Kosovo, Serbs, Yugoslavia

Nightmare by Design: NATO’s Takeover of the Kosovo Town of Orahovac

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Introduction

Below are TENC’s October 1999 interviews with three Serbian women from the Kosovo town of Orahovac. They recount how, prior to the June 1999 NATO-UN takeover of Kosovo, they believed NATO’s promise that it would institute multi-ethnic harmony. They discovered too late that for NATO multi-ethnic meant rule by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

In September, TENC had published its first interview with an eye-witness to the NATO-UN Kosovo takeover: Cedomir Prlincevic, President of the Jewish community and Chief Archivist in Pristina, capital of Kosovo.

Mr. Prlincevic described how he and the rest of the small Jewish  community were driven from their homes, losing everything; how the KLA terrorists stormed through the immense housing complex where his family lived, while British NATO officers and troops just stood by, watching. [1]

In late October 1999, Mr. Prlincevic and I addressed a mass meeting in Amsterdam. There I described what three members of the Women’s Humanitarian Committee on Orahovac had told me in phone interviews, that NATO had turned their Kosovo town, Orahovac, into a brutal prison camp for Serbs and Roma (‘Gypsies’), with the KLA as prison guards.

To neutralize the effect of this public meeting, which included members of Parliament, Colonel Tony van Loon, then commander of Dutch NATO troops in Orahovac, gave an interview to Trouw, a leading daily. He dismissed our accusations, claiming that NATO had done wonders in Orahovac, so that now, “People want to go on [with normal life], a fact I have found very positive.” [2]

We sent the Trouw article to the women from Orahovac and published their replies to some of Van Loon’s statements. [2]  (Trouw then interviewed the Orahovac women as well. That, unfortunately,   has not yet been translated into English.)

Below are the original Orahovac interviews.  I have added some comments Emperor’s Clothes received from a Serbian diplomat who, in the summer of 1999, traveled to Orahovac in the employ of a European diplomatic service. He uses the pseudonym, ‘Zoran.’

To this day, while the Western media has written about the epidemic of gangsterism in post-1999 Kosovo, there has been little or no discussion of the day-to-day reign of terror against the remaining Serbs, many of whom are incarcerated in towns like Orahovac.

— Jared Israel
16 July 2006

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The Women of Orahovac

Interviewer: Jared Israel
Translator: Peter Makara

Interview #1 – Natasha Grkovic

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The first woman we interviewed was Natasha Grkovic, age 27. An Orahovac native, she studied in Belgrade until December 1998, then returned home. She was there in June 1999 when the Yugoslav Army retreated under the terms of the “peace” agreement and KFOR occupation forces arrived. (KFOR is NATO in Kosovo.)

She told us that most Serbian residents (about 3000) stayed when NATO marched in, believing there had to be some truth to NATO propaganda, hoping for the best…

* Natasha *

“Maybe a thousand or more Serbs left. Orahovac is unique in that so many did stay. That’s because we believed KFOR’s guarantees that we would be safe. When it became clear that things weren’t going to be that way, people wanted to leave but they were not allowed. In addition to the Serbs, 500 to 1000 Roma, or ‘Gypsies’, also stayed.”

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Why Serbs stayed in Orahovac

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* Natasha *

“From April on our telephone connections as well as Serbian radio and TV were cut off thanks to NATO bombing. We had little information about what was happening in the rest of the country. We heard that after the June Peace Agreement was signed there was a massive exodus of Serbs from [the Kosovo city of] Prizen and elsewhere but we couldn’t verify it so we wondered if it was true. Meanwhile, we were constantly being told by the Western media that our security would be guaranteed – for instance, by Voice of America, which