Dear European Union Office in Prishtina
I was humbly touched by your effort this year to again — for the fourth year in a row — award us with the Good European Award.
I have reasons to believe that you know what you are doing, but I will take the liberty anyway to remind you that maybe you have lost touch a little bit with reality.
Well, maybe not with yours, but definitely with mine.
As an Albanian I was forced through generations to migrate to European countries (meaning: Western countries). Do you want me to apologize that at times I had to do it illegally?
I mean, sometimes I even died trying to get to your country and never made it. Nevertheless, in the name of those who made it, sorry, for not respecting your borders.
But, then again, let’s call it a draw. I at least knew where your borders are. I came to yours peacefully and in need for help. Too many times in history you came to mine as an oppressor, to stay or pass through — you changed my borders, did with them whatever you pleased. When you were done, you barely knew where to find me on a map.
As I say, you came to my country as you pleased. Oppressor or savior. Of course never in need of an invitation or visa. It was always your choice.
Your choice was to me, like a god’s wish — my good or bad fate. I instead, came to yours (illegally or with a visa) and did not change nor question your borders — ever. It was never a choice.
I don’t even know what the English word for it is: “Dert!” Well, let’s just say escaping violence, also as a result of the historical injustice done by you.
When you came, finally, to save me, and we applauded even your tanks, we thought how lucky we were to have been seen. But, you came, enjoying your superb salaries for building up my country, and made it clear very quickly how unworthy I am of your respect.
I kept quiet for years. After all, you saved my ass.
If you told me to shut up, I did. If you told me I was not a victim of war, I was not raped, nor tortured nor… so basically, I should not even mention the war — I kept silent.
“Building peace” projects (worth millions of taxpayers’ money of your own citizens) was your mascot. Well, I hoped it would bring me some luck.
So, I sat there in workshops you organized for me and learned to “build peace.” To be honest, I taught you! But, that’s not how you wrote it down in your reports, is it?
After all, your salary — which is worth a king’s lifestyle in Kosovo — had to be justified with some (your) expert knowledge.
Anyhow, I was also learning something. I could see how power works. Money gives power to people. And I was poor (another reason why I kept quiet). And, if by mistake I dared to expose my war memory to you, the injustice done to me, you were quick to hush me.
And then, I — well not I, but my politicians — did everything they could to become quickly rich. So that they could become to us, what you were to them.
Let’s not talk about them. You are bad, but they are much worse. I can’t bare to include so many characters of absolute power in such a short introduction.
And Europe Day, a holiday in my calendar, but not yours, is your day throughout. So let’s keep it about you.
It’s hard to find one Albanian who does not have a story of their own about penetrating borders (physical ones and the cultural ones of your dear countries) to survive. Whether it is their feet who walked the road or those of people close to them, it does not matter much. Our hearts have struggled all these difficult roads together. (Minus the hearts of our politicians — they don’t have such a thing.)
The first time I migrated I was 13. As a result, at different times in my life, I have lived in different European countries (never mind that my own is also in Europe, technically speaking).
Which means, I have lived, in total, in more European countries than most Europeans themselves. Which means I speak more European languages (foreign languages) than most Europeans do — or ever will. Which means, in the spirit of integration (something they have now integrated into politics, and forgotten what it was all about) I have learned their history and their culture more than they know or learned their own, let alone each other’s (nevermind mine).
Which means, to cut it short and put it simply, I am more European than most Europeans will ever be.
From the power of this place, I now ask you, kindly, to nominate some people from your own countries for the glorious award of the Good European. I could beat you even at this game. But I want the pleasure of you, for once, choosing as you please, because you were asked to.
I’d be glad to hand them out, as per your choice. You should have this honor, to be awarded, really!
This is the least I can do, to pay you back. Mogherini? Apostolova? Good that you are going for women. But, please, try keeping it apolitical! Thank you!
God bless you and all the people you like! Freude Schöner!
Feature image: Courtesy of the author.