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للمقبلين على سرّ الزواج المقدّس رجاءً مراجعة موقع:  wedding2

مركز القدّيس نيقولاوس للإعداد الزوجيّ

Kosovo Print Email
Saturday, 03 April 1999 00:00


By Metropolitan George (Khodr) of Mount Lebanon

The problem of Kosovo is very similar to the situation we lived in Lebanon during a period of the civil war. A Lebanese militia that wanted to separate and live in a canton in contrast to the majority of the Lebanese who was opposed to all kind of cantons. We declared that we did not want to become similar to Israel, which is founded to be "the state of one religion", and opposed to that by setting the emblem of coexistence.

Kosovo is an area, with a relatively small surface and population, compared to the ex-Yugoslav republics. Kosovo used to have autonomy under Tito's regime and which was abolished by Slobodan Milosevic, but nonetheless, the Serb delegation to the last peace negotiations in Rambouillet - France, offered to revive this autonomy.

Opposed to this is a separatist movement in the province of Kosovo [KLA], which has become powerful after the crumbling of Yugoslavia. This separatist group is found upon that 90% of the population are ethnic Albanians — not necessarily all Muslims. Only three-quarter of the Albanian population in Albania is Muslim, not all.

Our emotional problem is that Kosovo is the historic cradle of the Orthodox faith in Serbia, with 1350 monasteries, churches and parishes actively present and where the king Saint Stephen was martyred defending his country against the Turkish invasion in the 14th century.

The ethnic situation in ex-Yugoslavia is extremely complicated and it was even more complicated during Tito's regime. But Melosevic wants to believe that his communism can be the solution for all the problems, camouflaging his ideological dictatorship under the Serbian nationalistic umbrella — an umbrella, which have no existence in the Marxist theory!

The recklessness of the separatist movement relies in the fact that Kosovo is the most obvious underdeveloped area with almost no basic infrastructure requirements for an independent country — unless this movement is not disclosing a secret plan of unity with Albania — and which I don't think is favoured by the USA nor by the other western countries. This will disrupt the existing Balkanian equilibrium.

What really the US is looking after is the degradation of Yugoslavia in order to weaken and contain Russia, because a strong Russia through its Balkan allies will be a potential power — after an economical development — in the heart of Europe (from the Atlantic to the Oral, as noticed by Charles DeGaulle). This is a true potential threat for the US domination.

The future of Russia in a unified Europe can never withstand a Balkan alliance with Russia in defiance to the west. In the geopolitics, nothing can be called an "Orthodox coalition." The divergences between the Orthodox nations will not enable it to form an alliance. All what it is about is a spiritual sympathy in a European movement, which is not conflicting with Islam but mainly expressing a European discreteness in front of the US dominion over the world. Understanding that the Albanian Islam is not in danger, Iraq and Libya supported the present Yugoslavia. Similarly, all the Arab countries supported the unity of Cyprus and opposed the Turkish occupation in the island. Is it rational that the Arabs are going to support the US in the current conflict in Serbia, the same US that is starving the children of Iraq and delaying the resolution of the Palestinian case that is affecting all the surrounding Arab countries? Is the USA a defender of Islam in Serbia and an enemy of Islam elsewhere?

Moreover, the representative of the Serbian Orthodoxy is not Melosevic but the Serbian Patriarch Pavle who, together with his Holy Synod, publicly and restlessly opposed president Melosevic. We all read the statement of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church published in the Lebanese press on the 23rd of March, where they protested all forms of "inter-ethnic" violence and called for a resolution "exclusively by peaceful and political means." And the bishops prayed the Lord of peace for "peace, justice, security and freedom" for the Serbs and the Albanians alike.

Similarly, Alexi II the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia protested against the "numerous air-strikes" subjected on Yugoslavia. And when talking about the shed blood he confirmed that it included the blood of many civilians and he questioned the legitimacy of a group of states —without obtaining any legitimatisation from the world community— who has appropriated the right to judge what is good and what is bad. Also the Patriarch mentioned the 'double standard' which we especially the Arabs have come to taste for very long. Then his Holiness made an appeal for both the Serbian people and the Kosovo Albanians to " begin dialogue immediately."

The Patriarch made it very clear that "the Serbs will never agree with the estrangement of the Kosovo region which is and was their spiritual centre from time immemorial" and "It is equally clear that the Albanians will always live in that land."

On the other hand, the Decani Monastery in Kosovo informed us on the 26th of March that NATO's claims of bombing only military targets are not true: "several dozens of civilian facilities (infrastructure, education, telecommunication, environment and traffic facilities) were attacked and destroyed by NATO air force." Also notified that "a cruise missile hit the old town in Djakovica, mostly inhabited by Albanians." Then the Abbot of the monastery appealed that "the Kosovo crisis must be resolved by peaceful and diplomatic means so that all peoples living here will be granted full protection of their human rights and freedom." He condemned all the extremists from both sides, Serbs and Albanians, and continued saying: "Clinton speaks sweet words to the Serbian people while his bombers mercilessly destroy schools, kinder-gardens and fill the hearts of children with hatred against the peoples which they believed were their friends and supporters of true peace and democracy."

The extremism of the Serbian government is equal to the extremism of the Albanian separatists who ethnically cleansed 50% of the Serbs and non-Albanian minorities.

Father Sava, the assistant abbot of the Decani Monastery, questions the "humanitarian" aspect of the US intervention in Kosovo and wonders why they never intervened to rescue the 800,000 who perished in Algeria or the 820,000 who were slaughtered in Rwanda, the horrible number of people who died in Iraq and the half-million that perished in Burma since 1948.

Then what did the USA do for the refugees in the rest of Yugoslavia?

War is never the humanitarian solution.

In the past days I have seen on TV the faces of the weeping Albanian refugees and I momentarily remembered the Lebanese displaced population during the war. We pray God to inspire the authorities of the assaulting nations to stop this reckless campaign, enabling us not to terminally lose hope in these "civilised nations'" love for freedom and human rights.

So far we can't help not to notice their "summer and winter above the same roof!"

These nations will feast tomorrow the Easter of Peace and Resurrection, our hope they will translate this practically on the ground of the Balkan not to become, once again, the starting point of the world's problems. We also plea the small nations, like ours, not to become the victims of greed and petrol-desire, which is manifested in the present crazy war.

What shall we do? Or what shall we Lebanese and Arabs say against this barbaric attack against both the Serbs and Albanians? The nation's rights are one, here and there, and the peace is one, in our land and in all land.

I am confident that the Americans want Melosevic to remain in power. They have accomplished, through bombs and destruction, a unity that the Yugoslav president couldn't achieve by himself. They have also accomplished the unity between the Serbian Diaspora and the mother nation. They have intensified the Russian consciousness about the US desire to contain their country. They have set ablaze hatred between ethnic groups and made the Muslim feel that the Orthodox Church, which is the most open towards them, is full of people who hate the Muslims. The way the USA continue to act makes us notice that — believing in the battle between cultures — they deploy their weapon of the intelligence agency in subdividing and then containing all the nations.

I know the Serbs.
I know that only the Serbs refused to kneel in front of the Nazi, because they are a freedom-adoring nation. They were martyred for their freedom's sake for seven consecutive centuries when they were under the rule of a stranger. I meant Tito.

I know the extremely superior level of their bishops and the exceptional quality of the Serbian theology in the 20th century. I know their strict asceticism and the striking beauty of their religious architecture, icons and Byzantine mosaics. All of this can explain their present resistant endurance.

Why then the Muslim of the Bosna-Hercegovina lived in peace with the Orthodox and did not depart from each other until the West decided to dissolve Yugoslavia in order to subdivide them all?

I have watched the Friday prayer [Muslim] on the Bosnian TV; despite that the prayer was led in a pure Arabic language, the sermon was given in the Serbian language. The faces of the congregation were all Serb. The Muslim and the Orthodox are from the same race.
All you Westerners leave them coexist and leave their country in good peace.

Published Saturday April 3, 1999 in the © An-Nahar, Lebanese news paper. Translated from original Arabic.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 May 2010 22:41