SPEECH OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA, Mr. TRAJKO VELJANOSKI, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 22ND OF NOVEMBER, THE DAY OF THE ALBANIAN ALPHABET
Permbi za, qe leshon bilbili,
gjuha shqipe mshungulon
Permbi ere,qi nep zimbili
Pa da zemren ma ngushllon
Ladies and gentlemen,
I believe many of you are familiar with these verses written in the far-off 1908. Their author and participant in the Congress, Ndre Mjeda, inspired by its conclusions, captured perhaps in the best way the atmosphere created in Bitola 100 years ago, in the house of the renowned Kirjazi family. I should not remind of the importance of having one's own alphabet and its standardized script. And it was with the Bitola Congress conclusions, confirmed later at the Elbasan Congress in 1909, that the Albanian language, script and literature had become part of the human cultural heritage as a universal category, knowing neither borders nor national, religious or any other differences. Today Ismail Kadare, Luan Starova, Dritero Agolli, Isak Murati, Ali Aliu and many other Albanian literary people are part of the world cultural heritage, and everyone is able to enjoy their written words and wonderful verses.
The Bitola Congress and its conclusions bear another important dimension - striving for one's independence and preservation of one's own cultural and national identity. And something more - it happened in the Balkans, in a turbulent period that culminated in the First World War. What is important, though, is that the Congress conclusions were not aimed against the other Balkan peoples, least so against the Macedonian people. This is a demonstration that we have for centuries lived together, sharing the good and bad things. Allow me to remind you of the Krushevo Manifesto or the Krste Misirkov writings, with particular emphasis on the same values and commitments.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the Republic of Macedonia, as a country of all its citizens, the Albanian and the other ethnic communities have today the Constitutional and legal prerequisites enabling them to preserve and promote their national culture and identity. Allow me to stress that the latest European Commission Report has clearly acknowledged further progress made in the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement. Recently we have adopted in the Assembly the Law on the Languages. I would not go into account of the figures, but the mere fact that over 75 thousand primary school students follow the instruction in the Albanian languages clearly speaks of the factual situation.
Starting this year, the secondary education has become compulsory, as well. The Tetovo State University, the South-East European University and other higher education institutions allow our young fellow citizens to get education in their mother tongue - Albanian. And tomorrow, together with the others - Macedonians, Turks, Serbs, Bosniaks and others, they will provide their contribution in the realisation of today's ideals and commitments - living better lives, in peace and as a part of the large European family.
I believe, distinguished friends, that only in this way we will be able to carry out the ideals and visions of our predecessors.