Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why we came to Washington DC ...

The White House – Washington, DC
June 23, 2008

Viktor N. IVEZAJ

ON BEHALF OF … the organizers of this event, the several Albanian-American associations throughout these United States, political and social activists defending minority rights, Albanian student organizations, and civic organizations – representing Detroit, New York, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Florida, Connecticut, and New Jersey,

We welcome you to Washington, DC!

Today we have gathered at the footsteps of Washington to highlight the continued inequalities besieging Albanians in Montenegro. With a single voice, we appeal to our United States, the international community, and the several institutions designed to defend those silenced by their state and oppressed because of their ethnicity.


WE ARE HERE for those who cannot speak out against state oppression and ethnic discrimination – for fear that their voices will be exaggerated and used against them to create a climate impregnated with fear, confusion, uncertainty, and corruption;

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot participate in social, political and economic institutions – for fear that their efforts will be for not, and if they choose to participate, it is by the rules of the majority, with no institutions, assemblies, and infrastructures to call their own.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot achieve higher learning without assimilation – where the only means to academic success is to read Montenegrin, write Montenegrin, speak Montenegrin, and think Montenegrin – a program designed to construct a Montenegrin using Albanian parts.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot attain equal employment without emigration – that if you want to feed your family, you pack up your belongings and leave your ancient homeland for a place that is less forgiving, where the politics of forced emigration render Albanians in Montenegro the least employed ethnic group in proportion to the state’s total population. It should be no wonder that less than 0.5% of Albanians in Montenegro are employed in state institutions.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot reap the rewards of their labors – where instead Montenegro continues to profit from the toils of Albanian entrepreneurship; guilty of squeezing the fruit out of their vineyards, smoking the leaves in their tobaccos, and sacking the revenues from their salt factories.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot defend their territories and homes from state confiscation – where our lands in Ulqin, Tivar and other coastal towns are illegally seized and monopolized by state-owned enterprises for financial gain by way of tourist revenues, where the kickbacks to Albanians are NISHTA!

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot worship in their mother-tongues – but instead have to adopt and inherit the language of the majority, because GOD, we are told, does not understand Albanian.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot enjoy the benefits of local self-government – with no local institutions to call their own, with no local government to appease their grievances, with no local welfare programs to entrust in, with no budget, no municipality, no infrastructure, no electorate, no candidates, … therefore NO PROGRESS!

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot receive equal protection under the law – where instead judicial institutions are influenced by individuals for their own self-interests, that are ill-equipped to implement fairness and equal justice for all its citizens, and instead have produced a dangerous precedent where 16 Albanians currently detained in Spuz do not stand a chance at a fair trial, with charges unproven and unsubstantiated, under judicial proceedings besieged by corruption, inconsistencies and obstruction of constitutional, state, and international norms. And so “Eagle’s Flight” is threatening to tear the fabric of a civil society unless the whole multi-ethnic citizenry can benefit equally under the protection of the rule of law.

We have gathered here for those who CANNOT achieve the most basic human rights as bestowed upon us at birth, protected by international laws, guaranteed by state institutions, and implemented by good governance.

We are not asking Montenegro to give us our rights, we are asking that Montenegro PROTECT our rights.


We demand that Montenegro:

Initiate equal rights and prohibit discrimination with programs that incorporate all people regardless of social, economic, political, linguistic, religious, and/or ethnic background;

Implement policies and programs aimed at leveling the playing field for Albanians in pursuit of jobs, admission to universities, and even government contracts;

Encourage public institutions such as universities, hospitals and police forces to be more representative of the population. Employ Albanians as judges, police chiefs, and medical directors in areas where Albanians constitute a majority. This will ensure public trust, public confidence and equal representation.

Establish a Commune in Malësia and create policies to provide employment and long term welfare to Albanians at the municipal level. This would no doubt encourage social, economic, and political development, bring government closer to the people and embolden a minority group that has been disenfranchised for so many years.

Redistribute a fair proportion of the national wealth in areas where Albanians comprise a majority, such as 85% in Ulqin and 92% in Malësia. Reinvestment in these regions guarantees increased wealth, growth, development and public consumption. The returns on these investments can be invaluable.

Encourage equity ownership, representation at both employee and management level, procurement to initiate Albanian-owned businesses and social investment programs, amongst others.

Create government-sponsored programs to educate the majority about the important contributions that Albanians bring to the country, including diversity, rich history, aptitude, and an unsurpassed work ethic – characteristics that can build a country and not break it apart.

Tear down state monopolies and encourage private ownership. Give back to Albanians those enterprises that were wrongfully taken away and given to corrupt government elites driven by personal gain instead of public service.

We ask Montenegro to read their Constitution – AGAIN – and adhere to those Articles set forth calling for these aforementioned protections. And in doing so, we ask that they protect the rights of our Fathers, our Brothers, our Sons and our Uncles who are counting the days until they are reunited with their families. For if their constitutional rights are protected and the rule of law is adhered to, your judicial system should rightfully declare: NOT GUILTY.

In Montenegro’s pursuit of Euro-Atlantic integration, the road travels through Malësia, winds through Plav & Gusi, cuts through Ulqin, stretches around Ana e Malit, passes by Kraja, and descends upon Tivar.

Unless these routes are paved equally, Montenegro’s passage towards Euro-integration will be bumpy indeed. Nonetheless, we will do our part. Now Montenegro, can you do yours’?


Anonymous said...

good stuff ... getting all teary-eyed here, damn.

Anonymous said...

The demonstration went well; there were only appx 200 people -- very sad -- but eveyone was high-spirited, especially when they approached the Mont Embassy.

Everyone was well behaved and didn't do or say anything careless.

THANK GOD teh speakers were pre-determined, thats all I have to say about that.

- Mike

Anonymous said...

The crowd was waaaaay too small dude! What the hell happened to everyone?

It was hot and humid too!

I liked the fact that ppl from Detroit were committed enough to travel by bus for 12 hours, that was very nice of them. I am from NY and I was embarrased that only a handful of NY'ers showed up, especially since we are only 4 hours away.

Props to Detroit!!!!


Anonymous said...

Redistribute wealth? Incorporate programs that mirror affirmative action here in the U.S?

Right. That'll work.

How about Albanians in Montenegro stop whining and start participating in politics rather than complain and pretend they're entitled to everything for nothing.

Most of Albanian-Americans here in the States know what it's like to be the white majority. Put yourselves in the Montenegrin's shoes. It's the same thing. The Albanians there act like they deserve reparations or something, and won't stop complaining until all of their demands are met.

What ever happened to participating in the democratic process? Why does that idea escape everyone?

Let's all be rational and stop this sensationalist bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Alright then, give us your recommendation(s) on what will work? Because not one politician or corrupted elite from Podgorica has proposed a thing that is worth a damn so far.

Participating in the democratic process????

You need democracy before you can participate in it my (naive) friend.

None of this is sensationized, these are political and socioeconmoic shortcomings that Montenegro has failed to alleviate, and at the same time the international community vis-viz the US State Dept, HR Watch, Amnesty, ICG, Helsinki Monitor, and others have publicly expressed these same shortcomings in implementing the Constitution and encouraging minorities to participate.

There is absolutely no effort on the part of the majority to include minorities in this political process you coin. The only process working is assimilation and emigration.

As stupid as it may sound, Podgorica can't even muster enough guts to grant the region of Tuzi a simple municipality so that the local population can benefit from local government, and then maybe they will participate in politics.

Another thing, don't compare minorities in teh USA with those of Eastern Europe; for one, the laws protecting minorities in Europe are completely different than the race relations in the States.

- Mark

Anonymous said...

I believe Albanains did participate in politics -- when they all voted for Montenegro's independence in 2006, where if it were not for the Albanain vote, the marriage with Serbia and all her ills would be real to this day.

But this should be a good example of why Albanians should NEVER participate in Montenegrin politics because once they do (as in 2006) they get screwed over at the end and never receive the rewards that are promised by those cronies in Dukanovics' party.

Anonymous said...

"Europe's Niggers"?

Well, isn't that an interesting correlation?

Well, I guess when you think you've heard it all, leave it up to a racist, bigot, or whatever we shall call you to add another term to the Slavic dictionary that I am sure will be used for future reference ...

Anonymous said...

WHAT democratic process?? you got to be kidding ha
the countrys run by "ex-communists" ... what planet are you living on? djukanovic is a war profiteer/thug and you support him? i even think malazez should wake up toooo

Anonymous said...

"Most of Albanian-Americans here in the States know what it's like to be the white majority. Put yourselves in the Montenegrin's shoes. It's the same thing"


Your correlation makes no sense whatsoever.

Or perhaps because we are not "black" that makes everything fine? But then again, you label Albanians as "Europe's Niggers" confirms your disdain for them, including your indirect blasphemy against blacks in the United States - what is your definition of a "nigger?" Obviously by your comments not very favorable (and how could it be when you use such an offensive term).

This just goes to show that your historical mindset is just the same as those beset upon Slavs since the 6th Century when they ravaged this region -- unchanged and unforgiving.

- Mark Juncaj

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Many people forget, but it was Milo Dukanovic that ordered the attack on Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which had absolutely no military targets whatsoever.

So then why was teh attack ordered? The same reason as why Milosevic ordered mindless attacks on innocent civilians that posed no danger -- to deplete the spirit of the opposition.

Hence BEWARE, Milo Dukanovic will stop at nothing to roll over Albanians and anyone standing in teh way of his greed and assession.

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