Review by g emil reutter
Editors Leandrit I. Mehmeti and Branislav Radeljic have assembled a series of essays by scholars of Serbian, Albanian, Christian and Muslim backgrounds to provide a view inside the continuing conflict in Kosovo. The essayists trace the root cause of the conflict through history from the Ottoman Empire to the Balkan Wars of 1912 through World Wars and the fall of the Yugoslavia nation. At a time when the attention of the world is focused on the ethnic and religious divides and persecutions in the Middle East and Africa, the Balkans continue to simmer and erupt for many of the same reasons. Kosovo continues to be plagued by human rights violations after the NATO air war and international forces sent to bring stability to Kosovo.
The essays shed light on the Albanian-Serb conflict for over the centuries and although Kosovo is now over 90% Albanian, the Serbs claim Kosovo as their homeland, the Old Serbia. Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and is recognized as a nation by over 100 UN member states, however Serbia resists recognition with the claim of Old Serbia. The extreme violence of all parties concerned is documented as is the failure of the elites of the old state of Yugoslavia and present day Kosovo and Serbia to come to a solution agreeable to all those concerned. The historical failures of political, religious and social institutions in stabilizing the area and the ongoing ethnic conflict bring Kosovo to a boil if not all out violence between the Serbs and Albanians. There is not all doom here as there is a continued push for economic cooperation between Kosovo and Serbia.
Northern Kosovo is dominated by the Serb minority who in 2016-2017 constructed with support from Serbia a wall in the City of Mitovica to separate this enclave from the rest of Kosovo. The wall was torn down in 2017.
This collection of essays gives great insight into the root causes of ethnic unrest, violence, and unceasing conflict. Although regional in every aspect it is a book to be read by those concerned about ethnic conflict, failed resolution and possible solutions.The essays highlight a Balkan problem, traced to European missteps and can be applied to other regions of the world where intolerance plagues minorities and majorities under the heavy boot of domination and bigotry.
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