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Kosovo (Province, Serbia)

Kosovo and Metohija, Kosova

Last modified: 2006-07-22 by ivan sache
Keywords: kosovo | kosova | metohija | serbia | eagle: double-headed (black) | star (red) | uck | defense corps of kosovo | ushtria clirimtare e kosovoes | dardania | star: 6 points (yellow) | wheel (black) |
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Use of the Albanian flag in Kosovo

Kosovo Albanians still use no other flag that the normal Albanian national flag, even if their position on joining Albania is not very clear, and there are no immediate plans of joining (nor some in near future). Circumstancial reports of other flags (with eagle offset to the hoist, with inscriptions and other variations) are only examples of home-made flags without any meaning to superpose the Albanian national flag. Until now, no political or military authority (or body claiming to be authority) presented anything else for the flag of Albanians in Kosovo (or indeed of Kosovo Republic) other then the "normal" Albanian flag.

Željko Heimer, 6 May 1999

Erroneous report of the flag of Kosovo

[Erroneous flag of Kosovo]

Flag erroneously reported as the flag of Kosovo - Image by Željko Heimer, 6 May 1999

The Albanian flag with the red star outlined in yellow is not the flag of Kosovo, and it has never been so. The flag was the flag of the Albanian ethnical community (similarly to other national flags defaced with the red star) in late 1940s to late 1980s period. The fact that the Albanian community was mostly represented in Kosovo made this flag to be considered as the flag for Kosovo by some vexillological literature, but Kosovo had no flag of its own - neither did Vojvodina, the other Autonomous Region of Socialist Yugoslavia. This flag was official probably until 1992, when Yugoslavia removed the star, but it was rarely used since the mid 1980s. Though, it has been reported since on occasions, probably used due to the lack of flag without star, and I would not doubt that there are still a few such flags to be seen around.

Željko Heimer, 6 May 1999

Republic of Kosova

The website of the Republic of Kosova (no longer online) shows on the first page the normal Albanian flag, and there is no other information on the flag.

Some dates mentioned:

The Republic of Kosova was established on July 2nd, 1990. It is currently held under virtual occupation by Serbia.
Based on the Constitution of September 7 1990, Kosova is a Presidential Republic and an Independent and a Sovereign state.
The Parliament of Kosova gathered in Kačanik on September 7, 1990, and on the bases of the Constitutional Declaration of July 2, 1990, declared the Constitution of the Republic of Kosova, that defines Kosova as a sovereign state within the Former Yugoslav Federation.
On September 2, 1991, after some of the Republics of the former Yugoslav federation declared their independence, the Parliament of the Republic of Kosova adopted the Resolution of the Independence that proclaimed the Republic of Kosova as a Sovereign and Independent State.

Mark Sensen, 11 March 1998

In the 1999 book fair of Francfort, Kosovo stand was represented by a pink square flag with the Albanian eagle for Republik Kosove.

Gvido Petersons, 21 October 1999

Democratic Party of Kosovo (Partia Demokratike e Kosovës)

The 14 November 2001 issue of Madrid's local newspaper 20 minutos de Madrid y mas shows on page 4 a picture of a Democratic Party of Kosovo demonstration with a single Albanian flag and many clear (possibly white, but maybe yellow or very light blue) flags with what appears to be the logo of the PDK, a large sans-serif "V" (possibly in red) and the serif letters "PDK" (possibly in black).
The PDK of Hashim Thaçi (former commander of the UCK) is the second party in Kosovo with 27.3% of the votes cast in the 28 October 2000 local elections.

Santiago Dotor, 19 November 2001

Defense Corps of Kosovo

[Defense Corps of Kosovo]

Flag of the Defense Corps of Kosovo - Image by António Martins, 7 November 1999

The emblem of the Defense Corps of Kosovo (formerly, UCK) shows a black map of the region on a red field.

António Martins, 7 November 1999

Kosovo Liberation Army (Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës)

[UCK flag]

Flag of UCK - Image by Muhamed Mesić, 15 December 1998

UCK (Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës), aka KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army, is a movement for the independence of Kosovo.

The Bosnian daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz showed a photo of a tank with this flag, presumably of the UCK being mounted on it. The flag is red, with the Albanian eagle, a yellow stripe and above it the letters UCK.

Muhamed Mesić, 15 December 1998

[UCK flag 2]

Mini-flag of UCK used on uniforms - Image by Ivan Sarajčić, 3 February 1999

The UCK emblem on a red background is used as a mini-flag on the sleeves of their uniforms.

Ivan Sarajčić, 3 February 1999

Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (Ushtria Çlirimtare e Preshevës, Medvegjës dhe Bujanovcit)

Quoting Wikipedia:

The Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (Albanian: Ushtria Çlirimtare e Preshevës, Medvegjës dhe Bujanovcit - UCPMB) was a guerrilla group fighting for independence from Serbia for the three municipalities: Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac, home to most of the Albanians of inner Serbia, adjacent to the province of Kosovo and Metohija. UCPMBs uniforms, procedures and tactics mirrored those of the disbanded KLA. The UCPMB operated from 1999 to 2001.
After the end of the Kosovo war in 1999, a three-mile "Ground Safety Zone" (GSZ) was established between Kosovo (still Serbian territory, but governed by United Nations) - and inner Serbia and Montenegro. Yugoslav army units were not permitted to patrol the area, only lightly-armed police forces. The exclusion zone included the predominantly Albanian village of Dobrosin, but not Preševoševo.
Former KLA guerrilla soldiers quickly established bases in the demilitarized zone, and Serbian police had to stop patrolling the area to avoid being ambushed. In January 2001, the UCPMB killed three Serbs in Mucibaba, near Preševo. In Bujanovac, four bombs were detonated in February, one near an elementary school, two in a Gypsy neighbourhood and one next to a cinema. Attacks were also made on Albanian politicians opposed to the KLA, including the murder of Zemail Mustafi, the Albanian vice-president of the Bujanovac branch of Slobodan Milošević's Socialist Party of Serbia.
Seeing that the situation was getting out of control, NATO allowed the Yugoslav army to reclaim the demilitarized zone on May 24th 2001, and at the same time giving the rebels the opportunity to turn themselves over to KFOR. KFOR promised to just take their weapons and note their names before releasing them.
More than 450 UCPMB members took advantage of KFOR's screen and release policy, among them Shefket Musliu, the commander of the UCPMB, who turned himself over to KFOR at a checkpoint along the GSZ just after midnight May 26.

Forwarded by Esteban Rivera, 8 May 2005

The Spanish newspaper El Pais published on 3 January 2001 an article about the Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac, showing a picture of that group's leader, Shefket Musliu, with two other members at a press conference. Behind them appeared an Albanian flag and the flag of UCPMB, apparently red with the group's seal in the middle.

Santiago Dotor, 15 March 2001

Dardania (flag of uncertain status)

[Flag of Dardania]

Flag of Dardania - Image by Mello Luchtenberg, 6 April 2001

Derkwillem Visser (from Vlaggen Dokumentatie Centrum Nederlands/VDCN) wrote in Info-Bulletin [inf] #102 (Winter 2000):

Ibrahim Rugova, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo, shows a flag he introduces as the flag of Kosovo, at a press conference at his residence in Priština, Sunday October 29, 2000. The flag bears the legend "Dardania", the ancient word for Kosovo, but is not officially recognized by any international power, but Rugova asked for recognition of independance for Kosovo, which officially remains part of Yugoslavia.

Jens Pattke, 6 April 2001

The flag includes a yellow six-pointed star bordered black above the heads of the eagle (no doubt in reference to the star in the historical flag of 1912 Kemal uprising, that was first rised in Priština), The eagle is bearing an escutcheon "beneath" the ribbon, the shield outlined in gold being quartered in 1 and 4 or a wheel sable, 2 gules, 3 sable. The red and black fields are no doubt based on the flag colours, but I am not sure what is the wheel for.

Željko Heimer, 31 October 2000

Dardania is a commonly used name for Kosovo among Albanians (also a neighborhood in the capital, Priština) but I don't think anybody thinks it would replace the name of Kosovo, which is rendered as Kosova in Albanian even though the word itself (from kos, blackbird) is Slavic in origin.

This happened over the weekend in Kosovo, as noted in the UN Media Report:

National symbols for Kosovo

The celebration of the Albanian Flag Day on 28 November in Kosovo saw for the first time another "new" flag waving in Priština alongside the black and red one. The mayor of the city decided to put up in several streets the "Kosovo flag" designed by President Ibrahim Rugova.
Next morning, the new Dardania flag was missing and later in the day, the KLA war veterans set fire to a pile of around 200 flags they had collected in Priština. Zëri reported afterwards that the same had happened in Peja. Rugova's "personal flag" provoked the blood that has been shed in Kosovo, war veterans said.
The raising and subsequent burning of the flag triggered all sorts of reactions and fuelled an old media debate on, as it was broadly referred to, national symbols for the birth of the new state of Kosovo. Newspapers carried photographs, and extensive reports and commentaries on the issue the following day.
Under the headline, Ismet, the provoker, Express wrote that the mayor of Priština, Ismet Beqiri, tried to serve to the people of Priština the state symbols as a fait accompli, ignoring the debate on the subject. His naïve face reflects the irresponsibility of his decision, which was countered by equally irresponsible acts by the war associations, said the paper.
Koha Ditore reported that the flag of the President had also generated tension between the local government and the Opposition in the town of Ferizaj.
Dailies quoted President Rugova as saying that the flag was burned by the opponents of freedom and independence. "This act constitutes a serious violation of law in our country." Government called it unacceptable and promised to work on providing state symbols.
Those who burned Dardania flag burned themselves, said Bota Sot.
Kosovo needs its symbols, the burned flag is only of the President, wrote Koha Ditore.
Lajm wrote that it seems that UNMIK is preserving a sample of Kosovo state flag, saying that the administration had earlier proposed a state flag for Kosovo with the map in the centre. This was not confirmed by UNMIK officials, said the paper. "The UNMIK flag is the only official one in Kosovo," the paper quotes UNMIK officials as saying.
According to newspapers, all the local institutions and people are in favour of new symbols for Kosovo, but they all stress that these should be discussed and agreed on. Only the LKCK is in disagreement with a new flag for Kosovo as they strive for unification with Albania.
Chief of the US Office in Priština, Philip Goldberg said in an interview with TV21 that he did not want to discuss whether the raising of the flag was right or wrong, but the "burning of the flag is not the image you want to send to the world".
Zïri publisher Blerim Shala stressed in an editorial the necessity to begin working on the elements of the new identity of the Kosovo state, "as we do not want a situation at the end of the status talks where the West proposes a flag for Kosovo".
The Rugova banners were on the streets of Priština at about 3 PM on the afternoon of the 27 November - Albanian Flag Day is 28 August - and by 6 PM they had been noticeably disappeared. A lot of people said the opponents of the Dardania flag should have dumped them at Rugova's HQ and not burned them.
A separate Kosova flag is a probable reality but not one that does not reproduce the basic Albanian motif of black on red.

Stephen Schwartz, 2 December 2005

At the news about President Rugova's death, the Swedish TV showed some pictures from December 2005 - Rugova's last public appearance. The President was inside, and in the background in the room some flags were shown - the "Dardania" flag, as well as the Albanian, European Union and USA flags.

I visited Kosovo five times between March and June 2005. I visited Priština, Prizren, Ferizaj/Urozevac, and a few villages between this towns and the Macedonian and Albanian border, and only for one- or two-day visits. I never saw the "Dardania" flag. The usual Albanian flag was flown everywhere. The European Union and USA flags where also very frequently seen. At the border crossings to Macedonia and Albania, the United Nation flag was the the only one to bee seen.

Christian Berghänel, 23 January 2006

On the news was a report of the funeral of Rugova. On the memorial table was a picture of him, behind which you could see the "Dardania" flag, only with a darker ring betwen the blue and gold).
On a plaque that was shown next, there were two seals over some text. One was what looked like the Albanian coat of arms and to its right the circular seal from the "Dardania flag". Around it were the words "Seal of the president of Kosovo" (in English for some reason I can't fathom). Therefore, the "Dardania flag" could be a kin of presidential flag.

Marc Pasquin, 23 January 2006