07 December 2007

Europe's Oppression of Serbia

December 06, 2007.
EIGHT YEARS AFTERMEMORIES AND TESTIMONIES

Your Eminence, Honourable Ministers, Esteemed guests,
The topic of our today’s forum, “The place of Kosovo and Metohija Serbian spiritual heritage in the European culture” is a demanding one as much as a challenging one. We suppose that all of you, esteemed lecturers, will talk about the monuments of cultural heritage of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, as experts and scientists, each one of you from your own aspect, bringing to our minds’ eye an image of all the spiritual beauty and values of that heritage, over centuries created by the Serbian people as the expression of its christian determination, its belonging to the vast sphere of the christian peoples of Europe. As for me, I decided to draw your attention to something unusual, painful as much as realistic, I decided to talk on the contribution of Europe itself to the destruction and dismantling of the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija in the last eight years, its contribution to the process occurring simultaneously with the martyrdom of the Living Church of God, in sufferings, murders, expulsions and pogrom on the Serb people, under the auspices and full attention of the democratic Europe and USA.
We present you our memories and reminders on the first days, and then, it was a whole year, since KFOR, as international peace forces, and UNMIK as a civil UN administration arrived to Kosovo and Metohija in June 1999. For our Serbian people, their arrival marks exactly the beginning of martyr and calvary-like path through sufferings, the sufferings inflicted by Albanian criminals inspired by jihadist Wahabi ideology, and under the “protection” of the international community. Yugoslav army and police had withdrawn from Kosovo, like almost all authority representatives, intellectuals, doctors, professors… and also a great number of our people (more than two thirds, or numerically around 250 000). Only the Serbian Orthodox Church, its clergy and monastics stayed with those who remained (around 130 000).
Through the first days and months, in the time of our people’s greatest torment, we took maximum of strenuous pains and efforts to stop the flows of Serbian refugees leaving Kosovo and Metohija, we tried to keep them to stay, in spite of all the sufferings, the victims and the pressures.
Even quick overview of all the events happening those days in Kosovo and Metohija would take us much out of the framework of one short summary like ours. Mostly, we were killed on daily basis, abducted, looted, our houses burned, our churches and monasteries destroyed, and thus jihad signs were left all over. We had no liberty of movement, no possibility to work, to school our children, there was no social care.
And so on, and so forth; day by day, month by month, year by year. All the promises by KFOR to protect us, to establish law and order, to secure the return of the expelled, and all other things foreseen by UNSC Resolution 1244 remained unfulfilled. Yet, the Serbs, suffering for Christianity and their fatherland’s sake, still persist in larger enclaves – the bravest ones. With them, the others stay, too. We stayed through with our people. We stayed and shared all the evil, for there was no good to share. We took pains to make or to compel the international community to fulfill its obligations, taken over by the Resolution. The results were weak, but you couldn’t do otherwise. As by a rule, the perpetrators of crimes, the Al Qaeda-inspired destroyers of our churches, remained unidentified, inadequately punished.
This represented an encouragement to the terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija, a reassurance that to the Serbs they can do whatever they wanted and bear no consequence. The international community was mislead and soothed, all since the time of Bernard Couchner, and until today, for the SRSG’s in their reports presented unrealistic and embellished conditions in the Province. Each one of the SRSG’s wanted to show the successes achieved during their mandates. These reports avoided to define and identify the real problems in Kosovo and Metohija, their approach to the issues was unilateral and biased. Such an indecisive and yielding attitude of the international community toward all kinds of criminals, and not the unresolved status of Kosovo, has, in fact, lead to the further escalation of violence against the Serbian people and his sanctuaries. Just as the words of the Holy Scripture describe it in the book of Revelation: “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter” (Rev, 9:12).
And all of a sudden, unexpectedly and abruptly – here comes the tempest, an eruption of violence and crimes, culminating on March 17 2004. The Serbs are made experience their Kristallnacht. In only two days, a horrible pogrom happens; unheard of, never to have happened in the time of peace. This pogrom was well organized, synchronized and orchestrated. There are numerous proofs for that. But, let us leave it for later.
Very tragic, but, nevertheless, indispensable to say, all these are the results of the UN mission, which, only a month before the March events was defined a “success story”. NATO generals kept talking on the necessity of further diminishing its military presence, removing check points, abolishing military escorts to the Serbs when they travelled through Kosovo and Metohija. UNMIK representatives, on their side, repeatedly talked about complete transfer of all authorities to interim Kosovo, i.e. – Albanian, institutions. Serb representatives, Church representatives included, constantly kept warning that beneath the interim institutions’ fa├žade, beneath the so called democracy and apparent multiethnicity, one can find, in fact, a horrific picture of ethnic violence and discrimination, lawlessness and various kinds of criminality. We were warning that, after the end of the armed conflict, and NATO forces arrival in 1999, not only the paramilitary structure of ex-UCK has not been disbanded, but it merely transformed into few satellite paramilitary and criminal organizations (KPC, ANA etc.) which actively kept arming, planning and carrying out the ethnical cleansing in the Province, with the aim of creating another Islamic-Albanian state in the Balkans, a state where there would be space only for ethnic Albanians and Islam.
On the very day the March pogrom began, Mr. Hashim Thaqi was to Washington, lecturing on multhietnicity and achieved progress of democratization in the Province. The events on the ground proved him immediately wrong. For, while Thaqi lectured on the democracy, thousands of Albanians, members of his party, savaged through Serbian villages, burned Serbian churches, leaving behind graffiti with acronyms of Thaqi’s PDK, terrorist ANA, KPC and other organizations, operating under the umbrella of the infamous KLA. Buses, packed with heavily armed, so called “war veterans”, moved from Thaqi’s home Drenica toward Pristina and Mitrovica where they clashed with international forces.
Unfortunately, March pogrom did not mark the end of violence against the Serbs. Violence kept on, in one way or another, all until today. Truthfully, there are other ways and means of “deserbization” of Kosovo and Metohija. In latest period, money is being offered, Serb property, houses and flats are being bought. Serbs move away, leave. Whole villages disappear again. Towns are being conquested. Serbian flats usurped. The number of inhabitants doubles, thanks to the incoming immigrants, newcomers.
Besides the testimonies of members of the international community, both those from KFOR contingents and UNMIK directly acquainted with the March events in Kosovo and Metohija, , we would like to shortly mention how many international institutions since 1999 carefully followed the situation in Kosovo and Metohija (e.g. USA State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch etc.), especially concentrating on the destruction of the Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage (churches, monasteries, cemeteries), with a particular overview of March events. Occasional and annual reports were published, reporting and exactly identifying the derelictions and KFOR, UNMIK police and other international organizations failures, both in protecting people and its property, as well as cultural heritage.
Thus, in the USA Foreign department reports for 1999, on the implementation of human rights in different countries, “social violence upon the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church” is particularly indicated, for by the end of that year, “more than 80 Orthodox churches have been destroyed, damaged and desecrated” and the “clergy harassed”.
Similar reports of the same department were repeated in the next years, with the special attention given to the consequences of the March 2004 pogrom. According to the report, the March events “represent a serious blowback for the stabilization and normalization in Kosovo”, with the detailed description of all the horrors, particularly emphasizing the attacks on “cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo” in which “36 Orthodox churches, monasteries and religious and cultural sites have been damaged and destroyed”. Particular emphasis in the report is given to the fact that the “attacked religious objects date back to the 14th century. Two of them are on UNESCO list as main sites of universal importance, and the third one of regional importance”. Further, it is pointed out that “Kosovo security forces – KFOR, UNMIK, International Police and Kosovo Police Service (KPS) –catastrophically failed in their mission. This terrible failure of KFOR, particularly in its responsibility to enable “safe and secure environment” and establish “public order and security (according to 1244 UNSC Resolution) in regard to the March attacks is fully documented”.
Finally, at the mere end, comes the culmination of cynicism of the international community: Instead to adequately sanction and rightly punish the perpetrators of so many (many of them unspeakable) crimes and violence, the international community takes utmost pains to reward them, by its commitment to enable and present them with the independent Kosovo and Metohija, allowing them to finish, now impeded by no one, the ethnical and religious cleansing of the Serbs in the Province, as well as the cultural genocide upon the rich and centuries-old, cultural heritage of the Serb people.
The politics enabling all these horrors at the beginning of the third millennium, in the heart of Europe, is a felonious politics. It is simply impossible to understand how come the USA and its EU allies, while waging a sharp battle against terrorism all across the world (Afghanistan, Iraq, Hamas in Israel etc.) at the same time tolerate and give support to the very same Jihad terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija. And even worse: they take efforts to enthrone it in the independent Kosovo. It seems as if EU is not aware that, by enabling USA to accomplish the forceful islamization of Kosovo and Metohija, establishing the base for a militant Jihad in this Serbian Province, it ruins the mere foundations upon which EU itself is founded, for – Jihad has no limits. Its action from Kosovo will soon be felt in Europe herself, and probably in the USA, too. The sooner they understand this simple truth, the better it will be for all.
Bishop ARTEMIJE