Feature

A shameful history of vandalism.

The week's news at a glance.

Kosovo

Can Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians be trusted with Serbian national treasures? asked Mihail Neamtu in Bucharest’s Cotidianul. The province, currently administered by the U.N., is likely to get full independence from Serbia soon—perhaps this year. The challenges are formidable. Kosovars have yet to master “respect for the rule of law.” Weapons smuggling and corruption are endemic, and the black market economy is bigger than the legitimate economy. With all that to tackle, it’s unlikely that Kosovar authorities will spare much attention to protecting the few medieval cathedrals that survive. Since 1999, when NATO bombing drove Serbian authorities from the province, Kosovo’s Muslims have destroyed scores of Orthodox churches, many of them dating from the 13th century. Kosovar authorities were often “unable or unwilling” to restrain rioters, who burned churches, fortresses, castles—whatever Serbian historic sites they could reach. Today, Kosovo is home to four churches on the U.N.’s World Heritage List. Before the U.N. grants Kosovar Albanians sovereignty, it would do well to get “a guarantee that they will preserve Serbian history.”

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