By JUSUF BUXHOVI/
Jusuf Buxhovi* was the honor guest at the event organized by The Pan-Albanian Federation of America VATRA, celebrating the Sixth Anniversary of the Independence of Kosova that took place in New York on February 16, 2014. In his keynote speech, Buxhovi acknowledged with gratitude the role of the Albanian Diaspora and everyone else who helped Kosova in her struggle for freedom and, especially the United States of America for leading the NATO Coalition in saving her population from genocide and ethnic cleansing and, ultimately, leading to independence. After he mentioned the commitment of Albanians to the principles of the Western Civilization where they belong, Mr. Buxhovi appealed for help from United States, to safeguard the process of building a stable and successful Independent and sovereign state, a process that is at risk of being irreparably compromised by the negotiations with Serbia, mediated by the European Union. We bring here the speech translated in English:
America, Kosova Needs You Once More!
“America must put a stop to Europe’s degrading of Kosova’s state sovereignty.”
To take part in an event hosted by Vatra is a great honor; being invited as a special guest to an event such as the sixth anniversary of Kosova’s declaration of independence is nothing short of a privilege.
On an occasion where an important message must be conveyed, the role of an invited guest is a great responsibility. We owe a great debt of gratitude to everyone that supported the liberation of Kosova, in which the Albanian-American community played a pivotal role. This support underscores another critical undertaking in the development of Kosova, which stretches from independence to the present. The end state should amount to full independence in accordance with the ideals of the founders that shed blood and sweat to make history.
From this point of view, we can say that the country of Kosova finds itself at a crossroads: will it fulfill the promises of its founders by becoming fully independent and setting its trajectory towards the West, or will it instead slip into an international project on the advancement of citizens in the name of European integration with an uncertain and unclear future?
It is well known that Kosova’s liberation from Belgrade would not have materialized without the help of the international community—in particular, the United States, which promoted the end to the oppressive Serbian rule. Now, Kosova’s independence is in jeopardy. The political and state sovereignty that Kosova achieved is at risk of being downgraded or even lost. The process to full independence should, without exception, include all its citizens in accordance with basic civil rights standards. However, if Serbia’s political role in these matters is in some way linked to the establishment of Serb minority rights, then it could lead to an internally divided Kosova with greater divisions destabilizing the entire region and beyond. Belgrade’s ambitions are obvious as they seek to use those issues to fracture Kosova for Serbia’s own good.
In considering the strategic planning and nature of the talks thus far headed by EU representative Ms. Catherine Ashton between Prishtina and Belgrade, the impression is that the purpose of the talks is less about reaching a solution to Kosova’s internal issues (to include minority integration—a condition for normalizing relations with Serbia) and more about creating a partnership between the European Union and Serbia. These theatrical talks with Kosova show a supposed Serbian willingness to normalize relations with the young nation, but serve only as a tool of appeasement in satisfying the preconditions outlined for Serbia’s accession to the EU.
As a result, Kosova may be internally divided. The EU-sponsored talks have generated fear and anxiety, and there is an alarming need to raise awareness about the issue and take action to protect Kosova. There is concern that the current political class engaged in the talks lacks intellectual credibility, is involved in various forms of corruption, and among its worst abuses, is the pretense of protecting rights for whomever, whenever, with solutions that denigrate Kosova’s interests and statehood. Functioning as a state without a sense of purpose would not be possible.
These concerns cannot be viewed separately from student protests and other movements currently unfolding. As protests and discontent increase, authoritative and dedicated intellectuals cannot remain silent on the sidelines while irresponsible politicians and European politics jeopardize Kosova’s sovereignty. Those who can must strengthen Kosova as an independent and democratic state. The responsible intellectual class cannot accept the rhetoric of integration and the future of a unified Europe while in reality Kosova is being politically, economically, and socially degraded. For the sake of a European future, the country is being transformed into a European ghetto all by way of Belgrade’s political “will.” Kosova’s Albanians cannot allow their long war for freedom and independence to be traded in a bazaar between European politicians and Belgrade.
Of course, these expressions of frustration and dissatisfaction may develop into an open revolt, which only the United States could address. The United States was not only inspirational in the late 1980s when our national movement began under the leadership of the Democratic League of Kosova with the slogan “freedom, democracy, and equality”; Washington is also committed to safeguarding the historic process of tearing away from Serbian rule and the fallen communist ideology. The United States was willing to even guarantee its success if Albanians would commit to the principles of Western Civilization.
As it were, the United States kept its promise. In order to free Kosova from Serbia, the United States employed diplomacy, which at times seemed to be giving Belgrade slack, along with an ultimatum that developed into the March–June air campaign of 1999. The United States, yet again, was responsible for putting an end to the international protectorate status, setting Kosova on course for independence, which would be declared on February 17, 2008.
Now more than ever, on the sixth anniversary of independence, Kosova needs its greatest ally to directly intervene to put an end to the systematic degradation of its state sovereignty. The degradation began under the pressure of European nations, which in the name of European principles for the protection of minority rights in Kosova, continues to insert Serbia’s interests. This destructive trend has the potential to create political crises, which could lead to a divided Kosova along Serb designs. This situation would not be in agreement with the so-called European integration policy; conversely, it would make Serbia the regional power-player, forgetting that yesterday it was the instigator of wars and genocide.
Degrading Kosova’s state sovereignty for Serbia’s benefit cannot possibly be in the interest of the United States, which has invested so much for Kosova’s freedom and independence. The time has come for the US to intervene so that the tragedies of history, for which Albanians have paid the highest price, do not happen again.
*Jusuf Buxhovi (1946) is an award-winning author, journalist, intellectual, and political activist from Kosovo. He began his career as a reporter for the nation’s leading daily, Rilindja, shortly after serving as an editor for the culture and foreign affairs sections. In 1976, he moved to Bonn, the former capital of Germany, to serve as Rilindja’s permanent correspondent for the next twenty-four years. In the late 1980s, at a critical time for Kosovo, Buxhovi cofounded the Democratic League of Kosova, the first opposition party that for almost a decade led the Kosovar people in a peaceful resistance against the Serbian occupation.
Buxhovi has written scores of fiction and non-fiction titles, including prizewinning novels, a novella, short stories, dramas, literary critique, political commentaries, and history books. Some of his Albanian-language works have been translated into English, French, Serbo-Croatian, and Slovenian.
The Kosova Series
Kosova 1: Dardania in Ancient and Medieval Times
Kosova 2: The Ottoman Empire
Kosova 3: From Occupation to International Protectorate
Published in three volumes, the Kosova series is the first attempt by an Albanian author to make a comprehensive history presentation on the small European country. Providing an analysis of the past, from ancient to modern times, Jusuf Buxhovi distinguishes Kosovo as a continuation of the old kingdom of Dardania—a land inhabited by Albanians throughout history. An author awarded for many historical works, he is unaffected by the biased mantra sponsored by previous authoritarian regimes. Buxhovi describes and analyses the past with fairness and balance, considering different points of views and accepting the well-founded arguments of domestic and foreign scholars. Ultimately, relying on this approach, Buxhovi views Kosovo or Dardania as an integral part of the Albanian ethnic territory and as a cradle of progressive developments and birthplace of prominent individuals who contributed to their nation as well as the Western civilization as a whole.
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