Kosovo: An Unfinished Peace

Kosovo: An Unfinished Peace

Kosovo: An Unfinished Peace

Kosovo: An Unfinished Peace

Excerpt

Working in Kosovo is a challenging and humbling experience, and the issues are complex and overwhelming. The suffering of the people of Kosovo and their ability to get on with life after losing so much is truly inspiring. The desire to hold the guilty accountable is praiseworthy, less so the thirst for vengeance held by some Kosovo Albanians.

I worked in Kosovo from September 1999 to March 2000 as the senior adviser on human rights to the special representative of the SecretaryGeneral. Since then, I have stayed in virtual daily contact with former colleagues in the UN mission and with several Kosovar friends. All interviews conducted for this study occurred during a research trip I made to Kosovo in September 2000 and in subsequent meetings in New York and elsewhere. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing danger and violence in Kosovo, everyone I interviewed there asked that their names not be used, and I have honored their requests. Likewise, most UN and OSCE officials requested anonymity.

Concerning place names, I have decided to use the Serbian versions because these are more familiar and I did not want to burden the reader with the tiresome practice of repeating two names for every place, thus adding to an already lengthy work. My decision has no political content or intent, and in a few places I use the Albanian version where that has become widely known.

Although I did not begin this study with moral questions in mind, it soon became clear that Kosovo presents a complex moral universe. I tried to identify the moral challenges throughout the text. But one demands attention at the outset: is it morally right or responsible to expect that Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs reach some accommodation after the horrors of the past twelve years? Is it “starry-eyed naivete” or “Western human rights-style neocolonialism” to promote tolerance and respect for diversity? Perhaps. But if so, I think it is the lesser of two evils. It is a serious misreading of the Balkans to assume that its inhabitants are congenital-

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