September 5, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 05-09-03


Behind new institutions the Kosovo still remains under heavy grip of former KLA rebel leaders and their paramilitary groups (archive photo: Hashim Thaci rebel leader - cum - politician and Agim Ceku, head of the so called Kosovo Protection Corps)

Editorial

KOSOVO - FRAGILE PEACE IN SHADDOW OF CONTINUAL ETHNIC TERROR

UNWILLINGNESS OF KOSOVO ALBANIAN LEADERS TO CONFRONT EXTREMISTS IN THEIR OWN RANKS MAKES THEM ACCOMPLICES IN ETHNIC CLEANSING OF THE PROVINCE


ERPKIM Info-service
Gracanica, September 05, 2003

FR. Sava Janjic

In the past ten or so years the Balkans has seen too much blood, suffering, refugees and destroyed holy shrines. The common characteristic of all regimes under which crimes were committed against members of other ethnic communities was the complete unwillingness to also confront the fact that there were any crimes committed against others and that others have the right to live in their homes despite the fact that they might have different ethnic background and speak a different dialect. Stories that were regularly circulated by members of the Milosevic, Tudjman and Izetbegovic regimes were so similar to each other it was as if they had been written by the same people. In actually, these regimes based on crime as a means for realizing political goals were creating the same type of consciousness, one recognizing or consciously negating committed crimes as a legitimate method of deceiving the public. Unfortunately, very few people had the strength to openly oppose this policy but nevertheless, there were some. Let us remember the thousands of young Belgradians and citizens of Serbia who ran to meet billy clubs and tear gas in the streets only because for them the future did not lie in the rule of terror and lies.

THINGS CHANGE BUT NOT IN KOSOVO

Finally things began to change, albeit slowly and self-consciously, but nevertheless they changed. New political establishments in Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo are increasingly and with greater courage opening the bloody files of their predecessors in attempts to finally bring to a close a period of darkness and madness, and replace it with a new period of mutual cooperation and trust. Certainly the wounds that remain will not heal quickly but nevertheless the process has begun and the results are increasingly apparent. New generations of politicians understand that with its past bloody legacy the Balkans can only remain a black hole in Europe and the world, and that thousands of young and educated people would otherwise leave their homes in search of a place where people will be valued on the basis of their human values and qualities, not on the basis of their ethnicity.


In this entire Balkan story Kosovo seems to live in another time and place even though it is in fact the only part of the territory of the former Tito's Yugoslavia under the administration of the United Nations civil mission and NATO-led peacekeeping forces. In Kosovo crimes not only continue to occur but for the past four years they have been a silently accepted legitimate means of pursuing the policy of ethnic cleansing which Kosovo Albanian extremists are carrying out against Serbs and non-Albanian minorities. Their goal is to realize what dictators such as Milosevic and Tudjman failed to accomplish: to execute a revision of Balkan borders on an ethnic basis and divide towns and villages that even five centuries of Turkish rule and even Milosevic's regime failed to divide. While in Belgrade, Zagreb, Banja Luka and Sarajevo politicians are painfully and with difficulty but with increasing courage and determination confronting the legacy of the past with the intent of joining the rest of Europe, in Kosovo key figures among the Kosovo Albanians persistently not only deny ethnic terror against Serbs but in the case of the most recent attacks resulting in the deaths of children and helpless old people are once again accusing phantom Serb forces, as if time for them had stopped back in 1999 when Milosevic ruled the fate of Balkan peoples. Many Kosovo Albanians simply cannot accept the fact that the new government in Serbia has sent almost the entire Milosevic establishment to The Hague Tribunal and that Serbia is ruled, not by those who brought them pain, but by those who themselves suffered prison and the blows of Milosevic's regime.

LIFE IN A NIGHTMARE

Serbs in Kosovo continue to live in the nightmare of the 1990s when the blood of innocent civilians flowed from Knin and Sarajevo to Pec and Urosevac. Investigations of crimes committed against Serbs are at a standstill; for them there is no freedom of movement or life; their children live in perpetual fear; and old people enclosed in their isolated homes await every twilight in fear. Under so-called "internationally guaranteed peace" Orthodox Christian churches and cemeteries continue to be destroyed and desecrated as if Kosovo were not in Europe but in the land of the Taliban. While Albanian journalists compete in producing the most fantastic theories about invisible Serbian paramilitary units who are creating diversions in various parts of the Province, unnoticed and unseen by tens of thousands of NATO led troops and almost two million ethnic Albanians, their politicians doggedly accuse UNMIK and KFOR, claiming that they would do a better job themselves of dealing with "Serbian criminals." Thus yet another attempt is being made to deceive the international community with the already frayed story of how the Serbs are to blame if it snows in the month of October. At one time, when the first diversions by members of the KLA began in 1996 and 1997, Ibrahim Rugova, the present president of Kosovo Province, swore that they were being carried out by the Serbian secret service althought everyone in the world knew about the shaddowy rebel group of Albanian extremists. After June 1999 the same story was warmed up again in newspaper articles that had to prove to the world that despite the fact that ethnically motivated crimes were occurring every day, Kosovo was now "free." In fact Kosovo was becoming more and more Serb free territory. Albanian politicians who in June 1999 were absolutely certain in their complete victory are now growing increasingly nervous and fearful because they have demonstrated that their vision of Kosovo is not much different than Milosevic's. With their narrow ethnocentric and anachronistic views they are hardly so welcome as a future part of Europe.

The creators of these fantastic tales of Serbian phantoms have begun to believe in them themselves. When the recent massacre of Serb children in Gorazdevac occurred, a chorus of Albanian language newspapers wrote that the Serbian children were playing with "a bomb that exploded". Albanian physicians in Pec, seeing multiple gunshot wounds of children before them, nonchalantly diagnosed them as bone fractures and proceeded to put casts on children whose arms and legs still contained machine gun bullets. When the truth could not be hidden after all, the journalists and politicians who had been the lamenting the demise of Kosovo's image more than the loss of a young life began to sing in chorus how the Serbs had in fact shot their own children because, as one Albanian journalist wrote: "They are ready to kill their own children if necessary to prevent the independence of Kosovo." On the same day the Serbian children were massacred the world also received news of a young Albanian girl who was allegedly wounded in the attack. Later it was "explained" that she was not injured in the attack but in fact "stoned by angry Serbs". In the end no one was able to give the name of the Albanian girl or confirm that she was hurt anywhere nearby.

A similar case involved the arrest of a Serb, Vladimir Jovanovic of Ibarska Slatina, who was arrested during the same period with great fanfare under suspicion of having killed an UNMIK policeman from India. Some of the foreign media went so far as to triumphantly explain to their readers that there was not only Albanian extremism in Kosovo but also "Serbian terrorists." The news of Jovanovic's release because of the fact that since the very beginning there was no evidence against him went almost unnoticed. The balance of crime had already been achieved and a concerned Berlin Institute for International Relations published an obscure analysis on how Serbian and Albanian extremists rule in Kosovo using the vacuum of the interregnum. The biggest problem lies in the fact that neither Kosovo Albanians nor the international community can clearly state who these "Serbian extremists" really are and publish at least a few names. But this hardly matters because any Serb who loves his country and does not want to see it divided cannot be anything but "an extremist advocating a Greater Serbia." In the end, stereotypes from another time and reality must be distinguished.

UNMIK'S VIRTUAL REALITY

In the whole story of covering up the real situation in Kosovo, some representatives of the UN civil mission and KFOR have also played a shameful role in that their ambiguous and unclear attitude toward the ethnic terror that has been unfolding in front of their eyes for four years has actually contributed to creating an atmosphere of confusion and indirectly emboldened Albanian extremism, which goes unpunished. The master in this sort of activity is UNMIK's Propagandminister Simon Haselock, who miraculously missed the bomb attack on the UN mission in Baghdad by only one hour and quickly rushed back to Pristina to declare to the world how the security situation in Kosovo really is much improved and indirectly accused Belgrade of creating more tension. The same Albanian politicians who have been blind for four years to all crimes committed against Serbs, if in fact they did not support or organize those crimes themselves, are now suddenly demonstrating touching concern for "the Serb citizens of Kosovo" whom they are protecting from the Belgrade government that, much to their horror, is sacrificing its own people and killing them just to spoil "Kosovo's image" (as if Kosovo even had one). It is becoming increasingly apparent that the international UN civil mission and KFOR are unprepared to confront Albanian extremism, the existence of which they are more than aware. If Albanian extremism was confronted with anywhere near the determination of a few years ago to topple the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, international forces might be forced to risk similar tragedies to that which recently occurred in Baghdad.

All in all, the bloody drama of Kosovo continues. The Kosovo Serbs, with an Albanian knife at their throat on the one hand and the "grave concerns" and hypocrisy of Western peacemakers around them on the other, continue to suffer and perish. Their government in Belgrade can do little to assist them because the smallest gesture of solidarity and concern for Kosovo is immediately interpreted as a form of new Serbian territorial hegemony. For many Albanians Kosovo Serbs are only a minority that will hopefully leave eventually and leave Kosovo solely to the Albanian people. Members of UNMIK and KFOR regularly ask them how they see their future, as if to indirectly say: Why don't you leave and make life easier for both yourselves and for us? Truthfully, the mission that has completely failed and lost all sense continues only because of "a handful of stubborn Serbs" who refuse to leave. If only they would leave so everyone could shed the obligatory tear of sympathy and finally turn over a new page by proclaiming a new ethnic state of Albanians whose borders are already under discussion by leading politicians in Pristina, Tetovo and Tirana, and in the process of being carved out in the field by terrorists of the so-called Albanian National Army, Kosovo Liberation Army, Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac and who knows what other bands of opportunists. In the end it appears that the fistful of Serbs and the few Macedonians who remain in the western parts of this southern republic are the chief obstacle to the realization of the centuries-old Albanian dream of building the only ethnically pure state in the Balkans.

It remains to be seen whether the West will sacrifice the Balkans to its global interests in the Middle East. It is possible that this might result in some sort of balance of interests but also certain that it would enable the flourishing of the most dangerous terrorism and crime right in the bosom of Europe which will hit Europe like a boomerang.


How many more Serb funerals?
Funeral of Panto Dakic (11), a cross is carried by
his younger brother, Gorazdevac, Aug 15 2003


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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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