A pilot from Kosovo visited Samoa to say thank you for recognising their independence.
James Berisha was in the country for three days.
Kosovo declared independence in February 17, 2008 from Serbia by Kosovo’s former Prime Minister Hashim Thaqi. However, not many countries recognised the independence of Kosovo.
That‘s when Mr. Berisha started a mission called “Flying for Kosovo,” to raise awareness about Kosovo’s independence.
“The main reason why I started the mission was to help the people of Kosovo and the nation to get on their feet and to spread the word to the rest of the world that Kosovo exists and that they are independent,” said Mr. Berisha.
His mission was mostly voluntary and self-funded in the beginning and it began when he was residing in El Paso Texas.
“I purchased a small airplane and painted the flag of Kosovo on the sides with the saying “Please recognise the independence of Kosovo.”
“And I wanted to do only the Western Hemisphere countries. I thought that I would do just that then I’m done. And I did this by talking to the media and having press conferences and being in constant communications with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And it took me a year to finish all the countries in the western hemisphere.”
When Mr. Berisha returned to Kosovo, his popularity grew and the government and the people of Kosovo were “impressed” with his work.
“The government asked me to continue my mission and they will provide funding for the mission, and will try and get people to help me,” he said. “People came on board and they helped me on the mission and of course a lot of donations from people. And we got to finish all the countries in the African continent which consists 54 countries.”
For the mission, Mr. Berisha has covered 97 countries and has convinced them to recognise the independence of Kosovo.
“Because you need 2/3 of the countries to recongise your independence in order for your country to have a seat in the UN. And it is very important for countries to recognise the independent of your country.”
According to Mr. Berisha, the recognition of a country’s independence means there will be trade, importation and exportation of goods and services.
“Not forgetting sharing of ideas and aiding for other countries needs and wants.”
The ‘Flying for Kosovo’ mission did not come to Samoa. But Mr. Berisha said Samoa was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Kosovo in September 2008.
“There are 194 nations on the globe based on the UN, and from that 194 nations, we didn’t have them recognising our independence and it was bad. But Samoa did recognise our independence the first year we declared our independence and we are grateful to the government and the people of Samoa for that,” he said.
And now he has come to Samoa, Mr. Berisha said he is amazed by the beauty of Samoa.
“This place is absolutely beautiful,” he said. “The natural surrounding is amazing and you have such loving people.
“I am here to visit and see the island. The globe is my home so I am very attracted to the nature, to different cultures, backgrounds, lifestyles and the different people. And coming here and being in contact with the people of Samoa, I’ve loved the experience.
The people of Samoa are really extremely nice. They welcome the outsiders to their homes and treat them very nice and respectful, and for me, that is very touching. One thing that impressed me about the people of Samoa is that they are very hard working. You know it’s a small island, but you see people working hard in trying to keeping the country clean and beautiful.”
“Take this from someone who have been around the world and have been to 140 countries in my lifetime aside from the mission. And I have seen the different and the uniqueness in the people of Samoa from all the other nations. I will definitely come back and will spread the word to the people of Kosovo so that they could also come to Samoa.
“Every country has its unique way of life and its unique lifestyle.
“In Samoa, everybody is so friendly and hard working. The roads are very beautiful. And I know that the government of Samoa is doing a great job with the developments of this country. I’m sure every government have their own problems but the thing I like about Samoa is that the country is very “live”. You see progress and see that everything is moving.”
He also confessed that he wished the people of Kosovo could be friendlier like the people of Samoa.
“Our people are not as friendly as the people of Samoa. I wish I could take this aspect of the Samoan culture and take it with me to Kosovo.”
The 44-year-old started flying in 1993. He is married to Zoga and they have two children.
Asked to describe Kosovo, he said: “Kosovo is a beautiful country with high mountains and fertile lands. It has four seasons and wealthy minerals.
“Tourism is not big and has a population of less than 2 million. Their culture is more like the European culture and agriculture is the main source of income.
“The Albanian language and English are the main languages used by the people of Kosovo.”