2005-08-31

Not completely successful

After another in a long series of violent attacks on civilians in Kosovo, the assessment of US Institute for Peace analyst Daniel Serwer is that "it is a fact that the international community is not completely successful in the protection of minorities." Which would certainly be one way of putting it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, Serwer's way of putting is sadly euphemistic and may represent yet another instance of the triumph of hope over experience.

But it is no more unreal and self-serving than the continuing drumbeat of propaganda from Belgrade, where Serb politicians have always sought to instrumentalize and exploit the position of Serbs in Kosovo, without lifting a finger to ameliorate their lot or to promote reconciliation. Au contraire: the worse things appear to be for Kosovo's Serb minority, the better for Kostunica & co.'s game of using the Kosovo Serbs' plight as a means to for postponing the (ultimately inevitable) resolution of the status issue.

Those two young men who were killed, the two who were wounded, and their families deserve our sympathy. The political operators (on all sides) deserve none. But in a poor and backward region of Europe with nearly 2 million inhabitants, where virtually everyone has guns and grievances, it's worth keeping in mind that this is the first serious incident of interethnic violence in more than a year (since June 2004, when a young man was shot in Gracanica - his assailants were caught and prosecuted). Security, of course, continues to be an issue in Kosovo. But the lack of jobs and economic security may in the long term have far more dire consequences for Albanians and Serbs alike in Kosovo.

AR

Eric Gordy said...

Well, sure, there is a lot of posturing by Serbian politicians who know perfectly well that they are never going to regain control of the territory. Most of them will admit as much privately, with the (maybe large?) reservation that some code words might appear which would amount to a claim to Mitrovica.

But this doesn't change the fact that the UN is expressly failing to meet its obligations, regardless of whatever they say publicly about standards and status. Not to blame UNMIK wholly -- they did not introduce the idea of changing the structure of the population in order to satisfy the demands of political extremists. This was already established practice before 1999. But they are at the very least turning a blind eye toward, and most abetting, the application of this standard practice. In that case, it would be honest of them to stop making claims for their contribution to multicultural democracy.

R Byrne said...

The best way to lead Serbia to a better understanding of its own human rights obligations and the benefits of strong international human rights infrastructure is by example. The treatment of the minority in Kosovo is the clearest means of doing so. Saying that the failures to do so are mitigated by Serbian politics is simply not good enough. Period.