President Osmani’s address at the ceremony bestowing the writer Ismail Kadare with the “Hasan Prishtina” Order

Honourable Mr. Ismail Kadare, welcome to the Presidency of the Republic of Kosovo, welcome to your beloved Kosovo!
Honourable Ms. Helena,
Honourable Christina,
Dear participants,
Honourable speaker of the Assembly,
Honourable former president Jahjaga,
Mayor of the Municipality of Pristina,
President of the Academy of Sciences,
Honourable Ambassador Minxhozi,
Rector of the University of Pristina,
Honourable publishers from Pristina,
Friends of Albanian literature, language and culture,

I thank you very much for your participation here today, where all of us together, in a sign of gratitude – on behalf of the people of Kosovo – honour our outstanding writer, Mr. Ismail Kadare, whose work is an artistic encyclopaedia of the everyday life of Albanians, of their history, customs and traditions, and above all, of the Albanian language.

Honourable Mr. Kadare!

I am very pleased to see you here, all the more so that you are here at the time when our beloved Prishtina is dressed for the 23rd time in the guise of the book fair, as the already proven host of many authors, publishers and readers from all around the Albanian lands. Your presence at the opening of the Book Fair in Pristina is also a powerful message for Albanian literature and our culture in general.

I am also very happy to be able to express today the deep gratitude of all of the citizens of Kosovo and its institutions for the literary masterpieces that you have written, which constitute one of our most important cultural treasures. But, in addition to your literary activity, you have always been an important point of reference for Albanians everywhere in the world. Your literary creativity, developed mainly within the ideological iron circle, has demonstrated that freedom of creation and freedom of thought cannot be controlled by the powers that be, and that freedom, despite the fact that it can be suppressed in public, lives intact in the yearning of people to see their country and people as free.

Through your creativity, you honourable Mr. Kadare, set an example to all Albanian citizens – regardless of whether they live in Albania, Kosovo, or elsewhere – whose freedom was suppressed, but also for all citizens of Kosovo in particular, who were denied their national, political and civil rights. By artistically treating an Albanian’s life, his invincibility and their deep-rooted desire for freedom, as well as by defending this freedom in important intellectual forums everywhere around the world, you have encouraged the freedom-loving spirit among us and have articulated it wherever you were given the opportunity to do so. And for that, we are very grateful.

My generation, like many generations before and after us, have grown up and been shaped by reading Chronicles in Stone, The General of the Dead Army, The Three Arched Bridge, Broken April, and many other masterpieces of your literature, which are at the same time masterpieces both of Albanian and international literature.

You have artistically revealed the life, culture and traditions of Albanians, their customs and their history like no other before. You have cultivated the Albanian language and served it with unyielding dedication, recovering and reusing what the patriarch of our culture, Pjetër Bogdani, called “old woman’s words” and expanding the vocabulary of the Albanian language and its expressive possibilities.

You have protected and promoted our ancient culture, the antiquity of the Albanian people and their culture, participating in debates on the role of this ancient culture in the creation of the common European and Western culture, and you have been a guardian of the right of the Albanian people to live free and independent.

Hence, with an utmost desire to thank you for the courage with which you have presented the Albanian cause in general and that of Kosovo in particular, at important intellectual and political circles all over Europe and the world, for the endless literary wealth that you have given us and for the immense love with which you have represented the nation all over the globe, allow me to invite you Mr. Kadare, and at the same time I would like to invite all the guests to rise, for the ceremony of your bestowment with the highest order which the Republic of Kosovo, and in this case I, as President, confer on behalf of all the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, the “Hasan Pristina” Order.

Once again, I have the extraordinary honour to, in compliance with the constitutional powers of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, on behalf of the people of Kosovo, to bestow upon Mr. Ismail Kadare the “Hasan Prishtina” Order with this motivation:

For the exceptional mastery in the art of speech, expressed throughout his works, for the dedication with which he has defended Kosovo’s right to freedom and independence, as well as for the literary and intellectual values which he has presented around the world and through which he has exalted the Albanian language, culture and literature, as well as the Albanian nation itself.

Mr. Kadare, I am honoured to bestow upon you this Order!

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