Copyright 1986 The Christian Science Publishing Society The Christian Science Monitor July 28, 1986, Monday SECTION: International; Pg. 10 LENGTH: 707 words HEADLINE: Tensions among ethnic groups in Yugoslavia begin to boil over SERIES: Yugoslavia Tensions. Part 1 of 2 part series. BYLINE: By Eric Bourne, Special to The Christian Science Monitor DATELINE: Batuse, YugoslaviaHIGHLIGHT:
This dusty little village a few miles from Pristina, the capital of Kosovo Province, is quiet again. But only relatively so.
One night in mid-June, most of its 700 Serbian families packed their belongings onto tractors and trucks, in cars and buses, ready to emigrate.
Batuse's threatened ''diaspora'' was sparked by the arrival of Albanians in what had long been a ''Serbian village.'' It was only five families, but to the villagers it was the start of a process that had already obliterated the established Serbian character of other such communities.
The Serbs had planned a ''long march'' to Belgrade to present their grievances to the federal government. But the column had not gotten far from the village when armed riot police and Army vehicles blocked the highway.
Officials told the convoy it could not proceed. The authorities, they said, were aware of their problems and were working hard to solve them. Although the people remained unconvinced, most were persuaded to abandon their journey. Several hundred, however, walked doggedly on, past the roadblock, bent on reaching a train station to journey on to Belgrade.
A newspaper here vividly described an extraordinary scene in which young and old, veterans and tiny children, trudged along, mothers pushing strollers or carrying a child or bundles in their arms.
They covered 25 miles before a police line stopped them again. This time, it was said, truncheons were used in the first moments of confrontation. But according to subsequent accounts, the police were restrained and obviously aware of what the use of force might provoke.
Well they might be, given the explosive potential of this startling episode in the life of a humdrum Balkan village and of the Kosovo problem in general. Moreover, the threat is not confined to Kosovo. It is seen as involving ethnic relations throughout this multinational country.
Batuse dramatically highlights an emigrant movement in process for some years. A fast-diminishing Serbian minority in this south Yugoslav province feels itself increasingly menaced by a mushrooming takeover by the more than 1C million Albanians who make up 77.5 percent of its population.
The immediate official follow-up to Batuse was an announcement that a radio-parts factory is to be established in the village in cooperation with a Belgrade enterprise. It is to provide 150 jobs. It is the first in a series of ''joint ventures'' that the Kosovo provincial government is negotiating with firms all over Yugoslavia in a program to relieve unemployment. The jobless rate in the province stands at 30 percent, compared with a national average of 11 to 12 percent.
Seventy percent of Kosovo's unemployed are 25 years or younger. And many of these young people seem willing enough to support nationalist extremists among the Albanian population, who call for a separate Kosovo republic, enlarged by slices of Serbian and Montenegrin territory (where Albanians also live).
There is a historical background of former Serbian colonialism. The Albanians' language and literature were suppressed under Serbian and Yugoslav monarchies. With the new postwar republic, Albanians regained use of their language in Albanian schools, and in due course in a university, in libraries, newspapers, radio broadcasts, and later, on television.
But with old antipathies so deep-seated, 40 years was not enough for them to be forgotten. The Belgrade regime's pro-Serbian hard-line behavior in Kosovo up to the mid-1960s did nothing to help.
Thus it was not surprising when strong Albanian passions boiled over in 1981, a year after President Josip Broz Tito had died, and were rapidly aggravated by the economic slump that hit all of Yugoslavia - and backward Kosovo much more than anywhere else.
''Even in Tito's time, the volcano was always there,'' says a Kosovo TV journalist. ''Albanians and Serbs have never gotten along. Now, however, even normal minimal contacts between them are broken. In the long run, it will not help the Albanians. Nor will it help Yugoslavia, if things go on like this.''
But in trying to satisfy Kosovo's restless Albanians, the federal government finds itself increasingly in conflict with Serbian national feeling.
GRAPHIC: Picture, Village in Kosovo Province: Serbs feel threatened by Albanian population. Map, Kosovo, Yugoslavia indicated. JOAN FORBES -- STAFF
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