In the BBC’s report on Serbian protests over Kosovan independence, a girl by the name of Bojana Vuckovic is quoted as saying, “We don’t want to let it go because it’s ours, even if the majority of people there aren’t Serbian.” The ‘we’ of her statement is presumably Serbians. The majority of the people on the march would presumably agree to that statment or something similar.

What’s interesting is what ‘ours’ means in that sentence. I am no expert, but I guess that large parts of Kosovo are privately owned, and that neither the old Serbian nor the new Kosovan government would claim ownership of them. However, those governments would claim that their laws extend over that land. The ownership that Bojana is talking about is being in charge of, rather than having exclusive rights to.

So what I’m left thinking is that Bojana believes that, no matter who buys the land of Kosovo, Serbia must remain in charge. Even when Kosovo is 90% or more ethnic Albanian, Serbia must be in charge. I doubt that it’s cost-effective for Serbia to rule a land that doesn’t want to be ruled. So in the absence of an economic motive, why do some Serbs want so badly to be in charge of Kosovo?

4 thoughts on “Territory

  1. http://spinnerbait.statesmanblogs.com/entry.aspx?q=5a3911fa-aa5f-4a0e-9272-9a4b00e7b83f

    BORDERS; American – Serbian Border policy parallels
    Border control is critically important to the USA. Don’t believe me? Look at the Balkans.

    The former Yugoslav government set the current stage by letting Albanians “migrate” into Serbia’s territory. A higher birth rate, low wages, and different culture caused the present dilemma.

    George W. Bush getting US involved in the Balkan sovereignty mess is a tragic example of a rudderless Ship of State. Bush is letting the military industrial lobby dictate American foreign policy. The tail is wagging the dog on our Balkan policy, as well as NATO ( I’ll come back to this on another article about military supply -something I know of first-hand, and America’s diplomatic position which I hinted at recently).

    If one spends any time studying the history of Serbia, the Balkan conflicts of the last century, any American should know we can thank the Serbs for not surrendering to the Nazis, for saving countless American airmen, and for helping the Greeks drive the Ottoman Empire out of Europe. We are not known for being a long-term ally. We should have been known for keeping our nose out of the Balkan mess, but Bill Clinton messed that up ten years ago.

    Kosovo can’t become a self – governing, sovereign State. The area is overrun by criminal gangs run by regional crime families, who in some cases allied themselves with Al Quaida years ago. What is America’s motive in recognizing Kosovo? Saving lives? Ha.

    Might it be controlling the drug routes to Europe and USA? That is about all Kosovo is today.

    The following comes from Serbia’s official web site:

    Albanian Terrorism and Organised Crime in Kosovo-Metohija

    Here you can download chapters of the book: Albanian Terrorism and Organised Crime in Kosovo-Metohija, published by the Serbian government in September 2003.

    The book includes a large amount of information provided by the Security Intelligence Agency referring to the structure of the Albanian National Army (ANA), the data on terrorism and members of organised criminal structures in Kosovo-Metohija as well as victims of their crime.

    PART ONE (PDF, size 296KB):
    1. Continuity of terrorist organization of Albanian extremists
    2. Characteristics of ANA activities
    3. Data on the victims of violence in Kosovo and Metohija
    4. Organized crime
    – Criminal activities in Kosovo and Metohija
    – Activities of the Albanian mafia around the world
    – Influence of criminal factors from the Republic of Albania
    5. The role of Albanian emigration
    6. Pan-Islamic factor

    PART TWO (PDF, 616KB): List of terrorists and members of organized criminal organizations in Kosovo and Metohija

  2. Although the above was automated spam (it originally featured a URL), I’m leaving it in as one of the most interesting bits of spam I’ve ever seen (from a technical, not a political standpoint).

  3. Hmm, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a far less rational (in the democratic/capitalist/commercial sense) and more romantic interpretation.

    That land is part of my mother land. To take it away is like cutting a limb from my mother, it hurts her and leaves her incomplete.

    Don’t forget they spent 50 of the last 70 years under a communist system, so will likely have quite a different outlook on relationships between government, statehood, land, people and property.

  4. Actually the question was rhetorical – I was planning to blog the answer later. As far as I can see, it’s nationalism, and they really need to get over it.

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