Following the singing of the American and Albanian national anthems and a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11 and the Kosova war, Joe DioGuardi opened the event; Pajazit Murtishi and Iljaz Kadriu welcomed Senator Biden on behalf of the community; Taip Besiri presented the community’s concerns to him in the form of prearranged questions about the status of Albanians in Kosova, Macedonia, Presheva, Montenegro, and Chameria; and Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi introduced the Senator.
In her introduction, Cloyes DioGuardi talked about the Civic League's presentation of the its 2nd annual Balkan Peace Award to Senator Biden (the first was presented to General Wesley Clark) on June 18, 2002, in the presence of Nexhat Daci, Speaker of the Kosova Assembly. Cloyes DioGuardi pointed out that the Civic League created the award to honor people who "do not simply talk about our issues, but who do something to get the job done." Senator Biden, she said, "has consistently and forcefully insisted that the United States must not abandon the Balkans to Europe and that we must not leave the region until there is peace and economic security for all."
In his remarks on June 18, Cloyes DioGuardi said that Biden drew a striking contrast between the vision of Robert Kaplan's Balkan Ghosts—a book that falsely identified the source of the Balkan conflict in the 1980s and 1990s as centuries of ethnic hatred instead of the consequence of Slobodan Milosevic and his genocidal warfare—and the work of Joe DioGuardi, whom Senator Biden called the "Balkan Beacon," because Joe had kept a contant focus, a "beacon of light," on the possibilities for peace and justice in Southeast Europe since 1986. Cloyes DioGuardi then stated that the same could be said about Senator Biden: "If Joe DioGuardi is the 'Albanian Balkan Beacon,' then Senator Biden is the 'Congressional Balkan Beacon.' For more than fifteen years, he has been disinfecting the problems of the Balkans in his light and insisting on a just solution when others averted their eyes as thousands died. While the Albanian community is quick to credit former President Bill Clinton with dropping the bombs on Serbia, the bombs would never have been dropped and Milosevic's genocidal march across Europe would not have been halted if it had not been for Joe Biden. He has earned our respect and our support."
It is worth recalling what we have learned elsewhere about the people who have since come to power in "Kosova" -- I suggest you review the following articles: Kosovo in 2008, Kosovo in 1999, Part 1, Kosovo in 1999, Part 2, Kosovo in 1999, Part 3, and Another Domino Falls.
You may also wish to review Terror, Corruption and Sex Slaves: From Moldova to Macedonia, Natasha: "I want to shoot him.", "Everybody Does It", Patriot Games: Sex Slaves, Drugs, Guns and Bribes (Part 1 of 2) and Patriot Games: Sex Slaves, Drugs, Guns and Bribes (Part 2 of 2).
Cloyes DioGuardi concluded by praising the members of the greater Chicago and Milwaukee communities for "following and supporting both 'beacons' and acting on the message that diplomacy is now more important than armed struggle when we have the United States on our side."
How necessary is armed struggle, when you can slip a little money into the right political campaign, and have America's political leadership supply your side with arms and air cover?
(Because that is exactly what happened.)
Senator Biden delivered a powerful speech, in which he began by stating that it was important for Albanian Americans to become deeply engaged in a political structure. "It is difficult to get the attention of the president and the U.S. government today because so many other issues overshadow ours", and so "we must be able to make our case." (He refreshingly and repeatedly referred to Albanian issues as "our issues" throughout his speech.) The problem does not lie in a person or institution "being anti-Albanian or anti-engagement when it comes to U.S. foreign policy," explained. "The problem lies when America has a different focus and it leaves Albanian and Balkan issues behind. The spotlight must stay on us." Senator Biden praised the Civic League for keeping the spotlight on the gross injustices against Albanian people that must be remedied in the Balkans, and he praised Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, in particular, for "marshaling the facts and presenting the case that has gained the attention of the U.S. government."
It is important to note, as has Ms. Cloyes DioGuardi, Senator Biden's phraseology: "our issues".
As this series continues, we will look closely at what issues Senator Biden, who has been "achieving a mind meld on foreign policy" with Senator Barack Obama, shares with Albanian organized crime.