Research Paper: Ethnic Conflict II How Does Mertus

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Ethnic Conflict II

How does Mertus explain ethnic conflict in Kosovo/a? Identify the bones of contention in ethnic conflict. What is the KLA? Discuss why its role was significant in Kosovo/a during the 1990s.

The conflict in Kosovo in the 1990s is still mired in mysteries, as scholars continue to debate the root causes of the conflict. Julie Mertus spent years covering the conflict in Kosovo and found out, as she says in an article she wrote for OpenDemocracy (2006), that the conflict was based on nationalism, more specifically myths. "To explain the ethnic animosities in Kosovo required exposure not of truth, but, rather, truth as myth," she says. "Serbs and Albanians based their behavior on what they believed to be true, not on what anyone could guarantee was factually true" (emphasis original). The major aspect of myth-making in Kosovo, Mertus argues, was social relations concerning victimhood. The myths drew on real events, but powerful figures could easily spin their interpretations in a manner that reinforced the sense of victimhood among these groups.

A clear example of such exploitation was the use of nationalist sentiments among Serbs by Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic did not invent the myths, Mertus argues, but he skillfully exploited them to fuel Serbian ethnic animosity towards other ethnicities. The myth of Kosovo actually came from a group of intellectuals of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, in a memorandum leaked to press in 1986, lamenting alleged Serbian victimization in Kosovo under the federal government, while even earlier myth of victimization was based on the memory of Kosovo Polje (the battle between the Ottoman Army and the Serbian forces led by Prince Lazar). "Milosevic was able to tap into the already existing chauvinistic nationalism as a theory of political legitimacy," Mertus writes, "to justify the political reality he would create." The myths existed not only among Serbs, and the myths in Kosovo poisoned the realities on the ground. Inventing myths is a necessary part of nationalism, Mertus argues, but it does not have to serve twisted goals of the likes of Milosevic; nationalism, rather, needs "to be rooted in realities and inspire the kind of constructive, creative national projects that promote long-term peace and justice."… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Ethnic Conflict II How Does Mertus.  (2011, January 18).  Retrieved July 20, 2019, from

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"Ethnic Conflict II How Does Mertus."  18 January 2011.  Web.  20 July 2019. <>.

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"Ethnic Conflict II How Does Mertus."  January 18, 2011.  Accessed July 20, 2019.