Page 806 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 806

Protopresbyter-stavrophor Savo B. jović
honorable. everything it does, all its contacts with institu- tions and individuals of the international community, all meetings and conversations, all travels around the world, have only two goals: greater safety and security for the Serbs who remain in Kosovo and Metohija, and the creation of adequate conditions for the return of all expelled Serbs and those who fled to their ancestral homes, their villages and towns...”138
The Year 2002
The Bishop of Raška and Prizren in his report to the Holy assembly of Bishops again wrote:
“Since last year’s assembly and during the course of the past year, the life and work of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren has continued to unfold in exceptionally difficult and abnormal conditions like in previous years. The trag- edy of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as of those who have been expelled from their homes, is con- tinuing in every possible form. it is still visible at every step. With respect to security, freedom of movement, condi- tions for living and working, everything remains as it was, i.e. Serbs and other non-albanians are still exposed to vari- ous forms of pressure and violence and the departure of Serbs from Kosovo is ongoing, although now lower in in- tensity.
in the course of the previous year there have been sev- eral murders, attempted kidnappings, tossing of bombs at houses and other buildings, Serbian Orthodox churches are being destroyed and blown up, and above all, Serb live- stock is being stolen. Serbs regularly report all these at- tacks, murders and robberies to KFOR, UNMiK or the po- lice and nothing changes: investigations are initiated, prom- ised but never lead to their goal, to discovering the perpe- trator and compensation for the damage done. Hence, even after three years, pain, sorrow and uncertainty still oppress every Serb soul in Kosovo and Metohija. This is one of the basic reasons why Serb houses and property are still being sold throughout Kosovo and Metohija, especially in strate- gic areas, next to roads, in purely Serb environments, which represents an additional form of pressure on the remaining Serbs in those areas.
Nevertheless, there have been certain changes and prog- ress on repairing the general situation in Kosovo and Me- tohija. The first step has been taken with respect to the re- turn of expelled Serbs and about 100 displaced persons were returned to Osojane in august 2001, fifty damaged houses were reconstructed, and that is where matters stopped. Registration of voters (unfortunately, not of all residents) was carried out in the Serb community, both among those in Kosovo and Metohija as well as among those expelled; November elections were held for provi- sional government institutions, an assembly was consti-
138 aHSB, 2000. 804
tuted, a Government elected... One might be tempted to say that the situation was normalizing. This is just on first sight. Because all these changes are occurring on the po- litical plan and in the highest levels of society. in the life of the ordinary, common man, the one in the base, there have been no changes or improvements, which is also confirmed by the facts presented above.
and the international community is in a hurry. it cares about demonstrating its successes in Kosovo and Metohija to the world at any price. Thus, it is reducing the number of its soldiers, withdrawing security from certain religious facilities, discontinuing checkpoints near certain Serb vil- lages because supposedly “the security situation is good and they are no longer necessary” (e.g. Gračanica, Parteš, Djakovica). “Serbs have freedom to live and freedom of movement; Kosovo society is advancing on the path of de- mocratization;interethnicrelationsaregood,”etc.allthese are just new, modern and contemporary Potemkin villages because it is all an illusion. This is also clearly attested to by the Ombudsman, Mr. M. Nowicki, in his statements.”139
The Year 2004
From its extraordinary meeting called by His Holiness Ser- bian Patriarch Pavle in regard to the latest tragic events in Kosovo and Metohija on March 17, 2004, the extended membership of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church issue the following communiqué and appeal:
“Yesterday’s and last night’s disturbances which oc- curred throughout the south Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija are a continuation of organized albanian ter- rorism against the Serbian Orthodox people, which has lasted for several decades, against its and the world’s cul- tural heritage, and against other non-albanian residents of this region. The terrorism and violence that appeared in a special form with the burning of the residence of the Peć Patriarchate in 1981 continued uninterrupted until 1999 and since that year of NaTO bombing and expulsion of several hundred thousand Serbs and other non-albanians have grown progressively in strength and intensity. The result of this unprecedented violence is several thousand men, women and children who were kidnapped and mur- dered, burned villages and settlements of Serbs, usurped and endangered property of the people and the Church, the destruction and damage of more than 115 monasteries and churches. and all this at a time when the entire region was under the direct protectorate of the international com- munity. The culmination of this is the latest, obviously pre- planned, unprecedented pogrom currently in process against the remaining Serbs and their centuries-old holy shrines. More than 15 of the most significant churches and cultural monuments from the 14th to the 19th century, be-
139 aHSB, 2002.

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