June 10, 2000 International Tribunal for U.S./NATO warcrimes in Yugoslavia
THE DESTRUCTION OF SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCHES AND MONASTERIES IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA BY NATO, KFOR, UNMIC AND THE SO-CALLED "KLA"
by Milos Raickovich
Milos Raickovich, a Serbian-American composer and anti-war activist, spoke on the destruction of churches and cultural sites in occupied Kosovo and Metohija, a crime against humanity.
The official name of the Serbian province under NATO occupation is not simply Kosovo, as it is referred to by the mainstream media, but rather Kosovo and Metohija. Sometimes, Kosovo and Metohija is abbreviated as a compound word, Kosmet. The word Kosovo comes from Serbian, Kosovo Polje, or The Field of the Blackbirds, while Metohija means The Land of the Monasteries. This is extremely important. By dropping Metohija from the regions name, NATO propaganda and the mainstream media are concealing the fact that this is the land where 1400 Serbian medieval churches and monasteries are to be found. These shrines are masterpieces of European and Byzantine architecture, as well as fresco painting. In other words, Serbs and other ethnic groups are not only being expelled from Kosmet, but the genuine historical name of the region, Kosovo and Metohija, is being erased.
This kind of oversimplification is an imperialist game. Once the truncated name, Kosovo or, as the KLA calls it, Kosova, is introduced, next comes the concept of the Kosovars. By falsely naming Albanians after the region, NATO propaganda suggests that the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija are the only historical people of the region, and that they hold an exclusive claim to it. As in Krajina and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbs are once again presented as foreigners in their own homeland.
The imperialist occupation has brought with it cultural genocide. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Roma, Jews, Turks, Egyptians, Goranis, Slavic Muslims, pro-Yugoslav Albanians and others have been expelled from Kosovo and Metohija under NATO supervision. In order to erase all trace of Serbs, the terrorist "KLA" has launched a systematic campaign to destroy Serbian churches and monasteries by first robbing and looting them of icons, manuscripts and other relics, then by desecrating, burning and mining these monuments and houses of worship, until they are finally demolished.
To this day, the number of shrines that have been destroyed is unknown, because many are located in areas to which Serbian clergy has no access, due to the reign of terror imposed by the "KLA" and NATO. The number of documented cases of destruction, according to the evidence collected as of May 2000, was approximately 100 churches and monasteries destroyed and desecrated. Most of these shrines were destroyed in the U.S., Italian and German zones, while the rate of destruction is slightly less in the zones controlled by the British and French. To sum up, more Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries were destroyed in the first year of NATO occupation than during 500 years of the Ottoman Empires occupation of Serbia.
NATO propaganda often suggests that the presence of the KFOR troops is the only guarantee for the protection of cultural sites in Kosovo and Metohija. Sheer hypocrisy! NATO bombs struck some of these holy sites directly, and NATO bombs fell close enough to others to shake their foundations. NATO also brought "KLA" terrorists into Kosovo and Metohija. This is an ongoing crime against the whole region and its people. It is cultural genocide.
The only way to stop the destruction is by the restoration of a multicultural society under the protection of the Serbian and Yugoslav authorities. Let us hope that Vietnam will not be repeated here, and that NATO, KFOR, SFOR, UNMIC and the "KLA" terrorists will disband and withdraw from the region before they are all defeated and expelled by the people of the Balkans.
Long live multicultural Serbia and all of its 27 minorities! Long live Yugoslavia!
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