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Ismet Karamanaga
Ismet Karamanaga

Ismet Karamanaga is a German language teacher in the ancient town of Ulcinj in the far south of Montenegro, where Albanians have traditionally lived for centuries. The town is close to the border with what is now modern Albania. It voted in favour of independence.

Ismet is a Muslim and lives with his family in the middle of the Old Town. He is intensely proud of the town's history and its harmonious interethnic relations. He says:

"Ulcinj especially is an example for a life of harmony. We live as followers of three religions, three denominations in perfect cohabitation. I mention this wherever I go in the world and say it often: there was no problem in Montenegro, it was in Kosovo that things were bad."

But he says the Albanian community does need more rights:

"O f course we say we need more justice, more rights for our people, for our children. We need a University. We only have one newspaper, printed in the Albanian language. Many of the texts printed are translated; texts written by me or by someone else; the news is taken from other papers and translated. We want a new school programme, a new curriculum. But overall we are content."

April 2008

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