Monday, February 18, 2008

Kosovo – a flag of ‘independence’?

This is one strange flag they have come up with for Kosovo.

That’s because it has had a torturous design process, which encapsulated the process in which they have won ‘independence – under the instructions from the UN and EU.

Condoleezza Rice said today:

"The United States has today formally recognised Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state. We congratulate the peopleof Kosovo on this historic occasion,"

But independence is not what they are going to get.

The design of the flag the newly ‘independent’ state will use was not arrived at in an ‘independent’ way. They put the flag design together as I would follow the instructions putting together a new piece of furniture from IKEA.

Kosovars have won an assemble yourself, ‘flat-pack’ independence

So what they came up with was nothing like the Albanian flag that Kosovars wave at demonstrations,...

...but something very much like the EU itself. It looks like a protectorate of stars over ‘independent’ Kosovo. The EU has started up another EU protector colony. Grim.


varus said...

I think it was in 'Glorious' where Eddie Izzard remarked upon how the British Empire was won with the cunning use of flags. "No flag, no country, thats the rules."

It's funny how flags still play such a big part in world affairs and all our lives. Flags also have lots of rules and traditions. E.g. if you hang the flag upside down, you've technically surrendered. For many the Union Flag is the same from either side, but it does have a top, and a friend of mine's father accidentaly surrended Cyprus while while stationed there with the Army.

I can't wait for the National Anthem....

Anonymous said...

It may be better than the Spanish National Anthem

beatroot said...

Well, exactly. It’s gonna have to be a five part barbershop close harmony, with Kosovar, Serb, Barroso, Bush and Mr Ban-Ki Moon at the UN on alto.

Anonymous said...

A flag is used symbolically for signalling or identification. The UN flag turn upside down should be temporally used as a symbol of Kosovo, which would perhaps be a symbolic representation of another UN poorly thought out solution to a crisis.

The idea of Kosovo independence makes sense in the context of the warring parties being unable to resolve the conflict and the fact Kosovo is 90% Albanian. The decision being made by democratic process is also significant.

But then why fuck up the implementation? As the Serb minority is now generally concentrated in one area along the Serbian border, should they not have had an option to join the Serbian state rather than remain in Kosovo?

I do not understand why a more comprehensive solution was not offered that would have reduced tensions and been seen as a more equitable solution for both sides.

varus said...

Jan, I follow your reasoning about where the Serbian minority is etc, but you can not keep subdividing until you get the ethnic mix you want. Kosovo was a recognised entity with in Yugoslavia and there after in Serbia. It is a big enough stretch of the principles of sovereignty to grant it independence, let alone to then start dividing it up further. I'm afraid it is a case of all or nothing.

Anonymous said...

At the end of WWII the victorious powers applied a principle of keeping people in their own ethnic boundaries as a means to prevent future conflict. The application was in some cases brutal but the end results promoted a lasting peace.

If in the case of Kosovo if both parties were willing to agree then I don’t see the problem. I think the Serbs currently in the new Kosovo Republic would likely welcome such a move.

varus said...

Granted, however, that was a very different case as there had been a cataclysmic war and effectively all bets were off and the allied powers could do what they wanted.
That said the boarder change was primarily instigated at the behest of Stalin and was agreed at the Tehran conference. This was not a happy decision for Churchill and Roosevelt. However, they knew it was the lesser of two evils and they needed to keep Russia’s momentum going. Alas, soon the decision proved unpalatable by the Polish govt in exile and especially the likes of Gen Anders.
In the present day case, the conflict was internal and as I said before the Kosovo/Serbia boarder was a recognized state within Yugoslavia and can not be just redrawn willy nilly.

Anonymous said...

Don't the Albanians want Kosovo?

Why don't the Albanian "Kosovans" want to join Albania?

Why not let the Serbs and their small territory be annexed to Serbia?

Seems to me it will disapate what looks like a sure chance of further bloodshed against the Serb minority.

beatroot said...

Why don't the Albanian "Kosovans" want to join Albania?

They do, Geez. or a substancial amount do. But that is one thing they will not be allwed to do. It is written in its 'constitution' (the UN wrote it) that Kosovars can not join another country, even if the decision was arrived at via a democratic process.

So much for 'independence'.

varus said...

BR Wrote:
"It is written in its 'constitution' (the UN wrote it) that Kosovars can not join another country, even if the decision was arrived at via a democratic process."

As an independent state though, can't they rewrite the constitution? Who can stop them?

beatroot said...

The EU.

Kosovo does not have 'independence' but 'supervised independence' - which is of course an oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

Not going to say where I got this one (and it's not my writing or does it necessarily reflect my sense of the situation). Suffice it to be food for thought:

Those dreaming of a "Greater Albania" (optimally to include Albania, Kosovo and other parts of Serbia, and parts of Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece), taking heart at Kosovar independence, may redouble their efforts throughout the region. There are potential religious dimensions to Albanian nationalism; while the Albanians (like Bosnians) are overwhelmingly secular Muslims, the product of generations of atheistic education in Albania and Yugoslavia, they are indeed Muslims. So there are now, aside from Turkey, two Muslim European countries: Albania and Kosovo. (Bosnia-Hezegovina's Muslim population is under 50%). The Saudis, Kuwaitis and others have been pouring money into mosque construction in Albania and Kosovo, encouraging fundamentalist forms of Islam. The Saudi Joint Committee for the Relief of Kosovo has repaired 190 damaged mosques in Kosovo and the Saudis have built mosques there. (One, for a time, was actually named the Bin Laden Mosque.)

Whether intended to do so or not, these efforts to spread Salafi-style Islam dovetail with al-Qaeda's efforts to exploit instability in the Balkans. The organization was active in Bosnia during the war in the early '90s, and surely endorses the idea of "Greater Albania" and a jihad to realize it. What better vehicle for the propagation of its ideology than an ethnic-based web of insurgencies coordinated from Kosovo?

Anonymous said...

and a bit of perspective:

... Kosovo, a land four-fifths the size of Connecticut.

Anonymous said...

The notion of the Saudi spending money to create mischief is likely correct but their success will depend on the failure of the EU to bring this region into Europe’s mainstream. Based on past experience if the system can get most of Europe’s feuding tribes to act responsibly, then these small Balkan entities can also do it. Lets face it we are not nicer people than our ancestors but we grasp self-interest a lot better. A functioning EU for all that’s not right with it, still can claim under it’s system Europe has never had such a prolonged period of prosperity and peace in it’s history.

Our last populist government was recently reminded of this fact by it’s own people.

All depends on the EU moving forward to integrate the region, most importantly Serbia needs to start the process and nothing sells like success. Most former citizens of the old Yugoslavia would settle for peace and prosperity given that option.

For those who believe that the EU can act effectively on it’s own in a crisis and thereby distance itself from the usual American leadership, this should be a good test case

varus said...


In the short term Kosovo needs the EU, but in the long term it could if it wished change the rules as once it is established as a sovereign state, the EU could not stop it as this would smack of hypocrisy and be against its public image. That said, I doubt very much that Kosovo would fly in the face of the EU.


Serb and Albanian nationalism are still very strong and although I agree that in the long run peace and prosperity will win, in the immediate future I wouldn't place any money on the chances of a completely peaceful integration with the rest of Europe.

beatroot said...

Where does it say that Kosovo is free to make those decisions? It simply isn't, as laid out in the terms of its 'independence'.

Anonymous said...

Yea, but what is Shantel's position on all this?

Unknown said...

I hope that the future of Kosova is brighter than their new flag.

A "golden" Kosovo dangles precariously and insignificantly amidst a "sea" of blue and is heavily bejeweled by six white oversized "stars".

Ironic - the choice - if one thinks carefully. Perhaps the Old Dhardania flag, which I was originally opposed to, would - in retrospect - have been a more honest symbol.

Having seen their choice in national symbols, perhaps "supervised independence" would have been a wiser choice than independence itself. Only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious. Why were folks so opposed to the Dardania flag?

This shows it and others over the years:

I had thought Rugova was more popular than the accompanying articles suggest.

Anonymous said...

And the Wiki explanation of how the flag was decided upon:

beatroot said...

Serb and Albanian nationalism are still very strong ...

Yup, and they just got a lot stronger as a consequence of this.

Миле said...

Well, the truth is, Kosovo-Metohia has always been a province of Serbia, not Yugoslavia.

Metohia is the western part of the province. The name comes from the Greek 'metoch', roughly meaning church land/church property -- which 40% of Kosovo actually is. It is private property belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church for the past 780 years. Prior to that it was the property of Serbian kings and princes who donated it to the SOC.

Yugoslavia did not have provinces; it had republics (Slovenia, Croatia, B&H, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia). Serbia was the only republic with provinces. The Communist Party saw it fit to weaken Serbia politically. Serbia had no influence whatsoever over the lower levels of government, Kosovo and/or Voivodina, her own provinces. In turn, these provinces could influence the policy-making processes and politics on the state (Serbian) level. Absurd, wouldn't you say? Mind you, Serbia wasn't a federal state.

The Yugoslav CP quite literally drew Kosovo's borders in 1945; Kosovo did not exist prior to 1945 as an entity of any kind. It was simply just another valley in south-western Serbia. Once they created it, they allowed unchecked mass immigration from Albania whilst tolerating crimes against the indigenous communities (Serbs, Jews, Roma, Turks, Croats...) until the Albanians outnumbered everyone else 9:1. This isn't ancient history. We're talking last 50 years. (They NEVER took part in any census. Guess why?)

For the first time in centuries, there are no Jews in Kosovo. The last one was expelled by the Albanians in 2001 under the noses of the glorious international community. Der Fuehrer would be e-x-t-a-t-i-c. Judenfrei Kosovo! What he couldn't deliver to his erstwhile Albanian allies, the EU and that joke of the UN have.