The speech of the Acting President Vjosa Osmani at the Albanian Parliament
Honourable President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Meta!
Honourable Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Ruçi!
Honourable members of the government cabinet, members of this assembly, media representatives;
Most esteemed citizens of the Republic of Albania!
I am very happy that today I have been given the opportunity to, from the rostrum of the Assembly of the Republic of Albania, address the elected representatives, and through them, my fellow compatriots all over the world!
It is a special pleasure that, as a representative of the people of Kosovo, I can do this from within the state of the Albanians, of this ancient nation, which has given so much to the culture and western civilization.
It is therefore a great honour for me to address you and speak to you as if a person was speaking to his family, with whom he has shared so much history, persistence, pain and endless longing, but to whom he has given and received so much love.
Albania is not only the homeland of our brothers and sisters, but is also our common dream. It is our historical memory, the hearth we dreamed of living in, which unfortunately many of us first encountered only in the cold frost of war. And yet it became our hearth, the home of the Albanian noble hearts, who kept us alive as well as the also the joint hope for freedom. We are eternally grateful to you!
Today, when I stand in front of you, the Albanian cultural space is functioning, the spiritual ties, due to the ethnic roots, are deepening and our communication is bringing us closer to each other. Albania and Kosovo, one a child of the early twentieth century and the other of the early twenty-first century, both a result of strong alliances with Western civilization, have become a factor of stability and peace. They are walking side by side and giving and taking with each other in the process of European integration, recognizing and respecting each other.
But today, when I am before you, we must remember our common past, the toil and the sacrifice of generations undertaken for this day. We must remember that we are here because of the sacrifice of an entire people, the commitment to freedom, the shed blood of over 13,000 killed individuals, most of them women, elderly and children, of whom over 1,600 are still missing, and of over 1,133 children, many of them babies of few weeks or a few months old, whose names lie in the foundations of our independence. Therefore, today and here, as always, I will speak with this voice and I will strongly ask that very loudly that the painful history of Kosovo, as is our entire national history, be remembered and recalled. Because by remembering it, we recognize its value and become wiser in our decisions.
Dear Members of the Assembly!
Kosovo's independence has sealed the fate and the freedom of the people of the Balkans. We understand what it means to grow up under an oppressive regime, in which ethnic roots are reason enough to be oppressed and killed; we have experienced this and can testify to it. We have history on our side.
We made this journey together with our many friends, to whom we will be eternally grateful. They not only sided with the people of Kosovo in the pursuit of freedom and independence, but also sided with us in building the state of Kosovo from the very first day of liberation.
As Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, as the first woman in this position, and as Acting President of the Republic, I want to especially call upon the youth of both our countries, and particularly the girls and women of this country to pursue their goals and to believe that dreams can be realized: not to give in to any challenge and to insist on their values. One day they will be where they want and where they deserve, at the pinnacles of their professions, of the politics and businesses. Because like any other country, Kosovo and Albania will succeed only when they use the potential of 50% of their population, which consists of women. The youth of Kosovo and Albania are our most precious capital. They are our ambassadors to the world, of whom we are becoming more and more proud. Therefore it is our duty to do everything we do today in such a way as to guarantee them a better present and a more promising future.
For this reason I invite the political representatives, those who are in this room today, as well as those who are outside, to nurture this hope. As those chosen by the people, they must take care that their will is realized, that Albania is a country of its citizens, that differences in political, cultural or religious terms are the impetus for national cohesion, that diversity of thought is the essence of behaviour for common values, so that different attitudes, even in this assembly, promote the further nurturing of the spirit of democracy. It is essential that our institutions and policy makers study and appreciate the message sent to them by citizens and be responsive to the thoughts and desires of our people.
Honourable deputies, dear citizens of our Albania!
Today the dialogue with Serbia is still unfinished and we are determined to dialogue only for mutual recognition, respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state, recognizing and accepting the inviolability of the territory, constitutional regulation and the level of political organization. Kosovo cannot reward Serbia with its territory or other concessions, for the genocidal policy that Serbia had towards us. Serbia must repent, apologize and be punished. And not to be rewarded. And that should be clear to everyone and we shall say it say it out loud here and in every other country in the world.
That is why I have called on this honourable Assembly to join the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo in the adoption of the Resolution condemning the Serbian genocide, because only when we unite our voices, they will be heard beyond Kosovo and beyond Albania,
No one in the Albanian lands should be preoccupied with how to save the face of Serbia, because its true face has been proven by the genocidal policy it has used against us.
But, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, in order for this voice to resonate everywhere, we must unite our voices and our efforts in the pursuit of justice. That every Albanian representative, in Kosovo, in Albania, in Montenegro, in Macedonia and now even the resounding voice of Shaip Kamberi in the Assembly of Serbia, to seek justice for the victims caused by Serbia. Justice for the children killed, justice for our sisters who were raped by Serbs as a war crime, justice for the mothers who are still looking for their sons and daughters to have a place to shed tears and lay flowers, because no one can ask from Kosovo to give even more. Kosovo has given its most precious ones. Kosovo has given over 1,000 children, young souls, who today could be here where we are, in this room where decisions are made about the future of our countries, as if Serbia shouldn’t have cut their lives so early.
It is our national duty, and above all our moral duty, that as we work to open a new chapter, for our entire region, we must first read, understand, and learn well, the chapter that still stands before us. This chapter teaches us that we should stay close to each other as two sisters who spare nothing for each other. This chapter also teaches us that Serbia has not changed and we must join forces as Kosovo and Albania to oppose hate speech, anti-Albanian language, and attempts to hide crimes. Let us join forces to prevent the truth from being overturned before our eyes. Because there is only one sole truth, which has happened before the eyes of the entire world, and that is that Serbia committed genocide in Kosovo, while Kosovo defended the threshold of its home.
This chapter also teaches us that the brilliant Albanian youth, in Kosovo, Albania, and everywhere else, and our extraordinary diaspora, are our greatest potential.
It is our duty to work for them so that they can see their country as a country that does not deserve abandonment, but as a country that deserves all their contribution and love. Therefore, let us all work together, as two sovereign states, with two flags but with one spirit no one could ever defeat, to prove to the whole world that we, the ancient Illyrians and the youngest Europeans, the most peace-loving, pro-European and most pro-American people in the world, can and will succeed. Let us turn our differences into a force to push our countries forward. Kosovo does not need beams placed by Albania. In the time of European integration, placing any kind of communication barrier between our two countries is against the spirit of free movement and the strengthening of interstate and inter-Albanian relations. Let us come to Albania as our ancestors, as we want and as our children will want! Our great erudite, Konica best summarized this in a text of July 1898 in the magazine “Albania”.
“Let us try with all our strength to heal Albanians from the love for individuals. They must learn to love Albania - not to please this or that Albanian”, Konica said.
Therefore, I invite you to work for the flag of the Republic of Kosovo, as an independent and sovereign state, for which a fair liberation war was committed, to also wave in the United Nations and NATO, along with the flag of Albania, and to walk with safe steps towards membership in the European Union.
Throughout our history, many families have been separated between Kosovo and Albania, and so was my family. While my grandfather, my mother’s father had experienced terrible tortures in the prisons of the Serbian regime, and finally died from those tortures, on the other hand my mother’s uncle, Sylejman Vuçitërna, president of the Military Academy here in Albania, had remained in Albania, but was buried alive by the regime of Enver Hoxha. This painful story of family separation, but of suffering on both sides of the border, is the history of hundreds of thousands of Albanian families. But let their courage and the courage of every Albanian say no to violent regimes guiding each of us on our path towards a consolidated democracy and towards a Kosovo and an Albania where our youth is proud of the decisions we make, its chosen representatives.
Finally, let me thank you again for the hospitality, in our common home and reiterate, on behalf of all the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, all the love we feel for Albania, for the Albanian brothers and sisters and our readiness that with will and work to advance our two states.