Short public letter to fellow journalists and civil society activists in Serbia, who are critical of Aleksandër Vucic as I am of Albin Kurti in Kosovo

There is a portentous proverb in the Balkans that every third generation is cursed to go through a war. Twenty-four years have passed since our last war. These recurring tensions seek an immediate response to two essential questions: are we really ready for such a tragic repetition of wars every forty years in the Balkans? Are we allowing ourselves to pass this “curse” on to our children and grandchildren?

Albanians and Serbs are the Germans and French of the Balkans. We have the equivalent destructive potential but also the creative and hardworking potential to build a mini-Europe in the Balkans. I think it’s time to abandon the first and embrace the second. We are really at the end of the road.

Personally, I have been a fervent supporter of the idea of “border correction” because it engendered an opportunity to realize a generational and personal dream: that of the unification of all Albanians in one state. Let me be very honest and categorical here. I was a committed supporter of the “border correction” idea despite being well aware that such a resolution would have a domino effect throughout the region. As an Albanian nationalist myself, I was primarily and almost exclusively interested in Albania and Albanians, regardless of the consequences such a solution could have fomented in Macedonia, Montenegro or Bosnia. If a greater Albania came at the cost of creating a greater Serbia, it was entirely acceptable to me.

Now, a few years later, I have realized that this project has failed mainly because the great Western powers have fiercely defended, and will continue to defend, their investment in creating and stabilizing Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Kosovo. And, if necessary, they will crush anyone who stands in their way. The fate of my friend Hashim Thaçi is the best evidence of this.

Recently, political dynamics have dramatically shifted. Now we have the so-called European proposal in front of us. “Albanian Post” has had the honor to act as an informal official gazette of the entire process while, among other things, echoing the positions of the international community. Time has evidently proven that every essential report of ours regarding the so-called European proposal (the content of the plan, the inclusion of the Association in the implementation protocols, the February deadline, the sticks and the carrots), despite initial denials, has proved entirely accurate.

Personally, I don’t like the EU proposal at all. However, beyond my stance and opinions, I am very well aware that the rejection of the agreement is worser than its acceptance for both Kosova and Serbia. If either rejects the agreement and proceeds in projecting their nationalist desires into official state policies, then the West will not only punish both states to the point of humiliation and submission, but there is a fertile territory for nationalistic rhetoric that may lead to another war. This would be bloodier and more severe, even if it lasted for only three days. In such situation, it would be the great powers that arbitrarily decide for the fate of the region with minimal input from either Kosova or Serbia.

In Albanian Post’s recent published document by a very high-ranking official of a large Western country, there are clear insinuations that failing to achieve an agreement may precipitate arbitrary resolutions resembling Yalta Conference. This new Yalta is entirely probable. In such Yalta-like resolutions, both Albanians and Serbs in general, and Kosova and Serbia in particular, will not be consulted at all. Not only will we not provide any input, but both Kosova and Serbia will be stripped of any opportunity to demand any benefits.

It is evident that this agreement does not satisfy nationalist appetites of either Kosova or Serbia. It goes against what Albanian or Serbian nationalist rhetoric have long proclaimed, myself included. But, this agreement brings normality and cooperation, it brings peace. And above all, its acceptance by both Kosovo and Serbia obliges the West to take further responsibility in the region, a duty of care towards all of us.

Personally, I do not have faith in leaders like Albin Kurti. Aware that my friend Edi Rama indeed has a big ego, but Albin Kurti can even go further. Sometimes I doubt that he completely lacks empathy to understand the consequences of his actions. As a Kosovar Albanian, I was and continue to be highly critical of Albin Kurti. However, I will never judge and will always defend the signing of this agreement.

If Albin Kurti becomes the reason why my nieces and nephews do not inherit the Balkan curses, I will support him with everything I have. Please, for the sake of your nieces and nephews, help Aleksandar Vucic to do the same.

For the first time in history, let us decide our fate, our peace. Let us not allow someone else to completely exclude us from decision-making tomorrow.

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