Edmond Temelko is president of the Macedonian organization "Prespa" in Albania. In an interview with the Macedonian weekly "Makedonsko Sonce" (06/15/2001)he said the following:
"The plight of the Macedonians in Albania is already known. Macedonians in Albania are discriminated and the government continue to unrealistically present their numbers. Albania recognizes that on its territory live only 5,000 Macedonians. But we alone, as Macedonian organizations in Albania number 120,000 Macedonians who are members of our organizations, or if we investigate there are perhaps more then 350,000 Macedonians in Albania."
"What is the problem with the Macedonians in Albania? On the first look, we the Macedonians in Albania are well organized. We do not lack organization, we lack the needs and demands which should be materialized. Lately in Albania it can be heart loud and clear that the Macedonians are not only 5,000 and that they are not satisfied of those minimalist rights. Therefore we organized a protest which goal was clear. It was read by the Albanian government which understood that we are part of Macedonia and if there would be any threat to the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, we are with and for Macedonia."
"According to the Albanian Constitution, the minorities are allowed only 60% education in their mother languages. But that is not happening. That is only the case with 18%. There are Macedonians who live in other parts of Albania which do not have a permission to get an education in their own mother language, the Macedonian language. They do not have schools. But even where we have schools, there is very little. Ex example in the village of Pustec there is elementary education from first to fourth grade in Macedonian and one course in Albanian. What happens between fifth and eight grade? Only three courses are in Macedonian, and the history in taught only in seventh grade and only for one hour. But the worst of all is that although the kids study in Macedonian, the literature is not an original. The Macedonian grammar is translated from the Albanian grammar. Here are the greatest of our complaints. We demand that the children by educated with original Macedonian textbooks."
"The Albanian press had qualified us a potential Hotspot. After the peaceful protest, they treat us as terrorists, although nobody of us rose a gun to fight in Albania. All we did is sent a call that we are fighting for our rights through the institutions of the system. For example, we publicly proclaim that we do not like the Constitution of Albania. Why? In article 20 it is written that in Albania exist minorities whose cultural identity should be guaranteed and preserved. But which minorities are these? Let it say: Greek, Macedonian, Vlach, or Roma minority. The Albanian government is afraid of this because if this is written, i.e. if a real analysis is conducted, Albania is a multiethnic state. If you enter inner Albania, there live 40-45% of the minorities. There are Greeks, Vlachs, Macedonians, Roma. This is what the Albanian government is afraid of and this is why it conducted such census. This census was regularly conducted in only one village. It is discrimination and because of it Macedonia will have to develop a clear strategy for the plight of the Macedonians in the neighboring countries."
The words of Edmond Temelko, the president of the Macedonian organization "Prespa" in Albania, confirm that the Macedonians in Albania do not have even close to the rights that the Albanians in Macedonia enjoy.
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