Sunday, February 17, 2008

Kosovo at last

kosmelb Here's the Victorian Herald-Sun from 17 May 1999, when the Premier Jeff Kennett greeted refugees from Kosovo in the Albanian language. That was when Australians embraced these people and presented an image of this wide brown land as an open-hearted refuge for persecuted peoples.

We lost the plot for a while. The shock jocks and Pauline Hansen made sure the Kosovars did not outstay their welcome. Howard cultivated a xenophobia towards refugees. But now we have a 'new page', so let's hope we can recover that sense of welcome that we extended back in 1999.

And today, Kosovo will finally be granted independence. Albanians in Australia have fought long and hard for this day. Congratulations. The struggle of great figures like Ibrahim Rugova has been worth it. There are many challenges ahead, but destiny is now in your hands.

Urime!, Përgëzime!

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