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Report on the Excursion of youth from the Municipality of Kosovska Kamenica on January 16th 2010

16 January 2010


A total of 38 boys and girls of Serbian nationality, mostly primary, high school and university students from Kosovska Kamenica and the surrounding villages of Robovac, Berivojce, Ropotovo, Korminjane and the new municipality of Ranilug, visited the municipality of Strpce, Brezovica and the Ski resort on Sara on Saturday, January 16th.

The excursion was successful. For most of the students who participated in the excursion, this was the first visit to other parts of Kosovo, and only two of them had visited Brezovica prior to this fieldtrip.

Following the excursion, students expressed their good impressions. A third-year high school student from Kosovska Kamenica, Aleksandra Djokic from the village of Robovac, said that she was very happy for being given an opportunity to visit these parts of Kosovo for the very first time. "It was great, a little cold, but it was worth going and seeing all these lovely places. This is the first time I have seen something so beautiful. I had a fantastic time. This is a great experience for all of us. Thank you for making this possible. I wish such fieldtrips could be organized again. There are many of us in my municipality, especially young people, who have been living almost completely isolated from other parts of Kosovo for several years now". Aleksandra said that there are 15 Serbian households with around 50 members in her village, but that they do not have even the basic facilities they require. "We do not have a primary school, a library, or even a church. We have one supermarket, and that's all. We use Dom Kulture (the House of Culture) in Kosovska Kamenica only when we celebrate the School Day or something like that". According to Aleksandra, Serbs have no big problems with Albanians who are the majority in her village and the nearby city. However, there is no contact either. "From time to time, some of them would throw a remark. We don't understand them because we don't speak Albanian, so we pretend not to notice them and everything ends without consequences". Aleksandra sees no need to learn Albanian and she concludes: "Kosovo is Serbian, and it will remain so".

A student of Economy, Dusan Vasic, from Kosovska Kamenica also praised the fieldtrip, saying that everything was great and adding: "This fieldtrip meant so much to me. This is the first time I left Kosovska Kamenica after a long time. I am surprised by how many young people from all parts of Kosovo came here to enjoy the snow and clean air. We had the opportunity to see the ski legend Bojan Krizaj, who visited Brezovica today to promote Elan products. This fieldtrip was a great idea and it was very well organized, I am satisfied."

Dusan pointed out that in Kosovska Kamenica, Serbs live together with Albanians and Roma, and that there are no problems based on ethnicity in that municipality. "We are friends with each other, we communicate freely, we go together to Serbian and Albanian cafes, internet cafes, we play sports. The Albanian football team and the Serbian team Rudar train together on the same field. I can't remember that there was ever a fight between the two teams."

"We travel freely. We go to Gracanica and Kosovska Mitrovica. There is organized transport to Kosovska Mitrovica for students every Monday and Friday. We travel through Albanian villages and we never had any problems. Sometimes we go to Gnjilane, as well. However, we don't go to Pristina because we don't need to."

Following the local elections in Kosovo, a new assembly of Ranilug was established several kilometers from Kosovska Kamenica. Several Serbian villages that belonged to the municipality of Kosovska Kamenica became part of the new municipality of Ranilug. "I expect that the lives of Serbs in this area will improve now. This should not prevent us from hanging out with Albanians and from living together", Dusan believes.

For the fourth-year high school student Dusan Jevtic from the village of Berivojce, this was the second visit to other parts of Kosovo. "Last year, I visited the monastery of Visoki Decani and the Patriarchy of Pec, together with people from my village. The trip was organized by Sveti Nikola church from Kosovska Kamenica. This is the second time I have left the area I live in, and today, I am very happy that I was able to see ski paths and ski lifts. more fieldtrips like this one should be organized, so that people can see the beauty of Kosovo."

In Dusan's village of Berivojce, Serbs and Albanians live together. He claims that Serbs have no problems with their Albanian neighbors, and he points out that their relations have even improved in the recent past. "After the proclamation of Kosovo independence, I noticed that the attitude of Albanians towards local Serbs changed in a positive way. They are much nicer to us now. This is apparent everywhere, when we meet on the street, when we enter a store. Most of them talk to us in Serbian, but, unfortunately, there are some young Albanians who do not speak Serbian. However, Serbs from around here are not happy with the proclamation of Kosovo independence. All Serbs are against independence. I am against it as well, of course. I speak no Albanian, but I wish I did. We do not learn Albanian in school and there is no initiative to introduce this subject, although I don't know how many people would even support this idea. This doesn't depend on us; it depends on the standpoint of Serbia regarding this issue. We study according to the school program of the Republic of Serbia. We don't learn about Kosovo and Albanians in school. In geography class, we are taught that Kosovo is a part of Serbia, and in history class we only learn about Serbs, like, for example, about the Battle of Kosovo".

Kosovo Police was informed about the fieldtrip organized by the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, but was not asked for escort. Participants traveled in buses provided by the Barileva Tourist Agency. The fieldtrip lasted between 9 am and 6 pm.





















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