Page 965 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 965

Determining and integrating Kosovo and Metohija
ethnicity, Religion and Citizenship as Causal Factors
Victor Hugo wrote in timeless testimony of the Serbs, as though speaking of the contemporary plight of the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija: “They are killing
an entire people!” “Where?” “In Europe!” “Is there anyone who can bear witness?” “There is one witness” “The entire world!”
March 2004 Pogrom
This poignant reality again was evidenced in our day during the pogrom of 17–19 March 2004, which saw extreme al- banian on Serbian violence in Kosovo, signaling the com- plete breakdown, if not failure, of the United Nations Mis- sion in Kosovo (UNMiK) and the NaTO Kosovo Peace- keeping Force (KFOR). according to UN statistics, 50,000 albanians—in the presence of 18,000 NaTO “peacekeep- ers”—drove 4,500 Serbs and other non-albanians from their homes, injuring 900, including 150 peacekeepers, and killing 19 persons. With 33 synchronized flashpoints, all of Kosovo was engulfed in flames, as over 800 homes, many of which had recently been rebuilt by the international Com- munity for repatriated Serbs, were looted and demolished.
in addition to the loss of precious human lives, the des- ecration of tombs, and the obliteration of anything bearing the sign of the Cross, which is in complete violation of the international norms on the manifestation of religious sym- bols, as a representative of the Church, that which pains us the most is the destruction of 35 additional churches and shrines, including those, which date back to the 12th and 14th centuries. The intended result is the complete cultural, religious and historical eradication of any Serbian presence in Kosovo and Metohija, and the obliteration of religious freedom.
[at this time, kindly permit me to depart from my written remarks and make an important exception in the pres- ence of the italian parliamentarians, especially Senator enrico Pianetta. it is my privilege to reiterate the gratitude of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which for the first time in its history honored a military unit with the award of St. Sava ii Second Degree. The “Folglore” italian airborne Brigade was decorated for their exemplary defense of our
Bishop Irinej Dobrijević
shrines in Kosovo and Metohija, most notably the monas- teries of Dečani and the Patriarchate of Peć, specifically during the course of the recent pogrom and in general as part of the KFOR protectorate. His eminence Metropolitan amfilohije, on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, presented this distinguished ecclesiastical honor at a military ceremony in Livorne, it- aly on 29 july 2004.]
in the area of Prizren alone, the Church of the Mother of God of Ljeviša, known as the “Notre Dame” of the Ser- bian Orthodox Church, which was set on fire, represents the loss of world heritage, as its unique and irreplaceable fresco of the Virgin and Child is now charred and ruined. The Cathedral Church of St. George was raised and pillaged, with the inscription Death to Serbs written in graffiti on the arch above the once main portal, while Down with UNMIK was scribbled on the side of the church and the perpetra- tors’ signature piece UCK or KLa (Kosovo Liberation army) was placed on the columns of the former narthex. Thou- sands of volumes of priceless books were destroyed as the episcopal Residence was torched, and an innocent victim was burned alive, seeking shelter in the Seminary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.
Given the above horrific statistics coupled with those of the past 5 years, that is from the time of the 1999 NaTO- brokeredinternational“peace,”whichwitnessedtheexpul- sion of 250,000 refugees, 1,000 kidnapped and 1,200 mur- dered, and in a sustained attempt at expunging the sacer- dotal Serbian presence: of the original 1,657 churches, mon- asteries and monuments, over 115 were destroyed, added to the 35 above for a total of 150—reiterating all during the time of peace and not war—it becomes obvious that the intended Kosovar albanian goal is regional destabilization, leading to an independent Kosovo and eventual annexa- tion to albania proper. The end result is the creation of a “Greater albania” free and cleansed of not only all Serbs, but also all non-albanians, including the purging of the international Community.

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