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Serbian-Albanian Conflict in Kosovo Has Historical Roots

Regarding the article "Kosovo's Albanians Set Up Parallel Government Services," June 29, about the Serbian-Albanian conflict in the Serbian province of Kosovo: It is true that the Albanians are an overwhelming majority (90 percent) in Kosovo.

However, as recently as 50 years ago, the beginning of World War II, the population was evenly divided between Serbs and Albanians. With the aid of Mussolini's forces, the Albanians started a campaign of terror and slaughter similar to the one embarked upon by the Croatian Ustashe against the Serbs in Croatia. Consequently, the Serb population escaped northward.

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After the war, Tito refused to let the Kosovo Serbs return and encouraged Albanians from Albania to settle in Kosovo, which they did by the hundreds of thousands. As a Marxist, Tito wanted to destroy symbols of ethnic pride and solidarity. Since the Serbs were Yugoslavia's largest group, creating an Albanian majority in Kosovo and making Kosovo a province of Serbia was a logical step for Tito.

I do not condone Belgrade's heavy hand in Kosovo today. But there is a complex historical context to the Kosovo conflict which the author has overlooked in this article, and other articles he has written on this subject. For Serbs, Kosovo is the Alamo, Valley Forge, Gettysburg, and Jerusalem all combined into one symbol. S. Majstorovic, Boulder, Colo., Post-Doctoral Research Assoc., University of Colorado

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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