Page 817 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 817

The fact that the Battle of Kosovo has lasted since 1389 shows that the Serbian people in Kosovo have not surren- dered, arid that is why Kosovo bas been ours to this day. and today? and what of tomorrow?
We can readily understand the suffering and frequent mi-grations of Serbs from Kosovo and other places, from the Battle of Kosovo to modern times. it is the eternal des- tiny of the conquered, always and everywhere. We also fully understand the reasons for the weeping of Patriarch ar- senije iii as he “flees day and night with his impoverished people from place to place, like a ship on the high seas... weeps and laments, with no help from anyone.” We can also comprehend the tragic slough of despond of the lead- erless and impoverished people in Kosovo and Metohija after the migrations of the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- turies, particularly after the abolition of the Patriarchate of Peć when numerous Serbian and albanian population were converted to islam under the duress of ottoman terror. We are not even much surprised by the terror perpetrated by privileged albanian and other converts who settled in Ko- sovo and Metohija after the Serbian exodus and who struck the fear of God into those who remained faithful to their hearths and to their spiritual and national identity. it was, of course in the spirit of the policy pursued by the “sick man of europe” on the Bosphorus: to instigate blood feuds among brothers and through renegades and forcibly is- lamized Serbs to destroy the last vestiges of the Cross and the last resistance of the Serbian people in Kosovo.
Out of numberless testimonials from that time, we shall only mention two appalling and characteristic depositions about the status of Serbs in Kosovo and about the cata- strophic results of the treacherous Ottoman policy toward Serbs, usually enforced through islamized albanians. Seek- ing to rebuild the destroyed church at Nerodimlje, Father Petar with a group of Serbs from Nerodimlje wrote on March 4, 1872: “Here an albanian owned calf is worth more that all the Christians and all the Christian churches. Our wretched situation cannot be described... Twice in two years we suffered arson, just so that our property might be stolen and carried away. Old churches are falling into de- cay and cannot be rebuilt... We weep but no one listens to us, they say instead; ’i am your law’... We complain but no one heeds our complaints. They say: ’You have forfeited your rights at Kosovo when Lazar died.’ We are hoping for the better, but it is getting worse all the time.” The abbot of Dečani, Serafim Ristić, provided another moving testimo- ny from the middle of the last century. The abbot com- plained to the Ottoman Sultan on behalf of the oppressed and persecuted people of the Peć district: “The terror and abuses by vicious albanians have become intolerable and if they are not halted, they will force us to abandon our own lands which are soaked with the blood of our ances- tors, and leave the ruins of our homes behind... Nothing is ever held sacred by these murderers. There is no Christian home that has not been plundered, there is no village, no
town, no church or monastery that has not wailed from their outrages... Their perpetrators are well known but it is no use reporting them, because we have done so before and nothing well ever came of it.”
all these outrages were revolting but they can be ex- plained by our thralldom to the Ottomans. What is inexpli- cable and what astounds not only us but any man of sound mind is the fact that virtually the same things and in the same way are today being done to the Serbs in Kosovo. There is no example from our past suffering that has not been done over again in the last twenty years to the Serbs in Kosovo, from threats to life and property to the burning down of the Patriarchate of Peć, desecration of tombs, out- rages done to novices and monks, to the blinding of cattle, just because it belongs to Serbs. We have all been aware of it, but for a long time it was a taboo subject which often cost some of the more daring people very dear. it is not the Serbs in Kosovo who mutinied and are now getting their just deserts; outrages are being done by those who are the most privileged. it is not the entire albanian people in Ko- sovo who are doing all this, but the question is how a hand- ful of enemies could expel and resettle 100,000 people with- in only ten years?
it is no exaggeration to say that planned genocide is be- ing perpetrated against the Serbian people in Kosovo! What otherwise would be the meaning of “ethnically pure Koso- vo” which is being relentlessly put into effect through cease- less and never-ending migrations? Or what is the meaning of the frequent taunts heard in villages and hamlets, in mon- asteries and churches, and even in the towns: “What are you waiting for? You had better get out, this land belongs to us!” it is quite understandable for such things to have been said and done in Ottoman times, but how to explain the fact that not only during the last occupation, but even after the liberation, especially since 1968, the exodus of Serbs has gone on unabated to this day, and since last year it has intensified! it has intensified owing to the atmosphere that has been created, fiendishly conceived and organized, both secretly and publicly, for the whole world to see. it is no secret- to you or to us or to our public, that forced migra- tion of our population from Kosovo was sometimes aided and abetted by the authorities in Kosovo both albanian and Serbian, so that the forcibly extinguished Serbian hearths, often soaked in blood, might be settled by “im- migrants” from albania.
it is terrible even to think of, much less to experience the horrific reality that there are no longer any prospects for the Serbs in their own Kosovo, for Kosovo is no longer theirs (although we, the Serbs, have never said that it was only ours). Because, let us not be deceived by ornate phras- es and utterances: today for the first time we are faced with the issue of whether Kosovo in indeed ours. There is much to suggest that the centuries-long Battle of Kosovo will end in our days—with the third and last migration of the Serbs, in a final defeat, the most terrible in the history of this na-
a Chronicle of the Contemporary Suffering of Kosovo-Metohian Serbs

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