Genocide, the crime that must be elucidated, recognized and punished

Interview of the President of the Center “Genocide in Kosovo – An Open Wound” for the daily newspaper “Epoka e Re”(The New Era)

The Center “Genocide in Kosovo- An Open Wound” was established on June 30, 2019, in Bern, Switzerland. The main objective of its founders was declared to be the transformation of this center into an organized network of intellectuals and activists, professionals of various fields, who are committed to the elucidation of the Serbian genocide in Kosovo and the correct informing of the public opinion and who insist on the essentiality of the triumph of justice – the deserved punishment of its planner, commander, and executor; that is, the state of Serbia. In order to provide the public opinion with extensive information about the establishment, scope and objectives of the Center “Genocide in Kosovo- An Open Wound”, whose foundation lead to quite a positive reaction, the newspaper “Epoka e re” interviewed the political scientist Bardhyl Mahmuti, who was also entrusted with the chairing of the Center by its founders .

Lulëzim ETEMAJ

“Epoka e re”: The Center “Genocide in Kosovo, An Open Wound” was founded on June 30. What are the goals of this center and how do you plan to achieve them?

Bardhyl Mahmuti: The most extensive and comprehensive possible information on a global scale in relation to what happened during the war in Kosovo is the duty of the institutions in Kosovo, especially since the adoption of the resolution on genocide, dated May 8, 2019, by the Assembly of Kosovo. The main purpose of the newly-established Center, as a non-governmental organization, is to contribute in this regard. We hope to expand to all democratic countries in the world and create an organized network of intellectuals and activists who volunteer to spread the truth of the Serbian genocide in Kosovo. The elucidation of this tragedy creates the conditions for the democratic countries to recognize and accept the crime of genocide the Serbian state has committed against the Albanians in Kosovo.

“Epoka e re”: Apparently, the establishment of the Center has aroused great interest.

Bardhyl Mahmuti: Let’s be clear. The policy of genocide in Kosovo aimed to destroy the Albanians as a nation, as an ethnicity and of a religion different from that of Serbs. During the implementation of this policy, no distinctions -whether someone belongs to this or that party, this or that region, this or that gender, this or that age- was made; all Kosovo Albanians were the target of destruction. Therefore, regardless of where they come from or in which country they currently live, Albanian intellectuals and activists must coordinate their activities for justice to prevail.

“Epoka e re”: The poppy flower has been decided upon to be the logo of the Center. The poppy is a symbol that has been used by other peoples as well. What are the reasons you opted for this logo?

Bardhyl Mahmuti: It is a fact that, for at least a century, in various countries around the world, poppies have served as a symbol to commemorate the victims of wars around the globe. Thus, for example, in Great Britain and in the Commonwealth countries, poppies are a symbol to commemorate the warriors killed on the battlefield, especially those who fell during World War I, as well as a symbol of solidarity with their families. Also Canadians have opted for this flower as a symbol of the promise to remember and never forget those who were sacrificed for the freedom of the country. The commemoration of the fallen in Canada takes place every year at 11.00, on the 11th day of the 11th month.
After several consultations, we decided for the poppy to be the symbol of the Center “Genocide in Kosovo- An Open Wound”. Unlike the poppies used as a symbol in various countries, the four poppy petals in the logo we have created represent the four forms of genocide that Serbia carried out in Kosovo: annihilation, sexual abuse, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of objects related to Albanian ethnicity and identity. In the place of seeds, our logo features the figures of men, women, boys and girls, as a tribute to over ten thousand killed and mutilated Albanian civilians of all ages and both genders; to the twenty thousand victims of sexual violence; to about one million victims of ethnic cleansing and hundreds of thousands of destruction acts during the genocide in Kosovo. The poppy petals in our logo have been placed in the shape of the letter ‘X’, because during the war, in some settlements where the population was mixed in terms of ethnicity, the Serbian occupiers had marked the houses of Albanians with an ‘X’, so that Serbian armed forces were guided to the places where the crimes were to be committed.

“Epoka e re”: Who prepared the logo of the Center?

Bardhyl Mahmuti: The logo was prepared by a prominent activist of the national cause, from the Presevo Valley, Adnan Asllani. For those who do not know him, Adnan Asllani is the author of the emblem of the Kosovo Liberation Army and the editor-in-chief of “Voice of Kosovo” during the war in Kosovo.

“Epoka e re”: Have you decided on the modalities of the logo’s use and the cases when the logo of the poppy with the illustrations that symbolize the victims of the genocide in Kosovo is to be used?

Bardhyl Mahmuti: There is a number of ideas on the logo presentation modalities, which will be concretized in the very near future. We believe that the days of commemoration of the genocide victims at local levels are quite special days, during which the logos could be used as a sign of solidarity and commemoration; or on January 15, the date the Assembly of Kosovo declared as the Day of Commemoration of Genocide against Albanians in Kosovo. Nevertheless, given the great influence that cultural and sportive events have on the dissemination of certain messages, the use of this logo to make the Serbian genocide known internationally is quite reasonable.

“Epoka e re”: Do you intend to expand the network to other democratic countries?

Bardhyl Mahmuti: We hope that centers contributing to publicize as much as possible the Serbian genocide in Kosovo will be founded in every democratic country in the world. This would be the best way to commemorate those who are an open wound in the soul and body of Kosovo.

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