30 January 2020 President Meta hails the Peace Message of the Holy Father, Pope Francis: We must do everything for the ‘eagles’ to stay and return to their nests, and for Albania to rise up where the dreams and sacrifices of the Albanians deserve.
The President of the Republic, H. E. Ilir Meta was present at the event of the presentation of the Message of Peace of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for the 53rd World Peace Day, with the theme: “Peace as a Path of Hope: Dialogue, Reconciliation and Ecological Return.” , organized at the Catholic University of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
The President of the Republic in his address to those present who participated in the event noted:
“This year’s meaningful message of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, comes with a call for hope for peace through dialogue, reconciliation and ecological return.
Peace and health are the two most precious things a society and an individual has. But unfortunately we understand this when we lose them and when we don’t take care of them every day.
Peace can in some cases be easily achieved and started, as St. Mother Teresa says: ‘Even with a smile’, but in most cases, as history has taught us, it requires innumerable sacrifices, constant work and effort, not only to gain it but also to protect it.
This was also this year’s message of Pope Francis, achieving peace in relation to one another, in the country and theregion where we live, and even beyond, in the dangers that threaten peace worldwide today.
As the Holy Father also said, our human community bears, in memory and in the flesh, the signs of wars and conflicts that have followed one another, increasingly destructive, and which do not cease to strike especially the poorest and the weakest. Even entire nations find it difficult to break free from the chains of exploitation and corruption that fuel hatred and violence. Still today, many men and women, children and the elderly, are denied dignity, physical security, freedom, including religion, solidarity, and hope for the future.
Albanians remember the chains and strings of the harshest communist dictatorship our continent has known, but even though we got free of them 30 years ago, today we are aware and concerned that our country still faces the challenges of exploitation and corruption, and suffers from a serious lack of hope for the future.
These are exactly the reasons why Albanians are forced to leave their country.
The departure of young people from Albania is a devastating phenomenon for the country and should be stopped today and not tomorrow.
Pope Francis, for all those who have met him, gives an extraordinary attention to Albania and to the Albanians, in particular recognizing their unparalleled suffering in the communist past.
Not only that, but we also know very well the importance he gave to Albania for all these reasons, including the model example of religious coexistence and harmony that it represents.
Pope Francis during his visit to Albania left us a message: I have seen so many young people, so please keep them in their homeland and let Albania escape from Europe’s democratic winter.
Unfortunately, if we keep a balance, after this visit of the Holy Father to our country in 2014, about 200-300 thousand Albanians, mostly young people, have left the country, a phenomenon that unfortunately continues.
If anyone tells me that this phenomenon happens everywhere, I can tell that it is by no means of this magnitude, moreover we are not dealing with a departure but depopulation.
If one Serb leaves Serbia, 8 Albanians leave Albania, if one Montenegrin leaves Montenegro, 11 out of a thousand Albanians leave the country.
This is an alarming and dramatic situation that requires a response from all our stakeholders and all our citizens.
Therefore, the Holy Father in His message this year emphasized that: it is required to appeal to moral conscience and the personal and political will.
For this reason, political will must be increasingly strengthened to foster new processes that reconcile and unite people and communities and give them hope for the future.
More love for the country, greater will and a faster political dialogue would contribute to the development of the country and discourage this phenomenon by helping Albania to open the negotiations and catch the right pace for the EU membership.
Be European, without extraordinary and artificial strains, and without mounting obstacles.
Dialogue, the Holy Father points out, leads to the peace of a country.
The world needs no empty words, he said, but convinced witnesses, artisans of open peace to dialogue, without exceptions and without manipulations.
Therefore, politics and politicians should serve the common people.
Responsibly using public and institutional dialogue in the interest of the citizen.
To lead by serving the national interest and the future of the country.
To work responsibly to provide the conditions for our youth to be educated here, to work here, and to build their lives and future here.
Albania has an exemplary religious harmony and tolerance for the whole the world, while unfortunately it has politics that is not moving in the right direction.
Today, Albanians need more than ever for a genuine dialogue with each of them.
They want their voice to be heard, to have freedom of choice, to speak, to be active and to play the most important role in preserving the Constitution, democracy, and decision-making, and the European destination of the country.
Albanians should be heard and not excluded!
Hope, says Pope Francis in His message, is the virtue that puts us on the move, which gives us wings to go forward, even when obstacles seem impassable.
Albanians are a people of hope and have shown this throughout their history. They hoped during the occupations and dictatorships, and their hope was fulfilled with the freedom we enjoy today.
Unfortunately, after such a long period, Albania remains slow in the process of European integration and the hope of Albanians today is lower than that of the 1990s and 2000s.
So it takes hard work and responsibility. Not words, but works. Not promises but fulfillment of the dreams and hopes of the Albanians and especially the young people.
Albanians deserve better living standards and a more consolidated, inclusive and hopeful economy.
What is true of peace in the social field, Pope Francis said, is true in both political and economic terms.
There will never be real peace unless we are able to build a fairer and more inclusive economic system.
The division between the few rich people and the poor majority, and the economic monopoly to the detriment of small and family businesses, have created social inequality and a huge gap damaging true social peace.
Albania is a country blessed by God of rare beauty, with numerous natural, historical and cultural riches, but also with capable, talented and hardworking people, so accountability is required in building a fairer economic system and creating conditions for sustainable economic development that would avoid inequality and social conflicts, and raise the standard of living of our citizens and thus bring about a cohesion and solid peace.
Albania is a country that has sunshine for everyone.
The Holy Father’s message encourages us to show more love for one another, to care for the needy, for more solidarity, to strengthen the institution of the family, and to contribute to the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law.
In a rule of law, democracy accelerates the peace process, if it is based on justice and a commitment to protect the rights of everyone.
True justice and the consolidation of democracy are still unfulfilled challenges and missions in Albania that require very serious commitments in order for ordinary citizens to find justice, to feel protected and for their trust to be restored in all institutions.
Justice does not belong to an individual. It belongs to the people. And it is only through it that ordinary citizens attain and protect true social peace.
Peace is not isolated by borders. So we have to be responsible and prudent to maintain it in our region as well.
We are in a region that has also experienced genocide and conflict over ethnic and religious wars in recent decades, and this still needs reconciliation, as wounds are still fresh and need not be further hurt.
The Holy Father’s message is therefore meaningful and a reminder to be alert and attentive to any attempt and effort that might undermine the peace, understanding and mutual respect and coexistence among the peoples, nations, ethnicities and beliefs in our region.
For this reason, much prudence is required in order for peace in the region to spread and be sustainable, serving as a foundation for the common integration of all countries.
A few days ago, we and the rest of the world commemorated the International Remembrance Day, which brought us back to the industrial extermination of 6 million Jews, innocent victims of the Holocaust, who lost their lives because of hatred and efforts to rule others at any cost and by any means.
We also know what happened a few decades ago in the heart of Europe, in Srebrenica and Raçsk. So it is important to understand that only coexistence is the future.
It cannot be played with borders in the Balkans and elsewhere, like in front of a sketchbook.
A few days ago, the President of Montenegro, Mr. Milo Djukanovic, expressing his legitimate concerns about the non-use of religion by any country as a means to undermine the sovereignty of an independent and democratic state, rightly stated that there was no place. neither for great Serbia nor for great Albania, because such projects only pave the way for great tragedies.
We in this region today must all work not for changing borders, but for lifting borders and for full partnership in equal positions, with a common commitment to join the European Union as soon as possible.
Albania will continue to be an example of coexistence in the region, starting first with its neighbors and with all those who love peace and are in partnership.
In His message, the Holy Father also called for a return to ecology.
Natural resources, the many forms of life, and the Earth itself have been entrusted to us to care for and preserve them. Earth and nature are our common dwelling that we often forget.
The tragic earthquake of November 26, 2019, among other things, proved that the consequences can be exacerbated when due diligence is not exercised in law enforcement on matters relating to security, the protection of the citizen’s life, and the observance of urban criteria, simply and only to realize some people the benefits of the moment, which can then undermine the lives of citizens in the most unjust way.
We must also stop abusive use of natural resources and be responsible for the common good and our wonderful nature. All the more so given the extraordinary potential that our country has for tourism development in the long-term and sustainable way.
The year we left behind has been a difficult year for Albanians.
Social peace, political dialogue, the country’s integration process, economic development, improving living standards, restoring hope of a leaving youth and depopulation should have been taken more seriously.
Today thousands of citizens of Durres, Thumana, Tirana, Korça are still in distress and homeless because of the devastating consequences of last year’s earthquakes.
The human solidarity shown by our rescue teams, neighboring countries or even those far from our country has been great.
Undoubtedly this is a challenge that will end when the consequences are permanently recovered and when our citizens are properly integrated, as were all the opportunities and conditions before this disaster, in addition to the irreparable loss of 51 lives, that must teach us a lesson, protecting the lives of our citizens by strengthening and enforcing the laws.
In the meantime, we hope that important decisions will be made regarding the opening of negotiations with the EU, despite the many obstacles and difficulties.
No excuses because everything had to be done for a long time to facilitate the process.
Everything must be done to increase the hope for our youth, because ‘Where there is youth, there is hope,’ “Pope Francis said at a mass in Tirana. So we have to protect the youth. We must return the hope because time doesn’t wait!
I thank the Albanian Catholic Church which, along with other religious communities in the country, has consistently contributed with messages of peace, harmony, dialogue, providing messages of unity and hope to all Albanians.
Let us not forget Pope Francis’ message, almost 6 years ago, that eagles do not forget the nest and fly high.
We must do everything through cooperation and dialogue without exceptions and without manipulation, Holy Father commands this year, so that the eagles stay in their nests, return to their nests, and Albania rises where its dreams deserve it and the sacrifices of the Albanians to be a respected and dignified country in Europe, as it is a fact that this identity of our nation has been defined and guided better than anyone by Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg hundreds of years ago.