The magnitude of Kosovo reverberates across the centuries. It has survived 609 years and throughout the succeeding generations Kosovo has become the inspiration of an entire nation. And through its grandeur and its religious example it has influenced other nations to seek freedom. Kosovo permanently changed the face of Europe and altered history. Kosovo, 100 years before Columbus sailed for the New World, was a statement for religious freedom and the belief that no man had a right to rule another. Rather than to consent to become slaves to tyranny, the Serbs willingly gave their lives for their religious belief. Seldom in history have we witnessed such a commitment. The Serbs on the Kosovo Field not only paid with the staggering loss of 77,000 lives in one day of battle, but the Serbian nation suffered 500 years of Ottoman slavery as the consequence. Historians have never spoken of Kosovo as though it were an event in the past that will never happen again. Through the centuries, Serbian sacrifice and Kosovo have become synonymous.
The Serbian people have continually assumed that in every century they would again find it necessary to defend their rights to their land, self-determination, and freedom of worship. History in the Balkans continuously repeats itself! In 1690, more than 180,000 Serbs were forced from Kosovo and, again, an equal number were exiled in 1737. After the Congress of Berlin, in 1878, another 150,000 Serbs were expelled. This ongoing trend took on tragic proportions following the war in Crete between Turkey and Greece in 1897. Diplomatic efforts to stem the tide of atrocities against Serbs were useless, but documentation remains to testify to the crimes committed against the Serbian population. The Balkan war of 1912 was fought not only by Serbs but by Montenegrins, Bulgarians, and Greeks to liberate their people from centuries of uninterrupted Islamic aggression. The situation is little changed today.
To understand Kosovo, the American people need to compare the current Balkan crisis with its own American Civil War in which just 4% of the population lost their lives compared to Serbia who lost 52% of her adult male population in WWI and another 26% of her overall population in WWII. Readers of this forum need reminding that during the American Civil War it was the loyal Virginia citizens who refused to secede from the union and formed the state of West Virginia in 1863. Certainly Serbs deserve the same rights to remain in their union, a union which was internationally recognized as a nation in 1878 at the Congress of Berlin.
Not a single head of state, nor any American president, senator, or humanitarian group raised their voices as 200,000 Serbs were “ethnically cleansed” from Kosovo in the last 2 decades. People should be asking, why are the Serbs destined to suffer and be persecuted?
In September 1992, Jehoshua Porat, reporting in the Israeli daily Ha’Artz, claimed: “It seems we have caught the same syndrome as the Russians — fear that we shall lose billions of dollars from the United States and the West if we say something good about Serbs.” Serbs are perplex when the media proclaims Kosovo as Serbian territory, then encourages the Albanians who comprise a majority in just the last 40 years, to secede and seek self-determination while denying the Serbs that same right in Croatia in 1991 in areas where Serbs were the majority and in Bosnia in 1992 where Serbs represented 31% of the population and owned 62% of the land. It was arrogant that the world awarded the Bosnian Muslims for gaining their majority population through their genocide of the Serbs in WWII. Awarding the Albanians for the same disgusting deeds in Kosovo would make a mockery of democratic principles.
During King Milutin’s reign of 40 years (1281-1321), he built 40 churches in Kosovo. There are more than 140 Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo, a significant number having been built before 1459. More than 75 were built after 1459. There are also more than 80 church ruins that date prior to 1459. The actual seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church was first established in Kosovo at the Pec Patriarchate in 1346 (pictured at the top of this page). The Patriarchate remained in Pec until 1939, when in fear of WWII it was moved to Belgrade. The surviving Monasteries of Pec, Decani, The Virgin of Ljeviska, and Gracanica are monuments to the Serbian people, their dedication to their faith, and a testimony to their cultural achievements.
The time has come for a more balanced and fair assessment of the situation and a review of the facts, not hysterical propaganda. As the Very Rev. Mateja Matejic has observed, “Serbs were the first to anticipate the grave peril coming at one time from Islam and then from Nazism and finally Communism. They were the first to resist … making the victories of others possible, even if they themselves were defeated.”
The pages above are intended to provide the discerning American reader with historical facts unethically withheld from them by the partisan press and American politicians with a hidden agenda in the Balkans.