28 June was a very important day for the Serbian people and for Serbian Orthodox Christians. On 28 June, according to the Gregorian calendar, Orthodox Serbs celebrate Vidovdan (St Vitus Day, or the Feast of St Vitus), but the day’s also very important for other reasons. The date also has associations with the epic Battle of Kosovo, when Serbian martyrs gave their lives to defend Kosovo against the Ottomans on 28 June 1389; the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) proclaimed it a Memorial Day for Prince St Lazar Hrebeljanović, who led the Serbs against the massive Ottoman invading army and perished. During the battle, the legendary Serbian knight Miloš Obilić killed the Ottoman leader, Sultan Murad I Hüdavendigâr.
Therefore, as you can see, the day’s very important for the Serbian people. Historically, this date also saw many significant events take place. For example, it’s not a coincidence that on 28 June 1914 an assassin killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este, the crown prince and heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, triggering World War I. Another important event on this date was the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the same war. On 28 June 1921, Serbian King Aleksandar I Karađorđević introduced the so-called Vidovdan Constitution for the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.
According to eyewitness reports, on 28 June 2012, Kosovar Albanian police, thugs, and vicious hooligans attacked and harassed Serbs travelling to and from the site of the Battle of Kosovo to celebrate this proud day in their history, forcing them to undergo disgraceful and degrading treatment, all under the watchful eye of KFOR. For their part, KFOR and EULEX apparently made a rare statement condemning the attacks, but no one has yet seen any activity from their side to bring those responsible to justice.
There are conflicting reports, making it hard to get an accurate picture of the event, due the continuing media blackout and obfuscation of the Western press, but the events apparently unfolded as follows. At approximately 04.20, a multi-ethnic police checkpoint in the village of Dobrosin in Bujanovac Municipality (Pčinja District) came under heavy automatic weapons fire from the direction of Kosovo and a high-velocity rifle round injured one policeman. On the approach to Gazimestan, members of special units of the Kosovo Police set up checkpoints and subjected Serbs who were on their way to the celebrations to degrading treatment. They seized t-shirts with logos such as “Kosovo is Serbia” and anything with Cyrillic writing on it and they didn’t return them. There were some reports that the cops confiscated Serbian flags and that they made women remove their t-shirts, too.
Siniša Mihajlović, a Serbian radio and TV journalist (not to be confused with the famous footballist of the same name), said that the Kosovo police forcibly removed his shirt and that they forced a reporter with the Voice of Serbia, Goran Maunaga, to remove his shirt. Media reports quoted Mihajlović as saying that the cops told them that they could only stay at Gazimestan until 14.00. However, policemen turned away most of those wishing to go to Gazimestan. The cops seized shirts with inscriptions reading, “Banja Luka: Serbian Republic” and “Brothers, we’re with you”. According to Mihajlović, the explanation from the Kosovo police was that their law prohibits wearing t-shirts printed in Cyrillic, showing arms, or any word associated with Serbia.
One of the worst incidents of the day came at around 08.00, when a group of fans of FK Partizan Belgrade (the premier Serb football side), which had organised celebrations on Vidovan, were stopped by Kosovo police at the village of Merdare in Kuršumlija Municipality (Toplica District) on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, and were beaten and attacked. Twenty people suffered injuries, with 10 in serious condition. There are reports that police opened fire on the youths, seriously injuring at least one when they tried to run for safety, after an Albanian mob attacked their bus. By far, the most disturbing was an attack by Albanian mobs and Kosovo police on two buses travelling to Gazimestan carrying approximately 70 young Serbs aged 8 to 16. Media reports stated that the cops turned back the bus near Priština. Some reports said that the police then guided the buses to a point where they stopped the buses so that an Albanian mob could ambush them, throwing concrete blocks at the buses to break the windows, and tossing Molotov cocktails at the buses in an apparent attempt to burn the passengers inside alive. Allegedly, the subsequent clashes left 50 people injured.
The attack by Albanian Muslim fanatics came on one of the holiest Serbian national and Orthodox Christian holidays, marking the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo on 28 June 1389. Bishop Teodosije Šibalić of Ras and Prizren, the head of the SPC in Kosovo, condemned the attacks and a number of other savage Albanian attacks on the Serbian Christian minority, and, as Mirodrag Nivaković, a Serbian reporter, put it, “It all happened under the idle watch of the so-called KFOR ‘stabilisation’ force, and the EULEX mission ‘rule of law’ police”.
28 June 2012
Voice of Russia World Service
What’s of particular note is that Kosovar Albanians crossed the border into the Republic of Serbia (or used their sympathisers in Serbia) to cause trouble. The USA and the EU turned a blind eye to it all. The EU/US occupation of Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina is immoral, and no Orthodox Christian should have anything to do with it. Yes… the government takes our taxes to pay for this obscenity, but there’s nothing that one can do about that (short of illegality, which I’m NOT advocating).
This creates a horrid situation for Orthodox who serve in the NATO armed forces. What do they do if they receive orders to go to act as part of the occupation forces in the Balkans? I’m NOT advocating the disobedience of orders, or even civil disobedience (that would entail legal liabilities beyond the capacity of most people to endure, frankly speaking). Thankfully, most armed forces have mechanisms for soldiers faced with orders that are in contravention of their moral, religious, or even ethnic standards. An Orthodox soldier could ask for exemption because they couldn’t be impartial… they’d be in favour of the Orthodox Serb population. One could also argue that one wouldn’t want to be firing on one’s religious or ethnic confrères. That appears to be the least nasty option available, besides being legal and respectful of the military chain of command.
Otherwise, an Orthodox soldier would be forced to support the immoral thugocracies in Kosovo and Bosnia, and that’s truly against what we believe as Christians. It’s not easy being green, and my heart goes out to Orthodox in the forces faced with such moral dilemmas. You can opt out, but don’t so illegally or stupidly… keep it tight and focused, and you’ll win.