Croatia  |  Bosnia  |  Kosovo  |  Montenegro  |  Macedonia



PAGE 3 ::: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

INFO   :::  Region > Kosovo - PAGE 3 > Report


Report on the Excursion of Citizens from the Serbian Community from the Municipality of Novo Brdo on January 17th 2010 to Pristina, Zociste, Velika Hoca and Prizren

17 January 2010


In the organization of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, on January 17th 2010, 51 citizens of Serbian nationality from the villages of Prekovac, Izvor, Zebince, Svracka, Monisince and Cuka, belonging to the newly extended municipality of Novo Brdo, visited Pristina, Zociste and Velika Hoca in the municipality of Orahovac, along with the city of Prizren.

Participants of the excursion, mostly young people and women, visited the downtown center of Pristina, Kosovo institutions (the Parliament, the Government), EULEX headquarters, youth center and the monument to Bill Clinton.

In the village of Zociste, they visited the monasteries Kozme and Damjana, and in Velika Hoca, the church of Sveti Nikola, the parish home of the church of Sveti Stefan and the winery of Decani. They performed religious ceremonies and talked with monks. This was one of the rare organized fieldtrips of Kosovo Serbs to these places.

In Pristina, they visited the church of Bogorodica Ljeviska, the center of the Eparchy of Raska and Prizren, the church of Sveti Djordje and Bogoslovija. They walked through the center of the city, visited the Sadrva square and walked over the old stone bridge over Bistrica. Many of them visited cafes and shops, they communicated in Serbian and took pictures on certain locations in the city.

Participants were very pleased that they were given the chance to visit all these locations and holy places.

Snezana Peric, from the village of Izvor, a third-year student at the Faculty of Law in Kosovska Mitrovica, talked about how pleased she was to be a part of this fieldtrip.

"It was lovely. I can't find the words to describe how I feel. This is the first time I am visiting these places. My first time in Zociste, Velika Hoca and Prizren, where our well-known holy places are located. I am simply overjoyed, and I wish there could be more fieldtrips like this, in order to help us not only visit our monasteries and churches, but also talk with people and see how they live, so that we do not forget our history, which has been following us for centuries".

She said that this fieldtrip meant a lot to her: "I will remember it as long as I live. This experience will never be forgotten or fade from my memory."

This law student believes that the interethnic relations in Kosovo have improved, but that the relations between Serbs and Albanians could be better. "If we all see each other as people, regardless of our ethnicity, whether someone is Albanian or Serbian, a Muslim or an Orthodox Christian, if we allow ourselves to understand the others as people, there will be no problems and, of course, our relations will improve. I hope people will soon start to think more rationally. All people should be equal and move around freely, have rights when they go before a court, or when they ask for their property, their houses and apartments, to be returned".

She believes that, at this moment, the proclamation of Kosovo independence is a great hindrance to the improvement of relations, because "Many Serbs do not recognize Kosovo independence, and, on the other side, there are some who are under pressure not to recognize it. This is why I believe that there must be equality and free will here. You want to recognize Kosovo independence, that's ok, you don't want to recognize it, that's ok as well. I believe this to be one of the greatest problems influencing relations between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.

I am from the municipality of Novo Brdo. With the decentralization process, our municipality became one with majority Serbian population. Serbs should be aware of what decentralization means for their wellbeing. Unfortunately, they don't know this and are not well informed, they do not know what possibilities are offered to them, what they could gain by a decentralized municipality and how much they could succeed in realizing some of their goals. I believe that the decentralization itself is good for Serbs".

Srebrena Stojkovic, a housewife from the village of Zebince, was also pleased that she participated in the fieldtrip. After several years, she once again had the opportunity to visit other parts of Kosovo. "My impressions from this fieldtrip are very good. I visited these places a long time ago, when I was a child in fourth grade. We went to visit the Patriarchy of Pec, monastery of Visoki Decani, the city of Prizren. It was different then, now everything has changed. This was well organized; we should have fieldtrips like this one more often. It is a good thing that we visited these Orthodox holy places. We no longer fear the Albanians, we have overcome that, but I don't know whether the trust between us can return so soon. Maybe democracy first, and then we will see."

Tihomir Stanojevic from the village of Prekovac is amongst those who visited theses places for the first time. "Since this is the first time I am visiting Zociste and Velika Hoca, my impressions are very good. I like these places. They are great, there are some Orthodox holy places and many vineyards. I was not scared at all, I didn't even think about that. The relations between Serbs and Albanians are still not as they should be, some Serbs are still afraid, but I think that this will disappear, that things are improving. Albanians and Serbs should talk and spend more time together - the more the better."

For the student Ivan Zivic from the village of Izvor, this was also the first fieldtrip, and, at the same time, the first time he traveled outside of the area he lived in, to other parts of Kosovo. "The fieldtrip was great. I did not have an opportunity to visit these places before, and I am very satisfied. There were no problems, and I hadn't noticed anyone being afraid. I believe there is still a lack of trust between Serbs and Albanians, and this is something that needs to be worked on. I am convinced that it is possible to revive the friendship between us."

The excursion was carried out without Kosovo Police escort, but the police was informed about the event. It lasted from 9 am to 6:30 pm.



PAGE 3 ::: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6










Copyright * Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia - 2008

Web Design * Eksperiment