PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO DR. FATMIR SEJDIU’S SPEECH AT THE COMMEMORATION CEREMONY MARKING THE FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT IBRAHIM RUGOVA

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the death of the first statesman of Kosovo, the historic President Ibrahim Rugova. Every year, we have gathered like this to pay our highest tribute to his colossal life and deeds and to express our appreciation for His tremendous contribution to freedom, independence and democracy of our country, our beloved Kosovo.

Prishtinë, 21 January 2010

Honorable Rugova family,
Honorable Prime Minister Thaçi,
Honorable International Civilian Representative, Mr. Pieter Feith,
Honorable Head of EULEX Mission, Mr. Yves de Kermabon,
Honorable members of Parliament and ministers of Government of Republic of Kosovo,
Honorable KFOR leaders,
Honorable leaders of Kosovo Security Force and Kosovo Police,
Honorable Mayors and representatives of scientific, cultural and religious communities in Kosovo,
Honorable media representatives,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the death of the first statesman of Kosovo, the historic President Ibrahim Rugova. Every year, we have gathered like this to pay our highest tribute to his colossal life and deeds and to express our appreciation for His tremendous contribution to freedom, independence and democracy of our country, our beloved Kosovo.

Four years ago today, the people and institutions of Kosovo lost the Leader who has prudently and farsightedly led us during the most difficult period that not our country alone, but the entire region has gone through.

January 2006 was probably one of the frostiest in Kosovo. But neither the extremely cold weather, nor the low temperatures that constantly remained under 15°C could prevent the people from all around Kosovo from revealing, once again, their admiration for President Rugova. During the days of homage to President Rugova, the Mother Theresa Square was crowded with people of all age-groups. As never before in the history of Kosovo, the entire people, children and adults, had a single common destination – the Assembly of Kosovo, the place when the final tribute was being paid to President Rugova. That week will be remembered as the week of a New Good Faith Agreement between the people of Kosovo and President Rugova. However, the first Good Faith Agreement, which was never breached, dates back to the times when He took the leadership of the first democratic political entity in Kosovo, the Democratic League of Kosovo, which, in the course of time, developed into a great movement for freedom, independence and democracy.

While Kosovo was wearing the national mourning dress, words of condolence, appreciation and highest consideration for the brilliant intellectual, humanistic and political personality of Ibrahim Rugova were arriving from all around the world. Leaders of major world countries were expressing their respect for President Rugova. On this occasion as well, I would like to recall once again that when President Rugova departed from his life, President Bush himself declared that the United States of America had lost a true friend. No different were the words of appreciation uttered by President Bill Clinton, who, once he received the news on President Rugova’s demise, said, and I quote: “President Rugova has always impressed me with his devotion and passion for peace, freedom and a brighter future for his people”.

The European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Havier Solana, called the death of President Rugova “a cruel irony of history”, because “President Rugova departed from his life at the moment when he was most needed, at the moment when he was expected to contribute, as a leader, to the settlement of the future status of Kosovo”.

The virtues that have accompanied Ibrahim Rugova to eternity were endless, but the following seem to be the most noteworthy: the symbol for Kosovo and the Flag for Kosovo.

Honorable Rugova family,
Dear citizens of Republic of Kosovo,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Two years have passed since President Rugova’s vision for a sovereign, free and democratic Kosovo has become a reality. Republic of Kosovo was recognized by 65 countries around the world and we are engaging in earnest in increasing this number as soon as possible.

The recognition of the independent Republic of Kosovo is of a paramount importance to us. This has encountered an understanding among our friends, the United States of America, the vast majority of the European Union member countries and other countries worldwide, which have assisted us unhesitatingly in this process. Besides this, at the International Court of Justice recently, many countries have supported the legality of independence of Republic of Kosovo and its people’s right to living in freedom, by presenting sufficient arguments – which we have considered as irrefutable – in favor of Kosovo’s independence.

During these two years of its being an internationally recognized country, the Republic of Kosovo has proven that it is able to live independently, to ensure a commendable scale of democracy and to guarantee and safeguard the human rights and freedoms for each citizen, regardless of nationality or religion.

Despite obstacles and multiple challenges faced every step of the way, owing to its policy of neighborliness and to its willingness to foster good relations and cooperation with all the countries of the region, Kosovo has proven itself to be an important factor of peace and stability in the region and of region’s joint future in Europe. This political spirit has borne fruit. We have excellent relations with all our neighboring countries, with the exception of Serbia, who is remaining prone to its destructive policies in relation to Kosovo. Yet, once again, I call on Belgrade authorities to renounce the old mentality of dominance over others and to pave the way for a brighter future for our nations. 

In the meanwhile, day by day, our country has managed to gain ground as a country that deserves to be a member of the family of free nations and we will not stop until our mission is completely accomplished.

Honorable participants in the ceremony, 

I believe that those who have studied the work of Dr. Ibrahim Rugova have correctly found that the Thought and the Action were the two main nodes of Rugova’s life. I quote: “Even in pragmatic terms, Rugova is essentially a meditating politicologist. He is a leader and, hence, a creator, and ideologist. This is how he has created a cultural model. Rugova has created a political model which is deeply rooted in humanism and in the basics of a national idea prevailed by a fundamental objective – the independence of Kosovo.

Once a researcher, Rugova moved from poetics to politics. This shift implied advancement from ideas to actions. From poetics and literary criticism and research – in which field, together with his fellow thinkers and contemporaries, he has established the Prishtina School, which has for decades and is still sealing the meritorious studies in the field of Albanology – Ibrahim Rugova moved to political action and emerged as a an outstanding leader.

While in the field of Albanological studies Rugova was special because of his completely novel and non-conformist ideas, molded in the depths of his scientific knowledge and perfected by his drawing on the lessons learned from Roland Barthes, in the field of political engagement, Rugova was special because of his unimaginable prudence, which was proclaimed and applied as a national doctrine for the freedom and independence of Kosovo at the time when this part of the Southeast Europe had turned into an arena of wars that were being waged against and tragedies that were being suffered by the people who were unwanted to Milosevic and to his genocidal cast.  

I finally want to recall that Rugova was appreciated as an architect and icon of Kosovo’s independence and as a symbol with whom the youngest country in the word, the Republic of Kosovo, is identified.

Ibrahim Rugova, the creator of a cultural model in Kosovo, quickly became the greatest political figure of the modern history of Kosovo. Thus, to identify oneself with him is a value! And this is a value that we will protect and promote with commitment, acknowledgment and everlasting love. This is the least that all we can do for a man that the time has brought to us to lead Kosovo, for a man who has made an era in Kosovo!

Honorable participants,

As you well know, based on my responsibilities and competences vested in me by the Constitution and in my capacity as President of the Country, I have established the Golden Medal for Peace, Democracy and Humanism – Dr. Ibrahim Rugova. This medal is awarded to nationals and foreign citizens whose life deeds are found to constitute an exceptional contribution to building peace and to fostering democracy and humanism.

This year, for the first time, this medal will be awarded to the President of the Czech Republic, the distinguished erudite and statesman, Mr. Vaclav Havel. I invite the Czech Ambassador to Prishtina, Mrs. Janina Hrebickova, to climb the podium and receive the medal on behalf of President Havel, to whom we express our consideration for tremendous contribution that he has provided to freedom, democracy and humanism in his country and worldwide and whom we wish good health and good luck