US Congressman Tom Lantos: "Albania must respect the Census based on the full rights of the human rights values"
1996: PRO-GREEK LOBBY GIVES EVIDENCE AGAINST BERISHA AND DP IN WASHINGTONIsuf Hajrizi (ICK) reports from Washington, June 21 Several circles in the United States continue to launch attacks against President Sali Berisha and the DP since the May 26 polls.
In an evidence (the second of this kind within this week) provided to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, some of the biggest opponents to the policy of the Albanian President and government in America accuse the president of "flagrant violation of the electoral law" dubbing him "eater of the Albanian people's rights and freedoms" and "ruiner of democracy in Albania".
In the evidence initiated by the democrat Congressman from California, Tom Lantosh, testify Nicholas Gage, chairman of the Pan-epirus Federation in the U.S. for the defence of the rights of the Greek minority in Albania, Bianca Jagger, human rights activist and wife of the renowned rock-'d- roller Mick Jagger, Fred Abrahams, human rights adviser in the Human Right Watch/Helsinki and Gramoz Pashko, founder of the Democratic Alliance Party.
The evidence which, according to a participant, should have been called "Let's attack Berisha to death", was completely unilateral. The round table lacked witnesses to defend the DP and President Berisha. Not because someone of the president's suite would not be allowed to testify in his defence, but because there was no anyone to undertake it. Also, lacking were community members who would oppose the international organisations experts by providing adequate facts.
In this way, the witnesses freely threw stones at the Albanian President, not fearing anyone from the other side to oppose them.
"The continuation of the Sali Berisha regime will ruin any hope of the Albanian people to see a genuine democracy in their own state and will eventually cause the loss of many American lives striving to stop it", Gage threatened. Grieving for the Greek minority rights in Albania, Gage said that the Berisha government is carrying out "a kind of peaceful ethnic cleansing of the Greek people in Albania".
"For the sake of ethnic harmony in Albania, for the sake of stability in the Southern Balkans, for the sake of the loss of Americans' lives the conflict would cause there, but above all , for the sake of human dignity, I hope you will do everything possible to stop Albania's advance towards autocracy, so that democracy be rooted for the first time in the history of this country, and guarantee the full rights of the Greek minority", Gage urged the president of the Committee of Organising Commission, Lantosh.
Gage has been backed up by Congressmen Lantosh against the Abanian government. The congressman from California has himself criticized the policy of the Albanian government on the eve of the elections concerning the Greek minority in Albania. The main reason hiding behind Lantosh's motive on Albania is believed to be the very powerful Greek lobby in America which has included Lantosh and others in the Congress, as well as Gage's close ties with the most powerful people in the U.S. administration. A month ago, Gage was not allowed to enter Albania as a persona non grata.
Gage was accompanying Congressman Lantosh, who, after visiting Greece, crossed into Albania (while Gage was stopped at the border). When coming back to the Congress, Gage complained to the Secretary of State and his congress colleagues regarding the human rights of the Greek minority people in Albania, not at all mentioning the severe treatment of Albanians in Greece, where they not only are deprived of the minority rights but often have to change their name for the sake of staying in that state.
One of those who presented himself as "a victim of beating" was the DAP leader, Gramoz Pashko. He confessed "police brutality" and of being beaten during the electoral process.Many activists of the Albanian-American community and American analysts of the Albanian policy hold that the reason for Albania's being attacked so much of late is the lack of a real Albanian lobby in the United States.