THE TIME HAS COME FOR A DIFFERENT PATH

Agim Aliçkaj

Prime Minister’s resignation, the culmination of the Serbian chauvinist fury and international injustice towards Kosova

 

By Agim Aliçkaj, MSc *

The news that Prime Minister Haradinaj was summoned to The Hague and had resigned from his post was disturbing, but not unexpected. For Prime Minister, Haradinaj, this may be a relief, from “a disloyal coalition harmful to Kosova” and a return to the deserved pantheon of nation’s patriots and heroes. For Kosova, a dangerous new height of the unleashed Serbian chauvinism and even worse, a new low in the international biased and unfair treatment of the Kosovar people. For the optimists, however, it is a new chance and hope for a great national revival.
The Hague’s tribunal’s decision to summon him for questioning, which was a dominant factor in his resignation, is received with a deep suspicion and does not bode well for its authority as an institution of justice. The timing is especially suspicious. Why summon him now? Where are the summons for the true war criminals, while Prime Minister Haradinaj, a freedom fighter, is called for a third time in a decade? There is a real risk for this tribunal to be perceived as driven by politics instead of pursuing justice.
For the last 20 years the international approach towards Kosova issue has been fundamentally wrong, pushing a process which equates the Serbian aggressor with the Albanian victim. This approach, supporting Kosova’s servile politicians, who – to borrow an American expression – are “politically correct”, pressuring Kosova to make painful compromises which benefitted Serbia, without anything substantial in return, is destined to fail.
It is so absurd and very hard to understand that Serbia, the aggressor that lost the war is allowed to play the “victim”, instead of facing punishment for well-documented monstrous crimes.
One should hope and believe that the time has come for a different path. The time has come for a big political clash, a great national revival for a new organized and peaceful resistance. A massive resistance with new elections and other political means against the international injustice and the corrupt and failed political class. The people of Kosova have nothing more to lose. No one can take their freedom away anymore and all the wars in Europe have ended.
Kosova is sacred to the Albanian nation and the last line of the national defense. It cannot and should not be divided. Any territorial exchange would be catastrophic and impossible to implement. Imposed solutions are a source for never ending conflict and should never be accepted by the people of Kosova.
One should remain hopeful that the political class (in government and opposition) will finally face the reality, understand and accept its failures and start changing its course. If not, then we should hope and believe in the ability of the long-suffering people of Kosova, as it has happened so many times throughout its difficult but glorious history, to produce new strong leaders, true patriots who love their nation more than themselves, with an unblemished past, uncorrupted, fearless, capable of inspiring and surrounding themselves with smart, knowledgeable people, experts in their fields, who would be working together towards a just and permanent solution which will benefit Kosova, Serbia and the whole Europe.
The official recognition of the Republic of Kosova, in its existing borders, by Serbia and all the member countries of the European Union followed by the membership in the United Nations should be a non-negotiable part of any stable and permanent solution. Only this, would create a possibility for substantial talks with Serbia on the relationship between the two countries and the legal protection of human and other rights of their respective minorities on both sides of the border. Without the recognition of the Republic of Kosova there is nothing to talk about. The time for pointless anti-Albanian talks has long passed.
The right is on our side. Europe and America should be presented with facts and arguments. The Serbian minority in Kosova enjoys all the rights and even privileges, more so than any other national minority in the world. There should be continues talks with them about their rights and their integration in the state of Kosova. On the other hand, Albanians living in their ancestry lands in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Greece face systematic discrimination, which can easily be documented. Their rights should also be discussed and protected.
The economic sanctions imposed by the government of Kosova were indispensable and appropriate response to the destructive policies of the chauvinist ruling elite in Serbia. Those who call for their suspension should use their brain and ask why America doesn’t suspend its sanctions against Iran or North Korea as a condition for talks. America knows too well that with terrorists, dictators, chauvinists, and communists only the language of force and true pressure will work. While the scale is different, it is easy to argue that there is no difference between Iran and Serbia, respectively.
Recent Serbian efforts to gain American support for their chauvinist and expansionist goals in the Balkans are destined to fail. Americans know very well that most of the Serbs are eternally pro-Russian and anti-American while Albanians truly love and respect America forever. It is impossible to reconcile that President Trump’s patriotic administration of “America First” will abandon strategic interests in Europe and immense investments in Kosova in particular, which would only benefit the Russian-Serbian hegemonic plans. In the final analysis, Albanians and Americans share the same values and strategic interests.
Nevertheless, we can’t expect America to do our job for us. The global engagement of this great country is a great burden and we should step up and work harder to make our case. Most importantly, we should act to fight corruption, build a stronger economy, and unite in a common platform for our main national interests. We should prove ourselves worthy of the American support. Some substantial changes have to happen in Kosova, Albania, and in all Albanian lands. The Albanian diaspora is anxiously waiting to see this meaningful change and it will always be there to support it. We have lobbied before and will lobby again for them in Washington DC, but not without conditions, this is not going to happen unless it will truly benefit our just national cause.
After two decades of losses and the failures, including the second fall of Haradinaj from his Premiership, it is time to have Albanian leaders at the helm who will put their country first. Our nation is proud of its traditional tolerance towards all nations, races, and faiths in the past, which makes us competent and confident in our fight for a better future for everyone.

* Agim Aliçkaj is a member of the Executive Board of the Albanian American Civic League and the Board of Directors of VATRA

 

The author with US Senator and Republican presidential candidate, Bob Dole.

Agim Aliçkaj with his wife Sadete, his daughter Diane and the late US Senator John McCain.

Leaders of AACL with then US Senator Joe Biden.

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