The Systematic Destruction of Orthodox Christian Churches and Cemeteries in Kosovo-Metohija and Macedonia

MUSUTISTE, CHURCH OF THE VIRGIN HODEGETRIA - The endowment of the main accountant John Dragoslav and his family is located above the village of Musutiste, 10 km south-east of Suva Reka. It was built in 1315 which is evidenced by a long and neat stone inscription above the western portal. The Church of the Virgin Hodegitria was destroyed by Kosovo Albanian extremists in summer 1999, despite the deployment of German KFOR troops in the area. In the meantime the pine grow around the church was cut and the enclosure wall was demolished and used as building material for neighboring Kosovo Albanian houses.

Carl K. Savich
December, 2002


Erasing the history of Christianity in Kosovo and Macedonia

On November 17, 2002 UNMIK police reported that the Serbian Orthodox Church, St. Basil the Miracle Worker of Ostrog (Sveti Vasilije Ostrovski) in Ljubovo village between Istok and Banja near Pec, had been totally destroyed with explosives, with only the front façade still intact. In Djurakovac, 30 miles west of Pristina, a second Serbian Orthodox Church was bombed/mined and heavily damaged, the Church of All Serbian Saints. The interior of the church was gutted following three explosions. This brought the number of Orthodox Churches destroyed or damaged since NATO and the UN occupied Kosovo to 112. This has been an unprecedented act of genocide. The planned and systematic destruction of the Christian history of Kosovo-Metohija under US/NATO/EU sponsorship. Churches that had survived for over 500 years under Ottoman Turkish rule were reduced to rubble under the protection of 30,000 NATO troops.

How did UNMIK react to this systematic destruction? UNMIK did not contact Serbian representatives of the Orthodox Church following the destruction. Instead, the event was spin doctored. After inspecting the destruction with Bajram Rexhepi, the "Prime Minister", SRSG Michael Steiner stated: "We will not speculate on who is responsible." Investigators had not yet determined the cause of the explosions. The UNMIK police report filed on November 16, 2002, was in the passive form: "An explosion occurred inside a Christian Church." The UNMIK report by William T. Burgstiner gave the location as Gurakoc, the Albanian name for Djurakovac, in the Istok district. The UNMIK report stated incorrectly that only the doors and windows were damaged by the explosion. In fact, the entire interior of the church was gutted and destroyed by three explosions. The destruction of two Orthodox Churches was dismissed as random, unconnected acts of arson by unknown persons with an unknown motive. Steiner did not wish to speculate on who was responsible because he wanted to negate responsibility entirely. Was the destruction of the church random? The mining of the churches came days ahead of a visit by UN General-Secretary Kofi Annan. The destruction was politically motivated, intended to send a message that the UCK rejected a "multi-ethnic society".

Even the dead have not been spared. Since the NATO occupation of Kosovo, over 10 Orthodox cemeteries have been vandalized and desecrated. Not even the innocent dead are immune from Albanian "revenge". On June 10, 2002, vandalism of the Orahovac Orthodox cemetery was discovered. In a RIA Novosti article of June 27, 2002, "Russian Church Denounces Vandalism with Cemeteries Desecrated in Kosovo", the Russian Orthodox Church protested the genocide being carried out in Kosovo under NATO/US supervision. The global media and international human rights groups, however, ignored the vandalism of Orthodox graves in Kosovo. In Orahovac and Djakovica, Orthodox gravestones had been smashed and UCK/KLA symbols had been spray painted on them. In the Orahovac Orthodox cemetery, 50-60 Orthodox tombstones were desecrated and vandalized. Bishop Artemius/Artemije reported that the Albanians had exhumed human remains and had scattered them around the graves in Siga and Brestovik Orthodox churchyards near Pec in Metohija. Bishop Artemius stated that over 10 cemeteries and over 100 Orthodox churches had been ransacked and destroyed. Human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International (AI), and the Helsinki Human Rights Group have ignored these acts of genocide. KFOR and UNMIK have done nothing to prevent this vandalism. Bishop Artemije was incredulous how NATO/KFOR/UNMIK could not prevent the destruction of 110 Orthodox churches and 10 Orthodox cemeteries:
It is absolutely incredible that 30,000 best and NATO led troops and UNMIK police have not managed to prevent systematic destruction of the Serb holy sites and cemeteries.

On December 2, 2002, 46 tombstones at the Orthodox cemetery in Kosovo Polje and Decani were destroyed following celebrations of Albanian Flag Day held on November 28 near the Visoki Decani Monastery. The KFOR troops did nothing to protect the cemetery. The Orthodox cemetery is one hundred meters from the Italian checkpoint and the KFOR base. The Serbian Orthodox Church representative stated that "the cemetery is now completely desolate with not a single grave intact." These acts of vandalism and wanton destruction "threaten to erase any trace of Serbian presence in the region." The Serbian Orthodox Church of Kosovo called for the protection of Serbian churches and cemeteries. UNMIK and KFOR had done nothing to prevent these acts of genocide. The Church dismissed Steiner's actions as a "theatre play", a farce, PR. The Church stated that 112 Serbian Orthodox churches had been destroyed or damaged since the NATO/UN occupation of Kosovo, 982 Kosovo Serbs had been killed, and 1,083 had been kidnapped.

No only were Orthodox Churches attacked and destroyed. On the same day as the two churches were bombed and destroyed, a Serbian family in Vrbovac near Kosovoska Vitina was attacked by Albanian gunmen while working in the fields. Earlier in 2002, 50 elderly Serbian pensioners were attacked in Pec by Albanian mobs. Moreover, Albanians have prevented the delivery of food to Serbian residents in the area to starve them out and force them to leave. The US/NATO policy is to create an ethnically pure Albanian Kosova, ethnically homogeneous, with the goal to become an independent country. US/NATO had established a de facto ethnically pure Albanian state. All that remained was de jure recognition. But first US/NATO had to make sure all traces of an Orthodox Christian and Serbian presence in Kosovo was eliminated and erased. What about the stated US/NATO objective to create a "multi-ethnic society"? That is where propaganda and information war comes in.
In Macedonia, the UCK has destroyed and damaged over 30 Orthodox churches and has vandalized a cemetery near Tetovo. The modus operandi of the UCK has been replicated in Macedonia.

Genocide or "Multi-Ethnic Society"?

Why are the US, NATO, the UN, UNMIK and KFOR, and the EU unable to prevent the systematic, planned, and organized destruction of Orthodox Churches and cemeteries in Kosovo-Metohija? Is not NATO/KFOR complicit and responsible for this genocide?

Reporters and observers have documented the systematic policy of the UCK to destroy Orthodox churches in Kosovo. In "NATO Turns a Blind Eye as Scores of Ancient Christian Churches are Reduced to Rubble, in The Independent (UK), for November 20, 1999, by Robert Fisk in Djakovica, gave eyewitness accounts of how US/NATO was sponsoring the genocide. Fisk reported how a Serbian Orthodox Church outside Pristina was destroyed by Albanians. He noted:
[T]he church was in ruin. A single wall stood. The rest was pulverized stone. Goodbye, then, to the icons and the saints with the staring eyes. Goodbye to Jesus. Goodbye to the Serb Orthodox Church. All across Kosovo I found identical scenes, places of worship---sometimes 600 years old---levelled with explosives and hammers, the very identity of Serb history turned to dust amid fields and hillsides by Nato's Kosovo Albanian allies.

The systematic destruction of Orthodox churches was reported in the mainstream media. In the Montreal Gazette article "God's Houses in Ruins" for February 27, 2000, Mark Abley noted: "The world keeps silent as Serb churches, monasteries are destroyed in Kosovo under noses of peacekeepers." Abley saw KFOR, NATO, and US complicity in the church destructions. Abley pointed out that on January 14, 2000, the Orthodox Church of St. Elias in Cernica was destroyed by explosives just 70 meters from a US checkpoint. KFOR troops from the United Arab Emirates were supposed to protect church property but they withdraw. The UCK then attacked the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. Abley described the outcome: "It was soon blown to pieces." He argued that many of the churches were not only important for the Serbian Orthodox, but were a part of the European historical heritage. The destruction of the churches was a crime not only against the Serbs, but against the Orthodox religion, and against all Europeans, in fact, against mankind. These were crimes against humanity itself. But not as far as the US/NATO/KFOR were concerned. Abley concluded:

Some of the buildings were jewels of European civilization. Now they are rubble.
In Keston, the systematic destruction was examined in "Kosovo: Dynamiting of Orthodox Churches Continues", July 28, 2000. The Los Angeles Times in an article for September 22, 1999, "Christian Sites Being Decimated in Kosovo" noted the destruction with blasé indifference. The Times noted that "Serbs accuse ethnic Albanian rebels of systematically destroying places sacred to Orthodox." The destruction of churches was thus not a fact but merely an "accusation" or "claim" or "allegation" by the Serbs. The Times quoted unsubstantiated counter-claims by supporters of the UCK. The end result, a systematic policy of genocide is spin doctored into non-existence. Welcome to the free world, welcome to the free press of the New World Order. Welcome to the morality of the New World Order.
Was this an attempt to create a "multi-ethnic society" or was it in fact a planned and systematic campaign of genocide? Was this an instance of "revenge" or a systematic policy to create a ethnically pure Albanian state of Kosova? Fisk himself wondered whether this was random vandalism or a systematic policy of genocide. Fisk soon found the answer. Fisk interviewed a Kosovo Albanian, Ymer Qupeva, who was at the scene of a blown-up and bombed out Orthodox Church in Klina. Qupeva said: "I have come to view the professionalism of the destruction. They did very well---they planted explosives against all four walls...It was good," Fisk described Qureva as a "graduate of 'pyrotechnics' at the University of Zagreb." The destruction of the churches was thus by professionals and troops with a military background and military training. The policy was systematic and planned, not random acts of violence by civilians seeking "revenge".

Who is responsible for this destruction of Christian churches? KFOR is responsible for the prevention of these wanton acts of destruction and genocide. But KFOR has stood by and done nothing while Orthodox churches have been destroyed. This reflects policy. Troops enforce policy. Troops do not make policy decisions. The decision has been made politically to allow for the destruction of the Christian churches in Kosovo. It was reported on August 18, 2000 that two Orthodox churches were destroyed that were protected by United Arab Emirate soldiers of KFOR. There is, however, a conflict of interest here. UAE had pledged to build 50 new mosques, to turn Kosovo into a Muslim province and to erase the Christian history. What motive did Muslim troops of the UAE have to protect Orthodox churches? Not surprisingly, the UAE troops did nothing to prevent Albanians from destroying the St. Elijah Orthodox Church built in 1834 in Vucitrn, which was blown up. The St. Nicholas Orthodox Church blown up on January 30 in Banjska was also protected by UAE troops.

Bishop Artemije of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren in a statement before the Helsinki Commission Hearing in the US Congress in Washington, DC, on February 28, 2000, described the policy of genocide in Kosovo:
More than 80 Orthodox Churches have been either completely destroyed or severely damaged since the end of the war. The ancient churches, many of which have survived 500 years of Ottoman Muslim rule, could not survive 8 months of the internationally guaranteed peace. Regretfully, all this happens in the presence of KFOR and UN.

NATO and the UN were supposed to prevent destruction and genocide. But since NATO occupied Kosovo in June, 1999, 240,000 Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and Jews have been ethnically cleansed/expelled. NATO was supposed to prevent genocide. In fact, NATO has committed a genocide. The systematic policy of the UCK/KLA to destroy the Serbian Orthodox Churches of Kosovo began with the NATO occupation of Kosovo and was sanctioned by the US and NATO. Before the US/NATO occupation of Kosovo, Yugoslav police, security forces, and army troops were able to protect Orthodox churches and cemeteries and to prevent the expulsions of non-Albanians from Kosovo. But this changed with the military occupation of Kosovo by NATO and the UCK, the NATO proxy forces. Between June 13 and October 30, 74 Orthodox Churches had "been turned to dust or burnt or vandalised."

The CIA propaganda network Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) rationalized the systematic destruction of 112 Orthodox churches in Kosovo by US/NATO allies/clients/proxies the UCK/KLA as legitimate and appropriate because they were symbols of Serbian "colonization". How can churches 700 years old be symbols of colonization? Who are the colonists? Serbs? Albanians? The CIA is merely recycling Albanian propaganda from the 1920s and 1930s. This CIA propaganda can be easily disproved. The Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Musutiste was built in 1465. This 15th century Orthodox monastery was "leveled with explosives" by the UCK/KLA "freedom fighters". The Serbian Orthodox Monastery of the Archangel of Vitina built in the 14th century was burned. The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas (Sveti Nikola) in Djurakovac was built in the 14th century. This church was destroyed in 1999. The Orthodox Church of the Archangels in Gornje Nerodimlje and the St. Paraskeva Orthodox Church near Pec were destroyed. The St, Nicholas Orthodox Church in Prekoruplje was razed to the ground and the 16th century icons in the church were lost. Following the destruction of the Zociste Orthodox Monastery near Orahovac, Bishop Artemije requested that there should be increased protection of these religious sites and that more should be done to repair and rebuild them. He was told by Dieter Skodowsky of the German contingent that KFOR/NATO would not support the rebuilding of the Orthodox Churches because Albanians opposed this.

The UCK targeted Serbian Orthodox priests, nuns, men, women, and children. In a speech on September 16, 1999, Amfilohije noted the murder of a Serbian Orthodox priest by the UCK and the disappearance of another:

Recently, a hole has been discovered in the vicinity of Istok and in it 40 corpses were found, among which was the body of Father Stefan from Budisavac monastery. Father Hariton is still unaccounted for.

He described the murder and mutilation of Serbian women by the UCK:

On the eve of the Vidovdan liturgy...[w]e laid to rest the bodies of Mileva Vujosevic, 50, shot dead with a bullet, her brains in which I stepped on entering her house, strewn and Marica Maric, a retarded girl, who was raped in her poor abode in Belo Polje. We found her on a broken couch, dead, disfigured.

Islamic Revival in Kosovo? The Islamization of Kosovo-Metohija

The NATO occupation was seen by Arab/Muslim countries as an opportunity to transform Kosovo-Metohija into a Muslim state. Terry Boyd in the Stars and Stripes article "In Kosovo, Islamic groups work to rebuild country, attract followers," September 21, 2001, examined how Muslim countries were seeking the Islamization of Kosovo. The US State Department listed Kosovo as having active cells of al-Qaeda, Ossama bin Laden's terrorist network. Al-Qaeda and Ossama bin Laden were aiding the UCK jihad in Kosovo. Iran was also active in Kosovo and Bosnia. Boyd reported that an Iranian Islamic group offered 120-300 German marks a month for Albanian Muslim women to wear headscarves and other Islamic religious attire. He noted that Arab/Muslim countries had set up aid and relief agencies in Kosovo. Saudia Arabia had established the Saudi Joint Committee for Kosovo and al-Haramain, a Arabic language center. Saudi Arabian Abdullah Al Turki, the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, was providing aid to "Kosovo refugees" , which was announced on March 25, 2002 by the Saudi government. Bahrain had funded the El-Asla Society, Islamic youth centers and instruction in Islam and in the Arabic language of the Koran. Sudanese nationals had set up youth centers, the World Association of Muslim Youth.

What was the motive for Arab/Muslim "humanitarian" aid to Kosovo? Was Muslim aid to Kosovo based on humanitarian concerns or to transform Kosovo into a radical new Muslim state? Boyd, however, noted another goal: "But nations hostile to the United States may be using begin efforts to camouflage more sinister plans, including creating an Islamic republic---similar to Iran---on Europe's southern flank, according to sources." On July 19 and 22, 2001, four Iranians "gun runners" were arrested by KFOR. But as early as 1999, US Rep. Helen Chenoweth, R-Idaho, in the Congressional debate on Kosovo, stated that the KLA is "a collection of Maoist drug-peddlers and terrorists who have been armed by Iran and provided with training and support by Saudi terrorist financier Osama bin Laden." Boyd revealed the goal of the Islamic relief/aid groups to be to achieve the independence/secession of Kosovo from Serbia as an ethnically pure Islamic nation/republic. He noted that if the US/NATO could not achieve this, the Islamic countries would be willing sponsors: "That plan is to present fundamentalist Islam as an alternative to Western reluctance to grant independence to Kosovo."

Concomitantly with the destruction of Orthodox churches, Islamic countries are being encouraged by the US and NATO to build mosques and Islamic centers in Kosovo, further erasing the Christian history of Kosovo. On August 20, 2000, the United Arab Emirates announced that they would finance the construction of 50 new mosques in Kosovo. In "Mohammed Orders Building 50 Mosques in Kosovo", in the UAE Interact, it was reported that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Dubai Crown Prince and Defense Minister, would fund this project.

Ahmadiyya is an extremist Islamic movement from Pakistan that came to Kosovo to educate Muslims. Ahmadiyya offered help only if Albanian Muslims would accept the radical Islamic doctrines of the group and if they would train Muslim preachers. Naim Berisha said: "The Ahmadiyya came with copies of the Islamic holy texts in Albanian, plus pamphlets promoting their leaders, and especially their hatred of the West." Two other Muslim groups were in the Balkans seeking to recruit Albanian Muslims: Ahl as-Sunna and Wa'al Jama'at.

Roman Catholic Revival in Kosovo?

Roman Catholic organizations in the US saw the NATO occupation of Kosovo as an opportunity for proselytizing and a chance to Catholicize the population. The goal was to supplant and eliminate the Orthodox presence in Kosovo. The MO was the same as that followed in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and in Krajina. The Roman Catholic-Orthodox conflict is long-standing in the Balkans. Historically, the Vatican sought to exert influence in the Balkans and to eliminate Orthodox influence. This has sometimes meant that the Vatican has engaged in unholy alliances with Islam and with Judaism. The Vatican has historically sought to create a bulwark against Orthodox Christianity in the Balkans, necessitating an anti-Serbian policy. The Vatican opposed Orthodoxy, then "Bolshevism", Communism, and "Titoism" because they threatened Vatican control of the Balkans. The issue was always control.
The NATO occupation of Kosovo became a focus for US Roman Catholics who sought to exert and expand Catholicism in the Serbian Orthodox province. In "Catholic Revival in Kosovo?", September, 1999, in the San Francisco Faith, Stephen Schwartz, noted how the Roman Catholic Church was, like Islam, seeking to transform Kosovo-Metohija into a Roman Catholic nation. Like Islam, Roman Catholicism was silently supporting a genocide against the Serbian Orthodox population, supporting the destruction of Orthodox churches and the expulsion/ethnic cleansing of the Orthodox population. Now that 240,000 Serbian Orthodox were expelled and 112 Orthodox churches and over 10 Orthodox cemeteries were destroyed, Kosovo was ideal for conversion and transformation. Schwartz noted that "at least 15 percent of the Kosovar population" was Roman Catholic. Kosovo Albanians are mostly Sunni Muslims, Bektashi (Shia, Shiite) Muslims, and Orthodox Christians. But religion is secondary in Albanian nationalism. As Pashko Vasa, an Albanian nationalist figure stated, "the religion of the Albanians is Albanianism", i.e., Greater Albania is the overriding ideology of Albanians, not any particular religion. Historically, Kosovo Albanians converted to Islam in Kosovo during Ottoman Turkish rule to obtain land and privileges in Kosovo, thereby displacing the original Serbian Orthodox inhabitants.

Catholic Charities and Professionals International Evangelical Christians were recruiting in Kosovo. Evangelicals came to the Rakovica refugee camp "attacking Islam and calling the Albanians to become Evangelicals." Evangelicals provided aid only if Albanians would convert to Evangelicalism. The family of Osman Hamdi had a son who suffered from a congenital heart defect. The Evangelicals offered to pay for his treatment if he would convert to the Evangelical sect. American Joe Horning was an Evangelical who had come to Kosovo from Chicago to convert Albanian Muslims to Evangelicalism. Horning stated: "Allah as the Muslims say is not the same as the God we Christians and Jews worship." Horning brought an intolerant and racist anti-Islam perspective that was current in the US. "Muslims worship the pagan moon god" according to Horning.

Schwartz emphasized that the Roman Catholic Church was at the forefront of anti-Orthodox and anti-Serbian activity for centuries. The Vatican had been first to recognize the secession/independence of Roman Catholic Croatia and Roman Catholic Slovenia in 1991. The Vatican gave Roman Catholic Austria-Hungary authorization in 1914 to declare war and thereby destroy Orthodox Serbia by sanctioning the declaration of war, beginning World War I. In 1941, the Roman Catholic hierarchy led by Alojzije Stepinac in Croatia, with support from the Vatican in Rome, was at the forefront in the genocide of the Serbian Orthodox population of Croatia and Bosnia, the Ustasha NDH, Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska. The Vatican has never acknowledged its complicity and responsibility for this genocide of Orthodox Christians. The genocide committed against, at a minimum, several hundred thousand Orthodox Serbs in Croatia organized by Roman Catholic priests remains an unacknowledged and unknown genocide in the so-called West. Is this by accident or by design? Schwartz noted that the program to Catholicize Kosovo was based in Santa Clara and San Francisco in the US: "Much of the education of Kosovar and other Albanians about their Catholic heritage is a consequence of the work undertaken in Santa Clara and San Francisco." Gani Murtezi, a UCK/KLA member, was quoted: "We were Catholics before the Turkish conquest in the 15th century and many of us will now return to Catholicism." Founded by Gjon Sinishta, Ray Frost now heads the Albanian Catholic Institute in the US and has the support of Roman Catholic Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo.

Destruction of Orthodox Churches in Macedonia by the UCK

When the UCK invaded Macedonia from Kosovo in 2001, the modus operandi evolved in Kosovo was duplicated in the terrorism conducted in Macedonia. Like in Kosovo, Orthodox churches were targeted for destruction and desecration. Why did the UCK target Orthodox churches for demolition and attack?

A terrorist war seeks to foremost destroy the morale of the target population, to destroy the will to resist. Terrorism seeks to create panic and fear and insecurity. The ultimate objective is to demoralize the civilian population by attacking the symbols of unity and national cohesion and order. Terrorists create fear and insecurity by attacking and killing police, security forces, and representatives of state authority. Terrorists can rarely ever win a conflict by a direct assault. Instead, the battle is mostly psychological, targeting morale. Moreover, by creating instability and political, economic, and social crises, the terrorist can exert disproportionate pressure on the country. In many cases, intervention is sought. Terrorism can induce intervention.
Why target Orthodox Churches and cemeteries? There are several reasons why the UCK is targeting Orthodox Churches in Serbia and Macedonia. First, by destroying the churches, the UCK is able to erase the Orthodox history of the region. By eliminating the Orthodox history of Kosovo and Macedonia, the UCK can then manufacture its own history for Kosovo and Macedonia, with the assistance of NPR, the CIA, CNN, RFE/RL, the VOA, the IWPR, ICG, and the US State Department. Before the US can manufacture a history for the UCK, however, the Orthodox history must be destroyed without leaving any trace. Second, by destroying symbols of the religion of the Serbian and Macedonian populations, the UCK is able to destroy the belief systems of their intended targets by showing the impotency of their Christian faith. What good is Christianity? What is the good of the Christian teachings and faith? By attacking religious symbols, the UCK seeks to demoralize by attacking the source and foundation of the belief system of the Serbs and Macedonians. That belief system is Christianity, Orthodox Christianity. Third, the goal is genocide, the total and complete elimination of the target population. Targeting churches sends the message that the UCK has a total contempt for Serbs and Macedonians as human beings. The UCK regards the Serbs and Macedonians as cattle and swine. Nothing shows this more than the systematic and planned destruction of Orthodox churches and monasteries and cemeteries. Not even the dead are immune from the genocide of the UCK. The UCK systematically attacks gravestones and cemeteries and desecrates graveyards. Why target cemeteries? What offense could the dead have committed against the UCK? The UCK seeks to totally and completely destroy and eliminate all traces and vestiges of the Serbian and Macedonian presence in the regions. The goal is genocide, to create a fait accompli.

In Macedonia, the UCK destroyed or damaged over 30 Orthodox churches in the Tetovo region of Western Macedonia under the control of the UCK. Mirko Stankovski of the Tetovo diocese submitted these facts in a report submitted to the Macedonian Government, the OSCE, and EU.

On December 10, 2001, the St. George (Sveti Gjorgjij) Orthodox Church in Golema Rechica in the Tetovo district, built in the 14th century, was burned down. The walls, icons, frescos, and screen were also burned. The destruction of the church was timed to coincide with the Orthodox holiday of St. George. The Orthodox Church St. Nikola in Slatina was burned down by the UCK. The St. Atanasije Orthodox Church in the Leshok-Brezno region, built in 1924 and dedicated in 1936, was completely destroyed by the UCK. Icons, church and religious books and documents were stolen, damaged, or destroyed in the St. Bogorodica Orthodox Church in Leshok, the St. Gjorgjija Orthodox Church in Mala Rechica, the St. Atanasij Orthodox Church in Tetovo Kale, St. Ilija and St. Gjorgjij in Neprosteno, St. Gorgjij in Otunje, St. Gjorgjija in Lavce, St. Nikola and St. Bogorodica in Tetovo, St. Kuzman and Damjan in Jedoarce, St. Petka in Varvara, and Uspenie na Bogorodica and Sveto Blagovestie in Jelosnik.

On August 21, 2001, the St. Atanasije Orthodox Monastery in Leshok in the southeast corner of the Shar Planina mountain range in the Polog valley was totally destroyed with explosives by UCK troops. The conachs or monastic cells were also stolen by the UCK. Built in the 13th century, rebuilt in 1818, the Leshok monastery was one of the oldest Orthodox churches in western Macedonia and had been the cultural and religious center for Macedonia. The church was on the UNESCO list of Heritage sites. The church was an example of Byzantine and Orthodox architecture which was irreplaceable. The church was in territory occupied by the UCK. The UCK mined the church with explosives and detonated the explosive devise with a car battery that was left at the crime scene. A small donkey was killed in the explosion, upon which the letters "UCK" were painted. The tombstone of Macedonian educator and Orthodox prior Kiril Pejcinovic was destroyed and his memorial statue in Tearce was demolished. Why did the UCK fear even the dead? Not even the dead were spared by the UCK. The UCK and their US and European handlers even concocted an outrageous and mind-boggling conspiracy theory. US/NATO/EU propaganda accused the Macedonian government of blowing up the Leshok monastery to discredit the UCK and to sabotage the Ohrid peace agreement. RFE/RL, the BBC, and other British and US news agencies disseminated this absurd conspiracy theory. Not everyone, however, was deluded or fooled by this media propaganda. The World Catholic News headline for August 22, 2002, was: "Macedonian Orthodox Church Blown Up by Rebels". The truth managed to sneak through the mainstream US media, the Western news agencies, the "independent" press, the "free" press of the free world. This represented the nadir of the US/NATO/EU propaganda war against the Orthodox. It is a perfect example of the morality of the New World Order. Nothing shows the utter moral and ethical bankruptcy of the NATO countries that this propaganda hoax. Nothing better shows the soulless and undemocratic nature of NATO.
The Matejce Orthodox Monastery was damaged, vandalized, and desecrated by UCK troops who used the church as a headquarters. The frescoes of St. Matejce were damaged and vandalized when the UCK used the church as a command post during the "insurgency" in 2001. The UCK had written graffiti on the Orthodox frescoes, writing the name of the Argentinean soccer star, "Diego Armando Maradona" and painting a black beard and sunglasses on the fresco. A black double-headed eagle, the symbol of Albania, the national flag of Shqiperia or Albania, with the letters "UCK" was painted on the Church wall. This showed with what racist contempt the Albanian "freedom fighters" held the Orthodox populations of Kosovo and Macedonia. The UCK symbolically defecated /urinated on the most sacred religious sites of both Serbs and Macedonians. How could they do this without US and NATO sponsorship and support? What makes them think they can get away with such racist and bigoted acts? Why do they so brazenly and arrogantly commit genocide if they were not supported by the US and NATO, by the massive US propaganda machine? For anyone with any common sense would know that these acts violate the Geneva Conventions on Genocide and violate basic human rights. Only if the US propaganda machine supports you can you get away with genocide. Only if the CIA propaganda machine is in your corner can you do it so shamelessly and arrogantly.
On February 9, 2002, an attempt was made by the UCK to mine the St. Petka Orthodox Church in Galate in the Gostivar district. Investigators found 400 grams of unexploded explosives inside the church with a fuse and detonation devise. The frescos in the church were damaged by the discharge by automatic weapon.
The UCK continued its modus operandi from Kosovo-Metohija to Macedonia with the desecration of Orthodox cemeteries. New damage to the Orthodox cemetery and to the XVth century St. Nikola Orthodox Church in Dolna Lesnica near Zelino was reported. The UCK was replicating the Kosovo MO.

Systematic Policy of Genocide or "Revenge" Attacks?

The US/NATO propaganda line is that the murders of Serbian civilians, men, women, and children, and the expulsion of 240,000 Kosovo Serbs can be explained as the "revenge" attacks or "revenge killings" due to the "repression" and "oppression" of the Slobodan Milosevic regime. In other words, the US propaganda rationalizes genocide and murder and ethnic cleansing on the grounds that it was justified due to the "repression" of Slobodan Milosevic. But this US State Department/CIA/NATO propaganda argument can be disproved easily. The destruction of Serbian Orthodox churches and the murder and expulsion of Kosovo Serbs did not begin after 1989 when Milosevic began "repressing" Albanians with a "crackdown".

The Albanian objective to create an ethnically pure Greater Albania began with the Ottoman Turkish occupation of Kosovo. Following the 1878 League of Prizren, a Greater Albania ideology emerged that would incorporate Kosova, Kosovo-Metohija, southern Montenegro, Illirida, western Macedonia, southern Serbia, and northern Greece, into an Ethnic Albanian state. The destruction of Orthodox churches and the murder of Serbian civilians in Kosovo did not start with Slobodan Milosevic.
In a July 12, 1982 article in the New York Times, "Exodus of Serbians Stirs Province in Yugoslavia", the goal of Albanian violence was noted:

The [Albanian] nationalists have a two-point platform...first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then the merger with Albania to form a greater Albania.

So there was a planned and systematic policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide in Kosovo before Slobodan Milosevic arrived on the scene. But it did not originate with Slobodan Milosevic. In fact, Milosevic tried to prevent a genocide from occurring, to prevent the expulsion of the non-Albanian population. The New York Times report noted: "Some 57,000 Serbs have left Kosovo in the last decade."

In the Washington post article "Ethnic Rivalries Cause Unrest in Yugoslav Region," November 29, 1986, Jackson Diehl correctly identified the two central issues in the Kosovo crisis: 1) the genocide of the Serbian population of Kosovo through murder and expulsion; and, 2) the separatist policies of Albanian political leaders to create an independent state of Kosovo, a second Albania. Diehl noted that "separatist and nationalist groups" were "seeking Kosovo's independence from Serbia." He noted that the crisis was precipitated by the "forced emigration of Serbs from Kosovo". Diehl reported: "More than 20,000 have emigrated since 1981."

David Binder wrote in The New York Times, on November 1, 1987, "In Yugoslavia, Rising Ethnic Strife Brings Fears of Worse Civil Conflict", that "separatist-minded ethnic Albanians" were seeking not greater rights due to repression, but an ethnically pure Albanian state that would secede from Serbia and become an independent Albanian nation, Kosova. Binder described the separatist policies of the Albanians in 1987:

Slavic Orthodox Churches have been attacked. Wells have been poisoned and crops burned. Slavic boys have been knifed, and some young ethnic Albanians have been told by their elders to rape Serbian girls.

Binder explained that the goal for the violence was never about "repression" but about the creation of Greater Albania:

The goal of the radical nationalists among them, one said in an interview, is an "ethnic" Albania that includes western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, part of southern Serbia, Kosovo and Albania itself...Other ethnic Albanian separatists admit to a vision of a greater Albania governed from Pristina in southern Yugoslavia rather than Tirana.

Binder noted that there were 40 racially-motivated attacks against Serbs in 1986. The goal was not "revenge" but to create "an 'ethnically pure' Albanian region" in Kosovo. Another method of ethnic cleansing was by quasi-legal means, by using legal/institutional means to dispossess Serbian landowners in Kosovo. Binder noted: "Ethnic Albanians in the Government have manipulated pubic funds and regulations to take over land belonging to Serbs."

There was incitement to genocide. Fadil Hoxha, a leading Albanian political leader in Yugoslavia, said that "Serbian women should be used to satisfy potential ethnic Albanian rapists." Such incitements created an anti-Serbian, anti-Orthodox climate. Aziz Kelmendi murdered four Yugoslav army recruits based on anti-Slav racism. The climate of insecurity and fear forced Serbs to flee the province. Binder reported that in 7 years, 20,000 Serbs have left Kosovo because of the climate of racism.

The genocidal policy against the Serbian population was not motivated by "repression" or the lack of democracy. Indeed, greater autonomy in Kosovo had only encouraged Albanian leaders to seek to create an ethnically pure province. Albanians controlled all aspects of life in Kosovo during this period from 1974 to 1989. Binder noted: "Ethnic Albanians already control almost every phase of life in ...Kosovo, including the police, judiciary, civil service, schools and factories."

In the Newsweek article of October 24, 1988, "Power to the Serbs", Harry Anderson and Theodore Stanger reported on the genocide in Kosovo:

One account speaks of 1,119 attacks on Serbs and Montenegrins by ethnic Albanians since 1986. Many of the stories allege rape and other atrocities. One described how a group of Albanian adolescents dug up the corpse of a Serbian child from a Kosovo cemetery and began tossing it around. "It is hard for anyone who calls himself a Serb to remain cool when he hears of such outrages," said Stefan Pilic, a medical student in Belgrade. "We are on the verge of a revolution," said Milovan Djilas, Yugoslavia's best-known dissident.

On April 19, 1993, British author Nora Beloff wrote a letter to British MP Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd explaining the Kosovo crisis:

On Kosovo, I told him I happened to be one of the rare Westerners who knew the province when it was still ruled by the pitiless Albanian thugs to whom Tito and his successors gave power, patronage, and bags of money...I knew very well that, for years, the Serb minority, particularly the Orthodox priests, had often been beaten and constantly harassed.

She stated that Milosevic should "have invited foreign diplomats and journalists to go and see what life had been previously like for the Serbs." They should "have visited demolished churches, desecrated cemeteries, and the Kosovo villages 'cleansed' of Serbs." The US State Department/NATO/CIA propaganda machine---National Public Radio (NPR), RFE/RL, Voice of America (VOA)---attributed ethnic cleansing to Slobodan Milosevic. But objective and unbiased observers of the Balkans knew that ethnic cleansing was developed in Kosovo and used against the Kosovo Serbian Orthodox population. Nora Beloff witnessed the first post-World War II instance of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo-Metohija: "Indeed, it was in Kosovo in 1980, while writing my book, that, for the first time since the Nazi era, I heard that epithet." Albanians in Kosovo were ethnically cleansing the province to create an ethnically pure Kosova/Kosove to create a Greater Albanian state. Beloff noted that separatism/secession/independence were the goals of the ultra-nationalist Greater Albania movement, not human rights. She stated that Albanians have "not the faintest interest in human rights." Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the UN, the US State Department, which has made "human rights" the cornerstone of US foreign policy, censored and suppressed this silent and unknown genocide in Kosovo.

The destruction of Serbian Orthodox churches did not begin with the NATO occupation of Kosovo in 1999. The Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Devic was destroyed during World War II when Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini made Kosovo and western Macedonia a part of Greater Albania. The pro-fascist Balli Kombetar, the Ljuboten battalion, and the Nazi 21st Waffen SS Division "Skanderbeg", made up mainly of Kosovo Albanians, instituted a policy of genocide against Kosovo Serbs, Jews, and Roma. Following the creation of the Second League of Prizren, which revitalized the Greater Albania ideology, under the sponsorship of Nazi Germany, Orthodox churches were destroyed and Serbian Orthodox priests were murdered in order to create an ethnically pure Kosova. This policy continued after World War II. On March 16, 1981, the 13th century Orthodox monastery at Pec was set on fire and burned in an attempt to kill the priests. On January 7, 1983, Orthodox Christmas, human feces and excrement were left around the Prizren Orthodox church and a cross made out of feces was placed on the church door. The Albanian destruction and desecration of Orthodox cemeteries did not start with the NATO/KFOR occupation of Kosovo either. Gravestones and monuments in Orthodox cemeteries were vandalized throughout the 1980s, before Milosevic even appeared on the scene. The goal was genocide, the creation of an ethnically pure or clean Albanian Kosova. In the village of Dvorane, Albanians destroyed and vandalized 29 newly erected Orthodox Christian gravestones.

Under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Resolution 260 A (III), promulgated on December 9, 1948, genocide is defined as follows:

Article II

[G]enocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such: (a) (a) Killing members of the group; (b) (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin coined the term "genocide" in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress (1944) in which he defined genocide as follows:

By "genocide" we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group...It is signify a coordinated plan...aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups...The objectives of such a plan would be...the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity...Genocide is directed against...members of a national group.

Is not the expulsion of 240,000 Serbs from Kosovo, the destruction of 112 Orthodox churches and the desecration and vandalism of over 10 Orthodox cemeteries genocide under these fundamental formulations. First we need a coordinated plan of genocide. US/NATO/KFOR always report that the systematic and organized destruction of 122 Orthodox churches was random. There is no organized plan. This is why epistemology is crucial. It is all in how you report it. One man or woman can see a terrorist and another a freedom fighter/patriot. This is why US/NATO/KFOR never know who is responsible and why no one is ever apprehended or punished. No one knows who is destroying Orthodox churches. They are "Albanian extremists". This negates responsibility. This also negates an organized and systematic policy of genocide. This also explains why human rights groups are blind to genocide in Kosovo. If they don't report it, it is like it never really happened. It is your word against theirs. And the CIA has the most massive propaganda/infowar machine ever assembled. As A.J. Liebling noted, "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one." Censorship is crucial. Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the commander of US troops in Vietnam, explained the need for censorship: "Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind." NATO is not making the same mistake. NATO is preventing any confusion whatsoever in the "public mind".

Why didn't international human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and UN human rights organizations notice this glaring genocide in Kosovo in the 1970s and 1980s, at the end of the 20th century? For the same reason that they don't notice the genocide in Kosovo now. If you don't report on a genocide, if you censor and suppress it, it is like it never occurred at all. The concept of human rights was devised to allow its use as an instrument of US foreign policy, to advance US policy. Human rights is merely a CIA propaganda construct. Nothing proves this more than Kosovo. How can a genocide be allowed to occur there? What genocide?

Kosovo, "Black Hole" of Human Rights

What has been the result of NATO military occupation of the Serbian province of Kosovo-Metohija? Kosovo Ombudsman Merek Nowicki announced the findings of his investigations on December 19, 2002. Nowicki concluded that Kosovo might become a "black hole" of human rights in Europe. UN Resolution 1244 was not being followed. Nowicki concluded that UNMIK was "not respecting human rights regulations established by international community." He found that the remaining Kosovo Serbs lived in Holocaust-style ghettos in Kosovo. The Serbian population has no human rights protections and is under daily pressure to leave Kosovo.

What has US/NATO/ KFOR done to allow for the return of the 240,000 Serbian refugees expelled by the UCK in 1999? According to Nowicki, NATO and UNMIK have done absolutely nothing: "The possibility of a Serb return to urban areas is almost zero, because a minimum of conditions for their return have not been secured." He found "severe violations of human rights". He examined the status of Serbs living in the village of Gorazdevac near Pec. The Serbs were heavily guarded, living under constant protection by FKOR troops. They were living in ghetto-like conditions. KFOR could not obtain food for them because the Albanian leaders were attempting to starve them out, thereby forcing them to leave Kosovo permanently. NATO was supposed to be ensuring democracy, but was in fact violating the fundamental tenets of democracy. Nowicki concluded: "UNMIK was not established in line with the principles of democracy and it represents a surrogate state." He found that UNMIK and KFOR had complete immunity for their actions in Kosovo. Thus there were no protections from violations of civil or human rights. There was no rule of law.
This is what NATO occupation has achieved: The genocide of the Serbian Orthodox population of Kosovo-Metohija. The UCK has expelled over 240,000 Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and Jews. The UCK has destroyed 112 Serbian Orthodox Churches under NATO/KFOR/UNMIK protection. The UCK has desecrated and destroyed over 10 Serbian Orthodox cemeteries. Life in Kosovo for the remaining Serbian population is like life in a Nazi ghetto! This is what NATO has accomplished in 3 and a half years of military occupation.

Is this way towards Europe?
Ruins of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Djakovica
destroyed by ethnic Albanians in July 19999