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Hashim Thaçi – A Biography

From a Rebellion Leader to President

Hashim Thaçi is the President of Kosovo, who carries an emotional life story. A biography of the European hero has been recently published.

Caroline Fetscher*


The three-meter-high statute of the former US President, Bill Clinton, sculpted with a smile on its face and with his right hand raised, greets the passers-by at the square named after him. It has to be one of a kind - on one of the main streets of a predominantly Muslim country, named after an American president. It is a political-cultural signal sent by the capital of Kosovo, Prishtina, sent nine years ago.

Thus, the country expressed its gratitude towards the commitment of the US and Europe during 1999, when, in the last war aimed for Yugoslavia dissolution, with the support of NATO and at the initiative of the UN Resolution towards peace, they proved that peace can be achieved. In 2008, the former southern Serbian province, Kosovo, declared its independence. Serbia, Russia and other countries still do not recognize Kosovo's new status, where there is still smoulder from the fire that is burning slowly.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of Kosovo's independence, the editor of The Times, a British newspaper based in London, and former columnist of Des Tagesspiegel, Roger Boyes, together with a British colleague, have published a biography of a modern European hero, being a model of a western democrat. The hero is Hashim Thaçi. During the period 2008-2014, he was assigned as the Prime Minister of the new-established country, and since 2016, he holds the position of the President. The quote of the American politician Bob Dole - "Thaçi's journey represents Kosovo's journey" - implies that he is an optimistic and powerful figure, a synonym of his country.

Thaçi was born in April 1968 in the rural and poor region of Drenica valley, which is located in central Kosovo. He majored in History and Philosophy, in Prishtina. Milosevic's Serbia oppressed Kosovo, the then poor country of Yugoslavia, transforming it into an apartheid system. This was a key experience in Thaçi's life. Due to the regime of Milosevic, the civic rights of Kosovo's Albanian were non-existent, their language was forbidden to be spoken and 900.000 Albanian books were unregistered from libraries. Hence, Thaçi joined the insurgent students and was also persecuted and exiled. The then „Gandhi of Kosovo“, Ibrahim Rugova, claimed for peace without violence, but his attempts were unsuccessful. The youth lost their patience, including Thaçi. In 1993, he was one of the founders of KLA guerrillas’ troops - The Kosovo Liberation Army. Despite Thaçi was holding guns in the pictures of that time, Boyes and Jagger do not portray him as “a man of guns”.

Does the Clinton monument in Prishtina resemble Hashim Thaçi?

Allegations that Hashim Thaçi is involved in weapons transport and corruption have never been proven. This biography about the hero remains blurred regarding the allegations in question. On the other hand, the well-proven merits of the insurgent transformed into the head of the state, into an advocate of the democratic constitution with rights to minorities and clear secular cuts are given. In addition, does the perception deceives or does the memorial of Bill Clinton in Pristina resembles Hashim Thaçi?

In the meantime, Kosovo has 46 diplomatic missions around the world, the largest being in Berlin, given there are about 400,000 Albanians living in Germany, while in Kosovo about two million. The Government of Kosovo proved to be tactful when appointing the German-Kosovar writer Beqë Cufaj as the Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to Berlin. Cufaj, born in 1970, known with his essays “FAZ” and “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” or novels such as “Shkëlqimi i huaj” or “project@party”, sees himself as an Ambassador of Culture. The motto of a cosmopolitan reader and of a smart democrat is: “Let the people unite so that Kosovo can become part of EU”. While the enthusiasm of Hungary or Poland, being EU members, is fading, there are new friends knocking on EU's door such as Albania or Kosovo. In the country where Hashim Thaçi is from, the word Europe means only one thing: promise. So until this promise is fulfilled, we need to be patient.

Roger Boyes und Suzy Jagger: New State, Modern Statesman. Hashim Thaçi - A Biography. Biteback Publishing, London, 286 S., 23,99 €

The text was published in the newspaper with the largest circulation in Berlin, Tagesspiegel