Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo
The dissolution of communism and the rise of ethnic and religious conflict throughout the former Yugoslavia, which sparked the war among Bosnians, Serbs, and Croats, has captivated the attention of the Western media throughout the 1990s. But little notice has been paid to the growing ethnic and religious tensions within the Serbian province of Kosovo -- tensions that now pose a serious threat to the security of the Balkans. Nearly 90 percent of the population of Kosovo is composed of Albanian Muslims, many of whom support a growing movement -- at first peaceful, but now turning violent -- for independence from Christian Serbia.In Between Serb and Albanian, Miranda Vickers explores the roots of this conflict and tracks the recent trajectory of Serbian and Albanian relations in Kosovo. The first third of the book outlines the history of Kosovo during the medieval and Ottoman periods, when relations between the two communities were generally good. The second part examines Kosovo since 1945, when the area fell under Serbian administration in the socialist Yugoslav system. Vickers concludes by surveying the steady deterioration in Serb-Albanian relations since the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1981. With careful detail, she reveals how a largely peaceful. politically driven campaign for the independence of Kosovo has recently turned to violence with terrorist attacks on Serb political and military institutions, on Albanians thought to be collaborating with the Serbs, and on Serbs themselves. In the process, the author provides a balanced account of the Serb and Albanian positions, while placing much of the blame for the current situation on the repressive policies of Serb dictatorSlobodan Milosevic. Vickers sees ominous portents that the conflict may soon spread to neighboring Balkan countries.This book is essential reading for all those wishing to understand the historical, social, and cultural aspects of ethnic and religious strife in Serbia, and the implications of this conflict for the current political situation in all of southeast Europe.
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