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Protests in Serbia Archive
Kosova in front of "Palata Albanija"

From KOHA 135, 5 February 1997



In the center of Belgrade, there is a building called "Palata Albanija", the highest peak of the town at the beginning of this century. For Albanians that would go to Belgrade, this was an automatic sign of sympathy, because of the name, but its other meaning was forgotten. For many years there was the need to remember the marching of the Serbian army through Albania in WWI, what the Serbs call the "Albanian golgota", meanwhile Albanians narratively say "When the Shkja got in".

These days, the building is witnessing the protests and is often filmed by the cameras that wish to capture the opposition leaders. In the same way this building is being ignored by the journalists (finally, this is not important for the demonstrations), the anti-Milosevic opposition is not mentioning the Albanian question and Kosova.
In fact, even when it was mentioned, it was referred to in the negative context. Starting from the demonstrators' calls to the police "Go to Kosova" (the message: don't beat us, there are others to beat there) and going up to the many variations of one of the leaders, Djindjic, that Milosevic is capable of selling- out Kosova (message: the opposition will know how to better defend the idea of Greater Serbia).
Naturally, this mood is contrary to the aura of the students revolt that, with its creativity, insists to project a new political content, that of building a civic society. But this too is part of the Serb contradictions: as big is the difference between Milosevic and the opposition, that big is the difference between the concept of the building of a civic society and the concept of a large part of the opposition.
The influential part has decided not to declare itself about any important matter at the beginning of the protests, first of all Kosova, because, they said, the regime would misuse this is its medial campaign. Nevertheless, as the time passes by, the statements of the opposition leaders do not encourage those that think that this opposition is against the politics of Milosevic and not only Milosevic as a person.

Serbia passed through the phase of collective chauvinism in the past decade, but the opposition is not doing much to prove that its efforts are against the bases of Milosevic's politics.
Besides the bases of state economy, oligarchic communist administration, there is also the basis of Serbia's expansion. Kosova has repeated the opinions that "the opposition is worse than Milosevic", partially inspired by the opposition's actions. Some of these voices would say the same thing even if the opposition would have a differentiated posture, simply because of the inertia or because of misunderstanding, and the lack of understanding of Milosevic's politics. Maybe with the pluralism of the Serbian society and the Kosovar one we are entering a phase in which one understands that the problems between Serbia and Kosova are much more complicated than they seem at first sight. And maybe the sole process of understanding of both sides could ease the complication.

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