos" (blackbird) and
"metoh", which means "church estate". Mobile groups of cattle breeders
of Albanian nationality, mainly Roman Catholics, represented a negligible percentage, some
2% of the total population, in the western parts of the region, at the mountains of the
present border region between Yugoslavia and Albania.
The situation in Kosovo and Metohija was not substantially changed during the Turkish
invasion in the ?eighties and ?nineties of the 14th century. The ethnical relations
remained the same, and the Serbian character of the region was not challenged. The studies
of original Turkish regulations (defters) from the 15th century show that the line of the
present state border between Yugoslavia and Albania, at its northern sector, mainly
coincides with the ethnical border between the Serbs and the Albanians at that time. The
Serbs achieved a very high degree of civilisation especially in the region of Kosovo and
Metohija, and their European identity is based on those achievements.
II The Kosovo Battle
The Osmanli invasion changed the life conditions
of the Serbian people. At the crossroads between eras, between the Serbian freedom and the
slavery under the Turks, there stands an event which became the symbol of the Serbian
history: The Kosovo Battle (June 28th, 1389).
According to its historical importance, and according to the place
it got in the historical memory of the people, this battle belongs to the great armed
conflicts in Europe, like the Kulikovo Battle (1380) and the Poitiers Battle (732), or, in
still more distant past, the Termopile battle (480 B.C.). The stubborn resistance of the
Serbs against the Osmanli invasion was crushed in the military and physical senses. The
death of the Serbian Prince Lazar with his army got in the historical conscience of the
people the meaning of a death of a martyr, but also of spiritual triumph in its heroic
sacrifice for the ideals of Christian civilization. For the Serbian nation, Kosovo and
Metohija represents the seal of its identity, the key of the lessons taught by its
history, the flag of the national freedom.
In spite of the tragic outcome of that battle - the greatest part of the Serbian army was
killed - the Serbian Empire lasted for 70 more years; Serbia was finally occupied after
the fall of Smederevo in 1459.
The fall of the Serbian Empire meant the destruction of the Christian defence wall, and
opened the way to the Turkish conquests which endangered Vienna several times.
The conscience about the medieval state was an active element in the struggle of the
Serbian people for their liberation and unification, centuries later. The conscience about
Kosovo and Metohija as a mother Serbian country represents an inalienable part of that
III The Turkish Rule -
The Beginnings of the Movement of the Population and
The Turkish invasion moved great ethnic masses in the Balkans.
During the 16th century, according to the official Turkish data, the Christians still
represented the absolute majority in comparison with the Moslems (Turks and islamised
Albanians); together with other Christian communities, which still existed as small groups
of citizens and cattle breeders, the number of Serbs represented 97% of the total
population. The situation of the people under the Turkish rule was very difficult, the
influence of the Turkish rule and of the islamisation was, as it is said by the Nobel
Prize winner Ivo Andric, "absolutely negative". This is confirmed and witnessed
by all historical sources. The Osmanli rule existed on the law of discrimination and of
the absolute rule of the Islam, with legal possibilities for individual and mass violence
- until the physical destruction of individuals and of entire regions.
The Region of Old Serbia (as the region of Kosovo and Metohija, and of the neighbouring
regions was historically called), existed, therefore, in the 15th and 16th centuries, as a
Serbian land. Until the end of the 17th century, old spiritual centres were activated in
this region, and the strength of resistance of the Serbs grew. The situation of the people
under the Turks was very difficult, especially because of forced islamisation.
These are the reasons of the permanent resistance and struggle of the Serbian people for
their national liberation, for their return to the European civilisation, but also the
roots of the deep demographic changes which took place in the 18th and 19th centuries,
which represent the basis of the present problem in Kosovo.
IV The Liberation
Movement of the Serbs and the First Migrations of the Serbian People
The Liberation movement of the Serbs grew, already since the end
of the 16th century, from the permanent resistance of the people and from their refusal to
accept the Turkish-Islamic rule. The people was lead by the Church. During the great
Austro-Turkish wars 1683-1690 and 1717-1737, the Serbs participated in those wars in
masses in the very broad region of the Balkans. The North-Albanian Roman-Catholic Albanian
tribes fought together with them. Exposed to cruel reprisals of the Turks after the defeat
of the Austrians, the Serbs migrated in great waves to the north, from a huge territory,
from Central Macedonia to the Danube.
The two "Great Migrations" of the Serbian people to
Austria, under the Patriarchs Arsenije III Carnojevic (1690) and Arsenije IV Jovanovic -
Sakabenta (1737), are an undeniable historical fact. In the first migration (1690), some
200.000 Serbs moved to Austria. The migrations obviously weakened the Serbian ethnic
element. However, it can be seen in the further development of events and in the
rebellions and insurrections that the remaining part of the Serbian people in those
territories was permanently renewed by individual or group Serbian migrations within the
borders of the Turkish Empire, and that that renewal was strong enough for armed
resistance. Kosovo and Metohija still represented, until the middle of the 18th century,
an ethnically homogenous and densely populated Serbian country, as it had been before the
V The Penetration of
the Albanians into Serbian Territories
The Albanians penetrated into the south Slav countries only
since the beginning of the 18th century. The key of that penetration was the islamisation
of the Albanians in the 16th century, which included at least 50% of the total Albanian
population. The penetration was reinforced by the forced islamisation of the Serbs.
The settlement of the Albanians was mainly achieved: towards Nis and Sophia by the end of
the 18th century (some 50 kilometres of Sophia!), towards Skoplje and Veles, and to the
north - towards Bosnia via the Novi Pazar Sanjak (territorial-administrative unit). The
poor economic conditions in the mountainous areas, and in the arid mountains of the
northern and central Albania were just the starting impulse of that great movement. That
migration became only with islamisation and with the Turkish policy, a massive colonisation
of Kosovo and Metohija and the extermination of the Slav population. These political
circumstances brought the Albanians to the new territory.
VI. The Terror Against
the Serbs in the 19th Century
Kosovo was the objective of the Serbian
liberation movement and of the program of the national unification. That objective was
expressed not only in the First Serbian Insurrection 1804-1813, but also in a
number of rebellions, insurrections and rebels? actions in Old Serbia itself. The main and
most cruel tool of the Turkish repression in the hands of the Turks were the Albanian
settlers - Moslems, therefore all liberation movements of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija
became always conflicts between Serbs and Albanians. At Kosovo and Metohija, during the
Serbian insurrections in the so-called Belgrade Pashaluk (administrative-territorial
unit), there was a terror without precedent, marked with the obvious plan of the
extermination and exile of the Serbs from the entire Old Serbia. During the 1850s and the
1860s, the genocide against the Serbian people was confirmed by a great number of
documents, of grievances to the Turkish administration against the crimes of the Albanians
and in the reports of the European consuls (Bitolj, Skoplje, Prizren, Prishtina).
VII The Liberation Wars
of Serbia and Montenegro
The first liberation war of Serbia and Montenegro against
Turkey, 1876-1877, and then the second one, represented the first serious and frontal
clashes between the Serbs and the Albanians. The Moslem Albanians fought against the
Serbian troops and defended the Turkish Empire, defending the country they had grabbed.
The people in Old Serbia was subsequently exposed to bloody revengers? terror, which got
an organised character in the Albanian Prizren League.
VIII The Prizren League
The nationalist Prizren
League (1878) formulated for the first time the concept of "Greater Albania".The
program of the League was directed against the Balkan states, indirectly against the
European powers as well, who helped, although modestly, the liberation endeavours of
Serbia, Montenegro and Greece. Conquering and revenging, anti-Serbian and anti-Slav, the
League burdened the relations between the Serbian and Albanian peoples during decades.
IX The Persecutions of
the Serbs and the Change of the Ethnic Picture of Kosovo
Three decades after the Berlin Congress,
1878-1912, were marked by planned persecutions, by the physical destruction, displacement
and forced exile of Serbs from Turkey.It was only during that period that the ethnic
equilibrium at the territory of Old Serbia, i. e. of Kosovo and Metohija and of
North-western Macedonia, was definitely changed. During some thirty years some 400.000
Serbs left Kosovo and Metohija. There were records of many murders, pillages and
profanations of churches and cemeteries, rapes and kidnappings of Serbian girls and women,
even of small girls, attacks, plunders and robberies, all with the same objective - to
weaken the Serbian people and to expel them from their own country.
Even Skoplje was in the hands of the Albanian rebels in 1912, although the Albanians
represented just a negligible minority at that time. A new and aggressive, Islamic,
anti-Serbian state started to appear at the southern borders of Serbia, always ready to
fig against the Christian Serbia.
X. The Balkan War
The Balkan War, 1912, was waged by the Serbian State, together with Montenegro, Bulgaria,
and Greece, for the liberation from Turks.
At the Kosovo, i. e. Skodra War Area (1912), the allies met the open enmity of the
Albanian tribes and their armed resistance. The Autonomous Albania should have been
created not only at the insistence of Austria-Hungary and Italy, but also with the consent
of England, France and Russia. In the complex developments in 1912-1913, Serbia had to
struggle resolutely in order to assure the possession of the liberated territories of
Kosovo and Metohija, which was the objective of the aspirations of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire. The Serbian government was not ready to yield under the pressures in the question
of Kosovo and Metohija: " There is no such Montenegrin or Serbian government which
would or could cede to the Albanians or to any other this "Sacred Land", of the
Serbian nation", it was emphasised in the Memorandum addressed to the European powers
on January 21, 1913; regarding that question, "the Serbian people does not want
and can not make any concessions, transactions or compromises; no Serbian government would
do such a thing".
Albania proclaimed its independence in Valona, on November 28, 1912.
XI The London Peace
The state of Albania was established at the basis of the
decisions of the London Conference 1912-1913. The Albanians expressed territorial
pretensions against Greece and Serbia already at that conference, although the attitude of
the Big Powers was quite clear. At that platform, the Albanians built their concept of
permanent endangering of those neighbouring countries and of durable contesting of
internationally recognised borders.
The Kosovo Committee was established in November, 1918, in Skodra, whose political and
propaganda activities were directed against Yugoslavia. At the basis of those activities,
terrorist bands known as "Kacaks" were active in Kosovo and Metohija between
1919 and 1924.
Even after the decision of the Ambassadors? Conference, on November 9, 1921, which
recognised independent Albania, the territorial pretensions against Serbia were still
expressed. Since the mid-thirties, Albania became the area of the Italian-Fascist
strategic interests, and tolerated the anti-Yugoslav campaign of the Kosovo and Albanian
XII The Creation of the
Fascist Protectorate "Greater Albania"
After the occupation of Albania by Italy, in April, 1939, the
joint Italian-Albanian propaganda about the imminent creation of the "new" and
"greater" Albania got the dimensions of a very well organised movement. In that
way, a political opinion was formed in the majority of the Albanians that Fascism would
soon assure the change of the Albanian borders. With such feelings, with open enthusiasm,
the majority of the Albanians met, as the achievement of their national
objectives", the political and military defeat of Yugoslavia (April 1941) and of
Greece and the Fascist annexation of Kosovo, Metohija, Western Macedonia and eastern parts
of Montenegro by Albania.
XIII Kosovo and
Metohija During the Second World War
The majority of the Albanian minority population in Yugoslavia
and Greece spent the war years in the situation of the so called "Albanian
unity" in the then created Fascist protectorate, the "Greater Albania". The
majority of them fought at the side of the Fascist forces; the Albanians in Yugoslavia
continued to terrorise the settled and autochtonous population, and that terrorism got the
dimensions of a genocide. In all regions of the "Greater Albania", the
non-Albanian population simply vanished, because of permanent violence and permanent
pogroms. This was done, during the Second World War, with great success, especially by the
political leadership of the Second Prizren League, established on September 16th, 1943.
Under the German occupation the terror was continued by the infamous Kosovo Regiment
(Regiment Kosova), devastating the areas from Pec to Djakovica and Prizren, all over
Kosovo and Metohija.. In the implementation of the basic aim of the Second Prizren League
- the defence of "all territories populated by Squipetares" - they formed the
volunteers? SS- Division ?Skenderbeg", with over 11.000 Albanians in it. In
the intent to link as strongly as possible the area of Kosovo and Metohija to Albania, the
Albanians from those regions committed many crimes against the Serbs and Montenegrins. The
demographic and ethnic picture changed also because of the permanent settlement of
Albanians coming from Albania, who settled in the homes and on the estates of the exiled
population.The ethnic cleansing of the Serbs got frightful dimensions.
XIV The Persecution of
Serbs since the sixties until the eighties
With the strict segregation (similar to apartheid) of the
Albanian people from the other peoples of Yugoslavia, with the closing inside the walls of
national, and especially language and cultural exclusiveness, the Albanians in Yugoslavia
were flooded by books, press, and especially textbooks from Albania, often with open
anti-Yugoslav theses and concepts. Kosovo and Metohija, as an Autonomous Province of
Yugoslavia, behaved increasingly in a secessionist way, in usurping the right to
communicate directly and to establish various relations with the PR of Albania, to appear
as the exclusive and compulsory intermediary in the contacts of all other factors and
institutions in the Republic and in the Federation with that neighbour state.
The displacement of Serbs became more rapid and got the dimensions of exile. Serbian
monuments and cemeteries were also the objectives of attacks, even the monuments from the
anti-fascist struggle.Threats, blackmails, beatings, fires, rapes and murders created in
the Serbs the psychosis of complete legal, personal and property insecurity, so that
during that period, after 1968, many Serbian villages and many remaining Serbian homes in
the Albanized settlements all over Kosovo and Metohija were finally emptied. The Albanians
harvested wheat at Serbian estates, grabbed cattle, cut grass in the meadows, took away
harvested wheat, and beat to death or killed the victims, especially if they resisted.
On November 27, 1968, there were organised massive demonstrations in Kosovo and Metohija,
centred in Prishtina; the striking force of the demonstrations was composed of the youth -
the Albanian students at the Prishtina University, primarily from the Philosophical
Faculty.The Albanian students? youth conflicted with their Serbian and Montenegrin
colleagues who were compelled to protest against the obvious discrimination in the
allocation of scholarships, of places in students? dormitories, etc.; even the high school
students were brutally attacked (attack against Serbian children in Klina, on May 15th,
1972); the Turks and Roms who did not want to declare themselves as Albanians were also
the objectives of the attacks.
A new and much more dangerous explosion of the Albanian nationalism took place in 1981.
The central slogan "Kosovo-Republic", expressed the first stage of the program
of great Albanian nationalists, backed by the secessionist aim of secession from
Yugoslavia and annexation to Albania of all territories populated by Albanians.
XV The Real Objective
of the Slogan "Kosovo Republic"
The entire political, economic, cultural and
social development in the region of Kosovo and Metohija after the Second World War shows
statistically that the separatists? ideology of the Albanians in that region was achieved
in accordance with the objectives of the territorial and ethnic "Greater
Albania". The Albanians took advantage of the internal riots in Yugoslavia at that
time, and voted, anti-constitutionally "Kosovo-Republic", with the support of
some circles in the international community, by the so-called Kacanik Constitution. The
intention was to internationalise the question of Kosovo and Metohija, with no regard for
the interests of Serbia and Yugoslavia, and thus to achieve, with the support of certain
circles in the international community, complete political legitimacy.
The real position of the Albanians in the FR of Yugoslavia is maybe best illustrated by
the fact that the highest state functions in Yugoslavia were performed by Albanians. Sinan
Hasani and Fadilj Hoxha were presidents of Yugoslavia, Fadilj Hoxha was the President of
the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, Azem Vlasi was the President of the Youth Organization
of Yugoslavia. In the performance of all these, and many other state functions, they were
in fact protecting the separatist movement. That situation went so far that even one part
of the Yugoslav territory was ceded to Albania for the construction of a hydroelectric
plant in Albania.
The insistence on the demographic picture of the Province in Europe resulted in the abuse
of that fact in the request for the independence of Kosovo and Metohija. The Albanians did
not accept the censa in 1981 and 1991, which left a huge area for arbitrary calculations
of their total number in Kosovo and Metohija. Terrorism, purchase, under pressure, of the
estates of non-Albanian population, non-payment of taxes, of electricity, of utilities,
the lack of citizenship, are the main elements of the ethnic separatist strategy of
non-recognition of the state. Also, Islamic extremism got strength since 1991, and the
influence of the Albanian narcotic mafia as well.
XVI The Islamic
Extremism in Kosovo and Metohija Today
The attacks against Christians originated in the
Islamic fanatism which is spreading increasingly in Kosovo and Metohija, backed by the
"missionaries" coming from Islamic countries. They not only spread hatred
against the Serbs at their religious courses, but also against the non-Moslem Albanians.
Almost all Albanian politicians in Kosovo and Metohija act as "good and
faithful" Moslems. They address the faithful during the sermons in the mosques,
emphasising that the struggle for their objectives is at the same time the struggle for
Islam - Jihad. The radicalized Islamic dogma prescribes bearing of children as a priority
objective, in order to outnumber other peoples and religions - and that explains the
demographic boom in this territory.
XVII The Import of
Terrorism from Albania
The Third Prizren League, established in America
in 1946, with the identical program as the two previous ones - i. e. the creation of the
"Greater Albania", used all propaganda means against Yugoslavia, especially
after 1948, and after the conflict with Albania in the framework of the general
confrontation and conflict with the Kominform and with the USSR. The conflict between
Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union in 1948, made it possible to Albania to wage against
Yugoslavia a combined propaganda and diversion war.
Terrorist-diversion groups were introduced from Albania; they killed the people from
security forces, they terrorized the Serbian population. They smuggled weapons, which
represented, together with the weapons left by the Bali (the fascist collaborators), a
permanent danger of new rebellions. During all that time, the planned actions of the
Albanian nationalism were always present. They were reflected in the permanent, chronical
pressure against the Serbs, forcing them to leave the region, in the encouragement of the
demographic pressures and of the immigration of the Albanian population. The culmination
of that process was the arrival of an enormous number of Albanian political emigres.