The speech of the President of Republic of Kosovo, Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu, at the Commemoration Academy held in honour of Dr. Latif Berisha and Mr. Agim Hajrizi

I invite the family members to receive the medals and acknowledgments as a token of honour and permanent institutional commemoration that the Republic of Kosovo shall maintain for its best sons and daughters who have lived, worked and sacrificed for their country.

Honourable members of Professor Latif Berisha’s family,
Honourable members of Mr. Agim Hajrizi’s family,
Honourable mayors,
Honourable representatives of central and local institutions,


I.
Ten years ago, the North Atlantic Alliance commenced its air campaign against Serbian military, police and paramilitary machinery, which was increasingly committing systematic crimes upon innocent Albanian civilians of Kosovo. Unable to confront with NATO war waging supremacy, the Serbian forces intensified the inhuman acts against the citizens of Kosovo, by even failing to spare children, women and empty-handed elderly.
From 24 March through 12 June, when it officially accepted its capitulation in Kosovo, Serbia has committed all the possible crimes against humanity. Convinced now that the period of its ferocious rule in Kosovo was reaching an end, it undertook a horrible campaign  against the people of Kosovo, by killing and massacring some 15,000 people and by deporting half of the population; around 1 million Albanians were violently forced to abandon Kosovo, while Serb pyromaniacs were transforming our country into a charred land.
Unfortunately, at least not so far, there was no statesman of Serbia, including those who are claiming themselves to be west-oriented democrats – not to mention here those who instigated and committed these disgraceful acts – to dare apologise to the people of Kosovo for the sheer genocide that was committed against us. Though it would fail to alleviate the overwhelming pain that we feel for the people that we have lost and for those 2000 people unaccounted for, whom Serbia is not finding the strength to hand over, such an act would set a stage for fostering a new spirit in our relations as two independent and sovereign states.
The Republic of Kosovo has provided sufficient arguments to prove that it is ready to cooperate with all its neighbours in building a prosperous future for all the region, but it will, by no means, give up on protecting its state and national interests and territorial integrity and sovereignty. Kosovo is a democratic and independent state and this should be clear to everyone, including those who believe they can change the course of history and stop the irreversible process of integration of our country into Euro-Atlantic community.

Dear Citizens of Mitrovica and Republic of Kosovo,

We have gathered here in Mitrovica today to commemorate and pay tribute to our distinguished activists of Kosovo’s freedom, democracy and independence, professor Latif Berisha and Mr. Agim Hajrizi, who were killed, ten years ago this day, at the doors of their houses, by the forces of a criminal regime that involved an entire state hierarchy.
Latif Berisha was a distinguished poet, professor, researcher and political activist. Its example resonated a unique prudence and reflected a spirit of understanding, proximity and cooperation wherever he was engaged, be it in the cultural life, be it in the political or social one. In a word, professor Latif Berisha was an embodiment of prudence and serenity and a special example for his work and life.
Apart from his engagements in arts and politics, he has achieved tangible results in terms of education in the Albanian language in Kosovo, especially at the university level, where he lived up to his peak moments of creative and professional life.
Professor Latif Berisha shared the same fate with his fellow activist, Agim Hajrizi. His life was also quenched when the first sparkles of Kosovo’s freedom were noticed – on  March, 1999. Agim Hajrizi was the Chair of Kosovo Assembly Trade Union at a time when trade union activities, like any other activity, were extremely dangerous. It was because of his relentless civic and national commitment that he was executed, together with his mother and his son, Ilir. So, there was another tragedy for Kosovo’s Mitrovica adding to the endless river of tragedies that our people was suffering every day. Another drama of horror that can only be staged by the darkest forces of humankind, which, at the time, were driven and controlled by the Serbian head of state directly.
Unfortunately, ten years after these horrible events, Mitrovica and the northern part of country are still facing structures seeding economic and political crime whose only aim is to keep the chaos in this part so that they can claim later that Kosovo is not a stable country and unable to sustain itself as an independent and sovereign state. At any rate, we only have one answer to these structures and the people behind them: The Republic of Kosovo is an independent and democratic state of all its citizens, strongly committed to peace and stability in the region and speedy integration into the world of West-European values of civilisation. Therefore, those who provoke violence and anarchy will fail to stop us in this sacred journey of ours, like ten years ago, when those who called on throwing all of us into Adriatic waters failed to exterminate us from the face of earth.

III. Honourable participants of this commemoration academy,

It is a special honour for me today to hand over to the families of Professor Latif Berisha and Mr. Agim Hajrizi the “Medal of Independence” that the historic President of Kosovo, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova had conferred upon Professor Latif Berisha and Mr. Agim Hajrizi them respectively.
I invite the family members to receive the medals and acknowledgments as a token of honour and permanent institutional commemoration that the Republic of Kosovo shall maintain for its best sons and daughters who have lived, worked and sacrificed for their country.