Protosyncellus of the Serbian Orthodox Church Sava Janic (the Diocese of Raska and Prizren) tells about the situation in Pristine, the capital Kosovo, the autonomous Serbian region.
Number of Serbs living in Pristine before NATO started bombing in 1999, made over 20,000 people. Currently Serb population of Pristine, a real Serb ghetto, makes up only 200 people. After severe ethnic cleansing operations held by militants of an allegedly disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, in presence of KFOR and UN Civil Mission, hundreds of Pristine Serbs were killed, kidnapped from the streets, hospitals, schools, and thousands were forced to leave homes for central Serbia.
Pristine is Europe only large city where 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 a 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. In 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 are dominating.
Sometimes, some brave young Serbs dare to go in the Pristine streets completely unprotected, with the disdain for the ethnic hatred and intolerance which Albanians create about everything having 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 they are guests in the Kosovo capital; the documents are issued by some international organizations for the sake of saving the people’s lives amidst the international hatred and intolerance.
Foreigners visiting Pristine usually don’t feel the ethnic discrimination atmosphere in the streets. They don’t understand that people innocently smiling in the streets, restaurants and shops are Kosovo Albanians, for whom the noisy public life in Pristine means success of the mission who is said to come to establish a multi-ethic community there. At the same time, only the second, a closer glance reveals that the city sticks to its own laws radically differing from the habitual human laws.
Even deputies of a so-called multi-ethnic Kosovo parliament protecting interests of the Serb community, can leave the Skupstine building for a cafe or somewhere else in armored police vehicles only.
We won’t reconcile to the fact that majority of international representatives get used to this situation and do nothing at all to change it for the best. Albanian politicians and intellectual elite are in their turn satisfied with the situation in the region.
Under the totalitarian regimes of Milosevic and Tudjman in Serbia and Croatia, many public and political organizations, students openly protested against terror in Pristine and in the Kosovo region on the whole. Unfortunately, currently there is no power to openly oppose to discrimination of Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo.
Against this unfavorable background, Albanian media in Kosovo keep on satanizing everything what is of Serbian origin. OSCE and UN peacemaking missions call it freedom of press. Meantime, the life of the handful of Serbs still living in Pristine is getting more and more unbearable.
Compiled by Sergey Stefanov