the death of President
Ibrahim Rugova in Kosovo
Oberg, TFF director
January 21, 2006
It's with deep sorrow I have
learned tonight that Dr. Rugova, the President of Kosova
(Kosmet i Metohija/Kosovo) has died. TFF Associates
Sommelius, Weston, Cullberg, Schultz and Schierup and I
myself have known him for almost 15 years. Together with
then President Kiro Gligorov of Macedonia, Rugova was the
only political leader in former Yugoslavia who embrased
non-violence, albeit pragmatically.
Jan Oberg, Bujumbura, Burundi,
January 21, 2006
In the early 1990s, it was with Rugova and his LDK party
officials TFF's team worked out the modalities of an
independent Kosova - a Kosova with open
borders, non-aligned, non-military and neutral. Dr.
Rugova was our partner - together with three government
leaders in Belgrade - in TFF's conflict-mitigating
endeavour to develop a comprehensive international treaty
that would secure a negotiated solution with a civilian
UN presence there (UNTANS,
Regrettably, hardline Kosovo-Albanians, with the support
of the German intelligence service, CIA and others
created the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, behind his back.
Predictably, a war followed and in 1999 NATO's bombing
which - as can be seen today - effectively prevented the
development of the peaceful nonviolent Kosova that
he and his colleagues creatively envisioned 15 years
At the end of each and every meeting we said, jokingly
but concerned, to this chain-smoking man that he would
need to live long to see his dream of an independent
Kosova come true. He said with a smile that he knew - and
lit another cigarette.
I am convinced that had his nonviolent policy won the
determined support of the international community in the
early 1990s, many lives could have been saved and much
suffering avoided. And the Kosovo province would have a
much brighter future than today's Kosovo is likely to
have. And in that lies all his patience and his political
and moral greatness.
No one can fill the vacuum his passing away has created.
Today's overall situation is less stable and even less
promising than yesterday's.
Dr Rugova and Jan Oberg in Rugova's
home in 2004.
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