The Abbot today, Kosovo tomorrow

Dušan Janjić u kolumni +381 sa Bljerimom Šaljom na portalu "KoSSev"
Dušan Janjić 

 By Dusan Janjic

The decision of the NGO „Europa Nostra“ to include the Visoki Decani monastery in its list of the most endangered monuments was used by the Kosovo authorities (Kurti and Osmani) and some Albanian CSOs as a reason to “get some other work done.”

In their letter, Osmani and Kurti seek to strengthen the well-known position of all Kosovo governments that Visoki Decani is part of Kosovo’s cultural heritage. They even failed to notice that „Europa Nostra“ practically included the monastery on the list as Kosovo’s heritage, although the organization confirmed that it is a monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Their ‘responsibility’ lies in the fact that they respected the Brussels agreement and used the term „Kosovo*“. However, Europa Nostra thus distanced itself from the currently valid designation of the monastery – as Serbia’s cultural heritage – in UNESCO’s documents.

In that regard, it may be an opportunity to question the behavior of the Kosovo authorities, but also the mediators – the EU and the USA – regarding the undertaken obligations. Therefore, it would be more desirable for Kurti and Vucic to discuss this issue at their meetings, with Lajcak’s „facilitation“, and contribute to creating an atmosphere of a possible agreement. This attack on Europa Nostra is therefore not surprising, as it is just another alarm that indicates that those who believe in the intentions and abilities of the parties to resolve their disputes peacefully and democratically are suffering.

From the mid-1990s until the attack on Abbot Sava Janjic, whenever Halit Berani and his CDHRF became involved ought to be considered as a „trigger case“ that encourages and justifies extreme nationalist moves by the Kosovo-Albanian right. Reading the OSCE report on ethnic violence in March 2004, as well as the minutes of the discussion in the Bundestag about that event, would be enough. Perhaps those NGOs that supported it could get acquainted with these documents and ask themselves whether the continuation of hatred and persecution is the way to achieve the goals of the Albanian movement and create the state of Kosovo as a democratic society.

What was Sava Janjic’s sin? Probably that he gained an indisputably noteworthy reputation and support in the public and international centers of power by testifying about the suffering of Serbs and Albanians, and, for example, together with Bishop Artemije, being the first to alert German and world decision-makers about police violence against Albanians. I personally attended such performances of both of them in Belgrade and Berlin. Berani and his supporters should ask themselves what got them so close to the claims of Vojislav Seselj and radical ethno-nationalists among Serbs. They also demand that the Abbot be tried for the same event, but according to them, he protected Albanians and did not allow Serb military, police, and paramilitary units to enter the monastery. According to them, he acted as a „CIA agent“ and a „locator“ of the KLA army.

Perhaps both Osmani and Kurti should, in time, examine who their allies are within Kosovo society, to persevere in establishing responsibility for war crimes and until the truly necessary reconciliation comes to be, or at least mutual respect for specifics and common interests of Albanians and Kosovo, on the one hand, and Serbs – especially those living in Kosovo, and Serbs and Serbia, on the other.

The attempt of Kosovo Serb CSOs to „condemn hate speech“ and protect Father Sava is well-intentioned and justified. However, that’s not all there is to it.

First of all, it is about the fact that defining the obligations of Kosovo, the SOC, Serbia, and the EU and the USA in the protection of cultural and religious heritage is part of a comprehensive solution, and respecting Kosovo’s constitution and the corresponding annex to the Ahtisaari plan. This is what the Abbot has been advocating since 2008 and something he is actively participating in. If this is the „sin“ of Sava Janjic, then what about the responsibility and disgrace of those who, as the Albanian elite, do not respect the foundations of the declared independence of Kosovo? I have no doubt, after reading Osmani’s Ph.D. thesis, that she knows well the place these documents and the cooperation with the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Abbot have in the state-building process in Kosovo. What is left for her to do is to confirm this as an influential politician.

As a voice against hatred and an advocate of reconciliation, Sava Janjic is not and cannot be a victim of this „trigger case“. He is simply in the way, especially of those who would like to, in the name of geopolitics and of course the seizure of property, destroy many human lives.

Certainly, Sava Janjic did not and will not betray his beliefs because of that: Abbot Sava Janjic is not what all of this is about. It is a bid to move the new Kosovo government away from the dialogue on normalization and move it toward pan-Albanian unification. It is also certain that leading Serbian – Albanian relations on this path once again would be welcomed in many more influential circles, in Kosovo, Belgrade, the European nationalist right, and in Moscow, certainly.

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