By Ilir Ikonomi/
The Albanian American Civic League held a meeting yesterday to inform some members of Congress on the situation in Macedonia. The meeting took place while the attention of Congress has focused on the dangers posed by ISIS, the Islamic state and the situation in Ukraine.
Three influential members of the House of Representatives, Ed Royce, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Dana Rohrabacher, took part in the meeting organized by the Albanian American Civic League.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, a former chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, praised Macedonia for parliamentary elections held in April. She said that although Macedonia is one of the poorest countries of Eastern Europe, it is possible to achieve sustainable economic growth. Ms. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, also praised the fact that Macedonia has contributed troops to the international coalition in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past. But she said she would like to hear what they thought themselves Albanians in Macedonia:
“I expect to hear from you what we can do in Congress to promote democratic reforms to improve civil society and how can we add trade between our two countries.”
But Shirley Cloyes-DioGuardi Albanian American Civic League sees the issue differently. She says that now the attention of Congress has focused on the risk that represents ISIS, and this can cause problems in Macedonia set aside and further exacerbated. She said that the Ohrid Agreement signed in 2001 by the USA and NATO with leaders of Albanian and Macedonian parties not working.
“The problem is that materialized only very small part of the Ohrid Agreement. On the current situation is quite racist, respecting human rights and a flawed judicial system, to the detriment of the Albanian population,” said Ms. DioGuardi.
She singled out sentences given life imprisonment in July against Albanians accused of killing five Macedonian fishermen. This trial, she said, took place without presenting any evidence and served as the spark for the revolt of Albanians in Skopje.
Ms. DioGuardi said that the United States must show more attention:
“Macedonia is in line to join NATO and the EU., I do not see how this can occur without attention treatment that becomes non-Macedonians there. And the issue is that the elites in power are corrupt there,” said Ms. DioGuardi.
Albanian American Civic League, led by her husband, former Congressman Joe DioGuardi, is a lobbying organization that works on Albanian issues and seek to influence members of Congress.
Ramadan Hajdini Albanian state Wisconsin, spoke to the ethnic problems in Macedonia and took as an example where he said, an Albanian family of 16 members in the village Radishani, which, as he said, was constantly attacked by members of the Macedonian community.
“Their house was surrounded, thrown against them containing ethnic slurs, was breaking windows. They wanted to escape from that village. Do you belong here, he said, until finally, the German government stepped in, which was granted a visa and they left for Germany, “said Mr Hajdini.
Destan Ali, an Albanian from Iowa State, said that Albanians in Macedonia seek equality.
“What we are really asking equal rights. We do not require changing the boundaries. We have 300 thousand Albanian Orthodox Christians who are not allowed to speak Albanian. USA have diplomatic relations with Macedonia and they can do more, “said Mr Ali.
The meeting was joined by Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives. He drew attention to the Albanians have carefully radicalism.
“Another problem for Albanians is what is coming out of schools established by several well-known families like that of bin Laden in the Gulf states. These schools are producing a very radical interpretation (of Islam). They are trying to replace the local Muslim culture with a view that is foreign to the history. This is creating problems for some of my friends in the Albanian Muslim community. They have asked for our help to deal with this problem, “said Mr. Royce.
Agim Aliçkaj, activist from New York said that the assistance of the United States is important.
“We have problems with our leadership in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. They are all corrupt, losing influence, occupying a chair and make money. United States stand aside, as well as Europe. We want the United States to engage. Without the involvement of the United States in that part of the world nothing can be achieved, “said Mr Aliçkaj.
By Ilir Ikonomi/