February 17 is the historic day that engraved in golden letters the freedom of Kosovo, the sublimity and gratitude to the heroes, for all Albanians around. It is the month when our compatriots all over the world celebrate the independence of Europe’s newest state. On this occasion, the Albanian community in Londer, for years, co-organizes various activities on the occasion of this holiday to reveal the common values of all Albanians, thus enabling our culture to be present in one of the most multicultural cities in the world as is London. Undoubtedly, we as Albanians are grateful and appreciate the fact that in Great Britain, different cultures have space to celebrate on their special days.
The independence of Kosovo on February 17, 2008, is the work of several generations. We have many heroes and martyrs who shed their blood for the achievement of this great victory, where we can mention some of them such as: Azem Galicen, who died from the wounds he received for the defense of the free area of Drenice, in July 1924, Shote Galica, the Heroine of the People, who fought for 12 years in a row against the invaders, and was lost in the fighting together with 22 members of her family from the Serbian chauvinist massacres. We emphasize that Illyrian women have been prominent since the time of Queen Teute, when they fought alongside their men. Albanian women and mothers are intellectual, human and national value, they are a model of admiration for generations. Their goal has been and is to build peaceful relations in society. They are a source of inspiration and stability. On this anniversary, we will all remember with honor and respect, all those women and girls, and hundreds of good heroines who gave their lives and shed their blood for freedom, independence and for a better future of Kosovo, Albania and all Albanian lands.
The intellectual Ibrahim Rugova became a powerful nucleus of the Albanian movement that opposed the Serbian and Yugoslav communist rule in Kosovo. Rugova’s peaceful, political philosophy made him, successfully, gather all the people around the cause of National Liberation. Rugova was not only a participant in the protests, but the historical and political leader, the first President of Kosovo who inspired freedom, until the end. The Jashari family has a special role, not only in our national history, but also in the world history. Adem Jashari has the unique role of forming and organizing the Kosovo Liberation Army. He was sacrificed with a gun in hand together with his brother Hamzen and over 50 members of their family. Such heroism honors every nation, so we will always be grateful to Jasharaj, Prekazi, UCK and all those heroes and martyrs who gave their lives for Kosovo.
It is important that our children feel proud of the glorious and valuable history, of our language, flag, heroes, who are part of the Albanian history and have set their example as a “Role Model”, making us proud as a nation. . We cannot forget that the Albanian population of Kosovo, for decades, has been violated and deprived of all national and international rights, including the official use of the Albanian language in their country. Entire generations dedicated their lives to Kosovo Dardana and sacrificed for a future with hope. So, today we have many reasons to celebrate this anniversary of independence and to recall the emancipation, the evolution to those who have not yet grown up to recognize Kosovo as a state. Kosovo is the birthplace of the continuation of the ancient Iliro-Dardan civilization and the development of the Albanian language as the only descendant of the Illyrian languages. Language is the main element that determines national identity. As descendants of the oldest race of the Balkan peninsula, we want the preservation of the ancient and beautiful Albanian language to be passed down from generation to generation.
Parents and teachers have special merits, as they teach children the basic elements that keep this ancient language alive. These children, as the future of this nation, with dedication, piety and love, convey before us, in an original way, their spiritual feelings and pride, through our traditional poetry, songs and dances accompanied by the diverse costumes of the provinces ours, decorating the party.
Gratitude and respect for all the teachers, school leaders, of those brave times and of today’s motivating times, for education and the nation. The counter-response with the weapon of knowledge to anyone who violates the rights of others is among the most powerful. Protecting and enriching the national language is a value for each of us. The teaching of the Albanian language in all historical periods in Kosovo has been linked to the preservation of national identity. So, the strong preservation of a cultural base of heritage over the centuries was the right way towards the Independence of Kosovo. Each of us must be ready to pass it on with love to the new generations. This is how we carry forward the legacy of the ancestors and honor all those who gave their lives for Martyr Kosovo, which flourishes every day more and more in the new spirit of democracy.
We are the nation of Skanderbeg and many other extraordinary heroes, but we are also the nation of Mother Teresa, the extraordinary Albanian who, with the spirit of peace, showed and gave love to the whole world, especially to those who had more much needed. Therefore, a task as sublime and simple falls on us Albanians; we give with a lot of respect and love to each other, because in this way we are more useful to others. Albanians have their own tradition of courtesy, nobility, generosity, honesty and dignity.
These cultural values are also being embraced by young people, who will consider implementing them according to the demands of the time, not contradicting some basic principles of the European spirit. Albanian children who live in the diaspora also acquire new behavioral traditions, for which we as parents and teachers must be aware and be as close to them as possible, so that these choices are in favor of young people, helping them to responsible individuals. This is the best and most needed contribution today that definitely helps our nation move forward.
Happy 15th Birthday Kosovo!
Dr. Merita Isufi – Honorary Ambassador of the Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity (DMPP),
Author & Founder of the Organization “Successful Mothers”
London February 17, 2023