When I bring into my mind, Kosovo, always comes into my mind my childhood. Me, an Albanian 11-year old boy already living a civil war in Tirana, watching on the Albanian TVs my people fleeing from Kosovo in terror and fear.

Meanwhile, in Kosovo whole homes and villages were being ravaged and turned into mere rubble. And innocent Kosovo Albanians were forced to leave Kosovo and go towards Albania, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In this anti human war and ethnic cleansing, many innocent people were badly killed and massacred. Some of them were wounded and left fighting for their lives. And some others achieved by luck to cross the borders of Kosovo. Fleeing in horror and panic towards Albania and other countries. And all of them shaken from the fear of the terror that was created by the then soulless Serbian army.

My friend, Kushtrim, who was in my age. And who had come from Kosovo in the late 1998, while being terrorised from the Serbian Army. He couldn’t sleep at night without waking up and screaming unconsciously all the nightmares that he had experienced in his long journey towards Albania. 

His father and mother had been killed in front of his eyes by the Serbian Army. And he had been saved by his aunt, who had achieved to conceal him under some old clothes at the back of a lorry. And told to him to be silent.

And when the cruel Serbian soldiers had turned and searched to see to kill any young male among the Kosovo Albanian people, they had not found him. And so Kushtrim had survived but not his father, nor his mother who had stood with his father and refused to be raped. 

Then, there was no psychoanalysts to deal with the trauma of the children who survived the clutches of a murderous then Serbian army. But his aunt would appease him at the end, reducing his anxiety and trauma, with words of a good and bright future.

And the bright and good future, that the aunt of Kushtrim spoke in her lullabies, now is clear. It is to see Kosovo free and independent. 

And that’s what happiness is for us, oppressed Albanians. Happiness for us always has been and still remains Freedom and our rights to be given to us. 

And we as Albanians stand united forever under this word, Freedom forever. Down with foreign invaders and dictators of any form.

Congratulations Kosovo on your 12lve year of independence. And Happy Independence Day.

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