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Vlora as a symbol of "we are one nation - we have a flag"
Written by Vangjel Sako 3 Dhjetor 2021
It has received the most beautiful from the Adriatic and the Ionian and is rightly called the pearl of the Mediterranean but the brightest decoration on the chest of Vlora is the name as the Mecca of Albanian bravery. Thanks to the historic act of November 28, 1912, when the wise old man Ismail Qemal Vlora raised the flag there and declared the independence of the country, it has gained the privilege of once a year being the capital of the country. Not simply that on that day all the main leaders of the state land there but more importantly that on that day Albanians from all regions who speak Albanian gather there and the red and black flag of Skanderbeg is not simply waved in the air but felt in their soul . The novelties of commemorating the 109th anniversary of this nationwide holiday were initially negative. The three greatest politicians of Tirana, the incumbent president Ilir Meta, Parliament Speaker Lindita Nikolla and Prime Minister Edi Rama each came at their own expense and did not shake hands when they came and when they left. That enthusiasm of every year is lacking and here they probably leave the blame to the square that is being reconstructed. They were satisfied only with the symbolic raising of the flag and the placing of wreaths of flowers at the real tomb of the father of the nation. The other novelty was that the Tirana party was "orphaned". No representatives from the state of Kosovo, no representatives from political leaders from Montenegro, or Northern Macedonia, although already in both countries we have our representatives at their head, up to the rank of Deputy Prime Minister. I blame the latter more that even though there may have been no official invitations from the home country, they have no protocol that prevents them from coming to celebrate on everyone's holiday. The Declaration of Independence was not made only for Vlora or only for Albania but for all Albanian territories and in the act of this proclamation are engraved in golden letters the signatures of 17 representatives from Kosovo. In front of the red and black flag of Skanderbeg raised that day, he bowed and kissed with tears in his eyes the hero of Kosovo, Isa Boletini with his heroes. There is no need for Osmani and Kurti to symbolically celebrate this anniversary in Pristina but to be with their brothers at the "scene" in Vlora. However, the absence of today's "pashas" was overshadowed by the participation of ordinary people who do not wait for official invitations to come to Vlora but respond to the call of their heart. Vlora this November 28 was truly a Greater Albania. (Let those who faint this historical truth be enraged). They were in Vlora this November 28 from almost every city in Albania but also from almost every city in Kosovo, and Albanian cities from Montenegro and Northern Macedonia. I learn that the hotel services of the coastal city were not enough to accommodate all the newcomers to dozens of Vlora families opened their doors waiting for their acquaintances coming from afar, mostly from Kosovo. They had known each other and made inseparable friendships when their great exodus took place on the eve of the centuries-old liberation from the Serbs and these same families became their hosts. It also reminds me of a kindness that happened to me in Prishtina. On the day of Kosovo's declaration of independence, a patriotic Cham like Dashamir Tahiri organized a trip to Pristina of about 10 citizens of Vlora, one of whom was me. In addition to the pleasure of being warmly greeted by our brothers in every city we passed, in Prishtina we felt the full breath. But we had not booked a hotel and after we went to two or three of the biggest ones there, we were outraged. Suddenly as a gift from God, in the lobby of the hotel where we waited hopelessly appears the singer Shpat Kasapi with his suite. He had booked 5 rooms and as soon as he entered he asked who were the Albanians who had been left without a hotel. Apparently someone had informed him. We approached him and after he asked us how many we were and got answers for 10, he went to the counter that six of them would sleep in the three rooms he had available. I heard him tell his bodyguards to go and sleep with their men. While he was apologizing to us for being able to do so and receiving our thanks, one of the countermen approaches us and tells us that "the other 4 will go to sleep at his aunt's house". The brother never leaves the brother in the mud and the night out. This is what the people of Vlora did on this historic night. I feel good when I see a group of professors from the University of Tetova talking laughing with their counterparts at the "Ismail Qemali" University of Vlora and I make sure that everyone was sheltered with them. There are also details on this holiday that are memorable and so spontaneous. I see a group of celebrants who had thrown the red and black flag on their shoulders and I learn that they are from Kaçanik. I provoke them and tell them where they have the official blue flag of their state and their answer was immediate: keep that flag in the office of Vjosa Osmani and Albin Kurti, let them take it with them when they go to Brussels. We have a flag in our hearts and in our homes, the flag of Skanderbeg, Ismail Qemali and Isa Boletini. I was wrong but when I look at this day through the streets of the coastal city more immigrants than locals, I want to affirm that they are more patriotic than us. This opinion is reinforced by the director of the National Museum of Independence, Istref Dobi, Bepi as we call him since childhood who, without entering into figures that he has accurate, confirms that schoolchildren from Kosovo and now also from schools in northern Macedonia are 10 times more than those of schools in the country that visit the Museum. I learn from the competitors that these schools have in their curriculum to visit this museum every year and get acquainted with the acts of the declaration of Independence. I remember that in the summer months mostly, Skela Square is full of buses with Kosovo license plates and students from there visit not only the Museum but also the unique beauties of the coastal city. They consume three or four days for this while our school curricula do not have a teaching day for this. Bepi assures me that they already have a program with the Ministry of Culture and Education that in the days of the invasions of these scholars to have a more detailed program and in addition to the Museum of Independence to visit other historical resources of Vlora and its surroundings. But let's get back to our Independence Day celebration this year. It did not end in the 20 minutes it took the authorities to raise the flag and place wreaths of flowers and then, as they came, fled and drank coffee in separate bars. Celebrities from far away and locals celebrated together, making even a little more noise than usual days but it was justified noise because they were enjoying Flag Day. I also make noise with my friends about who should pay for coffee. I'm convinced they meet me as hosts but the brothers shut me up: the holiday is not just yours, the holiday is ours too. And as happens in such cases, we part with the promise that we will meet again together and if this does not happen for work reasons by next November, on the 28th they will be here again. the holiday is not just yours, the holiday is ours too. And as happens in such cases, we part with the promise that we will meet again together and if this does not happen for work reasons by next November, on the 28th they will be here again. the holiday is not just yours, the holiday is ours too. And as happens in such cases, we part with the promise that we will meet again together and if this does not happen for work reasons by next November, on the 28th they will be here again.