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KOSOVO SERBS REGRET VIOLENCE - BUT NOT VICTORY

By William EchiksonStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / April 19, 1989



KOSOVO POULJE, YUGOSLAVIA

Ever since Serbs lost the epic battle of Kosovo against the Turks 600 years ago, they have dreamed of recapturing their homeland. Kosovo Poulje's Serbs organized the first demonstrations last fall which unleashed the present struggle to reduce Albanian control over Kosovo.

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When questioned at the Zivin Gaj restaurant about the recent tragic events, Serbs here express no regret about their actions. Rather, they say they feel isolated and surrounded by critics. Any questioning of their position brings on a sharp response, whether from cultivated Serb intellectuals or these working-class poor.

``We just want to be equal with Albanians,'' says Dordan Stosanovic. ``Before, they had all the rights and we had none - for example, there was only television here in Albanian, not Serbo-Croatian [the language of Serbs and Croatians].''

``We aren't taking anything away from the Albanians,'' adds Vukasin Djenic. ``We just won back what we lost in 1974'' when a new Constitution gave power to the Albanians.

``It's hard to be happy with all this violence,'' Mr. Djenic admits. ``But we're confident that life will get better for us here.''

Kosovo Poulje's Serbs are preparing to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo this June and expect more than 2 million ``pilgrims'' to attend the ceremonies.

``The Albanians want to Albanize Kosovo and attach it to Albania,'' a bystander exclaims. ``We no longer feel scared that the Albanians will push us out of here.''