Violence during the aunch event of the magazine Kosovo 2.0 dedicated to sexuality
Lepa Mladjenović, the first lesbian in Serbia who publicly admitted her sexual orientation and Igballe Rugova, her friend, who also was the fist open lesbian in Kosovo, were getting ready to give a presentation in the Youth Palace where the magazine Kosovo 2.0 would launch their new number on sex, when suddenly a group of hooligans got inside the building and started to destroy the scene and everything in front of them.
The magazine had planned, around 23:00, a launching event called “Night of Sex.” At the entrance of the event an imam had started to hold a speech to hundreds of Muslim believers, most of them, according to eyewitnesses, wearing long beards and shouting Allahu Ekber (Allah is great). It was very difficult for people to enter the space.
According to one of the eyewitnesses, a lesbian girl, “There were around 20 people, violent, some of them wearing hats on their heads. They started to hit and loudly offend people, to break lights, tables, and projectors. Everything happened under the eyes of two policemen who tried to protect the participants of the event. One of the policemen got sprayed into the eyes by one of the hooligans.” Some of them threw teargas.
This however didn’t stop the organizers from continuing the event. Lepa and Igo showed that “we should grab each other’s hand and act with humanity.” A participant in the event said that “it was very emotional and motivating, even though we had aggression from some people who came there in the name of God shouting ‘Allahu Ekber.’ I am a Muslim myself and I know that what happened was not done in the name of God. I met Lepa and Igo and talked with them. It was a very inspiring conversation. I really liked the sincere and faithful friendship they had together, it was one of the most inspiring and beautiful moments for me”
The culmination of the night was the moment when people of the LGBT community, even though there were many medias present and cameras, took the microphone and went onto the stage openly declaring their sexual orientation in the very room that the hooligans had destroyed, which the organizers had decided to keep just like was after the attack to emphasize the strong message of the last edition of Kosovo 2.0: Sex is political!
The above information is a coverage by Aleanca LGBT and Pro LGBT of the events which happened yesterday evening containing information gathered from different sources present at the event. We, as representatives of these organizations, feel neither fear nor sadness because of what happened in Kosovo. Instead we feel proud that finally a group of civilized, open-minded, motivated, and courageous people broke the ice of ignorance and the taboos of a society that has deeply suffered from the oppression of the previous regimes. Now it is time to fight against the oppression of ignorance and prejudices.
Aleanca LGBT and Pro LGBT urge Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi to react publicly in defense of the freedom of speech, the right to identity, the right of peaceful assembly and in defense of the freedom of information.
Mr Thaçi! Your Albanian counterpart has, in spite of his conservative and right wing approach, had the courage to go out publicly in support of LGBT issues. Mr. Thaçi, this is time for you to take that step too, if you really want to be the leader of a democratic country where the respect and the protection of human rights are not negotiable.
We ask to the international community to not remain passive in this situation where medieval, fundamentalist and absurd acts are happening, but to stay closer to the human rights defenders and to support them publicly and actively.
We encourage the Kosovo media to refuse the use of hate speech and to become a western media, understanding the communities and not prejudicing them. Dear colleagues of the media. Take the example from Kosovo 2.0 and take your responsibility to educate your suffering society through accurate information!
We also call upon the President of Kosovo Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga not to forget that she has the duty to stand up as an woman and protect women rights, LGBT rights, and human rights. Be courageous and strong, Mrs. Jahjaga!
As the new year is approaching we remind the police that they are in the service of society, a police force able to prevent violence instead finding themselves in the middle of it, taken by surprise. This is inexcusable; many millions have been invested in the training of the security forces to live up to European standards. What can be done? Very simple! These so-called “Plisa” (“felt-caps”) have started to make public announcements, to organize, and to threaten. Their current activity is a risk for Kosovar public space. Go and stop them before it’s too late!
At finally, we deeply want to thank Kosovo 2.0 and extend an open invitations to cooperate with the Albanian civil society to create an event to promote the last issue of Kosovo 2.0 in Tirana, because we know it: In Kosovo, as in Albania, we only talk about sex by not talking about it…
Xheni Karaj (Aleance Kundër Diskriminimit LGBT)
Kristi Pinderi (Pro LGBT)