Vidovdan: „I have been coming here since I was a little boy, to pay my respects to Kosovo’s victims and heroes, because they died so that we could survive today“

Foto: Kim

No incidents, but also no Serbian officials from Belgrade. No Kosovo officials, either. A smaller number of visitors, about 500 of them, mainly youth, and visible police security – this was the scene at today’s Memorial Service for Kosovo’s heroes in Gazimestan. The banner „I will not betray“ could also be seen, placed in front of the monument by the supporters of the „Obraz“ movement.

Predrag Pavlovic, from Smederevo (45), when asked why he is today in Gazimestan?, replied:

„Why am I here?! Everyone who feels like a Serb should be here. I’m surprised that other Serbs from all over Serbian territory are not here.“

On what Vidovdan means to him, this visitor said: „It is the thing that is holiest in our history.“

He testified that he faced problems with people „at every step“ while arriving:

„They spit on me, or asked ‘what are these – markings, Serbs – why are Serbs here? What are Serbs doing here?!’ Well, this is ours… for them to take something of ours – I will not allow it.”

Eighteen-year-old Nikola Jovanovic, from Preoce near Pristina, comes to Gazimestan every year, „since he was a little boy“.

„My parents have been bringing me here since I was a little boy, to pay my respects to Kosovo’s victims and heroes, because, in some way, they died so that we could survive today.“

For Nikola, Vidovdan is not a holiday for celebration. This is a day of sorrow, this young Serbian man from Kosovo said:

„A lot of Serbs died on this day and we come here today to honor them, not to rejoice, although I believe that the Kosovo battle was in some way a victory for the Serbian people, because after that our country survived until 1457.“

„It’s better if there are more of us, because only harmony can save Serbs and we are stronger together,“ he described while coming as a group member from Gracanica on the bus.

They had no problems during this short trip and the provocations were „more visual in nature“. The provocations were mutual, he admits:

„We show them three fingers, they show two. They show us an eagle with two hands, we show them three fingers connected – the Holy Trinity. We are used to it, as someone who lives here in Kosovo, I’m used to living with my neighbors like my ancestors lived with them. I have no problem with that.“

Milos Stojkovic (30), from Skopje, said that Vidovdan is a „a great event“ for all Serbs, historical, cultural, national.

„I think this is a message about Serbian unity, above all, about our values,“ he said.

„What defines me as a person, as a man. At the same time, as a man of the world, and, of course, as a Serb,” added.

Earlier, church leaders served a liturgy at Gracanica Monastery.

Although no officials were present in Gazimestan this year, the Minister of Education of Serbia, Mladen Sarcevic, and the Director of the Kosovo Office, Marko Djuric, visited Kosovska Mitrovica, 40 kilometers away. Read here.

At the same time, as Kosovo authorities announced, they did not grant entry into Kosovo to the Serbian Minister of Defense.

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