Vol 1, No 2, 5 July 1999
The partition of Kosova is happening
Last week, Central Europe Review reported on the plans for partitioning Kosova. This week, it is happening.
Until three months ago, Albanians constituted over 80% of the northern part of Mitrovica, Kosova. Now, the world media are calling this area the 'Serb part of the city'.
The reason for Serb efforts to keep this part of the city under their control has nothing to do with their alleged majority there, because they haven't got one. The real reason has ore to do with the fact that this part of Mitrovica contains the lion's share of city's industry - and Mitrovica is the biggest industrial centre in Kosova.
What we all feared would happen is already happening: the partition of the Kosova is being legitimised.
No one really expected that Kosova would simply be wiped off the earth. This was not envisaged even by the most nationalist of Serb ideologues. What they planned was the partition of Kosova and international recognition of this partition. And this is now happening before our very eyes.
While NATO and the West made such a big fuss about not allowing the partition of Kosova and trying to keep Russians from controlling a separate sector, French troops are doing the Russians' job with great finesse. They are not allowing Albanian population of Mitrovica to go back to their homes in northern part of the city.
To add insult to the injury, media reports around the world keep repeating that this is the 'Serb part of the city'. People who do not know this city are led to believe that this area was always inhabited by a Serb majority population. Nothing could be further from the truth.
That the Albanian population constituted over 80% of the northern part of Mitrovica can be verified by checking the statistics of the elementary schools in this part of city. These statistics clearly show that ratio of Albanian to Serb schoolchildren was eight to one. We emphasise these statistics are only for the northern sector of the city. In Mitrovica as a whole, this ratio was even higher.
If this division is allowed to become permanent, Kosova will be left without its most important part: the entire economy of Kosova depends on the Trepca industrial complex in that northern quarter of Mitrovica. Without control of this area, Kosova will become dependent on Serbs.
The problem is not simply that the Serbs are trying to keep this critical neighbourhood, but rather the fact that French KFOR forces are helping this process.
Nexhmedin Spahiu with Arben Popoci, Skender Sadiku and Vesat Ademi, 29 June 1999
The authors' families all originally hail from Mitrovica.
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