February 14, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 14-02-04 b

Brinkmann ordered food to be thrown away rather than to be shared with a Serbian priest who cannot buy it


Fr. Herman: To throw food to the garbage rather than to share it with a hungry neighbor is nothing but a basic lack of human solidarity and culture

Lack of basic human solidarity - an example what peacekeeping should not be

"We are particularly offended by the behavior of some German officers and soldiers who behave towards us like an occupation force and not as peacekeepers", says Abbot Herman of the Holy Archangels monastery. "We definitely do not want to depend on their food and we can provide our supplies ourselves, but so far it has been a matter of elementary human solidarity and kindness that their soldiers who keep guard at the St. George's church in Prizren share their food rations with our priest who cannot normally buy food in town. We ourselves have always offered to their soldiers food and drink whenever they would visit our monastery and so far have had quite friendly relations with the previous contingents of German KFOR. However, their latest decision that the soldiers at St. George's must throw away the remaining food into garbage rather than to share it with our priest is definitely not a consequence of their "lack of food or cooks" as Lt. Col. Brinkmann officially told me. In fact, this is basic lack of human solidarity and culture which is so important for the peacekeeping forces. They are here to help and win the confidence of the local population and not to evoke the painful memories from the past century", says Fr. Herman.

In the year which is expected to be a year of increased returns of Serb refugees to the Prizren area behavior of the local German KFOR seriously undermines the confidence in the peacekeeping forces presenting them ethnically biased against Serb population.

Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren would like to thank to many of our German friends who have written to us or contacted the Holy Archangels monastery immediately on hearing the news of behavior of the local German KFOR in Prizren. They expressed their solidarity with our monks and were shocked by the behavior of the local German commander in Prizren and his elementary lack of flexibility and understanding. Among those who contacted us are some of German soldiers who served in Prizren and still remember a glass of brandy in the monastery as well as beautiful wood-carved crosses Fr. Herman made for them. These messages give us assurance that the measures taken against the brothers of the Holy Archangels monastery are not the general position of the German people who have accepted hundreds thousands of Serbs after the World War II in their country in which they found their new home. Regrettably, the example of Lt. Col Brinkmann and his men is an isolated, but yet a painful example how irresponsible individuals in the position of command may damage good relations which his predecessors have built with the Serbian Orthodox Church since the arrival of KFOR.

Among the reactions we are enclosing an article by Jürgen Elsässer published in the Junge Welt. Danke, Jürgen!

INTERNATIONAL – KOSOVO

Original text in German: http://www.jungewelt.de/2004/02-09/005.php

Modern Persecution of Christians - Bundeswehr denies Serbian monks protection from Albanian terrorists

If KFOR no longer supports the Serbs with food, electricity and escorts, they are turned over to Albanian extremists who thrive on destruction. Since the deployment of KFOR in June 1999, they have destroyed 30 churches and monasteries just in the German sector, 100 throughout Kosovo, many of them irreplaceable monuments with frescoes from the early Middle Ages. "None of the offenders has ever been brought before the court, and there is not even proof that actual inquiries were ever conducted," criticizes the Diocese.

Junge Welt
February 9, 2004

Jürgen Elsässer

"I am horrified by the treatment of my monks. This behavior on the part of the German military contingent will lead to the complete eviction of the Serbian church from a region in which it has survived for centuries, even under Turkish dominion," protested Bishop Artemije, the highest dignitary of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, at the beginning of February.

The current deterioration of relations between the occupying powers and the faithful goes back to an attack by 30 Albanian extremists on the January 21 on Orthodox monks in Djakovica who were accompanied by an ARD television team and a KFOR escort. After the Diocese informed the press, Belgrade newspapers reported on the incident in detail. The German armed forces, who would have had reason to seriously pursue the Albanian offenders for damaging their vehicles during the attack, strangely enough turned their fury upon the Serb victims. First, they refused the monastery to which the monks attacked in Djakovica belonged further use of their electrical generator – in the middle of winter a practically lethal measure. Second, they stopped delivering food to the last Serb priest in the bishop's residence in Prizren, the capital of the German area of jurisdiction. Third, all military escorts which had protected up to now the travelling of the faithful within Kosovo were discontinued. "The monks are being punished only because they published the truth about the incident in Djakovica. The German KFOR wanted to cover up everything," protested Bishop Artemije.

If KFOR no longer supports the Serbs with food, electricity and escorts, they are turned over to Albanian extremists who thrive on destruction. Since the deployment of KFOR in June 1999, they have destroyed 30 churches and monasteries just in the German sector, 100 throughout Kosovo, many of them irreplaceable monuments with frescoes from the early Middle Ages. "None of the offenders has ever been brought before the court, and there is not even proof that actual inquiries were ever conducted," criticizes the Diocese. Orahovac and Prizren are the last bases of Orthodox Christianity in the German zone. Prior to NATO deployment some 20,000 Serbs in Prizren; only about 60 remain. Altogether between 200,000 (according to the Red Cross) and 360,000 (according to the Serbian government) non-Albanians have fled from Kosovo or been expelled since 1999, leaving 80,000 to 120,000 still remaining in the province. The population of the Albanian majority is given as two million. "During the last four years 2,500 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been killed in spite of the KFOR-protectorate," Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic, a politician absolutely friendly to NATO, complained during a state visit to Berlin at the end of November 2003.

During a visit to the monastery in Prizren at the end of January, captain Mark Stiehlers, the spokesman of the German KFOR commander's office, stated that the monks should be prepared for attacks because "the Serbs have killed many Albanians here". He especially criticized Bishop Artemije because of his continued insistence "on UN Resolution 1244 and on the fact that Kosovo is a part of Serbia". This UN resolution is the international law basis for the stationing of KFOR in Kosovo and defines its mission as, among other things, the "guarantee of public safety and order" (Article 9d).


TOP

Serb Parlamentarian requests protection of Holy Archangel Monastery

Member of the Kosovo parliamentary presidency Oliver Ivanovic today asked for help from international administrators in Kosovo in securing relatively normal living conditions for the brotherhood of Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren.

 
Ivanovic asked for help for the monks during today's meeting with Kosovo Ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki in Pristina after German KFOR discontinued providing escorts for them last month.
 
"We agreed that the situation the monks are in now is alarming and that it is unacceptable that they cannot visit the Orthodox people remaining in the Prizren area," said Ivanovic (BETA News Agency, Belgrade, Feb 12)

 


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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