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Former Kosovan President Atifete Jahjaga: Iranian Women Have Emerged as Fearless Leaders of Change

Former Kosovan President Atifete Jahjaga


Former Kosovan President Atifete Jahjaga delivered a powerful speech on September 15 in Brussels at a conference held by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, commemorating the first anniversary of Iran’s 2022 uprising.

Honoring the resilient women challenging the repressive regime in Iran, she commended their courage in confronting a regime that suppressed their lives and civil liberties. President Jahjaga emphasized how Iranian women, despite these restrictions, were shaping Iran’s future and political landscape.

Drawing parallels to Kosovo’s fight for independence, she underlined the enduring spirit of the human quest for freedom and equality.

The text of former President Atifete Jahjaga’s speech follows:

Dear Madam President, Maryam Rajavi, honorable members of the Alliance for Public Awareness, Excellencies, human rights activists, ladies and gentlemen,

I’m honored to take part in this conference that honors the resilient, strong, and revolutionary women of Iran who are challenging a repressive regime that has made their lives impossible and their civil liberties virtually nonexistent. Thus, they are resilient, they are indeed changing the course of Iran’s future.

I stand before you today in Brussels with a heart full of admiration and unwavering support towards your incredible women who are continuously showing the world that despite the fact that the regime is continuously trying to limit their rights and shrink their presence in the public sphere, it has not managed to also tell them how to think.

All repressive regimes throughout history have strived to shape people’s way of thinking and all of them, my dear friends, have failed. So will this regime.

The resilience of the Iranian woman is one that deserves the attention of the entire world and it is unfortunately not receiving the attention it does deserve and it does merit. Hence, our gathering here today is a step in the right direction.

Iranian women’s activism and stance towards the brutal reality in their country is not only contributing towards the elimination of patriarchy in their society, but it is also simultaneously shaping the political landscape of their country. Women are contributing to changing the regime, which is suppressing people, violating basic human rights, and limiting the freedom of its own citizens.

Fortunately, the history of Iran is replete with instances where women have been at the forefront of the political, social, and cultural movements, challenging the status quo and advocating for greater rights and freedoms, democratic values, and a more utopian state.

Ladies and gentlemen, when we delve into the stories of Iran and Kosovo, we uncovered two profoundly interesting tales of liberation. In Iran, the struggle is an internal one where brave Iranians yearn for political reform, civil liberties, and an end to the stifling oppression from within their own homeland. In this fight, Iranian women have emerged as fearless leaders of change, boldly advocating for progress despite the daunting risks they face daily.

In stark contrast, Kosovo’s, my own country, Kosovo battle was waged against an external oppressor. The Kosovo-Albanian population with unwavering determination fought for their rightful independence from the Serbian rule and international recognition in both narratives. My dear friends, women stood tall and strong, but their adversaries were fundamentally distinct.

One an insidious presence from within and the other a looming external force. These stories are testaments to the enduring spirit of human’s quest for freedom and equality, and they highlight the determined power of women as catalysts for change, whether confronting internal tyranny or external subjugation. The brave act of the Iranian women, unveiling, dancing, and occupying spaces that have been limited to them, reminds me of the March of Bread in Kosovo. This march holds a place of profound significance in Kosovo’s struggle for independence and dignity. This historic event unfolded against a backdrop of oppressive Serbian rule as the Kosovo-Albanians faced dire economic hardships and deprivation.

Women played an inspiring and pivotal role in this march, holding loaves of bread in their hands as they took to the streets while being encircled by a formidable presence of the paramilitary. Their unwavering determination to secure basic necessities for their families became a potent symbol of resilience in the face of adversity.

The March of Bread, with women at its forefront, resonates as a poignant reminder of the human spirit’s capacity to endure the resist events in the most challenging circumstances. It remains a testament to the indomitable will of the Kosovo-Albanian people in their quest for justice and freedom.

My conscious experience serves as a powerful testament to the fact that oppressive regimes, including deeply entrenched patriarchal, cannot indefinitely consign women to the shadows.

Their simple truth is that women constitute half of the world’s population, and their voices and inspiration cannot be suppressed independently by the other half, the men, who share an equal stake in our shared humanity.

Consequently, the ongoing revolution led by Iranian women may be challenging, but my dear friends, it is far from insurmountable. Iranian women are not fighting this battle alone. Hundreds and thousands of us stand by them, their ideal, and their pledge to an inclusive and just Iranian society.

Despite being subject to trauma and constant terror, Iranian women are showcasing what it means to fight for your rights and stand by the truth and by the ideal. Consequently, we will not stop until all women receive an equal place as everyone in society.

We will not stop until all life, despite differences, is valued the same. And we will definitely not stop until freedom is guaranteed to the rights of every single citizen, no matter where they are.

Women, life, freedom. Thank you.