By Roland Qafoku
Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day in the USA. To us, Albanians, this day has a special meaning. We’re the most pro American people in the world. However, in the recent years, we’ve seen some sort of snobbish behavior toward the US. We have also seen serious mistakes, such as the one made by PM Rama publicly declared his objection toward Trump’s candidacy and earned a very bad reputation for Albania in the eyes of the most powerful country in the world. We have also seen Lulzim Basha attack the US ambassador to Tirana every time the ambassador did not follow his party line. But we have also seen journalists and analysts target an ambassador and accuse US diplomats as people who damage Albania’s interests. This is not mere naivety, but also ill-intentional. On this big day for America, we, the most pro-American country in the world, have many reasons to send our wishes to this country for its Independence Day. There are at least 10 strong reasons why Albania has been and will continue to be grateful to this country in the future. Every time Albania went through a difficult situation with the neighbors and America was the only savior, Fan Noli used to write: Don’t you be afraid, mother, because you have your sons in America!
- INDEPENDENCE ON 28 NOVEMBER 1912
The Albanian nation should be grateful to a great American man called Charles Telford Ericson, who arrived in Albania in 1908. After considering Albania as the “Balkan’s lily”, he became the first foreigner who worked for the independence of Albania from Turkey. Ericson wrote many articles in US and UK newspapers. In these articles, he echoed what Europe was doing to Albania and the massacres of Serbia and Greece against the Albanian population.
- PEACE CONFERENCE IN 1919
The Albanian nation should forever be grateful to the 28th president of the US, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, who, in the Peace Conference in 1919 offered his strong support for the reconfirmation of Albania’s independence, which in those moments was a lost one. Wilson’s veto destroyed Europe’s plans, especially Serbia’s, Greece’s and Italy’s plans to erase the Albanian state from the map.
- AMERICAN DIPLOMACY HAS SUPPORTED ALBANIA IN THE 20S
The Albanian nation should feel grateful to American diplomacy. On 22 July 1922, the US established diplomatic relations with Albania and made a number of decisions which gave priority to these relations.
- THE US’ POSITIONING DURING WORLD WAR II
The Albanian nation should feel grateful to the United States of America, because it was the only country in the world to denounce Italy’s invasion of Albania on 7 April 1939. While Europe was not worried by this news, the US, which at that time was still neutral, did everything to condemn this act. At that time, the US ambassador to Tirana, Hugh Grant offered three passports to King Zog, one for him, one for Queen Geraldina and one for Leka, who was just one day old, in order for them to seek shelter in the US embassy to Tirana. Zog did not agree to this, but if he had done, history would be different.
5. OVERTHROW OF THE COMMUNIST REGIME
Although countries of Western Europe were indifferent to Albania following the Yalta conference, the US wanted our country to be out of the communist orbit. In the 80’s, the US’s engagement in Albania was unprecedented. The Voice of America played an important role in the overthrow of communism.
- CONSOLIDATION OF DEMOCRACY
The US has played a key role in the consolidation of Albania’s democracy. The historical visit of the former US State Secretary James Becker on 6 June 1991 and the historic visit made on 10 June 2007 by George W. Bush, followed by the visits of secretaries Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright, are a clear example of this support. The US has supported Albania in every important process aimed at consolidating institutions. Meanwhile, the US has also offered its strong support for the recent judicial reform in Albania.
- INDEPENDENCE OF KOSOVO
The declaration of the independence of Kosovo on 17 February 2008 must be exclusively attributed to the US. This is a big and a very important event in the history of the Albanian state after 28 November 1912 when Albania declared its independence. Kosovo had been part of Serbia for 100 years and the US managed to separate it. Today, the Albanian nation has two Albanian states and the US takes full credit for this.
- ACCESSION IN THE NATO
Albania’s accession in the NATO on 1 April 2009 is another achievement which should be attributed to the US. The support offered by the American diplomacy and the American state for Albania’s accession was and remains a permanent process of the US. From that moment, Albania is a safer country and part of the biggest alliance that humanity has known.
- SUPPORT OF WESTERN COUNTRIES
The fact that Western Europe has offered its support for Albania after the fall of communism has also been inspired by the US. The US has lobbied in order for Albania to start its irreversible journey toward EU accession. The coordination of the US diplomacy with the European diplomacy has been incessant and continues with the same momentum.
- SUPPORT FOR ALBANIA AGAINST HIS ENEMIES
The United States of America have offered an extraordinary contribution in supporting Albania in decisive moments when neighboring countries have attempted to engulf its territories and weaken it as a state. In the 106 years since Albania declared its independence, Serbia, Greece, Macedonia and Montenegro have even manifested military aggression against Albania, but in every single case, the US has not allowed them.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy