by Ermira Babamusta, Ph.D., (International Woman of Courage & Distinguished Humanitarian)/
Learning from our history to build a better future/
[Photo: Zylije and Namon Kunoviku, innocent Kosova war victims]/
August 19, 2013 – World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to recognize those people around the world often in dangerous and difficult circumstances. This year I would like to pause and remember the tragic events in Kosova and the humanitarian catastrophe of ethnic Albanians killed, expelled and persecuted in their own land. The ethnic cleaning campaigns led by Slobodan Milosevic and the Yugoslav and Serb forces against Albanian civilians shall forever be recorded as dark years in the history of Albania and Kosova.
This August 19, 2013 as the world commemorates the fight against genocide, it is important to reflect on the historical aspects of genocide against ethnic Albanians.
I especially dedicate this day to the brave Kunoviku Family in Kosova, two war survivors and heroes Gëzim and Egzona. Despite the horrific events they endured during the war, they risked their own lives to save others during their humanitarian mission with the US Army in the Middle East. I light a candle for their wonderful parents, Zylije and Namon Kunoviku, innocent victims of the Kosovar war.
As I witnessed the injustice of the Kosovar refugees in 2007 and of the genocide survivors in 2012 I am reminded of their struggles to hang on and lead a normal daily life despite the horrible lived trauma. Today I think about those still missing and their families trying to find their loved ones and have no answers. I hope justice will soon be served!
As the future generation we have a great responsibility – the opportunity to learn the past, be united and encourage leaders to build a better future. It is essential to peace, diplomacy and prosperity to ground our efforts on the four pillars of democracy: justice, good governance, economic development and social welfare. A healthy democracy is for the people by the people!
I applaud America for leading the way in this effort of peace and democracy building. I had the chance to visit and meet with great leaders and US Congress members like Senator Harry Reid, Senator Tom Harkin, former US Secretary Colin Powel, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, etc, who share my commitment to peace, human rights and democracy. I applaud their brave actions and the extraordinary efforts of President Bill Clinton, former US Secretary Hillary Clinton, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Dr. Jill Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama for staying at the forefront of building and strengthening democracy in US and around the world and promoting human rights.
As J. F. Kennedy stated, “the world is very different now, for man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life.” This is the time to start the movement for global equality, promote human rights, improve governance and deliver justice around the world. I am proud that Albania and Kosovo are great successful models of such moral and democratic principles.