Parathėnia e librit tė UK Lushit "Shqiptaro-Amerikanėt e UĒK-sė - Kronikė e Batalionit "Atlantiku",

e shkruar nga ambasadori amerikan William Walker

 

UNĖ, UĒK’ja DHE BATALIONI "ATLANTIKU"

 

Nga Ambasadori William Walker

____________________________________

 

      Qė tė jem i sinqertė, as para luftės dhe as gjatė bombardimeve tė NATO-s, unė nuk kisha dėgjuar pėr batalionin “Atlantiku”. Gjatė kohės sa isha nė krye tė Misionit Verifikues pėr Kosovėn (MVK)1 nė kuadėr tė Organizatės pėr Siguri dhe Bashkėpunim nė Evropė (OSBE), (tetor 1998-qershor 1999), kisha pėr detyrė t’i organizoja shkėmbimet e tė burgosurve tė luftės, por edhe obligime tė tjera operacionale.

 

     Disa herė kisha takuar komandantėt e Ushtrisė Ēlirimtare tė Kosovės, por unė nuk e dija se nė radhėt e veta UĒK-ja kishte pasur njė kontingjent me luftėtarė amerikanė, tė cilėt ishin rekrutuar nga komuniteti shqiptaro-amerikan.

 

     Ėshtė vėrtet e ēuditshme, por e pamohueshme, qė unė nuk isha i vetmi ndėrkombėtar i rangut tė lartė, nga tė shumtėt qė punonin nė Kosovė, qė nuk e dija kėtė fakt.

·       As qeveria e Shteteve tė Bashkuara e as bashkėsia ndėrkombėtare nuk e kishin ekspozenė e plotė se ēfarė ishte UĒK-ja.

·       Cilėt ishin pjesėtarėt e saj?

·       Nga ēfarė pėrbėhej struktura e saj?

·       Cila ishte hierarkia ushtarake nė fushėbetejė?

·       Cila ishte udhėheqja, pra drejtuesit etj.?

Nė cilėsinė time si kryesues i njė misioni ndėrkombėtar dhe si oficer sekondar i Shėrbimit tė Jashtėm tė Amerikės, unė kisha qasje tė kufizuar nė ato ēfarė dinin, ose mendonin se dinin mbi UĒK-nė agjencitė e inteligjencės tė Amerikės dhe tė NATO-s.

 

     Mbase unė mund tė mos kem qenė plotėsisht i informuar, porse shpeshherė habitesha nga pyetjet e thjeshta qė mė bėheshin nė Washington, nė kryeqytetet e Evropės dhe nė selinė e NATO-s nė Bruksel, nga personalitete si Madeleine Albright, Javier Solana, gjenerali Wesley Clark dhe tė tjerė, qė sigurisht ishin tė mirinformuar.

·       “Ēka ėshtė UĒK-ja?

·       Kush e pėrfaqėson atė?

·       Njė nga pyetjet qė Sekretarja e Shtetit, Albright, mė shtroi nė mėnyrė direkte, ashtu siē di tė pyesė ajo, ishte: “Pa mė thuaj Bill, a ėshtė UĒK-ja njė grusht kriminelėsh, xhihadistėsh apo janė patriotė tė vėrtetė?”

 

 

         Nuk mund t’i thosha tjetėr pėrpos tė vėrtetės. Nga tre a katėr persona, me tė cilėt kisha pasur marrėdhėnie dhe disa duzina tė tjera qė i kisha vėrejtur nė postblloqet e UĒK-sė, asnjė nga ata nuk mė kishte lėnė pėrshtypjen tė ishin tjetėr, pėrveēse djem tė rinj (dhe tek-tuk ndonjė vajzė e re) qė po luftonin pėr njė kauzė, nė tė cilėn ata besonin thellėsisht.

 

    Mė 16 janar 1999 u bėra dėshmitar i njėrės nga ndodhitė mė dramatike dhe me pasojat mė tė mėdha gjatė gjithė punės sime nė Kosovė: vrasjen e mbi 45 burrave dhe djemve nė fshatin shqiptar Reēak.

 

     Me gjithė faktin qė Millosheviēi u orvat, ashtu siē kishte bėrė nė raste tė tjera, t’i paraqiste vrasjet e Reēakut si rezultat i betejės ushtarake me UĒK-nė, ajo qė pashė nė vendngjarje, qenė ca pleq dhe djelmosha, tė gjithė nė rroba bujqish. Tė ekzekutuarit dhe ajo qė pashė unė, ishin absolutisht nė kundėrshti me pėrshkrimin e Beogradit se nė Reēak kishte pasur shkėmbime zjarri.

 

Shikoni: Fotogalerinė e masakrės nė Reēak

 

     Dėshmitarėt mė rrėfyen qė forcat serbe tė sigurimit kishin granatuar pėr orė tė tėra dhe me tė hyrė nė fshat kishin mbledhur meshkujt qė kishin mundur t’i kapnin; pastaj i kishin shpėnė pėrpjetė shtegut tė ngrirė, ku disa orė mė vonė qenė gjetur tė masakruar. Kėto pamje ishin evidencė e qartė pėr mua.

 

     Gazetarėt dhe tė gjithė ne qė ecėm atė ditė nėpėr atė grykė tė ngushtė tė vdekjes, e kuptuam gjithė ēfarė kishte ndodhur. Sapo u ktheva nė Prishtinė, organizova njė konferencė shtypi. Fola para botės e thashė se sipas mendimit tim, vrasjet e Reēakut ishin masakėr kundėr civilėve tė paarmatosur dhe krim kundėr njerėzimit.

 

     I fajėsova forcat serbe tė sigurimit dhe kėrkova qė personat pėrgjegjės tė jepnin llogari. Bėra thirrje pėr hetim tė menjėhershėm, i cili duhej tė bėhej nga ekspertė tė pavarur dhe profesionistė tė skenave tė krimit. Si kundėrreagim, Beogradi e denoncoi incidentin, duke e paraqitur si njė komplot tė CIA-s amerikane “pėr ta shkatėrruar Serbinė”; kurse mua mė shpalli person non grata.

 

     Ngjarja e Reēakut ēoi drejt nė njė obligim gjithėbotėror, sipas tė cilit duhej bėrė diēka pėr tė ndalur dhunimin e Kosovės. Ministrat e jashtėm tė Grupit tė Kontaktit u mblodhėn urgjentisht nė Londėr, ku Madeleine Albright dhe kolegu i saj rus bėnė tė ditur se palėt nė konfliktin e Kosovės do tė silleshin nė Rambouillet tė Francės, qė njėherė e mirė tė arrinin njė zgjidhje.

 

     Takimi i Rambouillet-sė pėrfundoi me dėshtim, sepse Millosheviēi refuzoi tė nėnshkruante marrėveshjen e negociuar. NATO-ja filloi bombardimin e Serbisė ca ditė mė vonė.

 

     Disa muaj pas pėrfundimit tė luftės, pasi u ktheva nė Departamentin e Shtetit, u ftova tė isha i pranishėm nė njė festim pėr ēlirimin e Kosovės, qė m’u tha se organizohej nga komuniteti shqiptaro-amerikan i New York-ut. Kur arrita nė ndėrtesėn e pranimit, u befasova.

 

     Dhjetėra burra me uniforma ushtarake me distinktivė tė UĒK-sė kishin krijuar dy rreshta. Veē befasisė, u merakosa, sepse lajmi i manifestimit ushtarak do tė arrinte t’u binte nė vesh eprorėve tė mi nė Washington, nga tė cilėt vetėm njė pakicė ndiheshin rehat qė amerikanėt kishin shėrbyer nė njė “ushtri tė huaj” - ēfarė nė esencė ishte UĒK-ja.

 

     Isha i sigurt qė as Departamenti i Shtetit nuk do ta vlerėsonte veprimin e ambasadorit Walker, qė me zhurmė e potere demonstronte devotshmėrinė e tij pėr ēėshtjen shqiptare tė Kosovės dhe pėr brigadėn “Abraham Lincoln” 6. Beogradi tash do ta paraqiste kėtė solemnitet si dėshmi se Walker dhe qeveria amerikane gjithnjė kishin pasur si mision “ta shkatėrronin Serbinė”.

 

    Nė pėrcjelljen qė m’u bė pėr tė shkuar te kryetavolina, shpejt zbulova qė mbrėmja festive ishte organizuar pėr t’i nderuar ushtarėt e batalionit “Atlantiku” dhe sakrificėn e tyre.

 

     Nė kėtė mėnyrė unė mėsova se njė grusht bijsh tė rinj (dhe ca jo edhe aq tė rinj me moshė) tė diasporės shqiptare kishin ndėrprerė karrierat, martesat dhe jetėn e mirė nė Amerikė, pėr t’iu bashkuar vėllezėrve, motrave, kushėrinjve dhe shokėve, - atėbotė, - nė pėrpjekjen e pashpresė kundėr armatės jugosllave, qė ishte shumė mė e madhe, shumė mė e armatosur dhe e komanduar nga oficerė profesionistė. Nė kėtė mbrėmje takova Uk Lushin, njė veteran i batalionit “Atlantiku” dhe autor i kėtij libri.

 

     Programi kaloi me fjalimet e zakonshme tė rastit, pėrfshirė timin, njė fjalim goxha i pėrgjithshėm, sidomos pasi qė nuk pėrmenda asgjė qė kisha mėsuar aty dhe as cili ishte qėllimi i tubimit.

 

     Pastaj ēdo anėtari tė pranishėm tė batalionit “Atlantiku” iu nda nga njė dekoratė pėr shėrbim. Kulmi i ceremonisė sė dekorimit qe patjetėr momenti mė dramatik dhe mė emocionues i krejt mbrėmjes. Konferencieri nga tribuna tha se dekoratat pėr tre vėllezėrit do t’i prezantoheshin babait tė tyre post mortem, sepse tė tre ishin kapur dhe vrarė nga forcat serbe pasi veprimet luftarake ishin ndalur zyrtarisht. Kėshtu mėsova pėr historinė tragjike tė vėllezėrve Bytyēi, qė ky libėr e paraqet me tėrė detajet e saj tmerruese.

 

Foto: Vėllezėrit Bytyēi me babain e tyre para nisjes pėr luftė. Ulur, nga e majta, Ylli dhe Agroni. Nė kėmbė, nga e majta, Mehmeti, Ahmet Bytyēi dhe Shefki Mati.

 

     Pak kohė pasi dėgjova pėr fatin e tre vėllezėrve, u ftova nga Kėshilli Kombėtar Shqiptaro-Amerikan (KKSHA) pėr t’iu bashkėngjitur njė delegacioni qė do tė fluturonte pėr nė Prishtinė me babanė e vėllezėrve Bytyēi, i cili po shkonte t’i merrte eshtrat e bijve tė tij pėr t’i sjellė e varrosur nė Amerikė. Udhėtimi qe i trishtė.

 

     Gjatė shėrbimeve memoriale nė Kosovė dhe pastaj gjatė ceremonisė sė varrimit nė Yonkers, nė Amerikė, babai i tre vėllezėrve Bytyēi foli me pasion e tha se ishte krenar qė bijtė e tij kishin dhėnė jetėn qė tė ēlirohej Kosova. Nėna e tyre, duke rrezatuar mė shumė dhimbje se krenari, pėr shkak tė ankthit qė e kishte kapluar, nuk foli fare.

 

     Kur mė erdhi radha mua tė thosha dy-tri fjalė, unė vetėm mund ta kuptoja gjendjen nė tė cilėn ndodheshin prindėrit e tre vėllezėrve, eshtrat e tė cilėve ishin nė arkivolet para nesh. Unė jam baba i tre djemve dhe e kam tė vėshtirė ta imagjinoj ta humbas njė nga bijtė e mi, e lėre mė tre; sidomos tė masakrohen nė njė mėnyrė mizore dhe tė pakuptimtė ashtu siē ndodhi me vėllezėrit Bytyēi.

 

     Qė prej takimit tė parė me ish-ushtarėt e batalionit “Atlantiku” kam pasur rastin t’i njoh mirė njė pjesė tė madhe tė tyre. Ndėr ta mė sė miri njoh Uk Lushin, i cili ėshtė miku mė i mirė imi. Ndoshta pse ai ka pasur njė karrierė tė suksesshme dhe ende ėshtė i angazhuar nė shumė aspekte, pėr t’ia treguar botės tė vėrtetėn e UĒK-sė.

 

     Ushtarėt e batalionit “Atlantiku” vijnė nga njė shumėllojshmėri tė kaluarash, nga vende tė ndryshme tė shoqėrisė amerikane ku jetojnė shqiptarėt; por jo tė gjithė pjesėtarėt e “Atlantikut” ishin nga familje me rrėnjė stėrgjyshore nė Kosovė.

 

     Shumė nga ata qenė thjesht pėrfaqėsues tė diasporės panshqiptare dhe iu bashkuan kauzės pa dallime gjeografike. Faleminderit Zot, shumica u kthyen, disa me plagė, njė apo dy nga ata me gjymtyrė tė humbura, por tė gjithė krenarė pėr kontributin qė dhanė. Ky libėr ėshtė historia e tyre.

 

EKSKLUZIVE: FLET UK LUSHI PĖR LUFTĖN E BATALIONIT „ATLANTIKU“

 

===============================================

 

Parathėnia e Walkerit ANGLISHT

 

ME, KLA AND THE ATLANTIC BRIGADE

 

By Ambassador William Walker

 

     To be honest, I had not heard of the Atlantic Brigade before the war, or while the NATO bombing campaign was underway. Although I met several KLA/UĒK field commanders during my tenure (October 1998-June 1999) as the Head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe”s (OSCE) Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) [1], to arrange prisoner exchanges and other operational tasks, I was unaware that the Kosovo Liberation Army had American fighters within its ranks, that a contingent of volunteer combatants had been recruited from among the Albanian-American community.

 

     The remarkable but undeniable truth is that I was not the only senior international working the Kosovo crisis in such ignorance. Neither the United States government, nor the international community had an accurate picture as to what the KLA/UĒK was about- its membership, what its organizational and command structure consisted of, the military order of battle, leadership, etc. In my capacity as head of an international mission, albeit a seconded American Foreign Service Officer, I had only limited access to what American and NATO intelligence agencies knew[2], or thought they knew, about the KLA/UĒK. Perhaps I was not privy to all that was known. But I was often struck by the simplistic questions that were put to me in Washington, the capitals of Europe, and NATO headquarters in Brussels, by participants such as Madeleine Albright, Javier Solana[3], General Wesley Clark and others who assuredly were informed of all that was known – “What is the KLA? Who speaks for them?” Or as the American Secretary of State Albright put it to me in her direct fashion “Tell me Bill, is the KLA a bunch of criminals, jihadists, or true patriots?” I could only respond that of the three or four I had dealt with, and of the dozens observed at KLA roadblocks, none gave the impression of being other than young men (and an occasional woman) fighting for a cause they deeply believed in.

 

     On January 16, 1999, I became involved in the single most dramatic and consequential event in my Kosovo experience- the slaying of over forty five men and boys in the Albanian village of Racak. Although the Milosheviq regime attempted, as it had done many times before and after in other villages, to portray the Racak killings as the result of a pitched battle with the KLA, the evidence I saw on the ground- old men and youngsters, all in farm worker clothes, many killed execution style, witnesses describing the Serb security forces as having entered the village after hours of artillery bombardment and then rounding up every male they could find and escorting the unarmed prisoners up the frozen path to where their mutilated bodies were found a few hours later- was totally inconsistent with Belgrade”s description of a firefight. The sights before us led me, and every other verifier and journalist that walked the ravine of death that day, to grasp what had happened. I returned to Pristina and called a press conference. I told the world that the killings in Racak were, in my opinion, a massacre of unarmed civilians, and a “crime against humanity”. I blamed the Serbian security forces, and demanded that those responsible be held accountable. I called for an immediate investigation by independent, professional crime scene experts. Belgrade”s reaction was to declare me persona non grata, and denounce the incident as an American CIA conspiracy to “destroy Serbia”.

 

     The incident at Racak led to worldwide recognition that something had to be done to avoid further outrage in Kosovo. A meeting of Contact Group [4] foreign ministers was quickly convened in London, where Madeleine Albright and her Russian counterpart announced that the parties to the Kosovo conflict would be brought together in Rambuillet, France, to settle their differences once and for all. The Rambuillet meeting ended in failure when Milosheviq refused to sign the negotiated accord. The NATO bombing began a few days later.

 

     A few months after I returned to the United States at the end of the war[5], and to the Department of State from which I had been seconded in October 1998, I was invited to attend what I was told would be a celebration of Kosovo”s liberation by the New York Albanian-American community.

 

     Arriving at the reception facility, I was surprised to step out of my vehicle into a column- lining either side of the entryway- comprised of a dozen or so men in camouflage fatigues bearing UĒK badges, the uniform of the KLA. Beyond surprise, I was concerned that news of this military display would reach my superiors in Washington, few of whom were comfortable with Americans having served in what was essentially a “foreign army”- the KLA/UĒK. Nor would many at State appreciate Ambassador Walker so blatantly demonstrating his adherence to the Kosovo”s Albanian cause- especially it’s “Abraham Lincoln Brigade”- which Belgrade had offered as proof that Walker- and by association the United States government- had been out to “destroy Serbia” from the beginning.

 

     Escorted to my seat at the head table I quickly discovered that the evening”s celebration was to pay tribute to the men of the Atlantic Brigade, their commitment and sacrifice. Thus was I made aware that a handful of young (and a few not so young) sons of the Albanian diaspora had interrupted their careers, their marriages, the good life lived in the United States, to join their brothers, sisters, cousins and friends in the- at the time- seemingly hopeless armed struggle against a vastly larger, massively armed, professionally officered Yugoslav army. And it was here that I first met Uk Lushi, an Atlantic Brigade veteran and the author of this book.

 

     The evening had the usual speeches, including mine, a fairly generic one since I made no reference to what I had just learned was the purpose of the gathering. Then each member of the Atlantic Brigade in attendance was presented with a service decoration. The culmination of the medal ceremony was easily the most dramatic, and emotional moment of the evening. The emcee announced that the decorations of three brothers would be presented posthumously to their father, since the three had been captured and killed by the Serbian security forces- after the hostilities had officially ended. Thus I learned the tragic story of the Bytyēi brothers, presented in its horrendous detail in this book. Shortly after hearing of their fate, I was invited by the National Albanian American Council (NAAC) to join a delegation travelling to Pristina to accompany the boys’ parents as they recovered their sons’ remains, and transported them to the United States for burial.

 

     The journey was unbearably sad. At the memorial services in Kosovo, and again at the graveside ceremony in the Yonkers, the young men’s father spoke with passion of his and his family”s pride that his sons had given their lives in the cause that Albanians everywhere identified with- the long struggle to liberate Kosova[6]. The boys’ mother, showing more pain than pride on her anguished face, didn’t speak. When it was my turn to say a few words, I could only relate that I, the father of three sons, could hardly imagine what it would be to lose one, far less three of my boys, in such a cruel and senseless manner.

 

     Since that initial encounter, I have gotten to know other veterans of the Atlantic Brigade. Uk Lushi among them. Perhaps because he has pursued a successful career and remains involved in every aspect of effort to tell the world what the KLA/UĒK was all about, I have come to know Uk Lushi as a good friend and reliable source. Coming from a variety of backgrounds, from the many corners of American society into which Albanians have settled, not all Atlantic Brigaders were from families with their ancestral roots in Kosovo. Though most were from Kosovo, others were simply representative of the broader Albanian diaspora, and joined the cause. Thank God most returned, some with wounds, one or two minus limbs, but all rightfully proud of their participation. This then is their story.

August 9, 2008 -  Washington D.C.

 

[1] The OSCE, with 84 member states including the Russian Federation and all of the former USSR’s republics now independent states, deployed the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) in October 1998, to “verify” that all parties to the Kosovo conflict were acting in accord with the provisions of the Holbroooke-Milosheviq agreement of October 16. The mission, which reached 1400 verifiers from over 30 member states, pulled out in March 1999, days before the NATO bombs began to fall.

[2] Since the OSCE’s membership includes the Russian Federation, as well as a number of its allies, NATO did not share its intelligence secrets with the KVM, although individual members of my Mission, those with clearances from NATO member states, were periodically briefed either in Brussels or by visiting NATO reps. Since Russia insisted, understandably, that every KVM unit had to be open to representatives of all OSCE member states, the Alliance, also understandably, was careful with what it officially passed to the KVM. This occasionally created inefficiencies and hard feelings.

[3] Javier Solana was Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at the time.

The Contact Group consisted of Great Britain, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, Italy and the United States.

[5] During the actual war, I, and a declining number of my 1400 KVM verifiers, served in Macedonia and Albania, mostly helping with the outpouring of Albanian refugees from Kosovo. We expected to return to Kosovo when the fighting stopped.

[6] “Kosovo” in Serbian, “Kosova” in Albanian. I quickly learned that the single letter difference is of incredible importance to the two sides. Except for this one reference, I have used the better known “Kosovo” spelling, since this is what most outsiders are familiar with.

 

( Marrė nga libri "Shqiptaro-Amerikanėt e UĒK-sė - Kronikė e Batalionit "Atlantiku" i autorit dhe luftėtarit tė Batalionit Uk Lushi, publikuar nė Prishtinė nga shtėpia botuese KOHA dhe nė Tiranė nga shtėpia botuese ORA.)

 

LEXONI PASTHĖNIEN E ISMAIL KADARES:

 LUFTA E UĒK, DĖSHMI E IDENTITETIT SHQIPTAR