Published on: 08 March 2017

Speech of Minister Bushati on the occasion of 8th of March in Shkodra

Good evening everyone,

Dear mothers and sisters,

Dear Mimi,

Honorable guests,

I am extremely happy and excited at the same time to have the opportunity to be here with you today and firstly would like to thank you and ask an applause for the very valuable opinions and a worthy contribution given to the panel today by Paskualina, Lumturie, Valdeti, Mirela, Shpresa and Ljiljana.

While arriving here, had a long thought on what I was going to say, and in fact I found myself in a tough situation. Tougher than the previous times due to the fact that I had to use ordinary words to talk about extraordinary girls and women. Because each one of you here shared a short story of your life, but I am strongly convinced that if we had more time and would pass the microphone in the hall, these stories would multiply.

Actually, your role resembles that of a film director behind the scenes or behind the curtains, as they usually say in Shkodra. Always present, although often invisible. But I think that the work you do as a mother, sister, wife, teacher, not by profession but by vocation, by its nature, is an extraordinary work done by ordinary women and girls.

Of all cities, (because a lot of words were said here for Shkodra), Shkodra makes the difference compared to others cities because it has in its core the legend of a woman, that of Rozafa. Thanks to her sacrifice lies the castle of Shkodra to this day as part of our identity not only in Shkodra, but in fact of our national identity. The whole origin of this city lies on a woman. It is not accidental that many women personalities, most honorable Albanian, have come forth from this land, this ground.

Shkodra, as I have said a couple of times, with its striking identity, in fact one of the main gates of Adriatic Europe, continues even today to be a city with a vibrant community, providing a unique contribution to the whole culture of our country.

Contribution to the culture would not be complete if we would not mention the contribution of the noble women of Shkodra. Of those sisters and mothers which created unforgettable personalities with the example of their lives. Marie Logoreci, Tringe Smajli, Marie Shllaku, Tinka Kurti, Roza Xhuxha, Marie Kraja, Paskualina Gruda, Justina Aliaj, Lucie Miloti and Naile Hoxha, are just a few of the laurel crown that make Shkodra more noble and the Albanian culture indeed, more complete.

Such personalities, whose work many take for granted have faced unimaginable challenges that transcended the boundaries of an outdated patriarchal mentality. Those mothers and sisters have been fighting in the front, not just for women's rights, but for human rights. Because fighting for women's rights, means fighting for human rights.

The 8th of March started in 1909, as a women's protest, the silent heroines of the entire history of humanity, those which until yesterday were hidden behind every genius man. Just after 68 years, in 1977, the United Nations declared the 8th of March as the International Women's Day. Thus, efforts made are easily imaginable.
The 8th of March, in fact it is not just International Women's Day it is a reminder and call that the protection and promotion of women's rights means direct contribution to a society with more equality and more justice. There cannot be a healthy and happy household if the mother is in vain. Just to remember that in order to become a little bit conscious that the fight for the rights of mothers and sisters, should not only be their fight, therefore you should understand our presence here today.

The titanic efforts of noble women of Shkodra, such as Nebie Cobaj whom I met earlier and visited her workshop in Zogaj, would be thrown away, if the new generation does not take the relay. Despite the efforts made, progress regarding rights acquired, over the past hundred years, women and girls today face major challenges.

Not long ago a friend of mine told me that prejudices against women are still strong enough and being a woman and not being married they call spinster.

If being married but without children, they call you selfish. If you are married and have children, but work out of the house, then you are careerists. That is the case of my wife.

If you are married and have to have children and stay at home, then you are wasting your education.

Well today it is not easy to be a woman.

Especially in Albania, where the history of Albanian women unfortunately has been marked as the price of a book, to the last page.

The communist regime only used women as a political and labor weapon. While what followed next, the chronic and endless transition, polarized the position of women making those little improvements tumble sometimes in the name of the future and sometimes in the name of the past.

In all of this, we frequently forget that we are Albanians.

Let me share with you a short linguistic curiosity. The Albanian word “motër” comes from an old Indo-European root, which means mother. Linguists say that this origin indicates, inter alia, the importance of the sister’s figure for our culture. Often associated with the mother’s figure.  I am telling this to show that in our roots, what probably we often tend to forget, respect is found between men and women. Respect for women, shall she be a mother, sister, wife or friend, it is a characteristic that has distinguished the true Albanian, generation after generation.

Today, although the Albanian woman is far from what she deserves, she has broader space to express herself and achieve. Women today are active in all fields of life in science, education, enterprise, politics, sport, art. I am honored to be in the presence of Mimi, the first female Minister of Defense of the Albanian State, which is another significant fact. On the other side, many things can be more difficult than before.

Nowadays people have the right to choose, the new generations has the right to choose their own life.

Besides the life we or you choose, above all be the heroine of your life not the victim, as it has rightly been said by the American essayist, Nora Ephron.

With this quote, I would like to end my opening remarks by thanking you once again for being here today and as a son to a mother, brother to a sister, husband to a wife and father to a daughter would like to express my deepest gratitude to you.​ 

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