Page 634 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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alex Dragnich and Slavko Todorovich
clear idea about Serbian statehood, while the albanians, with occasionally weak blips of albanianism, were for the most part Turkish oriented. While the Serbs dreamed of their Serbian state, the albanians tended to identify with the Ottoman empire of which they were a part.
albanian patriot Sami Bey Frasheri, in his history of albania, written in Turkish in 1899 and later translated into German, describes the albano-Turkish affinity in the following words:
“Turks were finding devout and courageous co-fighters in albanians, while albanians found the Turkish kind of governing very much to their taste. in Turkish times, alba- nia was a wealthy and blossoming country because alba- nians were riding together with Turks in war campaigns all over the world and were returning with rich booty: gold and silver, costly arms, and fine horses from arabia, Kurd- istan, and Hungary.” (Was war albanien, was ist es, was wird es werden?) [What was albania? What is it? What will it be?], Vienna and Leipzig, 1913).
Warring and fighting, the islamic converts developed an aggressive mentality, and in times of peace turned on their Christian neighbors. They began viewing themselves as the propagators of the islamic faith. Much better armed than the deprived Christians, they left a bloody trail in their forceful islamization drives among the Serbs. an old Serbian religious inscription, made in 1574, reads: “This is where great albanian violence took place, especially by
Mehmud Begović in Peć, ivan Begović in Scutari, Sinnan- Pašić Rotulović in Prizren, and Slad Pašić in Djakovica— they massacred 2,000 Christians “... Have mercy upon us, Oh Lord. Look down from Heaven and free your flock” (translated from Ljubomir Stojanović, Stari Srpski zapisi i natpisi [Old Serbian Inscriptions and Epitaphs], Belgrade, 1902, vol. 1, p. 219). There are, in the same vein, numerous other memorials or inscriptions in Stojanović’s collection.
Probably the most notorious among the converts was Koukli beg and his offspring who used force in their at- tempts to islamize the area of Paštrik, Has, and Opolje at the end of the 18th century. Remembered as an arch enemy of the Serbs is another islamic convert, Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha, who ordered the remains of Saint Sava transferred from the Mileševa Monastery to Belgrade and there burned on a wooden pyre in 1594. in his rage he reasoned that once turned into ashes Sava’s body would cease being a rallying point for Serbian Christendom. Blinded by his new faith, he never realized that his enemies were not guided by Sa- va’s flesh but by his spirit and his ideals.
in Turkish times their deprived status would have been acceptable philosophically to the Christians. Had the al- banians also been among the deprived segments of the pop- ulation, even if they showed signs of enmity, a Christian affiliation would have made them more palatable to the Serbs. But to abandon the faith of one’s ancestors, in order
to join the privileged class, was not acceptable. This is why the quality of animosity between Serbs and Bulgars was always considerably different from the quality of estrangement between Serbs and albanians. This is not to judge or to moralize, but simply to emphasize the qualitative difference in the
two hostilities.
Pity the world if the Serbs ever unite!
Suleiman the Magnificent, 1541
Kosovo, ed. B.W.R. jenkins, Serbian Western american Diocese 1992, pp. 102–106.

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