Author: DR.ABDUL RUFF Colachal
Analyst, Researcher & Commentator
On 17 February 2008, the Serbian Southern province of Kosovo in South-eastern Europe declared independence from Republic of Serbia and proclaimed itself new Republic of Kosovo. New Republic of Kosovo was later recognized by few sovereign states, mainly the USA. Kosovo now has to become a member of the EU, the UN, OSCE, IOC, IMF, and many other vital world bodies. Kosovo will remain a sovereign nation and a part of UN very soon. This should show to the world that seeking legitimate independence or “secessionism” or separatism”, to use the expression in vogue from colonial and imperialist powers, is a noble cause and has to be respected by the world. And Republic of Kosovo is certainly not a mistake, a reality a fact and necessity. Kosovo will never be a part of Serbia again.
Ideally, each nation/people demanding independence could be granted if that serves the legitimate interests of the new nation concerned, if created. Sensing disquiet across the world, the USA has said Kosovo is an exclusive issue and no parallels could be drawn on the basis of Kosovo example. World wide, there are several types of freedom fighting groups and depending on the nature of their demand and struggle USA would support or oppose their claim. This is a clear indication that the United States would not aid, abet or support any armed group, movement or non-state player to forcibly, for fun sake, breakaway to declare independent territory in any recognized nation. But US support for freedom and independence is permanent by nature. And one of the most genuine cases of freedom movement remains Kashmir.
True, the 2008 declaration of independence by Kosovo, has added another feather in the cap of nations demanding freedom nations that face serious problem of freedom fighting people/nations. Nine years ago, the international community, led by NATO, acted to end brutal attacks by Serbs on the Kosovo Albanian population. This timely international intervention ended the violence, leading to a United Nations Security Council decision to suspend Belgrade’s governance and place Kosovo under interim UN administration. Since that time Kosovo has built its own democratic institutions separate from Belgrade’s control. Kosovo population got back its right to offer prayers. Many nations across the globe have already recognized Kosovo. And Kosovo will reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and International Law, as well as in the United Nations.
Last year, UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari developed a plan to build a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo and recommended Kosovo be independent, subject to a period of international supervision. In light of the conflicts of the 1990s, independence was the only viable option to promote stability in the region. The USA and many European nations support the Ahtisaari Plan and will work with its international partners to help implement it and help Kosovo join the UN and other international bodies of political and economic importance.
In its promotion of independent Kosovo, USA is clear about its policy: it all depends on the merits of the nations seeking independence. The United States has formally recognized Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state. “We congratulate the people of Kosovo on this historic occasion” President Bush said.
President Bush has responded affirmatively to a request from Kosovo to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries to reaffirm the special ties of friendship that have linked together the people of the USA and Kosovo. USA welcomed the commitments Kosovo made in its declaration of independence to implement the Ahtisaari Plan, to embrace multi-ethnicity as a fundamental principle of good governance, and to welcome a period of international supervision. “The United States takes this opportunity to reaffirm our friendship with Serbia, an ally during two world wars. We invite Serbia’s leaders to work together with the United States and our partners to accomplish shared goals, such as the protection of the rights, security, culture and livelihood of the Serb community in Kosovo”, a US spokesperson said.
However, a few countries, fearing similar backlashes on their own turfs have criticized the Kosovo independence. India, occupying Kashmir since 1947, is one of those that is very much disturbed by Kosovo action. Also those demanding sovereignty or re-independence have been equally joyous and worried at the event. Worried, because, they feared that the colonial powers determined to retain the colonies at any cost might resort to further aggressive or deadly tactical measures to pressurize the colonized to remain within the holds, calm and obedient.
India belongs to the category of nations, that annexed alien small nations and kept them under their custody, refuse to grant re-independence. India and many other third world nations that got freedom form UK belong to this category. Kashmir is striving for independence on this basis. These peoples have lost their sovereignty to their neighbors who annexed the land and keep on expanding o or terrorizing the inhabitants. Kashmiris and Chechens are waging along struggle for re-independence. This type of movements should occupy the top priority of world bodies for quick resolution, though every nation seeking self-determination has to be meritoriously considered in their favor.
But one of the worst hit by Kosovo has been India for another reason: India had annexed tactfully its neighbouring Kashmir in 1947 and even since then the Kashmiris have been demanding re-independence. Now India says by supporting Kosovo US has probably seeded another poison-tree that might lead to the Third World War. Unofficial data put 6 lakh deaths in Kashmir caused by Indian state terrorist forces.
Even after the collapse of many colonialist and imperialist powers world wide last century, India that became free in 1947 began entertaining colonial empire ambitions by annexing Kashmir. During the last two decades alone India has killed over 90,00 Kashmiri patriots in after militarizing Kashmir. It dreams of acquiring the areas from Afghanistan and Myanmar. Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim are now considered safe and by using Indian living in Sri Lanka, New Delhi aims to split Sri Lanka and add one part into its future territory. On the one hand, New Delhi doesn’t take a final decision to let Kashmiris have their sovereign back, and on the other, it also encourages a separate country by splitting Sri Lanka.
India, as one of the contemporary imperialist nations having alien nations, like Kashmir, under its custody, has developed cold feet a Kosovo declaration mainly because the Western powers spearhead the Kosovo cause and Kosovo is predominantly of Albanian Muslims. That also signals follow-up action in India as well. In the habit of linking Islam and Muslim with so-called fundamentalism, terrorism and cross-border terrorism, India aims at US support and guidance. India always thought it has USA in its pocket along with the nuclear deal thanks to its grand auspicious of “terrorism” plank. It is under this illusion that New Delhi let its intelligence agencies work under the dictates of USA, ostensibly to coordinate efforts to track the so-called “terrorists”. Indian hopes for coming closer to USA and the West on the pretext of combating terrorism, have been proved short-lived.
Indian hegemonic strategists want to keep Kashmir under its military boots. Kosovo has written new international laws for all the simmering separatist movements. The government of India has so far remained silent about the Kosovo developments basically out of fear that any opposing statement would erode its ‘secular’ image, annoy its targeted vote banks and displease its supposed friends in the comity of Muslim nations. The very threat tone in its statement that Kosovo would lead to World War II betrays the its democratic and Non-Aligned credentials the real format of its foreign policy of using war threats.
Many Indians ho make fortunes by churning out anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistani and anti-Kashmiri stuff regularly that Indian media wholeheartedly promote and uphold, ask India to stridently oppose unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo, while under UN administration. India is worried that Kosovo is free now and want to openly support Russia and China in the UN and ask Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to explain to the world body as to how the US and allies could bury the UN mandate and agree to the creation of another nation on ethno-religious considerations.
India, a close ally of USSR developed bad breathing because not only the Kashmiris were already demanding re-independence, some states within India also glamor for independence. But India does not want to grant re-independence to Kashmiris to self-determination and independent rule. Hence Kosovo created a jerk in New Delhi.
Countries like India exist as nations as all ethno-religious and linguistic sub-nationalities, but not have mutually agreed to make it a nation-state, rising above narrow considerations. Every state within India has a right to cede. Kashmir was an independent country until 1947. Wanting to keep Kashmir in its Union, India says that Pakistan continues to incite and abate sections of “misdirected Kashmiri” and mainland Muslims for seceding from India. The Kashmir Media Service (February 20, 2008), a pro-independence website, quoted the pro-liberation leaders like Syed Ali Geelani and Shabbir Ahmad Shah of the All Party Hurriyat Conference and chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Muhammad Yasin Malik as saying that the sacrifices of the Kashmiris would not be allowed to go waste. They cited Kosovo as a ray of hope and urged the international community to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
When the earlier secular democrat, Nehru could hurriedly bring almost every singly Hindus from Pakistan in 1947 and resettle them in India, mainly in Delhi state , thereby creating a strong anti-Muslim political outfit in the capital, he refused to show the same concern and affection to Indians living in Sri Lanka and other nations. India continues to use various yardsticks to measure welfare of Diaspora abroad, immigration policies and democracy.
UN, founded by replacing the then less effective League of Nations soon after the devastating World War II, is supposed to play a proactive role in such crucial issues like independence and immigration, but it has over years become a forum for nations to finalize trades, especially in weapons and technology and is busy with determining the commissions package in the deals. As a legitimate world body to oversee peaceful resolution of freedom movements UN has totally failed to do any thing positive and let the explosive freedom struggles explode by themselves resulting in constant genocides and destruction. Veto power assigned to select nations has been proved detrimental to the cause of genuine freedom seekers. UN and other related forums have refused to mediate honestly for peaceful settlements, by involving the stake-holders in every conflict. As a result, many regions remain highly volatile and explosive.
Under these mischievous circumstances, decision of Kosovo patriots, encouraged by USA and a few European nations, to declare independence voluntarily is indeed remarkable. More broadly, every nation that seeks freedom could be allowed to be free, if they are capable of independent existence. But those who seek independence and freedom should also ask themselves if they really require independence and for what.
Gaining and enjoying freedom and independence from the oppressive rulers is accepted as the rightful action and the oppressed people need to be encouraged to set independence without precipitating matters further. However, the colonial and imperialist powers would continue to resist even though they know they would lose eventually in stopping the freedom loving peoples form gaining independence. That has been the message from human history for countries, including India and Russia. India is now cash rich and can support its Diaspora living abroad in many positive ways, instead of fueling crises.
Practice of Islam in real faith and spirit demands the Muslims in Kosovo to regain and imbibe the Islamic values. Independence could offer the Kosovo enough strength to practice their religion freely. Similarly, with full freedom and independence to pursue their own destiny and legitimate goals, including religous, Kashmris will be able to progress and grow in a peacerful atmosphere.
UN cannot sit idle but has to guide and support similar freedom seeking nations to achieve their legitimate goals with lesser difficulties. Meanwhile there should be a global debate on the scenario of freedom movement to decide about the relevance of each freedom fighting nation. Colonialism has undergone changes over decades but still its vestiges are visible in many corners of globe. From a colony India has beomce acolonizwe and oppress and terrorise the kahsmiris by militarizinf their land since 1947.
It is time every country gives up its colonial ambitions, if any, and hang-overs. Countries like India that have annexed alien nations and continue to be engaged in genocide and destruction of the occupied nations must return sovereignty to them and should never to interfere in their internal affairs. World must rise to the civilized path of freeing nations from continued subjugation and oppression. Obviousdsly Kalshmir will be free, but India, as the leader of Commonwealth now, should see that happens sooner than later.