February 26, 1936 |
Pristina, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
|Nationality||Republic of Kosovo|
|Known for||activism for Kosovo independence, 29 years imprisonment|
|Political party||Parliamentary Party of Kosovo (1996-98)
Kosovo Liberation Army (1998-99)
|Children||Abetare and Shqiptar|
|Awards||Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought (1991)|
Adem Demaçi (Serbian: Адем Демачи, Adem Demači) (born 26 February 1936 in Pristina, Kingdom of Yugoslavia) is a Kosovo Albanian writer and politician and a longtime political prisoner who spent a total of 29 years in prison for speaking out against the treatment of the ethnic Albanians in Yugoslavia as well as criticising communism and the government of Josip Broz Tito. During his imprisonment, he was recognised as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, and he is often referred to as "the Nelson Mandela of Kosovo".
Demaçi studied literature, law, and education in Belgrade, Pristina, and Skopje respectively. In the 1950s, he published a number of short stories with pointed social commentary in the magazine Jeta e re (New Life), as well as a 1958 novel titled The Snakes of Blood (Gjarpijt e gjakut) exploring blood vendettas in Kosovo and Albania. The latter work brought him literary fame.
After his release, he was Chairman of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms of the People of Kosovo from 1991 to 1995. He also served as editor-in-chief of Zëri, a magazine based in Pristina, from 1991 to 1993. In 1991, he was awarded the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
In 1996, Demaçi moved into politics, replacing Bajram Kosumi as the president of the Parliamentary Party of Kosovo; Kosumi became his vice-president. During this time, he proposed a confederation of states consisting of Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia that would be known as "Balkania". His prison record gave him credibility among Kosovars, but his tenure in party leadership was marked by factionalism and a lack of action.
Two years later, he joined the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), serving as the head of its political wing. In a 1998 interview with the New York Times, he refused to condemn the KLA's use of violence, stating that "the path of nonviolence has gotten us nowhere. People who live under this kind of repression have the right to resist." In 1999, he resigned from the KLA after it attended peace talks in France, criticising the proposed deal for not guaranteeing Kosovo's independence. Sources stated that Demaçi had grown estranged from the KLA's younger, more pragmatic leadership, leaving him "faced with a decision of jumping or waiting to be pushed".
Though Demaçi's wife left Kosovo before the war, he remained in Pristina with his 70-year-old sister during the entire Kosovo War. He was critical of Ibrahim Rugova and other Albanian leaders who fled the conflict, stating that they were missing an important historical event. Yugoslav soldiers arrested Demaçi twice, but were largely humane with him.
Following the war, Demaçi served as director of Kosovo Radio and Television until January 2004. He remained active in politics, affiliated with Albin Kurti, head of the nationalist movement Vetëvendosje!.
|a.||^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 99 out of 193 United Nations member states.|
Here you can share your comments or contribute with more information, content, resources or links about this topic.