Thursday, May 15, 2008

"We spent the 1990s worrying about a Greater Serbia. That's finished. We are going to spend time well into the next century worrying about a Greater Albania," said Christopher R. Hill, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia at the close of the last century.

Why did he say this? Why did he think "we" will be "worrying about a Greater Albania" now and for years to come?

I focus on Hill's perspective, and question his core assumption, as we begin to look into the situation in Albania because this notion of a "Greater Albania" appears to be a key to the different perspectives on the country comprising an area of 28,750 square kilometres, which we in the West call Albania (i.e the Medieval Latin name that we apply to a land that the local people have since the 16th century called Shqipëria, "Land of the Eagles.")

The notion that the Shqiptarët (aka the Albanians), wherever they may be, regard their domicile as part of a "Greater Albania" and will undertake all efforts necessary to secure such an outcome is obviously something of concern to non-Albanians in this part of the world. There are those who claim that "unification of all territories where Albanians live in the Balkans has been and will remain the most serious threat to regional stability and European integration."

The fact is that a century of shifting borders has indeed left Shqiptarët scattered across Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece; but how real is the prospect of a "Greater Albania"? How real is the "threat" of a "Greater Albania"? Could it be mere myth, used by politicians of the Balkans for their own purposes; to fuel fears; to drum up support; and to drive wedges between people who could live peacefully together?

To arrive at answers reflecting the truth of the situation involves sifting through great volumes of biased material; some of it blantant propaganda, some of it more subtle. Arriving at answers will take much time and it is necessary to also develop an understanding of the situations in Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. So keep an eye on comments to this post and the posts on those other places, for the true story of the situation in this part of the world is complex and something we'll need to keep returning to and updating.

[More to come ...]

orana gelar

News Archive for Albania
Wikimedia Atlas of Albania

Amnesty International: Human Rights in Albania
Global Peace Index Rank 2010: 65
Human Development Index: 0.807 (Rank 2008: 69)
Literacy rate: 98.7%


orana gelar said...

Four Americans were among 12 ethnic Albanians convicted earlier this month of plotting a rebellion to carve out a homeland within the tiny Balkan republic of Montenegro.

The men were arrested in September 2006 on the eve of a key parliamentary election in Montenegro which had just become independent of Serbia.

The Americans were accused of helping to fund and arm an ethnic Albanian group within Montenegro with rifles, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Police said they recovered a stockpile of weapons during the arrest raid in 2006.

A Montenegrin court found the 12 ethnic Albanians guilty of conspiring to undertake anti-constitutional activity and preparing acts against the country's constitutional order and security, in order to create a separate region, dominated by Albanians. The men had gathered weapons and prepared for a rebellion under instructions from their leader, Doda Ljucaj, of Wixom, Mich.

In other news, the Albanian government announced last Saturday that it has signed a contract with a US-based consortium for the sale of Albania’s only oil refinery; then on Thursday, Albania condemned Russia's decision to recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, calling the move "totally unacceptable."

orana gelar said...

The Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, announced today that Albania could be ready next year to apply to join the European Union.

"During the next year or something it could happen," Berisha told Reuters. "The European Union integration process is an irreversible process. The question is on the speed of it."

"It depends a lot on Albanians, it is for sure, and must be a performance-based outcome," he continued. "It also depends on the European Union enlargement, which has become a delicate process."

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In Arrente mythology, the Inapertwa are the simple creatures with which the Numakulla formed all life on Earth.

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