Shkruan: Faton Bislimi
Sot mediat tona raportuan per shkrimin e J. Michael Waller ne te perditshmen amerikane Washington Times permes se cilit ai pershkruan Kosoven si s’ka me keq! Jemi ne nje faze kur lobi serb po derdhe miliona dollare ne DC, prandaj, kundervenja ndaj ketyre shkrimeve eshte esenciale per interesin tone kombetar.
Sapo kam lexuar shkrimin famekeq dje, une menjehere kam reaguar duke ia drejtur nje Leter Editorit te Washington Times. Jam i lumtur qe sot menjehere eshte botuar edhe reagimi ne Washington Times, permes se cilit me argumente faktike kam hedhe poshte secilin paragraf shpifes dhe dashakeq te z. Waller.
Tekstin e plote te reagimit tim po e postoj ketu, bashke edhe me linkun e versionit te shkrimit tim te botuar ne Washington Times: https://www.washingtontimes.com/…/letters-editor-kosovo-no…/
KOSOVO IS NOT HOPELESS
In his opinion piece titled “Let Bill Clinton’s failed Kosovo strategy wither amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” published on 22 April 2020, Mr. J. Michael Waller makes several false claims that render the article sheer propaganda more than anything else. He claims that the US presence there is a must to “keep locals from killing each other,” but he apparently forgets we are not in the 1998-99 conflict anymore and that the last ethnically motivated unrest, which claimed 14 lives, was recorded in March 2004. While insulting some 2 million people who call Kosovo their homeland, by referring to it as a “freak show,” “a microstate,” etc., he ignores the fact that Kosovo is an independent country, recognized by over 110 nations world wide, and a member of major international organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF, etc.
By claiming that the Kosovo War was a “war against Christians, and Serbian Christians,” where “each side ethnically cleansed itself…between ethnic Albanian Muslims and ethnic Serbian Christians,” Mr. Waller tries to depict an utterly wrong picture of the Kosovo War of 1998-99, which was one of the most horrible wars in modern European history in which the Serbian forces of world-known dictator Slobodan Milosevic, an accused war criminal by the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia) in the Hague, committed ethnic cleansing against the innocent ethnic Albanians. Moreover, the war was not religiously based. And, he should know that Albanians are not only Muslims, but they are also Christians. Indeed, the well-known story of the Albanian “Besa” and the rescue of all Jews in Albanian lands during the Holocaust is testament to the religious harmony in which Albanians have lived for centuries. It is despicable to try to give a religious connotation to a war that was waged by a notorious dictator against an innocent ethnic group.
In calling Kosovo an “un-ending mess,” he refers to Kosovo’s people as a “mishmash of irreconcilable cultures, [who] historically can’t get along without some form of dictator or military occupation,” while altogether forgetting that since Kosovo’s independence in 2008, all ethnic groups in Kosovo have lived in peace and harmony and in a full-fledged democracy. To the contrary of his baseless claims, Kosovo indeed is an example of a country where ethnic minorities are granted some of the highest, constitutionally guaranteed, rights ever.
Suggesting that Kosovo is a breading ground for jihadists because “80% of its young people are unemployed,” is more than wrong. It is frightful speculation, akin to xenophobia against Kosovars. Yes, Kosovo is a developing country with an unemployment rate of about 26%. And, it is no breading ground for jihadists whatsoever. Out of some 30,000 foreign fighters that joined ISIS from 85 countries, only 126 were from Kosovo!
Lastly, Mr. Waller names several key U.S. political figures – all Democrats, such as President Clinton, Secretary of State Albright, and Rep. Eliot Engel – by trying to make the U.S. involvement in and support for Kosovo a partisan endeavor. Once again, he is wrong. The U.S. support for Kosovo has been bipartisan. He should learn more about many key Republicans that have played an important role in helping Kosovo – such as Senator Bob Dole, Senator John McCain, Rep. Henry Hyde, Rep. Ben Gilman (just to name a few), and President George W. Bush, who was the one to recognize Kosovo’s independence.
As someone who was born and raised in Kosovo and survived the Kosovo War as a teenage refugee, forced out of my home and separated from my family, I am grateful for America’s role in saving my people and supporting my country move forward as a peaceful and prosperous member of the world community!
Faton Tony Bislimi
Executive Board Member and Balkans Policy Coordinator
Albanian American Civic League
New York, NY