Në garat “Balkan Voices” për Oratori të mbajtura në Universitetin Amerikan të Bullgarisë, Kosova u përfaqësua nga ferizajasja  Erza Lalinovci me temën “Being a girl in Kosovo”.

Janë këto garat Ballkanike që organizohen  nga “American University in Bulgaria” e në të cilat morën pjesë përfaqësues nga të gjitha shtetet e Ballkanit.

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Në  këto gara  morën pjesë  110 student nga gjithë rajoni.

Duhet theksuar se fituesja në fjalë, në garën për “oratori”, nuk e ka përmendur asnjëherë fjalën “Shqiptar”. Në cilën gjuhë flet Erza Lalinovci? E paspjegueshme! E pafalshme! Intelektualë të infektuar nga politika e ideologjia?

Ja shkrimi i plotë me të cilin u prezantua Erza në këto gara.

“Being a girl in Kosovo” – “Të jesh vajzë në Kosovë”

Being a girl in Kosovo It is the year 1960. Picture a place where there is a 15-year-old girl in a village in Kosovo, who had a dream to continue her education and become a teacher. Teachers were very few in Kosovo back then. But, between her and her dreams stood the villagers who thought that females can only be good at cooking and taking care of children and a girl going to school would bring disgrace to the entire village. Luckily for her, the girl was fortunate.

There was a man whose thinking was different from that of his villagers, the girl’s father. He chose to ignore everyone and everything and decided to let his daughter follow her dream. The girl became a teacher and through her 40-year long career she taught 10 generations of primary school children. Unfortunately, the majority of Kosovo’s girls of that time did not share the same fate.

Fast forward to the year 1999. Kosovo was at war. Kosovo’s population suffered genocide. Among many victims who suffered from violence, there were as many as 20,000 women who were victims of the sexual violence. I do not want to talk about that, as sensitive as it might be, but I just want to say that after the war ended these women experienced another form of it.

They suffered mental violence caused by Kosovo’s society as they didn’t receive any support for being victims. On the contrary, they felt ashamed. Therefore, they were forced to remain silent and not tell what happened to them. This mentality and prejudice against women was the reason that made my mother be concerned when she understood that she is carrying a baby-girl on her belly, since she did not want her daughter to be raised in an environment with such mentality. And that is what I want to talk about today.

I want to show how the mentality of a population can harm a female’s values, dignity and success and what should a female do when she finds herself in a similar environment. And this is not only applicable to Kosovo as we all share similar experiences.

Talking about experiences, let me share a personal one with you; When I was younger, I loved playing football. Once I saw my brothers and their friends playing in our house’s backyard. I went to ask them if I could join, but guess what was my brother’s response: “Go inside the house, this is not a game for girls, don’t you see that there is no girl in here?”

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I was six at that time. First feeling I had was that I wished I was a boy. All those dreams I had, imagining myself playing football for my country, suddenly disappeared. However, my mother told me that a simple opinion must not stop me and that the hurt feeling I experienced should motivate me to never quit and try to prove my brother wrong.

So, I started changing and instead of wishing to be a boy, now I wanted to be thankful for being a girl. And that is what all girls actually did in Kosovo.

Until those days people used to think that females could not be strong and feminine at the same time. This made them believe that women could not be as successful as men because they linked everything with their feelings, which reason shaped the mentality the population used to have. But women wanted to give it an end by standing up against it.

That is why the situation I explained above is not a reflection of the present-day Kosovo. Day after day females in Kosovo started building their self-confidence by combining their passions and skills thus shaping the road to their success. It only took a few girls to continue education so that every other girl followed. This way they chose what they wanted to do with their lives instead of letting the others control them.

While back in 1960 the percentage of illiterate females was over 60%, in 2009 it dropped to less than 10%. Few years ago, Mrs. Vasfije Krasniqi, one of the 20,000 war victims of the sexual violence, defied the fear and prejudice and publicly shared her painful experience and her fight to bring justice in court.

It was a breakthrough that inspired hundreds of other victims to come out of the dark, break the silence and share their experiences too. Now, the Government of Kosovo has set a pension for every woman that has lived that terror along the war since they could not be compensated morally.

More importantly, the victims of sexual violence are now getting support from the entire society. They are now seen as heroines. Kosovo’s society gradually became aware of women’s abilities. In 2011, Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga was elected Kosovo’s first female president. This was the first time that a country in the entire Balkan Region elected a woman for their president.

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Today, women of Kosovo have the necessary space to freely express their professional abilities. Today women are successful educators, doctors, politicians, musicians and even sportswomen. Rita Ora and Dua Lipa, are great examples of how successful and talented our women can be if they are given a chance. While once I was not allowed to play football because it was considered a sport for boys only, today there are many football clubs for girls and recently a rugby club has been created too.

In 2016, Majlinda Kelmendi won the gold medal in judo at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

These and many other stories of successful women, inspired the society and have helped in improving Kosovo’s population mentality.

The stories proved that women have power, are smart and strong no matter of the circumstances.

This is why women should be given the necessary support and should stop being judged because among them there could be the next Mother Theresa, Rita Ora, Dua Lipa or Majlinda Kelmendi.

Today I would like to leave a message to the women all around the world, that they must be proud for who they are and should continue to raise their voices in fighting for gender equality, fight against prejudices and not be afraid to follow their dreams.

One thing for sure, I know I will.

Thank you! Erza Lalinovci /MekuliPress.com/ 
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