Page 980 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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By the Monks of Dečani Monastery
rule, just puppets in the hands of powerful drug kingpins and mafias which have extended their networks through- out Kosovo, albania, western Macedonia and even Monte- negro. international forces do not have a mandate to fight against organized crime and terrorism but only to main- tain general security, a far stretch from guaranteeing peace and freedom for all citizens. This is the reason why the in- ternational community has more or less become the hos- tage of albanian extremists and criminals, who might well turn their weapons on their war-time al lies should they conclude that they no longer enjoy their support.
The brotherhood of the Monastery of Dečani has taken on the special responsibility of caring for Djakovica’s “gran- nies,” as they are endearingly called by the monks. accom- panied by a KFOR escort and traveling by armored military vehicles, the monks visit them at least once a week, bring- ing them food, medicine, fire wood, and other necessities. On Sundays and feast days they serve the Holy Liturgy so that the “grannies” can receive Holy Communion. From time to time, they organize trips for the “grannies” to the Peć Patriarchate or the Monastery of Dečani. These mon- asteries are also enclaves but are more spacious and are located in the more pleasant natural surroundings of the forests and mountains of Metohija. The “grannies” spend a day or two there. Some times they accompany the Dečani monks to central Serbia or Montenegro to visit their rela- tives, but they are always impatient to return to Djakovica, where they say they like it best of all.
Poljka herself rarely leaves the church. With the vigi- lance of a tireless guardian, she is ever ready to chase away intruders by her faith, fasting, and prayer. She spends all day in the church, praying, cleaning the church, lighting the icon lamps, and burning incense. “You see, there is an un- usual, most wonderful fragrance of peace emanating from theiconofthepatronsaint,St.Nicholas,”shetellsthemonks. “This gives us even greater hope that our spiritual battle is God-pleasing,” she says with a smile.
“Humanitarian organizations rarely visit us. Some of the more honest ones told me that they are afraid of becom- ing known among the albanians as friends of Serbs,” says Poleksija with a sigh. “i understand that some of them are afraid while others are prejudiced against us... But thanks be to God, He makes sure that we always have everything we need.” Some international representatives came to ask the women if they would like to leave Djakovica, because to all it appears that there is no life for Serbs here. Poleksija always refused to answer such questions. it is no secret that some international humanitarian organizations have open- ly encouraged Serbs to leave Kosovo. Now, however, they would like to prepare them for some sort of elections to create the illusion of multiethnic elections in ethnically “pure” albanian Djakovica. The international plan for a
Displaced Serbs from Djakovica can visit their native city and church only heavily guarded and excorted by KFOR
democratic, multiethnic Kosovo is hardly possible given the present situation in Kosovo. Despite the fact that the international community carried out a military interven- tion against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in order to stop ethnic cleansing, in the end it found it self in the role of an eye witness to reverse ethnic cleansing. This time, everything is not happening in the midst of the chaos of war but in the presence of 40,000 of the best-trained NaTO troops. al though the international press regularly writes about improvements in life in Kosovo and Metohija, the real situation is hardly the picture of improvement, and stories like this one never make the head lines. The decrease in the number of crimes is not a result of an improvement in the security situation but a reflection of the plain fact that the overwhelming majority of the non-albanian pop- ulation lives completely separated from the albanians, the majority of whom remain as hostile and intolerant of oth- ers as in the first days after the war... Politicians and jour- nalists in the West skillfully avoid stories about ghettos and enclaves...
as twilight descends on Djakovica and the sun disap- pears behind the distant hills of neighboring albania, Po- leksija lights candles and icon lamps in preparation for eve- ning prayers. Yet another day has passed for her, bringing her that much nearer to her beloved Lord. The bells of the old Serb church toll a melancholy chime, reverberating among the walls of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, which remains proud even in ruins. When the albanians destroyed it in the summer of 1999 following the arrival of the UN mission and KFOR, the entire town celebrated in song until the early dawn. “We weren’t afraid. We just prayed to God. We knew that they could destroy our church, but they cannot expel the Lord from the hearts of His faithful ones,” whispered Poleksija, making the sign of the Holy Cross.
The Orthodox Word, vol. 37, No 3–4 (139–147) May–August 2001.

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