Page 816 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 816

Your letter, together with my view on the need for the taking of resolute measures for the protection of lawful- ness, will be passed on to the executive Council of the as- sembly of Socialist Serbia.”
appeal by the Clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church (1982)
We the undersigned priests and monks of the Serbian Or- thodox Church, aware of our responsibility before God and History, are compelled by our conscience to raise our voice in defense of the body spiritual and corporeal of the Ser- bian people in Kosovo and Metohija.
Reproaches have been made to the Serbian Church that its voice concerning this matter has not been heard in pub- lic. Many others believe that it is not even competent to deal with matters of this kind. Some are bound to declare that the senders of this appeal are not “competent” or “called upon” to do so.
The truth is that the Church, wisened by its thousand- year old experience, knows that there is a time for patient silence and a time to speak out. Sometimes its silence is more eloquent than any speech (present events show that its today’s silence is precisely of that nature, and the fact that it has not been heard until now bears perhaps elo- quentwitnessastoitsstatus).asforits“non-competence,” that, too, is one of the strange incongruities of our times! The Church, which has been an organic part of the histori- cal and spiritual being of this nation, before Kosovo, dur- ing Kosovo and after Kosovo until this day, whose living flesh is first to suffer any blow directed at the Serbian peo- ple (the Patriarchate of Peć is the most recent proof )—can its own fate and that of its flock be settled without it? We are aware of this fact and of the gravity of this historical moment when, it seems to us silence would be tantamount to acquiescence, or even worse, the crime of the betrayal of our people, and for this reason we have decided to address this modest word to the competent authorities and to all justice-loving people. Because it seems to us that what is being undertaken to resolve the problem of Kosovo is not commensurate with what is actually happening there, not is it proportionate to the gravity of the problem, nor is it historically far-reaching, and is thus susceptible of unfore- seen and tragic consequences for all of us: Serbs, albanians and Yugoslavs in general.
We wish to point out first all that we cannot escape the impression that in the matter of Kosovo there has been, intentionally or unintentionally, a substitution of the real problem with inconsequential or invented problems. We are convinced that until such time as the true essence of the Kosovo problem has been brought to light, there can be no real and just settlement for the two peoples, the Ser- bian and the albanian, historically foreordained to rely on one another, in the past, as in the present, as in the future. Things should be called by their proper names, out of re-
spect for one’s own dignity and out of concern for one’s own destiny in God’s universe, but also out of respect for an- other, any other nation and out of anxiety about its future and about the life in common with them in the same land.
One might say that under this perception Kosovo is a myth, or even a “negative myth” for Serbs, but it is so only to those who are unable to envision the soul of the Serbian people and their historical being. One thing should be clear to all, yesterday, today and tomorrow: for the Serbian peo- ple there is no more precious word than the word KOSO- VO; no more precious reality, nor greater sanctity, past, present and future, than the reality and the sanctity of Ko- sovo. For Serbs, the question of Kosovo is not simply a bio- logical question, not just a geographic area, a “region,” “prov- ince” or “republic.” it is something incomparably greater andloftierthanthat.“BeingSerbian,”toquotethewordsof the wisest of all Serbian women, [writer] isidora Sekulić, “it is not bread and school and the state, it is Kosovo; and Ko- sovo is a grave, a grave in which everything has been en- tombed; but resurrection happens through the tomb. There canbenoresurrectionwithoutdeath.”ThequestionofKo- sovo is the question of the spiritual, cultural and historical identity of the Serbian people. With Saint Sava, Kosovo is the truth and reality where the whole nation is expressed, where it consummated its collective in dividedness. These isnoSerbwhohasnotthought,spoken,written,lamented over Kosovo and resurrected himself. it is, for us it is not a statistic. With seven hundred years of its real presence in our living, with the Patriarchate of Peć, with [monasteries of ] Dečani, Gračanica, the Kosovo martyrs and the Koso- vo Pledge of the Serbs, Kosovo is our national symbol, our hearth, the focus of our being. To deprive a nation of its national symbol means to kill it and spiritually destroy it.
This should be borne in mind by everyone, including our age-old neighbors, the ethnic albanians. The jewish people, submitting to the dire necessity of survival among the living, and by the miracle of their uninterrupted sense of identity, which defeats even historical logic, have returned long-suffering to jerusalem after two thousand years.
in the same way the Serbian people have been fighting their Battle of Kosovo to this day, fighting for this symbol of their identity, for their justifiable occupancy of and survival in these latitudes, from 1389 to this day. When it seemed that the battle was finally won, all of a sudden Kosovo ceased to be ours, and we have ceased to be what we are! Without a war what is more, in peacetime and in freedom! at a time when many other peoples, after centuries of absence, are returning to their hearths, the Serbian people are extin- guishing their centuries-old hearth and are fleeing it! Why?
astounded by what we see happening before our very eyes, we are asking the painful and harrowing question: what are those infernal and irrational forces which have succeeded, in a few decades of a peace paid by rivers of blood, in achieving what the five hundred years of Otto- man occupation failed to do?

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