Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kosovo: The Eleventh Hour

An important appeal by His Grace, Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren, on the situation in Kosovo has begun to circulate (though unfortunately I haven't yet seen a copy online; the Serbian original is here). I excerpt the most salient points:
Therefore, we must with all haste:
  • Stop the scuffling among the political parties and immediately form the government for the sake of saving our nation, which would unite the forces ready to defend the land and the people by all legitimate means;
  • Clearly reject the signing of any sort of pact or agreement with the EU or with any other country which is prepared to threaten the sovereignty of Serbia;
  • Send into Kosovo and Metohija, both in Kosovska Mitrovica and into the enclaves, the necessary military and police personnel with the purpose of preventing any kind of attack on the structures of the Serbian government, on Serbian Christian holy places and all the Orthodox Christian people, as obligated by the constitution of the State of Serbia, the UN resolution, the final act from Helsinki and the Resolution 1244;
  • Place Serbian military formations in southern Serbia with publicly known orders to constantly secure normal relations of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija with the rest of Serbia;
  • Announce that Serbia will buy the latest military equipment from Russia and other countries which respect the territorial integrity of Serbia and international law;
  • Invite Russia and other countries to make a military presence in Serbia and to send volunteers in order to help us in our righteous struggle;
  • Announce the intent of Serbia to join the Shanghai organization for cooperation;
  • Place the observers of all friendly and well-meaning countries in Kosovo and Metohija so they can be witnesses to the terrorist and aggressive attacks to which we are exposed, as well as to our legitimate defense;
  • Invite all sincere and patriotically oriented citizens, first of all Christians, in the USA and European countries to express their rejection of the unjust, immoral and harmful politics of their countries; and
  • Mobilize all social forces in Serbia to show determination to confront any type of an attack.
Some will say that this is a direct meddling in politics. No, it is not. And even if it was, it is my duty as the pastor of our flock in Kosovo and Metohija to relate to you the truth about what I heard and witnessed in Washington and elsewhere. And based on what we heard, we call on all Serbs to fulfill their oath and act according to their conscience. It is our duty to call on you today, that you make another oath of Kosovo. With the help of the holy Tsar Lazar, we must follow his example as well as countless examples of Christ-loving Serbian Saints and ancestors who always opted for the Kingdom of Heaven and not the kingdom of the world. Our struggle is not only one for justice, for national interests, nor is it only a military one. It is a spiritual struggle before anything else. With the help of Christ, His Most-pure Mother the Theotokos, Saint John the Baptist, Prophet and Forerunner and all the Saints, we will win because KOSOVO IS SERBIA!
Reminder: For regular updates on the situation in Kosovo, see the American Council for Serbia website and the SerbBlog, both linked in the webography to the right.

Photographs: Visoki Decani Monastery and Bishop Artemije.

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