By Rafaela Prifti/ Dielli*/
(Foto: Halil Mula/*
February 27, 2018- US political representatives were joined by high-level government officials of Albania and Kosova and a number of community organizations in marking the first decade of Kosova’s independence. New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson addressed the participants who were gathered at the Council Chambers decked with the colorful flags of New York, United States, Albania and Kosova. The Color Guard by the NYPD Illyrian Society of Law Enforcement set the ceremonial tone of the event. In attendance, there were a few Vatra members: Marjan Cubi, Mehill Gjuraj, Pashke Maksuti. The Invocation was performed by Father Peter Popaj. The main remarks delivered by Council Member Mark Gjonaj drew attention to the sacrifices of the Albanian-Americans to see Kosova free. During the war of 1999-2000, among the freedom fighters, there were three New Yorkers, known as the Bytyçi brothers who were honored at the celebration. Receiving the Proclamation on behalf of the late brothers were their parents and sibling Ilir Bytyçi, who stated that “whilst his brothers fought for this day to come, justice is not yet done”. In her remarks, Ambassador Teuta Sahatqija, the Consulate General of the Republic of Kosova, expressed optimism for Kosova’s future goals towards joining the UN and EU countries. The second Proclamation by the city was awarded to long time professional photographer and philanthropist Fadil Berisha for his contribution in advancing the Albanian culture and art.
After the presentations, Imam Edin Gjoni conducted the Benediction. Speaking as the event’s honoree, Congressman Eliot Engel assured the audience that the ties between the US and Kosova are long-lasting. The program ended with the performance of the Rozafati Dance Group dressed in vibrant traditional costumes.
For the full-length coverage of the event please read the Dielli issue of MARCH 2018.
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