Balkanization, the child of Evil
This article tried to unveil some historical backgrounds of Balkan’s history and to make comparison or distinctions to Levant.
Yet to understand fully Balkan, authors must go much deeper in analyzes, which in not the case in this article. Almost every topic mentioned here requires stand alone, deeper analysis.
In the early history of Balkans, starting from 6th to 7th century with alleged migration of Slavic tribes from the North and North-East of Europe, Carpathian Mountains, and Russian steppes until the rising of first Slavic principalities and kingdoms, the meaning and terms of nationality didn’t exist as such. When I say, “Alleged” mass migration of Slavic tribes, I keep in mind that beside, the official theory of South Slavs migration, some recent researches indications and evidences lead to developing of new theories which are opposing the theory of mass migration of South Slavs. Instead they claim that South Slavic tribes and generally, all Slavic tribes are much older Indo-European population, covering vast areas from Iran, Asia Minor to Balkans.
Since this theory is getting more and more supporters with further researches which were done with the help of modern technologies and forensic means, I find it as important to mention it here for even deeper understanding of Balkan heritage and with respect to those who are devoted research and support of that theory. One of the authors and researches supporting this theory is Russian academic Valeri Chudinov.
Nevertheless, Slavic tribe gradually abandoned old Slavic Gods and believes, and gradually accepted Christianity. The fall of Roman Empire to East and West Roman empires and later split between Orthodox and Catholic churches, correspondently affiliated to Byzantium and Rome, of course influenced the region, making an invisible line between Eastern and Western Balkans. Yet, this split, until the rise of firm national emotions and ethnic affiliations didn’t actually produce “balkanization” of the Slavic groups in the region.
From the beginning of 10th century, there were numerous Slavic principalities in the territory of modern Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia, later developing to first kingdoms in the region. Contrary to some believes, creation of such principalities and kingdoms in the medieval Balkans didn’t produce ethnic or national hatred and bigotry as some authors could claim. Various alliances were created or disbanded all the time, over the centuries; regardless of actual ethnic affiliations we witnessed pacts and alliances between various Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian and Hungarian nobility. Those bonds were more territorial and political, and rarely ethnic or religious.
The same applies to the early accepting Christianity among Slavs. It was a common process and the split between Catholic and Orthodox churches influenced Slavic nobility to accept either of them in more practical and political than religious cause.
Therefore we simplify this period of Slavic history in Balkans claiming that “Throughout the centuries, the rivalries and hatred festered on all sides in the Balkans”. Such “hatred” didn’t exist at that time and rivalries could be seen as usual rivalries between particular principalities regardless if they were Catholic or Orthodox Christianity, since the “national affiliation” was not predominant at all. Alliances were created and disbanded over the time, regardless of the “national affiliation” and even religious split.
The same principles were present in medieval Bosnia as well, since, before Ottomans occupation, Bosnia was predominantly populated by two largest Slavic groups: Serbs and Croats, both Christians, with mixed Orthodox/Catholic influences. Therefore we could have found a lot of Serbian population which were regionally located in Catholic dominated area accepting Catholic Church instead of Orthodox.
The situation changed after Ottoman Occupation. The shift occurred at the time with converting to Islam the part of Serbian/Croatian population as the result of coercion, pressure, security or beneficial reasons, as well as planned migrations of Turkish originated/ Islamic population from the Ottoman /Turkey controlled regions.
When we are considering non-Slavic population in the region, some authors make a big mistake by naming Shqiptars as “Kosovar Albanians” or simply “Kosovars”. Albanians in Kosovo from the 17th century up today called themselves “Shqiptars” and even they call their country Shqipëria and or Shqypnia/Shqipnia (in northern Albanian dialects)
Before 17th century Shqiptars identified themselves as Arbëresh with the neighboring derivative name – Arbanas or Arnaut.
There is the Serbian pronunciation of this word used over a long time as Šiptar (Shiptar). After WWII, during the SFRJ and Tito era, the original name for the ethnicity Shqiptar (Serbian – Šiptar) was imposed to be considered as derogatory and communist regime gradually introduced the name – Albanian.
Therefore, THERE IS NO KOSOVAR as nationality or ethnicity in Kosovo at all. Kosovar was the western created term to address and name Albanians from Kosovo as Kosovar ethnicity thus to correlate them this artificial ethnic term with the territory of Kosovo. Therefore – Kosovars (Kosovo Albanians) could be represented as native population of Kosovo, while Serbs and all other ethnic groups would be considered as “occupying” or “alien” forces to Kosovars (Shqiptars in Kosovo).
Even the term Albanian for the ethnic group of Shqiptars in Kosovo was artificially introduced and coerced by communist authorities during the Tito era. This was the dramatic fraud with a long term consequences.
As matter of fact it was the example of artificial and planned action to show the territorial affiliation of Albanians in Kosovo to Albania state. This was a classic history fraud. Shqiptars in Kosovo were not as genuine native majority population to this area as it was tried to be represented and the best written evidence of this claim could be found in Turkish National library and museums where old tax books from the Ottoman Empire dated back from the middle of the 15th century are kept. Ottomans were very accurate with those books counting every Christian Serb, Croat, Shqiptar house and family so the tax collectors could do their job smooth and easy. (https://www.scribd.com/doc/98035320/Oblast-Brankovica-Opsirni-Katastarski-Popis-Iz-1455-Godine )
In the mid 15th century, there were nearly 13,000 Serbian houses in all 480 villages and towns in Kosovo and Metohija. In addition to our own, and there were 75 Wallachian households in 34 villages, 46 of Albanian in 23 villages, 17 of the Bulgarian in 10 villages, five Greek at Laus and Vucitrn, one Jewish in Vucitrn and one Croatian. Of all the names and surnames mentioned in the census, 95.88 percent were of Serbian origin, 1.90 percent Roman, 1.56 undetermined, Albanian 0.26, 0.25 Greek, and so on.
So, 500 years ago, there were only 46 in Kosovo Albanian households in 23 villages (on average two houses in the village, not a single pure Albanian), while the Serbian was nearly 13,000 in all 480 settlements. Letters: thirteen thousand four hundred and eighty seats versus forty-six twenty-three. Not only that but there is no recorded even a single place with Albanian toponym origin (after all, today Albanians in Kosovo mainly used Serbian place names, starting with the name of the self-proclaimed state of Kosovo by the Albanian language does not mean anything, that is, the name that is of Serbian origin, all the way to the title of capital - Pristina).
The official name of this important Ottoman document was "Defter for Vuk area". Size is 30 dz 12 cm, bound in leather covers and represents a whole without any interpolation. It includes 240 films, or 480 pages. It was written on white paper with black ink, and a very beautiful handwriting.
Shqiptars or Arbanases were populating Kosovo during the several mass migrations mostly after heavy depopulation of the area after big conflicts and wars where Serbian population suffered heavy losses in combats or were forced to displace before Ottomans. The most significant migration from Albania occurred, like the Syrian Kurds migrations, after WWI – from 1915 and particularly after the WWII when they were emigrating from Communist regime in Albania.
The most of such immigrants have never requested or accepted Yugoslavian or Serbian citizenship. Again, there is very similar situation with Syrian Kurds migrating to the Northern Syria from Turkey after 1917 and never accepting Syrian citizenship.
(Shqiptars (plural: Shqip(ë)tarët, feminine: Shqip(ë)tare); Gheg Albanian: Shqyptar, Shqiptar), is an Albanian language ethnonym (autonym), by which Albanians call themselves, - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shqiptar )
During that period from 15th century rare Arbanas nobility in the Serbian territories were well integrated in the society and even the expansion of the Medieval Serbia kingdoms and Empire, Albanian nobility in the northern and coastal area were accepting Serbian integration as it was offering them possibilities for high positions while they sought Serbian rule as helpful against Greek/ Byzantium influence.
All in all, assessment of some authors that “Throughout the centuries, the rivalries and hatred festered on all sides in the Balkans” simply does not hold water and is groundless.
During the Ottomans, there were several mass migrations of Serbian population from the Serbia, Montenegro and Herzegovina to the western Balkans, - territory of modern Croatia. They mixed there with native Serbian population as well as majority of native Croatian people. Some of those migrating Serbs converted over the time to Catholicism, while the majority remained faithful to Orthodox Christianity.
At the Mediaeval time there were no such national conflicts nor hatred or animosities between ethnic groups, since they didn’t explicitly identify themselves as Croats or Serbs, they were distinguished mostly as – Orthodox and Catholics. What’s more part of Serbian population migrating to Venetian and Austro Hungarian monarchy controlled and dominated territories spreading over the Croatia and Dalmatia were mostly accepted as frontiersmen into the later called area of Vojna Krajina - military border belt between Christian Europe – and Austro Hungarian monarchy and Ottoman Empire. As the prize for their military engagement against Turks, the Monarchy was giving frontiersmen land in possession, so the Serb minorities in the Croatian lands became legal owners of their own lands and estates. Both Serbs and Croats over those centuries lived throughout Bosnia and Croatia fighting together against Ottoman invaders, without mutual rivalries and hatred as mentioned in the article.
Situation gradually changed with the Ottomans occupation: part of the local population converted to Islam and they were later more and more considered as traitors and infidels to Christianity so the animosity and even hatred started to develop on both sides. In addition Ottomans displaced part of Turkish originated population towards occupied territories and such were always considered as foreigners, occupation forces and aliens. Interestingly this Islamic part of the Balkan’s population over the time always allied with the powers and forces who were waging wars against majority of Orthodox Christians so the hatred and bigotry were deeper and deeper. No melting pots could be established and reconciliation occurred.
The significant bigotry and hatred between Croats and Serbs as mentioned by author is of relatively recent historical period dated from the end of 19 and the beginning of 20th century and the roots in that coincide with the rise of national affiliation, Croats (and Slovenians) as the part of the Austro Hungarian Monarchy developed the strong national movements tending to get rid of the Austro Hungarian monarchy domination and during and after the WWI the pan-Slavic movements from Slovenia and Croatia to Serbia embraced the idea of Multi ethnic state gathering all South Slavic nations. At the time, Serbia and Montenegro were only states – with internationally recognized sovereignty, therefore accepting the Serbian crown over the new-born kingdom was a logical step in and the fastest way to achieve long dreamed sovereignty against Austria and Hungary. On this basis the first kingdom of SHS was born and later on kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Appetites of the young Croatian state which was the incorporated into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia as one of entities called “Banovina” kept rising towards the ultimate independence and that movement exploded in the WWII where Croatia embraced fascism and Hitler’s promise to Croatian fascist leader Ante Pavelic of creating and recognizing Independent State of Croatia, (Nezavisna država Hrvatska- NDH), after Axes forces win the war.
Huge atrocities and genocide were performed by Croatian fascists called Ustashe in NDH against Serbian, Jew and Gipsy population in Croatia and Bosnia. In the same time Muslim population in Bosnia allied with Nazi forces – including Croatian fascists, and they fought fiercely against Serbian population in Bosnia, Herzegovna and Sandzak while in Serbia, Shqiptars from Kosovo formed own fascist units committing again, as a lot of times in the recent history, atrocities, slaughtering and persecution of the non Muslim population – Serbs, Gypses and other non Albanian population.
So the mentioned hatred in Balkans is of the relatively new dates, not as written in the article- over the centuries. All evident hatred and bigotry among the nations populating Balkans today were created with the big influence of foreign forces trying to dominate the region within the last century, not much longer.
So, “The deep-rooted hatred that exists in the Balkans” was the product mostly along the rise of national affiliations and self determinations of the late 19th and 20th century, and was in the great measure caused by the influence of the regional or European powers and centers of domination.
Concerning all mentioned above, we cannot assume that the “deep rooted hatred that exists in the Balkans is similar, in fact almost identical, in its history, age, intensity and above all, lack of substance, to the Sunni-Shiite hatred in the Levant and the Muslim World.”
While the history of Balkans is very long, rich and complicated, and for sure should be researched to every detail in order to understand contemporary events and future trend, we cannot simplify its heritage and relations in order to compare it to some other parts of the world.
The most obvious and visible only common point with the situation in Levant is that outside-foreign factors used all possibilities, historical burden, and current differences to create hatred and bigotry and to abuse it for their own interest and domination in the region.
It is important also to say that the majority of ethnic Turks after the Balkans Wars emigrated from this region to Turkey so nowadays; Turkish originated population could be found in this area only in slight traces. The most of Muslims here are actually converted Serbs, Croats and Shqiptars who were actually performed weaponized mass migration from northern and coastal Albania to Kosovo and Macedonia mostly during the 20thc century.
The new term, Balkanization, created after the collapse of the Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, is today related to the Balkan area which collapsed into the series of ethnic / religious civil wars and conflicts, with the great responsibilities of foreign factors – Western countries lead by US, and NATO member states, but with the key role of Germany, which took a shameful role of supplying arms, training and recruiting insurgents and terrorist groups, financing and instigating local conflicts which were articulated directed and coordinated by the US establishment and supported /financed by the Islamic states like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and others.
By pouring the oil to flame, western countries and Islamic states awaken the Wrath of Hatred and Death to cull its victims. Balkanization as the child of German Fourth Reich dreams and, Ottoman resurrection dreams and US “One World One Government” (the US one) dreams was born.