Sanja Zlatanović’s respondent from Gornji Livoč, born in 1935 in Cernica, said that after the war, Albanians demolished the newly built but still unfinished small church next to the cemetery. During the war, Serbian forces demolished the village mosque. The story of wartime destruction sharply deviates from the history of these two places of worship. Namely, the construction of this church was funded by the villagers, among them several Albanians. The respondent uses the term “worship” to explain the respect that older Albanians show for religious objects, regardless of their religious origin. In the same way, when she was a child, local Serbs helped build a mosque by making donations. Zlatanović notes that her respondents, older Serbs from the rural regions of Kosovsko Pomoravlje, use the term “Shqiptar” as a straightforward ethnonym without the derogatory connotation that this word has in the public discourse in Serbia. Younger respondents are using the term “Albanian” instead.
A: They started rioting and there was suddenly a crash, the church was torn down. There was nothing, just a few icons and the little that was built…
Q: Was it a small church?
R: It was small.
Q: Who built it the church?
A: The village, everyone.
Q: You gave the money or were the builders your people?
R: The builders were our people. We only gave money for the cross, things like that, and for the material, we raised the money for everything. The village raised it. And some Shqiptars also gave money.
Q: They donated?
R: Shqiptars gave some money. We want to help, since the church ‘a place of worship’, they said.
Q: Do they believe in that?
R: They do. It was the same with their mosque. Even our people gave donations when they built the mosque. I remember, I was a little girl in Cernica when they built the mosque. The whole village! They brought builders from Macedonia. The whole village donated. Both Shqiptars and Serbs. We all gave. They had to load the gifts into a carriage. But, our people also set it on fire when the Shqiptars fled. The Serbs set it on fire in Cernica.
Q: The mosque?
R: The mosque. They burned down the mosque. Well now, five years ago, they didn’t want to build it, but now they built another mosque. Not at the same spot, they moved it to another spot. And the old one still stands there, but only the spike remained, nothing else.
Source: Sanja Zlatanović, Etnička identifikacija na posleratnom području: srpska zajednica jugoistočnog Kosova, Etnografski institut SANU, Beograd, 2018, p. 316-7.