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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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Global-The puzzle of Eastern Europe

On Feb. 17, 2008, the Republic of Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. This is, until now, the last partition of the former Yugoslavian Federation; what was once a big country is now broken in seven pieces.

Serbia, under the rule of extremist nationalists who expected to rebuild the Great Serbia, tried to control Yugoslavia and its states and provinces. Certainly, that pretension was rejected when Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia declared their independence. Only the state of Montenegro remained with Serbia, but just for a while.

The result was the Serbian-Croatian war and the Serbian-Bosnian war where the Serbian army became “infamous” for the massacres of civilian populations, and stopped only after international involvement.

Likewise, when the Kosovo Liberation Army started to attack Serbian institutions the answer was a brutal repression, which made things worse. Hundreds of thousands of Kosovars fled the country as refugees.

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Subsequently, with the world still affected by the Serbian response against Bosnia, Kosovo was put under United Nations’ administration and NATO’s peace-keeping force since 1999. Nine years later they proclaimed their independence.

Despite the rest of the former Yugoslavia, composed of ethnic Slavs, Kosovo has a majority of ethnic Albanians (around 90% of the population), who once asked to belong to Albania, but have found a new country.

Serbia claims that Kosovo was its territory, and to support it are several orthodox monasteries and churches; many of them burned down and looted by Kosovar Albanians in recent years. The northern region of Kosovo has also a Serbian majority, which does not recognize the independence and remains loyal to Serbia. Thus, the ethnic tension is far from over.

This proclamation of independence has divided the European Union, and the world. Great Britain, Germany, France and others immediately followed the United States in recognizing Kosovo as a new state, while Spain and China did not. Russia backed Serbia in its strong opposition to the existence of the new country.

Besides, Kosovo’s area is 4,203 square miles, just a little bigger than Santa Barbara County-3,789 square miles. Does the world need more mini-states? The ethnic Serbians have Serbia next to them and the ethnic Albanians have Albania; just join each of them.

Anyway, those false nationalisms are created and aggravated by special interest from local dominant groups; they represent ethnic, religious or economic interests. Quebec, Canada, Bolivia, and now Santa Cruz claims autonomy.

A mandatory “Common Sense 101” course should be implemented for anybody who aspires a public position; councilmember, supervisor, mayor, president, dictator, war criminal or columnist.

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