Interviewed by ANTHI VOULGARI
What is the meaning of the “Great Albania” for you?
VELIU: The truth is that Albanians have never had a “Greater Albania” plan. On the other hand, Greece had a plan for Great Greece “The Megali idea”, which was and still is an irredentist concept of Greek nationalism and expansionism thru which Greece committed many atrocities and genocide against the Albanians in Chameria. The term “Greater Albania” is used by the occupying invaders of Albanian territories, to present the Albanians as a nation with territorial claims against their neighbors, even though the Albanians are the only nation to have never in their history, waged invasive wars, but on the contrary, have historically waged wars only for liberation and self-defense.
Neighboring states (occupiers of Albanian territories) all too often tend to try and equate the term United Albania with the term “Greater Albania” which does not contain or imply the same meaning.
The term United Albania means nothing more and nothing less than the territories historically populated by the autochthonous Albanians. United Albania means the Albanian territories proclaimed independent by the legal act of the 28th of November 1912; (Administrative Albania, Kosova, Ilirida under FYROM, the Great Highlands under Montenegro, Eastern Kosova under Serbia, and Chameria under Greece).
The term “Greater Albania”, was invented in greater Greco-Serbo-Slavic galleys, suggests a territorial expansion of Albania against neighboring countries and their unjustly occupied territories. The anti-Albanian term “Greater Albania” suggests a territory five-times greater than the actual territories inhabited by Albanians, from the Danube River to the Peloponnese and Aegean. This “academic” term fabricated by anti-Albanian circles was invented to create obstacles for the Albanians in achieving national unification, – that is United Albania. “Greater Albania” is a fairytale term of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences based in Belgrade, and its branches the Macedonian Academy of Arts and Sciences (in Shkupi), the Montenegrin Academy of Arts and Sciences (in Podgorica) etc.
A free and united Albania does not have territorial claims on neighboring states, therefore it can never be called “Greater Albania”.
Is it true that some days ago you destroyed the Greek flag?
VELIU: On December 4th of 2016, The Movement for United Albania removed the Greek flag from the entrance of the old Albanian castle of Himara, which was raised 24 hours before in order to provoke the Albanians. The fact that the Greek flag was raised on the Old Castle of Himara made headlines in many Albanian media, therefore LSHB responded with democratic means by removing it.
The Government of Greece continues to meddle in Albania’s internal affairs by raising expansionist claims against Albania’s sovereign territories in its political arenas and its educational system funded partly by European taxpayers’ money. The repeated claims for the territorial and maritime annexation of the southern part of the Republic of Albania and the threats of war towards the Republic of Albania, have been publicly made by Greek state officials. The most recent case, is that of the Greek Defense Minister Pano Kammenos, who on December 2nd of 2016 publicly threatened Albania with war, is yet another threat coming from the south, as well as the chauvinistic call by the Greek parliamentary party LAOS which officially demanded that southern Albania be annexed to Greece. Let’s not forget the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Greece are legally in a state of war which was proclaimed by Greece in 1940 according to Law 2636/1940. After a decree was issued in 1987 to abolish this law, the Greek Parliament did not ratify it.
Do you believe that Greek people must leave from their homes?
VELIU: Himara has an ancient Albanian culture and an Albanian autochthonous population. Himara, as well as all Albanians are known for its unique hospitality and we welcome people from all over the world. The small Greek minority in the Republic of Albania enjoys all the rights and freedoms according to International Law. According to the 2011 Census results, the total population of Albania is 2,821,977. The official statistics suggest that the Republic of Albania is one of the most homogenous countries in the region, with an over 97 per cent Albanian majority. The Greek minority in the Republic of Albania, according to the 2011 Census Results is only 24,243.
The so-called problem of Greek minority is nothing more than propaganda fueled by the Greek state, which continues to pay special ‘pensions’ of over 300 Euros monthly to thousands of ethnic Albanian citizens on the condition they falsely declare themselves as ethnic Greeks, lets not forget, that this is all being paid by the loaned funds of European taxpayers.
During my many visits in Chameria, I had never seen a street sign in Albanian, an Albanian flag on a public or private area. I certainly met many Albanians in Chameria, but they were afraid to even speak their own language. Everywhere, I travelled there people were afraid to take pictures and continuously hide their identity. During my visit to Arta, Preveza, Janina, Parga, Gumenicë and other Albanian cities and villages under Greek occupation, I felt like I went back in time, before the war of Kosova under the Serbian occupation and terror.
Is it it true that you are not permitted to visit Greece?
VELIU: On August 13th of 2016, the Movement for United Albania had planned a promotional event in Janina, during which we planned to have a promotion of my book “The Platform for United Albania”, this was all in light of the regional presentation tours and book promotions that the Movement for United Albania had planned, after its official founding meeting that took place in Prishtina on July 16th of 2016, where I also had the first book promotion.
On August 13th of 2016 I was arrested by the Greek illegitimate authorities at the border crossing of Kakavija and after a police interrogation and illegal detainment I was declared a persona non grata, as I was supposedly considered a threat to the national security of Greece, but the truth is that this was a political prosecution, considering that previously, I had visited many parts of Chameria on many occasions and had never had an issue entering the illegitimate border between Albania and Greece. After I was elected the President of the Movement for United Albania, which aims the physical unification of all Albanian territories into a single united Albanian state, automatically, all the sudden I was label a security threat to Greece and my name apparently was entered in the National Greek Registry.
As you know in Greece there are many Albanians. Don’t you believe that Greece and Albania can collaborate at several fields?
VELIU: Greece and Albania can certainly collaborate at several fields, but absolutely not at the continued expense of our national integrity, sovereignty and infringement of the fundamental rights of the Albanians in Greece. Among other issues, the most important outstanding issue between the two countries must be dealt with, and that is the issue of Chameria, which has to be urgently dealt with in order to avoid further straining relations between Albania and Greece. Chameria should be treated with a special status, neutral towards Greece and international protectorate (3 to 5 years maximum), through which will be guaranteed all the inalienable rights of autochthonous Albanians, such as the return of the Albanian population in Chameria, the recognition of dual citizenship, the return of property, compensation for the use of property, recognition of the genocide against the Chams, the organization of power and administration in Albanian, as an official language in the whole territory of Chameria, opening and financing of education in the Albanian language on all levels and the preparation for the final status, based on the principles of the right to self-determination and decolonization.
Actually where are the Albanian borders for you? I mean, according to the idea of “Great Albania”?
VELIU: The borders of United Albania begin at the Three Black Rocks (Tre Gurët e Zinj) in Preveza, ascend north to the Red Apple (Molla e Kuqe) near Nish in Toplica, and end at the Red Rock (Guri i Kuq) of Malësia e Madhe in the northwest. This Albania, with these territories and with these national borders, was proclaimed an independent and sovereign state by the Nationwide Assembly, with Ismail Qemali at the head, on the 28th of November 1912 in Vlorë. United Albania has a land surface of approximately 88.000 km2.
Today, United Albania is divided into six “modern” states, four of which to this day still systematically use repressive means and methods to deny the autochthonous Albanians the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by International Law:
1. The Republic of Albania (Central Albania) – 28.748 km2
2. The Republic of Kosova (Northern Albania) – 10.908 km2
3. Eastern Albania under the FYROM – 15.039 km2
4. Northeastern Albania under Serbia – 6.645 km2
5. Northwestern Albania under both Montenegro and Serbia – 10.986 km2
6. Southern Albania under Greece – 15.674 km2
Do you dream of Albania in the European Union?
VELIU: The Movement for United Albania envisions Albanians within the framework of their integration along with the free peoples of Europe: a United Albania in a United Europe. The Movement for United Albania strongly rejects the idea of unification (integration) of the Albanians in the European Union, before the formation of the national state of Albanians – United Albania. The integration of Albanians, divided as we are today, presents a risk to the European Union, whereas the integration of Albanians united in one state – United Albania contributes to long-term regional peace and stability and gives meaning to European integration. The idea of integration in the European Union is another attempt to seals the errors of 1913 and upholds them as official.
What’s your opinion about the relations of Greek and Albanian people?
VELIU: In order for Albania to have normal relations with the Greek people and the Greek State, all the fundamental rights and obligations from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be fully implemented and guaranteed by Greece for the autochthonous Albanians in Greece. Greece is the only country in the world no to recognize ethnic minorities within its borders, and therefor systematically infringes their fundamental human rights. Greece has to stop the state policy of forcing its own citizens and newcomers to change their identity in order to attain Greek citizenship, as well as stop the state policy of assimilation against the Albanian Arvanites and Albanian immigrants. They, like everyone else deserve all the rights and freedoms according to International Law. It is absolutely crazy, that in 2017 in Greece one must change their birth name, religion and full identity to fully be Hellenized in order to attain the human rights. Sadly, this is Greece, a NATO and a European Union member state.
What’s your opinion about the seven Greek army recruits of Albanian origin, who posed making the figure of the eagle with their hands, which symbolizes the Albanian flag and then posted the picture in social media?
VELIU: In regards to this matter, the Movement for United Albania today made a Political Declaration in which among other, we stated that the so called “incident” of the seven Greek army recruits of Albanian origin who posed making the figure of the Albanian eagle with their hands is just a pretense to the actual issue of the century old Greek state organized terror and genocide against the autochthonous Albanians. It is unacceptable that in 2017 the Greek state, a European member state, a NATO member state openly violates fundamental human rights that belong to all human beings, as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948 in Paris. The Movement for United Albania calls upon the International Community and the Republic of Albania to further put pressure on the Greek government to adhere to its international obligations.
It is absolutely crazy, that in 2017, Greece is still stuck in medieval area, yet it deceitfully advertises itself as being the cradle of democracy.
What’s your opinion about the recent declaration by the Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos that “Whoever does not feel Greek, they should return to their home country”?
VELIU: The recent declaration by the Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, that “Whoever does not feel Greek, they should return to their home country” is a perfect example of the unjust treatment of Albanians in Greece and systematic state organized terror and assimilation forced upon them. The declaration of Kammenos, is inline with the infamous Greek General Napoleon Zervas who committed war crimes and genocide in Chameria. Zerva wrote with his bloodied hand, in a letter sent in 1953 to his former collaborator, Jani Dani: “We should feel proud that we cleaned Chameria by killing and evicting the Cham Albanians, who for over 500 years stood on the neck of Hellenism and enabled our mountaineers to settle down and live in the fertile fields.”