November 28, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 28-11-03b

"Flag Day" another display of pan-Albanian territorial expansionism

UNMIK and Kosovo Institutions before a crucial exam

26 Serb returnees have been waiting for several days to be allowed to return to their homes in Klina town


National day of Republic of Albania is cel
ebrated by Kosovo Albanians
as a day of pan-Albanian territorial unification. Photo showing a group of youg Kosovo Albanians
with flags of Republic of Albania in Pristina (Civpol archive photo)

 

CONTENTS:

Editorial:

Flag Day - symbol of pan-Albanian expansionism and not a way towards democracy
One thing is quite evident. The present Kosovo Albanian political elite is not leading Kosovo Province towards the 21st century, integrated and multiethnic Europe, but to the anachronistic ideals of the 19th century romantic nationalism. Today, streets of Kosovo cities will be decorated with flags of a foreign state, Republic of Albania. Serbs and other non-Albanians cannot even dream of allowing themselves such displays of patriotism although Kosovo Province officially, according to the UN SC resolution 1244 is not a province of Albania but of Serbia-Montenegro.

26 Serb returnees wait to be allowed to return to their homes in Klina town
"Kosovo Albanian leaders and UNMIK representatives constantly claim that all returnees may freely return to their homes. Therefore this is a good opportunity to follow the words with action and demonstrate sincere readiness of the local municipal structures to receive Serb returnees to Klina", said Bishop Artemije for the ERP KiM Info-Service. "I strongly appeal on UNMIK and KFOR to support return of Klina Serbs to their homes and create conditions for their safe and dignified life", added the Bishop.

Vandals target Serb Orthodox church in Kosovo
Serbian Orthodox Church in Gornja Brnjica near Pristina robbed. Serbian Orthodox Diocese for Kosovo and Metohija expressed serious concern because of continuation of vandalism against Christian holy sites in Kosovo Province.


Serbs in Obilic evicted from their apartments
465 out of 5.000 Serbs who lived in Obilic prior to the conflict are in danger of losing their apartments

Threatening letters against Western diplomatic offices in Kosovo
On Thursday, UNMIK Police has confirmed that UN in New York has received several threatening letters for possible attacks against diplomatic offices of several western countries in Pristina. For this reason security measures have been increased on the streets of the capital of Kosovo.

Crime threatens Courts, Prosecutors and Police in Kosovo says "Kosova Sot"
Courts, Prosecutors and Police in Kosovo say that they are working under threat of criminal elements and on conducting of their duties they are facing the danger of losing their lives. Courts and Prosecutors report for attacks and threats of their personnel. Also UNMIK Police Spokesperson, Michael Kreuzpainter said that it is not easy to work as a policeman in Kosovo. "Sometimes it is very dangerous to work as policeman_ You always have the feeling that you are under threat and that your life could end," he said.


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"Flag Day" a symbol of pan-Albanian expansionism and not a way towards democratic society

One thing is quite evident. The present Kosovo Albanian political elite is not leading Kosovo Province towards the 21st century, integrated and multiethnic Europe, but to the anachronistic ideals of the 19th century romantic nationalism. Today, streets of Kosovo cities will be decorated with flags of a foreign state, Republic of Albania. Serbs and other non-Albanians cannot even dream of allowing themselves such displays of patriotism although Kosovo Province officially, according to the UN SC resolution 1244 is not a province of Albania but of Serbia-Montenegro.

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Editorial
Fr. Sava Janjic

ERPKIM Info-Service
Gracanica, November 28, 2003

"Formal recognition of Kosovo independence will bring peace to all Albanians, stated Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova, addressing the Kosovo Albanian citizens, in light of the 28 th of November, the Albanian Flag Day, the national holiday of Republic of Albania. As usual Mr. Rugova did not speculate what kind of peace his "independent Kosovo" will bring to other ethnicities in the Province.

On this day, back in 1912, the Albanian flag was raised in Vlora (Valona), that way symbolically proclaiming Albania , independent. Since then this holiday has become a focus of pan-Albanian idea that all ethnic Albanians should live in one political entity and under one flag. Adding so much importance to the "Flag day" in Kosovo is definitely not a coincidence but a clear expression of pan-Albanianism under which there will be no place for other ethnic groups.

Kosovo Prime minister Bajram Rexhepi, former member of the KLA and a close associate of Hashim Thaci, reminded that the 28 th of November has one more special meaning for Kosovo by pointing that Adem Jashari, one of the founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was born on this day. For Mr. Rexhepi and his party this day is the day of glorification of the KLA, organization responsible for numerous war and post-war crimes against innocent Serb and moderate Albanian residents of the province.

These statements of the leading Kosovo Albanian politicians are in complete discrepancy with their often repeated phrases that their goal is building a modern, multiethnic and European society in which all residents regardless of their ethnicity and religions will be treated equally. Furthermore, celebration of the Flag day and the statements alluding to Kosovo as a part of Greater Albania (or Albania as a part of Greater Kosovo) can hardly encourage Serb and non-Albanian residents of the UN administered Province to expect better future. The Flag day has always been an opportunity to see the true goal of Kosovo Albanian leaders and that is building not only of a second ethnic Albanian state in the Balkans (independent Kosovo) but unification of all ethnic Albanians and the territories on which they live under one flag and one ethnic idea. Whether that would be called Greater Albania or Greater Kosovo or whatever does not seem to be important for the time being. For Mr. Rugova and Mr. Rexhepi other ethnicities do not seem to exist, anyway.

One thing is quite evident. The present Kosovo Albanian political elite is not leading Kosovo Province towards the 21st century and integrated and multiethnic Europe but to the anachronistic ideals of the 19th century romantic nationalism. Today, streets of Kosovo cities will be decorated with flags of a foreign state, Republic of Albania. Serbs and other non-Albanians cannot even dream of allowing themselves such displays of patriotism although Kosovo Province officially, according to the UN SC resolution 1244 is not a province of Albania but of Serbia-Montenegro.

Will UNMIK react to this open display of Albanian nationalism and glorification of KLA extremism? Probably not (as usual). UNMIK HQ and the Western diplomatic missions have already been secured by armored vehicles and their personnel has already been advised to avoid traveling around the Province today.

Again, one can clearly see that the wrong and ethnically biased UNMIK policy in Kosovo is pushing the Province not towards a multiethnic and democratic society compatible with European and Western values but towards the tribal society of the 19th century. The Flag day is not a holiday of all Kosovo residents but of exclusively one ethnic group the leaders of which want to create their ow nation state taylored for ethinc Albanians only. Others, of course, might be tolerated only as second-rate citizens which will make a false impression of non-existent multiethnicity and democracy but will sooner or later disappear or be assimilated as other non-Albanian ethnic groups in the neighboring Albania.

One can hope that today's festivities will pass without blood because on previous occasions the Flag day was an opportunity for pogroms against unprotected non-Albanian civilians who will remain today bunkered in their isolated homes and enclaves. Serbs can never forget the cold blooded murder of Prof. Basic, a Berkley professor, and his family on Flag day in 1999. Although educated in U.S. and ready to give his contribution to building of Kosovo's democracy professor Basic was killed in the street by a cheering crowd only because he was not an ethnic Albanian.

The Flag day mania is definitely not a way towards reconciliation and better future. It will only make the ethnic rifts even deeper and more painful. In fact tolerating Albanian nationalism on one hand and sanctioning other nationalisms on the other will only encourage extremists in other Balkan states who will see that violence, terrorism and force may after all be the best profitable way to realize their anachronistic dreams of ethnically clean territories. Such ideas which are regrettably benevolently tolerated by UNMIK in Kosovo will plunge the Balkans into new wars sooner or later if they are not eradicated in time. The same standards must be applied to all equeally otherwise the ethnically biased policy of the UN Mission will only grow seeds of new problems for the Balkans and Europe.

symbol of power and excluding "others"

"And for what does the Albanian flag stand? Is it a symbol to you of power? Or is it, instead, a symbol of higher values? Does it represent the goals, the dreams, of a people struggling for something better in their communal life? Or does it represent a means for excluding "others," for building barriers that separate rather than unite?

...You are celebrating the unity of the Albanian people under the symbol of a flag. Our hope, however, is that you will one day soon celebrate the unity of the people of Kosovo, the unity of everyone who lives in Kosovo, whatever their language or ethnic community, whatever their religion or political beliefs. Our dream for you is that you will one day soon celebrate the unity of Kosovars united in working together to make Kosovo a society for which all its members can be thankful.

Reno Harnish
Chief of the U.S. Office in Kosovo
on occasion of the Flag day celebration in 2002


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26 Serb returnees wait to be allowed to return to their homes in Klina town

"Kosovo Albanian leaders and UNMIK representatives constantly claim that all returnees may freely return to their homes. Therefore this is a good opportunity to follow the words with action and demonstrate sincere readiness of the local municipal structures to receive Serb returnees to Klina", said Bishop Artemije for the ERP KiM Info-Service. "I strongly appeal on UNMIK and KFOR to support return of Klina Serbs to their homes and create conditions for their safe and dignified life", added the Bishop.


St. Mark's Serbian Orthodox church in Klina destroyed by Kosovo
Albanian extremists in b summer 1999

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ERP KIM Info-service
Gracanica, November 27, 2003

Representatives of 26 Serbian families who fled their homes in Klina, 50 km west of Pristina, in summer 1999 returned to Kosovo and Metohija with intention to stay in their homes. In the group there are 24 men and two women who arrived on November 22 to the Patriarchate of Pec monastery and at the moment are temporarily accommodated in the nearby Serb enclave-village of Bica near Klina.

Yesterday and today the returnees had meetings with the local UNMIK and KFOR representatives in order to find the best way how to organize their safe return to their homes in Klina town. According to Marko Nedeljkovic, one of the Serb returnees, all Serbs in the group have strongly decided not to leave Kosovo and Metohija any more. They made it clear that they will keep insisting on the international representatives to let them realize their elementary human right - to return to their homes and bring their families soon.

UNMIK representatives were taken by surprise with this request and reportedly tried to dissuade the returnees to go back to central Serbia until proper conditions are created for their sustainable return. The situation in the Klina area is still tense and unstable, they explained. However, the Serbs refused this proposal and understood it as an excuse to prolong the return process.

Bishop Artemije and the SNC gave support to the returnees

Bishop of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija Artemije (Radosavljevic) talked this morning with the returnees and gave them full support in the name of the Church and the Serbian National Council of Kosovo-Metohija saying that the return to their homes is their legitimate and undeniable right. "Kosovo Albanian leaders and UNMIK representatives constantly claim that all returnees may freely return to their homes. Therefore this is a good opportunity to follow the words with action and demonstrate sincere readiness of the local municipal structures to receive Serb returnees to Klina", said Bishop Artemije for the ERP KiM Info-Service. "I strongly appeal on UNMIK and KFOR to support return of Klina Serbs to their homes and create conditions for their safe and dignified life", added the Bishop.

Declarative appeals on expelled Kosovo Serbs to return with systematic creation of all kinds of obstructions for the return process has become a commons strategy of some Kosovo Albanian leaders who intend to prevent return of displaced Serbs to their homes, it is said in today's communique of the SNC KIM. Regrettably, even among some UNMIK and KFOR structures there are certain obstructions for the collective returns because that might give additional obligation to the dwindling international personnel in Kosovo. It is unacceptable that the lack of money for their returns is mentioned as a reason for passivity. When thousands of Kosovo Albanians returned to Kosovo in 1999 that process did not last more than a month. However for Serbs totally different rules seem to exist. Out of 250.000 Serbs who fled the Province only several hundreds have returned in the last few years which is the most vivid example of double standards, it is concluded in the SNC KiM communique.

Two weeks ago a go-and-see visit of a group of displaced Serbs to their ruined homes in Musutiste village near Suva Reka resulted with an incident. Local Albanians stoned the UNHCR bus and said that they would never allow their return. Similar extremist rallies were organized against the return of Serbs to the village of Bica near Klina last year.

Nenad Radosavljevic: This is an exam for all of us!

ERP KiM Info-service has just received a statement of Mr. Nenad Radosavljevic, a special adviser to the UNMIK chief for returns and displaced persons. The statement was given to Zoran Culafic from UNMIK Radio:

"26 families, 26 honest and serious men and women are at the moment in a common room in Bica village waiting for our support and assistance to return to their homes in Klina town. Two days ago they made a solemn oath in the monastery of Pec Patriarchate that they would stay in Kosovo and Metohija and would not return to collective centers and refugee camps in central Serbia. Their basic and undeniable human right is to get in possession of their own private property.

KFOR is obliged to protect them from possible attack of extremist individuals and Italian soldiers are ready and decisive to perform their duty. I have personally seen that they are ready to help.

This case is an exam for all other participants and factors in the return process to Kosovo and Metohija. In this case we will see who is a true supporter and who obstructer of the return.

When Kosovo Albanian villagers of Gornja Bitinja, near Strpce, wanted to return to their part of the village six months ago in a similar way I received calls from the chief of the U.S. Office, director of the PRM Foundation, directors of the ORC, UNHCR and OSCE to assist in resolving a problem between the returnees and the Serbs who live in other part of the village. I readily did this and we succeeded.

Now I expect from these same organizations and institutions to do the same and appeal on Mr. Thaci, Mr. Rugova and Mr. Rexhepi to practically confirm their so many times repeated declarative statements in support of Serb returns.

I also call and appeal all international organizations, NGO's and others to do their part of job and offer urgent assistance to the returnees", said Mr. Nenad Radosavljevic.

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Vandals target Serb Orthodox church in Kosovo

Serbian Orthodox Church in Gornja Brnjica near Pristina robbed. Serbian Orthodox Diocese for Kosovo and Metohija expressed serious concern because of continuation of vandalism against Christian holy sites in Kosovo Province.

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ERP KiM Info-Service, Beta News Agency, Belgrade
Pristina, November 27, 2003

GORNJA BRNJICA - Parish priest Father Miroslav Popadic confirmed that unknown persons robbed the church in the village of Gornja Brnjica about ten kilometers north of Pristina.

The thieves entered the church last night through the belfry, climbing down the rope of the church bell. After the robbery they smashed the main doors in order to get out of the church, said Father Miroslav. The incident has been reported to the Kosovo Police Service, which completed an investigative report. Investigation is in progress.

This latest incident follows a similar attack on the St. Dimitrije Church in Susica near Gracanica a few days ago when unknown persons again damaged the fence around the church and sprayed the church walls with ethnic Albanian slogans.

Serbian Orthodox Diocese for Kosovo and Metohija expressed serious concern because of continuation of vandalism against Christian holy sites in Kosovo Province.

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Serbs in Obilic evicted from their apartments

465 out of 5.000 Serbs who lived in Obilic prior to the conflict are in danger of losing their apartments

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Radio Serbia and Montenegro
27 November, 2003

Representatives of the Obilic Municipality Directorate for Housing and Property Issues tried to extort Serb-owned flats in downtown Obilic, central Kosovo-Metohija, having ordered the owners to leave them by 13th December, the coordinator of the Coordination Center for Kosovo-Metohija in that municipality, Milenko Andric, confirmed to Tanjug (Agency, Belgrade).

We had a heated discussion with Directorate representatives on Wednesday, after which we presented them with copies of contracts showing that the flats in downtown Obilic are owned by Serbs who still live in them, Andric said. He assessed that at issue is pressure by Kosmet Albanian municipal structures which claim without any proof that the flats in which Serbs in Obilic live are owned by the municipality. Of the 5,000 Serbs living in Obilic before the war, only 465 have remained, and they are mostly elderly people.

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Threatening letters against diplomatic offices of Western countries in Pristina

On Thursday, UNMIK Police has confirmed that UN in New York has received several threatening letters for possible attacks against diplomatic offices of several western countries in Pristina. For this reason security measures have been increased on the streets of the capital of Kosovo.

Radio Television Kosovo
November 27, 2003


Pristina, 27 Nov (RTK) – On Thursday, UNMIK Police has confirmed that UN in New York has received several threatening letters for possible attacks against diplomatic offices of several western countries in Pristina. For this reason security measures have been increased on the streets of the capital of Kosovo.

"Based on information received by UN headquarters in New York, KFOR and the police have increased patrols. This is due to a general threat against foreign governments and police buildings in Pristina", said the UNMIK police representative Angela Joseph.

In the threatening letter is said that the attack will happen within 72 hours. The police say that the increased security measures will last until December 01.

The UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri also says that the security measures have been increased. "We have increased the security measures not because of rumors but because we are responsible to do this in any case and every day ", said Holkeri.

According to the UNMIK police, they are analyzing these threats very seriously. There is not any information who is behind these threats.


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KOSOVO'S JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN A DEADLOCK

Crime Threatens Courts, Prosecutors and Police

Courts, Prosecutors and Police in Kosovo say that they are working under threat of criminal elements and on conducting of their duties they are facing the danger of losing their lives. Courts and Prosecutors report for attacks and threats of their personnel. Also UNMIK Police Spokesperson, Michael Kreuzpainter said that it is not easy to work as a policeman in Kosovo. "Sometimes it is very dangerous to work as policeman_ You always have the feeling that you are under threat and that your life could end," he said.

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Kosova Sot, Pristina daily in Albanian
November 27, 2003

Courts, Prosecutors and Police in Kosovo say that they are working under threat of criminal elements and on conducting of their duties they are facing the danger of losing their lives. Courts and Prosecutors report for attacks and threats of their personnel. Justice and law institutions in Kosovo said that such situation upsets them. On Wednesday, the President of the Circuit Court in Pristina, Anton Nokaj said that there is no security for people that deal with justice in Kosovo. "There are threats and the danger is very great," said Nokaj. He declared that pressures and threats for justice organs don't come from any political structure but from "criminal elements." Nokaj called Kosova residents to cooperate with police and courts on the war against the crime, but in the same time he accused the investigation organs for lack of cooperation.

President of Circuit Prosecution in Pristina, Osman Kryeziu said that the threats are so frequent, "such people come to our offices and threaten us." "With the fact that we conduct this duty, we are jeopardized. We need more security," said Kryeziu.

Also UNMIK Police Spokesperson, Michael Kreuzpainter said that it is not easy to work as a policeman in Kosovo. "Sometimes it is very dangerous to work as policeman_ You always have the feeling that you are under threat and that your life could end," he said.

According to information, the most often attacks and threats were addressed against KPS members. Also UNMIK Police called the residents to cooperate more with the Police.

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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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