Page 618 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 618

Radovan Samardžić
 Handwriting of Patriarch Arsenije III Crnojević (Čarnojević)
its appearance: resistant, the nation stuck to the ground more than ever, bound to it with its soul, still the majority, but the whole country, at one time blooming, turned to levant neglect and became a place of fear caused by flour- ishing lawlessness of the nobility and hypocritical admin- istration of a patriarchal society without true spirituality. in medieval Serbia, whether they were an minority ethnic group or social stratum, the albanians were, according to the law, privileged. By returning to tribal society, they were jeopardizing one another, despite all customs of peace and illusions on the existence of a general law that needed to be reestablished. They were hostile toward other nationalities whenever the internal laws of tribal expansion allowed them to usurpate land or crush by violence.
The Ottoman empire was maintained by developing mutual dependence between the subjects, at times even hostility. Despite all illusions, it caused regression both to the Serbs and the albanians, hampered their development and made each in its own way unfortunate. The empire al- lowed albanian tribal gatherings and did nothing to pre- vent them from hitting upon their neighbors, but impaired itself by wreaking chaos to the establishments on which it
was founded; it then sent pashas and their armies, appear- ing as representatives a serious state, to punish and pacify them. (The assemblies of leaders aiming to form the alba- nian League, 1878–1881, with a bloody threat to Serbia and Montenegro, did not pass without the knowledge and stim- ulation of official Constantinople, yet, immediately after the Sublime Porte ordered the movement to. Be incapaci- tated and its leaders dispersed: at the end of the eastern crisis, 1875–1878, the decisions made by the major states to the detriment of the Ottoman empire should have been prevented in the first place, but, when they were validated, it was best to comply and obey and execute them under pressure). This game of fire, also played in other parts of the still spacious empire, caused Ottomans to lose its inter- national reputation, however—at least in the case of Serbi- an-albanian relations—a gain remained after all—islam was spreading further and further, mostly damaging Serbia which had always been, and proved to be so again, the ma- jor enemy of the empire.
While they lasted, and wherever they existed—order of the state and social decrees life with the Ottomans had been bearable. Serbs in Kosovo and in Metohija, approaching the 19th century, endeavored in many ways to adapt to the environment and times to survive and remain in their homeland. it seemed they had been left on the other side of life and history! The Serbian secular clergy, and monks, most often exposed to violence, retrieved to Ottoman courts, made friends with the heads and other respectable citizens, fed countless gluttons, bestowed gifts along with their taxes, protected shrines by spreading rumors that the ill being treated while the tyrant’s hand was becoming par- alyzed and withered, sent letters on all Sides begging for understanding and help, but all this humbleness to invoke a more merciful fate was most often to no avail, so church- es remained deserted, left to time and the non-Christian. Merchants and craftsmen strove not to stand out from the levant town to which they belonged neither in appearance or domestic life, speech and behavior, nor in any other chore they undertook. as compensation, they were, with- out public emphasis, loyal to their fatherland, tender con- tributors to monasteries and pious pilgrims. Saving was at least some security that perhaps one day with a little mon- ey they could escape from the burden hanging upon their shoulders. But in all Ottoman towns the Christians had a similar appearance. Nevertheless, the social mimicry of Serbs was mostly expressed in Kosovo. adapting to arba- nas surroundings, in time they changed almost everything, houses, the clothes they themselves and their children wore, their bearing, even their appearance; they made efforts for at least the host to speak two, even all three languages; icons and icon lamps were hidden closets. Only their soul re- mained to be changed. after adopting another religion, either by force or willingly, mimicry was, just like the mar- rying their women, a sure way to islamization and arban- ization. The name “arnautaš” was given by the Serbs to

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