The SANU President on Kosovo: Not primitive patriotism, nor a blind belief that Kosovo is ours, but not easy to forget the people and cultural and artistic heritage

Kostić N1

It is extremely important to start a new dialogue on Kosovo, one that will not be public. The universities, academy, scientific institutes should discuss it and consequently build some kind of broader support in society, the President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Vladimir Kostic said on N1 Pressing talk-show. Kostic said that Serbian politicians in all discussions on Kosovo think more about the fight between the parties rather than taking care of Serbia’s interests.

Kostic criticized the internal dialogue on Kosovo initially launched following the Serbian President’s invitation. He emphasized that the dialogue lacked tolerance, respect for different opinions and trust building.

It was hypocrisy that, in Kostic’s opinion, was the key problem of the dialogue, In addition to hypocrisy in Serbia, Kostic assesses that the hypocrisy of Europe is not helpful either.

“People actually repeated mantras, without any criticism and doubt. If we think differently, is it not possible to sit down and talk about it, to convince each other?“- the President of the Serbian Academy said.

He underlined the importance of a dialogue not only with Kosovo Albanians but also between Serbs themselves.

Speaking about the Serbian President, Kostic said that Vucic should visit the Academy and listen to what the Academy members have to say on the issue, but also to present them accurate plans for Kosovo.

Kostic believes that the professional form of the Academy’s capacity was not fully utilized and the dialogue would have been more productive if more specific issues were posed to the academics. This was the reason for academics to compile their discussions on Kosovo and print them as a hardcopy. He reminded also of the 20 year scientific contribution of SANU in collecting and preparing scientific data on Kosovo in a variety of fields, bringing some copies to N1 TV as gifts.

The Academy has a specific board on Kosovo, Kostic also reminded, suggesting that the rich academic work on Kosovo, which he described as „a constant monologue“ could be used as helpful data.

Kostic did not want to speak about the prevailing attitude of the Academy on Kosovo, because he did not want to “improvise”.

„In any case, this is not primitive patriotism, nor a blind belief that Kosovo is ours, but at the same it is not easy to forget those people who live there, or that cultural and artistic heritage, the identity that we have there. In any case, I think that there is energy to enter into more serious reflection, but as others are disoriented, do not be fooled – so are we,“ Kostic emphasized.

He said that he personally is against the status quo and that Serbia should not rush into any solution without proper consideration.

“Serbian people have not said their final word on Kosovo, they couldn’t have, as they don’t have the basic information,” Kostic explained.

He asked President Vucic to clarify the solution of delimitation and its consequences.

„The delimitation is not just a territorial issue. The delimitation that exists at the moment, which is not over in our minds. This conflict has actually made us some kind of enemies in the Balkans, and if we make those boundaries and delimitate, somebody will sadly look at these borders in an attempt to regain and conquer them, which is actually legitimate. We live in a region that surprises us all, so I think that now it is more important to try to slowly diminish, using parallel lines,this feeling that we are like cats and mice living in one space, and that,practically,only the disappearance of one of them can mean the happiness of the other,“ he said.

The Church has a right to speak on Kosovo

Although he pointed out that he is absolutely secular and that he personally advocates the stance that the church should not interfere with politics, Kostic is also clear that the church has a right to speak on this issue.

He also labeled as“absolutely unacceptable“ the attacks against the abbot of Visoki Decani monastery, Sava Janjic.

The Serbian Academy of Science and Arts will soon be electing new members, however, it also faces numerous problems. With only 128 members, it has the smallest number of academics in relation to other academies in the region, as well as a low percentage of academics of social sciences and humanities in favor of 65% of academics of natural sciences.

Kostic also listed several reasons for the profound division in Serbian society.

„We are a nation that has lost the vertical organization of its societies very early and developed a kind of ludicrous view of democracy. We are people with little urban experience. In the 19th century, there were only five places in Serbia with more than 5 thousand inhabitants, and cities were the ones in which a sense of democracy, a sense of dialogue, a sense of measure should develop. We are a people who skipped certain cycles (like the Renaissance)…”

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