Finding the answer to the question “How to achieve essential reconciliation between the Serbian and Albanian communities” was the theme of the public debate “Transitional justice, the path to reconciliation – a fact or fiction” held at the Civil Energy Center in Gracanica.
Nora Ahmetaj, in front of the Center for Research and Documentation, points out that referring to “dealing with the past” among people always raises the question, “why and what should we face”. She added that there are alternative commissions that would have to investigate this topic from the very beginning.
“This is important, because after 20 years in Kosovo, no one, neither one or the other or the third party do not trust each other, nobody trusts anyone. When one side provides data on missing or killed civilians, the other party regards this as manipulation of victims. That is why alternative commissions are very important in post-conflict societies,” Ahmetaj said.
Zivojin Cirkovic from NGO Gracanica’s Initiative for Sustainable Development believes that reconciliation and facing the past should be acceptable to all parties.
“Not only the Serbs, who need to accept to confront with something that has happened, but also the Albanians should accept it. But, in order for the Albanians, as the current majority, to accept that, they should accept statistics and that all has started since 1999. It’s been 20 years, we have lost two decades because of the policy that is still in the focus of the unfinished business of national determination of Albanians and Serb, “said Cirkovic.
According to Cirkovic the essence of the truth is the acceptance of Serbs because “the majority do not understand that Serbs live here.”
“Do not expel these people who live here, that is the essence of truth. If we are talking about this truth, let us not mention the victims, because that is a special topic that is very difficult to talk about. Whoever did not talk to the victims, with the families of victims, does not have the feeling of bitterness, sorrow and everything, not only for the Albanians, but also for all those who lost their loved ones. The people are not guilty of what happened,” Cirkovic believes.
The journalist of the gracanicaonline.info portal, Ivan Miljkovic, said that true reconciliation can only happen “when others force us to do it.”
“We are just part of a major geopolitical game, the pawns in the hands of the powerful. If they make us live in a single torus then we will, and if not, then they will use this together with our stereotypes and eternal divisions for use of their own needs,” Miljkovic pointed out.
Historian Aleksandar Gudzic thinks that the truth is politicized in Kosovo and that “textual forgeries” are found in the textbooks used by Albanians.
“Kosovo textbooks of Serbian-Albanian misunderstandings and the beginning of these disputes have been seen since 1912, which, of course, does not correspond to the truth. Our misunderstandings began in the middle of the 19th century and lasted until today. These problems are not systematically solved. In my opinion, the last opportunity was missed in 1945. Then in Kosovo, a serious court and an institute should be established to deal with both sides’ responsibility for war crimes and facing the past. Instead, the then communist authorities did what the Western democracies did, “Gudzic explained.
He expressed concern that such behaviour risks the emergence of a new war in a few decades, “because Kosovo and Metohija for Serbs has the character of a holy country and is directly embedded in the national identity of the Serbian people.”
The debate was organized by the NGO “Center for Peace and Tolerance” as part of the project “Building a Social Context for the Process of Truth and Reconciliation in Kosovo”, supported by the US Embassy in Pristina.