Page 671 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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31. On june 18th, the notorious brigand abulrajim Muni- šević from Vučitrn attempted to forcefully break into the home of Stevan Rolić intending to rape Stevan’s wife. Ste- van’s mother, who was blocking the door to prevent him from entering, was heavily wounded in both her arms being struck with a knife. The lawsuits filed to the authorities have yield- ed no results whatsoever, as is always the case. Correspondence on Albanian violence in Old Serbia (Vilayet of Ko- sovo) 1898–1899, pp. 36–39.
(from 1899)
[...] as with the beginning of 1866 the administration of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren, and in the autumn of 1897 the administration of the Skoplje Diocese as well, have passed into the hands of Serbs, i, as a representative of Serbia in Constantinople wanted to acquire the exact data as regards the state of our population, our churches etc. in these two dioceses.
The first person to respond to my request was the late Metropolitan Dionisije of Raška and Prizren. He underlined in the first place that his predecessor, the late Metropolitan Melentije, used to report a smaller number of parishes to the Patriarchate than really was the case for the purpose of pre- senting himself as a poorer Metropolitan. Following that ex- ample and for the same reasons of course, the priests did the same as regards their parishes. Metropolitan Dionisije, there- fore, points out that according to this, the number of homes within a parish is regularly minimized and is much smaller than it really is. a friend of ours actually demonstrated to us that there were really 900 Serbian homes in Kolašin where- as the survey of Metropolitan Dionisije presents only 335 Serb homes. The same friend, who is very well informed, empha- sized to me that the same case was with Sirinić and with Gnjilane. apart from this, the data on the number of per- sons per household is very unreliable. How to determine the exact number of members of one household? My friend says that in Old Serbia households with 5 members are very rare while households with average size of more than 20 mem- bers are very frequent. The state practice in Turkey, in accor- dance with old tradition, to levy taxes and charges on house- holds (rather than on individuals), was conducive to the es- tablishment of cooperatives. Hence, my friend’s assertion that an average household in Old Serbia consisted of 8–10 mem- bers and should be counted as such was legitimate.
This distrust about statistical data and censuses in Tur- key as well as the fear that statistical surveys and censuses are carried out purely for fiscal needs and that they would inevitably entail increase in taxes and charges, are the phe- nomena noticed by many. Carte ethnographique de la Tur- quie d’Europe et denombrement de la population grecque de l’Empire Othoman Par А. Synvet. Paris 1877, says the follow- ing as regards statistical data in Turkish reports from the Province and Greek diocesan reports: “in order to protect their compatriots from taxes and charges, the serfs were wont to record fewer houses than it was the case, omitting also those houses that could not afford to pay.”
Sources and Testimonies
My strong recommendation that only reliable data and data corresponding to the actual state of affairs ought to be sent, without any uncertainty and political chauvinism, which has dulled the sense of truthfulness on the Balkan Penin- sula, gave rise to new debunking of the misleading statistics.
in the areas of Macedonia where the conflict between Serbs and Bulgarians is smoldering as well as between the exarchate and the Patriarchate, the poor truth will still have to suffer due to numerous troubles. The same situation is with Greeks and Macedonian Romanians (Tzinzars).
Sending the Diocesan archive of the Diocese of Skoplje, on january 31st, 1900, the late Metropolitan Firmilijan, wrote to me as follows: “Trying to provide as accurate as possible data, i have put herein the exact number of our homes in the diocese. it has already been known so far that we have almost 12,000 homes, which i must underline.” i for my part must underline that the tables enclosed with the letter indi- cate the total number of 8,197 homes under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate in the Diocese of Skoplje.
in memory of the late Metropolitan Firmilijan and be- ing convinced that only truth ought not to be feared, i am, therefore, having these data printed in the same form as they were sent to me. They indicate the situation in the year 1899 together with those data that Metropolitan Dionisije sent me for the Diocese of Prizren. They will become a point of com- parison for our national and religious progress or regress in those dioceses.
it can be seen, therefore, that when the national cause and struggle are concerned, even the fear of taxes subsides and each nation tends to present itself as numerous as possible, believing that that would help them. So, how can we trust the statistical reports submitted by Bulgarians, Greeks or Ro- manians? it is well-known that they suffer from the disease of chauvinism to a greater extent than Serbs.
Therefore, as Turkey cannot count the population and nations in its own empire or does not know how to do it, as it is impossible to rely on the reports submitted by repre- sentatives of religious communities though only statistics could help untangle the knot of national identities in Mace- donia – international diplomatic means still ought to be sought in order to carry out population census and to count the inhabitants of the disputed area! isn’t this a moral pic- ture of Turkey and its antagonists?
Here, however, we present to the world these surveys and reports which were not intended for publication by its au- thors but were only privately sent to us for the purpose of familiarizing us with the situation.
Stojan Novaković, Balkan Questions, Belgrade 1906, pp, 518– 520 (in Serbian).

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