I can’t write about this topic without talking a bit about the history and also how people from Kosovo feel about it (and, of course, I don’t claim to represent all the people of Kosovo).
Kosovo is a small country with less than 2 million citizens where a wide range of nationalities cohabitates. Our Constitution, which is only ten years old, recognizes seven ethnicities living in our territory, namely the majority Albanian citizens, and the minority Serbs, Turks, Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities.
Before the war and during the war of 1999 myself and others from the same nationality, Albanian called themselves so – Albanian (from Kosovo, just like the Albanians in Macedonia, Montenegro, or Serbia call themselves Albanians by adding from… the country they live in). After the war, when the international community and our provisional institutions started the establishment of the new country, they started to differentiate and call Albanians from Kosovo and all other Kosovo citizens Kosovars or Kosovans.
Nevertheless, this term has three main issues:
- It’s not consistent as some use Kosovar and some Kosovan,
- The majority of Albanians from Kosovo don’t want to be identified as Kosovar/n as that means creating a new Kosovar nation which was not the reason behind the freedom war and all the struggles the Albanian population had to go through, and
- The minorities in Kosovo don’t use this term to refer to themselves (in particular Serbs who in a vast majority don’t accept the new reality in Kosovo and still consider Kosovo to be Serbia).
I asked people on two Facebook groups – Kosovo Girl Travels and Kosopass (both travel-related) to share their perspective on this. My question was to understand how other people feel and how they respond when asked where are they from. The majority of them responded Albanian from Kosovo, followed by Kosovar. Kosovan and Kosovo Albanian were the other options mentioned by people who responded.
What other words do you use? How do you call us?