Page 966 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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Bishop irinej Dobrijević
Causes and Considerations
as internal strife and violence are thoroughly incapable of substantiating a just and enduring peace, so also interna- tional “humanitarian” interventionist policies in Kosovo and Metohija completely failed to promote a stable and prosperous civil society, and a healthy foundation for na- tion building. What are, therefore, critical factors that will preserve the delicate balance between considerations of ethnic identity and religious adherence, the right to citi- zenship and national determination, regional cooperation and external affiliation with the international community?
Located at the very gate of east and West, Southeastern europe remains a crossroad for the convergence of civiliza- tions and the clash of faiths, cultures and traditions. Here, the line between ethnicity and religious affiliation becomes of- ten blurred and the issue of citizenship can be inflamed in exclusivity, perceived or otherwise. Given these historical dimensions and geopolitical implications, conflict resolu- tion and the delineation of boundaries, movement toward self-determination and plausible independence must make sense in their local environment and specific regional con- text, or otherwise lend themselves to regional instability.
in this and any given context, peace and stability can be fostered, only through functional and secure social and economic, political and faith-based institutions. Whenever governments and elements of civil society are at odds with each other, as a source of moral authority, the Church tran- scends such narrow constraints by retaining the unique ability to offer cooperation with other communities of faith, non-governmental organizations, governments and ulti- mately, extending itself to the international Community.
as such, Bishop artemije, who visited Washington D.C. in july for the third time this year. in his attempt to bear witness to the catastrophic violation of human and reli- gious rights in Kosovo, particularly after the March po- grom, stated:
While everywhere else in the region we can see that the International Community does not reward violence, rath- er encourages moderation and respect for human and religious rights, the Kosovo province remains a shameful exception It is not only that the UN Mission, KFOR and Albanian-led institutions have tolerated ethnic violence against Serbs for five years but have also proved to be ineffective in protecting Serb civilians and churches before Albanian mobs and extremists So far no one has openly taken responsibility for these failures and resigned UN- MIK bears responsibility for many of the failures but we must not forget that life for non-Albanians in Kosovo would be far worse without UNMIK and KFOR In fact, I can frankly confirm that no Serbs would stay to live in such a society tailored only for ethnic Albanians 1
1 “Bishop artemije: U.S. must stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo,” (ePR KiM info-service: 22 july 2004), eRP KiM Newsletter 22-07- 04c:
according to Bishop of Raška-Prizren, the only viable solution for Kosovo and Metohija is democracy. as a pro- cess, democratization must begin with repatriation, which is predicated by security and economic stability. However, the Bishop noted that after March pogrom the situation regarding human rights for the Serb population remains as equally unsatisfactory as before:
In fact we can hardly see any improvement, quite the contrary—Kosovo Serbs still live in their ghettoes, they don’t have basic access to institutions such as schools, and medical facilities, employment, freedom of move- ment, use of their language, etc The security situation is very fragile and with the organizers of the March riots still free and in their positions, a potential for reiterated violence still exists The return process has been com- pletely stalled and this should be one of the crucial stan- dards for further progress in stabilization Kosovo Alba- nian institutions, particularly on the municipal level, constantly make various kinds of obstructions, while the Kosovo Government complains that they cannot pro- vide any money for returns This way, Albanian-led in- stitutions openly take part in ethnic cleansing, which is completely unacceptable and must not be tolerated by the West 2
Clearly, independence for Kosovo would only serve to reward terrorism and hostility, while pinning self-determi- nation against sovereignty. Ultimately, promising to desta- bilize the entire region by providing impetus for the cre- ation of a “Greater albania,” and luring the substantial al- banian minority in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Mace- donia, the growing minority in Greece and, of course, al- bania proper.
In Kosovo, many Albanian extremists believe that the U S will tolerate ethnic cleansing and creation of a new ethnic Albanian state The U S Administration must finally send them a clear message that the U S will not allow for the creating of a society based on ethnic crimes and the brutal violation of religious rights Otherwise, U S policy in the Balkans will prove to be in dramatic discrepancy with its policy in other parts of the world 3 Therefore, in reconciliation and recovery, the first step
is to recognize that Western notions of civil society are culturally specific to certain social and historical condi- tions. Merely exporting or imposing Western forms of civil society onto southeastern europe, without cultural sub- stance and understanding, is meaningless. an essential and perhaps more productive approach to the region could be based on the comprehension of indigenous forms of social and political association, and on considerations of how Western models of civil society might accommodate local environments, rather than impose upon them.
3 Ibid.

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