It would be very dangerous to offer your trust to the Albanian community in Kosovo’s, possible inclusion in the membership of UNESCO,as a legitimized guardian of cultural heritage.
Originally appeared at Politika.rs, translated by Igor exclusively for SouthFront
Inserts from letters from prof. d r Dragan Stanic, president of Matica Srpska, Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO
As President of the oldest Serbian cultural institution Matica Srpska(Serbian Heritage) established in 1826, I would ask for your attention to listen to the views that should be kept in mind regarding the request of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo for membership in UNESCO. That request can not sustain any more serious arguments on which would allow for its establishment, and especially can not endure the analysis of general cultural and even political conditions without which this demand has lost all meaning. Let me very briefly put forward a number of key concerns and facts that are incompatible with such a request addressed to UNESCO.
International legal context, primarily Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999 defined Kosovo as part of Serbia’s territory under interim UN administration. If we respect the authority of the United Nations, UNESCO is a part of that institutional system, there should not be paths of international decision-making that overlook the documents and resolutions of the United Nations. Respecting the United Nations guarantees the dignity of the international order, and so in the framework of UNESCO that respect must be preserved.
The Albanian community in Kosovo has so far failed to develop the ability of tolerance and coexistence, and in that sense, multiculturalism and interculturalism modern societies are foreign terms. Until recently, the Albanian community has been governed by tribal organizations, and in this respect is nurtured an aversion to anything outside this tribal framework. Because of all this there is an intolerant attitude towards members of other nations and languages, religions and cultures, and this is now dominant in the Albanian community in Kosovo. The fact is that there are still nearly 1,500 people listed as missing persons, have they been kidnapped and apparently killed by the KLA terrorists?. Also, of the 200,000 Serbs expelled in 1999 only 1.9 percent have returned to their homes. All this speaks volumes about the complete absence of tolerance and multiculturalism in the lonely Albanian community in Kosovo, and therefore for such behaviour should not be followed by awards in the form of Kosovo’s admission to UNESCO.
The Albanian community in Kosovo hasn’t established to build a tolerant relationship for the diversity of cultural heritage in Kosovo. Especially the attitude towards the Serbian cultural monuments marked by constant need of a small number of members of the Albanian community for those monuments to be systematically destroyed. The fact that the perpetrators of such outrages and their organizers were never brought to justice, speaks volumes about the lack of political will of the Albanian community that such acts are sanctioned. Therefore, in Kosovo, even after 1999, then in peacetime, they continued with the destruction of churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church, gravestones, entire cemeteries etc. Aggression against cultural heritage of other nations, no doubt, can not be a good recommendation for membership in UNESCO. From June 1999 until now, the targets of the attack were 236 churches, monasteries and other buildings of the Serbian Orthodox Church, including the church of Our Lady, the monastery of Devic and others. The fact that there has been no destruction of the oldest cultural monuments in Kosovo, namely the Serbian monasteries dating from the thirteenth and fourteenth century (Decani, Gracanica, Pec Patriarchate, etc.), Is primarily a consequence of the fact that such objects are protected by the KFOR. As soon as KFOR troops are gone, these cultural monuments will be exposed to a real risk of being damaged, even destroyed. It would be inconceivable that such aggressive and destructive behaviour of the Albanian community of Kosovo is rewarded by receiving the UNESCO status.
For members of the Albanian community, even in some of the representatives of the Albanian science, more and more of those who utterly unscientific, unfounded and reckless deny affiliation of the churches and monasteries Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian traditional body. Due to the fact that people know very well who built and nurtured, and who for centuries used and still uses the goods of the Church, it would be very dangerous to trust the Albanian community in Kosovo for the, possible inclusion in the membership of UNESCO itself as guardian of cultural heritage. Given the fact that the Albanian community has invested so much energy in the destruction of cultural monuments and in their appropriation, it would be highly irresponsible given their role as guardian.
This letter is to be understood precisely as an attempt to prevent something that would sooner or later be regretted. Seriously it would be regretful for those who now think that in this case, in connection with the possible admission of the so-called Republic of Kosovo as a member of UNESCO, could set a precedent,for the Albanian community and their aggressive and destructive behaviour towards cultural heritage to be awarded with acceptance in UNESCO. We will all quickly witnessed that precedent will be very easy, even legitimate, and will becomes the general rule that in the future, few people will be able to call it into question, which would seriously jeopardize the stable order of cultural facts and values. In such circumstances UNESCO will no longer be UNESCO and the United Nations will lose all its purpose.