November 28 1912
“November 28 is the only day that unites all Albanians wherever they live.” – says Luljeta Nuzi, director of Shpresa Programme. It’s the day where all Albanians in the world celebrate in fashion and events are full of creativity, through this they aim to emphasize our best values, to share with others the importance of being Albanian.
This day has been celebrated for centuries and has lifted the spirits of Albanians everywhere.
On November 28 1912, Ismail Qemali raised the National Flag in the city of Vlora and declared the Independence of Albania. In his solemn speech, among other things, he said:
“Our neighbours should not be greedily lied to, because the Albanian does not tolerate slavery. The history of past centuries proves this truth. This land is our homeland. We have our language, our customs, our culture. Therefore, today, gathered in this great historical assembly, we express before the whole world the will of our sovereign people!”
More than a third of the Assembly delegates were from Kosovo. Independence was declared for all Albanian lands and ministers were elected from all Albanian provinces.
Despite the unceasing diplomatic commitments of Ismail Qemali and the Albanian Government, in all the institutions of international circles, the six Great Powers of the time, involved in the interweaving of interests, decided on the partition of Albanian lands. Thus, at the Conference of Ambassadors in London, 1913, without considering the liberation war or the will of our people, tragic decisions were made against Albania and the Albanians, so our national organism was mutilated.
This makes November 28 the happiest day but also the most painful one for Albanians, because this day is the Independence Day of Albania but without Kosovo, Cameria and other Albanian territories.
In our hearts we all know, feel, love and celebrate on this day our homeland was one and we recognize this day as sacred.
We all also know that:
-The National Flag was raised after 444 years
-The Red and Black Flag is the oldest flag in the Balkans, among the oldest in Europe
-The National Flag is the flag of Skanderbeg,
And everyone wants their children to know that Independence is sacred no matter where they live in the world.
But after Skënderbeu’s death, the flag “died”, its importance was somehow forgotten… After a forgetfulness of four hundred years, an Albanian student was the first to discover it. He was the erudite and genius of our nation – Faik Konica… Faik Konica, the discoverer of the National Flag, the devout patriot and the ambassador of Albania in Washington (1926-1939).
This red and black flag on November 28, 1912, from the house of the patriot Ekrem Bey Vlora was taken by the writer, researcher and supporter of the Independence of Albania Amelie Marie von Godin, which he gave to one of the fighters from Dardania and which was unveiled on November 28 1912 by Ismail Qemali.
It is painful that November 28, 1944 found Kosovo and other Albanian territories reconquered from Yugoslavia, unfortunately also with the help of Albanian partisans, which is an example sui generis worldwide. Even more tragic was the case of Chameria. International diplomacy, again left us a truncated Albania, recognizing and justifying even within the Albanian state a savage communist dictatorship, which destroyed even those few values and achievements at the national level – political, economic, cultural… that regime allowed Yugoslav and Greek conquerors to further violence and terror against Albanians living in their ancestral lands, to the extents of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
In Kosovo, both in the ethnic lands and in the diaspora, every time November 28 comes, it reminds us of the birthday of the legendary commander Adem Jashari (1955). He was born in Prekaz, Drenica at the time of the Rankovi dhun violence and terror against Kosovo Albanians, and would launch the Liberation War against the Serbian yoke. In particular, November 28 reminds us of the resistance of this hero and his family on March 5, 6 and 7, 1998. This heroic war in the recent history of Kosovo is known as the Epopee of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Amnesty International, in a report on the case, stated that the attack was aimed at eliminating all witnesses. Adem Jashari, along with fifty-six members of his family, were killed. A total of fifty-eight people were killed, among them eighteen were women and ten children under the age of sixteen. Adem Jashari and his heroic sacrifice became a symbol of independence for Kosovo Albanians and for Albanians everywhere. I want to add the heroic endurance and the sublime sacrifice of Adem Jashari with his whole family is unparalleled in the annals of Albanian and world history.
To share with others the beauty, magic and power that this day has in the Albanian community, Shpresa decided to celebrate this holiday in all areas where she operates for two weeks
in a row:
- Barking Town Hall
- Stratford Library
- Norwood junction
- Forest Gate library
- Barking library
Numerous drawings, dances, dances and poems, presentations and songs lifted the hearts of the participants.
Characters like the redhead, the penguin, the bee, the poppy came to celebrate with their children and families. Various singers like VERA PICARI and the group “Lura” lit up the atmosphere in these celebrations by performing for free.
Representatives of the Embassy of Albania Mrs. Mamica Toska and that of Kosovo Mrs. Arrita Gjakova greeted us as well as the Mayor of Barking and Dagenham, the leader Darren Rodwell and the Vice President of LBBD Cllr Saima Ashraff, and many others greeted those present at the Commune ceremony. Barking and Dagenham
At all these events the children were the main protagonists they gave concerts, drew, we had photo exhibitions and their parents helped with exhibitions of handicrafts and the most delicious cooking.
In these events members of Shpresa Programme spoke about stopping domestic violence, the need for work, mental health and employment as the main needs in the community and the ongoing struggle to enable living where everyone feels safe and healthy, to express and hear the voice of everyone, labour rights and new changes in draft laws such as the law of labour, immigration bill etc.