Page 847 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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KOSOVO FaSCiSM, aLBaNiaNS’ SHaMe By Veton Surroi in Priština
The systematic intimidation of Kosovo’s Serbs brings shame on the province’s albanians and will have far-reach- ing and long-term consequences.
in the past month an old woman has been beaten to death in her bath; a two-year-old boy has been wounded and his mother shot dead; two youths have been killed with a grenade launcher; and a woman dares not speak her name in public for fear that those who attempted to rape her will return. all these victims were Serbs.
Sadly, these are not isolated incidents. Many more of Kosovo’s remaining Serbs have locked themselves in their homes, terrified by an atmosphere in which every sound seems threatening and every vehicle that stops might take you away to your death.
Then there is the case of the elderly couple with noth- ing to eat who are afraid to venture out to buy food because they know their poor albanian language will be noticed. Their albanian neighbours cannot give them any food be- causetheyhavebeenwarnednotto“feedSerbs”.
i know how Kosovo’s remaining Serbs, and indeed Ro- ma, feel, because i, along with nearly 2 million albanians, was in exactly the same situation only two and a half months ago. i recognise their fear. We learned from the radio that Belgrade had given its units the right to kill at will-even women, children and the old. as a result, every car that stopped was a potential danger; every unusual sound ap- peared to herald inevitable death. Meanwhile, little or no help could be expected from our Serb neighbours.
This is why i cannot hide my shame to discover that, for the first time in our history, we, Kosovo albanians, are also capable of such monstrous acts. i have to speak out to make it clear that our moral code, by which women, children and elderly should be left unharmed, has been and is being vio- lated.
i know the obvious excuse, namely that we have been through a barbaric war in which Serbs were responsible for the most heinous crimes and in which the intensity of vio- lence has generated a desire for vengeance among many albanians. This, however, is no justification.
Those Serbs who carried out Belgrade’s orders and com- mitted atrocities against albanians have already fled, as have others fearing reprisals from relatives of the thou- sands who are buried in mass graves. Today’s violence— more than two months after the arrival of NaTO forces— is more than simply an emotional reaction. it is the organ- ised and systematic intimidation of all Serbs simply be- cause they are Serbs and therefore are being held collec- tively responsible for what happened in Kosovo.
Such attitudes are fascist. Moreover, it was against these very same attitudes that the people of Kosovo stood up and fought, at first peacefully and then with arms, during the past 10 years.
Field works: A country woman in Prekale village takes her rifle to defend her children in the fields, September 1988, photo M. jelisijević
The treatment of Kosovo’s Serbs brings shame on all Kosovo albanians, not just the perpetrators of violence. and it’s a burden we will have to bear collectively. it will dishonor us and our own recent suffering which, only a few months ago, was broadcast on television screens through- out the world. and it will dishonor the memory of Koso- vo’s albanian victims, those women, children and elderly who were killed simply because of their ethnic origins.
The international community will probably not punish us for failing to defend multi-ethnicity in Kosovo. after all, even before the war, the number of non-albanians in Ko- sovo was akin to that of non-Slovenes in Slovenia, yet no- body talks today of a multi-ethnic Slovenia. However, from having been victims of europe’s worst end-of-century per- secution, we are ourselves becoming persecutors and have allowed the spectre of fascism to reappear. anybody who thinks that the violence will end once the last Serb has been driven out is living an illusion. The violence will simply be directed against other albanians. is this really what we fought for?
Veton Surroi, “Fashizmi ne Kosove, turpi i Shqiptareve” Koha Ditore, 25 august 1999, 1. This editorial was published in english translation as “Victims of the Victims,” New York Review of Books, 7 October 1999. Veton Surroi is publisher of the Priština albanian daily Koha Ditore.
a Chronicle of the Contemporary Suffering of Kosovo-Metohian Serbs

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