December 14, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 14-12-03

Serbian Orthodox Church fights to protects its holy shrines in Kosovo - A hand grenade attack in the churchyard in Urosevac

Unfortunately, despite the presence of international peacekeeping forces, the destruction of Serbian Orthodox holy shrines and the looting of church property continues. It is incomprehensible that our Church and general public is finding out about instances of looting and reselling of our icons and books from the foreign press. In the past four years the Church has not received a single official report from UNMIK regarding the destruction and looting of its patrimonial treasure. The Church itself does not have the resources to conduct a detailed investigation of these incidents, prepare documentation and verify whether any church artifacts remain intact under the ruins of churches


Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Uros
in Urosevac, built in 1933. The exposion occurred only 10 m
from the front steps leading to the main church entrance

CONTENTS:

Explosion in the yard of St. Uros Serbian Orthodox church in Urosevac
Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly condemns Friday night's attack on the St. Uros church in Urosevac. The Diocese concludes with regret that attacks by Albanian extremists on holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija are continuing. Since the summer of 1999 to the present day there have already been several similar attacks on this holy shrine. If the Church of St. Uros had not been under the constant protection of KFOR it is likely that it would have been destroyed like the other Serbian Orthodox churches in the Urosevac and Nerodimlje region.

Serbian Orthodox Church fights to protect its holy shrines in Kosovo
Unfortunately, despite the presence of international peacekeeping forces, the destruction of Serbian Orthodox holy shrines and the looting of church property continues. It is incomprehensible that our Church and general public is finding out about instances of looting and reselling of our icons and books from the foreign press. In the past four years the Church has not received a single official report from UNMIK regarding the destruction and looting of its patrimonial treasure. The Church itself does not have the resources to conduct a detailed investigation of these incidents, prepare documentation and verify whether any church artifacts remain intact under the ruins of churches

UN Security Council supports "Standards for Kosovo"
Under the "standards before status" policy, designed for Kosovo (Serbia and Montenegro) and endorsed by the Council in application of its resolution 1244 (1999), Provisional Institutions for Self-Government have to achieve certain standards before final status of Kosovo can be addressed. The eight standards under the policy are: functioning democratic institutions; rule of law; freedom of movement; returns and reintegration; economy; property rights; dialogue with Belgrade; and the Kosovo Protection Corps.

No progress in return of displaced without personal safety and freedom of movement
Covic called on the international community to take a more resolute stand to help eliminate problems hampering the return of displaced persons. According to him, there will not be any progress in the process unless perpetrators of crimes and incidents in the province are brought to justice and as long as property of non-Albanians is being destroyed and international community officials continue saying that safety cannot be guaranteed.

Ibrahim Rugova changes "Kosovo flag" - black eagle on a blue background
It's not the color of the Kosovo sky, as Rugova says, but the color Albanians want to use to woo the powerful European countries, says Dr. Rados Ljusic

INET, News from Kosovo and Metohija, December 12, 2003

More News Available on our:

Kosovo Daily News list (KDN)
KDN Archive

This newsletter is available on our ERP KIM Web-site:
http://www.kosovo.net/erpkiminfo.html


Explosion in the yard of the St. Uros church in Urosevac

Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly condemns Friday night's attack on the St. Uros church in Urosevac. The Diocese concludes with regret that attacks by Albanian extremists on holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija are continuing. Since the summer of 1999 to the present day there have already been several similar attacks on this holy shrine. If the Church of St. Uros had not been under the constant protection of KFOR it is likely that it would have been destroyed like the other Serbian Orthodox churches in the Urosevac and Nerodimlje region.

TOP

Gracanica, December 14, 2003

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly condemns the Friday night's attack on the Church of the Holy Emperor Uros in Urosevac..

According to a statement by an official representative of KFOR an unidentified person threw a hand grenade into the yard of the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Uros in Urosevac lon Friday evening, at approximately 20,00 hours. The grenade fell near the Greek KFOR checkpoint manned by two soldiers; fortunately, no one was injured and apparently there is no damage to the church. The explosion damaged a KFOR vehicle parked in front of the church. The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) is conducting further investigation.

The Diocese concludes with regret that attacks by Albanian extremists on holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija are continuing. Since the summer of 1999 to the present day there have already been several similar attacks on this holy shrine. If the Church of St. Uros had not been under the constant protection of KFOR it is likely that it would have been destroyed like the other Serbian Orthodox churches in the Urosevac and Nerodimlje region.

The Diocese would like to express its sincere gratitude to members of Greek KFOR for their dedication and efforts to protect this church, as well as for the care they have shown for the several elderly remaining Serbs who still live in Urosevac, confined to their homes for the past more than four years.

The Church of St. Uros was built between 1929 and 1933, and is one of the most beautiful Serbian Orthodox churches built between the two world wars in Kosovo and Metohija. The church once possessed a rich collection of icons and a valuable carved wooden iconostasis (altar screen) from the 19th century. In June 1999 Kodobo Albanian extremists broke into the church and looted and destroyed a part of the internal furnishings, setting a fire that damaged the iconostasis and icons. Nearby graves and monumental plates dedicated to soldiers in the Balkan wars (1912-13) have also been desecrated. Since the summer of 1999 the church has been under the permanent protection of KFOR forces.

A delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church will visit the church during the following week and serve the holy Liturgy.

For more information on the church, please see the publication Crucified Kosovo:
/ckos/ckos18.jpg

We are enclosing two official reports on this incident:

KFOR Report, December 13, 2003

A grenade exploded at the church at the op5 fixed site in Urosevac. The grenade, identified as an Albanian f1 hand grenade, exploded approximately 10 meters from the front steps of the church. The two KFOR soldiers manning the site witnessed an unidentified male walk by and throw the grenade. The explosion caused no injuries and only minor damage to the guard shack on the site. The church was not damaged. TF MP, 506th Mech, US EOD, and KPS/UNMIK police responded. The area was secured and US EOD cleared the scene. KPS is currently investigating the incident.

UNMIK Police report, December 13, 2003

ATTACK WITH EXPLOSIVE
Urosevac - 12/12 - 2000 hrs. KFOR reported that a hand grenade exploded inside the churchyard. Explosion resulted to the broken glass window of a vehicle parked besides the church. No injury was reported.


TOP


Serbian Orthodox Church fights to protect its holy shrines

Systematic destruction and looting of religious heritage of Kosovo and Metohija continues

TOP

NIN weekly, Belgrade
December, 2003

by Fr. Sava Janjic
Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Kosovo and Metohija

Looting and desecration of Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija began at the time of the 1999 armed conflict. However, the process has greatly intensified since the arrival of KFOR peacekeeping forces and the UN mission, which signaled the beginning of the systematic destruction of the Serbian patrimonial legacy with the goal of wiping out all traces of the existence of the Serbian people in its centuries-old historical home. Since the Serbian Orthodox Church has not had unhindered access to its destroyed and desecrated holy shrines for more than four years, it is very difficult to present complete data regarding the extent of the material and spiritual damage inflicted upon the holy shrines, some of which have survived five centuries of Ottoman rule and two world wars.

Foreseeing the tragic unfolding of events in southern Serbia, the Holy Synod of Bishops decided in the summer of 1992 to temporarily remove a part of its most valuable mobile cultural treasures from the larger monasteries on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. On the basis of this decision, most artifacts from the collections of the monasteries of Visoki Decani, the Pec Patriarchate and Gracanica were catalogued and removed from Kosovo and Metohija.

Over 200 manuscripts and old printed books had been previously moved from Visoki Decani Monastery to Belgrade in 1981 for purposes of microfilming. This medieval library was never returned to its monastery home. One of the reasons for the gradual removal of part of the Serbian patrimonial treasure from Kosovo and Metohija was the torching of the residential quarters (konak) of the monastery of the Pec Patriarchate by supposed Albanian extremists, which almost destroyed the precious collection of that monastery. Valuable icons and medieval manuscript were saved at the last minute as flames engulfed the old "konak" where the collection was located.


These remnants of a chalice and a paten were found in the ruins of the Church of the Holy Trinity
 (Sv. Trojice) in the village of Ratis near Decani. The church was destroyed by Kosovo Albanian
 extremists in June 1999

According to recently updated information by the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija and on the basis of the list published in the Serbian Orthodox Church's Memorandum on Kosovo and Metohija, during the period from 1998 to today 112 Orthodox churches have been destroyed or seriously damaged, 32 percent of which had been built between the 14th and the 16th centuries. Despite the evacuation of the collections from our most important monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija, a great part of our religious treasure remained in the smaller churches targeted by extremists. Approximations lead us to conclude that during the postwar period over 2,000 icons, approximately 3,000 various liturgical books and close to 400 church vessels, candleholders, crosses and other liturgical objects were looted or destroyed. It is true that a part of the icons and church inventory was preserved thanks to the assistance of KFOR, which enabled the priests and monks of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija to remove partially damaged or preserved items in time to a safe place prior to the complete destruction of some churches. Part of the recovered damaged crosses, books, icons and holy vessels is exhibited in the Church of St. Demetrius (Sv. Dimitrije) within the monastery complex of the Pec Patriarchate.

Although the Serbian Orthodox Church does not have precise data regarding the number of church items stolen before the churches where they located were razed to the ground, there are founded suspicions that the Albanian extremists first looted the churches in order to sell valuable church artifacts on the black market. Turkish art resellers resold the religious treasures of the Greek Orthodox monasteries and churches in the northern part of the island of Cyprus in similar fashion.

Significant evidence has been preserved by British journalist and publicist Tim Judah, who in his book Kosovo: War and Revenge (2000) included a photograph showing an unidentified Albanian removing the chandelier from the Church of St. Elijah (Sv. Ilije) in Vucitrn (19th century). The writer spoke with Mr. Judah, who immediately after the looting of the church in Vucitrn described in his book, succeeded in saving several valuable icons from the 17th and 18th centuries from the rioting crowd and bring them to Visoki Decani Monastery. After representatives of the Diocese were allowed to visit this and other churches forcibly entered by Albanians, they observed that a significant number of icons and other church inventory is missing, even though after looting these churches were placed under the protection of KFOR.


Unidentified Albanian removing chandelier from the Church of St. Elijah (Sv. Ilije) in Vucitrn (19th century), June 1999 (Photo by British publicist Tim Judah, Kosovo: War and Revenge,
Yale University Press, 2000)

"In the town of Vucitrn, Albanian families swarmed through the Serbian Orthodox priest's house. Mothers maneuvered sofas down stairs, children roamed about smashing religious pictures with hammers while others piled food, church candles, and anything else they could carry onto wheelbarrows. When they were done they moved to the church. A girl with a manic expression on her face smashed the windows. Women tugged on dark red velvet altar cloths and precious icons crashed to the floor. A man struggled to wrench the chandelier from the ceiling."

Tim Judah, Kosovo Peace Now, New York Review of Books, August 12, 1999 (available at: /judah2.html )

Despite the fact that the majority of Serbian Orthodox churches that survived the first wave of Albanian extremist violence during the period between June and October 1999 was placed under the military protection of KFOR, the looting of the Serbian Orthodox Church's property continued. The Berlin daily Morgenpost published information on March 14, 2002 that a member of the German KFOR contingent providing protection for the Orthodox Cathedral of St. George (Sv. Djordja) in Prizren (19th century) had been sentenced in Germany. The convicted soldier was arrested when he attempted to resell a diptych from the 17th century with an estimated value of 10,000 euros.

On June 28, 2002 the Frankfurt-based Serbian-language newspaper Vesti published that they had received reliable information from the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs' Office for Fighting Organized Crime that Slovenian police had recently arrested several Kosovo Albanians who were found to be in possession of some ten Orthodox icons believed to have originated from Kosovo and Metohija. Unfortunately, to this day the Serbian Orthodox Church has not received more precise information as to what happened with the recovered icons nor have they been returned to the Church.

In December 2001 the local Thessaloniki press reported that Greek police had arrested "four resellers of Serbian religious and art objects". According to a Greek police statement, group leader Kosta Nanos and his wife were in possession of 17 silverbound liturgical books from the 19th century, several icons from the 18th century and several valuable archeological artifacts from the classical age. The arrested group admitted that they purchased the artifacts in Albania from resellers from Kosovo and Metohija.

Since all destroyed or partially damaged Serbian Orthodox churches were left completely unprotected there is justifiable suspicion that the hunters for artistic loot could freely sort through the ruins and simply take whatever they found that had survived the destruction.

At the beginning of May 2002 the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija was notified by UNMIK police that the church bells had been stolen from the ruins of the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Sv. Trojice) in Djakovica, despite the fact that the site, located in the dead center of the city, was protected by Kosovo police. A few months later UNMIK police finally found the bells, which had been stolen by Kosovo Albanians allegedly to be resold to an Albanian Roman Catholic church. In June of the same year unidentified vandals broke into the Church of St. Basil of Ostrog (Sv. Vasilije Ostroski) in the village of Ljubovo near Istok. According to an UNMIK report, they damaged the wooden crucifix and looted the church. The church had been placed under the protection of Spanish KFOR troops after it was looted for the first time in the summer of 1999; it was left unprotected following KFOR's withdrawal at the beginning of 2002. On November 17 the same church was dynamited and leveled with the ground by Albanian extremists, resulting in the destruction of what remained following the two previous lootings.

The fate of mobile religious property of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the remaining churches located in areas now inhabited exclusively by Kosovo Albanians remains uncertain. At the end of 2002 representatives of UNMIK had sent a written request to Bishop Artemije to consider the systematic evacuation of the entire mobile inventory of those churches because due to the reduced number of troops, KFOR peacekeeping forces would no longer be able to protect these churches and there was a possibility that they would be looted. Bishop Artemije responded decisively that he would not accept this proposal, asking instead that KFOR and UNMIK do their jobs and protect the property of both the Serbian Orthodox Church and temporarily displaced Serbs.

Unfortunately, despite the presence of international peacekeeping forces, the destruction of Serbian Orthodox holy shrines and the looting of church property continues. It is incomprehensible that our Church and general public is finding out about instances of looting and reselling of our icons and books from the foreign press. In the past four years the Church has not received a single official report from UNMIK regarding the destruction and looting of its patrimonial treasure. The Church itself does not have the resources to conduct a detailed investigation of these incidents, prepare documentation and verify whether any church artifacts remain intact under the ruins of churches

It is tragic that neither our state nor Church is able to protect its religious legacy abandoned to the violence of the Albanian mafia and the indifference of international representatives despite the fact that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 unequivocally foresees the protection of patrimonial sites. In addition to numerous other injustices in Kosovo and Metohija, the looting and destruction of the Serbian religious heritage represents yet another sad page of the golgotha endured by the Serbian Orthodox Church and its faithful people in this region.

TOP


Security Council, in presidental statement, expresses support for "Standards for Kosovo", welcomes launch of review mechanism

Under the "standards before status" policy, designed for Kosovo (Serbia and Montenegro) and endorsed by the Council in application of its resolution 1244 (1999), Provisional Institutions for Self-Government have to achieve certain standards before final status of Kosovo can be addressed. The eight standards under the policy are: functioning democratic institutions; rule of law; freedom of movement; returns and reintegration; economy; property rights; dialogue with Belgrade; and the Kosovo Protection Corps.

TOP

United Nations Security Council

12/12/2003
Press Release

SC/7951

Security Council
4880th Meeting (PM)

The Security Council this afternoon expressed support for the "Standards for Kosovo", presented on 10 December in Pristina, after hearing a briefing yesterday from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno.

The 10-page standards document sets out point-by-point the meaning of the standards, which had been set to prepare Kosovo for final status.

Under the "standards before status" policy, designed for Kosovo (Serbia and Montenegro) and endorsed by the Council in application of its resolution 1244 (1999), Provisional Institutions for Self-Government have to achieve certain standards before final status of Kosovo can be addressed. The eight standards under the policy are: functioning democratic institutions; rule of law; freedom of movement; returns and reintegration; economy; property rights; dialogue with Belgrade; and the Kosovo Protection Corps.

In a Statement read by Council President Stefan Tafrov (Bulgaria), the Council also welcomed the launching of a review mechanism on 5 November in Pristina, which would give new momentum to the implementation of the "standards before status" policy. It supported the prospect of a comprehensive review of progress made by the Provisional Institutions of Self-government in meeting the standards. A first opportunity for such a comprehensive review should occur around mid-2005.

The Council urged the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government to participate fully and constructively in the working groups within the framework of the direct dialogue with Belgrade on practical issues of mutual interest and to demonstrate their commitment to the process. [In a 30 October Council briefing, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Harri Holkeri, had said that direct talks between Pristina and Belgrade had started on 14 October in Vienna, Austria, but that key figures had not participated. On the Kosovo side, four working groups with multi-ethnic representation must be promptly established and begin technical talks in Belgrade and Pristina.]

The Council reiterated the primacy of the regulations promulgated by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and subsidiary instruments as the law applicable in Kosovo.

The meeting began at 1:33 p.m. and adjourned at 1:40 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of Presidential Statement S/PRST/2003/26 reads as follows:

"The Security Council welcomes the launching of a review mechanism, under the auspices of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, as presented on 5 November in Pristina and Belgrade, on the initiative of the Contact Group (France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, with representatives from the European Union), giving new momentum to the implementation of the "standards before status" policy that was designed for Kosovo (Serbia and Montenegro), and endorsed by this Council in application of its resolution 1244 (1999).

"The Security Council recalls the eight standards, namely:
functioning democratic institutions; rule of law; freedom of movement; returns and reintegration; economy; property rights; dialogue with Belgrade; and the Kosovo Protection Corps. The Council in this respect urges the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government to participate fully and constructively in the working groups within the framework of the direct dialogue with Belgrade on practical issues of mutual interest, to demonstrate their commitment to the process.

"The Security Council supports the "Standards for Kosovo" presented on 10 December 2003. The Council awaits an implementation plan, to be finalized by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in his continuing consultation with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, and other relevant parties as appropriate, to be submitted to the Council. The plan should serve as a basis for the assessment of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government's progress in meeting the standards.

"The Security Council takes note that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, within his authority as set out in resolution
1244 (1999), inter alia, in the context of the review mechanism, will continue to consult closely with interested parties, in particular the Contact Group. The Council reaffirms its intention to continue to consider the regular reports of the Secretary-General, including an assessment from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, as to the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government's progress towards meeting the standards. The Council takes note that the Contact Group intends to make a substantive contribution to the regular reviews and to submit its assessments to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

"The Security Council supports the prospect of a comprehensive review of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government's progress in meeting the standards. The Council notes that, depending on progress made as assessed during the periodical review, a first opportunity for such a comprehensive review should occur around mid-2005. Reaffirming the "standards before status" policy, the Council stresses that further advancement towards a process to determine future status of Kosovo in accordance with resolution 1244 (1999) will depend on the positive outcome of this comprehensive review. The Council reiterates the primacy of the regulations promulgated by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and subsidiary instruments as the law applicable in Kosovo.

"The Security Council reaffirms its full support to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Holkeri and calls on the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo and all concerned to cooperate fully with him."


TOP


No progress in return of displaced persons without personal safety, freedom of movement

Covic called on the international community to take a more resolute stand to help eliminate problems hampering the return of displaced persons. According to him, there will not be any progress in the process unless perpetrators of crimes and incidents in the province are brought to justice and as long as property of non-Albanians is being destroyed and international community officials continue saying that safety cannot be guaranteed.

TOP

http://www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/news/2003-12/12/332404.html

Serbian Government


Belgrade, Dec 12, 2003 - Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija head Nebojsa Covic said at Friday's donor meeting on the return of displaced persons to Kosovo-Metohija that there will be no progress in the process unless returnees are guaranteed personal safety, freedom of movement and property rights.

Covic called on the international community to take a more resolute stand to help eliminate problems hampering the return of displaced persons. According to him, there will not be any progress in the process unless perpetrators of crimes and incidents in the province are brought to justice and as long as property of non-Albanians is being destroyed and international community officials continue saying that safety cannot be guaranteed.

Serbia-Montenegro will continue providing financial assistance for the returnees next year to help them build and reconstruct houses, said Covic, adding that he expects ethnic Albanian leaders in the province to make an effort to show support for the returning persons.

According to UNMIK Office on Returns and Communities Director Peggy Hicks, the return of displaced persons next year calls for ?38.5 million. Stressing that the process of return has not reached the desired level in 2003, Hicks said she expects better results from the so-called "bottom-up" approach in 2004.

As part of the meeting, representatives of UNMIK, interim self-government institutions in Kosovo-Metohija, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Coordinating Centre called on foreign embassies and representatives of the international community to provide financial assistance for the return of displaced persons to the province next year.


TOP


Ibrahim Rugova changes Kosovo flag - black eagle on a blue background

It's not the color of the Kosovo sky, as Rugova says, but the color Albanians want to use to woo the powerful European countries, says Dr. Rados Ljusic (pr. Radosh Lyushich)

TOP

http://www.politika.co.yu/2003/1208/01_21.htm

Politika daily, Belgrade
December 8, 2003


(photo: Ibrahim Rugova in front of his bogus flag of "Kosovo state"


"It's unbelievable how life and history can create a paradoxical reality. Mahatma Gandhi fought against English colonialism, while the long-term goal of Ibrahim Rugova, the president of Kosovo, was to expel the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija and annex the Serbian province to Albania. It might of happened if a similar problem was not pending in half of the countries of Europe. This is the only reason why Kosovo and Metohija is under a protectorate and there are peacekeeping forces there now," says Dr. Rados Ljusic, professor of history at Belgrade University's Faculty of Philosophy.

The reason for this reaction was an interview given by Rugova to the Italian daily "Corriere della Serra" on November 27, the day before the national holiday of the Republic of Albanian, that is, Flag Day. The Italian paper presented Rugova as "the Balkan Gandhi", the proponent of nonviolence and tolerance, a pro-Western politician with a linking for Christianity. On the other hand, Rugova familiarized readers with the new flag of independent Kosovo and described the project of a Christian church dedicated to Mother Theresa [of Calcutta] to be built in Pristina.

When the interview of Ibrahim Rugova is analyzed, said Dr. Ljusic, it becomes obvious that it represents an attempt to cover up the true situation in Kosovo and Metohija, to manipulate not only the truth but also historical fact with the object of realizing Albanian extremist and nationalistic goals.

The truth about religious tolerance

Rados Ljusic explains that Rugova is tolerant of crimes and violence committed by Albanian extremists and terrorists against the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. During the past three and a half years in Kosovo and Metohija more than two thousand Serbs have been killed or abducted. Attacks on Serbs are occurring on a ongoing basis. Hardly a day passes that extremists do not toss a hand grenade or physically attack a Serb. When the provisional institutions of self-government were formed and when Ibrahim Rugova was elected as Kosovo president, the crimes did not stop.

Rugova portrays himself as a man of religious tolerance only toward the Roman Catholics and the Vatican because this suits his interests. "He wants to build a monument dedicated to Mother Theresa in Pristina. And where was Mother Theresa born? In Skopje. Her father's name was Nikola [Nicholas] and he is said to have been a Tsintsar (Wallachian). But the church dedicated to her is to be built in Pristina. Pope John Paul II was invited because his support and the support of the Vatican would mean a lot to Rugova and the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija. The fact that there are no Catholics in Pristina and the [Roman Catholic] Croats have left Janjevo is not important to Rugova. The important thing is that Rugova and the Albanians present themselves to the world as being religiously tolerant," explained our interlocutor.

And what of the 114 Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo and Metohija destroyed and damaged in just the last three and a half years? asks Ljusic. "Nothing. You weren't expecting Rugova to say a kind word about the Serbs, their religion and churches? After all, the destroyed churches are a consequence of Rugova's and the Albanians' 'religious tolerance'."

Arbanasi-Sqiptars-Albanians-Dardanians

The Serbs must admit, says Dr. Rados Ljusic, that the Albanians are carrying out all activities in regard to gaining the independence of Kosovo and its unification with Albania in a thought-out and cunning manner. An example of this would be, say, in the use of the flag. At the time that Kosovo and Metohija was a province of Serbia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Kosovo Albanians had their own flag, the black eagle on a bordeaux-colored background. They also used the flag of the Republic of Albania, the black eagle on a red background. Now in his presidential office Ibrahim Rugova has a third flag he describes as being the flag of Kosovo. On it is the black eagle in a red circle on a black background. "It's not the color of the Kosovo sky, as Rugova says, but the color Albanians want to use to woo the powerful European countries," says Dr. Rados Ljusic.

Thus, on a blue background there is a bordeaux-colored circle and in it a black eagle. The most important feature of the flag is the black eagle. It is the symbol under which all Albanians wish to unite.

On the blue background of the new flag of the "independent Kosovo" there is also an inscription - Dardania. How is it possible for this old name to find itself on the flag of independent Kosovo? It is possible, explains Dr. Ljusic, because the Albanians are rewriting their history and their origin according to need. At one time, namely, they said they were Arbanasi. Then they claimed to originate from the Illyrians and the tribe of Alban, hence the name - Albanians. At one time they were also the Sqiptars but when that took on a negative connotation, they decided on the name Albanians. In keeping with their aspirations for an independent Kosovo, they have now begun to call themselves Kosovars. It wouldn't surprise me, continued Dr. Ljusic, is they were to suddenly become Dardanians. It's useful to keep in mind, he adds, that the official name of the Albanian state is the National Republic of the Sqiptars (Sqiptar is word for Albanian in Albanian language, Sqipnia means Albania in Albanian)

And who, in fact, are the Dardanians? A people, said Dr. Rados Ljusic, who lived in the area of the west Morava River Valley and in the Ibar River Valley, as far as the south Morava River and the source of the Vardar River... By proclaiming the Dardanians to be their ancestors, the Albanians want to show that their presence in this region far precedes the Slavs. According to Rugova, this region should become independent Dardania so that it can later be annexed to a greater, united Albania.

By changing the name of Kosovo and Metohija to Dardania, the Albanians want to "erase" the Serbian history of this region, says Dr. Ljusic. By doing so it would be more easy to achieve the unification of Dardania and Albania.

by Stana Ristic


TOP


INET News from Kosovo and Metohija, Dec 12, 2003

Introductory summary

TOP

I*Net News, Belgrade

Friday 12 December 2003

21:00 UNMIK Office for Returns director Peggy Hicks stated today that
38.5 million euros are necessary in 2004 for the return of displaced persons to Kosovo.

20:40 In order to achieve any progress in realizing the return of displaced persons to Kosovo and Metohija, it is necessary to first ensure personal safety and freedom of movement not only for the returnees, but also for members of the non-Albanian community presently living in the southern Serbian province, assessed Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija president Nebojsa Covic today at a donor informational meeting on returns.

20:20 EU high representative for security and foreign policy Javier Solana said that the strategy of UNMIK and the Contact Group for implementation of the policy of "standards before status" offers a clear roadmap for the immediate future of Kosovo.

12:20 Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi's spokeswoman Mimoza Kusari announced that the Kosovo government will hold an extraordinary session today regarding the decision of UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri to overturn the decision of the Kosovo parliament to rescind 53 Serbian laws passed after March 22, 1989.

11:40 The Serbian Government decided on Thursday to dismiss the Presevo municipal assembly and called on representatives of all political parties to name their representatives in the provisional municipal council. The Presevo municipal assembly was dismissed because it has not held a single regular session since July 24 of this year.


TOP


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

Disclaimer:
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

Additional information on our Diocese and the life of the Kosovo Serb Community may be found at: http://www.kosovo.net

Copyright 2003, ERP KIM Info-Service