November 23rd 2012 06:01:08 PM
The following article appeared in New Serbian Political Thought on Nov. 4th, one of the Serb holy days for honoring the dead. This year on the same day, the Canadian minister of immigration, who worships the archbishop presiding over the genocide of Serbs in WWII, was being honored. As if the 750,000 Serbs erased under the archbishop’s watch never existed.
Orthodox Cemetery as “parallel institution” by Aleksandar Djikić
The first Saturday before the Feast of St. Demetrios. The popular name for it is St. Demetrios’ All Souls Day….On that day, the Serbs visit their [loved ones’] graves, have memorial services sung for their relatives and friends and return home….Visiting the cemetery is not a particularly hard thing to do, unless that visit takes place in Kosovo and Metohija, where such a visit becomes feat.
It is no secret that all Kosovo and Metohija Orthodox cemeteries, except for those in the northern part of the province and in some Serbian enclaves, have all been devastated. Until now, such a primitive and savage urge to take revenge upon the dead has not been recorded in history. So much hatred…destroying tombstones and digging up and scattering the earthly remains of the dead, has not been known thus far in this world, which is certainly no stranger to hatred…
The Serbs did experience instances of desecration of cemeteries in Kosovo and Metohija in the seventies and eighties of the past century, but the culmination of this form of violence began only after the [Western] occupation which started in 1999. There is, however, something new and different about this St. Demetrius’ All Souls Day. The difference is that this time the police refused to escort and give protection to organized groups of exiled Serbs returning to visit their family graves. This protection was particularly needed by the Serbs who went to the cemetery in Djakovica. These were the groups who were stoned during these visits every preceding year, and it was pure luck that no one was hurt so far.
…Fully aware of these dangers, one group of Djakovica Serbs, without any protection, set off on its visit to the cemetery. (…The old cemetery was the subject of a diplomatic scandal a few years ago, when an effort to convert it into a building site was thwarted by France because, together with the Serbs, the French soldiers were buried there in WWI.) This group of Serbs, 20 to 80 years of age, returned to its native land…to visit their dead. An attempt by the Kosovo police to deter them by refusing to escort them failed…
On their way to the cemetery, the travelers become aware of one phenomenon. Namely, inscriptions on signposts are “bilingual” or supposedly so, as none is written in Cyrillic. Yet they are bilingual — Albanian and Croatian, in fact. The part of the signpost bearing the non-Albanian inscription on it is often painted over….[W]here the albanization of the toponym was successfully achieved, both inscriptions are visible….However, where the albanization of the toponym is not successful (yet), that is to say in those cases where the Serbian origin of the name is undeniable, we have only the Albanian version. For instance, the signpost for the village of Kijevo originally bore the inscription Kieva-Kijevo but only Kieva is left visible, while Kijevo is painted over. The same is the case of such places as Dragobilje, Klina, Crnobreg and others…
Finally, these sixty-some Serbs reach the local cemetery. And there a dreadful sight greets them. The gate is chained and pad-locked, as if indeed no one expected them. The church and chapel dedicated to St. Sava are razed to the ground; tomb stones are broken up and scattered all over the place; here and there bones or fragments of coffins are visible; the entire cemetery is overgrown with wild vegetation as it is slowly being reclaimed by the surrounding woods…
Silently the visitors step on the ruins of the destroyed church. A memorial service is served. At appropriate moments, the mourners intone the names of their dead in low whispers so as not to disturb the priest. The local Albanians begin to gather around the cemetery, but they only watch. After the service, the visitors make their separate ways to their family graves, or to what is left of them…The mourners then visit the one remaining town church, which itself was badly damaged on March 17, 2004 [during the organized anti-Serb riots that secured independence], before returning to their temporary place of residence — temporary, but increasingly long in duration.
There are comments such as : “Look! The Albanian has hung up his laundry to dry in my yard!” or “Look at this street! It no longer bears the name of my father but of some KLA brigade,” or “At least you know where the bones of your dear ones are. I don’t know where the bones of my son are. He vanished in 1999 and never came back. But still, I feel better after coming here.” Such comments are spoken in low voices — as low as only impotence can make them.
They may be spoken low, but they must be loud in being heard…by the interpreters of our European path [who should] explain to those making them what possible connection [the words] have with the standards advertised as the basis for our “membership in the European family of nations,” when we shall all be rich, tall, handsome and blond.
…Is it possible that only in the eyes of our Euro-promoters…the world-wide principle of the sanctity of private property is not valid? Is it possible that only [Euro-promoters] fail to understand that it is not acceptable for someone to vanish in 1999 and never come back, particularly when in 1999 the members of the occupying forces…and the upper echelons of the [establishers] of Greater Albania were together on a joint mission?
Who can trust our Euro-promoters when they [say] that by getting rid of “parallel institutions” — our only legal institutions in Kosovo and Metohija…they have in mind only “some” parallel institutions, not “all of them?” No one can and no one does trust them. They have in mind all Serbian institutions. If [Albanians] cannot tolerate even our cemeteries, which they are mercilessly destroying, what do you think they would do to our schools, which do not teach that Adem Jašari was a hero but a bandit? How long would they tolerate the Serbian physician to whom Albanian patients go secretly because they don’t trust their compatriot’s qualifications? (Their compatriot didn’t have much time for studying; he was too busy [being a KLA fighter]).
Considering the dead are so intolerable to them, maybe it would not be out of place here to put this question to our Euro-promoters: According to European standards, how many times must a Serb be killed for the road to Europe to be open to us? …I don’t know the answer, but they surely must. After all, they are the experts.
And so, the November dusk descends upon Metohija….The bus carrying our braves — who are indeed very brave — slowly leaves. Its lights slowly fade in the distance and are lost to sight just as the consciousness of Serbian Metohija fades within us with every step we take towards the darkness of Europe.
The Serb-Orthodox cemetery in Albanian-occupied Djakovica. These graves once had proper headstones, covers, flower vases, candle-holders, etc. And a chapel. Now there’s just ruins. And, no doubt, Albanian droppings, which are a staple sight at church sites.
The Albanian-Muslim cemetery in Serb-controlled northern Mitrovica, undisturbed