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EDITORIAL BERISHA AS A TURK'S HEAD by VETON SURROI Sali Berisha is in fact guilty. Albania's President sold Kosova with three sentences, in Bonn and Tirana, related to the beginning of the solution of Kosova's question. The easiness these words are expressed with could reflect an increased dose of nervousness among the Kosovan population, another deflation of previous illusions, but also an elementary incapability to make political evaluations. Nervousness because, it is evident, we are dealing with a long and exhausting crisis in all aspects. Deflation, because inflated as this public in Kosova was, the impression was created that Albania was becoming a regional power which can impose a solution for Kosova. Lack of evaluation, because in this case too, it is expected that someone outside Kosova, despite the same blood and language, will impose the political solution as it would suit the majority of the citizens of Kosova. In fact, more than anything else, in Sali Berisha's case and the reactions in Kosova, I see a wish to find the one to blame, for the present as well as an eventual failure in the future. In Albania they call it Turk's head, in Biblical civilizations it is a scapegoat, and to us Kosovans, it is a historic blameworthy of this century who doesn't allow us to reach freedom. Some ten years ago, it was Enver Hoxha who sold Kosova. There is no doubt that a dictatorship as Hoxha's sold many things, even the spirit of the people. Kosova tends to forget though, that the main problem was not E. Hoxha, but the conditions that brought the illusion that one E. Hoxha can solve Kosova's problem. And the conditions were palpable: during the four years of WWII, Kosova didn't rise massively against fascism. Any Albanian politician, from Albania or Kosova, with Kosovan soldiers' anti-fascist brigades, which grew in '43 and '44, behind them, would talk differently about Kosova. In a present analogy, even though without weapons, it is expected that Sali Berisha, who made an extremely productive change in regard to the Albanian question compared to E. Hoxha, will solve the Kosovan issue definitively, while the Kosovans will applaud the act, they will greet it in press conferences and praise him in long songs played on two strings. In fact, Sali Berisha, in good or bad timing, invited the Kosovans to play the game. The bottom line, under which no game is allowed, are the violently suspended constitutional relations - let the negotiators themselves build the roof.
The weekly Koha (The Times) was published in Prishtina (Kosovo) between 1994 and 1997. Edited by Veton Surroi, a young Kosovar journalist and one of the pioneers of democratisation in former Yugoslavia, Koha soon became a symbol of quality among the region's media. In 1997 it started to be published daily under the name of Koha Ditorë. W ith the kind permission of Mr. Surroi, Koha digests were originally posted on http://koha.estudiosbalcanicos.org.
INTERVIEW FEHMI AGANI, Vice-Chairman of the LDK THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PARLIAMENT WOULD STRENGTHEN OUR NEGOTIATING POSITION Interviewed by BATON HAXHIU / Prishtinë KOHA: In KOHA's last interview, Bukoshi said that "Kosova's problem is being marginalized. He also stated that "the optimist promises on Kosova's status have no grounds". What is the truth here? AGANI: I wouldn't want to reply to determined persons or interviews - when I agreed to this interview I didn't know I would be facing such a confrontation test in the very first question, but wishing to discuss about the often expressed opinions in this magazine about the marginalization of Kosova's question and the ungrounded optimism about the solution of it's problem, I must say that I don't consider them as appropriate evaluations. The (non) marginalization of the questions can be perceived or experienced in different ways. But, the international interest about Kosova and the concerns of Serbia about the issue have been increasing in the past months, and this gives no reasons to conclude that the issue is being marginalized. Neither can the situation in Kosova be a reason to fear marginalization. In regard to the optimistic manipulative and groundless promises, I believe there are some misunderstandings. But, political subjects, parties and leadership have important mobilizing roles. Mobilizing optimism is an important component of our resistance and efforts. As long as these exist, there will be hope that our purposes will come true. Despite the difficulties and the relative failures, hopes and optimism are not groundless. Only defeatist realism is groundless! KOHA: Kosova's Premier declares also that "there is realistic threat that with this level of organization not even the autonomy is in the horizon". Why is there so much political dissonance between the statements coming from the LDK and the government? AGANI: Our organization and phenomenon is such that one can never claim that it is sufficient. Certainly there are deficiencies, and there are not hard to find. But our activity and organization should not be disregarded. If we have managed to evade the threat of war, not as an escape, -2-
but as an active political dispute against the Serbian rule, as an organization outside the system imposed by Serbia, and despite it we have achieved this political unity and organization of the independent life, while Serbs managed to create the parallel life in Kosova, as we have it, with all its deficiencies, all of these were not done without our organization, without real sacrifice. But, we can say that we have not achieved our purpose, we are far from it. Yes, that is true, but it is also true that our purpose doesn't depend only on the organization and our activity, although these may be the most important activities. We have peoples surrounding us that have fought and even sacrificed much more. Could it be said that they achieved their goals? I believe that in this phase, it was indispensable to express our disagreement with the Serbian rule. We have made this completely clear. And, we keep the Kosovan question open. We have managed to do so. These are not enough, but this shouldn't be ignored. KOHA: But you didn't answer our question, about the dissonant tones between the LDK and the government? AGANI: Not answering is an answer! But it is not a matter of different evaluations of the LDK and the government. These evaluations, as you say, are mainly an expression of discontent, not that groundless. There are quite even among the LDK. The difference maybe is that here you can tell anyone: thanks for your constructive suggestion, or: go ahead, if you can make it better! Our colleagues from the government happen to be a bit faraway! KOHA: The premier calls the intents for institutionalization rubbish and slogans. Is it true that this process is stagnation? AGANI: I would rather skip this issue, for I have already spoken out my mind about it. I would evade this tone of conversation. But, since you are insisting, I would say that the institutions that were created have an important function in disputing the legality of the corresponding institutions of Serbia and in proving the continuity of Kosova's independence. These are institutions of discord with the Serbian occupation and its institutions. Secondly, the main function of these institutions would be implementing their tasks in practice. All know that in conditions under occupation we are not pretending to have a full system or have all institutions function fully. Nevertheless, we have achieved this institutional -3-
organization that we have and, through these institutions, we have managed to legitimize the representation of our political interests. I believe that this is very important in this phase. Just look at the attempts of Serbia to ignore or deny this fact. It's often statements that it will not accept the conversations with separatists, it's attempts to find other partners for conversations and to take advantage of an eventual split in order to assure it's rule on these grounds. And, look at the mature and dignifying answer of Albanians as individuals or groups; we have a legal and legitimate representation which is forcing Serbia to accept the conversations, at least declaratively, with the separatists. This achievement of ours is perceived quite seriously by the other states. It is too much to say that the Government is one of our most important institutions. But, the stagnation in their development has caused the weakness in their functioning. Nevertheless, a good part of the life in Kosova is lead by our independent institutions. KOHA: You are accused of not showing much interest in constituting the parliament. Where does the reason for it's non constitution rely on, and will this reflect on your electorate - for you promised it that the institutionalization of life in Kosova will take place? AGANI: It is not an accusation. There is no space for any accusation. But there are different opinions about the constitution of the parliament. Serbia, as we know, although it didn't allow the celebration of the elections in Kosova, it didn't ban them either, but launched a serious threat about the constitution of the parliament. There were opinions that the parliament should be constituted, despite the threats coming from Serbia. This was the opinion of the majority of the elected MPs. According to another opinion, there was no need to endanger the lives of the MPs, knowing that the parliament would have it quite difficult to convene again. This was the reason why the parliament was never constituted and it is very hard to say what would have been the best. In regard to the second part of your question, when the time of the new elections comes, the voters will know of the non-constitution of the parliament and the reasons for that, and they will vote as they wish. But, let's leave these new elections aside, they are not that close. In the phase in which we are now, in the phase of just conversations on Kosova's status, the constitution of the parliament would strengthen our position. Even though the fourth anniversary of the '92 elections is getting closer, the mandate of the parliament would be extended, as determined in almost all constitutions, until the conditions are created for the -4-
normal functioning of the parliament. KOHA: Last year it was promised that Kosova's problem will be in the peaceful processes on the Former Yugoslavia. Why was these doses of optimism repeated throughout the year when there were no grounds for it? AGANI: The promises, as you say, that Kosova's problem will be part of the peaceful processes on the former Yugoslavia were not an ungrounded declaration. We were told this by the official representatives of the states that determine the current international development, but being in the peace process doesn't mean being at the top of this process. Christopher's statement, in his last meeting with Dr. Rugova that now, after Dayton, Kosova will be at the top of the international agenda fully confirms our statements. KOHA: But their posture about Kosova's status is important. In this aspect, Rugova's and Berisha's messages for the New Year were quite different. What is the truth about Kosova here? AGANI: I don't see these messages or the postures in general as confronted or distant. Kosova declared itself in favor of independence and this is Rugova's and almost all of Kosova's posture. But, there is the opinion that since the process of independence is a long one, it would be maybe better to start the conversations starting from the request to reinstall the autonomy Kosova used to have. This will be the starting point. The ones who know what kind of autonomy Kosova had in the former Yugoslavia and who know of the newly created conditions, have it clear that despite the good wishes, autonomy is not a solution - it can be only an imposition, while the old autonomy can't be reinstalled. KOHA: Kosova was not present in Dayton, Paris or London. How can you justify the policy of your party after the promises made that Kosova will be there - and the promises remain unfulfilled? AGANI: According to the information and the explanations that we received, the American initiative for the solution of the unsolved problems in the former Yugoslavia aimed at, in the first phase, the solution of Bosnia's problem and possibly Croatia's too. These two problems were the reasons for the celebration of Dayton, London, Paris, Bonn - which were meetings for the concretization of the -5-
solutions of these problems. Therefore, the pathetic disappointment about our non-presence in Dayton, London or Paris, seems absurd to me. We have to be there where Kosova is discussed. And there is no reason why should Tudjman, Izetbegovic or even Milosevic discuss about Kosova. Kosova should be discussed among the interested parties having the legitimate representatives of Kosova on the Albanian side. Therefore, there are no unfulfilled promises, but this is our general effort which seems to enter its final phase. KOHA: The first thing that is expecting you this year are the Albanian-Serb negotiations. Several countries volunteer for mediators. Do you think that before entering the negotiations the parliament should be constituted? AGANI: As I just said, the constitution of the parliament would strengthen our negotiating position. And, it would make the legality of our demands clearer and more convincing. KOHA: At the end of last year, Dr. Rugova had important visits to the USA and Germany. What is the message of these conversations and are there any chances for the USA to mediate in the Albanian-Serb negotiations? AGANI: You are right to qualify these meetings as very important, and these confirmed the interest of such important countries and the international community on Kosova, their determination to get involved in finding a solution for Kosova and hasten the process. There are grounds to hope that the USA, in cooperation with the European countries will accept to mediate, or rather, take the initiative to find a solution for Kosova. KOHA: Are there any requests from other states to start negotiations without any due preparations or prepared platforms? AGANI: I think this question is not worded well. Many countries wish, and this is our interest, to start the conversations as soon as possible. The preparations and the platform are supposed to be done. If you ask me whether this supposition is correct, in our concrete case, it would be very hard for me to answer. Anyhow, our orientation is clear and so are the arguments to our demands. It would be nice if the flow of the negotiating process and all possible problems that would arise could be foreseen. Many preparations should be made in this direction, but -6-
one can never say that the preparations are final and sufficient. KOHA: Rumors say that there were concrete initiatives for conversations. What is Kosova's position in these conversations having in mind that there are suggestions for an autonomy and republic within a new federation? AGANI: There were a couple of initiatives, but, as it is known, the request for taking the initiative was sent to the USA. I believe that so far we have achieved that the conversations take place with the international mediation and without any conditions. regardless of what someone thinks or asks, the starting point and our main request will be the independence of Kosova. KOHA: How do you explain the insisting on solving Kosova's issue based on the ethnic model, and where is the difference between this and other places which it is often compared to, as Tirol, for example? AGANI: The request for the independence of Kosova is grounded on the ethnic majority. 90% of Kosova's population is Albanian and it is really unnatural to have Kosova in Serbia and Yugoslavia. Therefore, the ethnic principle suits us. Our demand is based on the referendum and other forms of declaration. It is also grounded on the political and constitutional position of Kosova in the former Yugoslavia as a constituent, a criteria which served as ground for the independence of the former Yugoslav republics. Our case differs from all others and really there is no sample which can be applied in this concrete case. KOHA: Some countries have stated the FRY will be recognized by midst 1996. Isn't this a short period of time to negotiate such a delicate problem as Kosova? AGANI: Yes, There are states which claim that Yugoslavia can return to the OSCE or some other international body at that time. But there are also so many authoritative statements which claim that Yugoslavia can't come back to any body without solving Kosova's problem. And this implies an agreement reached with Albanians or without accepting a solution which would be acceptable for the international community. Five-six months is just a very short period for any negotiations, but it will depend a lot on the intensity of the engagement of the international factors. KOHA: Almost all states declare that they still have no -7-
platform or model for Kosova. Isn't this a reason for Kosova to become a problem which requires maximal seriousness? AGANI: The contacts with the representatives of different countries the impression produced is that the issue has not reached any concretization. This happens because the international factors were too much preoccupied with Bosnia, but also from the very high starting points of the parties in conflict which make the projection of the solution quite difficult. I even believe there is insufficient consciousness about the complexity of the whole issue. Anyhow, when this issue is approached seriously, then the solution will be found. KOHA: We have recently heard Demaçi's pronouncement about his engagement in politics. What would his help in this situation be? AGANI: Demaçi is engaged in politics and this can be sensed. Any form of his new and more intensive engagement would be strengthening the joint liberation efforts of the Albanians.
KOSOVA ENTERING THE DARK TUNNEL by ASTRIT SALIHU / Prishtina There have been many rumors circulating lately about the establishment of non-formal contacts between the Albanian and Serbian parties for the beginning of the Albanian-Serb dialogue. The previous initiatives of Nova Demokratija which were verified and made public, came out to be unsuccessful. It seems that the initiative, this time, is not coming from an opposition association or subject, but from much more important decision-making centers. In the informed Belgrade circles, it is said that these conversations are in a way a direct initiative of the Serbian president who wants to come out with a concrete step towards an ever more serious Serbian problem called Kosova, before the congress of the Socialists starts by March this year. In the political circles in Belgrade there are also affirmations about Milosevic's cooperativeness with the Americans when it regards Kosova and that "he has promised that conversations will start by the end of February, under the condition that Holbrooke doesn't -8-
become the mediator". Therefore, it seems that there is another instance standing behind. The American, which has started pressuring both sides to start the dialogue. Will the dialogue for the solution of Kosova's problem start, or will it be only about some aspects of the problem, as are information, healthcare and education, still remains to be seen. Reliable political sources in Prishtina tell us that consultations of our representatives about dialogue which is expected the begin, have been taking place. Even, still according to these sources, these preparations have started since the American initiative. The sources claim that the first signal for the preparation came in the recent meeting of Dr. Rugova with the first secretary of the American Embassy, Elizabeth Bonkowsky. The secretary of the embassy is not an important ring in the chain in the process of the establishment of the dialogue on Kosova's issue but rather can be considered as a transmitter of the signals that come from the State Department. This speaks of the direct evolvement of the Americans in the possible conversations which can be developed about Kosova's question. In his last press conference, president Rugova said that "we wish Richard Holbrooke takes over the mediation". Holbrooke, on the other hand, when referring to the opening of the USIS office in Prishtina said that "The US doesn't support the secession and independence of Kosova". This more or less gives the complete features of the Albanians-Serb dialogue which is expected to begin, and in which Holbrooke is desired as a mediator. Wishing for Holbrooke or the American involvement also implies playing the game by their rules, and this as stated in public, is autonomy. This should not be only a game of words. Everything will start to be finished within the frame of the autonomy, and this is contrary to all of what is being told to us by the LDK. But, there is another aspect which should be discussed regarding dialogue before anything. Who will be involved in these conversations, who will they talk with, what Albanian political subject will take the responsibility of getting into the conversations? According to what can be seen and according to other sources, it seems that these conversations will be conducted by the LDK. Thus, these conversations will not include a large number of experts on our political issues, which will weaken their position. At the LDK, we were told that they will include the parliamentarian groups and commissions in the conversations about concrete issues as education or healthcare, if these groups or commissions exist. -9-
Adem Demaçi's last interview in "Telegraf" and his last meeting with Rugova enrich the mosaic which has to be assembled from these circulating rumors. Demaçi promises his direct involvement in politics and even Rugova's replacement if necessary. This will make Rugova and the ones he chooses enter the dialogue in a slippery field, a terrain which has other options, a terrain with an alternative. But all of these say more than the first sight impression. If the preparations for the conversations have started now, five years after the unanimous call for dialogue, then our politics is full of improvisations. This means that the experts' teams have not been prepared in the past five years in which we waited for the dialogue, as if a miracle were expected. And the other distressing question is: what if conversations start on grounds of improvisations? Now, if they have eventually started, they are not favoring Albanians, but will end who knows how if our teams which represent us in the conversations, are being formed and preparing themselves now. Our representatives would then enter a dark tunnel whose end can't be seen.
INTERVIEW BAJRAM KOSUMI, Chairman of the Parliamentarian Party of Kosova WE MUST MOVE ON Interviewed by DUKAGJIN GORANI / Prishtina KOHA: There is no doubt that the Parliamentarian Party last year... KOSUMI: I believe that after long consultations and quite a number of meetings we managed to reach and agreement. The intention is to realistically analyze the situation in Kosova on January 15. A special attention will be dedicated to the Albanian political subject and its work so far. I hope that joint conclusions will come out from these consultations - a reconfirmation of political and strategic concepts. Giving it a big attention, we believe that the main issue to be discussed should be the political unity in the decisive moments for Kosova's fate. KOHA: Taking into account the end of war in Bosnia, it is said that 1996 is decisive for the solution of Kosova's - 10 -
problem. It is expected that conversations should start soon... KOSUMI: There were rumors and talks in the couloirs about these "negotiations" also in 1992. The truth is that the signals now are stronger, after the end of the conflict in Bosnia, the terrain is being prepared for the solution of Kosova's problem. So far, the Albanian side has always showed it's interest to solve the problem by conversations which would suit both sides. What has recently been noticed as the interest of Serbia to start conversations about Kosova, is only unilateral, for Serbia continues sticking to the prejudgments and conditions before even starting to talk. Such conversations can't be successful. There is also a big chance for the so much expected negotiations to never come. This is where the issue of the international decision-making centers comes, of their posture towards Kosova. It is very important, for their presence in the actual relationship between Serbia and Kosova is more than necessary. KOHA: Based on statements coming from the West, independence doesn't seem to be on the agenda... KOSUMI: Four or five years earlier, Kosova had a much more favorable position among the international decisionmaking centers. I believe that lately the position of Albanians has found itself in a crisis and that it is deteriorating ever more. This was obvious in the case of the Albanians in Macedonia, who didn't manage to achieve their political goals in this phase. In Kosova, in the best of the cases, these centers offer solutions which I believe are offending and unacceptable. Peace in Kosova means peace in the Balkans. And, because of this, Albanians can't accept any solution which implies the sovereignty of Serbia on Kosova. Such a solution would force the parties to start mutual disputes which would easily lead to a war. This is the main reason why Albanians can't accept a solution suggested to them by the international decision-making centers. Albanians have grown up as a people, they have developed their own identity and can't accept to be under the dictate of another state. KOHA: Is 1996 a year of compromises? KOSUMI: Yes, but I would approach this issue from another direction. During the past five years, the Albanian political subject was depending exclusively on the postures of the above decision-making centers. The whole strategy - 11 -
and activity turned into a logic of expectation on "what will happen..." in the Geneva, London or Paris conferences. This was one of its biggest weaknesses. During this time, the whole internal Albanian political potential was ignored and marginalized. KOHA: The political topography changed, but in the past five years we showed to be faithful to our initial principle "passive resistance". It seems that this faithfulness is rather a justification for the "incapability", if the new situation demands "new approaches"? KOSUMI: This logic of waiting has converted the Albanians into subjects that doubt of their force and that are not capable of creating political realities, but rather only objects of bargaining. Albanians tend to believe that all the rest should think of their fate, but that they themselves can't do anything to change it, linking it to the decisions made by the "West" or Belgrade, but not to its energy or potential. I don't believe that a political concept can be fixed in politics - without knowing the real force standing behind. We have, even before, declared that the national global policy should be created, that we should identify a force which will be capable of getting engaged and be articulated right now. Only then could we prejudge other solutions. The idea about independence didn't appear five years ago, it appeared long time ago. Nevertheless, the problem now is the following: no international center can prejudge this or that solution for Kosova, since the Albanian political factor has not appeared and showed it's real force nor has it shown it's determination about how far can it go in the realization of its freedom. I believe that this is the right moment for it to discuss the present form of our organization and try to find new ways to organize our resistance. I believe that this is the moment in which our movement must understand the need to move on. Whatever was achieved so far was a result of the internal organization of the Albanian political subject - and not so much a result of external impositions. Nevertheless, I would understand this as a framework which is slowly closing down, as an ending chapter. We are facing the moment of the opening of a new chapter, of finding new ways of organization which make the internal potential arise and which would successfully impose the just solution. KOHA: Maybe this peaceful resistance has reached its expiration date?
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KOSUMI: Because of the weaknesses I mentioned, the concept of passive resistance is too extensive. The present resistance meant only the silent denial of the Serb sovereignty in Kosova. On the other hand, the peaceful resistance includes a series of different forms of opposition: first of all the vitalization of the institutions in Kosova- the constitution of the parliament, the return of the Government to Kosova, the activation of different forms of resistance through protests, demonstrations throughout the whole Albanians space. KOHA: The belief in the past five years was that the West and the "internationalization of the truth on Kosova" would bring wellbeing... KOSUMI: We still have the illusions that the issue of Kosova is well-known outside our borders. This is a huge untruth. I don't doubt that there are external experts that follow up on the situation in Kosova, however the diplomacy and the international centers are not well acquainted with all the problems related to Kosova. We are still way behind. The Serbian diplomacy managed to fool the international diplomacy with false data. Albanian diplomacy and science didn't manage to deny the Serbian anti-historical posture even with the truth at its disposition. KOHA: Maybe it is not important what is said, but when and were is that said? And whom to? KOSUMI: I agree. The truth is the most important factor, but it really depends where, when and to whom do you tell this truth to... KOHA: There are indicators that there will be no time for any of our political "opulence": rhetoric, lack of determination... KOSUMI: I don't tend to believe that this will be the decisive year and that our issue will be solved in it... I believe that this year will be decisive only for the Albanian political subject - its future fate. Albanians in Kosova are dissatisfied with the political flows and the work achieved. I don't believe it is disappointed in the political movement for liberation, but with the methods applied by the political leadership to achieve this. This feeling of discontent should not continue. We must move on. If we don't do that now, then the Albanian political subject will split dangerously and this would create even more favorable conditions for the Serbian repressive policy.
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KOHA: And the premier of Kosova declares that "...even the '74 constitution is hard to achieve..." KOSUMI: I don't believe I am competent to comment Bukoshi's statement. The truth is that Serbia wants to remove Kosova from the agenda. I am sure of this because the conflict between Serbia and Kosova reached a very high level of intolerance where coexistence is very hard to achieve. Serbia would always try to destroy the autonomy of Kosova, so often mentioned nowadays. I believe that the majority of Albanians would go for independence and will not give up on it. In this case, the Albanian political subject should know that the articulation of the idea does not mean its realization too. I don't believe that Albanians as a people would accept a solution other than the one which implies independence. As a party we will oppose any proposal that is not independence. KOHA: Maybe the western centers will not find it difficult to promote "a group of reasonable Albanian politicians" as they did six years ago. Taking into account the huge faith of the people towards the West, something of the kind could even function... KOSUMI: "The people are tired", they say. I believe this is true. But I also believe that this will be the reason that they will sacrifice themselves for their freedom. Second, Serbia has always tried to find suitable counterparts, and I believe it failed. I don't believe that it will achieve this even with the help of the international community, because if the Albanian political subject moves on, then the international factor would give up on trying to find other solutions. The ones who have political doubts today, must know the damage they could cause by playing with quasipolitical concepts behind the people's backs. KOHA: The growing weaknesses threat with failures... KOSUMI: The weaknesses inside the Albanian political subject have increased so much that they have caused the identity crisis of the political movement. Nevertheless, I don't think that something has failed in the Albanian politics. The crisis has been sensed in the past two years, but nothing has failed. A political method which produced results has ended because in new circumstances it can't be successful. We must give up on the methods and not the period, as one can hear from the creators of this policy: - 14 -
there you have Mehmet Kraja's book, "The Lost Years"... I don't think we should give up on these five years, nor should we interrupt the continuance as we did in 1990. We just must give up on the present political methods and pass onto new advanced forms. It must not be forgotten that this Albanian political subject has made a serious mistake by extremely making the forms of people's resistance between 1981 and 1989 passive. This has been very harmful. Thus, this mistake shouldn't be repeated, because in this way we will go back to the historical zero. If any of the politicians sees no way out, then there are others that do see it. The main problem still remains to be the Albanian political subject of Kosova: will it be able to understand the political moment, to give up on this form of leading the peaceful resistance. KOHA: In other words, nothing has failed, yet... KOSUMI: Exactly. This is why we insist so much to move on. Nothing has failed, but refusing to change the working method will be our biggest failure! If this is not understood then our fate will be much more difficult than so far. It is better for us to allow these energies to come to the surface than allow Serbia and the "international" centers understand that we can accept a sort of a solution, creating the Serbian illusion that Kosova can still be kept under occupation and the international illusion that a compromise solution could be achieved. It would be something very serious for Albanians because it could lead towards war. Again. I am deeply convinced that Kosova's fate depends the most on the internal Albanian factor. The international factor tends to find other solutions, but not the just ones. Secondly, it is willing to accept political realities which are imposed... KOHA: ...As in the case of Bosnia... KOSUMI: Yes. This is why the political fate of the Albanians depends on the Albanians themselves. If the seriousness of the situation is reflectively understood, then there is no doubt that the ultimate goal will be accomplished. If not, then the existing political leadership should be marginalized. KOHA: It is hard to see that these changes would go - 15 -
through without internal implosions. These past five years have created strong bureaucratic mechanisms inside the political movement. KOSUMI: Giving up on the present method is essential. This is the main problem which holds a series of other problems inside the Albanian political subject. Unfortunately, no democratic relations were created inside the Albanian political subject. Leaving aside what today is known as "the political monopoly of the LDK" or the "lack of coordination of the activities of the political parties" - we haven't created the decision-making center. For the time being, there is no mechanism in Kosova that would decide about our fate. This situation has allowed the creation of clans, sects, etc... And wherever there are clans, there are divisions and dispersions. Something of the kind is present, in the past two years, within the majority of our subjects. I don't believe that political pluralism has been understood correctly in Kosova, as freedom of political expression and convictions, but it is rather seen as a minor illness, as political atavism. Naturally, all of this resulted with the division and dispersion of the mental potential when 15-16 political parties were created and when this potential (small anyway) almost totally dispersed. The majority of the parties aim at becoming decision-making centers, but none of them has the potential to strongly influence the Albanian movement. KOHA: Adem Demaçi announced his political engagement and this was the news... KOSUMI: Personally I support Demaçi's step and I believe that this will be very important for Albanians. I tend to believe that Demaçi understood that the key moment for the Albanians - to move on - had come, much sooner than the political parties. KOHA: In May expires the mandate of the non-constituted parliament. What can you say about the free multi-party elections and their (non)celebration? KOSUMI: Finding a solution for the constitution of the parliament of Kosova is one of the first things to do. I am sure that it can be constituted today. If something of the kind doesn't take place, then the MPs who were elected there are being manipulated with. In regard to the free elections... I find it hard to express myself. From this - 16 -
position, something of the kind really looks bizarre....
MACEDONIA HOW TO MAKE SWITZERLAND OUT OF MACEDONIA by SELADIN XHEZAIRI / Shkup The chairman of the Working Group on Ethnic, National Communities and Minority Issues of the ICFY, ambassador Gert Arens, again remained in Shkup last week. Firstly, he had dinner with a delegation of the LDK where - as claimed - the conversation was centered on the reactivation of the Special Group on Kosova within the ICFY, although the chances of ICFY's end by the end of this month are really big. Later, Arens talked with Macedonian officials and representatives of Albanian political parties. The meeting ended with a "common language" to continue the efforts, and was crowned with the inauguration of the TV studio for minorities/nationalities in the Macedonian TV. In the solemnity organized on this occasion, Arens proved that in his 42 months long wandering on these lands resulted with his learning of Macedonian (besides Serbo-Croatian): "the expansion of the programs in the languages of the nationalities is an important contribution for the peaceful coexistence in Macedonia which is an example for the less happy states in the region. I am convinced that the existing problems, outside the media, will be solved, as so far, in the air of tolerance" - said Gert Arens in fluent Macedonian. Another guest spoke of the inter-ethnic relations and their importance, the Swiss ambassador in Macedonia, Gaudene Ruud, whose government along with the government of Denmark financed the realization of this project: "The fact that Switzerland supported this project shouldn't be a surprise. As you know, my country is a champion in minority issues. In this confederation there are 26 cantons with four languages, and some of the cantons use several languages. We have three independent TV stations. This is why Switzerland understands the need of the minorities for more programs. We all agree that the structure of the minority issues here differs from that in Switzerland. The configuration in Switzerland is not as in your country, but there are again, mutual needs: it is an important - 17 -
principle - the fact that if you wish to have a calm coexistence each one of us should feel as in one's own home. And to be so, it first implies speaking your own language. I hope that this studio will help the people to even more feel at home. There is also another fact: to live in a state doesn't mean that one should continue the old way. The state is a joint enterprise and, of there are different groups then they should aim at integration. Perceived from this angle, I hope that the expansion of the programs of the minorities doesn't imply a step towards separation. Possessing all these programs and different languages should be understood as a cultural enrichment for all, and all cultures and languages must be under the same roof" - concluded his lecture the Swiss diplomat. On the other hand, MTV's director, Saso Ordanovski, announced that vacant posts will be advertised for the needs of the programs of the nationalities (including the Albanian editorial board), and that as of next week the program scheme of the nationalities will expand: the Albanian program will increase to three hours, the Turkish to one hour and a half while the programs in the Rhoma, Vlah and Serbian languages will be broadcasted twice a week, 30 minutes each.
MACEDONIA CONFUSION by ISO RUSI / Shkup According to the strange traditions of these lands, the New Year's was a good opportunity for interviews and statements of leading politicians. By the end of December, in a statement published in "Nova Makedonija", President Gligorov announced his return to office. This announcement was preceded by many encounters with many personalities which denied the speculations about the consequences of the attempt. Gligorov's comeback to politics should confirm the ascertainment about the normal functioning of the country during his absence. But, some details appearing in the interviews, especially that of Premier Crvenkovski and Speaker Stojan Andov, speak of the further cracks in the League for Macedonia, in an open conflict between the Social-Democratic League and the Liberal Party, the strongest members of the ruling coalition. The premier, first of all, confirmed the rumors about this - 18 -
in a statement delivered by Radio Skopje by saying that the coalition is open towards all, and that whoever wishes to leave is welcome to do it, in order to become harsher about the Liberals' participation in the government, first in "Vecer" and later in "Puls". An unsigned article in the supplement "Liberal" published by "Nova Makedonija" once a month, confirmed the conflict. Finally, in the last issue of "Puls", the Minister of Interior Lubomir Frckovski published an article explaining why was he personally in favor of the Liberals' departure from the coalition. In all of this, the attempt against Gligorov's life and its background clearly play an important role, and it is clear that they are expecting Gligorov to take sides. But, let's go by order: According to the premier, the League for Macedonia won the elections convincingly, and that it would have won them anyway, even if some parties wouldn't have given up on the second round, but, according to him, "this convincing victory, in the lack of a strong parliamentarian opposition as if created...a false feeling of security and comfort which creates the atmosphere of "court games" in the attempt of gaining some starting positions in some future elections". Crvenkovski is explicit also in regard to the roots of the conflict: "The approach the Liberals have shown immediately after the elections is a precedent in the parliamentarian practice, in other words, it is hard to find a similar example in which someone wishes to have influence but at the same time wishes not to have any responsibility. Four members of the Liberal Party function in the Government, three of them lead exclusively important sections, two of them being vice-chairmen of the party, but even despite this, the Liberal Party didn't vote for the government and always repeated that it officially didn't participate in the Government at the level of parties but participates in it at the level of personalities... We believe that this is another "children's illness" of the Liberals, but since this has been lasting over a year now, it is about time for the Liberals to choose whether they become a serious member of the coalition and of the League for Macedonia and respect all the rules coming from it, or become a parliamentarian opposition". Crvenkovski considers that the problem of the mutual relations relies on "whether the Liberal Party will accept the results of the democratically expressed will of the citizens in a concrete relation of political forces, the political influence and strength, which can even be quantified in numbers of MPs. This relation of political forces, regardless of whether someone likes it or not, can - 19 -
simply change in the next elections, and not with any false combinations or tactic manoeuvres". The premier involves the attempt against Gligorov in this conflict: "It was against all basic rules to legalize the combinations about his possible replacement in new presidential elections, of the new political relations and even the new parliamentarian elections, which would create a new legislation and executive government. As the recuperation of the president was becoming evident, thus the "trumpets for retrieval" started playing. I must say that it was interesting to follow from the distance the frequent presentations in a short period of time". The Liberal Party's newspaper, "Liberal" published an unsigned article called "Manipulators and Manipulations" in which it is once again insisted that there is nothing new in the investigations on the attempt against Gligorov, confirming that someone is purposely stopping the investigations. It is known that the opponents of the Liberals, as well as the Minister of Interior proper, linked the famous economic-financial group to the companies led by directors who are Liberals. The newspaper says: "Quicker than expected, the truth about the affair called "Multigrup" will be uncovered. As if it were certain that this affair will be proven to be an inflated balloon (a true one this time), as a premeditated scenario to lead towards the wrong clues. But then the question will arise whether the minister who ordered the investigations against "Multigrup" did it because he had nothing else to offer, and just because he wanted to save himself? Did he invent the whole affair? In an article published in "Puls", minister Frckovski analyzes the Liberals as "a phenomenon", qualifying them as a misproduct of Macedonia's transition towards democracy. "The political scene, in fact, is richer will a characteristic combination of the lack of political postures, which are shown as the "position"; the lack of political identification; active rhetoric which should definitively cover the gap, the known result of the human material adequate to the mentioned "qualities", in one word, a phenomenon of the "empty space" in politics, which because of the circumstances, becomes part of the political forces. According to Frckovski, the profile of the Liberals is true, "really known"; the support of some orientations of the Macedonian policy, but at the same time the profitable use of its "experts" in the government, and if possible to withdraw, acting as opposition to the existing government... The optimism of the leaders of the Liberal - 20 -
Party hoping that this will be easily swallowed by the Macedonian electorate is really surprising. On the other hand, the hatred and the rude way in which the leaders of this party try to theorize about this political farce is really annoying and offending". Frckovski mentions four reasons for this, or as he calls them "contamination points" which should lead to the "interruption of any infectious connections in the ruling coalition": the affirmation and the expansion of the political "moral" which should serve for ruling, while the others hold the responsibility for it; this practice has infectious influence on the weak layer of the Social-Democratic League of Macedonia, characteristic and similar to the Liberals, which the Liberals unsuccessfully count on; the political position of "the Liberals, in the inter-ethnic relations, is maybe a reflex of the lack of fame and playing VMROs' strong position in a situation of lack of consequences in the parliament, and finally, Liberals don't have a "base"; the Liberals are the transmitters of the anonymous impulses of the "base", creating the image of permanent tremors, the non-existence and the changes in the lobbying directions. On the other hand, taking into account the "base" of the Liberal Party, there is a serious threat to identify a constant of "lobbying" in the direction of the northern neighbor. This (if successful) would be achieved with the so called "regionalization" of the Republic of Macedonia, regardless of the rhetoric Europeization". Frckovski considers that the electoral bounds between the Social-Democrats and the Liberals should be broken, first of all, because of the basic sincerity of democratic procedure: if it is a political posture then we should go towards a coalition with the PPD and the whole responsibility should be taken because of this, for this posture is in no way similar to the need for a coalition with the Liberal Party". After all what has been said, keeping this make-up coalition becomes unrealistic. The reason, the attempt against Gligorov and the opposite opinions about the investigations and the instigator, bring Gligorov before a very delicate situation. It is clear that his young disciples decided to sort out differences with the Liberals, at the same time accusing the Liberals for being behind the plot. The Liberals, nevertheless, insist on the responsibility of the Minister of Interior in the period during and after the attempt, by increasing the pressure knowing that Frckovski's eventual departure will weaken the position of the premier. It is again expected that the final word will come from Gligorov, who wishes to preserve the League - 21 -
for Macedonia as it is. What is new is the impression that the premier and his closest ministers are fighting this war with the Liberals even without Gligorov's support.
ECONOMY EVERYTHING IS CORRUPT by IBRAHIM REXHEPI / Prishtina The state, whatever the name of that in this territory called Kosova, has always had the monopoly on tobacco. It still keeps this right, with some small changes. The monopoly is in the hands of the individuals, which are connected to the statal organs of Serbia and Montenegro and who do the job for individual reasons. It is true that cigarettes of the "extra" category enter Kosova through Peja. The connection is in Montenegro. In order to do the business, there are "reliable" people who have divided their territory of action and who are mainly in engaged in the governmental organs. The price is ten percent of the value of the goods. All take their share, and there is enough for all, for the profit is huge. Any Albanian attorney to whom you speak about corruption will mention a series of names, mainly Albanians, who do the job for a high price. This is not a payment regulated by law, but it is a matter of individual agreements or even mediation. If the passport was confiscated because of an Albanian seal-stamp, then one should pay 1.000 or even 1.500 DEM, and get the document back without any problems. The same thing happens when the weapons are confiscated. The price depends on the calibre. If the whole thing goes through judicial procedure, the money which was not given to the police will be given to the judge, who keeps a list of Serb attorneys who can be engaged as "defending lawyers". This makes the tariff ten times higher than the regular price-list of the attorneys, and the sentence can be eventually reduced. Instead of getting six months, one could get three months, instead of the urgent procedure, which implies imprisonment, defense in freedom is allowed... The corruption in the health-care institutions, i.e. the occupied clinics of the Faculty of Medicine in Prishtina has been "legalized". It is only a matter of conscience how much will a specialist - 22 -
charge. This modus operandi is legal, i.e., it is known to the persecution organs which don't react to it, because corruption is not a rare phenomenon. Officially, the public was informed about the corruption in the state Clinics. This happened some days before New Year, when Sukrija Hodza got arrested. He was stalling the operation of a patient, because the latter didn't want to pay. After so many days, the patient finally gives up and decides to pay, but not before he tells the police. The moment this doctor took the money, appeared the inspector who checked the reported serial numbers of the banknotes with the ones in the doctor's possession. He was arrested, but released quite soon. If it weren't for the corruption, what happened in the Neuropsychiatric Clinic in Prishtina, could be seen as a dangerous joke. The patient had nothing else to give the doctor but a hand-grenade. The doctor took it and the inspectors found him playing with it. The mentioned cases only illustrate the fact known to everyone, and no one wishes to testify about, that corruption has spread all over the organization of the Serbian state in Kosova. Knowing how all of these take place, it could be even said that it has become legal. There are differences in the prices and the techniques. For example, the courts have their "liaisons". The fact that a judge has the calling cards of the Serb attorneys tell you that he is willing to take money. Some Albanian attorneys even complain that they have nothing to do, because the "ones more suitable for such arrangements are being engaged". The truth is that Albanians are approaching the Serbian attorneys without hesitation, especially those who used to hold important posts in the past. This type of work is also present in private business. A member of the management of a large private enterprise in Prishtina says that "our relations with the financial police are OK. We have a man, he works and we pay him a price defined previously". This is not new, because these people have to be everywhere where the goods or the money circulates, including producers, the road, customs, inspections and financial police. According to the previous statements of the Serbian businessmen, "international observers played the game too", referring to the period of the sanctions. Whose fault is it: of the one who gives the money or a "token of appreciation", or the one who takes the money - 23 -
or the token? It is absurd to try and find one individual to blame. The higher the official post, the higher the price. Therefore, we are referring to a corrupt state, because not even the lowest official will do the job he is paid for if he is not "promised at least a beer". The whole system in Serbia and Montenegro is unstable, therefore the people are fearing tomorrow. We take only the example of the Serbian doctors from Kosova or who have come from elsewhere. They are conscious that tomorrow or the day after they can lose the present position. This is why they are taking the advantage of gaining as much as possible, even with corruption, because they know that nothing will happen to them, legally. When the affair of the sale of blood burst in the Institute for Blood Transfusion, the employees, Serbs, accused their Serb director that he was doing it for his personal gain. "He has come from Nis, he hasn't finished his house and private practice, and he needs the money". The impression is that Kosova should serve as "temporary employment", same as Germany, therefore the profit should be the same. And since the state can't cover the expenses, then they are covered by individuals, mainly Albanians. It is characteristic that none of the rooms in the hospitals are emptied at once, regardless of the condition of the patients. The continuity should be kept. The "veterans" should teach the rules of the game to the new patients. Dr. Hodza's arrest should be perceived from another angle, of the relations in the clinic he works in. His colleagues claim that he has tried to operate all the patients, and that some of them never could get into the surgery room. He declared openly: "I am growing old, I will soon retire, and I must have money". He didn't allow the others play his game. Or, maybe other explanations could be given. For example, the Serbian government tries to identify itself with the struggle against corruption, as Milosevic demanded. Or maybe Hodza has been used too much as "member of another nationality" and time has come for him to go... It would be unjust to say that only Serbs can be bribed easily. It is evident today, because they are linked to the government and function under its protection. But there are also Albanians who tend to receive money and/or "tokens". These are mainly "liaisons" to the police, courts, statal organs and who usually work in silence. This connection could be proven only by the "needy"... the ones who pay.
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In the past, when the Albanians were holding power, there had been corruption too, but in much smaller dimensions, and all the activity was centered in the individual enterprise and not the governmental organ. The prices in private clinics can also be questioned, for it is not ceratin whether they are realistically determined or following the doctor's wish. If it is the second, then this too is a kind of corruption, for the patient pays as much as asked. It is understandable why this money doesn't circulate through the giro accounts, but it is not understandable to hear the doctors say: "Go to the Serbian clinics - the charge less". An anecdote of a Serbian surgeon could serve as a joke: "We are bigger patriots than the Albanian private doctors to the Albanians. For a surgical intervention I charge 100 DEM, while the Albanians charge five times more".
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