Based On A True Story
BISMILLAH WAL HAMDULILLAH, WASALATU WASSALAM ALA RASOOLULLAH,
Asalamualaikum, brothers and sisters. Welcome ladies and gentlemen. I would like to take this occasion to first say that our gathering here today is truly a great one, not because of the greatness of any individual but because of the righteousness of our cause. We stand united, ready to rally NOT for the right to vote, or to ride a bus, not to fight a disease. Our fight is for something far more basic, far more important in the course of human history, and essential for world peace. The right to LIVE, freely, without fear has been denied to our brothers and sisters in Kosova. By meeting here today, we have declared our resolve to DO something to end their suffering. It is my hope that you and I can join our hands and hearts for the next few hours, remembering a people that the world has forgotten.
We will come to realize that the truth is painful. Some of the pictures that you may see or the words that we may share will hurt, but we are not helpless to change what we see. They tell us it is crazy to think that simple hands can change humanity. Well I say, it is the crazy ones who end up changing the world. With this in mind, let us delve into THEIR world, hoping to raise THEIR voice, over the tides of oppression.
As we speak, entire villages smolder, their earthly inhabitants buried under a layer of ash. In Pristina, the Kosovar capital, precious buildings and monuments that have outlived centuries of conflict, fall to Serb artillery. Fire rages through a library that promises to bear witness against its ignorant enemy. Just outside the city, a village has fallen to the Serbs. Three brothers, all too young to resist their attackers, are forced against a wall in their home. The Serbs lower their rifles. ONE…The boys look up, their eyes transfixed on their enemy. TWO…They cry for their mother, who fled days ago. THREE…The bullets rage through the air, at last their oppression has ended. Their bodies fall to the ground.
A hundred miles away, a woman climbs a mountain, her feet bloody from her three day journey. Fatima pleads for some bread, concerned more for her unborn child then her own pangs of hunger. She has nothing left to trade for food. The fresh bruises on her face tell the story of how she was beaten until she gave everything. THERE, someone has bread! She falls beneath the surging crowd. STOP, she pleads. Just one drop in an ocean of tears. The crowd tramples her in the frenzy for food. Her thoughts remain with her three sons she left back in the village, hiding in the basement. She wonders if they escaped the advancing Serb troops. She feels the life slipping from her…her heart beats, beats ……..stops.
It was already dead. The baby in her womb kicks, trapped inside a lifeless body. Back in the village outside Pristina, the Serbs have left. The youngest brother, Ibrahim, pushes away his fallen siblings. Fire quickly engulfs the entire house. Next door, an infant cries, he tries to carry her but there’s a bullet in his arm. He can’t. She burns with the house. The smoke lingers eerily over the village.
The boy runs. For two days. “I will tell the world,” he thinks. “If they only knew.” At last at the refugee camp, he tells a reporter of the rapes, just like in Bosnia. He tells of the executions, just like in Srebrenica. He tells of the shelling, just like Sarajevo. “Sorry kid, already heard those stories. Tell me something new.”
“THE TRAGEDY IS NOT THE BRUTALITY OF THE EVIL BUT THE SILENCE OF THE GOOD PEOPLE”, said Dr. King. Never again, is happening now, and the world is doing nothing.
To NATO we say, the good people will not be satisfied by the move to action only when it fits within your economic or political paradigm. NATO MUST ENSURE THAT THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE OF KOSOVA TO LIVE MUST BE PROTECTED. WE MUST DEFEND KOSOVA BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY UNTIL SERBIAN FORCES ARE COMPLETELY AND PERMANENTLY WITHDRAWN. Essential to a lasting peace, we must arm the Kosovars so that they may defend themselves.
To the UN, we demand that all indicted war criminals, including Mr. Milosevic, be arrested and tried for these horrible crimes. HOW CAN WE ALLOW A MAN TO LEAD A NATION WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SYSTEMATIC EXECUTION OF 600,000 INNOCENT PEOPLE?
OUR MISSION IS CLEAR. WE MUST SPEAK FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN SILENCED. LIKE FATIMA’S BABY, KOSOVA IS KICKING, SEEKING FREEDOM FROM A BODY WHOSE HEART HAS LONG SINCE DIED. YOU AND I MUST MAKE IT OUR MISSION TO SECURE FREEDOM FOR KOSOVA. I THINK THE MARTYRED CHECHEN LEADER SPOKE FOR ALL OF US: “THEY CAN BOMB OUR LANDS. THEY CAN DANCE WITH THEIR TANKS ON OUR BODIES, BUT THEY CANNOT KILL THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM IN OUR HEARTS.”
Speech given by Faisal Ahmad
April 10, 1999
@ Rally Against Genocide in Kosova
Steps of the Capitol, Albany, NY