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Argument: There is no clear Kosovo identity warranting independence

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But dozens of artists ignored that edict. They submitted variants of the red and black Albanian flag, its two-headed eagle proudly displayed at weddings and on the battlefield for decades. The flag is reviled by many Serbs, who make up a minority in this breakaway Serbian province.
As Kosovo prepares to declare independence — the culmination of a long and bloody struggle — this artistic rebellion underlines the challenge this small territory faces to forge a secular national identity, one that can overcome ethnic and religious resentments.
Hashim Thaci, the incoming Kosovo prime minister who was the leader of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, expressed the view of many Kosovars when he recently said, “A Kosovo identity does not exist.' But that is starting to change.
'How we create a Kosovar identity is a critical question,' said Migjen Kelmendi, a former rock star who is now a linguist and editor. Mr. Kelmendi is leading the effort to fashion a new self-image for Kosovo. The Albanian Muslims who form a large majority of Kosovo, he said, “think of themselves in terms of their Albanian ethnicity, and they think that questioning that makes them a traitor.'"

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