June 2, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 02-06-03

CRY OF SERBS FROM VITINA

The Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Churc
h
May 30, 2003


The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija has sent a text with the cry and appeal of the Serbs of Vitina containing a list of violent incidents in Kosovsko Pomoravlje. Because of the rise in violence and pressure against the Serb population of this region, and in light of the persistent denial of the worsening of the security situation by U.S. KFOR and UNMIK representatives, the people of Kosovsko Pomoravlje have no other option than to address a public appeal to the Serb people and the Belgrade Government to ask for their help.



CRY OF THE REMAINING SERB POPULATION FROM VITINA MUNICIPALITY

Yet again in a endless series of instances we have been murdered. Yet again in an endless series of instances we have become targets. We had just begun to hope that the killing was at an end. We had just begun to hope that in our homes and on our properties, at least, we would be safe. But still there is no safety:

May 14, 2003 - Albanians frighten residents of the Serb village of Vrbovac by opening gunfire at the exit from that village.

May 15, 2003 - Albanians provoke Serbs by shouting anti-Serb slogans and cheering Adem Jashari in the Serb-inhabited streets of the ethnically mixed village of Mogila. During the same night livestock belonging to a Serb local is stolen.

May 16, 2003 - While passing freely through the Serb village of Vrbovac, Albanian students sing provocative songs in Albanian, in the sense of "We have expelled all the Serbs and we will soon expel you, too." The very same day there are rumors from the Albanian side that they will kill seven Serbs in this region.

May 17, 2003 - The Albanians realize their threat by brutally murdering Zoran Mirkovic, age 44, leaving a message next to his body bearing the name of the Albanian National Army and including a threatening message signed by someone calling himself "Commander Celi." The deceased Zoran, a professor of Russian, the father of three small children, a great man and a good household head, set out by bicycle to inspect his property. By killing him, they have killed another part of our wounded, bloodied and helpless spirit.

May 19, 2003 - In the Serb village of Klokot there is an attempt to kidnap a Serb local, Stanko Misic, who also was going to inspect his land near the village. He manages to escape, thanks mainly to the proximity of the church and KFOR checkpoint where he fled.

May 21, 2003 - A 90 year-old Serb from Vitina, Slavko Stamenkovic, was beaten up in his own home in front of his wife, whose mouth was covered so she could not call for help.

May 22, 2003 - In the village of Klokot a student of the second year of the Economic Secondary School, Milan Pavic, was beaten up near his house while waiting for the school bus at the bus stop.

May 25, 2003 - The house of Serb Momcilo Savic was set on fire in the village of Klokot.

Crushed by pain, our hopelessness and helplessness embodied in 45 slaughtered innocents and 10 missing souls whose uncertain fate is slowly turning into horrible certainty without proof, yet again in an endless series we raise our voices.

We do not know whether to call this text an appeal--for God himself must be weary of our appeals--or a protest: a protest against the general evil which tragically lies beside us and around us. But no one sees it, especially not those who are responsible and paid to see it. We do not know how much longer we will remain hunted game only because we are Serbs and became we still live in our centuries-old homes.

Every sacrifice we have made in our freedom of movement, in our hopes, in our jobs and in our security is a wound that will not heal. There were some 11,000 of us living in region of Vitina municipality; since the arrival of KFOR, only 3,000 of us remain in two Serb villages, a village that was formerly Serb until one year ago, and two--out of fifteen--surviving ethnically mixed villages. The town of Vitina itself, where the population was formerly 70 percent Serb, is now a dungeon for some one hundred elderly people and those who have nowhere else to go.

Life in these ghettoes, where everything seems somewhat normal, no matter where you are, behind every tree, from every gully, from behind every car, is full of potential danger because all the previous murders occurred in similar situations, treacherously, without provocation or forewarning. These circumstances inevitably bear with them a question: Who will be the next victim?

Despite every effort to remain collected and convince the people around us that someone is thinking of us, we cannot even convince ourselves, for reality speaks otherwise and we have lost hope even in God's help.

May God grant that the victim who fell on May 17 may be the last. Our great friend and a great, great man, considering how small and weak we are. Yet another family is bereaved, without its breadwinner and with a precarious future.

We will not criticize you because you are not the ones suffering and perhaps this letter will be only so many words on paper and will end up in the wastebasket. But since you have begun, please read it to the end, thinking of your own families, which we hope are happy and far from the evil that is our everyday lot and destroying us only because we are Orthodox Christian Serbs.

THIS IS OUR CONSCIENTIOUS PROTEST ADDRESSED TO ALL THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE:

AGAINST THE MURDER to which we are systematically exposed and which threatens to drive us into extinction, which does not discriminate in terms of place or time or weapon or means or given name or family name or size or age; the only important thing is that the victim is an Orthodox Christian Serb and that the goal is achieved: one Serb less, one more weapon to kill our determination to survive in our ancestral homes.

AGAINST PHYSICAL OPPRESSION manifesting itself daily in the form of woundings, beatings, stonings and other forms of repression, breeding fear for our very lives, fear for our freedom of movement and work, and culminating generally in our departure from our centuries-old homes and our fear to return to them.

AGAINST SPIRITUAL GENOCIDE apparent in the destruction of centuries-old heritage of an entire people, the demolition of its religious shrines (churches and monasteries), the desecration of cemeteries and obliteration of all traces of the existence and cultural history of a Christian people with a civilization originating in the area of Kosovo and Metohija.

AGAINST EVERY FORM OF INSTITUTIONAL DISCRIMINATION which, tragically, only supplants physical forms of pressure and combines with them to destroy every prospect for short-term, and even more so long-term, peaceful coexistence.

AGAINST HATE AND THE TALK OF GUNS INSTEAD OF REASON.

AGAINST THE UNDERMINING OF PROPERTY RIGHTS through various forms of destruction, appropriation and transfer of houses, apartments, land, agricultural machinery, livestock, etc. Responsible individuals representing the international community have a million statistics and proofs that this is occurring; however, for four years these problems have remained unsolved resulting in a feeling of constant helplessness and disinterest in fighting for the realization of their rights through institutional means among the remaining Serbs.

AGAINST SOCIAL POVERTY created by the expulsion of thousands of workers from their jobs, leaving many families without basic means for existence and further necessitating their departure from their centuries-old homes.

AGAINST THE REDUCTION IN PRESENCE OF KFOR FORCES, resulting in conditions and increased possibility for terrorist activities.

AGAINST THE ACTIVITY OF THE ALBANIAN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION CALLING ITSELF THE ALBANIAN NATIONAL ARMY IN THIS REGION.

ON BEHALF OF THE HELPLESS SERBS OF VITINA MUNICIPALITY

SERB NATIONAL COUNCIL OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA, VITINA MUNICIPALITY
(Signatures of the members of the SNC KIM, Vitina municipality)


EXILED SERBS REQUEST WESTERN POWERHOUSE ASSISTANCE

B92 Radio
June 02, 2003


BELGRADE -- Monday -- Representatives of several associations of expelled Kosovo-Serbs have today submitted requests to the Belgrade embassies of western countries and Russia.

The exiles request that the governments of America, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Russia explain exactly when they will allow expelled Serbs and other minorities to return to the troubled southern Serbian province.

The request also asks for freedom of movement to be secured and the privatization process to be halted.

The Kosovo-Serb refugees also request that the Serbian government "finally tak a serious approach to resolve the Kosovo problem".

Radio Yugoslavia:

The representatives of several associations of Serbs displaced from Kosmet requested from state bodies in Belgrade a meeting at which a uniformed stand on the protection of national interests of the Serbian population in the province would be defined. The president of the ‘THRESHOLD’ association, Nebojsa Petkovic, announced that the representatives of several associations of Serbs displaced from Kosmet are tomorrow to start a hunger strike in front of Western European countries in Belgrade. The associations demanded from the leading countries which are participating in the resolving of the Kosmet issue to clarify when they will allow the return of the displaced into the province. Also in demand was the enabling of freedom of movement in Kosmet.


ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. ERP KIM Info Service works in cooperation with www.serbian-translation.com as well as the Kosovo Daily News (KDN) News List

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The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqués or news reports by the Diocese are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Serbian Orthodox Church

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