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Letter from Pristina...
Death of a Yugoslav
(posted April 5, 2000)

On Monday, as on every other day, Metodije Halauska showed up in the morning at the Center for Peace and Tolerance (CPT) in Pristina. Mr. Halauska is 86 years old, but still very strong and mobile for his age. He came to pick up newspapers and fresh food as humanitarian assistance from the CPT. He chatted with his friends and left the Center's office a bit after 10am. The very same day, in the afternoon, his corpse was found in Grmija, a park and excursion site near Pristina. He was shot in the back of the head. Previously, he had been beaten and had internal bleeding. He was dragged out of an apartment in the center of Pristina, barefoot and probably wrapped in two blankets, unconscious, by 5-6 persons who carried him to Grmija where he was murdered. His body was identified earlier today, Wednesday.

Metodije Halauska is of Czech nationality. He is not a Serb, to be killed, nor an Albanian to be spared. Yes, he spoke Serbian and above all felt like a Yugoslav. Whom did grandpa Metodije harm? Did he kill or attack someone? Perhaps, he was a war criminal?

But grandpa Metodije owned a large apartment. He refused to move out the apartment even after numerous threats, attacks, break-ins and robberies. No one has moved into his apartment so far. They did not steal his dinars, because they are worthless in Pristina. But they did kill him because they did not like the language he used.

The killing of innocent and really innocent people goes on. Can anyone hear how people in Pristina, Kosovo, live? Especially Serbs who celebrate every new day. Does anyone want to hear and see the suffering of people which has been assisted by the whole world?

We were bombed because we violated human rights, they say. Those who bombed apparently did that out of their respect for human rights. Where are they now? Please, send us at least one of those human rights activists, so that we can treat him with the murder of our grandpa Metodije!

I am a Serb and they want to disconnect my e-mail account because I write in Serbian in Kosovo! We are forced to use all sorts of languages, apart from Serbian. We do not dare leave our apartments and houses without escort, while KFOR and the Police check on us periodically. No one can go to a store, restaurant, café, let alone to a church or cemetery. We are not allowed to pray for the living, nor to mourn our dead.

If someone gets this message, the remaining Serbs in Kosovo beg you to forward it. Let the world know that out of 20,972 Serbs in Pristina before the war, about 300 remain, and that grandpa Metodije is gone.

The author of the letter is one of the staffers at the office of the Centre for Peace and Tolerance, a local Serb NGO in Pristina. His or her name is withheld for obvious reasons.

by Jared Israel

Awhile back we interviewed Cedda Prlincevic, leader of the Jewish community in Pristina. Mr. Prlincevic had an apartment in a large housing development when the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and British NATO troops together marched into Pristina. In 'Driven from Kosovo,' at
Mr. Prlincevic describes how KLA gangsters rushed through the complex of buildings, threatening to kill anyone who did not move out. Within days most of the 30,000 residents had fled. This took place with full knowledge of KFOR (that is NATO) troops, including a British Major whom Mr. Prlincevic spoke to. NATO's complicity was apparent.

According to a report published later, called 'To Kosovo and Back,' at http://emperors-clothes.comArticles/zoran/&back.htm
many of these apartments were then sold or leased to UN personnel who liked the modern European features and could afford to pay high prices.

This was a profitable real estate opportunity for the KLA, the enterprising new ally of Germany and the U.S. The apartment buildings were already built so there were no construction costs; even the utilities were hooked up; the only thing needed was a dose of terror to remove the previous tenants (or homeowners.) Terror is the KLA's specialty, so no problem there.

But when you think of it, nothing, not even the best bargain, lasts forever. Soon the large buildings had been emptied of the old tenants and rented or sold to new ones. Real estate opportunities became scarce. On the other hand, scarcity raises value: 'available units' were worth even more and so you see the death of grandpa Metodije was business.

Nothing personal.

-- J.I.