Albanians Continue with Attacks on Serb Population and its holy sites
Communique of the Diocese
For immediate release
Decani, September 27, 2002
CEMETERY DESECRATED FOR THE THIRD TIME
Monks of the Visoki Decani Monastery observed today that the Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Decani has again been desecrated. After the recent desecration of the grave of Mirka Stefanovic, unknown perpetrators destroyed several other grave markers at the cemetery. Branches were collected on the grave of Mirka Stefanovic which were set on fire along with the cross from her grave which was further broken. It was only due to the rain that the cross and the branches did not burn completely. The monks also noticed that the top soil on the grave itself had been previously disturbed. Mud had been spread on several of the marble grave markers. The attackers also cut down two trees and the wooden gate to the cemetery was damaged by an axe. The monks also found bovine feces in the cemetery which proves that the local Albanians have begun to allow their cows into the cemetery to inflict as much damage as possible to this holy place.
The monks of the monastery testify that they are confronted with verbal provocations on almost a daily basis. On September 25 an unknown Albanian was seen cutting down a walnut tree belonging to the monastery located not far from the monastery itself, while Albanian children come every day to collect monastery walnuts despite the Italian guards who are protecting monastery property.
The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren most strenuously protests against the most recent vandal desecration of the Decani Orthodox Cemetery as well as against the frequent provocations directed against the monastery brotherhood. It is unfathomable that FOR forces would allow the Orthodox cemetery, located only some one hundred meters from an Italian military base, to be desecrated three times. The Diocese notes with great sorrow that no one on the Albanian side has dared to condemn the most recent desecrations of cemeteries nor on any single attack on the buildings and shrines of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija.
The barbarian burning of the Cross - the symbol of Christianity and peace - demonstrates the tragic fact that in the region of Kosovo and Metohija there is an increasing resurrection of extremism which not only of Albanian ethnic character but is directed against Christianity and all achievements of European civilization. The Diocese once again appeals to the representatives of UNMIK and KFOR to finally once and for all undertake concrete measures against the perpetrators of these crimes. The continuation of the campaign of desecration of Christian graves and churches in Kosovo and Metohija and steadfast ignoring of it by representatives of so-called "democratic Kosovo institutions" clearly and openly demonstrates to the Serb people and the international community at large that in Kosovo and Metohija an anti-civilizational and anti-European society is being built without any law and order. The Diocese of Raska and Prizren once again appeal to the entire international community to make it aware of this fact and encourage it to disallow the destruction of centuries of Christian culture and the political destabilization of the entire region under the patronage of the UN and NATO.
monks inform the Serb Authorities in Belgrade about violations of their
human and religious rights and latest desecrations
Belgrade, September 28, 2002:
Abbot of the Monastery of Visoki Decani Fr. Teodosije (Sibalic) and his deputy Fr. Sava (Janjic) will have a special meeting today with the representatives of the Coordination Center of the Serbian and Yugoslav Governments in Belgrade in order to inform them about the latest barbarous attacks on the Church. The issue of continued desecration of Christian holy sites in the UN administered province was also discussed at the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on Monday and such acts were unanimously condemned as acts which lead the southern Serbian province towards chaos and disorder.
Fr. Teodosije and Fr. Sava will specially discuss with Serb officials creation of special protection zones around the most important Serbian Orthodox holy sites. "Announced reduction of KFOR protection will be disasterous for our monasteries. Until normal conditions of life are created KFOR should keep our holy sites under strong military protection whereas UNMIK police must find the perpertrators of desecrations, said Fr. Teodosije. "We are all so disappointed that 30.000 of KFOR troops and thousands of UN policeman cannot find a single perpertrator of these vandal acts and punish them", concluded the Abbot of Decani Monastery.
If desecrations of the Serbian Orthodox holy sites in the UN administered region of Kosovo and Metohija continue with impunity as so far Serbian Orthodox Church will plan organizing of public protests in front of Belgrade embassies asking protection from the ethnic Albanian vandalism and extremism. "We cannot allow that Kosovo under the UN protectorate becomes an European Afganistan. Burning of crosses and continued harrassment of the clergy show that the province is sliding towards the worst kind of extremisim and primitivism, said Fr. Sava Janjic, the deputy abbot of the Decani Monastery.
THROWN IN VILLAGE OF PLEMETINA
Pristina - On Thursday evening at 8:30 p.m. an unknown person or persons tossed a hand grenade at the railway station in the Serb village of Plemetina in Obilic municipality, some ten kilometers north of Pristina. Local resident Mirce Jakovljevic told SRNA no one was injured in the explosion but significant material damage was sustained by nearby stores and cafes. The UN police and KFOR have restricted access to the place of the explosion and are conducting investigative work.
PARLIAMENT REJECTS PROPOSED INSTRUCTION IN SERBIAN
Pristina - On Thursday the Kosovo Parliament rejected a proposal for instruction in junior colleges and faculties in Kosovo to be also conducted in the Serbian language. The constitutionally-based appeal of the Serb Return (Povratak) Coalition to the law on post-secondary education proposing the introduction of education in the Serbian language, too, was rejected by a majority of Albanian votes. Kosovo Parliamentary Executive Committee member Gojko Savic told SRNA news agency that the Return Coalition proposal was supported by UNMIK representative James O'Brian.
The parliament adopted the constitutional appeal of the Return Coalition that the nine-year system of elementary system of education not be implemented during this school year for Serb students but in the following year. Parliamentary Executive Committee member Oliver Ivanovic said that the implementation of such a system during this school year would be a primary obstacle to the return of displaced Serbs.
Return Coalition deputies did not attend the parliamentary session at the beginning of the week when the Law on Mortgages and the Law on Establishment of a Registry for Property Rights and the Right to Real Property was adopted. The reason for the absence of the Serbs was UNMIK's refusal to provide an escort for Strpce deputy Sokol Djordjevic. As a result, the Serb delegates as a sign of protest followed parliamentary debates from a room serving as a debate club for the Return Coalition.