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The long shadow of the war in Kosovo

The graves, pulling themselves up the hill, each adorned with wreath and plastic flowers. 44 people have been coming in to the last rest laid 44 relief faces are engraved on the curved marble wall at the entrance to the new cemetery of Racak, with names, dates of birth and death. This is the same for all, it is the 15. January 1999. "For the martyrs of the Nation" is on the memorial wall, "will be massacred by the Serbs in barbaric cruelty."

On the grave field is also an uncle of Adem Ramadani, 43. Enthroned the memorial site on the 1600 inhabitants of the village. Who Racak hear in Kosovo, think of corpses and combat aircraft. "What happened here was the key reason for the Nato to Intervene", says Ramadani. "Because of Racak, we are free."

Exactly 20 years ago this Sunday that Nato has not intervened in the war to Kosovo. With a 78-day bombardment of the Western military Alliance has forced the forces of the Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević to withdraw from the majority of Albanians inhabited breakaway province. This is the so-called liberation army of Kosovo (KLA) helped to victory. More than 800'000 Kosovo Albanians were temporarily on the run, more than 10'500 Albanians and 2100 Serbs died in the war. And the body finds of Racak in January 1999 were the beacon for this war. It was the turning point, as it says, the then Federal foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer,"".

As with everything in war, the truth always belongs to the Victims, are the events of Racak until today a controversial issue. Found there bodies in combat killed KLA militants, had claimed the authorities in Belgrade immediately. However, three women, a child and a number of old men among the Victims. William Walker, who was at that time in Kosovo observer-based mission of the OSCE, of a "massacre" and a "crime against humanity". In Racak, you have honored the mustached Walker with a larger-than-life bronze statue, right next to the cemetery. "Once a year he comes here," says Adem Ramadani, "he is our Savior."

The governments in Belgrade and Pristina have the same goal

Much has happened in the 20 years since the war: Milošević died in 2006 in a prison cell of the Hague war crimes Tribunal. Kosovo is since 2008, a separate state, recognised by 115 Nations. However, the conflict is not solved until today. Also the new leaders in Belgrade insist that Kosovo belongs to Serbia. Between the frozen fronts of approximately 3500 soldiers of the Kfor peacekeeping force.

Where have the governments in Belgrade and in Pristina declared the same goal: you both want to lead their countries into the European Union. However, the EU demanded before the resolution of all disputes and mutual recognition. 2013 has been signed in Brussels a "normalization agreement". But to breakthrough the world is waiting so far in vain.

For motion a proposal that would make the previous Balkan policy of the West on the head alone. It's about a land swap, more cautiously, a border correction formulated. The Serbian-populated North could be hit of Kosovo of the Republic of Serbia and in the return of Albanian inhabited areas in southern Serbia to Kosovo to fall. Both the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, as well as Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi gave cryptic signals in the direction of such a solution. However, in both countries there is a fierce resistance.

A lone voice in the Kosovo Parliament

Split is the West in the matter of: the German government warns especially strongly against a change of borders in Kosovo and new conflicts in other multi-ethnic Balkans could trigger States such as Bosnia or Northern Macedonia. Such a solution is supported by EU's external Commissioner Federica Mogherini and enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn and, more recently, of the United States. The break with all existing rules would be finally a Deal according to the taste of Donald Trump.

In his Deputy's office in Pristina, but Slobodan Petrovic sits and the unit summons of Kosovo, where, among almost two million Albanians still about 120'000 Serbs live. Petrovic is one of ten Serb deputies in the Kosovo Parliament, he represents the Liberal party, and he is a lone voice. Because the other nine Serbian deputies belonging to the Vucic-controlled Serbian list, and for Petrovic, you are all "crooks" and "liars". He feels of Belgrade, tell, where, on a division of Kosovo. "We have to live together with the Albanians," he says, "we all have the same problems, no Jobs, for example."

Petrovic lives in Gracanica, a Serb enclave about ten kilometers from Pristina. Here are the signs in Cyrillic, the streets are named after the Serbian hero, and from the ATMs of the Serbian Dinar instead of the Euro, which in Kosovo is paid. In the centre of Gracanica, an Orthodox monastery, 14. Century, with five domes. Inside there are impressive frescoes, since 2006, the monastery, a Unesco culture heritage site, but there it is on the Red list of world heritage in danger. Around the monastery are in bad mood. "In the case of a separation of the Serbian North, we will lose our minority rights," says Petrovic, "then we must fear for our safety."

So the war throws after 20 years is still a long shadow in Kosovo to the Serbs in Gracanica, on the Albanians in Racak. There Adem Ramadani stands at the graves and speaks with all the sadness from the "Proud of our victims." You ask him but, if the hopes have been fulfilled, for this sacrifice brought was eighth, and then he is silent and shakes his head. "We are the Nato grateful for our freedom," he says. "But all that came after coming to Power, have only brought us corruption." (Editorial Tamedia)

Created: 23.03.2019, 18:47 PM

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