Self-Determination

The U.S., France, and Britain (among other nations) have formally recognized Kosovo after it declared its independence on Sunday. This tiny province was unable to reach a deal with Serbia after decades of conflict and the dissolution of former Yugoslavia. kosovo.jpg

The province declared independence from Serbia on Sunday, sending tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians streaming through the streets to celebrate what they hoped was the end of a long and bloody struggle for national self-determination.

Not everyone in the community of nations is as happy about this declaration as Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians. Some dealing with their own separatist movements have resisted and protested recognizing Kosovo.

Russia, which opposes Kosovos independence, demanded an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Sunday to proclaim the declaration null and void, but the meeting produced no resolution…the foreign minister of Spain, Miguel Angel Moratinos, told reporters that the declaration did not respect international law and Spain would not recognize Kosovo…Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Greece have also been reluctant to recognize Kosovo.

China expressed grave concern over the declaration, fearing Taiwan would be encouraged to follow suit. Sri Lanka, dealing with Tamil secessionists, condemned the declaration. Even Condi qualified her recognition saying that Kosovo should not be seen as setting a precedent for other ‘situations’ in the world today.

Some experts think a nation has to be recognized as such before it can really be a nation, while others think this supposedly legitimating statement, “I recognize you” is unnecessary. After all, how does a simple statement or recognition have the power to create or withhold the identity of another group?

Shouldn’t one’s identity be something that is entirely self-determined? Well… there may be moral reasons for thinking this should be so, but it’s unclear whether this right of self-determination is one that is as accepted by the international community as other rights- such as the right to not be tortured or arbitrarily killed. Though the words ‘self-determination’ are often touted by politicians and academics, many nations fearing secessionist movements have claimed that the right only exists in relation to people under ‘foreign domination’ – responding to colonialism, but limiting internal fragmentation.

Generally, an idea becomes enforceable when parties have long-term, mutual self-interest in it. Attempts at self-determination, whether at the individual, group, or national level are inevitably clashes with entrenched groups in power who have an interest in maintaining status quo. Despite past turmoil and threats of secession, India still groups Sikhs under Hindus in their Marriage Act (as well as Buddhists and Jains). So, though self-determination may sound like a fundamental right, it has not been historically respected as fundamental and may also be difficult to enforce in the future.


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10 Responses to “Self-Determination”

  1. Duraivelan says:

    National aspiration is not only for Europeans, it's there for asians too. what is significant here is the UDI of kosovo. Kosovo has more similarity with the Tamileelam region in the Indian Ocean. The kind of sufferings, historical inhabitation of the Tamileelam home land are all more or less the same.Whether Kosovo's independence is recognised or not should not come in the way of Tamileelam independence whose people are suffering like anything because of the Sinhala racist regime.

  2. Duraivelan says:

    National aspiration is not only for Europeans, it’s there for asians too. what is significant here is the UDI of kosovo. Kosovo has more similarity with the Tamileelam region in the Indian Ocean. The kind of sufferings, historical inhabitation of the Tamileelam home land are all more or less the same.Whether Kosovo’s independence is recognised or not should not come in the way of Tamileelam independence whose people are suffering like anything because of the Sinhala racist regime.

  3. nathan says:

    It is not the racism of the sinhala people that is causing suffering to the Tamil people of Sri Lanka but the racism and terrorism of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

    If not for the canard of racism they wouldn't have any excuse for their terrorism. In certain regions of Sri Lanka such as the districts of Moneragala (controlled by the government) and the districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu where the LTTE wields power because the Sri Lanka government keeps on funding the infrastructure, many people are extremely poor.

    Unfortunately some of the so called educated people in other parts of the world have also been carried away by the very effective propaganda carried out by supporters of the LTTE.

    There will be a special hell for them for forcing innocent Tamils to take arms and kill wantonly under the threat of harming their families.

    The people who believe this sad propaganda should come to Sri Lanka and see for themselves how Tamils live side by side without any hindrance in Colombo and other parts of the country. Each time the LTTE attacks civilians the Tamil people in the rest of the country are greatly inconvenienced because the security forces have to be strict on all Tamils to ensure that another bomb won't go off.

  4. nathan says:

    It is not the racism of the sinhala people that is causing suffering to the Tamil people of Sri Lanka but the racism and terrorism of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

    If not for the canard of racism they wouldn’t have any excuse for their terrorism. In certain regions of Sri Lanka such as the districts of Moneragala (controlled by the government) and the districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu where the LTTE wields power because the Sri Lanka government keeps on funding the infrastructure, many people are extremely poor.

    Unfortunately some of the so called educated people in other parts of the world have also been carried away by the very effective propaganda carried out by supporters of the LTTE.

    There will be a special hell for them for forcing innocent Tamils to take arms and kill wantonly under the threat of harming their families.

    The people who believe this sad propaganda should come to Sri Lanka and see for themselves how Tamils live side by side without any hindrance in Colombo and other parts of the country. Each time the LTTE attacks civilians the Tamil people in the rest of the country are greatly inconvenienced because the security forces have to be strict on all Tamils to ensure that another bomb won’t go off.

  5. TNTamil says:

    nathan,

    Why doesn't the Sri Lankan government agree to an UN administered referendum so that the people can decide how they need to be governed? Why can't the government give a chance for the ballot instead of aerial bombarding its own citizens for 22 years?

  6. TNTamil says:

    nathan,

    Why doesn’t the Sri Lankan government agree to an UN administered referendum so that the people can decide how they need to be governed? Why can’t the government give a chance for the ballot instead of aerial bombarding its own citizens for 22 years?

  7. pov says:

    In this day and age of constant "globalization" a nation will be left behind if it doesn't have allies. In order to have allies you have to be recognized in the global community as being sovereign and independent.

    I don't see how merely kicking the other guy's foot soldier off your land is independence.

  8. pov says:

    In this day and age of constant “globalization” a nation will be left behind if it doesn’t have allies. In order to have allies you have to be recognized in the global community as being sovereign and independent.

    I don’t see how merely kicking the other guy’s foot soldier off your land is independence.

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