By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS
Berkeley–February 29th–Dijana Plestina, the First Lady of Croatia was able to stop off here in California within a week of Kosovaâ€™s declaration of independence on a trip from New Zealand to her home in Zagreb.
Dijana admitted that she was not an expert on Kosova, but she had spent much time on the new Republic while researching her dissertation at Berkeley in the 1980s.
Dr. Pleistina believed Kosova had the right to secede under the Yugoslavian Constitution even though it was considered a Region not a Republic like Montenegro, for it should have been a Republic because of its cultural diversity from Serbia; thus, she reasoned, it should possess the right of secession. Under the Yugoslav Constitution of 1945, all the Republics had the right to secede, and she extends this to many of the Regions such as Kosova, for all the Republics joined willingly, and could separate at the desire of their citizens. Although Kosovaâ€™s people differ in religion and culture from the Serbs, Belgradeâ€™s Orthodox Serbs annexed Kosova on the belief that the province was historically theirs.
Because of the recent horrible history between the Serbs and the Albanians, autonomy has become out of the question. Milosevicâ€™ genocide started here, and so did NATOâ€™s intervention, and the break-up of the Yugoslav State where a varied citizenry had lived together in peace. Now, there is a constant mistrust and lack of goodwill between the ethnic groupings. â€œThis anxiety in the wake of security between the two religions is undermining developmentâ€ to the territory. The working classes had become radicalized, too, for Kosova is different from the rest of the Former Yugoslavia economically, for it is the least developed of all the Regions. Mining and agriculture are not a good basis from which a modern financial system can develop. The mini-Republic has a soaring unemployment rate and a high youth-to-adult ratio.
She makes some suggestions: The Serbians should refrain from a display of arms. Instead Belgrade should gently direct their former Province towards rapprochement.
The EU, UN, and NATO will remain in Kosova to protect its citizenry from ethnic violence and external attack and to help in its administration for some time. The International Community will not leave until we can be sure that there will not be a failed State in Southeastern Europe. That means we shall be there for quite some time. She explains, â€œ[All Kosovaâ€™s] citizens have to accept the current government as their own!â€