Pristine: Center of Ethnic Hatred

NATO and the UNO, shame on you!

Protosyncellus of the Serbian Orthodox Church Sava Janic (the Diocese of Raska and Prizren) describes the situation in Pristine, the capital Kosovo, the autonomous Serbian region.

The number of Serbs living in Pristine before NATO started bombing in 1999 made up over 20,000 people. Currently, Serb population of Pristine, a real Serb ghetto, makes up only 200 people. After the ethnic cleansing operations held by militants of the allegedly disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, in the presence of KFOR and the UN Civil Mission, hundreds of Pristine Serbs were killed; kidnapped on the streets, hospitals, schools; and thousands were forced to leave their homes for central Serbia.

Pristine is Europe's only large city where the freedom and rights of any particular person depend exclusively upon his ethnic and religious belonging. The events we currently witness in Pristine are happening not in war time or under the totalitarian authority of some nationalist leader. Everything is going on in presence of well-armed NATO soldiers and thousands of UN peacemakers. For three years after the armed conflict in Kosovo, Serbs are still denied free access to schools, universities, and other institutions everywhere in Kosovo and Metohja where Albanians dominate.

Sometimes, some brave young Serbs dare to walk Pristine's streets completely unprotected, with the a disdain for the ethnic hatred and intolerance that Albanians have for anything of Serbian and Slavic origin. At the same time, these young Serbs are really very cautious and speak only English in crowded places. Some of them have forged passports alleging that they are guests in the Kosovo capital; the documents are issued by international organizations for the sake of saving people’s lives amidst the hatred and intolerance.

Foreigners visiting Pristine usually don’t feel the atmosphere of ethnic hatred in the streets. They don’t understand that the people who innocently smile in the streets, restaurants, and shops are Kosovo Albanians, for whom the noisy public life in Pristine means the success of the mission to establish a multi-ethic community there. At the same time, only a second, a closer glance reveals that the city sticks to its own law, radically differing from habitual human laws.

Even deputies of a so-called multi-ethnic Kosovo parliament "protecting" the interests of the Serb community, leave the Skupstine building for a cafe or somewhere else only in armored police vehicles.

We won’t reconcile to the fact that the majority of international representatives get used to this situation and do nothing at all to change it for the better. Albanian politicians and the "intellectual elite" are satisfied with the situation.

Under the "totalitarian" regimes of Milosevic and Tudjman in Serbia and Croatia, many public and political organizations and students openly protested against the terror in Pristine and in the Kosovo region on the whole. Unfortunately, currently, there is no power to openly oppose the discrimination of Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo.

Against this unfavorable background, the Albanian media in Kosovo continues to "cleanse" everything of Serbian origin. The OSCE and UN peacemaking missions call it "freedom of press." In the meantime, life for the handful of Serbs still living in Pristine is becoming more and more unbearable.

Compiled by Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru

Father Sava Janic is one of editors

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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