Kosovo Maiden

A scene from the Field of Blackbirds

by Uros Predic, 20th Century Serbian realist painter

Stavros, who writes a blog called My Greek Odyssey which I very much enjoy reading, has posted the YouTube clip below on his blog.  Like many of his fellow Greek bloggers, Stavros supports the Serbian position, and has read far more about the history of the region than I have. 

The clip below is an interview with retired Canadian Major-General MacKenzie.  I am not sure what to make of him.  It annoys me that he is wrong about Resolution 1244 and this makes me wonder what else he is wrong about and how independent he is.  Resolution 1244, passed by the UN Security Council in 1999, refers to Yugoslavia, not Serbia as the Major-General says.  Serbia and Montenegro declared their own independence from Yugoslavia in 2003, at which point Yugoslavia ceased to exist.  Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia later in June 2006, upon which event the Serbian President sent a message of congratulation wishing the people of Montenegro “peace, stability and overall prosperity”.  

I do not understand how can you rely on a resolution which refers to a state which does not even exist any longer.  Nor do I understand why it is OK for Serbia to declare independence (but not for Kosovo), nor why Serbia congratulates Montenegro on its own independence, but the independence of Kosovo sparks violence and outrage.  How, too, is it that objectors say Kosovo is too small to be economically viable, when Montenegro is less than half its size? 

Major-General MacKenzie refers to 156 Serbian Orthodox monasteries having been destroyed by the ethnic Albians in Kosovo.  Here is a link to a sink with details and pictures of four.:

They make sad viewing.  Nothing justifies the destruction, the wanton destruction, of ancient symbols of faith.

He also makes a comparison with Israel and Jerusalem which is worth investigating.  The heart of the Serbian nation is buried in the bloody battlefields of Kosovo Pole, just outside Pristina, now in Kosovo.  “Pole” means “battlefield” but the battlefield is also called the Field of Blackbirds – and is where Serbians were slaughtered by Ottoman soldiers in 1389, regaining control of the area only more than five hundred years later during the First World War.  The most detailed accounts of the battle I could find are available here and repeats what seems to be historical consensus which is that the Serbian forces were ethnically mixed, including amongst others Albanians and Bosnians.  Nevertheless, the battle has acquired an enormous significance in the minds of the Serbian nation.  It represents the clash of Christian and Muslim civilisations, which Serbians insist is mirrored in the battle over Kosovo today.  I begin to understand the strength of feeling though feel more hopeless about a solution when the problem begins to seem as intractable as any other clash of civilisations.

Researching Major-General MacKenzie’s background (I rarely take anything on trust) threw up unsavoury allegations against him which refuse to go away, in much the same way as the allegations about Hashim Thaci litter the internet.  I doubt I will ever get to the bottom of the truth about the personalities involved.  But it seems to me that this is about Christians and Muslims and we kid ourselves if we see it in any other light.


A more nationalistic account of the 1389 battle here:

And, from the same site, a translation of the epic story of the Maid of Kosovo: