Semantics

Owen Jones owen_jones at SPAMcwcom.net
Tue Aug 15 11:36:56 MDT 2000


Reply to Tony Abdo, at aabdo at webtv.net, who wrote on the 14/8/2000 22:20:

> Isn't it a little bit disingenuous, this far down the road, to pose that
> both Serbs and Kosovars have a common enemy?     Is it the Serb, or the
> Albanian working class, that is supposed to take the lead  and hold out
> the olive branch of peace so that both can unite against NATO?

 Comrade,

 Just a small correction which is pure semantics, but nonetheless very
important. Many comrades make the mistake of labelling solely the Albanian
people of Kosovo the "Kosovars", and the Serb inhabitants as the "Serbs".
This implies that the only real Kosovars are Albanian, and that the Serbs
who live there are settlers who are alien to Kosovo, which serves to divide
Kosovar workers into separate camps. In actual fact, Serbs, Roma,
Montenegrins, Turks, and other nationalities have lived in Kosovo for
centuries, alongside Albanians. The correct way to identify the
nationalities of Kosovo is as Kosovar Albanians, Kosovar Serbs, Kosovar
Roma, etc... The Serbs of Kosovo are culturally distinct from those of
Serbia-proper, as indeed the Albanians of Kosovo are in comparison to
Albanian-proper.

 In regard to the name of the province, I myself call it "Kosovo", since
"Kosova" is usually regarded as being used by that section of the Left that
has capitulated to Albanian nationalism, which should always be avoided by
us communists whilst unreservedly defending the right of national
self-determination for Kosovo. Of course, that often ends with the
accusations that "Kosovo" itself is the lingo of the nationalism of the
oppressor; however, Chetniks usually refer to the province by its full,
official Yugoslav title as "Kosovo-Metohija".

 Although it may seem that I am indulging in meaningless pedantry, we should
keep in mind that in an area like the Balkans, semantics, language, accent,
and the way a Christian crosses his or herself can be a matter of life or
death.

 I would also like to express my unreserved support for comrade Johannes
with his thoughtful, factual and genuine Marxist arguments against the
wide-eyed, unreasoned and illogical posts of Jared Israel which can only
serve to continue and perpetuate the divisions of the Kosovar working class
instead of uniting all, whether Serb or Albanian, against the imperialist
occupation. No matter how much Jared slanders the working class of Kosovo as
"fascist-secessionists", I will not forget the fact that the last
demonstration staged in defence of Yugoslavia was by the militant Kosovar
Albanian Trepca miners in 1989, who valiantly waved the Yugoslav flag and
yelled their slogans in defence of the 1974 Constitution, before facing the
batons and fists of the police of Slobodan Milosevic.

 Owen






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