Name Games

"Kosovar" became a watchword in the months leading up to the U.S. attack on Yugoslavia. Although some new readers continued to speak of the "Albanians of Kosovo," use of the term "Kosovar"—adopted about two years earlier by Albanian nationalists—was the entry ticket to the New American Order's press box. Formerly, these people were called either "Arnauts" (a Turkish-derived term for "Albanian") or "Schipetars," but in Kosovo the nationalists and terrorists insisted on "Albanian" as a word more familiar to Western ears. In coming up with "Kosovar," however, the Albanians were making a specific and far-reaching claim: that they, the immigrant majority, defined this ancient land. Henceforth, the Serbs—who had lived in Kosovo since the seventh century—would be regarded first as interlopers and then, when their police attempted to repress the terrorist uprising, as invaders.

The Albanians probably learned their name game from the Bosnian Muslims, who did not even have the advantage of ethnic or linguistic distinctiveness: They were simply the descendants of Serbs who had denied Christ in order to hang on to their property and privileges. But once these Muslims started calling themselves "Bosniaks," they could delegitimate the non-Muslim majority (made up of Serbs and Croats) and portray themselves as the authentic and aboriginal...

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