Page 826 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 826

selves with one or another group, especially groups that do not share america’s policy objective of an integral Yu- goslavia, would, in my opinion, be sheer folly.
a case in point, Mr. Chairman, is House Concurrent Resolution 162 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 65, about the alleged mistreatment of albanians in Yugosla- via. But it is precisely those albanians who are the prob- lem. They are in an overwhelming majority in the prov- ince of Kosovo, and have in effect sought to create a state within a state. although Kosovo is theoretically an au- tonomous province of Serbia, the Serbian authorities have by design or otherwise been powerless in matters con- cerning Kosovo. in short, the Kosovo albanians have cre- ated an almost impossible situation for the Yugoslav gov- ernment. i say this as one who, in books and articles, has been most critical of the Communist government of Yu- goslavia. While that government has been responsible for most of its problems, in the present situation, i believe that it behooves all of us to view in some perspective the feeble efforts of that government to deal with a problem that threatens to tear the country apart.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to make this statement.
Honorable Mr. Chairman, Honorable Members of the Congress of the United States, Ladies and Gentlemen,
My name is Momčilo Selić, and i was born in 1946 in Yugoslavia into a Communist Partisan family. in 1980, i was sentenced by Belgrade court to seven year’s impris- onment, for trying to explore Yugoslavia’s recent history in a literary article. in 1982, i was pardoned following ac- tion by amnesti international. international PeN, Free- dom House of New York, the U.S. Helsinki Watch and other humanitarian organizations.
in 1983, i was given political asylum in the West and am now the Managing editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of american Culture, published by Rockford institute, in Rockford, illinois.
My early childhood, student days, and adulthood un- til 1983 were spent in Belgrade, where the only albanians i saw were the menial laborers in the streets and market places. They seemed frugal, modest, hardworking people whom i, and many other Belgraders, admired for their hardiness and honesty.
at the Belgrade University, i met some albanians from Kosovo, and they acted as good friends and upstanding men. When the students demonstrated against the gov- ernment in 1968, the albanians were with us, decrying social injustice. Yet none of us, then, knew there were na- tionalist albanian students demonstrations going on in Kosovo at the same time.
in 1978, a friend and i decided to make a tour of the medieval Serbian monasteries in Kosovo. as soon as we came in Prizren, the ancient Serbian capital, we went to
visit the monument to the albanian League. We had no idea that the League had been specifically anti-Serb. We had been told instead, by the official Yugoslav press and historiography, that the albanian League was an anti-Ot- toman liberation movement. as wee stood in the monu- mental complex, we were surrounded by a group of twen- ty albanian young men. They were friendly, but very ea- ger to know what we, as Serbs, were doing there. We told them that we were interested in our mutual past. The youths went to consult someone standing in the back- ground (an older man) and came back smiling. They were to show us Prizren and its sights, they said.
We gladly accepted. as we moved through the streets, we were followed by a crowd of small albanian and Gyp- sy children who laughed and pointed at us. We came by a small, ruined Serbian Orthodox church where two men were burning candles. They looked at us with apprehen- sion, but, hearing our Serbian, seemed somewhat reas- sured.
The two women whispered to us that we should visit ruined Cathedral of the Holy archangels, for a Serb fes- tival was to be held there next day.
“You have to take care,” they said, glancing toward our albanian escort.
“You don’t know what is like here,” one of them whis- pered.
“What do you mean,” i asked, but she looked down and would speak of nothing as long as the albanians were around.
“The people are afraid,” she whispered to us, before we left.
afraid of what, i thought.
“Did you see those albanian boys,” my friend said to me after we had parted with our guides. “Did you see how their bones eyes shone? We Serbs could use some of their spirit!”
“We were probably like that in 1941,” i said, and we both fell silent.
it took me several years, and many articles and stories in a suddenly not-so-cryptic Belgrade press, to find out there had been a virtual genocide of my people in Koso- vo. and, when i was imprisoned in Zabela penitentiary, for questioning the Yugoslav status quo, i heard accounts of the albanian rebellion in Zabela, of only few years back.
in the Fifth Pavilion, i was told by eyewitnesses, the albanian criminals armed with knives had gone berserk. Without warning, they had wounded dozens and mur- dered several Serb inmates in cold blood, before taking hostages. One of the albanians had come out of the Pa- vilion with a bottle of blood in hand. He drank from it in front of the assembled prisoners and riot police.
“i am drinking Serbian blood,” he shouted, and the guards had to restrain the crowd from lynching him.
Only after that did the albanians (not a single politi- cal prisoner among them) make known their demand for

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