20. February. 2019. | 11:16

Conference: Mutual Perceptions of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo

The NGO `Aktiv` has organized a panel discussion on how Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo perceive each other and how to contribute to a better coexistence between the two communities in the future.

Head of the NGO `Aktiv` Office in Pristina, Boban Simic, presented the results of the research ` Mutual perceptions of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo` carried out in the second half of 2018. Some of the most important findings show that 80% of the participants, both Serbian and Albanian, expressed willingness to accept a potentially closer kind of cooperation with members of other nationality.

When it comes to ethnic distance between the two communities, publicist and analyst Skeljzen Mallici said that it was large and that it had always been more manifested in Serbs. He pointed out that, for many years, there had been a very strong anti-Albanian propaganda present in the yellow press in Belgrade in comparison to the more moderate local press in Kosovo.

"Twenty years is twenty years, the situation is not the same as before. Pragmatism prevails, prejudices continue, but fatigue emerged. We all know that this situation cannot continue in this way and that the relations between Serbs and Albanians must be improved", Maljici said.

On the other side, journalist Darko Dimitrijevic disagrees with Maljici, defining the intolerance as mutual and geographically varying in intensity, mentioning Djakovica and Decani as examples.

"I think there is a completely reverse picture in these areas. The Serbs are still not welcome in Djakovica, and there have been many problems in the past in Decani. There is still some kind of intolerance. I see it as mutual, so I would not favor any of the communities. Everything depends on a region or an area", Dimitrijevic concludes.

Political analyst and political science professor Behljuj Bećaj, and the executive director at NGO "Aktiv" Miodrag Milicevic believe that the inability of politicians to seriously deal with the problems in Kosovo is one of the main causes of further deepening of bad relations between Serbs and Albanians.

"Observing these findings from a perspective of someone who is apolitical, we encounter a very important fact: that people are in general deeply dissatisfied with the political elites in Kosovo, regardless of the community they come from or the function they perform. If I were a politician, I would be deeply concerned about these results, but I am also sure that they are absolutely none of their concern", Milicevic said.

Behljuj Bećaj sees the potential consent of all of us to the partition of Kosovo as a reward for the leaders in Kosovo and Serbia for their bad politics.

"If we agree with foreigners that the only solution is to divide Kosovo and go united to Europe, anachronistically, opposed... What are we doing? Despite the nonsense they have been making continuously, we are definitely giving this leadership a gift for their bad policy within our borders" - concludes Bećaj.