Ndue Ukaj: Thaci's Visit, Triumph of Identity Over Distinctions

Ndue Ukaj: Thaci's Visit, Triumph of Identity Over Distinctions

Albanian, Kosovo leaders send "message of national identity"
BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - June 24, 2008, Tuesday

Text of report by Albanian major right-wing pro-PD party newspaper 55Pesedhjetepese, on 21 June

[Commentary by Ndue Ukaj: "Thaci's Visit, Triumph of Identity Over Distinctions"]

Kosova [Kosovo] Prime Minister Thaci's visit to Albania, apart from its political message, also conveyed a message to the effect that, having to cope with a new political situation under the same national umbrella, Kosova and Albania are cooperating and coordinating their economic and political potentials for the common good, while at the same time stressing their national Albanian essence.

In other words, in Kosova's new situation, Thaci's visit strengthens interstate relations between Albania and Kosova while giving an appropriate answer to the allegations about a supposed Kosovar identity and, at the same time, stressing that Albanians, wherever they happen to be, are all part of the Albanian nation.

Among other things, Thaci's visit stressed the national Albanian identity of the people of both Kosova and Albania, thereby refuting the allegations of those who, availing themselves of the creation of the state of Kosova, try to push through their theses about a so-called Kosovar nation.

The two prime ministers - Berisha and Thaci - declared a common national platform, for they know but too well that, disunited, the Albanians would be powerless. Theirs was a message of national identity over regional distinctions. They also came out with joint projects of national importance.

Relations between Albania and Kosova have frequently suffered from divisive efforts from certain quarters bent on impeding cooperation and coordination of actions between the two parts of the one nation. These efforts have come up against the policy carried out by both Tirana and Prishtina [Pristina], a policy that has the support of the whole of the Albanian nation.

Not infrequently we hear people in Kosova saying that the Kosovars must create their national identity, making a clear distinction between the Albanians on this and that side of the border.

Disregarding global developments and also the prospects of Balkan and European integration, these theses are fraught with dangerous consequences for the Albanian nation. They are based on naive conceptions that must be fought with determination and wisdom.

The Albanian press, especially that of Kosova, carries articles to the effect that nationalism is both obsolete and primitive. This is ridiculous, for the opposite is true. It is nationalism that makes Western countries so powerful. It is nationalism that motivates the Italians and French to struggle for major achievements in the field of culture, sports, and design, that makes Germany into an economic superpower, or that makes the British or the Americans police the world order.

The absence of a nationalist sentiment has often made us imitate our enemies, even identify ourselves with them.

The moment has come for us Albanians to hold our head high and show the world that we are a people of an ancient civilization, striving to overcome the consequences of a bitter past. Our future depends on what we do now.

Only united and by preserving our Western tradition will we be able to become dignified members of the community of civilized nations.


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