September 7, 1996 Vreme News Digest Agency No257


Ibrahim Rugova

by Dragoslav Djuric

President of the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo

PLACE AND YEAR OF BIRTH: Village Crnce, municipality Istok, December 2, 1944.

FAMILY BACKGROUND: Born as the only son in the family of "national enemies". There are two version to this. First: "Father was in the partisans. I have a certificate from SUBNOR (Federal Association of Fighters in the National Liberation War) that he was a 'missing fighter' who was, immediately after liberation, the first president of the village council" (he says in 1989). Second: "Father and grandfather were executed by a firing squad in 1945", (he says in 1994). "The family of Rugova was classified as a rich peasant family. I come from a large family of peasants from the mountainous region Rugova (my last name in Albanian means clearing) which is located close to the border, and we owned a few hundred hectares which spread over 12 villages."

CHILDHOOD: He had a difficult childhood: "I remember that period, around 1950, when the whole family spent their days looking for something to eat".

EDUCATION: "I started going to elementary school when I was nine. Up to then, I was mommy's boy, cosseted, and I continued looking at the world in the same way". He completed his elementary school education in Istok, and his high school education in Pec (1967). He acquired a B.A. degree in the Albanian language in Pristina in 1971. He got his first job while still a student - as professor of the Albanian language in a village close to Pristina; also worked as a journalist in the student newspaper Bota e re, and later in Dituria. Research assistant from 1972 in the Albanian Institute and the editor of the magazine Albanian Studies. He acquired his M.A. degree in 1984 with the thesis on Albanian critique. He spent the 1976-77 school year in France in the School of Higher Studies of the Social Sciences, as Roland Barta's trainee. In 1986 he acquired a Ph. D. degree in Paris with the dissertation "Directions and Premises of the Albanian Literature Critique 1504-1983".

POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY: He started actively taking part in politics as president of the Society of Authors of Kosovo and Metohije. President of the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo (as of 1989) and president of the Republic of Kosovo, elected on May 24, 1992. According to the report of the electoral committee, 867.557 people voted for Rugova, while the turnout amounted to 762.267 people. The difference was acquired thanks to the votes of Albanians living abroad.

WHAT WAS HE DOING IN 1981: Writing a study on Bogdanij: "I completed that study in 1981, after the major demonstrations. We were in a state of emergency, and I locked myself up and wrote it".

HOW HE ENTERED POLITICS: Through linguistics. "According to me, the terror was first condemned in language, literature." "Under Bart's influence, I spent a lot of time thinking of the relation between power and knowledge, and how a government functions - in such a way you come face to face with the question of the existence of a freedom movement. I was a completely non-political man, even though I am very interested in the theory of authority. Later, in books such as Stretegy of Senses and Esthetical Denial I suggested an analysis of the relation of the authorities and the freedom movement. However, that proved to be a dangerous precedent for the system: I was dealing with the only possible type of resistance movement under the heavy pressure of the authorities, the book undermined the very principles on which the system rests."

WHY HE ENTERED POLITICS: "To create conditions so that the people could come into being, not to create a political career. The emergency situation, such as the one in which we are living today, puts before us great demands and, paradoxally, stops us from dealing with our usual intellectual activities."

WAS HE A COMMUNIST: Yes. He was expelled from the Alliance of Communists (SK) for signing a petition "Appeal 215" of the Kosovo intelligentsia - against adopting the amendments of the Constitution of Serbia.

RELIGION: "Islam, but a symbolic Islam. Which means that it is a religion which isn't practised."

IS THE DIVISION OF KOSOVO POSSIBLE: "I believe that a division isn't possible. The main goal of this idea is to amortize the idea of an independant Kosovo so that Serbia could take the richer parts." "A temporary solution is a civil international administration, and the main goal, a souvereign state."

WHY THEY ARE DEMANDING HIS RESIGNATION: "Time has shown that he can only be an idealist, and not president of an occupied country", "because he is not moving forward", "he is using separatist rhetorics, while he is a hidden autonomy man in essence", "his policy of non-activity has brought on the apathy of the masses".

WHAT POINT HAVE NEGOTIATIONS WITH SERBIA REACHED: "Four years ago we have, by way of the Geneva Coference, started concrete negotiations. We have talked for two years and nothing" (1995). After Dayton he has, on a number of occasions, stated that he is ready to, without any conditions, talk to Milosevic.

HIOW HE SEES HIS FUTURE: "My intellectual name is what shall remain of me in Albanian history, if anything remains at all."