Right: Kosovo Albanian civilians fleeing from Serbian terror, March 1999. Right: The Xhaka brothers pictured after their Euro 2016 encounter on Saturday in Lens.

Right: Kosovo Albanian civilians fleeing from Serbian terror, March 1999. Right: The Xhaka brothers pictured after their Euro 2016 encounter on Saturday, 10th June 2016, in Lens.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Kosovo liberation from the Serbian yoke. The last Serbian terror against Albanians lasted from 1981-1999. During this time almost a million Albanians had to flee and claim asylum in Western Europe. Now, 17 years after the liberation, we are seeing the unexpected results of this mass migration; the second generation migrants from Albanian diaspora have put on the Euro 2016 stage in France excellent footballers that are making headlines on world’s newspapers.

Here are some newspaper cuts about Albania – Switzerland (0:1) Euro 2016 game in Lens:

“Of course, it was never quite as simple as that. For children of the diaspora, identity is rarely that clear-cut. Five of Switzerland’s 23-man squad have Albanian heritage. Ten of the Albanian squad were born or raised in Switzerland. Rarely can an international fixture have been contested between two such homogeneous sides.” – Telegraph.co.uk

“Meanwhile, on the Swiss side, the Albanian-speaking players are mainly from Kosova, the part of Yugoslavia where the nation’s dissolution essentially commenced in the late 1980s. Valon Behrami’s family found itself in Switzerland in the ’90s, and were to be deported when the local community collected signatures to support them, and they stayed. Xherdan Shaqiri has three passports: Swiss, Albanian, and Kosovar, and is also eligible for a Serbian one, but I don’t think he’s eager to apply; in 1999, Serbia conducted a brutal military campaign against the Albanian population in Kosova, resulting in a wave of refugees spread around Europe.” – Slate.com

“Granit and Taulant Xhaka go head to head at Euro 2016… as their mother wears a half-and-half Switzerland-Albania shirt and older brother throws a tantrum on the touchline” – DailyMail.co.uk

“Saturday’s game between the two nations will have some extra significance for the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Admir Mehmedi, Shani Tarashaj, Blerim Dzemaili and Valon Behrami in the Switzerland team, as all six are of Albanian heritage. Incredibly, six of Albania’s team – Arlind Ajeti, Freddie Veseli, Migjen Basha, Amir Abrashi, Shkelzen Gashi and Taulant Xhaka – were all born in Switzerland.” – Goal.com

“The day he was released from prison, Ragip Xhaka had a choice: the bus stop or the phone booth. He had spent more than three years in jail, arrested and detained for taking part in student demonstrations against the crumbling Yugoslav regime. He slept in a room with four others. He was allowed outside for only ten minutes a day. He could see his fiancée, Eli, only once a fortnight.” – TheTimes.co.uk

About Kosovo War

The Kosovo War was an armed conflict in Kosovo that lasted from 28 February 1998 until 11 June 1999. It was fought by the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (by this time, consisting of the Republics of Montenegro and Serbia), which controlled Kosovo with brutal force, persecutions and violence against Albanians before the war, and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with air support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) from 24 March 1999.