President Thaçi: Shaban Polluzha and Mehmet Gradica did not spare anything to protect the people

Prishtina, February 23, 2017 - Under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, today, the Memorial Academy for the 72nd anniversary of the fall of commanders Shaban Polluzha and Mehmet Gradica has been organized.

At this academy organized in honor of these two historical figures, President Thaçi has said that Kosovo is remembering with the highest institutional honors commanders Shaban Polluzha and Mehmet Gradica, and will always honor all the figures who contributed for its freedom.

“Three-quarters of a century have passed since day when the end of a World War was marking the triumph over evil on global level. The triumph of the democratic world over fascism and Nazism was a great achievement of mankind. In front of history, the Albanians as a nation, we say it with pride and legitimacy, were lined up alongside the antifascist people”, stated President Thaçi.

The President added that the Kosovo Albanians, who had barely escaped from the Serbian policy plans and projects for denationalization and eviction between the two world wars, had the hope that from this alignment they would realize their right to decide about their own destiny.

But unfortunately according to President Thaçi, the reality was more than disappointing.

“Despite this orientation, the Yugoslav leader had programmed in forehand the attitude against the Albanians. No vow would be held. No principle would be applied. No injustice would be corrected. On February 8, 1945, the Yugoslav political leader put Kosovo under extraordinary measures in the so-called military administration”, said President Thaçi.

President Thaçi said that the “military administration” was one of the most anti-Albanian act-documents that the politics of Belgrade has produced.

“This administration opened the way to terror, assassinations and liquidations of all those who would hinder the reconquering of Kosovo de facto and de jure. Through this right to commit crimes, liquidations of personalities with national integrity, assassinations of heads of Albanian families, imprisonments, the burning of properties and systematic destructions began”, he stressed.

In front of such a reality, President Thaçi said that the eminent commander, Shaban Polluzha, although stricken in age, took the right decision and with his fellow fighters decided to share the fate with their people.

“Shaban Polluzha had combating experience and life experiences of all kinds. Since he was young he had experienced the matching point of the borders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Bulgarian kingdom in the lands of his birthplace. He had experienced imprisonments and incessant injustices done to his family and all fellow citizens. But the heavier, the longest and always dark period was the one of the rule of Serbia, regardless of whether under the umbrella of the Yugoslav kingdom, with the name of the one or the other regime”, stated President Thaçi.

When the strategy of the reconquest of Kosovo came out publicly at the end of World War II, President Thaçi said that commander Shaban Polluzha was also joined by another anti-communist fighter, Mehmet Gradica.

“Shaban Polluzha and Mehmet Gradica became a binomial of the first resistance, of the first anti-communist uprising in Southeastern Europe. There were two personalities of different ages. But they were brought together by the same fate, the alignment on the part of the defenseless people. And for their protection, they did not spare anything”, said President Thaçi.

President Thaçi stressed that three accompanying phenomena of the tragic history of Kosovo came to light at the end of that war:

1. Permanent resistance against the violent rulership of Kosovo, despite the unfavorable global context;

2. The pledge of the Albanian traditional warrior not to let his body fall into the hands of the enemy, the same as once Azem Galica;

3. Resistance opposite the Serb artillery in the Albanian towers, the same as later Tahir Meha, Afrim Zhitia, Rexhep Mala and the legendary commander Adem Jashari.

“The historical awareness of the Kosovo Albanians, in different contexts, had been an unmistakable guide for the accomplishment of centuries old aspiration”, said President Thaçi.

He added that on this path there were two lines that had kept the spirit of patriotism and the necessity for liberating organization.

“The military line, since the League of Prizren, since the Kaçak uprisings of Azem Bejta, Shaban Polluzha, up to the legendary fall of commander Adem Jashari, and the political line, since the Renaissance, since the ideator of the independence of Albania, Hasan Prishtina, to the unbreakable symbol of resistance Adem Demaçi. These two lines like never before were synthesized in the politico-military project of the Kosovo Liberation Army”, said President Thaçi.

Within the new historical context, President Thaçi added that the Kosovo Liberation Army, assessed as the most successful the guerrilla of the twentieth century, managed to realize the dream of many many generations, the liberation of Kosovo.

“This achievement would not occur without the political vision, without the cooperation with the international community, without the support of the democratic world, without the United States of America, without the EU and the support of NATO”, he said.

President Thaçi stressed that one of the fundamental values of our new state is the institutional protection of categories emerging from the war, veterans, invalids and families of martyrs.

No matter how damaged by the wounds of the past, not forgetting the past, President Thaçi said that Kosovo has a clear orientation towards the future as a place of peace with the neighbors and the region, with inevitable orientation towards Euro-Atlantic values and with the clear aim for membership into the EU, NATO and the UN.

“Kosovo as a free and democratic country is ready to reflect the universal values of peace, humanity and reconciliation”, stated President Thaçi.

Commanders Shaban Polluzha and Mehmet Gradica were killed by the Yugoslav army on February 21, 1945.

They will also be honored with the Order “Hero of the Nation” by the President of the Republic of Albania, Bujar Nishani.