Wednesday, October 26, 2011
If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was Albanian …
Only two other persons have national holidays in the United States honoring them: George Washington and Christopher Columbus. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a giant in American history; he dedicated his life to fighting discrimination and racism in American society. During the less than 13 years of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership of the modern American Civil Rights Movement, from December, 1955 until April 4, 1968, African Americans achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality than the previous 350 years had produced. Dr. King is widely regarded as America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history. Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950’s and ‘60s to achieve legal equality for African-Americans in the United States.
The $120 million memorial is the first in Washington DC to honor a man of hope, peace and color. The Memorial was built on a four-acre plot on the north east corner of the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial and the FDR Memorial. The 30 foot sculpture of Dr. King depicts him gazing into the horizon and concentrating on the future and his hope for humanity.
Ironically, in Malësia, a memorial was erected "honoring" Ded Gjo'Luli, an Albanian war hero who, for similar reasons, fought against discrimination and brutality against Albanians at the hands of Turks and Slavs. Unlike the King Memorial, however, Deda stands about 6 feet tall, sits on a gated area away from public access (in case the gates are open from time to time) , and thrown behind a church and banquet center (roughly a total area of 10 square feet has been dedicated to this man). Beside Deda flies the Montenegrin flag, a slap in the face for a hero that dedicated his life, and those of his army, to fight the same enemy. Imagine a flag of the Third Reich flying beside King. The King memorial was dedicated by the President of the United States and is located in the capital; the Ded Gjo' Luli memorial was never formally dedicated, never broadcast on (national) TV, nor even attended by more than a handful of people. In fact, the statue cannot even be erected in the center of Albanian-domintaed Tuz!
Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is among the most revered orations and writings in the English language. Below is a modified version of what Dr. King might have said if her were Albanian and faced with the contemporary issues facing the Albanian nation today:
"I am not unmindful that some of you have come to Malësia out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells in Spuz. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecutions and staggered by the winds of Slavic brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Come back to Albania, come back to Tetova, come back to Presheva, come back to Malësia, come back to Chameria, come back to the slums and ghettos of your homeland villages, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my Albanians, that even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow. I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Albanian dream.
I have a dream that one day a “Greater Nation” will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed--we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the black mountains of Plav & Gusine the sons of Scanderbeg and the sons of Jashari will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood and remember the blood spilled in honor of country!
I have a dream that one day even the region of Malësia, a district sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom, justice, and self-determination.
I have a dream that our little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the choice of religion, language, culture, traditions, and symbols but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Chameria, with its vicious racists, with the Greeks having their lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right down in Chameria little Cham boys and Cham girls will be able to join hands with little Kosovar boys and Kosovar girls as sisters and brothers with no borders separating them.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley of ancient Illyria shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all Albanians shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the Tirana with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our Greater Nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Albanian’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!" And if Albania is to be a Great Nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of Tuz.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of Rugova.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Shkodra.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped mountains of Gusine.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of Vlora.
But not only that.
Let freedom ring from the raging seas of Ulqin.
Let freedom ring from valleys of Presheve.
Let freedom ring from every mountain top of Ethnic Albania, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every village and every municipality, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's Albanians, Malesor, Kosovar, Shkoltare and Katunar, Muslims and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Illyrian spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."