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Waiting for Godot, by Saša Čolić

“Searching for Serbia’s roots in the spiritual life of Velika Hoca”

The idea of isolated Serbian enclaves in Kosovo evokes images of broken phone connections, power shortages and constant tension that complicate the lives of local residents. But the sum of these words hides another more subtle existence: a no less important struggle to preserve cultural identity.Villages with hardly 700 inhabitants today are unique in many ways. They remain very proud and still unconsciously determine the fate of Serbia’s connection with their roots. The fact is that there are many important Orthodox Christian medieval churches in these lands. They lie upon a holy land called “Metohija’’ which belonged to church even before The Ottoman Empire. Those villages in Albanian area, like Velika Hoca, are very much cut off from other Serbian areas and need to be defended. 
Large-scale emigration of ethnic Serbs, especially since the conflict in 1999 and 2004 leaves them as the only major ethnic group in Kosovo that is naturally disappearing. My mother was born in Metohija and I have instantly felt deep emotional connection with my roots and childhood here. I need to explore how life exists here today, for myself and for my nation.
The Serbian government has high hopes for the returnees to the holy Serbian land and preservation of cultural monuments, but this is hampered by their disputed jurisdiction since Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008. I believe it is just a marketing gimmick by Serbian establishment to manipulate the electorate and gain time until the next election. The Serbs who remain in Kosovo are dependent on donations from non-governmental organizations from Serbia and the other from the Kosovo institutions, but some of them feel mistreated by those institutions. This creates a paradox and leaves Serbs almost crucified in real time where their future life becomes uncertain. What they have left is days full of wandering and waiting for something to happen. Perhaps they are waiting for the Godot who may never come. Serbs need to reconnect with those villages soon, in order to preserve their own heritage.