British Albanians celebrating Kosovo's 1st Independence Anniversary, Trafalgar Square, London, 17 February 2009

British Albanians celebrating Kosovo’s 1st Independence Anniversary, Trafalgar Square, London, 17 February 2009

Today marks 12 years since Kosovo declared its fought-for independence from Serbia, and Kosovo’s teenage years begin with high hopes now that Albin Kurti has been elected Prime Minister.

“Kosovo’s independence has become an irreversible fact, even if Serbia, Russia, and some other countries persist in their denial of reality,” says Albert Rohan, an Austrian diplomat who served as UN deputy special envoy on Kosovo’s future status.

Many people don’t realize that the independence of Kosovo only dates back to 2008. As a result, it is still a relatively young holiday in this country.

Freedom did not come easily to those in Kosovo. In fact, the bid to gain recognition as the newest country in Europe, after the Serbian occupation ended in 1999 and that killed over 10,000 people, was not an easy one.

This is an exciting victory for the people and now garners a public celebration each year. On this day, the people of Kosovo dance in the streets and celebrate in a unique, yet exciting way.