VIEWSrnThe Future of Kosovornby Alex N. DragnichrnThe fate of Kosovo, Serbia’s troubled province, has in recentrnyears received a good deal of attention in the worldrnpress, usually in connection with the actions of Serbia’s president,rnSlobodan Milosevic. A somewhat obscure communistrnuntil he became head of the Serbian Communist Party inrn1986, Milosevic went to Kosovo in April 1987 to assess personallyrnthe charges of the persecution of Serbs by the KosovornAlbanians, at which time he uttered the words heard round thernworld—”No one will ever beat vou again.” Although spokenrnin a limited context, those words were frequently interpretedrnin the West as signifying the ascent of rampant Serbian nationalism.rnThe cradle of the Serbian nation and the site of its historicrnChristian monuments, Kosovo at the time of its capture by thernOttoman ‘lurks in 1389 was ethnically almost entirely Serbian.rnAt the time of its liberation in the Balkan wars of 1912,rnhowever, Kosovo’s population was neady 40 percent Albanian.rnBy the end of Wodd War II, it was close to 50 percent, by 1987rnit was between 75 and 80, and at present it is around 90rnpercent.rnWith the inauguration of communist rule at the end ofrnWorld War II, Kosovo was made an autonomous provincernwithin the republic of Serbia and was governed by thernKosovo Communist Party, part and parcel of the YugoslavrnCommunist Party. Although Milosevic must have had at leastrna general awareness of what had transpired in Kosovo duringrnthe years of dictator Tito’s rule as well as after his death inrn1980, it is not clear what prompted him to go to Kosovo. Bernthat as it may, the critical question is: Why did Milosevic, arndisciplined communist who was nurtured in Tito’s part}-, andrnwho followed other Serbian communists in being a ruthlessrncritic of Serbian nationalism, decide to change CommunistrnParty policy with respect to Kosovo? This question cannot bernanswered without first reviewing that polic’ and its conse-rnAlex N. Dragnich is a retired professor of political science whornhas written widely on Yugoslav history and politics. Ilis mostrnrecent book is Serbs and Croats: The Struggle in Yugoslavia.rnquences in Kosovo. And we should note that two years elapsedrnbetween his visit and his action to change the constitutionalrnstatus of Kosovo.rnWhen word got out that Milosevic was coming to Kosovo,rnover 15,000 resident Serbs came to meet him, but only somern300 preselected ones could be accommodated because of thernsize of the building where the meeting was to be held. Manyrnmore were determined to get in but were forced back; somernwere beaten by the police, which resulted in considerable commotion.rnAt one point, Milosevic asked what the disturbancernwas about, and when informed, he ordered that more peoplernbe let in. And when told about the beatings, he delivered hisrnnow well-known words.rnThe meeting lasted 13 hours and 78 people spoke. The vastrnmajority, apart from decrying their persecution by the Albanians,rnopenly attacked the communist regime. Reports on thernmeeting were printed in the party press in Belgrade. A few sentencesrnwill suffice to give a taste of the proceedings:rnSerbian man: “I know why Germany was divided afterrnthe yvar, but why was Serbia divided?”rnSerbian man: “. . . heads will roll, because it is impossiblernto endure and to permit the beating of ourrnchildren and women.”rnSerbian man: “Serbs want to live together with thernAlbanians . . . but here counterrevolution is beingrnfinanced by the federation.”rnSerbian woman: “Either there will be some order inrnKosovo, or by God we will take up arms again ifrnneed be.”rnSerbian woman: “Since the establishment of PristinarnUniversity there has been a process of ethnic cpurationrnof Kosovo and the process of cultural purity.”rnSerbian man: “I low is it that Yugoslavia protestsrnone-language signs in Austria but agrees to them inrnKosovo?”rnSerbian man: “How is it that according to the 1974rnconstitution Serbo-Croatian is also an official lan-rnI4/CHRONICLESrnrnrn