Monday, September 24, 2007

Balkan Reshuffling: Albanian village in Macedonia to be handed to Kosova

22 September 2007

Skopje -- The referendum about acceding the village of Tanusevci to Kosova might be held on November 28th – Albanian Flag Day, the Macedonian Dnevnik newspaper writes, citing the Albanian "Lajm" newspaper. The edition quotes people close former MP Xhezair Shaqiri.

Shaqiri told "Lajm" everything around the referendum was ready and added the only thing to do was to set the date. According to people close to him, the referendum might be held even earlier, reserving the date November 28th for marking Tanusevci’s accession to Kosova.

Tanusevci village is considered to be related to the start of the actions that led to the serious conflict in Macedonia in 2001 between ethnic Albanians and the Macedonian state, which ended with the Ohrid Agreement on August 13, 2001 and the establishment of greater Albanian rights.

In January 2001 the (Albanian) National Liberation Army (NLA) stated its existence by claiming responsibility for the attack against a police patrol in the village of Tearce near the town of Tetova, where a policeman was killed and another 2 injured. Clashes between the Macedonian security forces and armed groups of NLA followed in March and April in the mountain region in Northwestern Macedonia near the village of Tanusevci. In March, three Macedonian soldiers were killed near Tanusevci: one of them was shot, and the other two – by a mine explosion under their vehicle. In the end of February the administrator of the village of Debelde in Kosova, which is neighboring to the village of Tanusevci, announced that over 150 citizens of Tanusevci have searched asylum in Kosova “to get rid of the repressions of the Macedonian Army”. The Macedonian government then defined this migration as a well organized act with political goals.

In the first days of March 2001 Macedonia closed its border with Kosova and demanded the summoning of an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council, as well as the establishment of a buffer zone between Macedonia and Kosova with the presence of international forces in it. On March 5th Skopje declares mobilization of militaries from the reserve after new clashes in northern Macedonia which involved Albanian guerrillas.

The attack followed a demarcation agreement between Yugoslavia and Macedonia, ceding Tanusevci to Macedonia, which local people bitterly resented.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has been in charge of a project to rebuild Tanusevci homes damaged during the conflict so that refugees who mainly fled to Kosova can be repatriated. Out of a total of 1500 hundred people, only 800 (180) families opted for repatriation as many have now settled elsewhere.

Today people continuously cross the border with Kosova to see their relatives, which have been split with their families. They claim to have close ties with Debelde [a village across the frontier] and many fled to Kosova during the last conflict [in 2001].

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Call to Attend Jeremic Speech at Harvard

The following event has been planned for public consumption at Harvard University as a prelude to the scheduled "troika" discussions to be held later this month in New York. Vuk Jeremic, Serbia's controversial Foreign Affairs Minister, will be speaking at the Kennedy School of Government THIS FRIDAY as detailed below.

In coordination with our Albanian colleagues at Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, MIT, and Wellesely College, there will be a meeting this Thursday (Sept. 20) at approximately 6:00 p.m. at NYU's Bobst Library. The meeting will entertain the possibility of attending the event at Cambridge and preparing questions for Jeremic that entail the position of support for independence in Kosova. We are all very well aware that Mr. Jeremic's political career will be short-lived once Kosova achieves sovereignty, hence the Harvard platform is very important, albeit prestigious, for his political survival.

We call upon our counterparts in Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Detroit to consider attending as well. As always, we will continue these discussions over coffee that same evening.

Friday, September 21, 2007
4:00 p.m.
'Serbia and the future of the Balkans"
A Public Address by H.E. Vuk Jeremic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia
Kennedy School and Kokkalis fellow
John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, Littauer Building
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA

Monday, September 10, 2007

1,200 Strong Demonstrate in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 10, 2007 -- Marking the 1st Anniversary of the political arrests of Albanians in Montenegro, the Albanian Diaspora staged an energetic demonstration in front of the White House and Montenegrin Embassy this morning.

Approximately 1,200 demonstrators marched from the White House to the offices of Montenegro's ambassador to the U.S., Vlahovic to petition the government for the immediate release of their family members after one year of illegal detainment and torture.

Aside from the several speeches that were made, the Montenegrin flag was torn apart in frustration and denounced as a symbol that does not represent the interests of Albanians in Montenegro nor those in the Diaspora.

Albanians in Malesia losing touch with their objectives

TUZ, Malesia e Madhe, September 10, 2007 -- What was advertised as a rally in support of the prisoners and against state "terrorist" suppression, leaders of the three Albanian political parties in Montenegro, along with community members watched a drama played out depicting the events that unfolded on 9 September 2006, the day Albanians were arrested in Malesia.

The display was carried out inside the cultural center in Tuz, and included speeches by a handful of political leaders, including Vasel Sinishtaj, Nikolle Camaj and others. Although the center was filled to capacity, the effect was a wash.

The event in its entirety illustrates the effects that the arrests have had on the general Albanian population in Montenegro since last September. There have been no rallies in support of those arrested and even support during trial proceedings have faded as Albanians distance themselves from any act that may bring attention to individuals for fear that they may meet the same fate.

This is just the way the Montenegrin government expects Albanians in Malesia to act, thus their strategy has payed off.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

TUZ joins Washington and DEMONSTRATES!

TUZ, Malesia e Madhe, September 9, 2007 -- An Albanian "troika" of political parties in Montenegro have finally decided to join their brethren in the diaspora and demonstrate against the repressive Montenegrin state regime.

Alternativa Shqiptare, Lidhja Demokratike and Partia Socialiste Popullore are organizing a demonstration in TUZ today at 5:00 p.m. local time (11:00 a.m. EDT).

Their appeals will be directed at the institutional apparatus in Podgorica that has inhibited their socio-political development and retarded their progress by hindering upon their efforts to win an autonomous municipality ever since they have achieved all minimum requirements as outlined by state laws and the laws in local self-government.

The demonstration will also bring attention to the detained political prisoners who are scheduled to resume trial on Tuesday 11 September. Family members of the prisoners will be in attendance and are scheduled to hold speeches on the fate of their families and the fate of the future of Albanians in Montenegro.

Albanians in the diaspora will follow with a demonstration of their own on Monday 10 September in front of the White House and the Montenegrin embassy.

Monday, September 03, 2007



ROCHESTER HILLS, Michigan, September 6, 2007 – The Albanian American Diaspora is holding a peaceful rally on 10 September 2007 in Washington, DC to protest the Montenegrin government’s discriminatory policies towards its ethnic Albanian citizens and their political, social and economical rights. The rally will also highlight the continued illegal detainment and torture of Albanian political prisoners in Spuz, which include three American citizens.

The objective of this protest is to denounce, in the strongest terms, the physical and mental abuses that the Albanian prisoners are suffering in the hands of Montenegro’s political machine, which is designed to suppress all peoples that attempt to stand up and voice concerns over the government’s illicit actions. These actions are reminiscent of those found in the former communist Yugoslavian regime, where remnants are still alive today and being exercised on Albanians.

The Albanian-American Diaspora has rightfully argued and reasserted that Montenegro has continuously failed to adhere with international and European norms for minority rights, including the breach of its very own constitution. The international community is repeatedly exposing Montenegro as supporting a failed police and judicial system that systematically carries out torture and forced confessions against the Albanians in detention, and have been reported as following:

“The allegations include reports of repeated beatings, including with the intention of
forcing a confession, using hands, fists, feet, sticks and on one occasion, a computer
cable.” – Amnesty International, Oct. 2006

"During the three days spent in police custody, our clients were beaten, intimidated,
insulted and denied drinking water and food," – statement by defendants’ attorney

“…during the year, there were reports of arbitrary arrest, police mistreatment of suspects
in detention, police impunity, lengthy pretrial detention and delayed trials, substandard
prison conditions, corruption in law enforcement agencies and the judiciary…” – U.S. State Dept., 2006

Wherefore, the Albanian-American Diaspora demands the following remedies

The immediate release of all Albanian political prisoners;

Equal access and proportional representation for Albanians in national, regional and local levels of government institutions;

Respect for self-determination as a genuine right of Albanian minorities in Montenegro, guaranteed by the European and international standards for human and minority rights;

Revisit all state-controlled laws and systems on privatization, where new approaches on privatization should be initiated based on legitimate ownership in accordance with local and European laws;

Establish academic institutions responsible for creating scholastic programs and curriculums that meet the educational needs of Albanians;

Grant a comprehensive autonomous status for Albanian regions guaranteed by international law, which would prevent the further partition of Albanian lands;

Decentralize the authoritarian control of the central government and create a self-administrative regional government where Albanians are proportionally represented.

That Montenegrin government grants an independent and comprehensive municipal status for Tuz, which would prevent the partitioning of Malesia currently taking place.

Today, we urge the Montenegrin government to completely abandon their historical discriminatory attitudes and policies towards Albanians and allow them to exercise their inherited human rights without state impediment. Furthermore, we call upon European democracies and the United States to encourage Montenegro to comply with international and European laws designed to protect minorities at risk.

The Albanian-American Diaspora will continue to demand that the rights of Albanians in Montenegro are legitimately and rightfully protected, implemented, and incorporated into the policy-making structure of the national government. We will tirelessly commit our efforts to this cause until Montenegro affords Albanians the same rights as are enjoyed by its Slavic majority population.
BUSES LEAVE FROM DETROIT on Sunday September 9th at approximately 7:00 p.m. For more information and/or to reserve your seat, please call 248-808-0008.