From: Die Morina van Uijtregt
Between Two Flags; Kosovo Albanians Have Strong Feelings for Red and Black

Despite not being listed as an official holiday in Kosovo, the Albanian National Flag Day or Independence Day has a very important place with the country’s people.

November 28 highlights the strong feelings of Kosovo Albanians; cities decorated with Albania’s flag, national songs in every bar and citizens wearing red as a tribute to the day.

When citizens are asked to compare with the flag the country adopted when it declared its independence in 2008, it shows that the feelings remain stronger for the Albanian red and black flag.

The official flag is blue with a yellow map of Kosovo in the middle and six white stars representing the communities living in it.

“Mother flag [Albania’s] and Stepmother flag [Kosovo’s],” Jeton Latifi told Exit News.

Luljeta Berisha, another citizen said that she hopes in the future Kosovo will also use the national flag as its official state one.

“There is no other flag that represents me but the red and black flag,” she said.

While Mala Berisha says that “all the suffering Kosovo and Albania went through, made us love the red and black flag more, but the reality is that Kosovo now has its own flag, whether we like it or not”.

Many Kosovo Albanians were also named as a tribute to the national flag.

Flamur Kaciu told Exit News that the national flag has crucial importance to him while the state one “is the imposition of circumstances”.

He said that he feels very disappointed for the citizens not having the right to choose [vote] for the state flag.

“The state flag does not represent anything of the majority of this country. Is not even beautiful,” he says.

“When I was named Flamur [flag], it was because of the national [Allbanian] flag,” he added.

Vlora Morina Idrizi, proudly tells the story of her name.

“I was born on November 28 and it wasn’t even discussed about the name. I was born with a name because of the greatness of the national flag’s day,” she told Exit News.

She was named after the southern Albanian city, Vlora where the Declaration of the Independence took place on November 28, 1912.

According to Endrit Temaj, the imposition of changing the flag is an attempt to distance the state of Kosovo from the historical and ethnic context.

“All socio-political actions in the circumstances of the occupation were taken in the name of the red and black flag, so the symbols gain validity when they are associated with social sacrifice, this gives them value,” he said.

Describing the national flag as “the pride” and “the joint dream”, Krenare Lleshi said that Kosovo’s flag does not have any sign of the past.

“[Kosovo’s flag] never managed to get close to the emotion that the national flag gives me. Unfortunately, many years later, I still have not managed to create any connection with the state flag,” Lleshi said.

On the other side, Agon Qajani says that the red and black flag is Albania’s flag, while Kosovo’s one “is the best flag in the world”.

Also, Besa Maxhuni said that she loves the national flag, but “our state flag is blue and yellow”.

“This is the one representing us in the world and as such I love it a lot,” she said.

While Eduan Hoda calls Albania’s flag “our national flag”, and the Kosovo’s one “is the flag of the Republic, freedom and independence”.

Kosovo was liberated from Serbia in 1999.

Kosovo Liberation Army who fought against Serbian forces used the Albanian national flag. But when the country declared its independence, the international community asked for less ethnically exclusive symbols.

Since 2008 with the declaration of Kosovo’s independence, the country was represented with the new blue, yellow and white flag.

“It must not utilize the representation of any eagle symbol, particularly with regard to such depictions in the symbol of other states and must not utilize red and black colour schemes or red, white and blue colour schemes,” the public criteria of the international competition to design Kosovo’s flag, read back then.