Page 456 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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Bishop atanasije (jevtić)
for centuries. Not only because of Milošević’s tyranny, un- der which the Serbian people suffered no less than the al- banians, but for more than the past two centuries the alba- nians have sought to use violence and anarchy to extermi- nate the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija. Will the advo- cates of international law and human rights now sanction and legally confirm what has been unjustly and illegally conquered over the last two centuries!?
Why should Serbs today live in enclaves and ghettoes when they can live in free cantons and thus really partici- pate in the government of Kosovo without being black- mailed to vote and thus having Serbian representatives only serve as a cover for albanian outvoting, i.e. a rational- ization for the play-acting of democracy. The saddest thing of all is that the international community is also participat- ing in this game through its biased or blackmailed, in any case insincere toward the Serbs, representatives. The re- cent example of German Steiner is the best proof of this. Why did High Representative Steiner act as he did in Ko- sovo and Metohija, doing everything to benefit the alba- nians, intentionally ignoring the Serbs, the Serbian Church and the real Serbian problem in Kosovo. Upon departing Steiner spoke of the “new reality” in Kosovo! What does this mean? is this “new reality” this inhuman, unjust, un- democratic state, only this time for the Serbs, Roma and others, i.e. lack of freedom and rights for all other habitants of Kosovo who are not albanian? Will his bias and hypoc- risy remain the measure of relations between the rest of the international community toward the Serbs and other non-albanian habitants of Kosovo and Metohija, too? Not that the previous High Representatives were much better but Steiner’s behavior the whole time created problems and added more chilliness and fear for the future of Koso- vo, true freedom for all in it, equal democracy for all in it, multi-ethnicity, multi-culturalism, multi-confessionalism.
The Serbs, expelled from the urban centers, denied participation in the basic institutions of society and limited to scattered rural enclaves, have not only been stripped of all political and economic power but also of basic human rights of freedom of movement and work. Realistically, the only possible way of enabling the long-term survival of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is the decentralization of the Province according to a plan of modified cantonization, i.e. the creation of two entities. according to this plan, areas inhabited by Serbs would have a kind of local self-adminis- tration, stronger economic, political and cultural ties with central Serbia, as well as stronger economic support by the Western countries. The great Serbian Monasteries would have a special status and be exempt from municipal juris- diction; they would maintain ties with the cantons and the homeland.
The Kosovo and Metohija Serbs together with their Church still remain strongly opposed to the idea of an in- dependent Kosovo which, it is their general conviction, would lead to the complete disappearance of the Serbian
people from its historic, spiritual and cultural heartland. in addition to its spiritual work, it is the special task of the Serbian Orthodox Church to constantly maintain in a state of alertness the conscience of the entire Serbian people and the global community regarding the importance of Kosovo and Metohija as the cradle of spirituality, culture and history of a european people which on every occasion has been on the same side as the Western democratic countries.
Therefore, the Serbian Church and the Kosovo and Metohija Serbs, those who are there now and those who have been expelled but desire and await to return to their homes and next to their Holy Shrines, even though both may presently be in ruins, ask the international commu- nity for basic human and national rights and freedoms:
1 Survival and protection of the Serbs who stayed in Kosovo and Metohija; their full freedom of movement and work, as well as other rights, such as the right to personal and real property, full and not merely formal participation in the Kosovo and Metohija government, Serbian schools, hospitals, cultural centers, as well as international and do- mestic state moral and material assistance
2 Return of all expelled Serbs and other non-Albanian population to their centuries-old homes, without delays and various excuses, and their full protection, freedom of movement and work, and international and domestic state assistance This return can begin immediately with the al- ready promised and prepared return of Serbs to the villages of Ljevoša, Siga, Brestovik and Belo Polje near Peć
3 That all surviving kidnapped persons are found and freed; and that all persons killed during these tragic years are found, exhumed and their remains buried in humane and dignified fashion
4 Preservationandprotectionoflivingmonasteriesand churches, which are of great national, humanitarian and religious cultural value, as well as real moral and material assistance and support for the renewal, for now, of impor- tant Holy Shrines that have been destroyed or desecrated
For us Serbs, Kosovo is not some imaginary, mythical past but the reality of a historical, Christian fate that is on- going, continuing to the present day, not ending even with the most recent tragedy of today. “This is our holy, martyred Kosovo and Metohija, our Holy Jerusalem, the soul of our souls, our honor, the root of our being, our fate Without it, we would cease to be what we are because it is in Kosovo and Metohija that we became a mature and historical people and, in the words of the Holy Great Martyr Lazar of Kosovo, chose once and for all time, the Kingdom of Heaven” 56
The position of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle and the Holy assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Ortho- dox Church, which has been clearly expressed so many
56 Metropolitan amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral on the feast of the annunciation, april 7 (March 25 according to the julian calendar) in the year of Our Lord 1999.

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