January 25, 2008
KIM Info Newsletter 25-01-08
Kosovo authorities continue their aggressive usurpation of Serbia’s spiritual and cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija
KIM Info Service
"It is with great concern and shock that we read the news presenting the tourist offerings of Kosovo at the recent international tourism fair held in Ohrid," said Bishop Teodosije, the Serbian Orthodox Church’s representative in the process of the restoration of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija.
English version at www.visitkosova.org
"Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Kosovo government, concretely in this instance the Ministry for Commerce and Industry (Section for Tourism), is launching a falsified version of the history of Kosovo and Metohija, completely negating the Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage. Our holy shrines are being represented once again as some sort of Illyrian-Albanian churches in the ‘Byzantine-Kosovar’ style, the medieval town of Novo Brdo is referred to as the Artana Fortress, and the existence of the Serbian Orthodox Church is openly not mentioned at all," said the Bishop.
Three years ago, in May 2005, the Kosovo Ministry of Culture at that time distributed a pamphlet of similar content in UNESCO headquarters in Paris. On that occasion the Serbian Orthodox Church responded sharply through its representative, Bishop Irinej Dobrijevic, and the controversial publication was promptly withdrawn. "Apparently," said Bishop Teodosije, "the views of the Albanian authorities in Kosovo have not changed in the least despite their declarative statements regarding their readiness to respect the Serbian Orthodox cultural heritage, which is something the Kosovo government formally committed to during the course of last year’s negotiations in Vienna."
The content of the controversial presentation of the Kosovo Ministry of Industry and Trade
www.visitkosova.org best illustrates the kind of future the Kosovo government is preparing for the Serbian cultural heritage and the extent to which their promises to respect the identity and property of the Serbian Orthodox Church are sincere.
Bishop Teodosije, the representative of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the process of restoring Serbian holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija informed representatives of international diplomatic mission in Kosovo and Metohija regarding this matter today. He expressed his sharp protest and disagreement with the discriminatory attitude of the Kosovo authorities toward the Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage, which is exposed to aggressive "Kosovarization" and Albanization by local officials.
"Serbian holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija must not only be physically protected from the destruction to which they have been exposed, especially during the last eight years under the UN international mission but also effectively protected in accordance with international law and conventions. The crude falsification of history and complete negation of Serbia’s heritage in Kosovo and Metohija are completely contrary to international promises and guarantees. We must put an end to these determined efforts to alienate the most important part of Serbian medieval cultural heritage from the Serbian people and usurp it from the Serbian Orthodox Church at any price."
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Glas Javnosti daily, Belgrade
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Gracanica, Patriarchate… Albanian "cultural heritage"!?
"Visit Kosovo – the youngest country of authentic heritage" is the slogan from the promotional material one Kosovo tourist association is using to promote the province’s potential. This means Serbian cultural and religious artifacts: monasteries, churches, Serbian icons, frescoes… The menu offered by tourist agencies in "multiethnic Kosovo", as they describe it, includes "an authentic Serb household" visited by tourists in order to "show then them the way of life of a typical Serb family in Kosovo".
At a recently held international tourism fair in Ohrid, the aforementioned, practically phantom association of tourist agencies from the province, KOTAS, appeared alongside representatives of tourism organizations from several Balkan countries. Its representatives offered voluminous promotional material in Albanian and English to tourism organizations from Slovenia, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, the Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation and Serbia, including visits to three Serbian monasteries: Decani, Gracanica and the Pec Patriarchate!
And then they fought against the Turks
In the material our monasteries are presented as Byzantine-Albanian cultural monuments and no mention is made of the Serbian cultural-historical heritage, the Serbian Orthodox Church, Serbian rulers and patron-donors, or Serbs as builders and owners of the aforementioned monuments. Next to pictures of ancient Serbian monasteries accompanying texts describe Albanians as "the autochthonous, peace-loving, indigenous people of Kosova" who, "after invasions by [Serbian] Emperor Dusan" and then by the Ottoman Empire, managed to win their independence. The brochures explain that it is therefore completely normal that every household of this freedom-loving people, the descendents of the Illyrians, has its personal arsenal of weapons and ammunition.
Under a photograph of the Serbian monastery of Decani and details from icons is an inscription that reads "Perfectly preserved treasures and icons of Decani Monastery" although the mysterious author takes great care not to mention who built the monument and when. In the accompanying text for the monastery, as for all others mentioned in the tourist brochures, there is scant mention that this is "an Orthodox monastery" and occasionally even "an Orthodox church in Kosovo". The words "Serbian" or "Serb" are systematically avoided with the sole exception of "Serbs", described as the conquerors of Kosovo. Serbs are also referred to in the context of "multiethnic food", as are the Goranis.
One tourist tour, which starts in Pristina and visits Brezovica, Prizren and Gnjilane, offers sljivovica [plum brandy], while another offers visits to Decani and Pec, including "a traditional lunch", "traditional hospitality", "a visit to the most authentic part of Europe" that even includes "a tour of KFOR headquarters in Prizren".
KOTAS’ website www.visitkosova.org includes other gems such as "Roman-Byzantine-Gothic-Albanian culture and architecture", "paleo-Christian monuments" and other wonders.
Representatives of the Tourist Organization of Serbia, which had its own stand at the tourism fair in Ohrid, had never heard of this association of tourist organizations from Kosovo and Metohija, and were quite surprised and shocked by the offerings of KOTAS’, whose booth had been installed near the Serbian one. Ignoring their neighbors, the promoters of KOTAS wore Albanian folk dress and smiles as they offered both the people from TOS and other exhibitors and guests color brochures of "the youngest country of authentic cultural and historical heritage", as well as trips to Albania. Representatives of tourist organizations in Serbia were also offered a trip to Albania, with dinner included, which was most graciously refused.
IF THE HOLY SHRINES ARE THEIRS, THEN WHY DID THEY DESTROY THEM?
"It’s only logical to ask why, if all these ancient medieval churches in Kosovo and Metohija are supposedly ‘Albanian’, it was the Albanians who systematically destroyed and desecratedthem during the post-war period of internationally guaranteed peace without any eminent Albanian intellectual raising his voice against the demolition of these cultural monuments for which Kosovo is known throughout the world?" said Protosingel Sava Janjic.
Nasa informativna sluzba donosi vesti sa Kosova i Metohije sa posebnim osvrtom na zivot Srpske Pravoslavne Crkve i srpske zajednice na prostorima pokrajine Kosova i Metohije i Raske oblasti. KIM Info-sluzba izdaje redovne biltene na srpskom i engleskom jeziku.
Copyright 2007, KIM Info-sluzba
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