Former IRU's president speaks out against an independent

Kosovo 25. 11. 2005

Rajko Djuric, former president of International Romani Union (IRU), and current president of SCG Roma Foundation and member of Roma PEN Centre, has published his comments on the discussion of future development in Kosovo regarding Roma.

The Roma of Serbia and Montenegro, who like the Roma of many European and non- European states, along with the Jews, were the biggest victims of wars and a "bargaining chip" in conflicts of majority peoples, are following with attention and apprehension the start of talks on Kosovo and Metohija.

The United Nations, whose Secretary General Kofi Annan had an opportunity to talk with the representative of the International Roma Organisation, has been informed about the facts and data regarding the overall position of 12 million Roma, the largest national minority in Europe. Not unknown is the fact that the Roma were the largest national minority in Kosovo and Metohija until 1999.

The Society for Oppressed Peoples in Goettingen, Karitas and other non-governmental organisations of European states have very comprehensive data about the tragedy of Kosovo Roma at their disposal, data that, since 1999, have been published almost regularly in the magazine Good Day of the Catholic Church in Cologne.

This means that Europe and the international community have been informed that at first the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and then UCCK besides crimes over the Roma, committed several radical "ethnic cleansings" of members of that national minority. Of the some 260,000 Roma living there before 1999, only 29,656 remain. Out of 193 Roma settlements, there are now only 26.

This practically means a total destruction of the Roma national minority, which did not even happen in Kosovo and Metohija during World War II, even though there was German SS, Italian fascists, and their various associates. This is credible evidence of the formulation made by Hana Arendt that "totalitarianism destroys totally."

Following are some excerpts from some of the reports:
Roma T.T from Obilic and his wife, who were mistreated on July 5, 1999, made the statement that "the same ethnic Albanians who tortured them" then killed the Krasnici family. "Alija, his wife Muljazima, Djulja, Fadilj, Cherim and one-year-old Nedzmedin were burned alive in their home."

Live Roma children were also burned alive in Pristina, Serbia:
The KLA, which was also characterized by some Albanian intellectuals as "fascist," killed a large number of Roma in Pristina, Pec, Obilic, Djakovica, Lipljan, Prizren, Podujevo, Urosevac and Gnjilane. In Pristina, where 22,000 Roma used to live, according to the latest data there are 1,300 left; in Pec of about 20,000, 1,100 remained; in Obilic from about 7,000 there are only 500; in Gnjilane of the 7,000 Roma there are 250 left; in Vucitrn of 5,000 Roma inhabitants there are only 300… It is a long and agonizing list of mistreated people, raped women and girls, of the missing, and some reports speak of still undiscovered mass graves of Roma victims.

German Nobel laureate Gunther Grass has pointed to the tragic fate of the Kosovo Roma. His speeches are contained in the book Without a Voice, which was published by the Steidl publishing house in Goettingen.

The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) knows for a fact what, here and now, Albanian extremists are doing with the Roma who are still living in Kosovo.

Despite all this, Roma from Serbia and Montenegro, along with the Kosovo Roma and an additional116,000 registered Roma refugees from the province - firmly believing that the truth is always on the side of those who are least privileged - have a great confidence in the international community, especially in the UN secretary general's special envoy for talks on Kosovo and Metohija, Martti Ahtisaari. Ahtisaari has shown a great understanding for the Roma of his country, as has the president of Finland, Tarja Halonen. Halonen carries on with the work that was begun and has opened the door not only to Finland to the Roma, but also to Europe, for which she received the highest recognition of Europe's Roma in 2003.

The Roma of Serbia and Montenegro openly say what names they connect themselves with, and in that way they define their positions much more convincingly than by mentioning those whom they could fiercely attack.

Committed to peace and security, members of that national minority sincerely expect that in the talks on Kosovo the international community will uphold and defend only those viewpoints that are in keeping with its defined principles and with the norms of international law.

An independent Kosovo, in whatever form, would mean a recognition and reward to those who committed crimes against the Roma, crimes unrecorded up to now in the annals of European history after Auschwitz, a symbol of the Holocaust of Jews and the Roma. On the other hand, in the year that the UN has declared as the year for marking the 60th anniversary of the victory over fascism, neglecting the Roma victims of Kosovo and depriving their chidren's right to a future would signify the international community's silent agreement with a regime that has committed misdeeds against those people and ruthlessly trampled their national, civil and human rights. Rights which are guaranteed by the UN, its bodies and other major European institutions.

It is expected from the international community that those solutions bring peace, security, stability and prosperity to all the peoples and national minorities in Kosovo. At the same time it should be taken into account that ethics invoke justice, without which there can be no lasting peace. Justice must not in any way depend on the will of the perpetrators of crimes, and negotiations about the perpetrators' guilt must not be influenced by the will or threats of criminals.

It will depend on the wisdom and decision of the international community whether in a new millennium a new hope and faith will spark; also for the people, inhabitants and peoples of Kosovo and of the Balkans, among whom even at the times of kings and sultans, of the black and of the red terror, there was nevertheless cooperation, mutual understanding and friendship. Even then Kosovo was not divided, or independent.

These peoples, as many prominent writers and historians have explained, did not suffer from a lack of virtue, but, above all, from a lack of conditions to assert their rights and freedoms. Historical experience testifies to the distrust and poisonous hatred that grew uncontrollably on the borders of divided peoples and national minorities.

The words of Willy Brandt, which were said in a different context, could today serve as a beacon for politicians and diplomats, from whom it is expected to shun the moment marking the impossibility of planning the future in Kosovo: "Together can grow only what lives together!"

(Written by Rajko Djuric/editting of article by Dzeno Association)

The only answer for the Romani in Kosovo is for a Kosovo that stays with Serbia. Otherwise there will be no Gypsies left in Kosovo. They will either be forced out or killed. The aim of the ethnic Albanians, who were the wrong people that the West aided, in Kosovo have only aim; that of great Albania into which Kosovo would be slotted into and they would also go after parts, if not indeed all, of Macedonia. Their aims also are "Great Albanian for Albanians" meaning that all others would have to leave.
As we see from this article the West, surprise, surprise, backed the wrong side and this has been openly said by UNMIK soldiers and officers but is kept quiet by the media and western governments in order so they can repatriate Roma, Egyptians and Ashkali refugees back to Kosovo. "It is safe", the German government spokespeople say. "We have been there and checked". Yeah, and they also were given assurances by the Albanians there that nothing will happen to Gypsies returning. Well, there is a squadron of pigs hovering over my house, honest… I have checked.