Kosovo is the only territory in Europe where there are attempts at renaming cultural heritage by force. The history and cultural heritage of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija is being annulled and attempts at rewriting history are being made. Children of Serb nationality are being prevented from attending school in their mother tongue and being a Serb in Kosovo has, in one word, become a totally undesirable, unsafe and risky thing. More by Ljiljana Sinđelić Nikolić.

Let us start with the latest events in northern Kosmet, where special units of the Kosovo police were brought to the administrative line with central Serbia. The Serbs opposed the operation and all the media reported on the dramatic situation at the administrative crossings of Brnjak and Jarinje. Owing to negotiations between Serbian government representatives and KFOR, the situation has calmed down a little, but tension is still present. On the other hand, Kosovo PM Hashim Tachi claims that the police forces were brought to the administrative lines in order to stop the smuggling of goods, which sounds strange, to say at least, bearing in mind the well-known fact that the hotbed of crime is situated south of the Ibar river, which is mostly inhabited by Kosovo Albanians and where very few Serbs have remained. Moreover, it was that part of Kosovo that has been openly named by the Western media as a gangster paradise and where illegal traffic in weapons, oil, narcotics and people is rampant.

For instance, the US agency DEA found that Kosovo Albanians occupied the second position in the world market when it comes to traffic in narcotics. Another example is the report of Council of Europe’s rapporteur Dick Marty on traffic in human organs in Kosovo. That heinous crime was committed by members of the KLA against kidnapped Kosmet Serbs and Marty himself said he was astonished at the fact that a large number of people and international organizations knew about those atrocious crimes, but nevertheless kept silent.

Not only most Kosmet Serbs have been expelled from their homes and are being prevented from returning, but Kosovo Albanian extremists have been systematically trying to obliterate the medieval Serbian history in the region of Kosovo-Metohija. They are changing names and toponyms. A while ago, the Serbian Orthodox Church bishop of Raska and Prizren, Teodosije, sent a letter to the UNESCO director general expressing concern over a recent debate held in the World Cultural Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Paris.

On that occasion, an attempt was made at renaming the medieval Serbian monasteries of the Pec Patriarchate, Visoki Decani, Gracanica and Bogorodica (Mother of God) Ljeviska in Prizren into so-called Kosovo heritage. Those significant sanctities of the Serbian Orthodox Church were built many centuries ago by the Serbian rules and the Serbian people. Those monasteries are still living and belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church and were included in the UNESCO list as such. The bishop pointed out that any further attempt at expropriating Serbian heritage in Kosovo-Metohija is leading to the loss of identity guaranteed by the international community. For instance, Kosovo Albanians printed the photograph of the monastery of Visoki Dečani on post stamps and wrote that the monastery forms part of Byzantine heritage. They also renamed the founder of the Serbian royal dynasty of Nemanjic, Stefan Nemanja, who built numerous monasteries in Kosovo-Metohija – Stefan Nimani, trying to pass him off as an Albanian.

Despite all the ordeals, Serbs are remaining in their homes, hoping, as Bishop Teodosije said these days, staying with his people on the Jarinje and Brnjak lines, that all the disputable issues will be resolved through negotiations and with an awareness that all the solutions must be in the service of peace and safety of all the people.