Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), along with his brother, Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI), submitted another letter to the new United States Embassy in Podgorica, Montenegro this week inquiring about the status and treatment of three U.S. citizens being detained as political prisoners in Montenegro.
The letter, which is directed at Principle Officer Arlene Ferrill, requests that the Embassy follow up on reports that the detainees have been physicall abused "during and after their arrests" while in police custody. Although the letter references the detention of U.S. citizens only (Sokol Ivanaj, Rrok Dedvukaj, and Kol Dedvukaj), it is without question that the rest of the detainees are suffering much greater harm in the hands of the Montenegrin authorities than what was first reported. The physical abuses are wounds that will heal with time, but the mental torture and psychological insults are internal scars that are strategically inflicted as a tool of moral degradation in an attempt to break the spirits of an individual (in this case the prisoner) and stagnate the proliferation of a community (in this case Albanians in Malesia).
As members of these communities, we should be very concerned with the approaches we are embarking upon in the Diaspora, and the blurred vision that has bestowed upon each and every one of us. The Albanian Question in Montenegro is far greater than these arrests, and it will be a devastating failure to pin our hopes on them alone. One must step out of the box and look at the situation from the outside looking in, because in doing so you can see first hand the campaign being waged against Albanains.
For Montenegro, their strategy is working -- (1) no more are Albanians appealing for their legal and guaranteed right for an autonomous and representative municiple district of Malesia, that has fallen to the wayside; (2) since the 10 September elections (which were marred by the arrests), Albanians have yet to absorb their victory to place representatives in Parliamant and at the local level, something we campaigned for and even risked our freedom for; and instead (3) our attention has been diverted from taking notice of what Montenegro is pushing for, unobstructed memberships into the institutions of Europe -- ratification of the Stabilitization and Association agreement, EU preliminary sessions; the writing of the Montenegrin Constitution in Vienna; Partnership for Peace meetings; Euro-Atlantic integration meetings -- all of which are meant to prove that Montenegro is making progress in all aspects of social, political, civil and economic life, which includes pacified relations with its ethnic minority to the South. This is happening right below our noses.
Any amateur can point out numerous abuses to any of the aforementioned activities, but we have failed to pursue our duties as informed citizens, and instead we have been diverted into a situtaion that will eventually be resolved by forces outside the Diaspora and U.S. Congress. As citizens of a state, Albanians are obligated to keep the government of Montenegro in check, because it is these forces that have any chance of making changes, unfortunately our communities in Malesia lay dormant.
Levin' letter fails to recognize this, and the Diaspora has failed to highlight them; because minority rights abuses in Montenegro is a phenomenon much broader than just detention of U.S. citizens in a foreign jail -- its a phenomenon about the future of Albanians in Montenegro and what is to be done with them. The immediate answer is evident: persecution, forced assimilation and forced emigration. The long term solution is what we need to pin our hopes on, for it will be that solution that will answer the Albanian Question in Montenegro and save a people from complete extinction.
You can read the letter at: http://www.malesiaemadhe.org/documents/wwashingtondemo.pdf