Page 950 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 950

 Eucharistic gathering in Visoki Dečani
surrounded by KFOR protective forces. are 30,000 KFOR troops and several thousand UNMiK policemen really un- able to ensure the return of expelled persons to their homes? Obviously, that would not be met with approval from al- banian extremists, and UNMiK and KFOR have no inten- tion of getting involved in a conflict with them and endan- gering the safety of their own personnel. This generates a vicious circle with UNMiK increasingly becoming a pas- sive sponsor of an ethnically cleansed society in the eyes of the Serbs; the very kind of society (according to the official interpretation) the international community sought to pre- vent by dropping tons of bombs on Serbia in 1999 and kill- ing thousands of innocent men, women and children. Since judge and prosecutor in Kosovo and Metohija are one and the same, the blame for these problems apparently falls again on Serbs such as Bishop artemije, who, it appears, stubbornly refuses to acknowledge what a good life his peo- ple are living. Perhaps we should blame the last remaining Serb grannies in Djakovica. according to a “lucid” inter- pretation of an arrogant international bureaucrat, they are “provoking the albanian population by their isolation, con- sequently justifying their refusal to accept them”? Thus five old ladies are provoking 100,000 albanians, who on the other hand refuse to allow them to buy bread in the store, let alone to live the last years of their lives in peace.
Several returnee projects in the Peć region, pompously announced by UNMiK last year, have been practically abandoned simply because UNMiK “does not want to cre- ate new enclaves.” in fact this is just an excuse to avoid re- sponsibility for the protection of returnees and deploy- ment of additional troops able only to provide a minimum of security for the returnees. Officially, displaced Serbs are kindly invited to return individually. in reality, not even groups of Serbs are safe from albanian extremist attacks, which makes this invitation nothing but a bitter irony. When displaced Serbs complain and say that their return is im- possible under such conditions, UNMiK officials interpret their words as a lack of willingness to return at all. Planned reductions of troops in many parts of Kosovo and Meto- hija, in which Serbs used to live before, practically bring
hopes of return to zero, because in the existing security situation their return is absolutely not possible.
For example, UNMiK has announced the closing of the local office in Dečani Municipality, the transfer of compe- tencies to the local municipal administration (which, by the way, consists of ethnic albanians only), while KFOR plans to cut down the number of troops to a minimum, which will probably be enough to provide a certain level of security only for the monastery of Dečani. in such a situa- tion 1000 displaced Serbs from this town practically have no hope for return and are thus forced to sell their prop- erty. With such a policy UNMiK and KFOR are indirectly pressing displaced Serbs to give up the idea of return. On the other hand some Western governments (like the USa) donate money for the integration of refugees in central Ser- bia, which additionally discourages returns. The logic seems to be clear—the less willing the Serbs are to return, the easier it will be for KFOR to reduce troops and for UNMiK to accomplish its exit strategy and pull out; the less Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, the less problems for the interna- tional community and Kosovo albanians.
During the past years, Kosovo Serbs were exposed to hundreds of various extremist attacks, and thousands of provocations and threats. Houses were blown up, land mines exploded, people were killed and wounded. ethnically mo- tivated crimes still continue. The recent massacre of a Serb family in Obilić and the murder of a Serb teacher near Vi- tina are not exceptions but indicators of the prevailing at- mosphere of ethnic terror. Not one member of the former KLa has been brought to justice for any of the crimes com- mitted against Serbs during the war. a few have been ar- rested, but only for crimes against their own albanian com- patriots. Despite all this, UNMiK insists that Serbs “accept this new reality and become integrated” in a society where there is no room for them. There is so much irony and in- justice in this claim by which UNMiK hopelessly tries to hide its own responsibility for failure.
Serbian Orthodox Church under persecution
The destruction of Orthodox Christian churches and Ser- bian cultural monuments also continues and their restora- tion is still not possible because they might be destroyed again. indeed, Kosovo and Metohija is a unique postwar area in which, four years after the conflict, the restoration of the Christian holy sites is impossible due to the prevail- ing intolerance of the albanian Muslim majority. While at the same time dozens of new mosques have been built, many of them with ample funding from arabian states, Orthodox Christianity remains under persecution: nuns are stoned and verbally abused, priests cannot normally visit their flock, parish churches are stoned, and the theo- logical school in Prizren, which worked even in the times of the Ottoman empire, is closed without any hope of re- opening. Cemeteries are being systematically desecrated,

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