Sunday, August 27, 2006

“War With Islamic Terrorists” – Interview with Father Benedict

By: Mary Mostert, Analyst, Banner of Liberty (www.bannerofliberty.com)

To Contact Mary Mostert: Mary@bannerofliberty.com

August 13, 2006

On August 10th, as the news broke that a group of Islamic terrorists were plotting to blow up some more American airliners, President George W. Bush stepped to the microphone in Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, Wisconsin and stated: “The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.” He then went on to praise the British intelligence efforts that lead to thwarting another deadly massacre of Americans. I think most Americans today would agree with President Bush’s statement.

However, there is a group of people who have been battling Islamic fascists for literally hundreds of years – the Serbs. To this very day, the propaganda efforts of Islamic fascists have been every bit as successful, if not more successful, than the propaganda efforts of Adolf Hitler’s fascists in the 1940s when they kept telling the world that the Jews, not the German fascists, were the group that were to blame for all the problems in central Europe.

As Hitler’s fascism began spreading and seizing control of one nation in Europe after the other, the American people were being convinced by some powerful leaders that the future of the 20th Century would be best if the Germans “efficient” government was spread. Most Americans were isolationists and some of our most honored heroes, such as Charles Lindbergh, openly supported fascism. In a speech in Des Moines on September 11, 1941, 3 months before Pearl Harbor was bombed, Lindbergh criticized President Roosevelt, the British and the Jews for “ "agitating for war.” He was convinced that the Germans would win any war and warned the Jews that any effort on their part to oppose Hitler would cause them to lose their “large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government." That rosy view of fascism was erased by the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

In the 21st century, not even the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, has awakened most of the Democrats and groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. Again we are watching as fascism, this time Islamic fascism, move rapidly as fascism did in the 1930s to take control of much of Europe. And, the one group that fought Hitler’s brand of fascism while others in Europe either appeased or surrendered to Hitler, is again far ahead of the rest of Europe, and the rest of the world, in recognizing who the enemy really is.

Yet, the Islamic fascists are demanding and may soon be given a large chunk of Serbia in the near future. Since the Serb side of this story is NEVER told on American or European TV sets, radios or newspapers, I asked questions of Father Benedict, who is and has been living this story, to answer questions that I’ve pondered about for the past 10 years as I wrote about the break-up of Yugoslavia. One of my readers apparently sent to the Monastery an article of mine, published in February 2006, that was entitled: Why is a bombed mosque major news, while bombed churches are ignored? This interview consists of my questions and Father Benedict’s answers on the subject.


Interview with Hieromonk Benedict, Abbot of Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren, Kosovo and Metohija
By USA News Analyst, Mary Mostert, www.bannerofliberty.com
August 12, 2006

1. Mostert: Father Benedict, when former President Clinton ordered the American Air Force to bomb Kosovo 7 years ago, because he thought, incorrectly it turned out, that the Belgrade government under Slobodan Milosevic had killed 100,000 Albanians in Kosovo; most Americans could not find Kosovo on a map.

A lot has happened since then and it appears that efforts will shortly be made to decide what the future of Kosovo will be. You are living in Kosovo, in Prizren, in the Holy Archangels Serbian Orthodox Christian monastery near the border to Albania. I understand from my research that Holy Archangels Monastery was first built by Serbian King Dusan in 1343 A.D. America hadn’t even been DISCOVERED yet!

Could you briefly tell our readers what was going on in Kosovo back in 1343 and why King Dusan built the monastery?

Father Benedict: In the XIV century Kosovo was the central part of the Serbian state and Christian spirituality. Like all rulers of his time (the Middle Ages), Tsar Dusan also wished to have his own endowment, that is, to build a monastery in which God would be praised by the end of the time and in which the name of the founder would be mentioned on Holy Liturgies until the second arrival of Christ. He did that by founding a place near river Bistrica, two and a half kilometers away from Prizren.

The monastery was built from 1348. to 1354. The history of our monastery is very detailed and could not be discussed briefly, since it has always been closely related to political events in Serbia. The front part of the Holy Archangels church is the place where its founder Tsar Dusan was buried.

Some very important and influential people have visited our monastery which was, at the time, one of the most beautiful monuments in Europe. The grave of Tsar Dusan was the place where an important historical event happened - the reconciliation between Serbian Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Constantinople whose clergies were in bad terms with each other for some time because of some administrative problems.

After Tsar Dusan passed away, the Serbian state was divided into small kingdoms. That division was started by those who were the closest to him. Having been afraid of him, they had concealed their opinions and lust for power deep inside them during Dusan’s lifetime, but those features were displayed soon afterwards.

A few decades later, St. Tsar Lazar tried to bring the old glow to his state. He decided to properly settle accounts with voracious Serbian lords, so several of them hated St. Tsar Lazar, and afterwards, during the battle of Kosovo, they turned their backs on him.

Together with all Serbian martyrs, Tsar Lazar left his body with dignity in order to protect Orthodoxy and his homeland, and reached eternal glory while Serbia had just started to endure its most difficult days. Serbian folk did not even dream that its slavery under the Turks will last for over 500 years.

The suffering of Serbian people under the Turks could not, in any way, bypass the magnificent Monastery of Holy Archangels near Prizren. The demolition of the monastery lasted about two centuries. In XVII century the monastery was completely demolished, but as we can see today, it was not the end this holy place's existence. Now, 650 years after the demolition, the monastery is in bloom, even though the circumstances are the same as they were in the time when the monastery was ruined, that is, the time of occupation.

This monastery has always been a thorn in Albanian extremists' side and they cannot accept the fact that the monastery is still alive and that the fraternity manages to overcome all the temptations they come across.

By custom, Albanian terrorists often use falsehoods and severe lies to justify themselves. Therefore, as you have already mentioned, it has been published that Serbian armed forces and police in Kosovo had killed 100.000 Albanians, which is completely untrue, since during the time when they claim this event had happened, there were not even so many Albanians in Kosovo. They have all together feigned some persecution by Serbian police and armed forces and headed for the Albanian border even risking never to return to Kosovo.

The monastery fraternity still remember all those long columns which passed from the monastery toward Brezovica to reach the border with Macedonia and show the world that they were allegedly prosecuted.

Then the unjustified US-NATO bombing ensued. It is true that many Americans and some Europeans had no idea where Kosovo was, and that they even had difficulties to find it on the map after they found out that it is a part of Federal Republic Yugoslavia. For us who live here, Kosovo is a central part of Serbia, since it is the cradle of Serbian people.

2. Mostert: That original Holy Archangels Monastery I understand lasted for about 300 years until the Muslim rulers of the Ottoman Turkish Empire which tried to take control of all of Europe largely dismantled it to use the stones to build mosques. Could you tell us about that?

Father Benedict: As I have already mentioned, Holy Archangels monastery was demolished by Turks (Ottoman empire). Somewhere at the end of the XVI century and in the beginning of the XVII century the Cathedral Monastery Church "Holy Archangels" was demolished too. Its stones were used to build Sinan Pasha's mosque in Prizren.

It is interesting that while the mosque was under construction, on several occasions the walls were inexplicably destroyed. When that phenomenon became more frequent, someone advised the workers to place the sign of cross on walls in order to stop the demolition. When they shaped the windows (the holes in the wall) in the form of cross the demolition stopped.

Another interesting thing linked with Sinan Pasha's mosque is that, even today, 500 years after it was built, you can still smell the incense in it, even though Muslims do not use incense during their rites. It is the scent of incense absorbed by stones and by God's providence that scent testifies that those rocks were taken from an Orthodox church.

3. Mostert: During the centuries of occupation by the Turks, my research informs me that there was great persecution of the Serb Christians, even to the point of their sons being taken at a very young age, raised as Muslims and trained to hate and fight against their own people – the Serbs.

Even throughout the 20th Century many Serbs died because they would not abandon the Serbian Orthodox Church and convert to Catholicism. As recently as World War II, hundreds of thousands of Serbs died in Concentration camps such as Jasenovac which was run by Croatians who were allies of Adolf Hitler.

Yet, under those circumstances, your Church survived through the centuries of Islamic rule, persecution from other Christians and official atheism during 60 years of communism and, during World War II, Serbs who were not communists, but who were faithful members of your church saved the lives of over 500 American airmen who where shot down over Yugoslavia by the Nazis. It appears to me that most Serbs managed to remain faithful to the teachings of the Serbian Orthodox Christian Church through strong families and within the church itself. Would you comment on that?

Father Benedict: Right after Christ's resurrection the Church started its martyr exploit which still lasts.

It is true that Turks had the so-called "Blood tribute", when they kidnapped Serbian babies and children, turned them into Muslims and thought them how to be even worse janissaries than those Turks. Before Turks, Romans used to do this as well, so it is actually Roman practice.

Thanks to God, Serbian youth finally got rid of the communist poison and realized that life and the existence of our entire nation, as well as every man, depends primarily on our relation towards God and towards our neighbor, so that every disobedience towards God and his law becomes a very hard punishment by means of which God brings us closer to him.

God punishes those whom he loves, his punishment is the evidence of his love for us. There is no father who wishes only the best for his son and never punishes him when the son does something wrong. That is the way God acts toward Serbian people. Holy Scripture says that many troubles lead us to the Kingdom of God. God's punishment is actually his concern for us.

Serbian people have suffered most because of Turks, then Hitler, then Croatian "Ustashas" - Roman Catholics and communists, and today they die and suffer because of the Albanian terrorists supported by Brussels and almost entire European Union. The EU support to extremists in Kosovo and Metohija became evident on March 17, 2004, when a part of NATO, more precisely German government and German secret service BND, had the information about the approaching violence in Kosovo, but did nothing to stop that, and their indifference makes them accomplices in the crime. Maybe they were concerned, and their concern was taken care of, maybe it was in their interest that everything should turn up that way on March 17, maybe they became tired of protecting Serbian houses, monasteries, churches...

4. Mostert:You began rebuilding Holy Archangels Monastery in the early 1990s and it was first reoccupied in 1998, I understand. The following year the bombing of Kosovo took place and one of your monks, Father Chariton was kidnapped by members of the KLA while the KFOR troops were guarding the Monastery. His mutilated body was found in an Albanian grave in 2000. Has either KFOR or the Albanian government of Kosovo ever arrested and prosecuted anyone for that atrocity?

Father Benedict: Father Chariton was kidnapped by KLA in 1999 in the center of Prizren. His kidnapping was videotaped by a German journalist who afterwards refused to show that tape to the police, probably because he was afraid since, by all means, he knew whom he had dealings with (I think of KLA).

The body of father Chariton was found in 2000, in village Tusos near Prizren, and it was found by the International Red Cross. The body showed us all the tortures father Chariton had gone through. His chest were stabbed with a knife, his rib and legs were broken, and above all, his head was cut off and it was never founded. We assume that father Chariton's head is now the trophy of some Mujahideens who had cut it off.

Until the present day nothing was done to find the murderers of father Chariton as well as other Serbs and non-Albanian residents who were kidnapped and murdered in Prizren area and throughout Kosovo. On the contrary, due to the lack of the evidence, they are freed from guilt (case Lekaj in Hague) or they even become "Prime Ministers" of some Kosovo government, like Ramus Haradinaj and the current "Prime Minister" Agim Ceku whose crimes in Croatia were even testified by Canadian peacekeepers.

5. Mostert: Since the Serbian forces were driven out of Kosovo and NATO has been providing the security forces, how many Serbs have been killed and how many of your churches and monasteries have been destroyed by Albanian mobs while NATO forces have been in control of Kosovo?

Father Benedict: Since 1999, or more precisely since July 1999 and the arrival of KFOR, thousands of Serbs were kidnapped and killed in Kosovo and judging by the official information, about 2000 Serbs were killed and kidnapped, and 160 churches and monasteries were demolished.


In my opinion, Mission in Kosovo and UNMIK are a huge failure for NATO and UN, even though in Brussels and New York they always say that the situation in Kosovo is better and better. None of it is true. The situation in Kosovo is even worse, more insecure and more dangerous, not only for Serbs but for all non-Albanian population and even for some Albanians who do not agree with the terrorist policy of violence which is, by the way, conducted in Kosovo for seven years without any disruption.

6. Mostert: According to census figures that I have monitored, there appears to have been a huge increase in the number of Albanians in Kosovo in the past 15 years , since the economic collapse of Albania after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and a huge decrease in the number of Serbs and the number of Serbian Churches in Kosovo during the same 15 years. Also, according to the United Nations, the unemployment rate in Kosovo is somewhere between 60 and 70 percent. The economic problems are massive.

Can you explain, from what you have seen and experienced living in Kosovo first whether there has been in increase in the number of Albanians who have come into Kosovo illegally and how many Serbs have left Kosovo since NATO has been in control?

Father Benedict: Yes, but during the last 60 years the number of Albanians who fled Albania greatly increased. The main responsibility, before God and people, is borne by the regime which during that time ruled in the Socialistic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ). By not paying enough attention to Kosovo and Metohija and with the influx of Albanians, the Serbian identity on these areas was ruined. Only after Slobodan Milosevic was elected did things change a little bit in favor of the Serbian population and that is one of the reasons why Slobodan Milosevic became popular among Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija.

Even before Milosevic was elected, Albanians took advantage of the instability in SFRJ to obtain the separation of this province. The first well-known attempt of an Albanian organized rebellion happened in 1968. After the 1974 Constitution was adopted giving the Province of Kosovo greater autonomy, including de facto veto power in the Serbian parliament, the Albanians were especially active. After the dictator Josif Broz Tito passed away in 1980, they organized massive demonstrations tearing up the Yugoslav communist flag. That was the time when the most famous Orthodox monastery "The Patriarchate of Pec" was burned - the former residence of Serbian patriarchs whose dormitories were burned to the ground.

The difference between former rebellions and the present one lies only in the selection of allies. In the past allies used to be Albania, SSSR and China, and now they are western countries.

After 1991, many Albanians thought how to oppose the regime of Slobodan Milosevic and how to gain the independence of Kosovo which would afterwards be attached to Albania.

Therefore, in the beginning of 1996 the first Albanians to fight for Kosovo independence were recruited. In 1997 the terrorist organization KLA gained more members and started more frequent attacks on the Serbian police. Some of the more courageous terrorists decided to attack police stations. In 1998, KLA had enough members to move towards the woods so that they could, by means of guerilla warfare, attack Serbian civilians, Serbian villages, Serbian police and Yugoslav armed forces.

By the end of 1998, the terrorist KLA had completely collapsed and all the terrorists returned to their villages and cities to feign the persecution of civilians with an Albanian nationality, while they blamed the Yugoslav army and Serbian police for that deed.

They had the cordial assistance of the OSCE mission and villain William Walker who also bears some of the responsibility for the destabilization of Kosovo and Metohija by terrorists.

(Editor’s Note: Walker told the media that bodies found in the village of Racak were the result of a Serbian Army “massacre” of civilians. The Serbians claimed the “civilians” were actually Kosovo Liberation Army terrorists killed in a gun battle.This report was direct motive for bombing campaign)

An expert forensic pathologist, Dr. Helena Ranta from Finland, openly and bravely spoke about the authenticity of Walker’s reports. It is probable that the Albanian terrorists were supported in their actions by Clinton's administration as well and that they were told to feign any kind of persecution so that the bombing of Serbs could be justified, which was done. Right after the alleged persecution a NATO action called "Merciful Angel" ensued and cruelly took 2000 of innocent lives and cleansing of 220,000 Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija.

7. Mostert: It appears that uncontrolled immigration from Albania into Kosovo during the years when Tito was the president of Yugoslavia has actually caused many Serbs to leave Kosovo. There has been a similar migration of millions of illegal aliens from Mexico into Southern California in recent years as many American citizens have left the area. Now many of those illegal Mexican aliens are refusing to learn English, claiming that area is really part of Mexico and demanding special privileges. If the international community allows Kosovo to become an independent nation, do you think that would create a precedent for the success of a similar demand for independence on the part of Mexicans in Southern California?

Father Benedict: If you ask me whether that "uncontrol" of the immigration of Albanian residents from Albania was indeed accidental or planned, I think it was planned and allowed by Tito who neither loved Serbs nor anything sacred to Serbs and the least of all Kosovo and Metohija.

When it comes to Mexico and South California, if Kosovo can gain independence, which, by the way, opposes all laws, then South California can gain independence as well. By allowing Kosovo to become independent, new rules for gaining independence will emerge around the world, which would not be in the best interest or either USA or civilized mankind.

8. Mostert: What do you believe will happen to the remaining Serbs, their churches and the monasteries in Kosovo if the international community hands it over to the Albanian Muslim majority as is being demanded?

Father Benedict: If Kosovo and Metohija is handed over to the Albanian minority (they are the minority in Serbia, and Kosovo is still an integral part of Serbia) I think that no monastery or church or Serbian village will ever again exist in Kosovo and Metohija. Apart from Kosovo independence they have one more goal - the cleansing of everything that reminds them of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. And our holy objects across Kosovo and Metohija testify in the best way to whom this land belongs. Still, I am sure that Kosovo and Metohija will never gain independence, no matter how much the situation continues to go that way. No matter how much people tried to reach some goal, finally everything comes out in God's way.

9. Mostert: It appears that religious differences have been the main problem the Serbs have faced for centuries in dealing with others in the region. Most of Europe today and its governments are secular, or even officially atheist, as has been the case with Albania. The history of the Serbs indicates that while other groups have used force to require Serbs to adopt their religion, Serbs have remained loyal to Serbian Orthodox Christianity but have not insisted that others abandon their religion. What sets Serbs apart from other Christians in Europe in their loyalty to Jesus Christ?

Father Benedict: Just one correction. There is no Serbian Orthodox Christianity, only Orthodox Christianity.

The first thing that makes Serbs different from the rest of the Europe is the fact that for more than one thousand years Serbian people have been devoted to Christ and they have praised the Lord with the same passion and same eagerness as in the time when they turned to Christianity. The other thing is the devotion to holy tradition and dogmas which are not altered, as it is the case with other Christian communities, Latin community or Protestants. Instead, we hold to that heritage which was given to us by holy Apostles. The same thing stands for The Russian Orthodox Church (since Russian people have also suffered a lot and still remained faithful to God and God's truth).

No matter how much they suffered and no matter how much they became estranged from God through history, Serbian people have always returned to Christ, as if they have followed the prophet David's example throughout their whole history and from that example learned how to be penitent and obedient to God.

10. Mostert: Would you comment on what you think will happen to the crime rate, the economy and the social problems in Kosovo if the province become independent and, if it is not independent, what the Serbian government could or would do to solve those problems?

Father Benedict: Since I am sure that Albanians will never own Kosovo and Metohija as their own state, there is no reason for me to comment on possible independence of Kosovo and the situation in independent Kosovo.

US-NATO bombing of Serbia allegedly happened because of Slobodan Milosevic and his regime. Let's remember the speech of US State secretary Madeline Albright during the bombing of Yugoslavia when she apologized to Serbian people via radio station "The Voice of America", repeating that the US has nothing against the Serbian people, but against the president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic.

That man is not alive today. Serbia is ruled by a democratic government and I think that it would be fair enough to bring Kosovo and Metohija back to the Serbian people, just as it was before the bombing in 1999. I am sure that Kosovo and Metohija would be much safer and more secure and that it would be in the best interest of all residents of Kosovo and Metohija to be under the rule of Serbian government in Belgrade. What we see today in the area of Kosovo and Metohija is that just a small number of people, around 10%, can afford a normal life, while the remaining 90% in Kosovo and Metohija are struggling to survive. They face great economic crisis, great unemployment and finally, great hatred.

Great social and economic crisis, as well as great unemployment and hatred, stimulate the increasing development of extremism and utmost fanaticism especially among the youth. If things continue to go this way in Kosovo and Metohija, I think that, unless something changes quickly, the ensuing chaos will be very hard to repair, and its victims will surely be Serbs (because there is no one to protect them) and the UN Administration representatives because that administration has led the inhabitants in Kosovo and Metohija into this catastrophic condition by means of it voracity and arrogance.

Therefore, the only way to solve this problem is to bring Kosovo and Metohija back under the rule of Belgrade, of course only by means of democratic institutions in the Kosovo and Metohija province in which the representatives of all nations which live here can take equal parts. Not only Albanians, as it is the case now.

Some people think that Belgrade government is not ready for that undertaking, but in my opinion, those who think so are wrong. If the communist regime somehow managed to bear and face the problems of Kosovo and Metohija in years after the Second World War, the current Belgrade democratic government also can bear and face the problems of Kosovo and Methohija.

The present democratic government of Serbia was accepted and supported by many European countries, and the Serbian police and armed forces have great experience and strong will to maintain order in Kosovo and Metohija. If, in any case, the tensions of Albanian terrorists increase after the re-establishment of Serbian government in Kosovo and Metohija, our police and armed forces would solve that problem very quickly and efficiently. Of course, NATO experts could help by means of the knowledge they gained in Kosovo and Metohija during last few years.

This brings us to the beginning of our story. Just as Serbian people and St. Tsar Lazar’s army once were the solid rampart that served as the protection of Christian Europe from aggressive Islam, Serbs present the same solid rampart today. Bringing back autonomous province Kosovo and Metohija into the de facto corpus of Serbia will lead to a crucial blow and defeat of Islamic terrorism in Europe and elsewhere.

11. Mostert: Father Benedict, in February of this year, a terrorist bomb blast destroyed the dome of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq. It was built in the 9th century and was a religious site sacred to Shiite Muslims. Almost immediately following the terrorists' action, George W. Bush warned about the threat of civil war and expressed support for the Iraqi government. Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called the bombing a "criminal and sacrilegious act", urging Iraqis to show restraint and avoid retaliation and Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington's ambassador to Iraq, and Gen. George Casey, the top US commander in Iraq, issued a joint statement saying the US would contribute to the shrine's reconstruction.

Would you comment on the world political reaction to the terrorist bombing of a mosque in Iraq with the world political reaction to terrorist destruction of 160 ancient Orthodox Christian Churches in Kosovo?

Father Benedict: That is exactly what our eparchy, with archpriest bishop Artemije at the head of it, speaks about for seven years now. The double standards of the United Nations.

Unfortunately, we have about 160 churches and monasteries demolished by Albanian terrorists.

Throughout this entire interview I have been speaking about terrorists, because the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Albanian National Army (ANA) and other Albanian military groupings are nothing else but a group of armed bandits which oppose the order of one country, mercilessly killing everyone who stands in their way, and, at the same time, performing unprecedented crimes against the opponents. That means they are terrorists indeed, and that we did not name them terrorists because of hatred or politics. ANA is also on the terrorist list of the American administration, and KLA used to be on that list until the bombing of Serbia in 1999, when she was erased from it over night. Reasons for such an act are known only to Clinton's administration.

Medieval and modern churches and monasteries are not renovated until the present day, although about 130 churches and monasteries were demolished more than 7 years ago. Why is this the case only in Kosovo? If we could just remember the fuss which was made when Taliban regime demolished Buddha’s statues. In Kosovo and Metohija, where everyone pretends to be for the restoration, nothing is actually renovated.

In particular, I can speak about the restoration in Prizren area, where our monastery is. The renovation of Holy Great Martyr George Church in Prizren has been the topic of discussion for a long time. Some even went so far that they announced that the renovation is in progress. But soon afterwards, all of it proved to be a lie. Instead, the interior of the roofless church was just wiped a little bit, and some scaffolding made so that, as we hope, the church could be renovated in near future.

Not only did the jewel of medieval art, The Church of Bogorodica Ljeviska in Prizren, burn on March 17, 2004, but it was the target of a robbery one year later. Namely, 100 square meters of lead were stolen from the roof of that church. Only one square meter which thieves had dropped was found afterwards. The rest of it was never found, although everyone know which company ordered this theft. No steps or measures are taken to bring that lead back. The worst of all, an Albanian firm has won the tender to re-built the roof, but one question still stands – what will they use to do that? Will they use lead, as it was before, or just a sheet metal coated with zinc, as it was the case with the Church of Christ the Savior in Prizren. Another question is whether the The Church of Bogorodica (Godmother) Ljeviska is going to be renovated completely or just patched.

Lead from the roof was also stolen from the Tutic’s Church of St. Nicholas in Prizren. No investigation was conducted and no suspects were found in that case either, as if the theft had never happened. The same stands for all other churches in Prizren – St. Cosmas and Damian, St. Great Martyr Nedelja (Kyriakia), Runic’s Church of St. Nicholas, Chapel of St. Panteleimon, Serbian Orthodox Seminary of St. Cyril and Methodius, and of course, our monastery. By what we can see, the same things happen elsewhere in Kosovo and Metohija. I have to emphasize once again that there is no renovation of churches in southern Serbian province known as Kosovo and Metohija. It is just a farce and we hope that God will reveal it soon and show to everyone what that so-called renovation meant and what its purpose was.

Bishop Artemije requested that the renovation of Serbian churches should be conducted by the building company of our eparchy “Rade Neimar”, which would certainly be a real reconstruction, and not this so-called renovation. By my opinion, nevertheless, UNMIK and Council of Europe managed, by means of several bishops, and later by means of the entire Assembly of bishops, to impose a memorandum (business letter) about the renovation of churches to bishop Artemije, which he, as a bishop devoted to his Church, actually did, but he took no part in that reconstruction, because he knew where that so-called renovation led.

The same thing happened when our eparchy sued four NATO member countries in Strasburg Court : Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, because they neglected their soldiers in Kosovo and allowed terrorist to demolish our churches and monasteries and to kill Serbian people. Actually, they were just a décor, claiming they made mistakes in calculations. The culmination of negligence and laziness UN and KFOR was the fact that nobody was prosecuted for the crimes that happened on March 17. There was an investigation, but it ended as a great failure. As if the violence against Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija had never happened and as if we all live in a perfect peace and harmony.

That is why I think that the charges in International Court should be fulfilled so that everyone can bear his responsibility for what he did, or didn’t do and should have done, as in this case. But, in this case it was forbidden to bishop Artemije to be a bishop, and Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church decided to withdraw the charges in International Court in Strasburg against the negligent soldiers and corrupted KFOR generals.

The following quotation of vicar bishop Teodosije to the international community shows how much some of our bishops believed, and still believe. More than one year ago he said: “People build churches as homes of prayer so that they could pray in them. Unfortunately, other demolished them because of envy and hatred. By renovating the demolished churches in Kosovo and Metohija we express our holy duty and testament. That renovation will send a powerful message to destroyers of these temples that violence will not and cannot be rewarded and that all destroyed monuments will be re-build by means of our effort, with the support of international community.”

And as we can see now, one and half year after all these words were said, neither is there renovation, nor any kind of support international community, but only their playing with the reputation of our bishops who trusted them.

And the worst of all, Albanian violence proved to be rewarded, since there are no Serbs left, nor any Orthodox churches, churches which disturbed them and which are, therefore, demolished. That is a fact, and the rest of it is pure demagogy and rhetoric of powerful persons who newer recognize their defeat.

Translated by Masha Krsmanovic

To Contact Holy Archangels Monastery: svarhangeli@hotmail.com

Website: http://whymonastery.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

U.S. Senators call on Bush to support Serbia

8 August 2006 | Source:Beta

WASHINGTON DC -- 25 U.S. Senators are asking that the U.S. president supports the democratically elected Serbian government.

The letter argues that Serbia’s role is of vital importance for the future of South-Eastern Europe and America’s regional interests and that Belgrade has grown into a strong U.S. regional partner.

“In order to help transform Serbia, the U.S. should support the reforms in the military and the security sectors, encourage cooperation with the Serbian Army and enabling its officers to attend military colleges and courses in the U.S.”, the letter said.

The Senators remind that it is Serbia’s strategic goal to join the European and the Euro-Atlantic community and state that the Serbian government has once again expressed its strong dedication to the regional stability when it accepted the democratic will of Montenegro to become independent. “However, extremist groups in Kosovo are attempting to pressure Serbia in a way that would lead to destabilization. Serbian authorities are asking that we do not withdraw our support at this vital moment. NATO led KFOR must stay in Kosovo until it is clear that the government there can provide security for all citizens”, the U.S. Senators said in their letter.

“We strongly urge you to support President Boris Tadić and the democratically elected Serbian government”, the letter concludes.

(I uncovered the names of the senators through a reporter friend. They are as follows:)

James Inhofe (R-OK)
Trent Lott (R-MS)
George Voinovich (R-OH)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Larry Craig (R-ID)
Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Craig Thomas (R-WY)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Blanche Lincoln (D-AK)
Mark Pryor (D-AK)
Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Mel Martinez (R-FL)
Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)

A comment on that B92 website says that 41 other senators have joined them!

Operation Storm crimes under investigation

Operation Storm crimes under investigation
8 August 2006 | Source:B92

The exodus of refugees during Operation Storm


SARAJEVO, ZAGREB, BELGRADE -- The Bosnia-Herzegovina Prosecutor’s Office has begun an investigation into the Operation Storm war crimes footage.

Bosnia-Herzegovina Prosecutor’s Office official Boris Grubešić said that additional information is being collected as evidence for the case. The Prosecutor’s Office received the amateur-taped footage showing members of the Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatian military committing war crimes against Serbian prisoners during Operation Storm in 1995.

Sarajevo correspondent Amir Sužanj told B92 that Zagreb’s insistence to shove all of the responsibility for the war crimes onto the plate of the Bosnia-Herzegovina military can only disrupt relations between Zagreb and Sarajevo, and will not help anyone get closer to the truth behind Operation Storm.

The Zagreb Government, along with a majority of the media, is denying any ties between the Croatian army and the war crimes committed during Operation Storm, claiming that the war crimes occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina and that they were perpetrated by members of the Muslim military.

State Prosecution spokesperson Martina Mihordin said that there will be no investigations of members of the First and Second Brigade of the Croatian military, better known as the Black Mambas.

“From the footage we have, which the Croatian state prosecutor’s office has received, it is clear that there were no members of the Croatian military in that region. They were called on to free the region of Dvora na Uni. According to the data that has already been collected and after looking over the footage, there is no doubt that these actions constitute a crime.” Mihordin said.

Director of the Documentary-Informative Centre Veritas, Savo Štrbac, said that the footage which was shown on B92 does not show the actual killing of the prisoners because the tape ran out.

“There is a third tape where all of this will be seen. The pomp surrounding this will probably slow down the process of getting the third tape, where it will be seen what they did on that road, where most of the people from the line were killed, what the Mambas did, and what members of the 505 Bužimska did.” Štrbac said.

Štrbac said that even today in Dvor, on Đed Hill, there are 112 grave sites, and that the identity of only two of the victims is known. At the graveyard in Petrinje there are about 150 tombstones and according to Veritas, many of those who were killed were buried there. About 70 graves exist at the Glinska cemetery, and according to Veritas’ information, some of the people who were killed on the road between Glina and Dvor were buried there.

Štrbac reminded that after 11 years, the posthumous remains of these victims have yet to be exhumed.

“While the bodies are in the country, Croatia is able to behave this way, and to say that they did not kill anyone, that someone else did everything, that Veritas and Štrbac made everything up. Why don’t they exhume the bodies so we can find out the truth? The bodies are the strongest evidence, stronger than the footage.” Štrbac said.

Radio Television Serbia showed footage last night of the Commander of the Fifth Corps of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Army Atif Dudaković ordering his troops to burn Serbian villages in the Bosnian Krajina during the continuation of Operation Storm on September 16 and 17, 1995. The footage shows homes, buildings and other private property burning to the ground.

Footage being used for campaigning

Atif Dudaković said that the footage is being used as a campaign in an effort to make these crimes seem equal to the ones committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“I watched the footage and if we compare it with the video in which the Scorpions executed people, no one was bound in this video, nor were they helpless civilians, rather, from what I saw, this was the murder of soldiers in a bunker.” Dudaković told Dnevni Avaz.

“In the zone of responsibility of the Fifth Corps, those who were confirmed to have committed war crimes have been convicted. The greatest crime happened in 1992, when they were ethnically cleansing the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in 1995, when Srebrenica happened, the greatest mass war crimes committed by the Serbs.” Dudaković said.

Who is the victim?

President of the Social-Democratic Union Žarko Korać said that Serbian President Boris Tadić and Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica, as well as all other Serbian officials, are refraining from saying anything about the politics that led to Operation Storm.

“Koštunica I expected, since he is already in a parliamentary coalition with the party that was responsible for those politics. In addition to that, in Serbia today, the chief ideologists and propagandists of these politics are very active in supporting Koštunica’s government. It is that much worse to have those who want to be the leaders of the so-called democratic bloc in Serbia stay silent.” Korać wrote in an article published by the Banja Luka daily Nezavisne Novine.

“Are the victims the rows of persecuted, innocent victims and does anyone in the government have a sense of responsibility for what happened? Was forming a so-called Serbian state on the ground of Croatia followed by the ethnic cleaning of these Croatians? Was their property plundered and were there crimes committed against them? True answers to those questions are the only way to a true understanding of Operation Storm and its consequences.” Korać said.

“Croatia and Serbia are just beginning a long and difficult process of coming to terms with Operation Storm. Every region will have to do that. Bilateral diplomatic relations between Croatia and Serbia will continue to improve, but for a proper future for our communities it will be necessary to completely face Operation Storm.” Korać said.

Video Clip of Croat & Bosnian Muslim Paramilitaries During Operation Storm in 1995

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

SOUTH PARK EPISODE INFURIATES BOSNIAN MUSLIMS

Web posted at: 8/1/2006 3:21:30
Source ::: AFP
Sarajevo • Bosnian Islamic leaders voiced anger yesterday after a local television station aired an episode of the popular US cartoon South Park depicting Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him).

“The broadcast (of the cartoon) is unacceptable and we condemn it and consider it to be a kind of provocation,” Enes Ljevakovic, head of a Bosnian Islamic council, said.

“According to Islamic tradition, the presentation of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) or any other prophet is unacceptable ... even if their presentation is not sarcastic but in positive light,” Ljevakovic said.

“The cartoon was even censored in the United States ... and that is what the local Bosnian television station should have done as well,” he added.

OBN defended its decision to air the show, saying the cartoon presented prophets in a positive light that could be considered as a lesson in morality.

Some 40 percent of Bosnia’s 3.8 million inhabitants are Muslims. Orthodox Christian Serbs represent about 31 percent, while Roman Catholic Croats account for around 10 per cent.