19 October 2020 President Meta: Instead of a response to Agron Gjekmarkaj
Based on some opinions in the media about the decrees of decorations by the President of the Republic, including those recently expressed by analyst Agron Gjekmarkaj, I must unequivocally say that this gesture, before legal and political, is our moral obligation, as well as of every Albanian generation, towards the history and future of our nation.
The President of the Republic, like no other institution in the Republic of Albania, has sanctioned in the Constitution the right to give decorations:
The President also exercises these powers:
ç) gives decorations and honorary titles according to the law;
I have never conceived this right and competence, as a personal gesture, but as a product of in-depth analysis and constant consultations with academics, researchers, historians, state authorities, social figures, university professors, local government leaders and various associations.
In all cases, more than for the names, I aimed to highlight the acts, the contribution to the nation and the most significant events, which have embodied the brightest points of our history for freedom and independence.
The figures of decorated Heroes, Martyrs or Patriots have always been associated with the nationwide interest and are outside the current political perspective or the time in which these acts were committed.
I have taken care that the acts and names of prominent patriots decorated, reflect more than anyone else the reaction and the general tendency of the Albanian people towards freedom, independence and prosperity.
For the President of the Republic, the honoring of the fighters who gave and sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Albania is the most direct expression of patriotism that every Albanian should carry, regardless of political convictions!
The appreciation of the blood shed for Albania is the debt that all of us who enjoy freedom to their sublime sacrifice have.
This honor is also the appreciation and respect for the national identity itself, integrity as Albanians and our human dignity.
The estimation of Heroes and Patriots in the European perspective of a democratic society elevates and perpetuates their acts in the new current realities and perspective of the nation.
It is a reflection of the dynamic content of the very history of a nation.
As President of the Republic, I have always taken care to be above the political differences and individual colors of each patriot and I appreciate their contribution to the Nation and the people.
To give an overview, as a meaningful example, I am bringing the performance evaluations of an activity.
In the cycle of commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Vlora War, as President I have praised with the same devotion and honor the Dibra Uprising and the Koplik War, adding to the grandeur of the battles of 1920 the true geography.
The group of scholars who worked on these war epics placed before the President, the true commanders of the patriotic detachments without making any distinction as to the political stance of each one.
The President in any case decorates the act, approach and contribution of each individual for a certain event that has served the homeland, and not for the continuation of their political life
Thus, patriots like Osman Haxhiu and Selam Musai rose to the pedestal, but also Kole Mërkuri and Qazim Koculi, prejudiced by the historians of monism, embarrassing entire generations of descendants.
The battles of 1920 also praised the patriot Elez Isufi, the legendary leader of Dibra and Albanians who fought against all the invaders of the country he knew throughout his life!
No one can say that Baca Elezi was left or right, because above all he was a great Albanian.
The name of the patriot Avni Rustemi has been commented a lot by all the political views of the day.
For me, the President of the Republic, Avni Rustemi remains the People’s Hero, who said “NO” to Assadism, low bargaining at the expense of the homeland.
Avni Rustemi is the symbol of the most sublime sacrifice for the preservation of territorial integrity and the unification of national values.
His decoration was also a fulfillment of the will of Father Gjergj Fishta, when at the funeral of Avni Rustemi he would say:
“O you mountains of Albania, Avni Rustemi is saying goodbye to you, and a testament has been left to you: that even today and back you will raise your boys as falcons, as once upon a time, with faith and manliness.
O you fields of Albania, Avni Rustemi is saying goodbye to you and a testament is left to you: not to be stingy towards the Albanian nation, but to give it bread and not to force the Albanian with a stick and strike like a beggar at the doors of foreign nations. Thank you for the honor and for the beautiful flowers you sent for the day of his burial.
O white hope of the nation – Albanian boyhood, goodbye, Avni Rustemi says to you and the testament is left to you:
“There will be Albanians! Albania will be done! If this boy did not like Albania, today the men of the earth would not have melted from the rock of Peja to the top of Cape Stilos to shed tears over his grave. Here is His will for the sons of Albania… ”
In this 100th anniversary of the Vlora War, as President of the Republic, I would have done the same honor for the contribution of King Ahmet Zogu, who at a very young age manifested as rarely any other high examples of heroism, determination, wisdom and devotion to the Homeland, especially during 1920.
But for all his merits, King Zog has been decorated by my predecessor, President Bujar Nishani with the highest title “Order of the National Flag” since November 16, 2012.
No one can say that the fighters of Koplik Kapedan Deli Meta Cunmulaj, the heroes Zef Prelë Martini, Sulejman Bajram Ramcaj or Luc Nishi Dedvukaj were on the left.
Vojo Kushi yes. He was an anti-fascist in conviction, but he committed the same act of bravery for the freedom of the Homeland as the other Heroes of the Nation, Selam Musai and Mic Sokoli.
The figure and symbol of this People’s Hero would do honor to every anti-fascist nation around the world.
“I love my country even though I think differently from you“, this lapidary saying of Musine Kokalari in circumstances contrary to Vojo should not allow us to repeat the same mistake as in the logic of dictatorship …
Vojo Kushi’s decoration did not come just to remind Albanians or the rulers that this country does not lack hero sons.
It was the result of a new circumstance in the real history of the re-evaluation of the Epic of Kodra e Kuqe, the identification of the fourth hero of this patriotic battle, Muharrem Llanaj. A gesture that also required a reestimation of the three Heroes who were sacrificed that October day in the fortress house of Ije Farka.
In the end, but not by importance, I would like to end with few words about the gesture of the young Vasil Laçi.
Albania would enter the Second World War as a unique example of opposing fascism even with his very significant act.
The reestimation of the young Vasil Laçi, unjustly removed in these three decades is first and foremost an assessment of our morale as a nation.
The President of the Republic appreciates the fact that the greatest honor we can do to the heroes and martyrs of the Homeland is to hold high the aspiration for a free and democratic Albania, to make our country a beloved place to live, to provide European future to our children, not to allow ourselves to be oppressed by social injustice, or to suffer from undeserved poverty, state violence and the irresponsibility of individuals who abuse power.
Today’s battles are for standards of free elections, for freedom of thought and expression, and for a competitive economy that ensures the stability and fair welfare of society.
Every time needs examples of endurance and inspiration in facing the challenges of the time.
The awardings of the President of the Republic will be guided only by the aim to strengthen the national feelings, patriotism and patriotic education of the new generations.