Page 809 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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all cities in Kosovo and Metohija except Kosovska Mitro- vica were ethnically cleansed, as well as entire regions (Me- tohija) because two-thirds of the Serb people—over 200,000 Serbs—and 50,000 other non-albanians were expelled; over 1,300 Serbs were killed and the same number kid- napped and nothing is known about their fate to this day. Over 40,000 Serb houses and homes of other non-alba- nians were looted, burned and destroyed; hundreds of Serb villages were wiped off the face of the planet; thousands of acts of violence and crime (robberies, rapes, beatings) were carried out against Serbs; 115 churches and monasteries were damaged and destroyed.
at the same time the one-third of Serbs who remained to live in Kosovo and Metohija has been experiencing its bitter fate in bigger and smaller enclaves, ghettoes, prison camps, deprived of all human rights (the right to life, to freedom of movement, the possibility of employment, to adequate education of children, to health protection, to security of property, etc.)
Living under these abnormal and inhumane conditions, exposed to constant pressure and violence, discrimination and harassment by the albanian majority and terrorists, Serbs are forced to continue leaving Kosovo and Metohija, and there are fewer and fewer of them remaining.
Despite all difficulties and unbearable living conditions, the Serbs have tried to be cooperative with the interna- tional community and with provisional institutions of the Kosovo government by taking part in elections, participat- ing in institutions of government (the parliament, etc.) How- ever, by participating in these provisional institutions of government, the Serbs have not managed to solve a single one of their problems nor improve their position. These institutions, created and supported by UNMiK, exclusive- ly resolve the problems of local albanians, including the tens of thousands of albanians who have, in the meanwhile, crossed from albania to Kosovo, occupying the property and homes of the expelled non-albanian population. The passing of a series of laws and others activities of this kind are creating conditions for the secession of Kosovo from the constitutional-legal framework of the state of Serbia and Montenegro, of which it is an integral and inalienable part according to, among other things, Security Council Resolution No 1244. The presence of Serbs in these institu- tions only served to give them legitimacy and created a false picture of the multiethnicity of those institutions.
as the whole world knows, instead of the resolution of their problems, first of all, security, the right to life and free- dom of movement, as well as the return of expelled per- sons to their homes, the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija ex- perienced on March 17, 2004, a horrible pogrom at the hands of albanian extremists, unprecedented in modern world history. in just two days, March 17–18 (on the anni- versary of the burning of the Peć Patriarchate by albanian extremists in 1981), 4,000 more Serbs were expelled from their homes, 19 people lost their lives, and hundreds were
wounded and beaten up. Nine hundred sixty Serb homes were burned and robbed, seven villages were destroyed, and 35 more churches and monasteries were burned. in their rioting the albanian terrorists were not spared by either UNMiK or KFOR.
More than five months have passed since then. The situ- ation has not changed at all. Despite verbal condemnations of this rioting and assessments that it was well organized, synchronized and orchestrated pogrom against Serbs, Ro- ma and other non-albanians, and despite promises that everything burned and destroyed would be rebuilt during the course of the same year, and the expelled returned to their homes—nothing has changed at all.
The violence, attacks and murders, as well as the pres- sures, has continued after March 17, too. The rebuilding of what was destroyed in March, with respect to homes, is symbolic and serves more for manipulation and marketing by the Kosovo authorities. as far as the rebuilding of the burned churches and monasteries is concerned, not a stone has been moved toward that end. The only thing being do- ne is the removal of the last remnants of both churches and monasteries destroyed after 1999, many of which are from the 14th and 15th centuries, and of those burned and de- stroyed on March 17, 2004.
Keeping in mind this tragic situation and existential threat to the non-albanian population in Kosovo and Me- tohija, the impossibility of return for the expelled, the con- tinuation of ethnic cleansing and destruction of the cul- tural and comprehensive historical presence of the Serb people in this region, the Holy assembly of Bishops feels it is its duty and responsibility to inform domestic authori- ties and international actors of the following:
1) Support for independence as the final status of Koso- vo and Metohija would mean not only approval of all cited and uncited persecution, destruction and crimes in Koso- vo and Metohija but also the legitimization of misdeeds by the occupying (fascist) forces and post-war Communists, expulsions, decisions and their consequences in this re- gion, listed in our Memorandum which we are submitting with this appeal.
2) The Serbian Orthodox Church most decisively de- mands from the United Nations and UNeSCO, as well as from the european Union, in addition to enabling the re- turn of all the expelled and the rebuilding of their homes and conditions for normal life, the immediate rebuilding of all holy shrines—religious and cultural monuments in Ko- sovo Metohija destroyed during the period of rule by offi- cials of the international community, UNMiK and KFOR, in Kosovo and Metohija. Kosovo and Metohija is the only region in europe and the world were so many monuments of Christian culture and civilization have been destroyed in this day and age, and in the presence of the international community! it is good that the bridge over the Neretva in Mostar has been rebuilt through joint efforts. However, the Church expects and hopes that the United Nations and
The Suffering and Persecution in Kosovo and Metohija from 1945 to 2005

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