Page 996 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 996

archimandrite Dositej Obradović
bondage, but the yearning for freedom to once again be- come holy Serbian land. The tragic circumstances in Koso- vo and Metohija did not, however, cease with the disap- pearance of the empires that oppressed the people of this land for centuries and compelled them to battle. at the very start of World War ii, a continuation and intensifica- tion of old conflicts took place. Besides offering eyewitness accounts of the suffering and persecution of the Serbs by those to whom the fascist occupation was perceived as lib- eration, the intent of the editors is to present explanations for the newly inflamed hatred by looking beyond the con- stantly emphasized crimes against the albanian people as the locus of the present conflict in Kosovo.
The Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija are today the greatest sacrificial lambs under the wrongheaded and heartless politics of the international community, but also under their own country and its political elite. Therein is the great task of the Church’s laborers in Kosovo and Me- tohija and Serbia. if the spiritual vision does not go beyond the phenomenological, then it is no different from that of the publicist; we do not bring hope to the future, and we do not invoke the eschatological freedom that translates to the other side.
at the beginning of the year 2000, the international community apparently began to realize that the attacks by albanians were not just the result of furious revenge for violence committed during the time of the conflict but have the clear intent of expelling all the non-albanians from Kosovo and Metohija. However, no concrete measures have been undertaken to change the situation on the ground. Serbs have survived primarily in a few enclaves, while the biggest cities, except Mitrovica, have been emptied almost entirely of their Serb populations. in some cities, such as Priština, Gnjilanе, and Оrahоvac, only scattered groups remain, surviving under the continuous protection of Unit- ed Nations interim administration Mission in Kosovo.
Ten years after the 2004 March Pogrom, one of the few remaining Serbian intellectuals in central Kosovo, Živojin Rakočević, rightfully wondered: “Can all the destruction inflicted on the Serbs be compensated in any way? How can the cultural context, which has been created over cen- turies and which is a matter of survival for the Kosovo Serbs, be restored? Can money make up for the tragic material and spiritual consequences of the March Pogrom in 2004? is the possibility of a normal life irrevocably shattered? What remains after it all is unrelieved fear, as an imprint and a symbol, and the fact that the pogrom took place in times of peace, that it is one of the worst peacetime crimes in recent european history, and that it took place right before the eyes of tens of thousands of foreign soldiers and adminis- trative officials. it has given rise to an attitude among the Serbs which amounts to patient endurance and a single phrase: No one wants to protect us.”
The destruction of Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries, and the eradication of cemeteries and cul-
tural monuments are part of a broader albanian strategy, whose goal is to change not only the demographic but also the cultural and historical identity of the province. Newly revised albanian history and the educational system are working in tandem to impose a pseudo-identity upon some of our great shrines, such as Dеčani, the Patriarchate of Peć and the Bogorodica Ljeviška Cathedral in Prizren.
Therefore, the Serbian Church and the Kosovo-Meto- hija Serbs ask the international community for the follow- ing basic human, national, and international rights and free- doms:
That the suffering and ethnic discrimination against the Serbian Orthodox people in Kosovo and Metohija be stopped immediately, and the survival and safety of all those remaining in Kosovo and Metohija be ensured, as well as their complete freedom of movement and work and all other rights, such as the right to personal and real property, full and not only formal participation in the government of Kosovo and Metohija, their own schools, hospitals, cultural centers, as well as interna- tional and domestic state moral and material support.
That the barbaric destruction and desecration of Orthodox churches and cemeteries in Kosovo be stopped, and protection provided to preserve living monasteries and churches of great national, human, and religious- cultural value; that the Serbian Orthodox Church be al- lowed to restore its destroyed holy shrines and monas- teries, and that its clergy be unobstructed in their spiri- tual and pastoral work.
We believe that in the Kosovo ethos there is something that goes beyond narrow opinions, views, and aspirations. The spiritual, cultural, and material treasures of Ortho- doxy in Kosovo can never be the past if they are kept as something most precious, because they go beyond nation- al and political divisions and agendas. The way of life that emanates from the Vidovdan ethos calls all of us — wheth- er we are in the diaspora or in the homeland — to place all our differences beneath the light of the New Testament ethos. as someone aptly said: the Kosovo Covenant is the New Testament expressed in a Serbian style and through a Serbian experience. at the same time, it continues to be Christ’s New Testament and not anything else. The Koso- vo Covenant does not exist outside the New Testament. Therefore, it is the embodiment of the New Testament in the life and ethos of our people and their history, being, and earthly destiny. and if the essence of Kosovo is not in the New Testament, then it is false and, as such, we have no need of it.
The heritage of Kosovo and Metohija bears something very powerful, like atomic particles: it can become a blast in a silence that can disperse every lie, falsification, plagia- rism, and illusion — without destroying anyone, without

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