Who Desecrated Jewish Cemetery in Pristina?

Like the American Embassy in Pristina, the Israeli government ought to strongly condemn the fascist attack on the Jewish Cemetery in the Velania area of Pristina, and seek to be brought to justice the people who did that disgraceful act.

Having into account the historical retrospective of the Albanian and Jewish relations since the Second World War until now days those were very correct and friendly because Jewish people was protected from persecution, torture, extermination and execution by Hitler nazi-fascists and their Serbian chetnick collaborationists.

For that human and charitable deed, Jewish people were so grateful to Albanians almost a half century they have been living, working, cooperate and coexist together in good faith, peace, tolerance and very good life conditions so long as then Kosovo was under Serbia, respectively Yugoslavia’s colonial rule (1912-1999).

But this Albanian-Jewish so long fraternal friendship tradition, especially from the end of the Second World War (1940-2011), now, when Kosovo becomes independent and sovereign state (February 17, 2008) thanks to the United States and its traditional western European allies, somebody of Alabanians, Jews and American enemies is trying to harm and destroy their friendship and natural alliance.

First and foremost such attempt to target Alabanian-American-Jewish relationship is the fascist and vandal attack on the Jewish cemetery “Velania” in Pristina where vandals put graffiti and Nazi symbols on Jews graves. Against this unacceptable and barbarous fascist act on Jews graves, the first has reacted American Embassy in Pristina which through its official allegation, underlined : “The U.S. Embassy in Pristina strongly condemns the desecration of graves in the Jewish Cemetery in the Velania area of Pristina.”

The hateful act was an offense not only against the families of persons buried there and of the Jewish community in Kosovo and beyond, but also an offense against Kosovo’s multi-ethnic state and society. The act is one of contempt for the most basic norms of tolerance, coexistence, and respect, and cannot be tolerated. U.S. university students recently participated in a restoration project at the cemetery, and we also view the desecration of the graves as an attack on their acts of friendship and volunteerism. We call upon Kosovo authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident and to bring those responsible to justice.”

In this manner, and the United States Congressman Eliot Engel (co-president of Congress Group for Albanian Affairs) by rightly has reacted and condemns the desecrating Jewish cemeteries in “Velania” of Pristina, who in his statement calling the Kosovo Government authorities to punish immediately perpetrators of that act according to the most serious law.

Besides the above-mentioned reactions of the American Embassy in Pristina, and Congressman Eliot Engel, there were and ones of the Kosovo Presidency, Parliament and Government where their office-holder in set terms and promptly condemned the desecration of the Jews graves in the cemetery in “Velania” of Pristina. An all of them have promised that perpetrators will bring on face of justice.

The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga “calls on the security mechanisms to capture the perpetrators of this hideous act and bring them to justice. She pointed out that the damage to the Jewish cemetery is a complete act contrary to the traditions and values of the people of Kosovo, based on tolerance and respect for all people and all the monuments … . This act of destroying the Jewish cemetery, to which citizens and institutions have shown special care is inconsistent with the position of the Albanian people, who, even in the worst periods, has emerged to protect Jews.”

Whereas in the declaration of the Kosovo Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, said : “This attack is an attack against the wretched state of Kosovo and, above all, is an attack on traditional values of the people of Kosovo for tolerance, coexistence and respect, that we cultivated throughout our history. He said that these acts are an unacceptable low for the Government and all institutions of Kosovo and will not be tolerated in any way. I call upon the competent authorities to take all measures that the perpetrators of this act be brought to justice and receive the punishment they deserved,” said Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.
The mentioned attack, the secretary of the Association of Kosovo-Israel Friendship, Lek Rezniqi, “has called unacceptable.”

It’s important to repeat the truth that “During the Second World War, many Albanians in Kosovo and Albania have sheltered and protected Jews. Among them is the Kosovo Rezniqi family, whose members live in Pristina today. This family is known for the role it played in the protection of Jews by the Nazi regime and this has received recognition from the Israeli state.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Friendship Kosovo-Israel, vows to get news of damage to the Jewish cemetery in Pristina, the delegation of the Association has visited them immediately. “We look closely vandalism damages that were done, the sign was painted Nazi swastika and writing ‘Jud RAUS’,” said the announcement of this association.

This written sign isn’t only vandalism, but quite fascist act toward Jews both in Kosovo and around the world. Therefore all of Albanians have strongly and by all means to condemn it because of the fact that hitlerian nazi-fascism is the cholera for the whole of humankind, not only for Jews.

Like the Kosovo president, Atifete Jahjaga and Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, also, and the head of the Kosovo Islamic Community, Mufti Naim Ternava, on behalf of the Islamic Community, and in the name of Islamic believers, has strongly condemned attacks and desecration of Jewish cemetery in Pristina. And, he reminded us that “It is widely known that the Jews during World War II and the Nazi persecution, found protection, support and refuge among the Albanians. Our ancestors did this act as human beings, even risking their own lives. Our people are also maintained and treated with dignity among these graves decades as evidence of a historical reality and the one among the dark period of humanity,” reads the official statement of Mufti of the Kosovo Community, Naim Ternava.

Not only according to Albanian tradition, but to “Islamic teachings, to attack the place of the dead, is hated work,” citing the Messenger Muhammad who said: “Whoever violates the grave, breaches in fire,” says Ternava.

This is and one more valid argument based to Islamic religious principles that seek urgently to be punished the fascist act of desecrating the Jewish cemetery in Pristina. This is, really a reasonable reaction that “Kosovo’s Mufti Ternava requires from Kosovo’s official authorities that as soon as possible to find the perpetrators of this brutal act and they be brought to justice.”

This is a fascist act of desecrating the Jewish cemetery in Pristina, December, 2011.

Mehdi Hyseni is an Albanian Ph.D. in International Political Relations, residing in Boston.