|Projekat Rastko Gračanica - Peć: Istorija: The Migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija|
"What's there to say ... I had hoped that it would be resolved, that the Yugoslav authorities would do something... The years went by, and nothing... I lived, worked, loved, hoped for better days - for my children... I left behind a house and land for their safety. "
(Montenegrin mother of four, age 70)
The Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo is situated in the southwest of the Republic of Serbia, covering an area of 10,887 square kilometers (12.5% of the territory of Serbia). In 1981, one out of every four inhabitants of Serbia lived in Kosovo, and there were 145.4 inhabitants per square kilometer (169.7 by 1987), making this the most densely populated area in Serbia and Yugoslavia, quite improportionate to its own level of economic and social development.
In many ways, including its population growth tendencies, Kosovo is different from Serbia Proper and Serbia's other constituent Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. There were differences in social, economic and demographic development four decades ago, but in many respects they have grown rather than decreased, although the general tendencies of society's development, economic growth, urbanization, deagrarianization were the same. Nowhere else in Europe can one find such enormous social, demographic and cultural differences in so small a region, within a small population and the same state and political system. We shall briefly describe some of these differences before explaining the framework within which our respondents left Kosovo.
Kosovo is the poorest and least developed part of Serbia and Yugoslavia, although a good deal of money has been poured into it. For instance, Kosovo received 30-50% of the total investments made by the Federation's Fund for Under-Developed Regions and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. From 1955 to 1981 the social product grew at almost the same rate as that of Serbia, from 1,658 to 8,043 million (or 4.8 times), whereas in Serbia it grew from 28,661 to 248,203 million (or 5 times over). The rate of investments was always noticeably higher in Kosovo than in Serbia or Yugoslavia, from 30 to 200%.
On the other hand, Kosovo has the lowest social product per capita, from 1,969 to 5,042 million during the 1955-1981 period, as compared to 3,974 and 15 556 million for the Republic of Serbia as a whole, with growth indexes of 2.5% and 3.9% Although major progress has been made, the social standard in Kosovo still trails behind and this is tied in with its extremely high population growth which is paralyzing the effects of societal investments and economic development.
Kosovo's economy is undergoing intensive deagrarianization, which is strongly affecting the population and unemployment From 1953 to 1981 the agricultural population dropped from 0.68 to 0.38 million, and the share of active farmers in the total active population dropped from 76.6% to 23.5%, so that today it is noticeably lower than the figures for the active population of Serbia Proper (74,8%-38,l%). This places heavy pressure on employment - from 1955 to 1981 the unemployment figure rose from 2,426 to 71,571 or 28-fold (as compared to 17-fold in Serbia Proper) The employment figure rose from 42,808 to 189,248, or 4.4 times over (as compared to three-fold in Serbia Proper), increasing the number of unemployed to every 100 employed from 5.9 to 37.8. Along with the process of deagrarianization, further heavy pressure for jobs came from the very young age structure of the population flooding the job market This pressure would have been even greater were it not for the fact that Kosovo's female population has an extremely low level of employment, 14% of working-age women, as compared to 60.3% in Serbia Proper.
With its extremely high population growth, Kosovo went from being the least densely to the most densely populated region of Serbia.
A characteristic of Kosovo's is its very dense network of small communities. The average distance between them is only 2.9 kilometers, with an average population of 1,097 per community, and 754 in rural communities. This poses major obstacles to the existence and building of post offices, schools, clinics, shops and other elements of the infrastructure, especially in communities with up to 299 inhabitants, which in 1981 numbered 379 or one out of every four.
Kosovo has a total of 26 urban communities whose population in 1981 accounted for 32.5% of the total. The level of urbanization is the lowest in the country (in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina the urban population accounted for 54.1% and in Serbia Proper 47.8%). This sluggish urbanization from only 14.6% in 1953 is due to the exceptionally high 61% growth in the rural population from 1953 to 1981, as compared to the rest of Serbia where the rural population steadily decreased An especially salient feature of urbanization in Kosovo is the low share of the population in mixed rural-urban communities; urbanization is still concentrated in Kosovo, as compared to other parts of Serbia where it is dispersed. Hence, the relative growth of the urban population is greatest here, and increased four-fold from 1953 to 1981 (as compared to double in other regions), with countless consequences for the way of life in cities and towns.
From 1921 to 1981 Yugoslavia's population increased from 12.5 million to 22.4 million (Table 1), giving a total growth index of 178.7.
During the same period, the population of the Republic of Serbia almost doubled, from 4.8 million to 9.3 million, giving a growth index of 193.2.
During the period under consideration, the population of Kosovo doubled twice: from 432,000 to 816,000 during the 1921-1953 period, and then again from 816,000 to 1.5 million during the 1953-1981 period. Abstracting the period that includes World War II (1931-1948, wherein the 131,8 index was higher than in any other part of Yugoslavia), the annual growth rate was in excess of 2% and at times climbed to more than 3%.
In the wake of these varied growth rates, the Kosovo population's share in the total population of the Republic of Serbia kept increasing, from 8.9 in 1921 and 11.1 in 1948 to 17.0% in the last 1981 census. At the same time, the growth of the Province's population steadily increased its share in the overall growth of the Republic of Serbia, from 13.2% during the 1921-1931 period, to 27.8% in 1948-1953, and 39.1% in 1971-1981. Kosovo Province accounts for only 12.3% of the area of the Republic of Serbia and, as we said earlier, with its population density (during the 1948-1981 period) increasing from 66.6 to 145.5 inhabitants per one square kilometer, it is (since 1971) the most densely populated region in Yugoslavia, which is in total contradiction with its level of economic development.
1. Growth in the Population of Yugoslavia, Republic of Serbia and the Autonomous Province of Kosovo
|Population in thousands|
|SR Serbia w/o Kosovo||SAP Kosovo|
|Average growth rate in %|
|Source: Demographic statistics 1985, Belgrade 1988|
The reason for this population explosion, which is to be found today only in some non-European countries, is the natural increment and its steady rise in absolute terms (Graph 1).
2. Birth Rate, Death Rate and Natural Increment in the Province of Kosovo
|Births||Number Deaths||Increase||Rate Birth||Rate Deaths||Increase|
|Source: Demographic statistics 1985, Belgrade 1988|
In contrast to the very sharp fall of the natural increment in other parts of the Republic of Serbia and Yugoslavia, in Kosovo in 1985 it was almost double the 1950 figure: 42,099 versus 22,231. This increase is due in part to the steady decline in the number of deaths and in the death rate, and to the very strong increase in the expected average life span (which in 1950-1985 increased from 48.6 to 66.3 years of age for men, and from 45.2 to 70.3 years of age for women). But the decline in the death rate and the Province's own socio-economic development did not touch the other component, birth, because the number of births kept growing from year to year, keeping the birth rate at an exceptionally high level, despite a certain registered decrease.
Because the number of births and absolute natural increase steadily declined in other parts of the Republic of Serbia, and in Yugoslavia as a whole. Kosovo's share therein markedly increased. In 1953 and 1981 births in Kosovo accounted for 18.5% and 31.7% respectively of the total number of births in the Republic of Serbia, and the natural increment of the population accounted for 18.5% and 60.3% respectively for those years.
Regions with a high population increment, surrounded by regions with a lower population growth rate, are usually areas of emigration and the situation in Kosovo should have encouraged more emigration to other parts of the country. Although this did happen, the number of those who left was relatively small in comparison with the growth rate of the population. The difference between growth and the natural increment of the population in Kosovo from 1953 to 1981 was 150,000, while the natural increment was 856,000. A particular characteristic of the low migration balance figure and emigration from Kosovo is its ethnic selectiveness and the huge differences in the emigration rates of certain ethnic groups within its population. This difference alone would be enough to instill changes in the ethnic make-up of the region; coupled with differences in the natural population increment of ethnic groups it brought major changes that took an entirely different turn from trends in all other parts of the country.
Kosovo's population is very young, it has a progressive age structure, and is constantly being rejuvenated, thereby setting it apart from trends in other parts of Serbia. Children under the age of 14 account for more than 40% of the total population and from 1961 to 1981 the average age dropped from 25.6 to 24.2 years of age; in other regions the share of children is low and steadily declining, the average age is high and steadily increasing (in Serbia Proper 31.2 and 35.4 years of age).
This age structure, affects the size and growth of the working age population, and will only increase the economic difficulties of finding employment.
Outstanding progress has been made since the war in literacy and education. Until liberation from Turkish rule, the population of Kosovo was almost completely illiterate, with a 95.5% illiteracy rate among people over the age of twelve in 1921. By 1953 this figure had dropped to 58.0% and in 1981 it declined to 17.6%, but it is still the highest in Serbia and in Yugoslavia, and is being maintained not only by the illiteracy of the small older population, but by the children dropping out of compulsory schooling. Differences between men and women are striking as well: in the case of men the literacy rate has been reduced from 38% to 9.4% and in the case of women from 72.1% to 26.4%.
The institutional development of secondary and higher education in Kosovo quickly increased the educated population from 20.6% (15 and older to 22.2%), which is almost equal to that of Vojvodina Province (where the illiterate population accounts for 5.8% of the total). High illiteracy on the one hand and the rapid growth of the educated population in Kosovo on the other constitute a typical example of the expansion of education in an under-developed community. In 1981 in Kosovo, there were 140 students to every 100 inhabitants between the ages of 20 and 29 (in Serbia there were 123 and in Yugoslavia 107 students to every 100 inhabitants). The differences in the literacy of men as compared to women are very pronounced.
The population in Kosovo is one of those rare cases where there have always been more men than women, not only because of the very young age structure but also because until 1966 the death rate among women was higher than among men, especially in early childhood and during childbearing age.
The lack of education among the female population in Kosovo is coupled with the very low level of its economic activity during employable age, from 18.2% in 1953 to 14.3% with a trend that strongly departs from the trend in Serbia (in Serbia Proper the level of activity among working-age women increased from 54.9% to 60.3%). The decline in activity among the female population of Kosovo is compounded by the departure of ethnic groups that have a higher level of activity among women (Serbs, Montenegrins, Yugoslavs, Croats) and the negligible level of this activity among ethnic Albanians. The Albanian female population has no tradition of being active in farming on the family land. Hence, in 1981, women accounted for 53.6% of the active farming population in Serbia Proper, but only 8.3% in Kosovo.
The social and family status of Albanian women (a group that largely determines the traits of the population of Kosovo) is still strongly influenced by tribal custom ordinaces, collectively known as the Canon of Lek. A purchase price is paid for the bride, a dowry (in other parts of Serbia the dowry came from the bride), the woman is totally subservient to the man and has no right to decide on her marriage. "An Albanian woman has no inheritance from her parents, from either the property or the home - the Canon considers women as a surplus in the house".*
* The Canon of Lek is a collection of custom ordinances compiled and codified by Shtjefan Gjeqovi, a Catholic priest /1874-1929/. It was first printed in 1941 in Italian in Rome. The first Serbo-Croatian edition came out in 1986 in Zagreb. The quote is taken from article 20 of the third volume, "On Marriages"
Hence, for instance, Kosovo is the only part of the country where when parents divorce the children are given into the custody of the father, because the mother has no material means of support outside the family. A husband who kills his wife for infidelity is not subject to punishment; if she kills somebody, retribution is taken against not her but the male members of her parents' family.
Since the only way for a woman to have the material means of support is in her parents' or husband's family, marriage is a universal phenomenon among the adult female population. Contrary to trends in Serbian society, in kosovo.netmon law and even polygamous marriage is on the rise. At the end of World War II, the birth rate for illegitimate children was the lowest in the country, 1.8%, but it soon grew to 12-13% and was the highest in Serbia. However, these are children born not out of wedlock but in common-law marriages; the norms of legal marriage greatly change the woman's status in relation to that of a common-law marriage. Therefore, illegitimate children are recognized by their fathers in 60% to 70% of the cases.
There is a strong generational continuity in families; in 1981 only 14.6% lived without their children (the children had left the parents), whereas in Vojvodina, Serbia's other constituent province, this figure was 30.6%. Life outside the family ("single households") is rare in Kosovo, accounting for 2.7% of the total number of households (as compared to 16.4% in Vojvodina), and the average size of the household increased from 1948-1981 from 6.35 to 6.92 members, yet another tendency that runs contrary to the general trend of households being scaled down to the family nucleus. In 1961 households with five and more members accounted for 65.4%, and in 1981 this figure was 71.3% (households with more than seven members accounted for 39.5% and 46.3% respectively).
As can be seen, despite the vast changes that took place in the economy, education and death rate of Kosovo's population they had little or no affect on the family. This disparity points to the strong, specific influence of ethno-cultural factors which in the family nullify the effects of socio-economic development.
The ethnic* make-up of Kosovo's population in the more distant past is known to us from historical documents; our information about the period between the two world wars, within the frameworks of Yugoslavia, comes from indirect appraisals and ethnological-historical studies.
* By ethnic group we mean a group with a common distant origin, history, language and culture, and an awareness of communality. This definition differs from the ethnological and sociological term, but is sufficiently broad to encompass all divisions in Yugoslav science, practice and the statistical system, which use designations such as nation, nationality, minority groups and ethnic groups.
From 1921 to 1931, Atanasije Urosevic* studied the origins of the population of Kosovo and Kosovo Pomoravlje. His research pointed up the immigrant origin of the Albanian population in these parts. He registered a total of 8,461 households (families), out of which various Albanian currents accounted for 5,806 or 68.6% of the population. He listed the tribes they belonged to and places they came from.
* Atanasije Urosevic, Etnicki procesi na Kosovu tokom turske vladavine, SANU, Belgrade 1987.
The ethnic composition of present-day Kosovo Province can be assessed only indirectly for the period between the two wars, through data concerning the inhabitants' mother tongue. The 1921 Census lists 439,000 people as having Albanian for their mother tongue; in 1931 this figure was already 505,000 for the whole country, which means 280,000 to 332,000 for the Province of Kosovo, or 64% and 59% respectively. The drop in their share, despite the tangible growth in their number, is due to the arrival of the Serbian and Montenegrin population - both the return of refugees from World War I and the spontaneous and organized settlement of this sparsely populated area (in 1921 there were 41.3 people to 1 square kilometer of land).
During World War II, Yugoslavia was carved up into the German, Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian occupation zones and most of Kosovo came within the borders of the fascist "Greater Albania". Serbs and Montenegrins again fled under the threat of direct extermination. The other aspect of change in the ethnic composition was the steady incoming stream of settlers from Albania. We do not know the numbers involved.
We can get a better idea of the postwar changes in the ethnic make-up by looking at the Population Census.
3. Breakdown of Kosovo's Population by Number of inhabitants Nationality
|Structure in %|
|Average annual growth rate in %|
It should be said that regardless of changes in terminology from census to census (nationality, ethnic membership, undecided), the actual content of the operational statistical definition did not change; ethnic membership is registered subjectively, by personally declaring membership. Hence, changes in these declarations are possible and in Yugoslavia frequent; the reasons can be rooted in different personal and social conditions.*
* It is a known fact, for instance, that a certain number of people of German and Hungarian extraction did not declare themselves as such in the first postwar census in 1948. Regulations concerning the emigration to Turkey of ethnic Turks led to countless changes in the declarations of Moslems and Albanians, resulting in a huge increase in the number of Turks from 1948-1953. The new classification of "Yugoslav - nationally undeclared" (introduced in 1961) increased its number of 1.2 million people of different ethnic origin by 1981. The number of Romanies changed illogically from one census to the next, in the wake of pronounced changes in declaration. A separate category of changes are those due to social pressures which were exerted in some areas (including Kosovo it seems) in connection with certain censuses.
The first thing to be said is that the ethnic composition of the population is heterogeneous and changed over the years. This change moved in the opposite direction of the general Yugoslav trend. Namely, whereas all other republics showed a pronounced tendency of reducing the share of the largest group and an increase in heterogeneity, in Kosovo, the share of the largest group grew.
This ethnic homogenization after the war has proven to be a salient feature of society in the Autonomous Province of Kosovo.
Albanians account for the largest group in the population, with an exceptionally high growth rate: from 0.48 to 1.2 million during the 1948 to 1981 period, thereby increasing their share in the population from 68.5% to 77.4% (equalling the share of settler Albanian houses registered by A. Urosevic and slightly higher than the figures given by the 1921 census). The second largest group is the Serbian, whose number slightly increased during the observed period of time (with an index of 121.8 as compared to 246.0 among the Albanians), but whose share diminished from 23.6 % to only 13.2%. Montenegrins were, at the beginning of this period, the third largest group, but their number decreased and share dropped from 3.9% to only 1.7% so that in the last census they were fewer in number than the Moslems and Romanies.
As for changes in the numerical size of other ethnic groups in Kosovo, pronounced variations can be observed among the Turks, Moslems and Romanies, which cannot be explained by differences in the natural increment. At work here, as in the case of "Yugoslavs", are changes in declarations and possible migration. Special mention here is due to the small group of Croats which registered a constant growth, but which was sharply reduced by stagnation during the past decade, something that is unproportionate to this group's natural increment.
A look at the changing numbers of the three groups of Albanians, Serbs and Montenegrins during the 1948-1961 period shows that changes in their structure followed general Yugoslav lines, with a slight drop in fee share of the largest group, the Albanians: their average annual growth rate during this period was 1.29, the Serbians' was 1.32 and the Montenegrins' as high as 2.23. It should be said that changes in the number of Albanians from 1948-1953 were also affected by changes in declaration, because this same period saw a demographically impossible increase in number of Turks, in the absence of which the growth rate of the Albanian population would have been higher.*
* Assuming that the rise in the number of Albanians was diminished by 30,000 people who opted for the Turkish group, the average growth rate would have been 213, approximately the same as the growth rate of the Montenegrin group, and its share in the structure would have remained virtually unchanged.
From 1961 onwards there was a clear tendency toward increasing the share of the largest group in the population, a process of ethnic homogeneity, at a time when the opposite process of spreading ethnic heterogeneity was gaining strength. in all of Yugoslavia's republics.
With regard to the changing numbers of some ethnic groups in the eighties, migrations played a very important part in some cases, along with the specific factor of changes inpersonal declarations.
Sudden variation resulting from changes in declarations of ethnic membership are easily noticeable in the numbers of Romanies, Turks and Moslems. These variations, with far less relative importance, are also carried over to the number of Albanians, especially as the above groups are of the Moslem religion. The sudden leap in the number of Turks in 1953 is attributed to the regulations that existed at the time regarding emigration to Turkey, to the revival of the historical emigration of the Moslem population in a Christian state during the 19th and 20th centuries; the tangible decline in their number in 1961 is attributed to emigration from the country. As for "Yugoslavs", they too declined in number; in Kosovo their share in the population is the lowest in the country, as compared to their rapid growth otherwise, especially in other parts of the Republics of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4. Changes in the Number of Albanians, Serbs and Montenegrins Growth Factor Assessments 1971-1981
|No. of inhabitants|
|Changes on 1971-1981||310,568||-18,766||-4,527|
|Assessment of natural increment 1971-19801||320,502||34,236||2,726|
|Migration balance according to 1981 Census2||-1,495||-39,037||-6,205|
|Average rates 1971/1981 in %|
|Natural increment assessment||3.00||1.52||0..93|
|Migration balance according to 1981 Census||-0.00||-178||-2.89|
1 The difference between the number of live born children according to the mother's nationality and the number of deaths according to nationality.
2 The difference between immigrants and emigrants 1971-1981 at the time of the Census.
3 Changes in declaration and registration error
Assessments of the factors in the changing numbers can be made for the last decade covered by the Census.
First of all, major differences can be observed in the natural increment and its affect on population growth: it is twice as high among Albanians as among Serbs and treble the figure for Montenegrins. These differences are due, above all, to different attitudes to reproduction, and among Serbs and Montenegrins (to a smaller extent) to deformations in the age structure because of the exodus of the young population.
However, based on natural increment, the number of both Serbs and Montenegrins would increase.
The growth in the number of Albanians is dominated by an extremely high natural increment, with an average rate of 3%, and a negligible negative migration balance. The natural increment of the Serbian group was smaller than the negative migration balance, and the low increment of the Montenegrin group was twice as low as the negative migration balance. Hence the drop in these two groups' size due predominantly to migration.
By linking up growth, natural increment and the migration balance one obtains an assessment of the other factors (changed declarations of ethnic membership and possible mistakes in registration). In all three ethnic groups they had a negative affect on the growth of the population which was relatively very small among Albanians, noticeable among Montenegrins and very strong among Serbs. However, it is hard to assume so many changes of declaration among the Serbs and Montenegrins and it is more likely that this is due to various mistakes in registering the number of people who moved from Kosovo to other parts of the country.*
* In registering migration the Census starts from the last place of residence; a number of migrants moving between the republics and provinces may be lost if they again move within the territory where they have immigrated. Our analysis would need data on the place of birth and current place of residence.
A look at the migration balance regarding resettlement (1971- 1981) by the population of Kosovo shows the following:
|Immigrant||Emigrant||Balance||Structure of balance (in %)|
Therefore, in Kosovo migrations are ethnically very differentiated, emigration is the main course taken, but with major differences among the ethnic groups. If we couple the number of emigrants in 1971-1981 with the number of members of the corresponding group in 1971, we get an emigration coefficient of -5.6 to every 100 inhabitants for the entire population of Kosovo Province, only -0.9 for Albanians, -18.55 for Serbs, -22.4 for Montenegrins and -18.8 for members of all other groups together.
These systematic differences registered between 1961 and 1971 mean that research on migrations must focus on their ethnic component.
In terms of the ethnic composition of the population and changes during the 1961-1981 period*, Kosovo's communes show different degrees of heterogeneity; the number and relative share of Albanians shows a general tendency of rising. The number of Serbs and Montenegrins, meanwhile, is, with rare exceptions, declining, and their share in the total population shows a general tendency of diminishing. In addition to differences in the natural increment and migrations across the borders of the province, there are also inner migrations, with Serbs and Montenegrins tending to gather in a small circle of communes where they would be greater in number, and Albanians moving to communes where Serbs and Montenegrins were expected to move out.
* Previous censuses used, for data on ethnic composition, the administrative units valid at the time, i. e. districts, and these were not later compared with the subsequent units used. Moreover, there are no figures for 1953 and 1948 per settlement so that regrouping (which was done for the 1961 figures) is not possible. However changes in the share of Serbs, Montenegrins and Albanians were negligible during the 1948-1961 period, and thus the figures for the 1961-1981 period can be used as the basis of observation.
Ethnically homogenous communes in 1961 included Glogovac, Decani and Kacanik, where Albanians accounted for 90% and more of the population, and Leposavic where 91% of the population was Serbian. These communes show the fewest changes in ethnic composition by 1981, along with a rise in the number and share of the Albanian population, and drop in the Serbian and Montenegrin population (see appendices 8, 9, 10). In the communes of Djakovica, Orahovac, Podujevo, Srbica and Suva Reka the Albanian group accounted for 80-89% of the population in 1961 and for 90% and more in 1981. This increased the number of ethnically homogenous Albanian-populated communes in Kosovo from three to eight, and to this number one can add Vucitrn and Klina, where the Albanian population increased from 70-72% in 1961 to 85-87% in 1981 (see graphs 2 and 3).
The communes of Vitina, Pec, Prizren, Urosevac and Lipljan had in 1961 a heterogeneous ethnic make-up, with Albanians accounting for 60-69% of the population. In each of these communes, the Albanian population grew to account for 70 per cent and more, the exception being Prizren, where from 1961-1981 not only did the number of Albanians double, but the number of Turks and Moslems trebled.
In 1961, the following communes had a heterogeneous ethnic make-up, with Albanians accounting for 50-59% of the population, and Serbs and Montenegrins for a high per cent of their own: Gnjilane (35.3% Serbs), Istok (26.9% Serbs and 11.3% Montenegrins), Kosovska Kamenica (40.5% Serbs) and Pristina (33.8% Serbs and 4.0% Montenegrins). In 1961 the lowest share of Albanians was in the commune of Titova Mitrovica, 49.8%, with Serbs accounting for 40.9% and Montenegrins for 3.8%. These communes provide, relatively speaking, the strongest examples of a decline in ethnic heterogeneity and increase in the share of the Albanian population (from 64.9% in Titova Mitrovica to 76.3% in Pristina).
Lastly, in 1961 the commune of Dragas had a population consisting of 44.5% Albanians and 56.4% Moslems; by 1981 these figures were 53.2% Albanians and 46.6% Moslems.
In all these kosovo.netmunes, the percentage of Serbs, and Montenegrins, declined. Let us examine the changes in actual numbers.
Serbs were numerically concentrated in the kosovo.netmunes of Pristina, Titova Mitrovica, Urosevac, Gnjilane, Kosovska Kamenica, Leposavic, Prizren and Vitina, with a total Serbian population of 169,840 (ranging from 10 to 34 thousand). In 1981 they numbered a total of 159,312, marking a drop of 6.2 %. On the other hand, we have communes where in 1961 there were less than a 1,000 Serbs: Glogovac, Decani, Dragas and Kacanik with a total of 1,915; in 1981 that number was down to 630, marking a decline of 66.7%. In between these two groups are communes whose Serbian population declined from 55,252 to 49,548, marking a drop of 11.4%.
In 1961 Montenegrins were numerically concentrated in the communes of Pec (12,701 or 33.8% of the total number of Montenegrins in Kosovo), Pristina, Titova Mitrovica, Istok, Decani and Djakovica, numbering a total of 28,692. In 1981 their number had dropped to 22,879, a decrease of 20.2%. The number of Montenegrins in other kosovo.netmunes amounted to 8,896 in 1961 and 4,131 in 1981, marking a decline of 53.6%.
It should be said that there were some exceptions to the general trend toward a decline in the number of Serbs and Montenegrins. In Pristina, for instance, their number increased during the 1961-1981 period, and in Prizren their numbered remained unchanged. The number of Serbs stayed the same in the commune of Lipljan, and increased in Orahovac; it increased in Gnjilane, Pec and Mitrovica from 1961-1971 but decreased from 1971-1981. Regardless of these changes, however, their relative share in each of these communes declined. Nonetheless, these deviations from the general rule allow us to assume less frequent migrations from and to these communes within Kosovo, due to both their number therein and the different time that disturbances in ethnic relations and forms of discrimination spread.
If we look at the communes where the number of Serbs increased or remained the same during the 1961-1981 period (i.e. Pristina, Orahovac, Gnjilane, Lipljan and Prizren), we see that in 1961 they were inhabited by 35.3% of the Serbs in Kosovo, and by 1981 this number was 42.5%. In the case of Montenegrins, such communes (Pristina, Prizren, Pec, Titova Mitrovica and Djakovica) accounted for 60.9% of this ethnic group in the Province in 1961, and 76.5% in 1981.
The lower the number and relative share of Serbs and Montenegrins in the population of the communes, the sharper and sooner the decline in their number. Along with the general drop in their number is a narrowing of their territorial dispersal in the Province, and an increase in the concentration of their increasingly small number in an ever-smaller number of communes.
Deviations in certain communes (for instance, Djakovica regarding Montenegrins, Orahovac in relation to Serbs) can usually be explained by the settlement patterns within the commune, meaning in a smaller number of settlements and with these two groups combining in number.
We shall examine changes in the settlements in terms of their sum total.
In 1961 there were 147 settlements without a single Albanian inhabitant; there were just as many in 1981, although they were not necessarily the same settlements. The majority of these settlements are in the communes of Leposavic, Titova Mitrovica and Kosovska Kamenica The next group consists of 37 settlements which numbered 604 Albanians in 1961 and not a single Albanian in 1981 These were usually Albanians living in Serbian settlements whose ethnic make-up did not change. In the 139 settlements whose Albanian population decreased, all are settlements showing a general decline in their number of (usually Albanian, and less often Serbian) inhabitants, or with a complete turnabout in the number of Albanians and Moslems during the 1961-1981 period. In all other settlements the Albanian population grew.
The number of settlements without a single Serbian inhabitant increased from 410 to 670. These are usually settlements with a small number of Serbs to start with, although in some cases the population was Serbian or predominantly Serbian in 1961 and Albanian in 1981. The number of Serbs increased in 200 out of the Province's 1,439 settlements (these are 14 municipal centers, while the other settlements are ethnically Serbian or predominantly Serbian), and decreased in 600 settlements. Some of them retained the same ethnic make-up (Serbian and predominantly Serbian) while others saw major changes with the growth in the number and share of Albanians.
From 1961-1981 Montenegrins disappeared from 243 settlements, which, combined with the 760 settlements that had no Montenegrin inhabitants in 1961, gives a total of 1,003 settlements without a single Montenegrin inhabitant. Usually these were individual settlers, but often enough their number was considerable and their departure changes the ethnic composition. In settlements (48) where the number of Montenegrins increased, their share in the population did not.
There are several conclusions one can draw from looking at how the population is distributed in these types of settlements. First of all, the circle of settlements with Serbs and Montenegrins narrowed down, while the number of settlements with an increase in the Albanian population grew.
Secondly, with the dispersion of the Albanian population goes the concentration of the Serbian and Montenegrin population in an ever-smaller number of settlements. This is especially evident among the Montenegrins; in the settlements showing an increased number (and appearance), only 14 % of the total number of Kosovo's Montenegrins lived there in 1961, but 66.9% lived there in 1981. This trend is also evident among the Serbs, whose number increased from 50.7 to 64.0% of their total number in Kosovo.
Thirdly, changes in the ethnic make-up swept all parts of Kosovo as well as its small units of communes and settlements. In the communes, the Albanization process was strongest there where the number and percentage of Serbs was smaller, but in the case of settlements the biggest changes in the ethnic make-up occurred in those which had an ethnically mixed population. This meant the spreading growth of settlements with a single ethnic population, especially there where the Albanian population was most numerous, but also in a number of settlements which had a Serbian and Serbo-Montenegrin population.
Even if these trends happened to a backdrop of relatively favorable ethnic relations, they would require more detailed study, wherein the "factors of attractions: would certainly be important. However, we shall see that the main reasons for moving out were related to Kosovo itself, to discrimination against, the Serbs and Montenegrins. In addition to the extremely high natural increment of the Albanian population (leading to ethnic homogenization through natural renewal), we have the exodus of the Serbs and Montenegrins. Their departure is conditioned by social relations in Kosovo, and we cannot but wonder whether the high birth rate and sudden drop in the death rate, along with major changes in economic development and overall cultural conditions, were not also influenced by society as a means to achieve certain ends.
When examining the living conditions of emigrant families before they left Kosovo and Metohija, one must first determine their personal and family circumstances at the time. When linked up with the same circumstances of the Serbian and Montenegrin groups in Kosovo Province, and Kosovo's population at large, the picture acquires a broader social framework. Subsequent comparisons of pre-emigration circumstances and circumstances dating from the time under observation will show changes in the emigrant population brought on by time and change of environment.
Only then can we move on to the main point of the study, which is to gain insight into the emigrants' ethnic, social and political conditions of life and work. Unlike the first part of the analysis, which is based on factual information, this part will largely be based on spontaneous replies by the respondents, with their statements, assessments and views. Theoretically speaking, therefore, there is the risk of subjectivizing personal histories and circumstances in Kosovo, but this does not make it any the less reliable or valid a part of the research, because there is a strong connection with the factual part of the analysis. If there are cases where the respondents' point of view altered the picture of life in Kosovo, it did so primarily in one direction: in the direction of toning down the difficulties and pressures to which they were exposed.
A look at the territorial framework of life in Kosovo and in Metohija prior to emigration is meant not only to give a description of the population but also to depict some of the broader social relationships relevant to the emigration process. Furthermore, by comparing the population in Kosovo prior to emigration and the population of Serbs and Montenegrins in the Province as a whole, one can check whether and to what extent the sample we chose and questioned in Serbia Proper can be considered sufficiently representative of the Province as well.
We shall examine these issues in terms of the type of settlement as a general division of society, in terms of the ethnic make-up of the settlement of emigration as the immediate framework, and in terms of the ethnic make-up of the commune to which the settlement belongs.
Our respondents came from 170 settlements in Kosovo, out of which (according to the 1971 census) 140 were villages, 15 towns and 15 mixed rural-urban settlements. Half the households in the sample, i.e. 253, left villages, 200 left towns, and 47 left mixed settlements (which are not numerous in the Province). Comparisons with the situation in the Province can be made not via households but via the number of household members who emigrated: 1,123 left villages, 801 left towns and 185 left mixed settlements.
The Serbian, and especially the Montenegrin population was more urbanized than the total population of the Province. A comparison of the Serbian and Montenegrin population in the Province in 1971 according to the type of settlement and structure of the sample, shows a strong concordance in the representation of the rural and urban populations, with bigger differences in representation of the population from mixed urban-rural settlements. Therefore, the structure of the sample according to the type of settlement (in terms of the share of the urban and rural population) is markedly different from these same shares in Kosovo, but largely approaches the traits of the Serbian and Montenegrin groups.
5. Share of the Population According to Type of Settlement in Kosovo in 1971 and Sample (in %)
|Total population / AP Kosovo||26.9||7.7||63.4||100.0|
|Serbian & Montenegrin together||338||14.2||52.0||100.0|
The Province of Kosovo had 22 communes, only two of which had no one represented in the sample. The two communes are Dragas and Glogovac (the sample does include people born in Glogovac who, before emigrating from Kosovo, had moved to another commune), where the number of Serbs and Montenegrins was very small.
The majority of households and household members from the sample lived in the commune of Pristina (Table 6), followed by the communes of Podujevo, Gnjilane, Kosovska Kamenica and Urosevac, Vitina and Vucitrn. The smallest number of emigrant households (virtually isolated cases) came from the communes of Decani, Orahovac, Leposavic and Srbica. The numerical order of emigrant households and emigrant household members is almost the same, because the differences in the average size of the households were small, especially when observing only emigrant household members.
The ratio between the settlement and number of Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo on the one hand, and their representation in the sample on the other, is examined by first assuming that the number of emigrants from the communes in the sample is primarily conditioned by the number of Serbs and Montenegrins in the total population of the commune in 1971. In that case, the territorial distribution of Serbs and Montenegrins in the Province would be balanced, or with minor differences transposed to the territorial distribution of the emigrants. This, to all intents and purposes, would mean that the conditions and factors prompting or compelling emigration existed equally in Kosovo's communes, regardless of special circumstances. (Graph 4).
6. Number of Emigrant Households and Number of Households Members per Commune in Kosovo
|No. of Households||No. of households members||Average no. of members in household|
|Total||Av. No. of members||Total||Av. No. of members||Total||Emig. No. of members|
Note: the sample does not have emigrants from the communes of Glogovac and Dragas
According to the number of Serbs and Montenegrins registered in 1971, the communes can be divided into three groups: less than 10,000 members of the Serbian and Montenegrin nationality, between 10,000-19,000 and 20,000 and over. In this third group are five communes (Gnjilane, Urosevac, Titova Mitrovica, Pec and Pristina, with the most developed centers in the province). There were five communes numbering 10,000 to 19,000 Serbs and Montenegrins (Kosovska Kamenica, Leposavic, Lipljan, Prizren and Istok), while in the remaining 12 communes their number ranged from around 100 to 9,999.
Table 7 shows that the distribution of Serbs and Montenegrins by groups of communes according to their number differs appreciably from the population distribution of the emigrant household members. Relatively speaking, the smallest difference between Kosovo and the sample is in the communes that have the largest number of Serbs and Montenegrins, 42.1'% and 47.1% respectively. There is a bigger difference along these same lines in the group of communes with a Serbian and Montenegrin population of 10,000 to 19,000, where they accounted for 33.8% of their compatriots in Kosovo but only 26.3% of the sample. However, the group of communes with the smallest number of Serbs and Montenegrins had them accounting for 19.1% of their total number, whereas in the sample they accounted for 31.5%
7. Distribution of Serbs and Montenegrins in, 1971 and Emigrant Households and Household Members in the Sample
|Communes of Kosovo||Communes of Kosovo||Members Emigrant||Households Emigrant|
|No. of Serbs & Montenegrins||22||259,181||2,109||500|
|I up to 9,999||12||19.1||31.5||34.4|
|III 20,000 and more||5||47.1||42.1||49.6|
|% of Serbs & Montenegrins|
|I Up to 9.9%||9||8.8||16.9||16.2|
|II 10 %- 19 %||2||7.8||8.8||10.8|
|III 20 %-29 %||7||31.5||30.0||47.8|
|IV 30 % and over||4||51.8||44.3||25.2|
Therefore, the starting premise is incorrect, because the above ratios belie it.
However, let us check this premise one more time by dividing the communes according to the percentual share of Serbs and Montenegrins in the total population. Although the number and share are interconnected, they are not the same: 48,000 Serbs and Montenegrins in the commune of Pristina accounted for 31% of its population, while 16,000 in Kosovska Kamenica accounted for 36% of that commune's population. The communes are divided into four groups according to the share of Serbs and Montenegrins together in the commune's total population in 1971. The first group consists of 9 communes (Glogovac, Decani, Dragas, Djakovica, Kacanik, Orahovac, Podujevo, Srbica, Suva Reka), with the lowest share, up to 9.9%; the second group has only two communes with a share of 10% to 19% (Vucitrn and Prizren); the third group numbers 7 communes (Vitina, Istok, Klina, Lipljan, Pec, Pristina and Urosevac); the fourth group, with the remaining 4 communes, is where the share of the Serbs and Montenegrins in the total population was 30% and more.
Here again, the premise proved incorrect, because the lower the share of the Serbs and Montenegrins in the commune's population, the more emigrant members there were in the sample, with extremely marked differences at the ends of the pole - 8.8% of Kosovo's Serbs and Montenegrins lived in the group of communes where their share in the population was the lowest, whereas in the sample they accounted for double that figure, 16.9%; half the total number of Serbs and Montenegrins in the Province lived in the four communes where they accounted for 30% and more of the population, whereas their share in the sample was less than that, i.e. 44.3%. The differences increase even more when one compares the distribution of Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo with the number of emigrant households, where the sample shows a very large number of families that moved out of communes where the number and share of Serbs and Montenegrins was the lowest. The larger number represented in the sample of people who left communes with a small number and low percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins is linked to the fact that during the period from 1961 to 1981 the number of Serbs and Montenegrins in these communes sharply declined.
This points to the following conclusion, which now serves as the premise for further analysis: the conditions and causes of emigration were not the same or did not have the same effect in every kosovo.netmune. The negative proportion between numerical size and percentage in the Kosovo population and in the sample indicates that the number of Serbs and Montenegrins and the ethnic composition of the communes were factors, in terms of both population and society, that influenced social relations and the process of emigration.
The negative ratio between the number and percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins in the population of Kosovo's communes, and in the sample, is determined by the size of the Serbian group, as numerically the largest. However, this ratio also appears when examining Montenegrin emigrants: the fewer Montenegrins there were in the group of communes, the larger the percentage of emigrants they represented from these communes in the sample. Consequently, we have confirmation of the conclusion. It is further confirmed by another aspect of these migrations: the connection between the ethnic composition of the settlement and emigration.
The numerical predominance in the sample of families that emigrated from largely Albanian settlements, and the changes in the ethnic make-up of the settlement of emigration as registered in the population census, both say the same thing, i.e. that there is a strong trend toward emigration from settlements where Serbs and Montenegrins were smaller in number, and that most often Serbs and Montenegrins left settlements where they accounted for a minority, up to 30% of the population. Here again, numerical size proved to be an important factor of emigration, as did the ethnic composition of the settlement, which shows a major connection with living conditions in Kosovo and the conditions and causes of emigration.
The following proved to be the most important aspects of the emigrants' households: size, family composition, possession of property and socio-professional structure.
The number of people in the household, i.e. its size, directly depends on two things: the family make-up and the number of children in the family or the marriage.
Prior to emigrating, the households numbered 2,521 members, or an average of 5.0, which was far below the average for Kosovo (6.6 in 1971 and 6.9 in 1981), but noticeably higher than the average for Serbia Proper (3.8 in 1971 and 3.4 in 1981). Even if the separation and break-up of households had nothing to do with emigration, their average size (of only emigrant members) would be bigger than in Serbia because of the bigger number of children in the family and broader family composition (excluding people who live outside of the family, in 1981 the average size of "single households" in Serbia Proper was 3.8 members). Had the households not broken up and separated before emigrating, together with the number of members in Serbia they would have averaged 6.2 members.
The bigger the household in Kosovo, the more often one encounters both categories, emigrants and those who remain behind: in households numbering 4 and less people, 12.1% had members who had emigrated, in households with 5-7 members, that figure was 34.5 % and in households with 8 members or more, it was 72%. Consequently, the separation and break-up of households most often occurred in large, especially multi-family households.
The family composition of the household is an extremely important factor that largely determines relations among the members of the household and everyday life. The predominant type nowadays is the single family household whose young grow up and leave to start their own families, breaking the generational continuity of the traditional family and household.
Prior to emigrating, half the households were actually one-family households consisting of parents and children, with only four cases where there was a single parent and children. There were 34 households where there were married couples, and only 14 single ones, all cases where young people had recently left their parental homes just before emigrating. There were 106 two-family households, usually the families of the father and the married son, and 61 of the households consisted of the extended family (usually one of the parents in the family of the married son), while 29 households were made up of three and more inner families.
This make-up differed noticeably from the situation in Kosovo. Excluding single households, one-family households accounted for 71.7% of the sample, and, in 1971, for 66.6% of the population of Kosovo, whereas three-family and bigger households accounted for 6.5% and 12% respectively. Obviously, the family composition of the emigrants was more modem than the social environment they left, given the social differences between the Serbian and Montenegrin and the Albanian population of the Province, conditioned by a lower degree of agrarianism and a higher degree of education and different cultural traditions.
The socio-professional composition of the households based on the occupations of its active members shows that half the households consisted purely of blue collar workers, and 100 were mixed, with some of the members being workers; 81 were made up of white collar workers, and 61 were mixed with some members being white collar workers; there were 74 farming households, and 47 mixed households where some of the active members were farmers. Thus, three-quarters of the polled households were non-agricultural before emigration, and one-quarter were agricultural. The de-agrarianization of households prior to emigration was higher than not only that in Kosovo but than that in Serbia Proper.
Of the mixed households, 36.1% had only one family, for white collar households this figure was 65.4%, worker and worker-white collar households 63.4%, and purely farming 60.8%. Abstracting the mixed households, the differences between the family composition of farming and non-fanning households are very small, indicating that many family traits (such as the number of children and tri-generational composition) were equally present in all the social strata of our sample. The traditional way of life was not the only factor contributing to the high percentage of multifamily non-farming households. Take housing conditions, for instance: socially-owned apartments are few and far between in Kosovo and hard to come by; the only way for a multifamily household to split up was to build one's own house or buy an apartment, but the social climate in Kosovo was not in the least conducive to such investments, and families that could and would build decided to do so outside of Kosovo. The other interpretation regarding the number of multifamily households can also be attributed to the social climate: households numbering several men, according to many of the respondents, felt safer and more protected. We shall return to this later.
Property is not only an economic indicator of the household but also a social sign of roots in the environment and inclusion in the relations of the settlement.
The poll shows that only 80 households did not own their living space, and out of that number 11 rented apartments (single people or young married couples that had separated from their parental families shortly before emigrating) while the remainder lived in socially-owned apartments, half of them in the capital of the Province. Only 6 households owned their own apartments (again in Pristina), and 414 lived in family houses.
Not counting the homestead itself, two-thirds or 339 households owned arable land, usually ranging from 2 to 5 hectares in size, but there were 58 households which owned 8 hectares and more. The average size of the holding was 4.9 hectares, i.e. 1,670 hectares of arable land in toto.
There are fewer farming and mixed-farming households in the sample than those that own arable land. For instance, 220 non-farming households owned land, probably a family inheritance, indicating their agricultural origin and a possible extra source of income. In the group of blue collar households, 74.7% owned land, in the group of white-and-blue collar households that figure was 54.6% and in the group of white-collar households it was 47% (Table 8). In purely farming households, 93.3% owned land; in two cases the households consisted of landless farmers, and in three cases all the land had been confiscated or bought up for other purposes, such as for the building of facilities. Instances of partial confiscation or purchasing of land were more numerous. Especially noteworthy is the fact that among land-owning households the smallest average holdings were to be found among purely farming households, just 3.9 hectares as compared to 4.4 for blue collar, 5.2 for blue-and-white-collar and 8.2 hectares for farming-blue-collar households. One might be prone to say that the size of the property influenced the social mobility of the descendents in the farming family, as well as their schooling, and that the majority of non-farming heads of family trace their roots to farming families.
8. Emigrant Households According to their Socio-Professional arid Land Holdings Composition
|Land holding in ha||Socio-professional make-up of household|
|Farming||Blue collar||White collar||Blue-&-white collar||Farming mixed||Rest||Total|
|Up to 1 ha||6||27||7||3||3||2||48|
|8.0-& more ha||10||26||5||7||10||-||58|
As can be seen from Table 8, the sources of income are quite different from the occupations of the active members of the household: in terms of occupation, 14.8% were fanning, 9.8% were mixed and 75.8% were non-farming households, whereas in terms of the sources of income, 14.8% were farming, 54% mixed and only 31.2% non-farming households, (assuming, of course, that the property brought in an income).
In trying to assess the overall importance of the professional and social composition of the analyzed households before emigration, we can say that these are households that are strongly affected by the economic and social transformation of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo. However, although their professional structure is varied and primarily non-agricultural, these households remain tied to the land and enjoyed the advantages offered in Yugoslavia by a mixed economy. With few exceptions, these households owned the roofs over their heads, which, at a time when there is a housing crisis, constitutes a major economic and social advantage. Linking up these economic facts with those about the family make-up and size of the household, we can say that this is a relatively stable group of households which was able to effectively combine the effects of economic and social transformation with the advantages of their previous situation and inheritance.
In this study, the traits of the household members can be divided into those of general significance (such as age, sex, education, employment) and those of specific significance in relation to this research (such as nationality, origin and knowledge of the Albanian language). What follows is an analysis of both groups of traits, relating to both the emigrant and non-emigrant members of households that moved.
In 1971 the average age of the household members in the sample was 24.4 for those who had emigrated, and 26.4 for those who had not. The average age of the total population of Kosovo was 23.1, as compared to Serbia Proper where it was 36.4. The sample taken from the poll was on the average, older than the population of the environment they had left, but younger than the population of the environment they were to join.
The economic activity of the households in Kosovo prior to emigration and their division into emigrant and non-emigrant parts, was at a considerably higher level than it was for Kosovo's overall population (with 34.7% active in 1961, 28 % in 1971 and only 22.6% in 1981.) This can be attributed to the above-mentioned age profile, and to the higher level of activity by Serbian and Montenegrin women than that of the overall female population of Kosovo.
9. Household Members in Kosovo According to Activity and Occupation Before Emigrating
|No. of Members||Structure in %|
|People w. incomes||59||34||25||2.3||1.6||11.8|
|US and SS workers||228||190||38||23.2||24.6||17.2|
|S and HS workers||299||254||45||30.5||33.0||22.0|
|White collar, ES & HiS||137||99||38||13.9||12.8||18.0|
|White collar, JC & U||175||132||34||17.8||17.1||20.3|
|Note. M - migrants, R - remained in Kosovo, US - unskilled, SS - semi-skilled, S - skilled, HS - highly skilled, ES - elementary school, HiS - high school, JC - junior college, U - university.|
With regard to the occupations of the active population, blue collar workers accounted for more than half of the sample, although they accounted for only 26.4% of the total active population of Kosovo in 1971. White collar workers accounted for 31.7 % of the sample, as compared to 14.4% of Kosovo's population. Unfortunately, there are no data on nationality vis-a-vis occupation, which would have allowed us to see the extent to which the composition of the sample corresponds with that of the Serbian and Montenegrin group in Kosovo, and to check the hypothesis that certain segments of the social stratification were not equally swept up by the process of emigration. The low share of farmers in the sample could be due to the deagrarianization of the Serbian and particularly Montenegrin population, or to the fact that farmers, especially from Serbian or mostly Serbian settlements, found it harder to pick-up and leave. It should be said that later analyses will show that farmers in mixed and predominantly Albanian settlements were exposed to the harshest forms of pressure to move out.
Characteristic differences emerge from a comparison of those members who emigrated and those who did not. Members who did not emigrate with the household were not only older on the average, but also included a markedly higher share of farmers. This is understandable because it was the older generation that largely stayed behind while young members and children were the ones who left.
Out of the 848 active non-farmers among the household members in Kosovo, 539 or 65.5% were employed before emigration, and one third of the labor force was unemployed. This means that to every 100 members employed there were 70 looking for jobs, which is a much higher degree of unemployment than in The total population of Kosovo in 1971 (where out of 107 thousand employed, 22 thousand were unemployed, meaning there were 21 unemployed to every 100 employed), and even in 1981 (72 thousand unemployed to 188 thousand employed, or 38 unemployed to every 100 employed).
In other words, before emigration the households had an abundance of members looking for jobs, and they were mostly the ones who would later emigrate. The situation was not the same in every household, because 145 did not have a single employed member, 208 had only one and 147 had several members employed.
Before emigration, 382 people from 243 households were looking for work. Out of that figure 108 people from 71 households found jobs and 274 did not, although it is not unusual to wait eight to ten years for a Job. Moreover, noticeably more jobs were found during the 1965-1975 period than a decade later. Added to this is the fact that many of the Jobless did not even try to find work in Kosovo because they knew that they would not get it, especially the young who had completed their schooling close to the date of the household s emigration.
Hence, job-hunting emerges as a frequent reason for emigrating, and at first glance one might think that unemployment, as a classical reason for migration, was an instrumental factor here as well. But, the fact that the jobless figure in the households from the sample was higher than in the total population of Kosovo, that the difficulties of finding a job were largely connected with nationality, that many of the emigrants quit jobs they had, and that there was the whole combination of ethnic relations in Kosovo at both the general level and within firms (all of which compelled people to emigrate), indicates that one must not be hasty with one's conclusions.
The nationality of the household members was, of course, defined by the objective of the research and by the sample itself, but among the Serbs and Montenegrins were a certain number of other nationalities, mostly wives of Croatian, Macedonian, Moslem, and Yugoslav nationality as well as one Albanian. It should be added that several households were of Romany origin, but thought of themselves as Serbs and declared themselves accordingly.
There were 1, 763 Serbs among the emigrants, 350 Serbs among those who did not emigrate with the household, 346 Montenegrins in the I former and 52 Montenegrins in the latter category. The other nationalities I viewed together had 10 people among the emigrants, and none among the non-emigrant members of the households.
Montenegrins accounted for 15.8% of the sample, in other words there were 18.8 Montenegrins to every 100 Serbs. This ratio is bigger than it is in the total population of Kosovo: in 1961 it was 16.6 and in 1981 only 12.9 Clearly, the Montenegrin, part of Kosovo's population was relatively harder hit by emigration than the Serbian.
The homeland of the emigrating population is very important in any migration, especially when ethnic factors and conditions are also involved.
Prior to emigrating, Kosovo-born members of the households accounted for 85.6%, and settlers for 14.4%. These are lower figures than for the population of Kosovo in 1971, when there were only 4.3% that had moved there from other parts of the country.
In our sample, 61.3% of the household members were born in the place of emigration, whereas in the overall Kosovo population in 1971 they accounted for 79.6% (largely because of the high percentage of children). Hence, the sample had a higher overall degree of territorial mobility and settlement than the total population of Kosovo, and also a higher degree of mobility within Kosovo Province. While 8% of the household members had moved within their commune of birth, and 16.3% within the communes of Kosovo, in the total population of Kosovo Province these figures amounted to 4.7% and 11.4% respectively. The total Serbian and Montenegrin population in Kosovo again had a higher degree of territorial mobility. In 1971, 63.8% of the Serbian group and only 38.1 % of the Montenegrin group lived in their place of birth, as compared to the afore-mentioned 79.6% of the total population of Kosovo Province.
10. Household Members in Kosovo According to Commune of Birth and Emigration
|No. of Members||Structure in %|
|- commune of emig.||1,748||1,445||303||69.3||68.3||73.9|
|- other commune||410||357||53||16.3||16.9||12.8|
|Born outside Kosovo||362||307||65||14.4||14.5||13.3|
|- In Serbia Proper||219||187||32||8.9||8.8||8.2|
|- In Montenegro||73||5b||17||2.8||2.7||4.1|
|- In Bosnia-Herzegovina||31||30||1||1.1||1.3||0.2|
|- In Macedonia||19||16||3||0.7||0.8||0.7|
|Note: M - migrants, R - remained in Kosovo|
The homeland of the household can be established via the head of the household, with 415 Kosovo-born and 17% having come to settle there, which is almost the same degree as when looking at the total number of household members. More than half of the non-Kosovo-born household heads came from Serbia Proper, and a fifth from Montenegro. The most frequent reason for coming was that their parents had moved there, they had found jobs there or been transferred, they had bought land, and in 14 cases they had moved there after World War I. Fifty-four household heads had moved to Kosovo in the period between World Wars I and II, 31 had come after World War II, accounting for two-thirds and one-third of the total number of settlers respectively. This means that the average life span for non-Kosovo born household heads who moved there between the two world wars ranges from 40 to 50 years until the moment of emigration.
The number of household heads' fathers born in Kosovo is lower, 286 or 57.2%; 26 never lived in Kosovo and 188 or 37.2% had moved there. Of those fathers who had moved to Kosovo, 164 had come between the two world wars and only 12.7% after World War II, pointing to the very long habitation of Kosovo on the part of both immigrant fathers and their sons. The fathers came from a somewhat wider area than in the case of immigrant household heads. They immigrated to Kosovo, first as part of resettlement, second because they had bought land there. These two reasons together accounted for three-quarters of the immigrant fathers. Hence, the arrival of the older generation was tied in with agriculture, the principal branch of economy at the time, with the abolishment of feudal property relations which had existed in Kosovo until the creation of Yugoslavia, and with a lower population density than Serbia Proper had in 1921.
Knowing the language of the other group, in this case Albanian which is spoken by the majority of Kosovo's population, is, as in any ethnically heterogeneous environment, imperative for direct communication among people of different nationalities. Given the constitutionally guaranteed equality of languages, knowledge of Albanian was not, normatively speaking, a condition for communication between individuals and institutions, but in actual fact that is just what it is, as we shall see later on.
Out of the household members, 342 knew Albanian well or very well, 385 had a smattering of Albanian or knew it poorly, which together accounts for 34.4 % of the household members capable of communicating directly in both languages, at least in some small way. However, since it is hard to imagine children knowing another language without it being through direct contact - and that did not exist in Kosovo because as early as kindergarten the children are divided according to language and nationality - it would seem more appropriate to determine the degree of knowing the other language by looking at those members who were 15 and older at the time of observation. Considering the average interval between emigration and observation, this would mean isolating primarily pre-school children, in which case 41.5% knew Albanian. Unfortunately, we lack comparative data on whether and to what extent the adult Albanian population knew Serbo-Croatian, although we can assume that it was not noticeably higher, because Albanian women account for 45.2% of the population over the age of 15.
An extensive analysis of the answers clearly points to two things. First, knowledge of Albanian largely applies to men and is rare among women, which is understandable given the status women have in the t family and Kosovo society. Female children and women are mostly con-pined to the family circle, especially in the Albanian group; this does not allow for mixing between girls and women of different nationalities and are is virtually no mixing between boys and girls, especially if they are of different nationalities. Mixing and playing together in childhood and when young is of crucial importance for learning the other language of the given environment.
Second, knowledge of the Albanian language is rare among the young, but considerably more frequent among the older and oldest generations. This suggests, and is confirmed by other responses in the study, that direct, day-to-day relations and communication between Serbs and Montenegrins on the one hand, and Albanians on the other, were more intensive and comprehensive in the recent past than they are today. In any event, knowledge of Albanian is more frequent among generations that were born and raised between the two world wars, (i.e. when this language was not constitutionally guaranteed equality it was less used at the institutional level) than among generations that grew up under socialism, when Albanian acquired all rights and was a subject taught in elementary and secondary school.
Knowledge of Albanian is clearly tied in with the ethnic make-up of the settlement and commune in Kosovo. Among households that emigrated from Serbian settlements that stayed Serbian, only one-third, 34 8% had a knowledge of Albanian, in the group of mostly Serbian but with a mixed ethnic make-up that percentage was 62% and in the group of Albanian and largely Albanian settlements, 72.2% of the emigrant households had at least one member who knew Albanian.
This is one of the few findings in our research that coincides with the general rule regarding the relationship between language and ethnic number, a rule that says that the language of the other group is often known by the less numerous group in the settlement or commune. Knowing the language of the other group often stems from ethnic relations in the past, it is an important condition for communicating in the here and now, and should make that communication easier It should follow, therefore, that the most harmonious and least perturbed ethnic relations are to be found where Serbs and Montenegrins accounted for a low share of the population, because this is where knowledge of Albanian is most frequent. But, the threats to and emigration of the Serbian and Montenegrin population run completely counter to this rule, because they were most threatened there where they were few in number. The only thing is that discrimination via language, as a form of discrimination in general, was less effective in this category.
"I've seen it all, and I don't want to remember it.. ."
(A retired worker who moved out of Pristina)
Asked about what relations with Albanians were like in the place from which they emigrated, a small number of respondents gave the following sort of extremist answers "Beyond descriptions, "It's unimaginable for anyone who hasn't lived there". However, the majority of answers covered a wide range of descriptions, most of which reflect pressure and discrimination.
11 General Assessment of Relations with the Albanian Population in the Settlement
|General Assessment||No. of Households||%|
|Depends on circumstances||10||2.0|
|Serbian settlement with no Albanians||47||9.4|
|Separated, no relations||38||7.6|
|Don't know, no answer||9||1.8|
The first step taken in the analysis is a general assessment of relations between the non-Albanian and Albanian population given by the respondents to the question. Only 8.6% described relations as "good", whereas 70.6 % said they were "not good", "poor" or "very poor". Considering the broad interval of time covered by the settlement of the households included in the poll, some of the answers that described relations as "good" or as "separated, without relations", were probably tied in with the experience of earlier settlers.
The explanation for the assessment points to not only the quality but also the content of the relations, thereby defining them still further. More than 70% of the respondents gave such an explanation (362 cases), often with two or more explanations, so that the number of replies was 795.
Assessments that describe relations as "good" would correspond with explanations linked to "visits, friendships, spending time together". However, although as many as 43 respondents described relations as "good", only 12 cited "visits, friendships, spending time together" as the explanation. This indicates that under "good" the respondents also included relations where there was in fact avoidance, separation or simply the absence of direct conflicts between members of the household and the environment.
12. Explanation of Assessments of Relations with the Albanian Population in the Settlement
|Explanation||No. of Households||Structures in %||% of Households|
|Direct verbal pressure||232||30.2||46.4|
|Fights, physical risks||94||11.8||18.8|
|Aggression against children, women||52||6.5||10.4|
|Physical assaults, injuries, rape||50||6.2||10.0|
|Indirect psychological and social pressures||69||8.8||13.3|
|Seizure of land||17||2.1||3.4|
|Visits, friendship, spending time together||12||1.5||2.4|
Only 2.4% of the households cite "visits, friendship, spending time together" with the Albanian population in the settlement of emigration. One tenth of all the explanations refers to "non-involvement, avoidance", implying on both sides, because the voluntary separation of Serbs and Montenegrins was not enough to protect them from the pressures being brought to bear on them. As many as 87.7% of the answers explaining relations with the Albanian population in the settlement indicate some sort of discrimination. Even "non-involvement, avoidances is the result of the start of discrimination.
The most frequently mentioned description of poor relations is indirect verbal pressure"; 30% of the cases cited this. In second place is "material damage" (22%). In short, more than half of the explanations of relations are tied in with "direct verbal pressure" and "material damage". On the other hand, more than one-fourth of all the explanations cite some kind of physical violence: "fights, physical risks", "aggression against children and women", "violence by the organs of authority (police)" and "physical assaults, injuries, rape and attempted rape".
There is a multifold connection between the ethnic structure of the settlement (the share of Serbs and Montenegrins) and different aspects of the emigration process. It can also be observed when looking at the general assessment and explanation of relations with the Albanian population according to communes, grouped in terms of the share of Serbs and Montenegrins.
The indexes of association with the general assessment of relations show that the descriptions of "good" and "separation" appear least often among households that emigrated from communes with the lowest share of Serbs and Montenegrins, and increase as their share in the population grows. On the other hand, descriptions ranging from "not good" to "very poor" become relatively more frequent as the number of Serbs and Montenegrins becomes smaller.
These same connecting lines exist with the explanations of the assessments. Non-involvement, avoidance and good relations appear noticeably more often among emigrants from communes with 30% and more Serbs and Montenegrins than in the sample, but are very infrequent among households that emigrated from communes with the lowest share of Serbs and Montenegrins; the explanations most frequently given in these communes have to do with acts of discrimination. The strongest connection between the share of Serbs and Montenegrins and the type of discrimination is in the case of "non-involvement, avoidance" in communes where the segregation resorted to by Serbs and Montenegrins as a way of self-protection is actually the only possible way, there where number enables relative self-sufficiency and protection.
Grouping the communes is a necessary generalization because major differences often exist within them. For instance, explanations for assessments of relations with the Albanian population in the settlement show that the situation in Podujevo is considerably worse than in Suva Reka, in communes with 9.9% Serbs and Montenegrins. It is hard to make a qualitative comparison in other communes of this group because of the small number of emigrant households, although one does notice, for instance, that all the households that emigrated from Kacanik had suffered from material damages. In the group with 10%-19%, the situation was less unfavorable in Prizren than in Vucitrn, judging by the respondents' answers. In the group of communes where Serbs and Montenegrins accounted for 20 to 29% of the population in 1971, Vitina stands out: this commune accounts for half the answers that list "friendship, visits, spending time together", but on the other hand, it cites the worst form of relations more often than other communes in this group. The communes of Istok and Lipljan are characterized by separation, segregation and lighter forms of discrimination (psychological pressure and direct verbal pressure), and they could be joined by Pristina. Lastly, the answers for Pec and Urosevac show that the gravest forms of discrimination account for a strong share. In the final group of communes with Serbs and Montenegrins accounting for 30% and more (abstracting Leposavic), Kosovska Kamenica had fewer severe forms than Mitrovica where psychological and verbal pressures were strong, while relations were disturbed most in the commune of Gnjilane. Invaluable for our research and its credibility would be the possibility of comparing these statements by our respondents with some social registration of different relations and disturbances in Kosovo's communes, but these sources were not available to us.
13. Indexes of Association* between the Share of Serbs and Montenegrins in the Groups of Communes, the General Assessment and Explanation of Assessments of Relations with the Albanian Population in the Settlement
|Share of Serbs & Montenegrins in Population|
|Up to 99%||10-19.9%||20-29.9%||30% & over|
|General Assessment of Relations|
|Not good, poor, very poor||1.129||1.017||1.017||0.885|
|Explanation of Assessment|
|Direct verbal pressure||1.092||0.921||1.154||1.020|
|Material damage & seizure of land||1.197||0.942||1.090||0.847|
|Direct physical pressure||1.293||0.945||0.949||0.917|
|* The association index is a hypothetical construction between the representation of combination AB in the replies for A and the replies in the entire sample. The borderline value is 1.00, and moving away from this value shows the strength of the association or disassociation, because indexes from 1.20 and 0.80 show the same strength of connection but in different directions.|
The above findings clearly indicate that relations between Serbs and Montenegrins on the one hand and Albanians on the other become all the worse when Serbs and Montenegrins are less represented in the ethnic structure of the commune. Judging by the indexes of association, the critical line for a major shift in relations is representation accounting for 20% to 29%. This means that the drop in the share of Serbs and Montenegrins in the ethnic structure of the communes directly affected the deterioration of relations. All individual factors of this change (such as the decline in the birth rate of Serbs and Montenegrins and rise in that of Albanians, the emigration of Serbs and Montenegrins and settlement of Albanians) worked to aggravate relations between the Serbian and Montenegrin population on the one hand and the Albanian on the other. In this case, then, number is a kind of key to understanding discrimination.
A comprehensive analysis of replies concerning relations in the settlement usually reveals that very unpleasant experiences are presented in these sentences:
- Relations in the settlement were unbearable, there was a constant feeling of fear, mistrust, of being unsafe, especially for children, and the certainty that things would never get better.
- Constant arguments for no reason, schools being closed down, blackmail; if we took issue, they wanted revenge.
- They created a lot of problems for the Serbs, they drove their cattle into Serbian fields ... cut down trees ... The Serbian inhabitants had no freedom, we lived in fear... assaults on women
- Trouble and conflict are an everyday thing there.
- We fled the chaos.
- It couldn't be worse. We accompany the children to school, you can't go out into the street, they ruin cars. You mustn't report it because they'll beat you up or you'll turn out to be crazy.
- It was murder, constant fights, attacks, they cut down my field.
- As much hate as there could be, damages on the land, attacks on children, physical fights.
- They were impossible to live with, it was worse than during the days of the Turks.
In some cases, seemingly good relations in the settlement belied intolerance.
- Relations looked as though they were good but in fact they were bad.
- We never could stand one another, we concealed intolerance; in fact Serbs had a very bad opinion of Albanians, and Albanians an even worse opinion of Serbs.
Relations in the settlement are usually described as "non-existent", "unbearable", "bad", with words like "intolerance", "problems".
An in-depth analysis of the answers sheds more light on certain aspects of relations in the settlement. For the primary groups the settlement is the territorial framework and therefore relations within it are primarily if not exclusively of concern to relations in the primary groups, outside institutions.
Certainly the main primary groups through which direct discrimination can be examined are those of friends and neighbors. The frequency of friendly ties between members of different ethnic groups certainly diminishes the existence of discrimination Most of the answers about relations in the settlement do not mention spending time and being friends with Albanians. One gets the impression that this is something so unimaginable to the respondents that they do not think it necessary even to mention the non-existence of friendship and companionship between the non-Albanian and Albanian populations. Hence, the following kind of answer is very rare:
- Serbian and Albanian families spent a minimum amount of time together. It was a public secret that the corso was divided. Young people hardly mixed at all.
It is interesting, however, that among the many negative experiences cited there are also instances of friendship with Albanians. As a result, one and the same family can have both very positive and very negative experiences, as in the case of a family where the father was beaten up in the street for no reason by some Albanians, and the son said:
- There were also other examples: after emigrating my father was in a traffic accident and was hospitalized. Two days later he was visited by a neighbor; an old Albanian and his son came and stayed until my father was released from the hospital.
Individual cases of friendship are mostly tied in with good relations in the settlement at large, the ethnic structure and earlier emigration from Kosovo. For instance, a household head who emigrated in 1966 from Suva Reka where, he estimated, 70% of the population at the time was Albanian and 30% Serbian, says that relations were:
- Good at the time. People mixed and invited one another to their celebrations. Life was peaceful, there was no fear of Albanians.
Positive experience stemming from friendships is often tied in with the traditional, long-standing existence of good relations between the nationalities inhabiting the settlement:
- Relations were good. In Kosovska Vitina there were no major disorders even during the most recent demonstrations, and during the war we lived nicely with the Albanians. We took care of one another. Only one man from our area got killed, whereas only Serbs lived in Serbia and they killed each other.
- We live well with the Albanians down there even now. The man who bought the land and house from us works abroad and stops off to see us en route. He and his wife and children were here only recently. They spend a day or two and go. My husband goes down there often. We go less often. He kisses the Albanians. And they like him too. Nobody's touched our gravestones down there. Some peoples' have been destroyed. But it was never bad in our village.
This second example shows an awareness that discrimination can be selective, so that not all families in the same settlement were equally exposed to discrimination. The criteria of selectiveness varied: the reputation and influence of the household head (a doctor or judge in a small commune, for instance), the number of men heading the family and circle of relations, the possession of weapons in the household and readiness to use them in self-defense against what were once friendships with Albanians.
- Until 1965-1966 relations were tolerable, but from then on a distinction was made between old-time Serbs and Serbs who had settled there between the two wars. The former were more or less respected, at least by the older Albanians, but the settlers were even then exposed to different kinds of pressure. After the 1981 demonstrations there was no difference between the non-respect and molesting of old-time Serbs and that of settlers. Some thirty years ago relations were tolerable, and there were even apparent friendships which evaporated after the demonstrations.
One respondent, for instance, said that his Albanian neighbor had warned him before the 1981 demonstrations to steer clear, not to go alone, because he was on a list of Serbs and Montenegrins who were to be eliminated, and the building in which the household head worked was planned to be blown sky-high The respondent claims that many people on that list disappeared or were "accidently" hit by cars and died. Another respondent says that his Albanian friends would warn him before every riot so that he could lie low. But, public displays of friendship toward Serbs and Montenegrins were dangerous for the Albanians themselves. One household head related how an Albanian neighbor had stopped his house from being stoned but had later had trouble with his compatriots and the authorities. In another instance, when some Serbs were fired from their jobs, their friend, an Albanian, was fired too, Just because he had been their friend, said another respondent The most drastic example of the dangers risked by Albanians who stood up to discrimination against their neighbors was that of an Albanian from a predominantly Serbian settlement. He reported to the authorities that a group of armed Albanians was near the village. A few days later he was ambushed and killed. It is no wonder then that friendships were suspended, evaporated, were reduced to "Good day", if that.
- All our Albanian friends turned away from us.
The selectiveness of discrimination can be discussed not only in terms of being differently exposed to and endangered by it, but also in terms of the different vehicles of discrimination.
Many of the answers include explicit claims that the younger generation of Albanians spearheaded the conflict.
- My parents live in a village near Pristina. They are on good terms with the old Albanians even today. All these disturbances, pressures, violence are incited by young and middle-aged people.
- The older people used to get together, the young people seldom.
- I heard from my father that before it wasn't so important whether you were a Serb or an Albanian, there were good people and bad people. Now it's somehow important whether somebody's a Serb or an Albanian, and only then whether he's good or bad.
- Everything was O.K. with the older folk, but the young kept causing trouble. They incurred damages on the property. When we stepped in, it ended up in a fist fight. They stoned my wife.
- Relations in the settlement were bad. Young Albanians started carrying nationalistic symbols, spitting at the old Serbs and Montenegrins, beating up Serbian and Montenegrin children, threatening, toting knives and chains. Many of the answers, especially those dealing with relations among children, to which we shall return in greater detail later, speak of the aggressiveness of Albanian children-
- It's indescribable. Almost every night Albanian children would stone and break the windows and roof tiles of Serbs, destroy their summer crops, steal, beat up Serbian children, threaten... The differences in attitude of different generations of Albanians seem to have lessened with time:
- The older folk could still live together, trust one another. It was the young who made trouble, and when they spoiled the relations then us older folk were seized with mistrust.
- During the riots and demonstrations in 1968, there were those among the older Albanians who condemned the troublemakers, but in 1981, everybody, from the youngest of the children who spat at the soldiers, to the oldest, everybody was of the same mind.
This thesis about the complete homogenization of Albanians along ethnic lines is upheld by many of the respondents. Although this can be said to be a stereotype of Albanians, numerous facts confirm that concrete relations between Serbs and Montenegrins on the one hand and Albanians on the other increasingly deteriorated. Obviously it was very hard for those who were threatened, discriminated against, to distinguish between the perpetrators of the discrimination and observers.
Some of the answers point to yet another kind of selectiveness among the spearheads of discrimination, based not on divisions along generational lines but on the autochthony of the Albanian population. In this respect the respondents draw a clear distinction between old-tuner Kosovo Albanians and Albanian immigrants (from Albania):
- I have to admit that the better educated and more cultured Albanian inhabitants behaved correctly. We had good neighbors, and my brother had good friends. The old-timers are good people, the immigrants are primitive, all they know how to do is fight, they reach for their knives at the drop of a hat. My father used to be friends with the Albanians, they were like brothers, true friends, they attended each other's weddings and slavas.
- You didn't ask about the settlement of Albanians from Albania. Whole families settled. Our society gave these families enormous properties and houses (property and houses that belonged to Serbian and Montenegrin families). The objective was to have one such family in every village, and then later they brought over their brothers and friends. These same emigrants fostered hate and unrest in Kosovo. They got rich on it.
The settlement of Albanians from Albania had not only an indirect effect on the deterioration of relations (by reducing the share of Serbs and Montenegrins in the ethnic structure), it also had a direct affect, by increasing discrimination primarily by evermore open and "serious" means. On the other hand, perhaps possible conflicts between the old-timers and new-comer Albanians, especially among younger generations, were removed and rechanneled through cooperation in discriminating against Serbs and Montenegrins. The homogenization of ethnic groups is certainly the result of discrimination in both groups.
The absence of conflict between members of different ethnic groups in the settlement can be due to their physical separation, where they do not mix.
- Relations weren't bad, because we didn't have much to do with one another. Serbian houses were in one part of the village, and Albanian in the other. Now and then there would be arguments.
Such separation may have led to the absence of discrimination if there was none to start with, but not if discrimination existed there anyway. The inhabitants of purely Serbian settlements, for instance, were often threatened by their surroundings, especially on arable land near the district border, or when travelling. It is not uncustomary for children in Serbian villages to complete their schooling in the village, instead of continuing their education in the neighboring settlement if need be, or for them to be sent to relatives in Serbia to continue their education.
Segregation is often a transitional form between good and bad relations among members of different ethnic groups. Because of its visibility, it can be a good alarm bell for the deterioration of inter-ethnic relations. Besides housing divisions in the settlement, the most drastic example of segregation is dividing the corso, the street down the middle. Unlike the many historical, cultural and economic factors that work to form relatively separate parts of the settlement in which members of different ethnic groups live, division of the corso depends exclusively on inter-ethnic relations within a given relatively short time period. Division of the corso clearly signals a qualitative decline in inter-ethnic relations. One respondent observed that the deterioration of inter-ethnic relations occurred:
- after the 1966 demonstrations in Pristina, when the corso in Pristina was divided and divisions began everywhere. Another respondent says:
- As of 1965 the corso in Pristina was divided into the Serbian and the Albanian part.
The division of the corso went hand in hand with the division of cafes, pastery shops and other public meeting places.
- People go only to Serbian cafes. On the corso, the ones walk on one side and the others on the other side of the street. Judging by the answers, with time the streets in most of the settlements became dangerous, "hostile". To walk down the street raised fears, was risky and that meant reducing freedom of movement.
- It was very dangerous, very risky to be a Serb, there was always the danger of being beaten up in the street for no reason. My father was beaten up in 1973 by there Albanians from a neighboring village for no reason at all.
- There was no freedom after the demonstrations, you could move around only by day.
- We couldn't take walks like ordinary people.
- They were looking for a fight at every turn. We went home at sunset. Families without strong men had a hard time. Albanians are actually cowards and can only fight when they are ten against one, that's why they're reproducing at this rate.
- Catastrophic, totally unbearable, pressures of all kinds, we didn't go to the movies. I was attacked, there were always five or six of them, with knives. So Serbs never went anywhere alone, they alays went in groups, I carried a weapon. As we shall see later, this is why, for many of the respondents, one of the biggest changes after emigrating was freedom of movement.
Unpleasant incidents in the street ranged from avoidance and being ignored to fist-fights and explosions:
- When an Albanian was alone (during an encounter in the street), then he would say hello, but if there were two or more, then they wouldn't say a word.
- They kept pushing and cursing us, saying: "When are you going to move out of Kosovo, we are bringing lots of kids into this world to force you out."
- It's something that can't be described, daily attacks on Serbs, fires being set, explosions in town, nobody dares go outside after dark.
Especially at risk in the street were women, one of the sadder signs of discrimination:
- I've gotten into a million fights with Albanians. They molested our women colleagues in school, on the street, in the bus. Their guys "rode" our girls in the middle of the bus. How can you just sit and watch something like that?
As discrimination increased with the passage of time, more and more Serbs began "retreating":
- There was no camaraderie, everything was reduced to just saying "Hello" and even that was only when we had to. If an Albanian said anything to a Serb, the Serb had to keep his mouth shut and so Serbs increasingly retreated and got used to all sorts of things.
- It wasn't good. We were a bit submissive, we had to avoid everything as long as we could. All we did was say hello in the street.
- The Albanians are in the majority and we had to keep quiet. We didn't see what we saw, or hear what we heard, but even so we couldn't survive.
- Relations deteriorated after 1968. Albanians behaved roughly and with each passing day there were fewer and fewer Serbs. We stayed out of the way and gave in, hoping that one day we would move out and that's how the children were raised.
There is no doubt that many Serbs felt humiliated by this need to avoid conflict and restrict their own movements, and even by their own emigration.
"Until 1965-1966, we boys played football together with the Albanians, then they wanted us to play "Serbs versus Albanians" and after that we never mixed again, we always separated".
(HS worker, emigrant from Titova Mitrovica)
One gets a fuller picture of relations in the settlement by analysing how they changed. A comparison of relations in the settlement at the time of emigration by the household and thirty years earlier shows that as many as two-thirds of the respondents feel relations were better before.
Although few of the respondents explained what they meant by "better", based on those who did, we can say that this in most cases referred to the existence of friendships and spending time together. However, one out of every twelve respondents who said relations were better, spoke about covert antagonism and individual conflicts. Certainly the most important finding is that not one respondent felt that relations in the settlement were worse thirty years earlier than at the time of emigration. This confirms the general trend of deterioration in human relations. And this assessment becomes all the more significant when one remembers the existence of one of the dominant official objectives of social development - the strengthening of brotherhood and unity. According to the respondents, relations in Kosovo developed in the opposite direction of that objective.
Assessments of when relations deteriorated and pressures and discrimination against Serbs and Montenegrins began to emerge and spread, places it at the time of preparations for and the outbreak of the "first counter-revolutions, as one of the respondents called the demonstrations by Albanian nationalists in 1968, almost two decades earlier.
14. Year of Deterioration in Relations with Albanians as Cited by Respondents
|Can't pinpoint if*||45||9.0|
|1965 and earlier||51||10.2|
* Households from Serbian settlements and those recently settled in the province.
** Out of which 21 households consider relations good, and 18 bad.
Out of 405 households that pinpointed the year when relations deteriorated (in some instances descriptively, "right after the war", "after Rankovic was dismissed", "after the Brioni Plenum", "after they got a flag and Kosmet's name was changed", all of which were translated into their corresponding dates), only 56, or one out of seven, placed this deterioration after 1968. It should be said that until 1981 and the massive escalation of Albanian nationalism, the broader public outside the province did not know about the state of ethnic relations in Kosovo.
A qualitative analysis of the answers shows that the deterioration of relations in the settlement is largely associated with historical and political events:
- Some fifteen years ago, you could walk through town with no problem. After Rankovic's dismissal, Albanians simply ran rampant. The organs of authority supported the Albanians and beat up Serbs and Montenegrins at every opportunity. The courts tried to convict as many Serbs as possible. The public information media in the province did a cosmetic job and made it look as if the situation in Kosovo was better than anywhere else in Yugoslavia.
- The situation became grave after the Brioni Plenum. Things got worse and worse after 1968 and the first demonstrations. I mean that's when they managed to get their flag, to change the name of Kosovo and Metohija into just Kosovo. I think those people who called attention to all this back in 1968 and 1971, and who were declared to be Serbian nationalists, should be rehabilitated.
A certain number of respondents associated the deterioration in inter-ethnic relations with changes in the ethnic structure of the leadership in Kosovo.
- 1967-68 changed the national make-up of the leading authorities.
- After the dismissals in 1966, all Serbs were systematically removed from posts of leadership.
Sudden changes in relations are also associated with the 1968 and 1981 demonstrations by Albanian chauvinists.
- There were major demonstrations here in Podujevo in 1968, and if the army hadn't stepped in, all the Serbian houses would have been destroyed. There were serious excesses, Serbs were beaten up, there were even murders. The Albanians were armed to the teeth, with knives, rifles... they raped women and girls. We didn't dare walk in the streets day or night, and we kept axes by the door.
- The worst was in 1968 in Podujevo, Pristina and Urosevac. They attacked and raped girls.
The general deterioration of relations was reflected in the relations of the primary groups as well. One married couple, both university graduates who moved away from Pristina, said:
- Relations between Serbs and Albanians in Pristina have been deteriorating for years and turning into acquaintanceships with a polite "how do you do". At the slightest provocation, friendships were ended.
- We lived well with our Albanian neighbors, they were all old-timers. When demonstrations were staged in Pristina they told us that they were ashamed of what was happening. They slowly started avoiding us and we stopped seeing one another.
After analysing the answers about the deterioration of inter-ethnic relations in the settlement of emigration, one can say that the respondents seldom mention events directly related to them or their families. These answers are in keeping with the fact that the respondents see and experience the whole complex of inter-ethnic relations in Kosovo primarily as a political problem.
The problems, pressures and attacks to which members of emigrant Serbian and Montenegrin households were exposed give us a picture of direct discrimination against the individual and the means it resorts to, ranging from verbal insults to physical assault. Information about this type of discrimination was compiled from a separate question (no. 30) in the group of questions about relations as such. It should be said that the question about the troubles experienced by members of the household was open, it did not steer or enumerate individual forms of problems and conflicts, so that the respondents cited what they considered to be the most important or what they were ready to mention.
If we classify the separate answers into groups, then we get the following: 15 households had no contact whatsoever with Albanians, 158 had no personal conflicts or trouble with Albanians because they had emigrated from Serbian settlements, because they had emigrated from settlements where there were no open clashes, because they belonged to those segments of the social structure that were least threatened by discrimination, or simply because they were unwilling to talk about it. Together with three households that refused to talk about this, that means that 176 or 35.2% of the households said they had had no personal trouble.
Three hundred and twenty-four households listed a total of 764 personal clashes and incidents with the Albanian population. Taken individually, the most frequently mentioned instances were various forms of verbal pressure, but if one merges together the individual groups of material pressure and physical threats, then one sees that there were very many instances of direct pressure. Inside these two groups, milder forms were more frequent than the worst forms of direct pressure.
So one can, in a way, talk about a "pyramid of discrimination, at the bottom of which are the most widely spread but least dangerous forms, and at the top the most drastic but least often mentioned forms of discrimination. To be sure, households that cited the worst forms of discrimination were exposed to all the lighter forms as well, and especially to psychological pressures which do not arise in this question because it is geared toward concrete examples of behavior.
15. Household Members who Encountered Trouble with Albanians
|No. of households overall||500|
|No conflicts, no contact||176|
|Households with conflicts & trouble||324|
|No. of conflicts and incidents, overall||764|
|I Verbal pressure (threats, cursing, insults)||204|
|II Material pressure overall||269|
|- material damages||167|
|- seizure of crops and land||102|
|III Physical pressure overall||208|
|- Physical assaults, fights, stoning||123|
|- Attacks on children and women||44|
|- Serious injury||34|
|- Rape and attempted rape||7|
|IV Trouble at work||74|
|V Conflicts with the authorities||9|
Whether members of the household experienced trouble or not largely depended on the ethnic make-up of the place of emigration, and this is confirmed by the indexes of association. If one looks only at households whose members did have problems, Serbian settlements where these problems were most often in the form of verbal pressure clearly stand out, while other forms appear less often than in the entire sample; next are Serbian settlements with a change in the ethnic structure where physical pressures were, relatively speaking, the most numerous. In mixed, predominantly Albanian and Albanian settlements the link with forms of pressure is not strongly manifest; these are settlements which have a more or less equal share of various forms of pressures, discrimination and threats to the Serbian and Montenegrin population.
An analysis of the answers obtained from the poll reveal three objects of discrimination: men, women and children. Specific means of discrimination are applied against each of these categories, the discrimination against each carries its own specific weight, as a result of which different social significance is attributed to each of these forms of discrimination and different importance is attached to decisions on moving out.
16. Indexes of Association Between Incidents Experienced by Household Members with Albanians and Assessments of the Ethnic Make-Up of the Settlement
|Assessment of Ethnic Make-up|
|Households with no incidents||2.12||1.19||0.84||0.64|
|Households with incidents||0.30||0.89||1.08||1.50|
Note: Assessment of ethnic make-up. I - Serbian settlement which has remained Serbian, II - Serbian settlement with an increased number of Albanians, III - Mixed settlement with a reduced number of Serbs and Montenegrins, IV Albanian and predominantly Albanian settlement with reduced number of Serbs and Montenegrins.
"I was attacked by a group of Albanians and I still don't know how I managed to stay alive. I was found unconscious, with cuts on my head..."
(High school teacher)
Adult male household members often cited physical attacks against them, usually by groups of Albanian nationalists, fights and physical showdowns. Judging by the answers, they see themselves as having been forced into conflict, or as threatened victims.
The reasons often given for the fights and clashes included field damages, being forced to sell house and land (which will be discussed later) and attacks on Serbs and Montenegrins for no reason. Many of the respondents said that clashes between adult men most often occurred when Albanians were superior in number.
- I had constant fights on my property because of field damages.
- My elder son was an electrician, he read the electricity meter. An Albanian let him into his house and then tried to kill him with an ax.
- My son was returning home from a dance with some other Serbs. Some Albanians were lying in wait for them and for no reason at all beat them up, they attacked them from behind.
- My father was beaten up in 1973 by three Albanians from a neighboring village, for no reason at all.
- One evening in 1975, my son was at a cafe in Brezovica and an Albanian cursed his Serbian mother. My son said the same thing back to him in Albanian. The Albanian slapped him, and my son slapped the Albanian back. A month later, that Albanian saw my son, called over his brother and the two of them attacked him with screwdrivers. He had 17 stab wounds on his head, neck and arms. They were arrested and each got 20 days in jail.
The most drastic instance of physical assaults on adult male household members is murder.
- My father was run over by an Albanian. My father was sitting on a bench 10 meters away from the road but it was his fault.
- One night in 1969 my brother was returning home from Kosovo Polje to Obilic. He was found dead in the middle of the bridge. The investigation never discovered the murderer. The molesting of Serbs was certainly encouraged by the tacit approval of the locals, reflected in their "non-involvement". One respondent and his elder brother were "attacked in broad daylight and beaten up in front of a dozen Albanian locals".
Murder, along with the molesting of children and rape or attempted rape, is one of the main reasons given by a number of families for moving away. One household, for instance, where the members had not had any "major clashes or troubles, decided to move away in 1969 when a relative of theirs was murdered.
Ever since, the head of the household goes around armed. The murderer of his relative "was not convicted; they said there was no proof, they said it was involuntary manslaughters
Serbian and Montenegrin households in Kosovo are strongly connected within the family, kinship and ethnic network, partly because these are traditional families and partly because of the homogenization stremming from hostile encirclement. As a result, things that happen to relatives, neighbors, locals or Serbs in general, often carry almost the same weight when deciding to move out as what happened to the respondents themselves. Instances of attacks on relatives, acquaintances, neighbors and friends certainly accelerated peoples' decision to move away.
- I could go on talking 'til kingdom come, and I fared better than my Serbian neighbors.
- My wife's brother was beaten up by Albanians in front of his own house for no reason.
- My father-in-law was badly beaten and eventually died from all the injuries he sustained. He said "Good day" to an Albanian and the Albanian said: "What are you saying 'Good day' to me for?", took a stick and beat up the old man. That was in 1968.
"It's a shame that it wasn't discovered in time, that it was kept secret; then, what was done to our girls - the rape and molesting, wouldn't have happened."
(Father of three who moved from Obilic)
Women from emigrant Serbian and Montenegrin families were not spared harassment, fear, and even physical assaults and drastic cases of attack, especially when they went out without male accompaniment, even in bigger towns.
Rape was a specific form of threat and humiliation. It constituted much more than physical injury and humiliation: it was humiliation and insult cast upon the head of the household, proof of his powerlessness. According to the moral code of traditional Albanian culture, rape is one of the worst offenses, and can only be washed away in blood. Hence, the rape of a woman becomes a "victory" outside the circle of her compatriots, a sign of superiority over totally disgraced and humiliated people.
- When we moved away (1979), girls were already afraid to go out to the corso, and my wife was afraid to take the bus home from Pristina later on in the afternoon.
- Albanians harassed my daughter-in-law on the bus when she was going to work, they cursed her Serbian mother, spat at her, yanked her hair, yelled, stubbed their cigarettes out on her. Once they gave her such a hard time that when one of them wanted her to get out and stand in front of the bus so the driver could run her over, that's what she did, she got out and stood in front of the bus, but the driver didn't want to run her over.
- We never dared leave our women folk alone, because they were attacked, raped, beaten up, harrassed.
- My daughters worked in a factory and I had to walk them to the bus when they went to work and wait for them when they came home.
- My elder daughter was assaulted by Albanians who wanted to rape her. A young Albanian, about 20 years old, attacked her in a half-empty bus, he threatened her with a knife, there were several Albanians. The bus-driver drove the bus to the police station. The police intervened. They put my daughter in a jeep and set out to look for the guy. When I went to the police station and reported that the man had been seen at a youth club in Gnjilane, the policeman told me: "What do you care, what's done is done."
Even older women were not spared trouble in Kosovo.
- Albanians raped an old Serbian woman of about 60 years of age in our village. Neither the court nor the police did anything about it.
- A young Albanian raped my neighbor, a woman of 55. He broke into the house after midnight and raped her.
One of the women who moved away described the discrimination to which women are exposed as follows:
- "Serbian women in Kosovo aren't even second-class citizens, they are harrassed, raped, humiliated. The hardest thing in Kosovo is to be a woman, especially a Serbian woman.
Even when it is a question of rape, different generations of Albanians have different attitudes.
- A young Albanian tried to rape my daughter, her mother took a stick and beat him up, nobody held it against her, even the boy's parents said she was right to do it.
Attacks on Serbian little girls and young girls were often meant as provocations, drawing young Serbian men into conflict so as protect their friends, neighbors or even unknown girls.
- My son was coming hack from Urosevac. Albanians tried to rape a Serbian girl. He jumped in to defend her, caught the knife by the blade and defended the girl. He came home with his hand cut. None of the authorities took action on our report.
A housewife relates:
- They were seeing her boyfriend and now husband off an the train for the army. His relatives were returning from the station. On the outskirts of Pristina, at night, the Albanians did the following to provoke the Serbs: an Albanian put on women's clothing and another one attacked him. The Serbs ran over to help "her" when several Albanians came at them from their hiding place, carrying knives, and stabbed one of the relatives.
- My sons went to a dance with their sisters and danced with them. But an Albanian, who had left his own sisters locked up at home, also wanted to dance with them. That led to fighting right after the liberation.
The danger of rape grew partly because of the easy-going attitude of the authorities and courts toward this crime. The head of one household said that six Albanians in his village raped a 14 year-old girl and got six months in prison each. Another household head said that an Albanian, a philosophy student from Pristina, tried to rape his daughter on her way home from school, and was not even punished for it, he was just declared "not mentally accountable".
In many cases, real and possible threats to women and female children were the main reason for moving away, and there is no question that this, in all households, was an important aspect of indirect, psychological pressure suffered and of the social climate that led to people moving away.
"We're ruined, but we got the children out".
(Mother of three, from Kosovska Kamenica)
One of the keys to understanding the emigration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo is the threat to their children. The selectiveness of the discrimination process is reflected in the fact that the weakest and most vulnerable were the most exposed to it.
Considering the change in traditional childbirth patterns, which swept most Serbian and Montenegrin families in Kosovo, threats to the dwindling number of their children is the strongest factor in their moving out.
Asked about relations between children in the household and Albanian children from the settlement, 181 households gave no answer. These are households that did not have children before emigrating, households with very small children who did not leave the family circle, or families from Serbian settlements. In 319 households, the first two answers were taken in quantitative defense, and a total of 452 replies were obtained.
An analysis of these replies shows the different aspects of discrimination to which Serbian and Montenegrin children were exposed. They show, for instance, that children were threatened in different places: on the street, at school, and even in their own backyards.
17. Relations Between Children from the Household and Albanian Children
|No. of cases||in %|
|No. of households||319|
|No. of answers overall||452||100.0|
|Separation, sheltering Serbian children||132||29.3|
|Threats, curses, arguments||108||23.5|
|Seizing personal possessions||29||6.4|
|Fights, stoning, physical injury||129||28.5|
- We were separated into classes at school, but during recess we stayed in the classroom, because they deliberately provoked incidents, and we were afraid.
- They harrassed children at every step, they didn't dare go out during recess, they often came back with their heads smashed.
- Fights. They grabbed our things. I rode a bike to school and they kept taking it away from me. Once they beat me on the head with my own tire pump, another time with a rock. Slaps were a regular thing.
- Things were not good between Albanian children and our own children. They're in the majority, we're in the minority. They beat up children. Then the child doesn't want to go to school, his grades suffer.
- Fights, arguments, belittling Serbian children in the streets, starting arguments, a feeling of fear, especially among female children, and all the rest.
- Relations became disturbed after the 1981 demonstrations. We didn't let our children out into the street, because we were afraid something would happen to them.
- I wasn't free to send the child anywhere. My children meant more to me than the property.
- Our children were small. They were not allowed to leave the courtyard, because they always got beaten up if they did. Even when they were in the courtyard, if there were no adults around they would be stoned. That's why we came here.
Withdrawing Serbian and Montenegrin children into the house and courtyard was the only way to avoid conflict and danger. But, even in purely Serbian settlements, children were at risk outside the home.
- The children tended the sheep, they were constantly being beaten up and attacked by five or six of them.
The methods used to molest the children varied from taking away their things, harrassment, fights, stoning, terrifying them.
- We often got into fights, not boys' fights, but because they forced themselves on us.
- They fought, heat each other up. They came home covered in blood. They had their books, notebooks, pencils grabbed from them.
- They scared our children, they took away their snacks, their money.
- Every day Serbian and Albanian children got into bad fights, sometimes they were forced to shout: "Long Live Enver Hoxha".
- Albanian children harrassed our children, took away their money, removed the straps from their schoolbags and used them to beat them. The child had bruises on his body and for a long time he wouldn't tell us how he got them, they had threatened to beat him up even worse if he told anybody.
No matter what precautions were taken, there was always some time when the child had to leave the family circle, for instance to go to school. Under these circumstances, parents had to accompany the children on their way to and from school. One household head, an older woman, showed the researcher the hunting rifle she carried every day when accompanying her grandchildren to and from school.
- When I was at school, I often came home all beaten up.
- My child couldn't go to the nearest school because it didn't have many Serbian children, he had to go to the school at the other end of town and even then we had to take him to school and pick him up from school.
- We always had to accompany them but even with us there they attacked, cursed and insulted them.
- Like the wolf and the goat. I had to pick up my grandchild and the children so that the Albanians didn't get him.
- You have to send a female child to school in another village, but not alone, you have to pick her up and carry an ax.
- The children fought badly; when I was at school (moved away in 1969), I carried a club and lots of rocks with me.
- You couldn't let a child or women go to the market or hospital, they would have to pass through three or four Albanian villages.
Several respondents said there was hatred among the children, and that the parents stood behind it.
- That is the worst disease, the fact that children did not tolerate one another. They threw stones, cursed, swore and harrassed one another.
- We came here because of the child. Unlike fighting among Serbian children, this was full of hatred and fury.
- The children are separated from an early age, through kindergartens, school, they never played together let alone made friends, there was even hatred, especially after 1981.
Intolerance and hostility among adults was especially reflected among the children who showed openly what their parents more or less secretly felt about one another.
This easily explains why knowledge of the Albanian language was very unusual, rare among Serbian children and the young in general. It also explains the psychological and actual resistance to introducing the Albanian language in schools, first as an elective and then as a compulsory subject. More will be said about this later.
Clashes between children triggered off deeper conflicts between their parents and families, to the point of blood feuds. Clashes between children were often really just a provocation.
- They beat up our children. Serbs and Albanians went to the same school. You didn't dare complain to their parents because they would attack you afterwards.
- There were fights, knives were even used, adults egged them on and got involved themselves.
- If the children were to get into a fist-fight, I'd have a blood feud on my hands.
The threatened child had nobody to turn to for protection, except its parents. The following incident was related by a family headed by a prominent Pristina official. Two sons went to the movies but some Albanian boys snatched their money from them in front of the movie theater. Spotting an Albanian policeman nearby who knew the whole family well, the boys turned to him for help. He slapped them and sent them packing.
And so the circle closed: it was impossible to avoid conflict, and yet every conflict only increased the dangers many times over.
That is why emigration was often seen as the only answer. Families whose children were placed at great risk (physically abused, raped) decided to emigrate or, as they themselves say, to "flee", even if it meant it seriously affected their own financial situation. A mother of four tells the following story:
- They raped my daughter, beat me up whenever and wherever they felt like it, both me and my children, before the very eyes of the authorities and the whole of Yugoslavia. What's the point of having that land, that house, the cattle, if they kill my children or husband. I live for my children. They destroyed my children, ruined us, today when everybody is free.
- Three men raped our neighbor's 12-year-old girl.
- They attacked my daughter in the house, they broke in, she was alone, she was raped, cut up, humiliated.
- They pass by the window, hurl insults, attack our children.
- They attacked my daughter in the house and raped her, The police didn't come until six hours later.
According to many of the respondents, girls were not even safe at school, where Serbian and Montenegrin schoolgirls were exposed to various kinds of "minor" "unpleasantness" (having yogurt or flour thrown in their face, being cursed at and harrassed with sentences like: "Come over here so I can f... you". Because of the dangers lurking on the way to and from school, and in school itself, many girls dropped out of school.
- They attacked girls, especially in the bus and at school. My sister dropped out of high school because of the trouble the kids gave her.
- Serbian girls were raped in the school John by Albanian boys.
- My daughters finished elementary school and did not continue their education because they would have had to pass through Albanian settlements to get to high school.
Rape, especially of little girls, tops the "pyramid of discriminations" and its escalation undoubtedly marks the points where, in applying violence, elementary social norms no longer function and everything is allowed. This tremendous step backwards, which returns us to a time when morals were defined exclusively by fear, causes not only despair and revolt among the respondents, but disbelief as well.
- How would Albanians react if we Serbs raped their daughters? During the war not even the Balists* raped and beat up girls, but now somebody is letting them do that.
* Balists were members of the Albanian fascist organization.
Since the forms of direct discrimination are firmly linked to the ethnic structure of the settlement, one can logically presume that there is also a connection between the ethnic structure and the discrimination of children. Consequently, the share of answers referring to good relations and separation, keeping out of the way, avoidance, grows in proportion with the growth in the share of Serbs and Montenegrins. Parallely, the share of fights in the total number of answers about relations between children declines. Conversely, in areas where Serbs and Montenegrins account for the lowest number, fights are frequently mentioned in the answers. As many as one out of every three households in these communes had faced the problem of physical fights among the children, and almost three-quarters had had some sort of direct attack on their children.
18. Indexes of Association Between Relations Among Children and Groups of Communes of Emigration According to the Share of Serbs and Montenegrins in the Population, 1971
|Groups of Communes|
|Up to 9.9%||10-19%||20-29%||40% & over|
|Separation, avoidance, staying out of the way||0.69||0.95||1.07||1.15|
|Threats, curses, arguments||1.18||1.23||0.90||0.93|
|Fights, physical injury, slaps, stoning of Serbian children||1.54||0.87||0.99||0.81|
|Seizure of possessions||0.35||1.42||1.09||1.16|
The indexes of association clearly indicate this connection. The value of the index for good relations and separation systematically increases with the rise in the number of Serbs and Montenegrins, whereas the value of the index for verbal and physical abuse declines. Consequently, the rule seems to be that Serbian and Montenegrin children become more at risk when Serbs and Montenegrins are less numerous in the ethnic structure of the commune. One can discern a dynamic aspect here: parallel with the decline in the share of Serbs and Montenegrins in the ethnic structure of the commune, discrimination against Serbian and Montenegrin children grew.
Relations between children of different nationalities undoubtedly greatly colored the respondents' assessments of the type of inter-ethnic relations that prevailed in the settlement. There was a clear tie-in between general assessments of relations with Albanians in the settlement and relations among children of different nationality. The frequency and gravity of clashes increased as assessments of relations in the settlement became more negative. One can conclude, therefore, that conflicts between children became all the more frequent and grave when relations with the Albanian population were all the more adverse.
The above shows that discrimination and the threat of personal abuse accounted for much of the daily lives of the Serbs and Montenegrins who moved out of Kosovo. We look now at what the respondents said about behavior toward them in the everyday matters of shopping, taking public transport and using the health service. Although none of the questions addressed themselves directly to these matters (which is why there are no corresponding statistical figures), the respondents' answers do give a picture of the situation regarding these services.
There were various forms of discrimination against Serbs and Montenegrins in the sphere of shopping, which worked directly against the end-purpose of sales.
A particular aspect of discrimination was the boycott of Serbian and Montenegrin vendors, be it at the market or in stores. One of the respondents said that his firm had assigned him to be the only salesman in the strictly Albanian part of town. Since nobody was willing to buy from him, and sales were down, they simply closed down the store.
There were not infrequent cases of rude behavior by Albanian shop-workers toward Serbian and Montenegrin customers, including insults, provocations or, when possible, palming off inferior goods or refusing to sell goods at all.
- We were constantly left without milk, because my wife kept asking for it in Serbian.
The poll also showed that Serbs and Montenegrins were served in shops only when there was not a single Albanian customer, regardless of who was next in line.
In very small villages, especially those that were Serbian, there were no shops, and purchases had to be made in nearby larger Albanian settlements. This made it completely impossible for women from the emigrant households to buy anything. Serbian and Montenegrin women could only enter stores in towns. As for private services, ethnic segregation was bound to occur, as it did with the corso and the cafes, which, considering the smaller number of Serbian craftsmen and their emigration (accelerated by their being deprived of work permits and having their premises demolished during demonstrations by Albanian nationalists) stopped Serbs and Montenegrins from reaching them.
Statements regarding transport show that it is impossible to avoid discrimination in some situations and that the risk of danger is daily.
- Albanian drivers and conductors won't sell tickets to Serbs nor will they let them on the bus, at the station they call only Albanian passengers. Many of the information boards carry only Albanian signs.
- When we board a bus down there we die of fright; here you can get into a bus without pushing or deliberate shoving.
- My youngest son got into a fist-fight on the bus, he couldn't stand the injustice of it... they deliberately drive you three kilometers further, the driver says: 'I won't stop at your station out of spite'.
- They underestimated us Serbs. When you went to a store or the doctor's, you always had to wait, you were the last one to go in. When waiting for the bus, Serbs were let on if there was room, if not, only Albanians were allowed on, they'd shut the doors and drive away, leaving us to wait for the next bus.
Serbian and Montenegrin bus drivers in Kosovo encountered all sorts of dangers:
- I'll tell you about another case, I was down there a week ago. There was a commemoration for my mother. We were on the bus from Prizren to Sredska. The driver was a Serb. A truck blocked the road. The bus couldn't pass. The driver got out and started arguing with the truck-driver, an Albanian. He wouldn't budge, he simply refused. They got into a fight. The police arrived and beat up our driver.
- They push people around. I once was made to drive an Albanian on the bus to his house, off the main bus line. If you try to say "No", they just take out a pistol and say: 'Go back to Montenegro, go back to where you came from, we'll kill your kids if you refuse to obey."
Even health institutions were not spared the general trend toward discrimination in Kosovo. Although this study did not examine the attitude of Albanians toward Serbs and Montenegrins in health institutions, the respondents' statements indicate that the lack of proper health care, and even fear of turning to Albanian doctors for help, increased the sense of unsafely and risk. Among the factors compelling people to move away, health carried a specific weight of its own.
The statements of patients, potential patients and health workers reveal various forms of discrimination, ranging from rudeness, discriminatory behavior in admitting patients, to refusal to give help or inadequate treatment and grave accusations of risks to life.
- When we went to the doctor's, we'd have to wait all day. The Albanian doctor wouldn't call us in, and he wouldn't take our health booklets from our hands, as though we had scurvy.
- Here I could go to the doctor's by myself, but down there I was afraid to, there were no Serbs anywhere, just Albanians.
- Albanian doctors received an extra premium just because they knew Albanian.
- The medical file was filled in only in Albanian.
- If you kept quiet, you got by more or less, but if you spoke up you'd be assigned to some remote clinic in one of the surrounding villages, and to a worse job.
- An Albanian ran out in front of my father's car. He hurt his leg. My father drove him to the hospital. There were witnesses, everything was O.K., the injuries weren't serious. Two months later my father gets notification that a complaint has been filed. The Albanian has procured a medical certificate saying that his leg was broken, that he had lots of injuries, and he even had a cast put on his leg. He wanted my father to pay him 240,000 dinars compensation or else there would be a blood feud For a long time, my father was followed, some people circled his house. He paid some money, even though he wasn't guilty, but it wasn't as much as they had asked for.
- During the demonstrations they attacked the house. I fired my gun into the air, and they shot at me, at my arm. I wouldn't let them take me to the hospital. I know what awaits me there.
- In Pristina my daughter went to a gynecologist, to an Albanian woman doctor. The woman wouldn't receive her until a Serbian midwife interceded. She gave her an injection which injured the vein, blood started gushing out, the doctor didn't even look at her, and it was only when the midwife from the other office interceded that the doctors stopped the bleeding. My daughter was traumatized.
- My cousin, the son of the head of the household, was run over by a car and taken to the hospital where he died. The family is firmly convinced that he was poisoned in the hospital, because he did not sustain serious injuries.
- The doctor who worked in the maternity ward at the hospital in Pristina murdered my firstborn child. All three of my children were born in the same hospital but I made sure to call in Serbian doctors, so that there were no problems afterwards.
- My wife, who was pregnant, was hurt in the 1981 demonstrations and the next day she had a Caesarean section in her seventh month. The baby weighed in at 2.3 kilograms. It was placed in an incubator, given a bigger dose of oxygen and became half-blind.
- I decided to move out in 1981. When my son was born I sent my wife to relatives in Smederevo to have the baby there, I didn't dare risk her having it in Pristina.
The statements presented here are only those that cite the experience of the questioned household, not the experience of others. There is no question that reports of discrimination in the field of health spread quickly among the Serbs and Montenegrins and probably influenced their decisions to move away. Direct discrimination in the sphere of health was facilitated and encouraged by the exodus of Serbian and Montenegrin doctors, who were obstructed from doing their work.
Finally it should be said that twofold discrimination is encountered in shops, public transport and health care, discrimination against both those using and those providing these services. These forms of discrimination against the Serbian and Montenegrin population mark a kind of transition from direct to institutional discrimination, and in the case of health care, from indirect to direct genocide.
In addition to the violence applied against members of the households, rural, farming households were to a large extent exposed to yet another form of aggression - threats to their material existence. Farming householders, who are of course particularly sensitive to such threats, were faced with various methods of discrimination and were left helpless to do anything about them.
The general method of inflicting damage on the household was to cause damages in the field. They became so customary that, if they were not drastic and did not trigger off any fights, they were hardly mentioned by the respondents who saw them as something inevitable. Harvests were destroyed or seized, boundary-lines were moved, plots of land were even usurped. Damage was done in other ways, too: passages were blocked, there were thefts from the house and yard, houses were demolished, and during demonstrations shops and premises owned by Serbs and Montenegrins were demolished as well. One of the worst forms of this kind of discrimination is doing harm to and killing cattle.
- Prior to the 1981 demonstrations, every Serbian house in Podujevo was marked with a cross so that they would know where to attack. The demonstrators stoned the house, broke all the windows, completely demolished my workshop.
- They started persecuting us and forcing us to move away, they moved the boundary markers and usurped the land at will, they wanted all the Serbs to move out and for us to leave them our riches. The surveyor said how the boundary went, but that didn't help.
- We had an orchard but we didn't dare go there because they kept beating up my children. I sold it, because I never got anything out of it, the whole of Kamenica knows that.
- Sometime in the early sixties, the Agricultural Cooperative in Kasin, near Urosevac, confiscated 7.5 hectares of my patrimony without any compensation and divided it up among Albanians who later sold it.
- We had three hectares of forest land; our Albanian neighbor cut it down as though it were his, and we had to buy wood.
- They cut down our forest in broad daylight, openly, four or five of them would come and barefacedly grab, cut down the wood and hurl threats.
- They caused damages to my property. They let the cattle into the wheat, they grazed on the young corn; they cut down my whole forest, I had to sell it.
- They made unbaked bricks on my property.
- They destroyed our fields, we never managed to keep the harvest, at night they banged on the house with axes and rocks, they stole and killed our cattle.
- Before we moved out we hadn't worked the land for three years because the Albanians reaped our harvest.
- He killed my horse because It went up to his mare.
- In the summer we didn't dare let the cattle into the meadow for fear that the Albanians would poison them, and we didn't dare drive away the Albanians' cattle off of our fields... women didn't dare leave the house to go to the fields out of fear that they would be raped by Albanians.
- An Albanian neighbor attacked my wife with a pitchfork because she drove his cattle off our field, he put his pistol in my mouth, wouldn't let me herd the sheep in my own meadow which he had taken over.
Under circumstances such as these, people were bound to sell or abandon their land, this being an important precondition for moving away. But, before we examine the respondents' statements about the sale of property, let us look briefly at some of the facts.
Only 66 questioned households owned no property, 14 had only land (usually part of a family inheritance, not located in the place of residence), 95 had only a house and 325 had both a house and land. While 13.2% of the households in the sample had no property, in the group of communes with the lowest share of Serbs and Montenegrins that figure was only 3.6%, and in communes where they account for 20-30% and more of the population it was 10%, whereas in the commune of Pristina it was 33.0%. Also indicative is the fact that only 4.3% of the households in Serbian settlements had no property, as compared to 16.5% in Albanian or mostly Albanian settlements.
19. Possession and Sale of Property
|Household||No. of Households||Household %|
|- only land||14||2.8|
|- only house||95||19.0|
|- land and house||325||65.0|
|sold a part||54||12.4|
|sold everything they had||266||61.3|
Holding on to, completely or partially selling property was clearly tied in with the ethnic structure of the commune and the respondents' assessment of the settlement's ethnic composition and changes therein. The bigger the percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins in the groups of communes, the fewer the sales of property. With the exception of Pristina, in communes where Serbs and Montenegrins account for 20-29 % of the population one is more prone to find that they sold everything, and in communes where they account for 30 % or more, one encounters this less often than in the whole sample. Partial sale is especially pronounced in communes with the lowest percentage of Serbs and Montenegrins, followed by those where that percentage is low and finally those where it is highest, but for different reasons. In the first two cases, it is because of the difficulties of selling and the arbitrary seizure of land by Albanians, and in the third case it is because there are still household members living there. In settlements which were and remained Serbian, the sale of land and property was almost three times less frequent than for the entire sample, with more frequent partial sales and very rarely the sale of everything the household owned.
The partial or total sale of property appears in 320 households. A look at these households and the modalities of the sales reveals numerous salient points about the emigration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo.
The numerically predominant feature of the sales is that there is only one offer to buy. This is actually more frequent than may appear from the figures, because in the case of the 67 households that had more than one purchase offer, this usually meant one offer for each part of the property. Several offers were rare and were usually for houses in cities.
In more than three-quarters of the cases, i.e. in 245 instances, the buyer was an Albanian and in 59 cases a Serb. Serbian buyers (Montenegrins hardly ever bought property) appeared mostly in purely Serbian settlements and for earlier sales. It should not be forgotten that the twenty-year period of emigration under observation is a long time and that with the passing years the terms of sale changed. Sixteen of the households marked the nationality of the buyer as "other", which would include the forced purchase of land by institutions and organizations, usually attached to the commune.
Three-quarters of the households consider the price they got for selling their property to be lower than its real value, 91 feel that they got what the property was worth and three said that the price obtained was higher than what the property was worth. Only one third of the households that sold property was paid in full at once; the others were paid in installments which in some cases lasted as long as ten years. In 14 households, the price had not been fully paid at the time of the interview, and probably never will be.
In two-thirds of the cases, the buyer was a local, in 75 households the buyer was from another part of the same commune, in 32 cases the buyer did not live in the same commune, and in 3 cases the buyer was not from Kosovo.
Finally, more than half the buyers (57.5%) were farmers by occupation, one quarter (25.6%) were workers, and other occupations were few and far between.
Taken as a whole, one can say that a typical sale was made in response to "one offers, from an Albanian, far below its value, paid in installments, usually by a local farmer.
Households that still had property in Kosovo were asked what they planned to do with it. Their answers are split down the middle: 84 households plan to sell their remaining property, while 84 plan to keep their property.
The main condition of the sale cited by those who would sell their property (56 households) - abstracting the restrictions passed in the meantime on the sale of real estate between people of different nationalities - is a fair price. This category is followed by households that would sell unconditionally, but have no buyers (21 cases), and lastly, five households want to sell but cannot, because their land has been taken over and worked by Albanians who behave as though it were theirs.
20. The Buyers and Sale of Property
|No. of households||Household %|
|Total no. that sold||320||100.0|
|Buyer's place of residence|
|Same place as seller||210||65.6|
|Other place, same commune||75||23.5|
|Elsewhere in Kosovo||32||10.0|
|Outside of Kosovo||3||0.9|
|White collar worker||15||4.7|
Number of purchase offers
|More than one||67||21.5|
Method of payment
|Full sum, at once||110||34.3|
|Full sum, in installments||196||61.3|
|Above its worth||3||0.9|
|Equal to its worth||91||28.4|
|Below its worth||226||70.7|
|* Including institutional purchases.|
The most frequent reason given for not selling is that there are still members of the household living in Kosovo (38 cases). Thirty households simply do not want to sell, giving no explanation. Only seven said they planned to keep their property in case they returned. The remaining 11 households that said they did not plan to sell their remaining property gave explanations that seem to contradict their expressed plans: six had no boyers, 3 had been offered too small a price, and two households had their land taken over and worked by local Albanians with no legal grounds to do so.
The respondents' statements depict the process of how ownership of land and other property passes from one hand to the other, and what traits are involved. In order to perceive both aspects more clearly, the following six sub-headings group together the main problems, such as how organized the conduct and coercion is, the expropriation of property, the importance of the individual modalities of the sale and arbitrary usurpation of the property.
- People in the village knew exactly who was about to move out. Albanians drew up a plan, and the Serbs had not a clue. An Albanian would appear, knock on the door and say: 'When you move out, I'm buying your house'. Whether you wanted to or not, you had to move away.
- Everything is done deliberately. Serbs are blackmailed, driven off their property, they are given rock bottom prices for it. But, it's not just the material advantage; for some strategic areas the Albanians pay whatever the asking price is, they pay billions, which means that their only goal is to drive Serbs away however they can.
- Most often if you were going to sell you'd ask your first neighbor or somebody whose property bordered with yours.* The biggest problems were over the sale of land, because neighbors dictated the choice of buyer and the price. A buyer comes, sees the house and offers 12 million (1971); the next-door neighbor, an Albanian, offers 4 million and says threateningly: 'If you don't sell it to me, I'll kill your child and set fire to the barn'. But, the neighbor pays only 4 million, while the contract has to be made out for 12.5 million, so that the property is "sold" to the "highest" bidder.
* These instances show how strongly present the tribal law of the Canon of Lek is among Albanians to this day. According to the property regulations set forth by this customary ordinance, only the male line is entitled to inherit land, wills are not recognized, land boundaries must not be changed; once ownership over land is acquired it cannot be changed or transferred outside the circle of family and relations This rule applies, of course, only to relationships between Albanians; the purchase and sale of land between them is very rare When families separate, the property is divided by the "elders", following the rules of customary law. The "elders" and "supreme elders" are people elected at the level of the village or tribe, to carry out the provisions of customary law, some independently and others together with the tribal chiefs, and they pass Judgement when there is a conflict between the tribal chief and ordinary members of the tribe. "Chambers" are a modern political modification of this tribal institution
- I wish there were an end to the hatred between Serbs and Albanians, so that my father could sell his house to whomever he wanted instead of to whom he had to.
- There was no choice of offers. When one of them wants to buy, the others stay out of it, that's how it is with them. You get as much money as they give you, there's no real take.
- The house was bought by an Albanian, he probably got it (the money) from somebody, he had already bought 13 houses (Mijalic, Vucitrn commune).
- There was only one offer for the land, more than one buyer is not allowed. My immediate family owned 12 hectares of land, but it couldn't sell it, that's to say nobody would buy it, until one-third of its value was given to the aga, the former owner of the land, who then gave his permission for us to sell the land.*
- The Albanian who bought our house doesn't even live in it, it's all in weeds (the buyer is from another place).
- We were unable to sell the house right away and be paid, even though nobody lives in it to this day; it was important that the house be bought as planned and that the Serbs left.
- In 1967 they seized 76 acres of my land.
- They confiscated our house on the basis of a decision taken by the commune, at the unrealistic price of 47 million old dinars (flooded for the Obilic thermo-electric power plant).
- The communal authorities nationalized a hectare of our land (in a purely Serbian settlement) and divided it up among Albanians for them to build cottages.
- A watchmaker who had his shop in a prefabricated building, had to move out when the building was torn down, without any legal grounds or papers, and he had no place to work.
- The family house in town, a two-story building with eight rooms, was confiscated in order to build a city square. In return for the house we were given ownership papers to an apartment from the Self-Management Community of Interest (SCI) where the parents remained until they sold the apartment. But they can only sell the apartment to the SCI that gave it to them, and it offers only a third of the value of the apartment, and even that the SCI is hesistant to pay.
Forcing people to sell and move away, by destroying their harvest and preventing them from working the land, or by physically threatening members of the household.
- Before we moved away, we hadn't worked the land for three years because the Albanians picked our harvest. Our entire property (10 hectares of arable land and the house) was left to the whims of the Albanians, they destroy our houses, cut up our orchards, use our meadows, our property, and there's no compensation from either them or the authorities. (The last Serbs that moved out of the settlement; nobody wanted to buy their property.)
- They attacked us to make us sell the land, they'd come for land on Sundays, going from house to house.
- In 1978 we sold 10 hectares of the best land for 500,000 dinars. Before moving away I destroyed seven acres of vineyard, because the Albanians took away all the grapes.
- He set fire to my hay, tossed dynamite into my yard.
- We sold the house under pressure. Our Albanian neighbor claimed that it was his patrimony (both the head of the household and his father were born in their place of residence), he obstructed its sale, made threats, and eventually grabbed part of the plot for himself, without paying a cent.
- I had land that they ravaged, there was nothing I could do about it except sell it and move away. It was impossible to live in such fear any more.
- Those who were the first to sell fared best.
- When people first started mowing out, my friends' small house fetched 1.5 billion dinars, and the money came from France.
- When they want to infiltrate into a Serbian and Montenegrin settlement, the first buyers pay the asking price, and later they blackmail the owners and pay next to nothing.
- I'd gladly sell my land, but nobody wants it. As soon as I moved away nobody was interested in it any more. After the war the Turks moved out and the Albanians moved in (commune of Gnjilane), at the time the state bought off land from Serbs and gave it to immigrants, there were immigrant clubs in Gnjilane at the time.
- My village is a special case (Petrovce, commune of Kamenica). Until 1952 everybody was Serbian, but the environment started to change with the return from prison of the Cominformists. In order to take revenge against the locals, they started selling their houses and property only to Albanians. After 1968, practically the whole village moved away, not a single Serbian family lives there any more.
- Albanians use property in Kosovo as though it were their own, they plant crops on it, saying: "It was ours, it'll stay ours", and we can't sell it.
Unfair low prices, payment in installments, incomplete payment, no administrative regulation, resales.
- I sold the house and six hectares for next to nothing, for six million old dinars in 1968, we were forced to sell dirt cheap.
- We sold 17 hectares, all of it below price; for that money I was able to buy this old house and a tractor.
- I sold 20 hectares for 20 million to the person I had to sell to, and then that Albanian turned round and immediately resold 18 ares to another Albanian for 12 million.
- We sold the house and 2 hectares of land to the first buyer below their actual value; for the land, house and car (sold in Kosovo) we couldn't even build a house (in Serbia). The buyer was an Albanian, nobody knows where he came from, he spoke only Albanian.
- The Albanian buyer paid off the land he bought (way under price) for a full five years; when he received a notice of warning, he would say he didn't have any money, but in the meantime he bought more land from another local Serb.
- I literally gave the house away, it was worth 25 million, and I got only six million; the house is still registered in my name. I go to Kosovo every year and try to wind up the sale, but the Albanian won't move out of the house, he won't pay up what he still owes and he won't transfer the property deed to his name.
- It's been eight years now and the sold land still hasn't been transferred to the buyer's name, nor has the Albanian buyer paid taxes on it.
- We sold (the land) in part, that was in 1966 and we still haven't been paid in full... I went several times there with the idea of getting my money for the house and the orchard, but I don't go any more, I don't dare go to Djakovica.
Arbitrary usurpation of property before the household moves out and unsold property after it moves out
- I left nothing good, he took my house and orchard, I built a new house and had a hard time because of somebody else.
- The Albanian moved into the house by force, we spent seven years going to court and we won the case, but not the money.
- An Albanian neighbor took my land, he works it, nobody asks whether it's for sale, everybody keeps quiet, laughing, they know it'll be theirs without any money.
- Why should he buy it when he can take it for nothing?
These stories show how property was bought, especially arable land owned by Serbs and Montenegrins. These were organized, systematic campaigns, run, according to the respondents, by "chambers".* This term denotes a kind of committee which caries out the policy of Albanian chauvinists in the village regarding the purchase and seizure of land and other drives directed against Serbs and Montenegrins. The "chambers" define every detail of the purchase, they choose the buyer, set the price, etc.
This approach was first applied to normal purchases of land, but with time took on the elements of forced usurpation of property directly related to changes in the ethnic structure of the settlement.
It is popularly believed that enormous amounts of money are to be had for Serbian and Montenegrin property. Certainly this was true in some cases, and this is also reflected in the poll. This is characteristic of the first sales in Serbian settlements and of what are called "key points" in key families in the settlement, when the emigration process was just starting. If the number of Albanians in the one-time Serbian settlement grew, and the exodus of Serbs and Montenegrins accelerated, the price of land plummeted or the land could not be sold at all and was then abandoned.
Strong pressure was brought to bear on households that did not want to sell their land; this pressure was reflected in destroying their crops, seizing their harvests, doing damage in the field (from letting the sheep into the wheat to cutting down the orchards). Even purely Serbian settlements were not spared In fact, the crudest forms of pressure, fights, beatings and killings were usually to be found in families that were forced to sell their land. City residents often make this point, saying that the pressure on them was much less than it was in villages and on land-owners.
Once a Serbian or Montenegrin is forced to sell his land, he is given a low price for it, usually in installments, which only further devalues the price. In many cases the buyer refused to transfer the deed of the "purchased" property, and the reluctant seller remained the nominal owner, for years paying taxes on land that somebody else was using. This also achieves another thing: these sales do not exist on any official administrative papers, and the Serbian sellers are "dead souls" in official reports. Also frequent is the resell of purchased land for an incomparably higher price than that paid to the Serbian owner. This indicates that not all Albanians have the same status, rule and privileges in purchasing property.
As the exodus gained momentum, so land prices declined, and it became harder and harder to find buyers even for dirt cheap prices. The unsold land was virtually usurped, again probably according to a set system.
The regulations on controlling the sale of land between people of different nationalities in Kosovo Province, adopted on the grounds that the emigration should be stopped, have had varying effects, one of which is that more and more people are abandoning their property, which is left untended, and, with time, is destroyed or usurped.
A strange web of circumstances and concrete actions was woven around the sale of property. Much was said about it during the research. Two groups emerged regarding the sale of property. The first was an unorganized, dispersed group of Serbs and Montenegrins of voluntary and involuntary sellers, many of whom were forced to sell even though they did not want to, and most of whom sold under the conditions imposed on them both regarding the price and the buyers. On the other hand we have the buyer who makes or imposes an offer, often the only visible part of the "chamber" that systematically and efficiently estranges Serbs and Montenegrins from the village and Kosovo. The buyer's economic interest and the ethno-political objective of chauvinism converge here. There is no doubt that the achievement of this goal attracted many Albanian families (which are numerically large but with little land to their name) and that it stimulated ethno-political homogenization, especially among those Albanian farmers most reluctant to join in political movements. Furthermore, emigration from Albanian itself took root in Kosovo through the purchase of land, and the poll shows this to have encouraged discrimination against and to have threatened Serbs and Montenegrins at all levels of society. Hence, the purchase of Serbian- and Montenegrin-owned property marks a transition from direct to institutional discrimination.
"If you ask somebody: 'Have you got a job open?', they say: 'Is he a Serb or an Albanian'. If you say: 'A Serb', there's no job, if he had been an Albanian there would have been!"
(Kosovo-born Yugoslav army officer)
Discrimination against Serbs and Montenegrins in firms can be divided into discrimination in hiring policy and discrimination on the job. The questionnaire included a question to which 243 households (with one or more members employed before emigrating) replied.
A look at households where one of the members looked for a job in Kosovo shows that only 6.2 % of the respondents felt that ethnic affiliation played no role in hiring policy. Most of the respondents were prone to stress the priority given to Albanians, and a smaller number spoke about the difficulties and impossibility of employing Serbs and Montenegrins. It can be concluded, therefore, that discrimination in the field of job hiring was carried out, first and foremost through directly favorizing Albanians.
According to the respondents' statements, there are numerous ways in which Albanians are favored and Serbs and Montenegrins discriminated against when hiring for a job.
21. Job Applicants' Nationality as a Factor of Influence
|Number of Households||Households %|
|No. influence on job hiring||9||3.7|
|No. influence at the time the respondent was hired||6||2.5|
|Priority to Albanians||95||39.2|
|Strong priority to Albanians||89||36.6|
|Impeding employment of Serbs and Montenegrins||21||8.6|
|Impossibility of employing Serbs and Montenegrins||10||4.1|
|Influence of nationality, no explanation||4||1.6|
The institutionalization of discrimination by introducing national quotas in employment. According to the respondents, this ratio ranged from ten to twenty Albanians to every one non-Albanian. This made all sorts of manipulations possible, such as holding several consecutive job competitions for less than ten jobs, thereby employing virtually only Albanians.
National quotas were the decisive principle, coupled with a neglect of legal conditions (such as how long the applicant has been unemployed, the applicant's qualifications and schooling) and the adoption of illegal criteria (such as personal and family ties) which are highly operative throughout the country at large.
Bilingualism as a condition of employment, or, to be more precise, knowledge of Albanian on the part of Serbs and Montenegrins, in jobs that require it (judges, doctors) and in those that do not: bilingualism was neither demanded of Albanians nor tested in the same way.
Preventing Serbs and Montenegrins from holding certain jobs and posts which presumed more power and influence.
Special problems in employing Serbian and Montenegrin women and their work.
Here are some sample statements about various aspects of labor discrimination:
- They hire 20 Albanians and one Serb.
- Out of ten people looking for work, eight Albanians, one Moslem and one Serb or Montenegrin get hired.
- The advantage he had was that he was an Albanian.
- The Albanian didn't even know how to sign his name but he got the job.
- I went to the bureau. I wanted to go abroad. They were there too. They always got the jobs. I only did one six-month stint in Switzerland. There was always work for them, there were more of them.
- Priority was given to Albanians who came down from the mountains, brought their children with them and immediately got jobs and housing loans.
- They didn't hire Serbs with grade school, but they hired Albanians who hadn't finished grade school as managers.
- Albanians could get and change jobs even without family connections, and without diplomas. But with us, neither helped.
- The Albanians were given priority because of "bilingualism", although some of them didn't know Serbian. Unlike Serbs, Albanians were not called to account for not working.
- In hiring, Serbian women were given special treatment: they had to "sleep" with the head of the Employment Bureau (in Kosovska Kamenica) in order to get a permanent job.
- They didn't believe us (here in Serbia) when we told them that our daughter-in-law waited eight years before getting a job in Kosovo.
- In some places, the courts, communes, self-management interest communities, they don't take Serbs.
- I never held down the kind of job (history teacher) I was trained for. I looked for a job and waited for ten years. They'd say: "A Serb can't teach history in Kosovo", and some of my job applications weren't even registered.
- I didn't move away under direct pressure, but the wheeling and dealing in getting a job and the national key were a form of economic pressure (This statement was made by a lawyer who speaks fluent Albanian and after completing his studies waited a year before getting a job. He had the advantage at the job test but an Albanian was hired and he decided to move out).
In a number of cases, unequal treatment in hiring and getting jobs and other forms of discrimination were the direct reason for moving away.
Households whose members had been looking for but didn't find jobs were asked: Would you have left Kosovo had you gotten a job? Fourteen out of 210 respondents were unable to decide, 84 said that they would not have left and 112 said that even so they would have had to leave, but because of other circumstances. Statements about not moving out most frequently came from Serbian or largely Serbian settlements, or, as one of them put it: "I'd have gone someplace where there're Serbs, and I'd have stayed".
Only one-quarter of the heads of households with employed members said that relations among people of different nationality in the enterprise were good. Almost half the respondents said that relations were not good, were bad or very bad;
22. Relations Among Employees of Different Nationality in the Enterprise
|Number of Households||Household %|
|Good, without or with few Albanians||31||9.2|
|Relations not good||92||27.4|
|* The question was not asked in 145 households without employed members in Kosovo, in 17 households, where the member employed in Kosovo is no longer in the household, and in 2 cases of employment outside Kosovo.|
As for personal problems at their place of employment, half the employed said that they had had none. But, 40% replied that they had had problems, tied in with either their job or ethnic relations.
A comprehensive analysis of the answers about relations at their place of work points first to conditions which the respondents described as good relations, without personal problems or difficulties. These conditions applied, first, to the ethnic composition of the employed (where relations were better in places where Serbs and Montenegrins were more numerous or even constituted the majority), the time of migration (people who emigrated earlier are more prone to describe relations as good), the function of the organization (e.g. for army personnel) and the behavior of the employed. There are very few conformist answers of the following order:
- If you keep quiet, work and pretend not to notice anything, it's not bad.
- Us ordinary workers paid little attention to politics; if there was any disagreement among managers of different nationality, then we would be at each other's throats as well.
Bickering, of course, is an equitable relationship This answer was given by a former miner, and work in the mine pits, especially in shifts where everybody was of the same nationality, is not fertile ground for ethnic conflict. Hence, such conflicts were more frequent in the sphere of non-manual labor, although the crassest forms of physical conflicts were relatively rare in such enterprises Here again we find a "pyramid of discrimination", not only in terms of the forms of expression and object of discrimination but also in terms of social stratification
23 Personal Problems at Work
|Number of Households||Household %|
|No problems or difficulties||168||50|
|All or mostly Serbs at work||8||2.4|
|Problems related to the Job||44||13.1|
|Problems in national relations||8b||25.6|
|Both types of problems||5||1.5|
1 The large number of "no answers" is tied in with the polling done in the mornings when the employed household member was at work.
There were both verbal and physical clashes with Albanians among the employed, as illustrated by the following statements:
- Basically, relations were no good, especially among workers of different nationality. There were often fights and all sorts of things.
- There were various threats, seams, they'd wait in a group for me and beat me up
- At work relations were bad, people separated, Serbian workers were sneered at threatened, mistreated.
Discrimination at work was simpler to carry out if the line of discrimination overlapped with the line of the division of labor, i e. with the division into management and executive jobs. That is why with time Serbs and Montenegrins were edged out of management Jobs.
- Relations at the firm were not good. Management posts were filled along national lines There was some kind of cooperation at lower levels, but none at higher levels. There were more Albanians in the organs of management, all decisions were passed "according to the law", but there was pressure.
- Relations were very bad, they made us move out. They dismissed Montenegrin and Serbian managers, gave poorer jobs to Montenegrins and Serbs.
- The manager told us that we would have to leave the firm.
- Relations among the employees were correct, even exceptionally so. But the Albanian managers, that's another story. They were real sadists, getting their thrills.
The position of Serbs and Montenegrins as managers in the firm took two forms, according to the respondents. First, as the objects of discrimination, and then as the abettors of discrimination against their compatriots, so as to hold on to their own jobs.
- Relations at work weren't bad, although Albanians were the first to get apartments and managerial jobs. It was worse when Montenegrins or Serbs were bosses, they tried to accomodate the Albanians. We didn't have any particular unpleasantness, except that in 1976 my wife lost her job.
- If the boss was an Albanian, he supported his own people, and Serbs supported the Albanians in order to hold on to their jobs.
- It was worse when the boss was a Montenegrin or Serb, they tried to accomodate the Albanians.
- We felt isolated, because the Serbs who held managerial office tended to ingratiate themselves with the Albanians who were in the majority.
- If the bosses were our people, they kept us quiet, they wouldn't let us rebel, all in the name of brotherhood and unity. Sometimes they didn't dare, and some tried to hold on to their positions.
As objects of discrimination, they were deprived of promotions, transferred to lower-paying, less influential jobs. Their ethnic identity paralyzed their authority and work, regardless of how necessary this was for the work to function.
- The last couple of years, the Serbian boss had no authority as far as the Albanian workers were concerned.
- I tell an Albanian to shift the switch and turn on the signal, and he pays no attention, has a snooze, and goes home! This led to serious arguments and fights because of violations of job assignments. I was a Party member from 1957 to 1963, and resigned because of all that.
- They wouldn't give me a corresponding job, and the job remained vacant until I moved away; then they gave it to an Albanian.
- I couldn't get a job in line with my schooling (junior trade school; now an inspector, worked in Kosovo as a warehouse clerk).
- For 23 years I was a manager, and then they transferred me to a desk job as a clerk, they said: "There's no place for you under this roof".
- I want to explain in greater detail what made me leave Kosovo. At work I was in a management position (director of the department). In 1978, when the vehicles were divided up by sector (heavy-duty trucks), these expensive and complicated machines were entrusted to Albanian drivers who until yesterday had known nothing else but tractors. Serbian and Montenegrin drivers, who were used to and schooled for these trucks got tractors and wrecks of vehicles to drive. An Albanian driver's truck broke down on the road. He left it without any sign or light to make it visible. It was night. A bus-load of passengers crashed into it. There were dead and injured people. In the morning a delegation of his relatives appeared and started threatening that they would kill me, molest my family if I punished or started proceedings against him.
Serbs and Montenegrins were edged out of management jobs and companies at large, meaning they were edged out of Kosovo, in a variety of ways, say the respondents: by early retirement, closing down jobs - especially in schooling and education, where the reason given was the dwindling number of Serbian and Montenegrin children, while larger classes were formed elsewhere - being transferred to other jobs (sometimes outside of the place of residence, in transport, education, health), deprivation of rights and being fired. Dismissals were often based on unlawful decisions, intrigue, or simply given without explanation.
- In 1968 they forced 12 of us Serbs to retire in our prime, so as to hire Albanians for our jobs.
- I was the president of the commune. One day they got rid of me. I retired prematurely.
- They always gave me the worst jobs.
- They closed down my son's job while he was in the army.*
* According to the Law on Labor Relations, after completing military service, working men get back their old jobs which are held for them during their absence
- Relations in the firm were not good, although Albanians were the first to get apartments and managerial jobs.
- My wife couldn't get an apartment although she had four children, but Albanian girls got apartments,
- There were problems in resolving our housing situation. The trade union intervened, and it transpired that I was some sort of nationalist because I demanded my rights.
- The household head worked in several firms and had a variety of experience. Once he was fired because he allegedly refused to carry out his assignment, although he had a medical certificate to prove he was allergic to the glass wool he was supported to work with. The doctors were forbidden to treat him or issue documents on the condition of his health. He was returned to his job three months later by court order.
- Albanians put a knife to me and offered me a tape-recorder and money to change the minutes of the meeting. I wouldn't do it and my father accompanied me to and from work, carrying a gun in his pocket.
- At work they said that I had a swastika tatooed on my arm. The police organized an attack on a bus and hauled me off to jail. But, a Serbian member of the authorities happened to come by ...
- They rigged things to remove me from my job as foreman. An Albanian took over my job, a beginner. If complaints were lodged against such cases as mine, they'd say nobody -was transferred from a better to a worse job because he was a Serb but so as to balance out the number of Albanian and Serbian clerks and foremen.
- They gave me a store to run by myself in a purely Albanian part of town, nobody would buy anything from me and so I was dismissed.
- My case went like this. Since all the Serbian experts had moved away, one was still left and they tried to trip him up through me. The boss came and told me that the man had taken some things from the warehouse and hadn't returned them, that he had stolen them, and I was to say so to the disciplinary commission. I refused, saying it wasn't true. The boss took his revenge on me by telling the others that some of the things I'm in charge of (as head of the warehouse) were to be found in the possession of the locals, in other words that I had sold these things to them and concealed the fact. That same day I was fired, I took my case to court and it lasted four years, during which time I bought this plot and built a house here, but I didn't dare get a job because I would have lost my case in court. After the trial I was given back my job, I worked there for another year and then quit. There were other such situations in my firm, so that a large number of experts, engineers, left Kosovo and their jobs were taken over by Albanians.
- After the 1968 demonstrations I refused (as a Serbo-Croatian school teacher) to put on the white Albanian skull cap of an Albanian colleague who, together with the school principal, had taken part in the demonstrations. I was fired without explanation. Working Serbian and Montenegrin women were in a particularly difficult position, according to the respondents, because they were discriminated against not only on ethnic grounds but also as women.
- An Albanian patient slapped a Bosnian lady doctor in the face, and she quit and moved away.
- There were constant conflicts. My wife had quite a lot of unpleasantness at work, I don't want to talk about it...
- In order to advance at work, I found myself being blackmailed. Since I refused their proposals and blackmail, they transferred me to an inferior job, until I finally had to quit.
- My wife especially had problems at work; an Albanian colleague made advances toward her and the whole of Pristina knew about his "flirting" because he talked about it. Once he slapped her in the face but she couldn't prove it in court. Several other employed Serbian women were in similar situations.
- I did not really have any problems at work, but my sister was raped at work. She was raped at work and the man who did it was kept in jail for just a single day, interrogated and then released. When they questioned my sister, my father and I gave our statements, they wanted to lock us up and accuse us. You didn't dare oppose them. In the end they concluded that my sister had provoked it: "She got what she was asking for."
The respondents often talk about the privileged position of Albanians at the work place, ranging from privileges as such to extreme irresponsibility. Many underlined the functionality of discrimination against others so that Albanians could be promoted.
- I okayed every decision by the bosses, I didn't dare refuse anything. Albanian workers did whatever they wanted. The best thing is to keep quiet. Silence is golden.
- Serbs had to work three shifts, Albanians only the first.
- We held our tongues and minded our own business. We couldn't complain when Albanians were given privileges, when they took paid leave of absence, while we had deductions taken off of our salaries for all and sundry.
- Serbs and the others received the same amount as Albanians for much longer work.
- Relations were poor. Albanians were more protected than Serbs. I finished my schooling in normal time, the director brought in an illiterate and gave him the same salary I received. We got the same salary although I was the foreman and he was a laborer.
- My father, who had a high school diploma, worked as a warehouse clerk, while the director, an Albanian, had only four years of grade school.
- Albanians were not made accountable like Serbs for not doing their work.
- Employed Albanians were privileged. They were not held accountable for their mistakes. If one of them committed a serious error, he'd be transferred to another section and so wouldn't have to bear any of the consequences.
- They called me a saboteur, although they were the saboteurs. I would hurry to finish the job, and they would deliberately block me, provoke me.
- The head of a household says "I couldn't stand the collective's division anymore and the Albanians' readiness to be destructives. He says that when a breakdown occurred at his firm, nobody was held responsible for the serious material damage. It was hushed up, and his demand for the guilty to be punished went unanswered.
- At a workers' assembly, an Albanian said they were threatened in terms of the kind of jobs and employment they had, he said that "we Albanians account for 80 % and that's how we should be hired". He was applauded and a few days later transferred from the job of an unskilled worker to that of warehouse clerk, although he hadn't finished grade school... They rigged things so as to remove me from my job as foreman, and my job was taken over by an Albanian beginner...
- They beat me up (Albanian colleagues at the railway) and when I complained to the Albanian boss he punished me by deducting 5 % off of my salary for three months "for having jeopardized brotherhood and unity".
- At my company an Albanian who had been fired from another firm for nationalistic outbursts was hired as secretary.
- There are good people among the Albanians down there. But even they couldn't advance, make themselves heard. They see the injustices but they don't dare say anything or criticize.
- There are worse things, there's no point in talking about it.
The demonstrators were promoted and went on to better jobs. Those Albanians who were real patriots and in certain situations defended Serbs were suspended from work.
A particular form of ethnic discrimination was the exclusive use of the Albanian language and the imposition of Albanian symbols, which shall be discussed later on.
"In schools only Albanian history was taught. Serbs were depicted as the greatest enemies of the Albanian people. The thread of hatred and emnity for the Serbian people is supported by teachers at all levels."
(Retired office worker from Urosevac)
Ideological discrimination refers to unequal treatment of different ethnic groups at the level of social awareness. The ideologization of discrimination is a process that creates this social awareness, that rationalizes and makes possible the very act of discrimination. Ideological discrimination, therefore, constitutes the value and normative basis of the actual discrimination unfolding at the level of primary groups, or institutions and organizations. This discrimination does not have a direct effect but rather operates through other types of discrimination.
Unlike direct, institutionalized discrimination, the object of ideological discrimination is not the individual, the household or a narrow group, but the ethnic group as such. Hence, it lends discrimination (which is ultimately carried out as an individual act) specific weight and the legitimacy of generality. Therefore, the existence of ideological discrimination and ideologization of discrimination clearly delineate the individual level of ethnic conflicts from discrimination as a global social phenomenon. This, of course, does not rule out the possibility of the study defining some of its traits by generalizing individual experience.
There are visible and invisible, probably overlapping elements in the Albanian group of the propagators of ideological discrimination. Since only the historical elements are available to us, we can only recognize them indirectly, through the consequences at the level of institutions, behavior and studying the objects of ideological discrimination.
The channels of ideological discrimination in our sample include the following: schools, public information media, social and socio-political organizations, the public opinion of the discriminatory group and individuals. On the other hand, there is the public opinion of the group discriminated against and its feeling that its ethnic being is threatened.
"In Kosovo it is hardest for Serbian peasants and teachers!"
(A retired teacher)
Many of the respondents talk about the system of education, especially grade and secondary school. School, the church, the cemetery are important symbols of cultural identity for the rural Serbian and Montenegrin population in Kosovo. Hence, the closure of Serbian schools is often seen as a basic threat to the peoples' identity. The abolition of a Serbian school in a village symbolized irrevocable change, depriving the remaining Serbs of any prospects.
- At the time when we were due to move away, the situation was ghastly. The school had been abolished, the Serbian school in our village and the one next to us.
- You have to leave; most of our schools have been shut down, or are being closed, there are one or two kids, you have nobody to go to because everything belongs to them. The police is theirs, so what can you do except suffer and grit your teeth, or pick up and leave.
- I had to leave in 1981, I was the last one (Serb) left in the village, my children wouldn't have had anywhere to go to school.
The grade schools attended by only Serbian and Montenegrin children were abolished, which was explained away by saying that they were uneconomical, especially outside of urban settlements and given the general conditions of settlement in Kosovo, with the dense network of very small settlements, and the dwindling number of Serbian and Montenegrin children as the process of migration advanced. However, even schools which had ethnically divided classes, with the children receiving basic instruction in their respective mother tongues, had instances of discriminatory deeds that had long-term effects, all of which accelerated the departure of Serbian and Montenegrin teachers, thereby closing the circle of discrimination.
- The number of Albanian classes kept increasing after 1968, so that instruction was mostly in Albanian. The number of Serbian classes decreased, so there there were sometimes more than 50 children in a class, while the number of Albanian classes with 16 to 17 children increased. This decreased the need for Serbian teachers, and artificially increased the need for Albanian teachers. It was virtually impossible to work in a class numbering more than 50 children.
- There were fewer and fewer Serbian children, and Albanian principals juggled artfully with dismissals, so that Serbs constantly lived with a feeling of job insecurity.
Another important consequence of schools being shut down was the following; the further away the school was from the place of residence, the more exposed to risk the children were in Kosovo's living conditions. Hence, in a number of cases, the closure of schools meant an end to schooling, especially for girls.
According to the teachers interviewed, relations between Albanian and Serbs and Montenegrins were not good in either educational institutions or other work organizations.
- Serbs and Albanians sat separately at meetings.
- They kept taking classes away from us and giving them to the Albanians (a married couple of two high school teachers), which meant that we got lower salaries. In 1970 my wife lost her job in an extended class, because she was unable to have full classes. We moved away so as not to find ourselves jobless.
- They dismissed my wife because she criticized the Albanian director of the school.
According to the respondents, discrimination against Serbian teachers sometimes acquired almost absurd form.
- There were no outright deviations at school, but there was intolerance. Pending a state holiday, the tattered flags of Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav Communist League were removed from the school, and my Albanian colleagues tried to disuade me from reporting it... The children did not get along, we had to stand duty. Our children had to stay on the sidelines, the Albanian children are very aggressive. At the school where I worked, an Albanian who could barely speak Serbian was hired to teach. Serbo-Croatian. What else is there to say ...
- When the Serbian school was closed down, I was transferred to an Albanian school - for waiters!
- At the time when I was working, there was one Albanian class in the school and the others were Serbian Later the number of Serbian children dropped drastically, there were more Albanians, and thus more Albanian teachers. The first thing they did was to change the name of the school, from that of a local fallen World War II hero to Skenderbeg. The decision was taken by majority vote, because there were more Albanians who raised "two self-management fingers". That's how all sorts of decisions were passed in Kosovo. I'm an English teacher, but I taught shop mechanics; they hired an Albanian with two years of university training for the post of English teacher, as a result of which I quit.
- Relations at work were unbearable and unfair, the bosses were irredentist leaders, participants from the demonstrations on November 17, 1968 were appointed directors. They kept telling us we wouldn't last long, our days were numbered. When formal programs were staged at the school, none of the Serbian and Montenegrin children were included, only Albanian children would win prizes. There were always threats, fights, attacks, grabbing school supplies away from the Serbian children, etc.
- At the Technology Faculty in Pristina, Albanian professors had 5 to 6 assistants each, whereas Serbs had none or just one. These examples convincingly point to the existence of institutional blockade in Kosovo's education system, impeding the fulfillment of the principal objective, which is education, and substituting it with a latent objective - discrimination
Relations among the children have already been examined. Here we shall look at the relationship between the children and the teachers:
- The textbooks are half the price for Albanian children
- Although there were two schools in the same yard, Albanians went to the one with all the amenities, and Serbs to the other one, which had not even the basics Serbs went into the school building when the bell rang, no matter what the weather outside was like, while Albanians went in when they felt like it.
- After the 1981 demonstrations we had to lock the Serbian children up in the classrooms and wait for their parents to come, while the Albanians stoned the windows.
- In Kosovo it is easier to finish university in Albanian than to finish high school in Serbian.
- The Albanian children were privileged - they were not given demerit points for fighting, whereas the Serbian children were punished.
- Our children were always blamed If we got into fights with Albanians, we'd get kicked out of school and be refused the right to register, whereas the Albanians got by with minimum punishment.
- I clashed with Albanians at school. We got into fights because they cursed my Serbian mother. They wanted to expel me from school. I barely got out of it, but I had to repeat the grade.
- During recess the Albanians (students) fired a gun at the blackboard and nobody said a thing to them.
- Albanian children kept assaulting my younger and elder sons, they were often beaten up. One day the Albanian language teacher took my elder boy and smashed his head against the head of another Serbian boy. I complained to the director of the school, butt it was all hushed up (Pristina).
- They hurt my child at school, he was unconscious all day. None of the other pupils or teachers intervened. Another boy came to tell me that my son was unconscious. I ran and splashed water on him and brought him home.
- My brother taught Serbian to Albanian children. They wouldn't take part, they just stared at him and kept silent.
- They (Albanian teachers) kept pressuring me to be more lenient and give passing or better grades in Albanian classes.
- Until 1970 relations at school were good; afterwards they became very bad. Even Albanian pupils threatened the teachers. The director, a Serb, behaved correctly toward everybody; when an Albanian took over, he get rid of all of us, they dismissed my wife. I refused to up grades, and in 1968 I was attacked by a group of Albanian school children using bars and knives, and wound up in the hospital.
All this was bound to have an adverse affect on the quality of teaching as such, and hence on the quality of the learning the children acquired under these conditions. Moreover, some respondents point to the not unimportant fact that fighting among the children and the fear felt by Serbian children on their way to and from school, developed an aversion.
The respondents often blame the Albanian teachers for disseminating hatred among Serbs and Montenegrins and prompting them to get into fights with their peers. This was especially true in ethnically mixed schools, and indeed all grade and high schools became mixed with time, except for schools in larger towns and settlements with a larger Serbian and Montenegrin population.
- The school teachers and the entire schooling system are to blame for fanning Albanian hatred toward the Serbs. The picture of Skender-beg is as big as the school wall.
- They were chauvinists and passed it on to the school children.
- The village had a central school. Relations between the Albanian and Serbian children were not good because the teachers encouraged the expression of ethnic identity.
The distortion of history was usually the means used to "justify" discrimination and depict the Albanians as oppressed and disenfranchised. There was no room in Kosovo for Serbian history teachers, "a Serb can't teach history in Kosovo."
- During the 1968 demonstrations Albanian teachers and schoolchildren tore up all our children's history books!
- The open border with Albania is partly to blame for this situation; their teachers teach Albanian children in Kosovo that Serbs tire enemies and conquerors. Everybody knows it, and nobody does a thing about it.
Schooling, then, played a twofold role in education. The constitutionally guaranteed equality of instruction in one's mother tongue was turned into ideological indoctrination and the steering of Albanian school children toward discrimination against others. Suffice it to recall the way Albanian children behaved toward Serbian and Montenegrin children both in and outside of school, the well-known fact that young Albanians were used to carry out the goals of Albanian chauvinists and separatists, and, together with émigrés from Albania, they spearheaded ideological and direct discrimination. On the other hand, the number of pupils in the discriminated group dwindled because the children were the first to be moved away, since under such conditions of schooling they were exposed to psychological and physical threats from their peers.
"Reading the papers after the demonstrations you might have thought you had dreamed the whole thing up."
(Intellectual, moved from Pristina)
The media (press, radio and television) bore the marks of ideological discrimination in what they did and did not do.
All of the respondents who answered the question about the media and their attitude to the ethnic conflicts in Kosovo felt that the press (in and outside of Kosovo) wrote neither enough nor objectively. Most of the respondents said that the press wrote nothing, thinking, obviously, of what had happened to them and been happening before their own eyes, i.e. of media reaction in Kosovo. A somewhat smaller number of respondents felt that the truth was hushed up. The lack of articles and statements about the deterioration of ethnic relations and migration was compensated for by reporting intensively on the positive development of the domestic situation, on Serbian nationalism, events in Albania and news carefully selected by the relevant institutions. In order to understand the respondents' reactions, it should be remembered that the poll was conducted at a time when Serbian and Montenegrin bitterness had not yet gone public, way before the staging of mass rallies and campaigns in support of Kosovo, when public information was largely inadequate and under the control of chauvinist forces. Excerpts from the replies speak eloquently of how the respondents felt:
- "Jedinstvo" (Serbian language newspaper) wrote things now and then, but "Rilindija" (Albanian language paper) didn't write a thing!
- Everything was insufficiently informed. The press reported poorly, there was more in the foreign press.
- Unobjective, hushed up, all reports were laced.
- All they wrote about was brotherhood and unity, about how we all loved one another.
- The media never saw a thing.
- They kept quiet, when Tito's picture was publicly hung around the neck of a donkey, they didn't say a word about it, let alone about the rest.
24. The Media and Their Attitude to Ethnic Discrimination
|Did they report on discrimination||Number of Households||Household %|
|Didn't report at all||183||36.6|
|Covered up the truth||118||23.6|
|Weren't allowed to say anything about it||24||4.8|
- The media didn't even mention the problem, and if it happened to appear on the agenda, it was not presented objectively.
- During the demonstrations the radio aired its regular shows, there was no talk about nationalism.
- The idea of migrating hit me in 1968. I was on night duty at the hospital during the demonstrations and was watching the evening news on television from Pristina which talked about Serbian nationalism; only later did word come of the demonstrations.
- Anybody who reported honestly and realistically was immediately removed from public office.
- Much more was reported about what was going on in Albania than what was happening in our own country.
- The press sometimes makes it look as though the Serbs are moving away because of their own nationalism.
- We keep hearing Serbian poltroons in the Kosovo Party Committee and their like in Serbia using every opportunity to talk about Serbian nationalism.
- I lost faith in the press, radio and television. We are told how there are no problems in Kosovo, but only we who lived there know what it's really like.
- According to them, everything's just fine, there is just the odd, occasional excess.
- AH the papers, riot only in Kosovo but throughout the country, lied... the press here lies about everything.
"Their children cried out in the street: 'We'll drive you out sooner or later', and that's just what they did."
(Farmer, 78 years old)
Individual manifestations of ideological discrimination are to be found largely in what can conditionally be called "verbal pressure". But they also appear in other forms, in written and oral slogans, pamphlets, in imposing the Albanian language and Albanian symbols. The majority of respondents mention threats aimed at forcing Serbs to move out.
- In every toilet you find written: "flush the toilet so the Serbs don't soil it".
- When a Serb moves away or has a procession (funeral), Albanian children get together and shout: "One today, seven tomorrow, everybody the day after "
- Fadil Hodza* visited Sevce (which had a population of 1,223 in 1971, out which 1,217 were Serbs) and gave a speech in Albanian. When the Serbs asked for it to be translated, he said: "No translation, if you don't know, learn"
* At the time, Fadil Hodza was a member of Kosovo's top political and state leadership.
- Prior to the demonstrations, my wife's Albanian women colleagues at work would publicly take out a map, which had Yugoslavia carved up between Albania and Bulgaria.
- The company director kept making me put an Albanian flag on my bus.
- When we moved out, the Albanians said: "We let you go alive this time; next time we'll kill you, if we had our way we'd kill all of you.. ."
"We were Party members but are no longer, and I don't want to be; nobody can help me, I have no faith in the Party."
We start this look at what the respondents in the sample have to say about the attitude of socio-political and social organizations to Serbs and Montenegrins and relations within these organizations themselves, by first examining their answers to a question that was asked of all households, a question about the attitude of socio-political and social organizations to ethnic conflicts, inasasmuch as there were any in the settlement, and what steps were taken to eliminate such conflicts.
The answers showed the following: A large number of respondents, 35, did not answer, 38 said they did not know whether these organizations had taken any steps. On the other hand, there are those who said that there was no need for taking any steps because the settlement was Serbian, there had not been any conflicts. Thus, 375 respondents remained who depicted the attitude as follows: 75 said that local social and socio-political organizations had taken steps but largely without success, and they can be grouped together with those who said that "they only issued statements, but didn't do anything" (24). The majority replied that social and sociopolitical organizations did not even issue statements, that they took absolutely no steps - 233 (half of the total number of households and almost two-thirds of those who answered this). Finally, there are those who said these organizations "turned a blind eye", "pretended nothing was happening" and even "supported and contributed" to the existing situation in Kosovo.
25. Social and Socio-Political Organizations and Their Activity in Resolving Ethnic Conflicts in the Settlement
|Number of Households||Household %|
|Took steps, but without results||46||9.2|
|Lip-service, no action||24||4.8|
|Turned a blind eye||23||4.6|
|Supported and contributed to the situation||20||4|
|Don't know what steps they took||38||7.6|
Far more detailed statements and comments were made regarding the leading political force, the Yugoslav Communist League.
The polled households numbered 351 Party members, accounting for 29.1% of the household members over the age of 20. However, out of that number 98 left the Party, usually considerably prior to moving away, and sometimes in the process of moving. On the other hand, 87 were admitted into the Party in Serbia Proper, so that the present number of members is somewhat smaller, 340, accounting for 20.4 % of the adult household members. As women were rarely members, the male membership was appreciably higher.
The total number of households with Party members in Kosovo was 232, meaning that there were three Party members to every two households. Sixty-one households no longer had a single member, 29 had both former and present members. Out of the 90 households that had former Party members, only 5 had new members, who had joined the Party in Serbia, and 50 households which did not have Party members in Kosovo now had new members. Thus, the negative experience of older generations in the household influenced young adult members when it came to joining the Party.
Other questions about the work of local Party organizations in Kosovo were put to only 232 households with Party members, but in 24 cases the only Party member was not present during the interview. However, the answers given by 208 households provide a wealth of information.
26. Membership in the Communist League
|Number of Households||Household %|
|Ethnic structure of local Party in Kosovo|
|More Serbs and Montenegrins||99||42.7|
|Relations among Party Members of different nationality|
|Separation along national lines||53||22.9|
|Outvoting of Serbs||14||6|
|It wasn't a real Party||8||3.4|
|Discussion of ethnic relations and conflicts in the Party Committee|
|No need at the time||20||86|
|Discussed, with negative repercussions for Serbs||10||43|
|Discussed, only in favor of the Albanians||9||3.9|
|Discussed, without effect||55||23.7|
|Discussed and steps taken||15||6.5|
|Note: "No answers" means that the only Party member in the household was not present during the interview|
Asked about the ethnic composition of the local Party organization, the respondents showed the following: 42.7% had a majority Of Serbs and Montenegrins, 11 % had a more or less even number, and 35.8'% had a majority of Albanians. It is in the last case that members most often left the Party organization. This kind of ethnic composition was largely influenced by the times of migration, but rapidly changed in many local Party organizations as the number of Serbs and Montenegrins decreased in the wake of migration or leaving the organization, and even more in the wake of more and more Albanians joining.
- After the war 70% were Serbs, since 1968 the figures have been inversed!
- From 1968-1970 they constituted the majority, their job was to vote in their proposals.
- They began admitting them into the Party en masse.
- The goal was to admit as many Albanians as possible into the Party.
- Before 1963-1964, there were hardly any Albanians in the Party, and then they began joining en masse to form a majority; that was deliberately planned. They all attend the mosque and are religious. That organization doesn't serve any serious purpose except to fulfill the Albanians' interests. Relations in the Party are no good, they're the same as relations in Kosovo generally.
The goal was to admit more and more Albanians into the Party. There was a division of the members, an effort to make every village have a separate Party of just Albanians, and a separate party of just Serbs. The Party Secretary in Trepca told a meeting not to vote for Serbian or Montenegrin deputies, and said these orders had come down from the Provincial Committee.
- Albanians were practically pushed into the Party, the old Albanian members were quite correct, but the new members became increasingly intolerant toward other nationalities from one day to the next. Ethnic relations were not discussed, they were a taboo. According to the respondents, the large-scale admission of Albanians into the Party was not based on the set criteria, but on ethnic membership or even on totally distorted criteria.
- Relations in the Party were bad, there was great injustice, which is why I left the Party. The Balists* and murderers from World War II were placed on an equal footing with us.
* Members of military and voluntary Albanian quisling organizations during World War II, within the scope of the Italian-occupied "Greater Albania
- I clashed with the Albanian comrades when they admitted into the Party a man named Alia, who was over 50 at the time and had been a quisling during the war. I couldn't be in the same Party with that man and so I quit, although my father was a 1941 partisan veteran.
- I'm not afraid to ask our officials about this publicly and to point my finger at the Balists who after the war were selected for party and state office.
- That same year, 1968. many seniors were kicked out of high school because of the demonstrations they staged on November 28th (the state holiday of the Peoples Republic of Albania), calling for a flag. A few years later some of them were in the Party Committee. Among the many effects of the ethnic composition of the local Party committees and changes therein was what it did to relations between members of different nationalities and to fanning ethnic clashes and discrimination vis-a-vis Serbs and Montenegrins.
Relations between Yugoslav Communist Party members of different nationality were described by a quarter of the Party members in the households as separate, by 34.1 % as normal and good, and by 36.5% as inadequate in terms of the Party's goals, as poor, very poor, intolerable, etc. These assessments are closely tied in with the ethnic composition of the membership. The indexes of association between the ethnic make-up of the membership and the assessments given by members of different nationalities show that the assessments describing relations as good, normal, were, relatively speaking, twice as frequent as those describing relations as poor when the membership was predominantly Serbian and Montenegrin, and that relations were more often described as poor where the majority of members were Albanian. There where the ethnic composition was balanced, relations were described as separate, and were twice as unlikely to be described as good.
Replies concerning the work of local Party organizations in reviewing and resolving the ethnic situation in Kosovo and the social and political problems stemming therefrom are also closely tied in with the ethnic make-up of the local organization. As many as 34 respondents did not answer this question. Among those who did reply, the largest number, 89, said that these matters had not been discussed at all, 55 said that they had been discussed but to no avail. The association indexes confirm this connection. The declining number of Serbian and Montenegrin party members is clearly reflected in the fact that in party organizations where they accounted for the majority there "had been no need for such discussions at the time (prior to their migration), whereas the indexes for this answer in organizations with approximately balanced membership or with Albanian majorities were very low. In organizations with balanced ethnic compositions, answers referring to discussion, to taking steps and to discussion without effect are relatively more frequent than for the whole sample. Organizations with a larger number of Albanians usually did not discuss this at all, and statements saying that this was discussed but only in support of the Albanians or to the detriment of Serbs and Montenegrins appear with more or less the same frequency in organizations with a balanced number of members and in organizations with a largely Albanian membership.
Understandably, there was a connection between statements about relations among the members and their work and the reaction of local Party organizations. Where relations were described as good, there was no need to discuss relations, at least not at the time, or if they were discussed then steps were taken. There where members were separated along ethnic lines, the most frequent answers are that steps were taken to the detriment of the Serbs and Montenegrins, then that the discussions had no effect. There where relations were poor, very few people said there was no need for discussion or action or that something had been done, and there were four- or three- times more answers that discussions about ethnic relations and problems were always to the detriment of the Serbs and Montenegrins.
The respondents' answers and statements depict relations, changes in the Party's goals and other traits, the use of the Party to discriminate against Serbs and the wave of resignations from the Party by Serbs and Montenegrins during the period from 1966 to 1986.
The answers reveal the evolution of events as the attitudes and activities of local kosovo.netmunist Party organizations changed, ethnic relations deteriorated and the conditions were created for political discrimination against Serbian and Montenegrin members, thereby accelerating their resignations from the Party and making its Albanization possible. The answers given in connection with this were divided into four groups to make it easier to follow this evolution. The first group is devoted to the effect general events had on relations and work in the local Party organization; the second referred to the mass sign-up of Albanians into the Communist League of Kosovo and the erosion of party criteria and behavior; the third concerned political disqualification in drawing attention to irregularities in work; the fourth was devoted to the mass departure of Serbs and Montenegrins from the Communist League and the effects of ethnic homogenization.
27. Indexes of Association between the Ethnic Composition of Local Party Organizations, Assessments of Relations Between Members of Different Nationality and the Work of the Local Party Organizations
|Mostly Serbs & Montenegrins||Approx. even||Mostly Albanians|
|Relations among members of different nationality|
|Poor, very poor||0.67||111||1.31|
|Discussions about ethnic conflicts and problems|
|No need at the time||200||0.40||0.13|
|Yes, steps taken||1.04||1.58||0.83|
|Yes, but without effect||0.91||1.57||0.90|
|Discussed, to detriment of Serbs & Montenegrins or advantage of Albanians||0.68||1.25||1.18|
|Discussions about ethnic conflicts and problems||Assessments by members|
|No need at the time||2.26||0.31||0.33|
|Yes, and steps taken||1.91||0.58||0.42|
|Yes, but without effect||0.68||1.25||1.06|
|Discussed, but to detriment of Serbs & Montenegrins or advantage of Albanians||-||1.66||1.41|
The respondents' statements show that the general situation on the social plane directly reflects on the situation and relations in the local Party organization.
- Until the 1968 demonstrations, relations were tolerable. Afterwards there were more and more ideological and political conflicts.
- Before I moved away in 1971, there were 213 Serbs in the Party organization. Relations among members of different nationalities were poor, and they especially deteriorated in 1968 when the Internal Affairs Secretariat sent pictures of the participants in the demonstrations. Albanian members tried to hush things up and justify the participants. Ethnic relations were discussed, but the Party did not have the strength to be consistently principled. When expelling Party members who had taken part in the demonstrations was discussed, only one was expelled, and many Serbs then quit the Communist League.
- Relations in the local Party are the same as throughout Kosovo; there's no difference between communists and non-communists. For instance, when the 1981 Pristina demonstrations were discussed, the Kosovo Party Committee issued the official stand that they had been a matter of student discontent, although everybody knew it hadn't been that.
- The local Party organization did discuss it, but people in the Municipal Committee took no action, and so Serbs began leaving the Party and Kosovo, disappointed. The Committee Secretary, an Albanian, pointed a gun at me when I condemned the demonstrations in Urosevac. As a result of the large number of Albanians entering the Party, differences vanished between the conduct and attitudes of party-member and non-party- member Albanians.
- At first relations were good, later Albanian party-members were forbidden to mix with us.
- Until the seventies, we socialized, afterwards there was no difference between the relations that existed among non-party and party members.
- In the local party organizations communists tried to distance themselves as much as possible from the problems. The themes were marginal and had nothing to do with conditions in society.
- It was discussed, every excess by on Albanian was explained away by citing his ignorance, his good. intentions.
- The local organization in Kosovo did take action, but the other kind, so as to ensure as successfully as possible that Serbs and Montenegrins would move out.
- There's no difference whether an Albanian is a party member or not, they all share the same views and ideas and they're all equally intolerant of Serbs and Montenegrins.
- Albanian communists took the lead in everything, including the demonstrations.
- There was no difference between Albanian communists and Albanian non-communists, the communists were even in the lead. Problems were deliberately minimized, anybody who talked about things as they really were was labeled a Serbian nationalist and chauvinist.
Serbs and Montenegrins were not able to influence the assessments made by the Communist League or compel it to take action. Political disqualification and sanctions were applied against Party members who drew attention to an irregularity or excesses in the organization and who demanded that corresponding steps be taken.:
- In 1969, 1970 and 1972 I wrote letters to the local Party straight up to the Federation. I never got an answer, I barely managed not to get arrested.
- My words were taken down in the minutes, but nobody took them to read, it was like talking to the wind. Everything ended in discussions, because high-level forums didn't do anything, people v the Provincial Committee kept quiet, they passed over discussions like mine and concrete proposals.
- Serbian communists who raised that question were proclaimed nationalists and almost wound up in jail.
- We tried to discuss ethnic relations, but we were called in by the Provincial Committee and they branded us nationalists.
- We never discussed it, and if any Serb ever did try to do so he was branded a chauvinist.
- Any attempt (at discussion) was put down. You'd be transferred from your job and various methods would be used.
- The problems were deliberately minimalized. Anybody who talked about the real situation would be branded a nationalist and chauvinist.
- Nobody listened to the Serbs. Only what suited the Albanians was done. Discussions were held and it was always said that everything was Just fine. The Serbs complained, but the party organization received instructions straight from Mahmut Bakali* and things got worse.
* Mahmut Bakali was the President of the Assembly Presidency of Kosovo
- For instance, there were ten of us and fifty of them. If one of us asked: "Why did so and so move away?" they'd say: "Why shouldn't he go to someplace better for him?"
- When an Albanian woman from a family that had helped the partisans throughout the war told an Albanian Party member that he had taken part in the demonstrations, he said she was lying and that she had headed the column of demonstrators.
- We had a case where a young Albanian, for whom I would have done anything, called to account some of the people who had done damage and, as a result, he was ignored by the Albanians and later accused of having incited the riots.
Unable to reconcile themselves to the situation, Serbs and Montenegrins quit the Party, often in waves related to the times and threats of Albanian nationalists.
- That was why I quit, they pursued a policy of their own which had nothing to do with the Party.
- After the first demonstrations, people quit the Party because they saw what was happening.
- Later I quit because of the injustices, lies and dirty tricks. ~- The Party did discuss it, but nobody did anything about it, and so Serbs began leaving the Party and Kosovo, disappointed.
- My father was a Party member, and then quit because relations in the Party were no good. That's why I never joined, I had no reason to.
- One thing was said, another done. That's why I left the Party in 1968. If you complained about something, they shut you up, lectured you and had things their way. It's hard for an honest person to take a situation like that. I didn't want to be part of it any more.
- When I got out of the army in 1958 (after doing military service), the president of what was then the Popular Front and now the Socialist Alliance was being elected. I observed that they had appointed as president of the Popular Front a man who did not deserve the office. I said that this man was not for this office because he had been opposed to the system we had, he had killed partisans in Presevo and brought a machine-gun he had seized from the partisans, boasting in the village how he had confiscated the gun. I was there at the time and saw and heard what was happening. I demonstrated to them how to handle the gun and trained them to use it. Three months later his three brothers were killed fighting as Balists. At the Popular Front meeting everybody supported him and he held that office for three years. When I saw that, I quit the Party.
- Party meetings were conducted in Albanian, there was no translation, so I handed back my membership card in 1967.
- I was the last Serb left, and they expelled me because I wanted to move away.
- When I saw what was being done, I had my children christened in church and they kicked me out.
According to the respondents, radical changes were carried out this way in the party organizations themselves. The idea was to prevent the many Serbian and Montenegrin members of the Party from having any influence and to Albanianize the organization so that it could discriminate against those opposed to the ethnic purge of Kosovo.
In this context, the proclaimed objectives of the Communist League were replaced by other, diametrically opposed objectives and ideas. Thus, the party organization was turned into a means for seizing political power and, by extension, authority, so as to carry out the objectives of the chauvinists and separatists of an ethnic group. Emphasis on these objectives, of course, overshadows the principal objectives endorsed by the Yugoslav Communist League, such as economic development, self-management, a higher living standard, an increase in labor productivity, the elimination of social differences, the promotion of education and health care, improving the status of women, and so on.
The spontaneous formation of public opinion among Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo is not only the antithesis of institutionally normed public opinion but also an important factor in homogenizing the threatened group. The division into institutionally formed and spontaneously formed public opinion clearly follows the division created by discrimination in Kosovo.
Exceptionally important in the spontaneously formed public opinion of the discriminated-against group was information about the troubles of Serbs and Montenegrins throughout Kosovo. As the feeling of being threatened grew, so these reports were probably passed on and elaborated more thoroughly. Thus, even when they themselves did not personally have any major problems, Serbs and Montenegrins had no illusion of being protected because they were conscious of belonging to a discriminated-against group.
- There were no direct attacks on our family. But, if my neighbor was molested, I could hardly feel safe myself.
- We didn't socialize with them at all. I have no concrete example, but psychologically speaking we felt bad.
- It became unbearable down there, I lived in constant fear.
- There was a psychosis of fear down there, you lived in a state of anticipation, but you didn't know what would happen, you just knew that it wouldn't be good. It wasn't like that even during the war. As soon as night fell you didn't know what you would find in the morning.
- Those of us who live there feel that pressure worse than if it were war; when there's war you at least know where they're coming at you from.
- We were second-class citizens. It's hard to describe the psychological pressure that Serbs are second-class people, that they can't hold high office.
- Serbs and Montenegrins were citizens without rights or liberties.
- Albanians obviously have no intention of behaving toward other peopie as their equals.
- The migrations were inevitable because we had become second-class citizens without any rights.
- I haven't been able to get rid of the memory of the situations in which I found myself in Kosovo. The feeling that you're powerless to exercise your rights kills any feeling of dignity in a person. The knowledge that they were discriminated against was heightened by the conduct of Albanians, by threats, disturbances, molestation, and news of each such happening quickly spread among the Serbs and Montenegrins. Indeed, discriminatory deeds were not meant to be hidden and concealed, on the contrary, they were meant to frighten the biggest possible number of Serbs and Montenegrins, while institutional discrimination gave these acts a certain "legitimacy", and the parallel possibility of the news being heard outside of Kosovo.
- The most important question is that of interpersonal relations. You get into a bus, nobody can stand you. In offices everybody speaks Albanian. There were quite a few cases of rape, of pushing girls in buses, but this didn't happen in my area (Pristina).
- Whenever he heard one of us coming, an Albanian neighbor on our floor (large apartment building in Pristina) would burst into our apartment, threaten to beat us all up and say nobody could come and visit us.
- At night they banged on the house with axes and rocks... They'd say: "When will you move out of Kosovo? We're having lots of children to force you out."
- We were often threatened that there was nothing for us in Kosovo.
- They'd throw leaflets saying. "Serbs move out or else you'll be as blood red as an Easter egg."
- They kept telling us that there was no place for us there in Kosovo, and when we wanted to move away they tried to stop us and made problems for us.
- As early as 1968 they openly said we should move out.
- The wall around our house was two meters high and every morning I'd find half a wagon-full of rocks. My wife didn't dare give birth in Pristina, she went to Mitrovica. Every day they'd come to my door, ask me how much I was selling my car, radio or TV for, they'd stop me in the street and ask: "What are you selling?"; I wasn't selling a thing, it drove me crazy! At work I had all sorts of problems and my wife and children didn't dare leave the house. Some of the respondents' statements showed not only objective attempts at endangering the people but also humiliation of them.
- They forced Serbs to join the column of demonstrators.
- An Albanian stubbed his cigarette out on my daughter-in-law's shoulder as she was standing in the bus.
- In the neighborhood they egged on Albanian children to leave garbage on the doorstep of Serbian homes, to piss there and execrate there.
- All the pressures, trouble and violence were caused by young and middle-aged people. My father suffered various mistreatment at their hands. For instance, a group of young men stopped him in the street and cut off his mustache.
- Our Albanian neighbors watched with glee as we moved out, they celebrated and fired shots in the air in jubilation.
Under conditions like these, the common memory of events and experience from the past, of which there were many, was bound to resurge Here is one that diverges from most of the answers in the sample.
- Even during the war nobody got killed. You know how the Albanians watched over us. The men in my house, for instance, joined the partisans, and we women and children were left on our own. The Albanians had guards Nobody dared touch us. They protected us, and how. But somehow everybody left. Only five or six Serbian houses remained, and we moved away too.
Sometimes, the recollections are dramatic and seem to have become part of legend.
- During the war an Albanian neighbor locked up eight Montenegrin women and raped them one by one. He kept them in his basement for ten days. They killed my brother in 1944. They captured a whole 'battalion of partisans. They tortured them brutally, they pierced their arm muscles with wire and paraded them through the village to the sound of music. My "kum" Veljko had his skin and ribs pierced and they put his arms as though in pockets. A man named Rama, a Balist, came to the village from battle in Presevo, he came into the village center and started to brag to the townspeople how he hail drunk Serbian blood, and then he banged the butt of his rifle on the ground and shouted: "I drank my fill of Serbian blood". At that moment, the gun went off and the bullet hit him under the chin and killed him.
This legend already includes the long epic poem dedicated to an event that filled the pages of the Belgrade press, but at the time it was presented not as part of aggression against Serbs and Montenegrins, but as an individual incident. This is the rape and subsequent murder of a girl returning home from school, a Montenegrin girl who was grabbed on the road by two young Albanian boys. At the trial, the father managed to sneak in a revolver and after the boys were convicted to several years in prison, he shot one of them, but was prevented from shooting the other as well. This story has been taped as a song and in the minds of some families that moved away, has become a folk poem.
Especially vivid are the memories of families which suffered during World War II.
- Twenty Serbian houses were set ablaze in our village in 1941. Various bandits, but nobody was held responsible for it after the war.
- The Albanians killed my father, they killed him with an axe because he wouldn't marry me off to an Albanian.
- An Albanian killed my grandfather while he was tending the cattle.
- During the war the Balists murdered my father, and his sister died of grief.
- During the war the Balists threw my mother's father into a well, and my grandmother mutilated her fingers so that the Albanians wouldn't take her away and adopt her.
- In 1941 Albanian neighbors set fire to our house, they're still alive today and have never been made to answer for what they did, they remained our neighbors.
- We felt unprotected, because our father had some unsettled accounts dating from the war with the Albanians.
- We moved out because we were afraid of a repetition of 1941.
Finally, the informal public opinion of the endangered minority group fostered not only a common memory but also a sense of superiority vis-a-vis the majority group, the Albanians, The role of both common memory and the stereotype is basically the same: to rationalize the conflict for both the numerically smaller and numerically bigger group, and to find an explanation and justification. However, whereas with common memory the emphasis is on the past and on traditionally poor relations, with the stereotype it is on the unchangeability of the features that distinguish ethnic groups and on the equality of all their members. Examples of such stereotypes can be found in the statements of the respondents:
- They're all the same, both those who tend cattle and those who work for the authorities.
- Put one at the table and the other under it, and you'll find they both think the same thing.
In fact, both the stereotype and collective memory offer the same explanation, but to the extent that the homogenization of ethnic groups went hand in hand with conflicts in Kosovo, stereotypes as a kind of generalization regarding Albanians acquired an increasingly cognitive element.
The Serbs' and Montenegrins' stereotypes of Albanians reinforced the group sense of fear, of being endangered, of uncertainty, of disenfranchisement. The deterioration of ethnic relations can be presumed to have led to the spread of stereotypes among those sections of the populace where there were fewer Serbian stereotypes of Albanians and vice-versa, and each group proceeded to take an increasingly adverse view of the other. "The raw burns with the dry", says an adage that best describes this situation. For the propagators of discrimination stereotypes are a justification for their conduct, whereas for those discriminated against they explain their own position.
However, judging from the respondents' replies, stereotypes of Albanians are rarely given. There may be several explanations for this. First of all, the questions were not geared in this direction, nor could they be, given the basic objective of the study and principles of its implementation. Secondly, the respondents were, for many reasons, reserved, since many relations in Kosovo were described without the questionnaire asking any questions; there was fear of the imaginery consequences and a generally tight-lipped attitude to the research, there was an awareness of the political weight of such assessments, and a non-proclivity toward stereotypes, given certain positive experiences with Albanians. Finally, there was the fact that they did not blame the entire Albanian people for their own state of discrimination, but rather politicians, both Serbian and Albanian, in both Kosovo Province and the Republic of Serbia and Yugoslavia. The general assessment given by the respondents of the migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo, which we shall discuss later on, points to the conclusion that the latter explanation is the most likely.
Some of the respondents carefully nuanced the stereotypes of their own and other groups:
- In essence, the Serbs have a very bad opinion of the Albanians, and the Albanians an even worse one of Serbs.
- They hate use, we don't like them.
In other words, there is an awareness of a negative attitude in one's own group, which is explained by saying that they are the object of hatred and thus they are discriminated against.
"Why should somebody force me to speak Albanian in Yugoslavia when my mother tongue is Serbian?!"
(Laborer, 32 years old)
The threat to cultural identity is a major form of ideological discrimination. It includes: wiping out one's historical heritage, suppression of the Serbian language from official communication and having Albanian imposed at every opportunity.
- The condition and status of medieval Serbian monuments is very bad. Along with pressuring people to leave, Serbian culture is being systematically destroyed. The ruins of many monuments have been torn down; Samodreza, the Spa of Milos and church, and many others. Albanian culture and history is glorified, while Serbian culture and history is negated and eradicated. Serbian churches are being persecuted and abolished, and mosques are being opened, just like in the days of the Ottoman Empire.
- If we needed a paper from the police or commune, they wouldn't give it to us. If you asked for anything in Serbian you wouldn't get it. They wanted you to speak Albanian.
- They spoke Albanian in court. My brother, sister-in-law and I didn't understand a thing.
- If you wanted to buy bread in the store you had to ask for it in Albanian. If you didn't ask for your ticket in Albanian at the bus station you wouldn't get it.
- The authorities should go down to Kosovo and ride around in the local buses for a while, go to the unemployment bureau, stand in any line. Then they'll see what it's like when you don't know Albanian.
People are also made to use Albanian in their places of employment, and even in the League of Communists.
- Although Serbs accounted for about 80% in our organization, Albanians wanted the meetings of the Council, the party organization, to be simultaneously translated, and in this they were supported by the Party Committee.
- Although they accounted for the minority in the Communist League organization, they spoke in Albanian at meetings and dominated.
- Party meetings were conducted only in Albanian; that's why I handed back my membership card,
- During the 1968 demonstrations I was on duty at the hospital and suddenly an Albanian orderly filled in the report file in Albanian; I complained but it was no use. The director said the case histories would be written up in Albanian as well.
- When we change shifts and report at the power station we each speak in our own language, and don't know what the situation with the boilers is. Many respondents said that it was not only that Albanian children refused to learn Serbian at school, but that even those Albanians who knew Serbian well would not speak it.
- It's horrible when you live among people who give you unfriendly looks and refuse to speak your language even when they know it.
- With more and more Serbs moving away, you feel like somebody who lives in another country, and so the minority that's left has to move away as well.
The question of language was important to the respondents. One university-educated respondent declared that he did not know Albanian, but his shocked wife said that he did know Albanian just as well as Serbian. However, he stuck to his story. If the interviewer happened to reformulate the question in the questionnaire (knowledge of Albanian) and ask whether the interviewee "speaks Albanian", the latter would often exclaim' "I speak Serbian! I don't speak Albanian, I know Albanian".
Another important detail concerning language comes from the statement made by a university-educated household head who knows Albanian. He said that a new Albanian language is being introduced and some veteran Albanian settlers are unable to follow the local news because they don't understand a thing.
To speak in one's own Serbian tongue engendered direct consequences.
- Serbo-Croatian was seldom, heard at meetings; mostly it was Albanian. People complained when we spoke in our own language.
- My Albanian was poor and when I wanted to speak in Serbian, they'd say: 'Serbian chauvinist'.
- They spat at the children whenever they spoke Serbian.
- We couldn't sing in the courtyard or on the land.
- If you say something in Serbian, you're marked!
- I lived in freedom only from 1945 to 1962 and then it all began... I worked in Pristina and commuted every day. I couldn't stand the way the Albanians insulted Serbian women, Serbian girls, the way they pinched and molested them, tried to rape them. They forced a workers' meeting to break up because they wanted only Albanian to be spoken at them, although we accounted for half the number. Being ridiculed in the streets, seeing Serbian caps thrown down, slappings, swearing against Serbs, stonings of trains and Serbs, smashed heads, constant abuse until I left, it's still like that in Kosovo.
Some respondents were especially indignant over the Albanian flag. They obviously see it as not just a symbol of "letting the Albanians do what they want", but as proof that they themselves are endangered.*
* The right to a separate Albanian flag and its use was introduced by the 1974 Constitution, which only legalized the already existing situation.
- Why were they allowed the flag when they didn't fight under it. It's very unfair for a foreign flag to flutter in our country.
The bitterness displayed mostly by people from rural areas probably stems from the way in which the Albanian flag is used. Among the statements about the tearing of republican (Serbian) and Yugoslav flags is one saying that "first" Serbs tore up Albanian flags in their village.
Other expressions of Serbian and Montenegrin ethnic identity were threatened as well.
- For instance, when I organized a commemoration for my father, I stuck a notice on the electricity pole in front of the house. A few days later, a notice for an Albanian was pasted over it. But there are no Moslems or Albanians in our village. It's 100% Serbian!
- During the 1968 demonstrations, dances, weddings, any kind of assembly or gatherings by Serbs were banned in our village (the commune of Kacanik).
- On Easter, in 1981, a group of Albanians, about twenty of them, came to the village, threw stones, saying: "You won't be dying any eggs red, you'll be red yourselves, with blood".
- It was Ramazan*, and they sent a drummer who beat his drums all night long in front of Serbian houses
* Ramazan is the Moslem fast preceding the main holiday of Bairam.
Pain was especially evident in the statements of respondents whose family graves had been desecrated at the Serbian cemetery.
- Our aunt's husband was killed in the partisans. An Albanian from the village knocked down the tombstone and put it on his harrow to plow with. A Serb, who had seen the whole thing, went and told her, she came running out, took a look, went to the police, wailing. And the policeman, an Albanian, hit the old woman with his nightstick, shouting: "You're lying, you want to ruin brotherhood and unity!" What else is there to say?
- Albanians destroyed the tombstone above our mother's grave. The perpetrator is known, but he got away with it.
- They smashed the tombstone on my family grave and removed it. If I had the money I'd transport the family hones here, then I'd know where their graves are...
- An Albanian in my native village put a fence around the Serbian cemetery, this is where he keeps his cattle. I transported my mother's bones here, I dug them up at night, secretly. All the forms and methods of discrimination mentioned here are inter-related and set one another off. Paradoxically, this discrimination is made possible by certain socialist values and principles; the equality of Albanians, a minority group in the Republic of Serbia, has been turned into the inequality of Serbs and Montenegrins in a part of Serbia. This is what makes discrimination against Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo unprecedented in the world.
"They're the ones I ran away from, they're the ones I feared the most."
(Member of a family where nobody wanted to move away)
Within the global institutionalization of discrimination against Serbs and Montenegrins, which covered all spheres of life, discrimination by the organs of authority, administration, police and courts carried the heaviest weight. It confirmed and enabled the legitimacy of all other threats against Serbs and Montenegrins by Albanian nationalists. Without it, the afore-mentioned cases would not have been possible. Instead of stamping out the beginnings of ideological discrimination and its spread, institutional discrimination encouraged it. It wiped out any hope on the part of the discriminated group of a legal order, it only proved to the group that nobody would protect them, that they were subject to not just "excesses by individuals" but also systematic disenfranchisement by the state authorities themselves. The respondents realized this and made it clear in their statements.
If one groups the answers given by the respondents concerning the authorities' attitude to Serbs and Montenegrins and the pressure they exerted on them, this is what one finds:
28. Authorities' attitude to conflicts between Albanians and Serbs & Montenegrins
|Number of Households||Household %|
|They intervened but to no avail||28||5.6|
|They took no steps||151||30.2|
|They intervened superficially||72||14.4|
|They supported and protected Albanian offenders||75||15.0|
|They threatened and beat up Serbs who complained||21||4.2|
Only 10% replied that there had been no need for the authorities to intervene, because Serbian or predominantly Serbian settlements had been at issue. In 12 % of the cases, the respondents said that the authorities had intervened or done so to no avail; these two types of answers were most frequent among people who had moved away earlier or were former members of the security forces in Kosovo. A third of the answers points to the absence of any steps, and another third to different forms and methods of discrimination by the authorities themselves: they intervened only superficially, they protected Albanian offenders or even threatened those who came to them seeking to protect their human rights. Thirteen per cent of the respondents replied "Don't know" or gave no answer, showing signs of fear and of being upset by this question.
Bitterness and disappointment is more than evident in the answers of two-thirds of the respondents'
- Mostly they did nothing, and if they did do something, they never went all the way.
- I worked for the authorities. They didn't do a thing.
- There was no overt discrimination, but they were inert, they covered things up.
- Is it possible that nothing happens when Albanians don't pay their rent, electricity and telephone for years, but when a Serb doesn't pay, his electricity is immediately cut off? It's incredible what they get away with and how long it has been tolerated.
- They were prejudiced and always protected the Albanians.
- They tried to blame everything on the Serbs.
- They accused the Serbs when they were both defendents and plaintiffs.
- The authorities intervened only when they had to and when it was obvious, but just in towns, they did absolutely nothing in the villages.
- In Kosovo the authorities avoid going into the villages, and even when they do, they work out of an office.
- No steps were taken and if somebody happened to see with his own eyes an illegal act being committed, he would turn his head away and claim he hadn't seen a thing. The organs of authority did not intervene or if they did it was in the wrong way.
- The organs of authority appear only in the most serious cases, when there are mass fights and murders.
- The authorities supported the offenders. The courts worked in favor of the Albanians, they were never found guilty. A closer analysis of the answers reveals three main discriminatory institutions: the state administration, the security service and the judiciary. The following pages examine the problems connected with these forms of institutional discrimination.
"If you need a document from the commune, you'll get it if the clerk is a Serb, but not if he isn't".
(Emigrant from Kosovska Kamenica)
Discrimination in the administrative organs was easy to spot. According to the respondents, it took the form of making it difficult and impossible for Serbs and Montenegrins to complete various necessary administrative procedures and to exercize their elementary civil rights Since administration is, in itself, prone to be unhelpful, in Kosovo it was able to discriminate against Serbs and Montenegrins very successfully, prior to, during and after their moving out and emigrating.
- If you come upon an Albanian, he won't even listen to what you have to say. If it's a Serb, he'll work according to the law, if it's an Albanian he'll ignore it.
- In Kamenica you won't get far unless you know Albanian. They hold the court, commune, hospital, everything.
- They are in almost all the services and support their own people.
- We were second-class citizens.
- If you need a certificate or paper you ask for it in Serbian and they give it to you in Albanian, and even then you have to go back several times to get it.
The respondents mentioned numerous instances when it was impossible to legally and administratively regulate the sale of property to an Albanian, or to get back what was owed them when only a part of the agreed price had been paid. Although this has already been discussed when examining the sale of real estate, it must be taken into account when appraising the administration and how it functioned. Not infrequently, the respondents, now living in Serbia for five to eight years, would show the tax owed on property that had long since ceased being theirs because it had been either sold or usurped.
- I couldn't transfer the property, they wouldn't do it: nobody is paying the taxes on it, it's still registered in my name. They want me to pay it and it's me they bill.
- My father sold a vineyard to an Albanian. The man neither paid him nor let the property be registered. My father still pays taxes on that vineyard. He didn't get a cent for -it, but he can't go into the vineyard or use it. No. I went to the commune to settle it so that at least my father wouldn't have to pay the taxes on it, but they wouldn't hear of it.
A particular form of discrimination appears when regulating pensions and transferring them to Serbia.
- The husband died a year ago, he got his pension from Kosovo. His widow has still not managed to get the pension for the children. Her written applications were returned as "not delivered", so she took them to Pristina herself. She repeatedly tried by phone to get information from the Social Security office in Pristina, but all she got was cursewords. She'd like her case to be taken up by the press, but she's afraid that then she'd never get the pension for her children. She and her three children are living off what she earns as a cleaning woman.
- When our father died, our mother couldn't get his pension because an Albanian woman appeared and claimed that our father had been living with her for a year and she got the pension until we won our case through the Republic of Serbia. My mother wanted to move out mostly because they threatened and persecuted her and forced her to make false statements in court. The other side of discrimination by the state authorities is favorizing Albanians.
- Albanians get much bigger pensions, even though they were all Balists. My wife and I were partisans and communists from even before the war, but I'm the only one who gets a pension, she gets nothing.
- They give Albanian settlers from Albania land for free. These settlers act like savages, they shrink from nothing.
- I was in World War I and World War II. I entered World War II on January 1, 1942, a day short of being counted as a 1941 veteran. I never used any privileges. Albanians use everything, they don't pay rent, electricity, radio or television subscriptions, not to mention credits. Land is given to Albanians who come from Albania, and they're primitive, they act wildly, pretend to be janissaries, but old-timers don't behave like that.
- How is it that emigrants come from Albania to live in Kosovo without a thing to their name, without money, then get huge amounts of money from communes in Kosovo, a job even and later fan hatred and spread nationalism? How is it that our authorities don't check them out to see who they are and what they're doing in Kosovo?
- Serbs and Montenegrins make statements and submit various complaints, but no steps are taken. That's a disgrace and great pity. Emigrants come and settle from Albania, they are given land houses from what is bought off of Serbs and Montenegrins with state money.
- They worked it all out in their favor, so that they have excellent salaries, don't pay rent or electricity, forcibly move into apartments inhabited by Serbs, in short they were beyond the law, it was worse than in the Wild West.
- Once when my sister, who still lives in Pristine, was out of the house, they threw her things out and an Albanian family moved in. It cost us a lot of trouble and effort, we went to the President of the Executive Council of Kosovo, before she managed to move back into her own house, but she was never repaid for the damage done.
Paradoxically, even after they move away, former residents of Kosovo are unable to avoid the negative consequences of institutional blockade by the administrative apparatus:
- For six years my daughter has been unable to get her statehood certificate from Kosovo, and the same is true of my daughter-in-law, which means they can't get their identity cards. My wife's expired a few years ago. They go down to Kosovo, go to the commune, to the police, but it's no use.
- I didn't get my notice of departure because I wrote down my real reason for leaving.
- I had trouble with my residence permit because in Kosovo they wouldn't give me my notice of departure.
- We didn't sell our property in Kosovo because it's blocked. The worst thing is that we don't think we'll ever resolve the problem, because they have us running from one commission to another. When some Albanians had their shop windows smashed in Belgrade, the damages were reimbursed immediately, and I wonder why we're second class citizens?
- The military documents that arrived at the commune here from Kosovo had my nationality marked as "Albanian". In the past few years, when the exodus of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and the causes and effects of this exodus became of prime public interest, numerous administrative regulations were adopted, including some dealing with permission to move away and permits to sell real estate. Judging by what the respondents said, this was another area which could be steered by discrimination. Moving permits were easily given to undesireables in Kosovo, and withheld from the aged and the helpless.
- When I wanted to move away (university educated), they completed all my papers in a week, I'm surprised they didn't see me off on the train!
- In our village (formerly Serbian), there are still a few houses left, the folk are old and helpless, our children have long since gone.
- My parents stayed behind alone, old and ill, they aren't allowed to move away and they can't live alone.
"It's best if you don't need their helps.
(Highly skilled laborer, 35 years old)
- In an environment of rising conflicts, the attitude and conduct of the police towards Albanians on the one hand, and Serbs and Montenegrins on the other, is extremely important. According to the respondents, the police in Kosovo followed the discriminatory patterns of conduct typical of other organs of authority. The respondents talked about many instances of Albanian policemen abusing Serbs.
- The police protected Albanians and beat up Serbs whenever they could.
- From 1966-67, burns and ruffians were admitted into the police, and they established order their way. When they were supposed to protect non-Albanians, they were nowhere to be found.
- The police protected people of their nationality. It would happen that Albanians would beat up somebody and the police would let them go and arrest the person they had beaten up.
- If a Serb were to fall into the hands of the police, after "questioning" he'd be no good to anybody. Serbs were always the culprits.
- Albanians preferred beating up Serbs in the presence of the police: one of them would hold the Serb down, the other would beat him up and the policeman would stand guard. The respondents also gave concrete examples of discriminatory conduct by the Albanian police in Kosovo.
- During the 1981 demonstrations in Pec ray wife was attacked. Albanians broke her hand and after five months of hospital treatment she remained an invalid. They kept smashing our windows with stones, an Albanian neighbor laid his hose so that water kept pouring into our yard, complaints lodged with the police were no use because the police did everything in favor of the Albanians who had connections with them. Serbs and Montenegrins were citizens without any rights or freedoms.
- They, on the one hand, pitied us because we had to move out, and on the other they wanted us to move away. They kept threatening us from the village. We didn't dare go out. The police attacked us most, they kept arresting us, they were all Albanians.
- A cop held me down while two Albanians beat me up, and later he said he had wanted to defend me.
- I once dropped a glass in a hotel and an Albanian cop beat me five times with his nightstick, even though that night a group of Albanians had been breaking and smashing their glasses and bottles of booze both before and after my incident.
- Serbs, for instance, would be armed to defend themselves and would carry guns on their person. A neighbor of ours was once waiting for the bus to the village. There was a girl at the station also waiting for a bus. Two Albanians came up to her and started giving her trouble, pulling at her. The neighbor stepped in and told them to lay off. They then concentrated on him. He drew his pistol on them and they ran away. A little later, they came back with a cop. They reported him as being in possession of a weapon and the cop demanded that he turn over his gun. He took out his own revolver and pointed it at our neighbor. The fact that those two had been molesting the girl didn't matter. That didn't bother anybody. Yes, it's against the law to carry a weapon without a permit, but how are you supposed to protect yourself when the people who are supposed to protect you don't do their job?
Respondents mention statements by policemen which clearly reveal their attitude to Serbs and Montenegrins:
- The police commander says: I've had it with this handful of Serbs left."
- An Albanian policeman says to me. "You're still here? What are you waiting for?" And I say to him: "I've been here for 1,500 years, why should I go?"
Inside the police, as within companies, the party and other organs of authority, promotion was based on pursuing discriminatory principles of conduct:
- They asked for police protection, the police told them that they would give them a pistol and they could defend themselves; when the village heard that they ostensibly had a gun, they weren't attacked so often. Later, the police commander, an Albanian and party member, threatened to heat them up.
- One time we were attacked by an Albanian policeman because of a dog whose barking bothered some Albanian neighbor. Then we were protected by the police commander, but now he was the one who attacked us.
The culmination of substituting the formal objectives of the security organs with their illegal objectives was how the police behaved during demonstrations by Albanian nationalists in Kosovo. Instead of acting as the guardians of the system, they participated in destabilizing it, judging by what the respondents have to say.
- The police came out to stop the demonstrations, but all they said was: "Keep moving, keep moving."
- The police would catch those who had written hostile slogans and then, once they turned the comer, let them go.
- On the anniversary of the demonstrations, the police deliberately kept out of sight so that Albanian students could go from their dormitories into town to demonstrate. It was a planned, organized action and after something like that you lost all hope of putting an end to it.
- I saw all sorts of things during the demonstrations: I saw the police take the demonstrators off to Jail and let them go.
- They arrested them at one door, and released them at the other.
- What happened to me is indescribable. They spit at my uniform (the respondent is an army officer), in 1981 I saw them declare the Republic of Kosovo in the streets, and the police assisted them. About ten of the respondents were employees of the Secretariat of Internal Affairs, either now retired or still in service. Their statements show how hard it was in Kosovo for Serbs and Montenegrins working in the organs of authority.
- A still active police officer, badly wounded in the 1981 demonstrations, is very reserved in his replies. He says: -"Participants in the 1968 demonstrations advanced the most in the police and society".
- The respondent is a retired inspector of the Internal Affairs Secretariat, On May 1, 1979, he brought in to the police station an Albanian policeman who had committed serious offenses while in uniform. The chief ordered the man to turn over his weapon in a room full of policeman, all of whom (except for the respondent) were Albanians. The man drew his revolver and fired at the respondent four times; one bullet hit him in the arm and three in the chest. The respondent showed the interviewer his scar and X-rays. An Albanian judge sentenced the man to two-and-a-half years of prison. At the retrial, the judge, an ethnic Turk, sentenced him to 12 years. It was the impression of the interviewer that the respondent felt no bitterness because of what had happened to him personally, but was very bitter because of what happened to his compatriots whom he could not protect. Despite this attack, he remained in Kosovo for several more years until he retired.
- When a Serbian policeman brings an Albanian down to the police station, the latter is released before he has time to sit down.
- I went to Pristina on transfer in 1959 (inspector with the Internal Affairs Secretariat). As soon as I arrived I planned to leave and that's why I enrolled at the university, so that it would be easier for me to go. I realized that once I retired I would be mistreated, because some of my colleagues were beaten up, and the authorities do not give much protection.
These four examples suffice to show what the attitude and activities of the organs of authority were like. Without an understanding of this, it would be impossible to understand direct discrimination against Serbs and Montenegrins. Even if these were only individual cases, they would give reason enough for such statements as:
- We'd go back to Kosovo if the authorities and police were dismissed.
- The biggest band of nationalists is in the organs of authority!
"If an Albanian commits an offense - his file is misplaced, or there is no verdict, or if there is it is minimal, and if the sentence has to be served, then it is halved."
(University-educated white collar worker)
The judiciary is one of the highest instances in any legal state, and the realization of the rights and freedoms and protection of Serbs and Montenegrins largely depended on the courts respecting the law. Judging by what the respondents had to say, however, in Kosovo the judiciary was largely inefficient or openly discriminated against Serbs and Montenegrins in all spheres of the legal system. Some respondents explained this by citing such folk sayings as- one doesn't turn against one's own.
The answers given to questions concerning the courts show that more than a quarter of the respondents claim the courts did nothing to help resolve conflicts and protect those discriminated against. Then come those who in various ways retrained from answering ("don't know", "just like the others", a dismissive wave of the hand) or said nothing at all; together they account for 22% or one-fifth. A third of the answers in various ways assess open institutional discrimination against Serbs and Montenegrins via the courts whose constitutional duty is to safeguard and protect the law.
29. Attitude of the Courts to Conflicts between Ethnic Albanians and Serbs & Montenegrins
|No. of Households||Household %|
|No need, Serbian settlement||31||6.2|
|They took steps||35||7.0|
|They did nothing||138||27.6|
|They misplaced the files to make them outdated||35||7.0|
|They didn't condemn Albanians||93||18.6|
|They discriminated against Serbs & Montenegrins||35||7.0|
|They punished the Serbian plaintiffs||8||1.6|
If we focus on those who gave direct answers to this question, and that means 344 households, we will find that only one-tenth (early emigrants or judges) said the courts worked normally. Everybody else talked about the courts as the supreme instance of discrimination against Serbs and Montenegrins through either action or in action. Before, mention was made of the major difference in court rulings against Albanians and Turks for the same crime, which does not speak in favor of the judiciary in Kosovo, but there are also numerous negative personal experiences. They reveal various forms of discrimination which, in some cases, verge on the criminal. Especially hard hit were Serbs and Montenegrins in communes where they were few in number, where all the judges were Albanian. Somewhat better off were those living in big urban settlements, where the means of discrimination were not as direct and the courts reflected this. The departure of Serbian and Montenegrin judges, like the departure of Serbian policemen from Kosovo, meant, said the respondents, losing the feeling of legal protection and increasing the sense of uncertainty and fear.
A frequent method of discrimination in the courts was "losing" or "misplacing" the documents and procrastinating in carrying out court procedures.
- The damages were done when no one was looking. By the time the courts exacted justice, it was of no importance to anyone anymore.
- All trials were dragged out until they became out of date.
- Don't remind me! Serbs and Montenegrins had to wait so long for justice to be had that it can enter the book of records.
- I went to court for three years and then they told me that the case had fallen under the statute of limitations.
- An Albanian ran over my wife in his car; she was badly hurt. We sued him, we went to court every day, and they kept telling us: 'Not today, tomorrow!' And then we received a paper saying that the case was outdated and to this day the man has not had to pay for what he did.
- During the war the Albanians cut my uncle up into pieces with an ax; the same Albanian family killed another uncle of mine with a car in 1974 and the courts have not punished them to this day. The papers allegedly got lost in court, and to this day our family has not been notified whether the documents were found and the man punished. That's why I don't believe in the judiciary in Kosovo.
As in the case of firms, here too Serbs and Montenegrins are made the guilty parties.
- I was attacked by several people while carrying the pensions to the villages, because only Albanians get to work as postmen in Pristina, the Serbs are sent to the villages. I was attacked by the sons of an Albanian I knew as a postman. Once I found out that they were going to attack me, that they were waiting for me, and so I decided not to deliver the pensions that day but the next. They sued me for appropriating the pensions and most of the Albanians to whom I had delivered the pensions claimed that they hadn't received them and that those weren't their signatures. I spent a month in pretrial confinement but was proven innocent.
- They said that in 1981 I pulled a gun on an Albanian child, I was given 50 days in prison and later was proven innocent. When the sides in the dispute were of different nationality, the procedure was not carried out, the sentences were not passed according to the law, say the respondents, but rather were influenced by the nationality of the parties involved and the judges themselves.
- If the judge is a Serb, he makes no difference as to whether it's a Serb or an Albanian he's got on trial, but if the judge is an Albanian, you know what to expect...
- There's one Serb to every 20 Albanian judges, you can work the rest out for yourself...
- The investigating judge says to me when I ask for an investigation of my daughter's car accident, he says: 'It wouldn't help if you had a sack full of money. The public prosecutor is his brother. They're all related'.
- The presiding judge took part in the demonstrations and later explained that he had been pushed into the column, although there were pictures showing that he had joined on his own.
- Even when Albanians were guilty, they tried to convict Serbs.
- The punishment meted out to Albanians was symbolic, whereas for Serbs it was drastic.
- If an Albanian did have to be sentenced, then it was for a misdemeanor.
- An Albanian would get two years for rape, whereas a Serb would get a year for just slapping an Albanian in the face.
- They are sentenced much less for raping our children than a Serb would be for even attempting the rape of an adult.
- The way they sentenced Albanians was ridiculous.
- Magistrates handed down stiff penalties for petty offenses by Serbs. They'd give you 30 days in prison for singing "Over There" ("Tamo daleko").*
* This song was sung at the Salonica Front during World War I by Serbs nostalgic for home. It is the most detested Serbian song in anti-Serbian environments.
- A Serb had his house set on fire by neighbors and it was said that an Albanian child had done it, and the court accepted such a story.
- They beat up a man and the courts say: 'He fell by himself.
- They killed my brother, that's what I think, he was killed by an Albanian, by a reservist, a cop, during the 1981 demonstrations. In court they all spoke in Albanian and my brother, sister-in-law and I couldn't understand a thing. There was no real appearance in court for about a year. He was given two years, one of the jurors read the newspapers during the trial. The Albanian judge told us: 'If you want to appeal, go ahead and appeal'.
- An Albanian killed my grandfather while he was tending the cattle. My brother and the brother of my grandfather's killer got into a fight, my mother defended my brother and hit the Albanian for which she was sentenced to a month in prison.
- I offered my closest neighbor, an Albanian, land for sale and when he turned me down and I sold it to somebody else, he beat me up, I spent 15 days in the hospital. The doctors wouldn't give me a piece of paper confirming my serious bodily injuries, and so I had to go to Skoplje. I went to the public prosecutor of the commune, but he kept dragging his feet about bringing charges. The assailant spent a few days being questioned and then was released home.
- In 1975 two Albanians knived my brother-in-law in the presence of Albanian policemen who wouldn't lift a finger. My brother-in-law went to court and the Albanians were sentenced to two months prison, so he moved away.
- The young guys who tore up the Yugoslav flag were held in detention for a couple of days and that's all...
- If a Serb says anything about these conflicts, he soon winds up in jail, whereas Albanians get away with anything. The courts are hard only on Serbs; Albanians can do what they want.
- The murderer of a relative of mine was sentenced to 20 years. After five I saw him strolling in the street.
- This feeling of helplessness in the face of discrimination by the organs of authority aroused different sentiments among those affected: self-delusion (especially among those who had a better position and some office in Kosovo), helplessness, mistrust in the authorities as such (not only in Kosovo), bitterness, an awareness of the need for self-defense.
- I think all sorts of things went on, but I refused to believe in everything I saw.
- A group of Albanians grabbed my building frames from me. but I didn't want to go to court because I had no faith in it.
- An Albanian dredger killed my husband on the construction site. He had already killed another Serb and an Albanian.. He wasn't convicted, he just got the Order of Labor. There was nobody left to protect me (once, when she was in advanced pregnancy, a group of Albanians tried to abduct her and her husband barely managed to rescue her; according to the interviewer, this is an extremely pretty woman whom Albanians had already once tried to abduct before her marriage), and I had to take the children and move out.
- There is no court here, I don't recognize the court of Kosovo, just from Kursumlija onwards.
- It's awful what you have to watch and not see; rape, robbery, damages done to the fields by Albanians. I know of only two cases where they were pronounced guilty.
- If something happens to somebody, we have nobody to go to. It's no use seeking justice in court.
- Who has the guts to sue an Albanian?
- We soon lost faith in the authorities and the state. The courts were as though they didn't exist, you had to protect and fend for yourself.
So, discrimination permeated all areas of the Serbs' and Montenegrins' life, from negating their human and civil identity to physical extermination. The only resort they had was to flee or to rally together as ethnic groups and engage in organized resistance. Disenfranchised, threatened and exposed to indirect and direct genocide, they could only choose between these two options We were able, in this poll, to examine only the first option of emigration.
Because of the specific aspects of this historical development we have used the terms "pressure", "discrimination", "forced emigration" "Albanian nationalism", "separatism", "irredentism", terms that were in daily use at the time of the poll These terms are not, in our opinion, sufficiently expressive, but we used them because it would require more broad-based research to find new ones.
IV. Emigration >>
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