Page 679 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 679

Vasa Antonić, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Sava Grujić, Minister to Constantinople
Sources and Testimonies
malcontent with the text of their complaint submitted. He advised them to go back home and reopen their stores, and he would—he promised—send his officer to see how the land lay. and so the delegation returned to Gnjilane, and two days after a judge from Priština came to investigate. However, as i was informed by one of the delegation members who went to Belgrade to seek protection there, this judge never asked to see any Serb. even worse, the murderers, although known to evreybody, freely walk the town of Gnjilane, to the horror of desolate Serbs, who righteously fear they might end up like the late Nikola Djordjević. instead of the murderers, four innocent albanians were detained, only to be more easily re- leased, and four Serbs whose grounds for imprisonment are being fabricated, to be used to declare them guilty in any case.
after the murder of N. Djordjević, soldiers carried on ter- rorising Serbs: they beat up Klepadin Dženetović, a grocer, Pera Todorović, a rope maker; they were chasing Dušan Ga- nić and Toma Popović, and they are vociferously threating to kill: Vasiljko, Tinka Katanić, Nasko jovanović, merchants, and Trajko Kovačević, school principal in Gnjilane.
influenced by the fear that has thus overwhelmed Gn- jilane, Sava Katanić with his family escaped to Vranje, and Mita ascepović is also biding his time for escape. Fear on one hand, and such examples on the other, have an effect of contagion, so many Serbs are getting ready to escape to Ser- bia. and that was exactly the goal of these events, caused and done by a plan. So, the experience of Mitrovica is in store for Gnjilane, until recently free from albanian terror. after this, Serbs are not likely to ever hold their heads up, unless energetic action is taken to hinder this terror, which could not have happened in the first place without the favouring of authority representatives in Gnjilane.
Mr. Minister, you are familiar, from Pea No3027 and 3051, with the motives that made Mr.Vujić recommend that you take energetic action to draw the attention of the Sublime Porte to all the material and moral plight that the events that happen in the Kingdom expose the Royal Government to vis-a-vis the Turkish neighborhood, so i deem it unneces- sary to familiarise you with all the unpleasantries the Gov- ernment faces due to this anarchy, precisely at the time when in certain parts of Macedonia war is being waged between the regular Ottoman army and Bulgarian troops supported by numerous peasants. indifference would be more than a gross error in this case, it would be an unpardonable sin which we, taking heed of the future of our people, must not receive upon our souls.
The events in Gnjilane, by ways and forms and time in which they take place, are very symptomatic and character- istic of the Ottoman attitude toward Serbian people and Ser- bia, so they can serve as a good test of sincerity of statements given to you by Tahsin-Bey, on behalf of the Sultan himself, as you cared to inform me in your letter P.P. No1065. if these statements are distinguished from others by sincerity, then it should not be hard for you to convince the Sublime Porte and other competent factors that such an anarchy is danger- ous for well understood interests, given the attention in eu- rope drawn to the poor condition in the Ottoman empire. and precisely because the Royal Government is committed
Political and educational affairs No 4048
Belgrade, October 16th/29th, 1902
although the competent authorities in Porte and Yildiz ap- pear to be willing to meet the requests presented by my pre- decessor in the Pea No3051, the reports sent by the Priština Consulate show not only that the situation in Old Srbia is not getting any better, but moreover that the circumstances are deteriorating and ever more insupportable. just about the same time when Shemsi-Pasha was after the followers of Mu- stafa-aga in Drenica, in Gnjilane and its vicinity events were taking place that inspired the local population with fear and horror. interestingly, fights and murders take place in Gnji- lane in the midst of day, while albanian terrorists are being chased around Mitrovica! and this circumstance becomes peculiar in those parts given one more fact: only one attempt to use of the army against albanians, without any conflicts or bloody consequences, was enough to scare the notorious Drenica albanians and to make them succumb and pay tax- es regularly, which they had not done in twenty years, from the time they demolished a building of the court council built in their community and repelled the envoyed Turkish clerks. This is to show that it would not be difficult or dangerous to make them subordinate to the laws and authorities, if only those in Constantinople really wanted this. Now that the in- famous isa Boletini has brought himself to declare obedi- ence to Shemsi-Pasha on this occasion, you can imagine what it would take for less important and less audacious alba- nians, who are arrogant in crimes against Serbs only because they are condoned, so a feeling that they are allowed to ex- terminate the Christian population. if only the authorities were in place in this case, fatal events known to you would not have happened, the most conspicuous being the mur- der of Nikola Djordjević, the best, most corageous and most honest Serb, a long-standing member of the local commu- nity.
From the report of the Serbian Consulate in Priština, you are familiar with all the details preceding and during this murder. Due to them, fear and panic have overwhelmed our compatriots in Gnjilane and the surroundings. as early as the day after Nikola’s murder, Serbs shut down their stores for protest and selected a delegation of six most respected amongst them to furtively go to Skoplje via Bujanovac, to complain directly to the vali (main governor of vilayet of Ko- sovo) against the albanian terrror and the kaimekam (ad- ministrator) Gemal-Bey who is their instigator, who has so far stood out as declared enemy of everything that is Serbi- an. Members of this delegation, that arrived exactly when the Vali was about to leave for Branja, also went to see the Rus- sian Consule, Mr. Mashkov, who cordially welcomed them and as they spoke sent a detailed note to his embassy about the situation in Gnjilane. The delegation waited in Skoplje for the return of the vali, who received them very abruptly,

   677   678   679   680   681