Regarding an article which appeared in the 11/16/2009 issue of the Los Angeles Times (here) William Dorich offers this Letter to the Editor:
Letter to the Editor
The Los Angeles Times
Re: Serbia’s Orthodox Leader
Published on numerous Serbian websites
The Los Angeles Times demonized Serbian Patriarch Pavle, spiritual leader of the Balkans admired by more than 10 million Serbian Orthodox Christians. I never dreamed the Times would stoop to such appalling bad taste. Reducing the Patriarch to a political opportunist is beyond the pale. Did Carol Williams pen this disgusting obituary; it reeks of her brand of Serbophobia?
The Patriarch was the Bishop of Kosovo for two decades. In 1989, a gang of Albanian teenagers led animals into the bishop’s church to defecate on the alter. They scribbled filthy Albanian words over the 13th century frescoes then proceeded to nearly beat the bishop to death. He was 75 years-old and remained in intensive care for 3 months nearly dying of his wounds. Shockingly you omitted this Albanian violence from this obituary but utilized the space to call this holy man a Serbian “nationalist.” Have you no shame?
When Communist dictator Tito granted Albanian “autonomy” in 1978, three Serbian churches and a monastery went up in smoke. Over 140,000 Serbs were forced to leave Kosovo. Albanian authorities removed all Serbian books from schools and libraries and burned over 2 million volumes including numerous priceless 12th and 13th century manuscripts.
In 2004 during 4 days of Albanian violence, 32 Serbian Christian churches were razed along with the burning of 500 Serbian homes, right under the noses of 17,000 NATO troops, yet you place the blame for “ethnic wars” at the feet of this Patriarch. More than 90% of the Serbs in Kosovo have been ethnically cleansed. Your newspaper continues to omit the fact that 40% of the Albanians in Kosovo are illegal aliens who cross the border from Albania into Kosovo as easily as Mexicans who cross our border each night in San Diego.
Claiming that the Patriarch “struggled to rally international support for protection of ancient Serbian churches and monasteries that came under attacks” and then failing to inform your readers that Albanians destroy 151 ancient Serbian Christian churches reveals your immoral racism. Carol Williams has been a one-woman hate fest. Her disgusting duplicity is now crowned by this appalling obituary of the highest spiritual leader of the Serbian people… Is your editorial department proud of such unbridled bigotry?
Your obituary ignores more than one million Orthodox Christians in Los Angeles including 150,000 Serbs in Southern California. What a repugnant misuse of freedom of the press. The freedom you denied the Serbian people for the entire decade of the 1990s when the Los Angeles Times, like the New York Times, refused to publish one single article written by a Serbian journalist, author, scholar or political leader during these dismemberment Civil Wars in the Balkans. You were expert at muzzling tactics. Now blasphemy is part of your hate crimes.
When Patriarch Pavle visited Los Angeles in 1992, the first visit of a Serbian Orthodox Patriarch to this country and this city you gave him 62 words on page 11. Your staff ignored every invitation to interview this spiritual leader and to attend our Sunday High Liturgy at St. Steven Serbian Cathedral in Alhambra. You preferred to punish the Serbs in this community with collective guilt. This obituary is a disgraceful display of your continued demonization. When will your editorial hatred be enough?
Los Angeles, CA
The writer is the author of 5 books on Balkan history and music including his 1992 book, Kosovo. He received the Order of St. Sava, the highest recognition given to a layperson by the Holy Synod of Serbian Orthodox Bishops.