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Argument: Ethnic Albanians have an historic claim to Kosovo

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Supporting evidence

  • Doug Lorimer. "Kosova's long struggle for independence". Green Left Weekly, 14 April 1999 - "The current conflict between the western powers and the Serbian state has its roots in the decision in 1913 by these powers to hand over nearly half of Albania (the present-day region of Kosova) to Serbian control. Once again the Albanian people have become the victims of collusion between Serbian national chauvinists and the imperialist Great Powers.
Serbian national chauvinists argue that the region they call Kosovo was and always will be part of the territory of the Serbian nation, on the basis that medieval Serb tribes ruled over this region until their defeat by the Ottoman Turks on June 30, 1389, at the Battle of Kosovo-Polje (a Serb settlement 18 kilometres west of Pristina, the modern capital of Kosova).
If the modern-day Serbian nation, which had its origins in the 19th century, has some historic claim to Kosova because Serb-speaking feudal rulers controlled the region in the 14th century, then the Albanian-speaking people of the region have an even greater historic claim.
[...]Despite the clear evidence of the Kosovars' repeatedly expressed desire for independence from Serbia, the imperialist powers have insisted that the Kosovars accept the decision these powers made in 1913 to place Kosova under Serbian rule. These powers, today joined and led by the US imperialists, are responsible for the current holocaust being inflicted on the ethnic Albanians of Kosova." [see article for full case]
  • Mary Edith Durham, a British scholar. Twenty years of Balkan Tangle. (2006), p. 52 - "the Serbs, or rather their Slav ancestors, poured into the Balkan Peninsula in vast hordes in the sixth and seventh centuries[...][They] overwhelmed the original inhabitant, the Albanian. But though they tried hard, they did not succeed in exterminating him. The original inhabitant, we may almost say, never is exterminated. The Albanian was a peculiarly tough customer. He withdrew to the fastnesses of the mountains, fought with his back to the wall, so to speak, and in defiance of efforts to Serbize him, retained his language and remained persistently attached to the Church of Rome."[1]
  • Eqerem Mete. "Bush Right on Kosovo Independence". The Conservative June 21, 2007 - "The Nemanjids who ruled Serbia from the 12th century up to 1371 built churches and monasteries in Kosovo mainly on the ruins of Albanian Catholic churches and other religious sites, the very churches and monasteries which are used by the Serbs today as an argument to prove that Kosovo is “the cradle of their mediaeval state and the center of their Orthodox Christian faith”.
According to Noel Malcolm, 'the earliest foundations were mainly in the old nucleus-territory of Rascia, to the north of Kosovo: Studenica, Nemanja’s most important foundation, which still survives today, and a monastery dedicated to St. George, the ruins of which (near Novi Pazar) are known as ‘Djudjevi Stupovi’, ‘George’s Pillars’. Further to the north, near the central Serbian town of Kraljevo, the monastery of Zica was founded by Stefan the First-crowned; this was chosen by Sava as the seat of his autocephalous Church. (Only at the end of the thirteenth century, when Zica had been burned down by a raiding expedition of Tatars and Cumans, did the seat of the archbishopric move to Pec in Western Kosovo.) After Studenica, the second most important Nemanjid monastery was Mileseva, founded by Stefan the First-Crowned’s successor; this was much further to the west, towards the Bosnian border. And the main foundation of the next-but-one Serbian king was at Sopocani, which lies just to the west of Novi Pazar. In other words, the cradle of Serbian monasticism in the first two or three generations of Nemanjid rule was located where the cradle of the Serbian state had been: not inside Kosovo, but further to the north and west. It was only later, with the development of the Patriarchate buildings at Pec, and the fourteenth-century foundations of Gracanica, Decani and the monastery of the Holy Archangels in Prizren, that Kosovo gained any real importance for the Nemanjid church-building programme'(Noel Malcolm, Kosovo - A Short History, pp 45-46).
However, in the 15th century, Serbia covered more or less the area between the Danube, the Great (Velika) Morava and the Timok, a river in Eastern Serbia and Western Bulgaria.
According to chronicles, more members of ethnic minorities such as Serbs, Turks and Roma settled in the Albanian territory of Kosovo under the Ottomans. The implementation of the Serbian colonization program in Kosovo between the two world wars helped the Serb minority in Kosovo to grow although it did not exceed the 10 percent share of the total population. Under this program, the Serbs confiscated Albanian land at a time when more Serbian and Montenegrin colonists settled on Albanian territory. In the 1912-1918 period, thousands of Albanians were exterminated or deported to Turkey. In the span of 3 years, from 1910 to 1913, Serbia doubled its size at the expense of Albanian territories. On March 7, 1937, Dr. Vaso Cubrilovic, academician of Yugoslavia and minister in various departments in communist Yugoslavia after the war, presented the royal government of Stoyadinovic with his memorandum on “The Expulsion of the Albanians”. The outbreak of World War II brought its further implementation to an end although the Yugoslav leadership resumed its implementation in compliance with the changing circumstances after the war. Aleksandar Rankovic, the minister of the Interior, who also held the second highest post in the executive branch of the Yugoslav government until 1966, was mainly responsible for the brutal treatment of the Albanians and their deportation to Turkey. Vaso Cubrilovic’s memorandum draws on another wider-ranging program, the Serbian minister Ilija Garasanin’s work “Nacertanije” (1844), which from a blueprint to spread Serbian influence, became a geopolitical instruction for expansion into Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, the north of today’s Albania and today’s Macedonia.
There is a host of arguments that account for the fact that Serbia’s annexation of Kosovo was illegal and that the Kosovo Albanians should enjoy and exercise their right to self-determination as their national right and as a majority population." [see more of this article's extensive coverage of this argument]

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