From Bashkim Trenova
ALBANIANS ACCORDING TO THE SERBS
(THE EASTERN CRISIS AND THE BALKAN WARS)
Memorie.al / “Serbs are descended from the Slavs, a large number of tribes who gave life to the Slavic peoples. Knowledge about the origins of the history of the Slavs is modest and not so clear. Their name appears for the first time in the 6th century AD, when Byzantine writers begin to talk about the Slavs…”! (Dushan Bataković, Milan St. Protic, Nikola Samardžić, Aleksandër Fotic. History of the Serbian People. L’Age d’Homme. Lausanne. 2005. Pg. 3.) Continues from the previous issue.
INSTEAD OF THE PROLOGUE – A PROJECT, TWO MEMORANDA AND AN ANALYSIS
The Project or Nacertania of Ilia Garasanin – politician, prime minister of Serbia during the years 1852-1853 and 1861-1886:
Continues from last issue
Problems of colonization of the southern regions
Reading the first part of this study, everyone notices immediately that in examining the problem of colonization of the southern regions, it is mainly about the regions located north and south of the Sharr Mountains. This is no coincidence. This block of Albanians, surrounding the mountains of Sharri, has a great national, administrative and strategic importance for our country. We have already shown how this condition came about and its importance for strengthening the ties between the regions surrounding the Vardar Valley and our former territories. Serbian expansion, since the creation of the first Serbian state in the 9th century, has always taken its momentum from the connection of this expansion with the former territories of Rashka, and this in all directions, even to the south. This connection was severed by the Albanians, and as long as the old connection between Serbia and Montenegro with Macedonia, from the Drini to southern Morava, is not fully restored, we will not have secured possession of these territories.
From the ethnic point of view, the Macedonians will only get very close to us when they find in the Serbian homeland, the true ethnic support, which they have lacked until now, and which they will receive only after the suppression of the Albanian bloc. From a military and strategic point of view, the Albanian bloc has one of the most important positions in our country, a country that divides the Balkan waters towards the Adriatic, the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Whoever holds this strategic position, to a good extent has the upper hand in the center of the Balkans, especially on the main road of communication Moravia-Vardar. It is no coincidence that this area has often been the scene of decisive battles for the fate of the Balkans: Nemanja against the Greeks, the Serbs against the Turks in 1389, Huniad against the Turks in 1446. In the 20th century, only one country populated by its inhabitants native can guarantee his safety, so we all have the necessary duty to; not to abandon these important strategic positions, leaving them in the hands of a hostile and foreign element, especially since this element relies on the national state of the same origin.
This state is powerless at the moment, but even so it has become a base of Italian imperialism, through which it aims to penetrate the heart of our state. The surest tool against this penetration is our people, who will want and know how to defend their lands and country. In addition, apart from this block of 18 counties, Albanians and other national minorities in the southern provinces live scattered, therefore they are not so dangerous for the life of our nation and state. To nationalize the regions surrounding the mountains of Sharri means to bury forever any impassable obstacle, to ensure power over these lands forever…!
The problem of Sanjak of Novi-Pazar is resolved by itself and no longer plays in our state life the role it played until 1912. We will only emphasize that with the displacement of the Albanians, the last connection between our Muslims of Bosnia and Novi- Bargaining with the rest of the Muslim world. They are turning into a religious minority, the only Muslim minority in the Balkans, and this fact will accelerate their nationalization. Recently, Montenegro has started to present a serious problem. Its poor land is not able to feed the population, but, despite the migration, it increased from 1912 to 1931, by 16%. This pastoral people, a little quiet, have given blood to our race over the centuries. Its energies, well channeled, will not be destructive, but can be used in the general interest of the state, if directed towards the south-east.
Albanians are impossible to repel only through gradual colonization, they are the only ones who succeeded in the last millennium, not only to withstand the core of our state, Rashka and Zeta, but also to cause us harm, pushing our borders ethnic groups in the north and east. While our ethnic borders have shifted over the past millennium to the north in Subotica and northwest to Kupa, the Albanians have driven us out of the region of Shkodra, the former capital of Bodin, from Metohia and Kosovo. The only way and the only means to expel them is the brute force of an organized state power, where we have always prevailed.
If from 1912 until today, we have not succeeded in our war against them, we must blame ourselves, because we have not used this power properly. There can be no question of their assimilation in our favor. On the contrary, relying on Albania, they see their national feeling revived and, if we do not settle accounts with them at the right time, in the next 20 or 30 years, we will face a severe irredentism, the signs of which are already appearing, and which will inevitably call into question all our spaces in the South.
The international problem of colonization
If we accept that the progressive displacement of Albanians through our slow colonization has no effect, then only one way remains their mass deportation. For this purpose we see two countries, Albania and Turkey. Albania, with a sparse population, numerous still undrained swamps and unsystematized river valleys, could accommodate several hundred thousand Albanians from our country. Modern Turkey, with its large areas of Asia Minor and Kurdistan, still uninhabited and uncultivated, offers almost unlimited opportunities for internal colonization….! Turkey offers greater possibilities of reception for most of our deported Albanians.
First, let us emphasize that we should not limit ourselves to diplomatic steps with Ankara, but we should use all means to convince Tirana to accept some of our immigrants. I think it will be difficult to fix this in Tirana, because Italy will be an obstacle, but money plays a big role in Tirana. During the discussions on this topic, it is necessary to make it clear to the Albanian government that we will stop at nothing for the final solution of this issue and, at the same time, let them know that we will provide subsidies large for settling settlers. Perhaps, through secret channels, in exchange for material compensation, we can get a commitment from the officials in Tirana not to oppose this affair. Turkey, apparently, initially agrees to accept about 200 thousand displaced from us, provided they are Albanians, which is more favorable for us…!
This problem will undoubtedly cause some international concern, which is inevitable in such a case. Whenever actions of this type have occurred in the Balkans, during the last century, there has always been a power that has protested, because these actions have not been in line with its interests. In this case, it could be Albania and Italy. As for Albania, we have already shown that we should try to conclude a convention with her on this problem and, if we do not achieve our goals, then we should at least get the assurance that she looks positively on these population movements to Turkey.
We repeat that a skillful action in Tirana and the skillful use of money can play a decisive role in this matter. World opinion, especially Italian-funded circles, will be somewhat alarmed. However, the world today is used to much worse and is so busy with daily affairs that it does not even need to worry about this subject. When Germany deports tens of thousands of Jews and Russia moves millions of men from one part of the continent to another, the transfer of a few hundred thousand Albanians will not start a world war. But the competent authorities must know what they want and act decisively to achieve it, regardless of possible international obstacles.
It is Italy, no doubt, who will put up the most obstacles, but she is today too absorbed in her problems with Abyssinia and Austria to go so far as to oppose this move. To tell the truth, the greatest danger lies in a possible intervention by our great allies, France and England. We must answer them calmly and decisively, because it is in their interest, as was seen in the last Great War, that the Moravian-Vardar line is secured, and it will be even better for us and for them, if we will completely dominate from an ethnic point of view in the regions around the Sharri Mountains and in Kosovo.
Terms of transfer
We have already shown that only the removal of the Albanians from their triangle is effective for us. And to achieve a mass transfer, the first condition is the creation of an appropriate psychosis, which can be done in many ways. We know that the Muslim mass, in general, is easily influenced, especially by religion, that it is superstitious and fanatical. Therefore, for the relocation of the Albanians, we must win first, with money or coercion, their clergy, influential people.
It is necessary to find as soon as possible the agitators who will make propaganda in favor of the resettlement, especially if Turkey supplies us with them. They must describe to them the beauty of the new places where they will settle, the peaceful and pleasant life they will lead there, kindle religious fanaticism in the masses and awaken in them the Turkish national feeling. Our press can be of great service in this regard by describing the peaceful migrations of the Turks from Dobruja and their successful settlement in the new regions. These descriptions would create in our Albanian mass, the desired preference to leave.
Another tool would be coercion exercised by the state apparatus. This must fundamentally use the laws to make the stay in our country unbearable for Albanians: fines, imprisonment, strict enforcement of all police provisions, punishment for any smuggling, deforestation, damage caused to agriculture, misdemeanors, forcing dogs to be leashed, forcing as many people as possible to work without pay, at hard labor, using any other means that an experienced policeman can imagine. In the economic plan: the non-recognition of old property titles and the work in the cadastre, which in these regions must be accompanied by the ruthless collection of taxes and the forced repayment of all public or private debts; the taking of all state and municipal pastures, the removal of concessions granted, the removal of licenses to exercise professions, the dismissal of state officials, private and municipal employees, etc., all of these will accelerate the relocation process.
We can also use practical and effective measures at the health level: the forceful implementation of all provisions even in private dwellings, the destruction of walls and large enclosures of houses, the strict implementation of veterinary measures, which will prevent the sale of livestock in markets etc. Albanians are very religiously sensitive, so we must touch them on this point as well. This will be achieved by persecuting clerics, destroying cemeteries, banning polygamy and, above all, strictly enforcing the law of compulsory enrollment of girls in primary school wherever they are. Even private initiative can help a lot in this direction. We must, as necessary, distribute weapons to our settlers.
In these regions it is necessary to organize the old form of Chetnik activity and help it, in a secret way, in its practices. It is especially necessary to carry out a flood of Montenegrins from the mountains in order to incite a massive conflict with the Albanians of Metohija….it is also necessary to present all these facts as a clan conflict and, if necessary, explain them by was given an economic character. Finally, we could also incite local riots, which will be suppressed with blood and the most effective means, not addressing the army more than the settlers themselves, the Montenegrin tribes and the Chetniks. It still remains a tool that Serbia used in a very practical way after 1878; secretly setting fire to villages and neighborhoods of Albanian cities.
In the attached map (the author has added a map to his summary, showing the districts that will be emptied), the relevant districts are marked: upper Dibra, lower Pologu, mountains of Sharr, Drenica, Shtavica, Vučiterna, Llapi, Graçanica , Nerodimja, Gjakova, Gora, Podgora, Podrimja, Peja, Istoku, Gjilani and Kaçaniku. Of these districts, which together make up the Albanian corner, the most important for us currently are: Peja, Gjakova, Podrimja, Gora (Dragashi), Podgora, Sharri, Istoku and Drenica, north of the mountains of Sharri, then the upper Dibra, the two Pollogs to the south of these mountains.
These are border districts and must be vacated at all costs. The deepest districts such as: Kaçanik, Gjilan, Nerodimja, Graçanica, Llapi, Vučiterna, etc., should be weakened, if possible, especially Kaçanik and Llapi, while the others should be gradually and systematically colonized, which should be achieved in the next decades. The above-mentioned means must be used in the first place in the border districts, if we want them to be emptied.
During the move, the following points should be taken into account:
First, let’s empty the villages, then the cities. Villages are more compact, so they pose more risks. Next, we must not make the mistake of evicting only the poor; the middle class and the wealthy form the backbone of any nation and it is this that must be persecuted and expelled. The poor, deprived of the support of their economically independent countrymen, easily succumb. This is a matter of great importance, and I emphasize it, because one of the essential reasons for the failure of our colonization in the South lies in the fact that we have driven out the poor, while the rich have remained, so that we are still where we have been, because we have only acquired very small areas of land to settle our settlers. When we have created the psychosis of emptying, we must do everything to empty entire villages, or at least entire families.
It is absolutely necessary to avoid evicting families only partially. Our state will not spend millions to make life easier for Albanians, but to get rid of as many of them as possible. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent at all costs the purchase of the lands of the Albanians who will flee, by those who remain. This should also be taken into account in the relocation of individuals and entire villages, if they wish to have ease during this process. Once they agree to leave, they should be helped in every way. We must simplify the administrative formalities, immediately compensate them for their property, issue them travel documents without any formalities, and help them reach the nearest train station, which will take them to Thessaloniki, for then set off without delay for Asia. It is very important that their journey is easy, convenient and cheap.
Their train travel should be, if possible, free, and they should be provided with food. Their mass displacement mainly depends on these conditions. The fear of difficulties during the journey will be the main obstacle to their movement, so it is essential to solve quickly and energetically all the questions related to their journey. In particular, it is necessary to ensure that they have as few worries as possible about the journey. Ordinary people have difficulty getting their bearings. Therefore, it would be appropriate to study and adopt the system of transportation of workers, by large agencies. The displaced person must be constantly supported, so that he does not feel the weight of this displacement. This is the only way to create this wave of displaced people, which will empty our southern lands of Albanians.
Repopulation of vacant areas
The problem of settling settlers in the vacated regions is as important as the departure of Albanians. The first question that arises is that; who should be placed there. The most natural thing is to place our element originating from poor regions, first of all from Montenegro, Herzegovina, Lika and Kraishnica. Montenegrins are better for several reasons. Metohia, Drenica and Kosova, are the regions where they descend more naturally from their poor mountains. The demographic growth in Montenegro is the cause of its impoverishment, which in recent times has caused continuous socio-political movements unfavorable to our state power and quite dangerous for order and peace in the future. It is useless to distribute corn and give old age pensions. The only solution is to place them in the fertile regions of Metohija, Drenica and Kosovo.
And, since the Montenegrins are closer in mentality and temperament to the Albanians, they are also the most suitable means to subjugate them. They should first be settled in the regions north of the Sharri Mountains, but at the same time, we should choose as settlers a certain number of residents of Lika, Kraishnica, and Serbs from Çaçak, Užica and Toplica…! It is necessary to create favorable conditions for the emigrants from the south of Serbia, located south of the Sharri Mountains, so that they can get hold of fertile lands. They are honest and hard-working people who, if pleasant living conditions are created for them in the countryside, will always be grateful to our state. In general, the villages of the southern Serbs deserve more attention and concern than we have shown so far.
The colonization of Pollog (upper and lower) and Dibra by these poor populations, as well as giving pastures to the latter, before the Albanians, will make them understand that this country is theirs and they will know how to protect its borders. In addition to these regions, Serbian settlers from Vranje, Leskovci, Piroti and Vllasotinci, especially those from poor mountain villages, can be settled in the south of Sharri Mountain and Karadak. We emphasize once again that the Dinaric should not be allowed to descend south of the line of Karadak and the Sharr Mountains. In the colonization of the village emptied by the Albanians, it is necessary to avoid bureaucratic and fiscal delays.
The first action that must be taken is to immediately hand over to the settlers the ownership documents of the land where they will settle. One of the main causes of the failure of our present colonization is the fact that the colonist did not feel secure in the property he settled on because he did not immediately receive title deeds and thus exposed himself to the abuse of unscrupulous officials and politicians. The peasant feels good on the land he has, only if he knows that no one will force him to leave it, so he should be given this guarantee immediately.
But, at the same time, giving full property rights to the colonist poses a risk…! For this reason, it is necessary that, by law, at least for thirty years, the settlers are prohibited from freely disposing of the land, even if they immediately received the deed. According to the law, in our country women are excluded from the right to inherit land; also, to avoid the fragmentation of small holdings, women should be deprived of the right of inheritance in colonized lands, except when the colonist has no male children and plans to live with his son-in-law…!
….Rare are the peoples who possess, like us, an element so suitable for colonization in such difficult conditions. The few successes we have achieved in colonization have been made possible by the colonizing qualities of our race. Only our peasant, accustomed to bare or barren lands, with all kinds of environments, can live in such difficult conditions…! Memorie.al
The next issue follows