OF NATIONWIDE RECONCILIATION
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Speech of Mr. Gjin Marku
Chairman of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation
in the Third Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries
Tirana on March 30th 2009
Honored Mr. President!
Honored representatives of the government and ambassadors of amiable countries!
Honored missionaries of national reconciliation, friends and guests!
The Third Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries gathers at a historical moment for Albania. On April 4th Albania will be a member of NATO, the most powerful alliance of freedom that the history of human kind has known. This event firstly is a merit of the Albanian people, its continuous efforts in centuries for freedom and independence. It is an expression of a profoundly western spirit of the Albanian people, and its unshaken orientation toward the values of the western civilization, toward the values of freedom, peace and prosperity. I want to profit from this moment, to greet on your behalf, the governments of the EU countries and USA which appreciated these efforts of the Albanian people, and made the unanimous decision for making Albania part of the House of Freedom.
There are more than two decades that the reconciliation missionaries operate throughout the Albanian territory, in the cities and villages, for ending the phenomenon of blood feud by working diligently for predicting peace, tolerance, well-understanding and for promoting the best values that the Albanians have preserved through years.
In the post-communist Albania, unfortunately the crime to human life, property, family and the fundamental human values has taken frightening proportions. In the post-dictatorship period the state has found itself totally unprepared for reacting toward the crime enriched with phenomena that were unknown for Albanians before. Albania, a developing country has confronted new forms of crime like, drugs, prostitution, human trafficking and economical crime.
The reconciliation missionaries, the majority of which are descendants of noble families, have confronted these phenomena because the state is unable to handle the situation in the majority of the cases. They are voluntarily and willfully committed by working in very difficult circumstances for minimizing the crimes to life or to property. We can neither blame the people for blood feud nor consider this phenomenon as an issue of Albanian barbarism, as some want to present it. It is neither the low educational level, nor the economical backwardness or the isolated life in the rural areas that keeps Kanun and blood feud alive among Albanians. The lack of the effective legal state imposes its activity nowadays as well in villages and cities. Albanians have been governed through centuries by their traditional laws, indentified with the name of the famous prince of Medieval times Lek Dukagjin. This unwritten constitution, gathered and codified by Shtjefen Gjecovi, has played a primary and indispensable role in the life of the Albanian people for confronting foreign invasions, protection of honor and the dignity of the Albanian family.
Kanun was blighted and abominated by the communist dictatorship by being attacked in its best values, for the only reason because it was irreconcilable with the communist ideology that undresses the humans from the trust in God, property and dignity. The Old Latins had an expression: The freedom is there where there is the spirit of God. The first order that God gives is Do not murder. The work of the reconciliation missionaries is focused exactly against this criminal phenomenon. The fact that in the modern Europe the death punishment is not allowed comes from respecting the holy principle: God is the only one who gives you the life, thus he is the only one who can take it.
Self-justice comes because of the fact that Albanians do not trust the state. The fact that Albanians choose their Kanun and self-justice does not mean that they are barbarians and uncivilized. They returned to their old code because the law and the state were never able to guarantee the life and the property of the people these two untouchable values for every civilized people. It is a paradox that even today after twenty years Albanians can not take their lands, because the Law 7501 on property, approved by the two main political forces, has transformed it for the profit of the people in power and lawmakers.
In the Albanian Traditional Justice it is said that: The grave and the boundary of the property are equal in front of the Kanun. Albanians, not only do not know where the borders of their properties are, but they witness the robbery of hundreds of hectares by the people in power and foreigners.
The missionaries of the national reconciliation throughout their work they call the persons in enmity for respecting the legal state and trusting the Albanian Justice. The fact that today hundreds of families in conflict do not address to the state, but to the Kanun comes because they have not found justice.
The catastrophe in 1997, when the state fell and hundreds of thousands of weapons fell in the hands of the people and criminal gangs, caused thousands of innocent victims in Albania. Regardless of our continuous requests to the Albanian government and international institution, for the investigation and prosecution of the people responsible, still no one is held accountable in front of the justice. Today in the beginning of the new millennium, there are hundreds of families locked in because of blood feud in cities and villages.
The missionaries of national reconciliation were able to save from revenge thousands of persons and we were able to provide political asylum and family reunion in the EU countries for hundreds of families that have left Albania because of blood feud.
In these years we have had only the support and the gratitude of the citizens and the help of the police forces. We are convinced that a state that cannot protect the life of the policeman that work with dedication for putting order cannot protect the life of its citizens. We are for the rule of law, but unfortunately we establish that Kanun is always gaining more terrain.
Without the rule of law and without an independent and proficient justice system in the fight against crime, Albania will never become an European state and the freedom, life and safety of its citizens will always be endangered.
Despite the extraordinary difficulties under which we work, and despite the lack of support by the state and donors, we will not stop our work because we are convinced that democracy and the rule of law, and not the crime and corruption will say the last word.
I believe that the Albanian civil society, media and the friendly countries will help us in our noble mission and in our goal for getting Albania nearer to EU as soon as possible and for integrating it in the group of civilized people. This is the goal of this congress which will present to the state and the Albanian civil society a strategic plan for the elimination of the enmities and the stoppage of the phenomenon of blood feud. Blood feud is as old of a phenomenon as the human society is. It was inherited through centuries and is still present nowadays among other people as well, and that why cooperation and mature steps should be taken by every society that has it.
During the Zogs Kingrom, when the modern legislation and the Constitution of the year 1928 were founded, many norms of the Kanun were included in this fundamental law of the state. If today we see many macabre crimes against human life happening, we cannot say that Kanun is killing, because these crimes, being in opposition with al the Kanuns rules and norms, have nothing to do with the traditional justice.
In tens of cases, the person that wanted to take the blood, has killed other innocent people, has violated the cadaver, has moved it from the place of the crime, which are actions that are severely punished by Kanun. The problem is not the Kanun, because also the people in power and the justice institutions have very few knowledge about this unwritten constitution. The problem is the surrender of the state and its structures in front of the crime, miserable economical conditions in which the Albanians live, the alteration and extortion of the property and the total lack of hope for the future.
There are twenty years that we work restlessly against blood feud and for the protection of innocent victims. The missionaries of national reconciliation have reached incredible results in their work by doing what the state was unable to do. We have protected thousands of families from blood feud, but the war against crime is an eternal battle. Apart this noble work, we have continuously denounced the connections of the crime with the state during these years, convinced that this is the main cause of this situation of Albanians.
In this strategy we have paid special attention to:
Prevention of the crime and sensitization of the public opinion and international organizations.
Since the beginning of our work we have set as priority the prevention of crime, highlight of the factors that incite blood feud and especially the sensitization of the public opinion and international organizations for the causers of this situation.
Although Albanian has incredible resources for its development, it is the poorest country of Europe. Poverty is the biggest ally of crime. During the political transition period the national wealth was extorted very quickly. This caused thousands of unemployed in the urban areas. The uncontrolled demographical migration toward the big cities extraordinarily increased the unemployment and the crime rate. In all the ex-communist countries the workers became shareholders of the privatized companies, while in Albania the ones that worked a lifetime in fabrics and plants are unemployed now. This situation has caused the emigration of more that one million Albanians toward the western countries. From our statistics it results that the crime is larger in the poorer countries. This has stimulated family crimes and divorces as well, by leaving hundred of children without support and education.
Today we can strongly say that the crime has challenged the rule of law. Albania has a modern constitution and legislation, but these are worthless when the state structures in charge of law execution do not function. For the majority of the conflicts, the citizens do not address to their state, but to Kanun and self-justice. They witness daily the violation of their property, the endangerment of their lives and the state unable to react. If someone from the high officials, with an arbitrary order, takes your property, it will take years for asking for your right in all the steps of the courts and in the majority of the cases you are unable to win your legal property. If someone kills a member of your family, you do not trust to make a denunciation in the police, because not only is your life in danger but you are convinced that the murderer will suffer a minimal punishment.
The trust of the citizens in the politics and the legal state is at its lowest quota, and the majority of the citizens has boycotted the elections, convinced that the government and the opposition have two decades that play a dishonest game on their back. The people are convinced that only the dismissal of mafia from politics will restore their trust in the future and their state. And only the return of the trust in state will be able to eliminate blood feud and Kanun.
The strategic plan that we are presenting reflects the majority of these problems and orients the society toward a way out. The plan is compiled by the representatives of the Board of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation. They had the sufficient experience for the compilation of this plan and know the situation of conflicts during the years of political transition as well as the factual situation in terrain. This plan presents the objectives, goals, terms and the methodology of realization. The Third Congress of Reconciliation, after the examination in its special commissions, decides for its final approval. This strategic plan includes the close cooperation with the state organs and with the Coordinative Council Against Blood Feud, that is lead by the President of the Republic of Albania.
The strategic plan contains the efficient cooperation between the state and civil society factors initially for the reformation of the mentality about Kanun and later for the reformation of the laws that cause enmities by amending the laws and the unjust decisions of the government. The economical, social and cultural development of the poor areas will be a decisive factor that will lead to the minimization and later to the end of the phenomenon of blood feud. We have studied and continue to study the terrain and the levels of Kanuns influence on the people, through the publications of foreign and local researchers, through surveys and data from the organs of public order, local administration, educational directories and media. Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation, in the years 1997-99, compiled a strategic plan against blood feud and presented it to the President, Prime Minister and international institutions, but found no support. Land related conflicts have involved 300 thousand Albanians. We have made calls for the revision of the law on lands, but we have not found support for this thing either.
The international community has granted special funds for the elimination of blood feud, but they were distributed without any criteria to associations and individuals that do not work on voluntary bases and these funds did not end up to the people in need. Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation has asked to the Albanian government and the President of Republic to get the necessary information about where the donations for the elimination of murders for revenge and blood feud in Albania ended. Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation based on the experience of these years has compiled this strategic plan for the coordination of all the factors in the fight against blood feud. We will present this plan that we are putting up for discussion and approval to all the state institutions and international organizations. This plan brings the experience of the missionaries of Kurbin, Puka and Mirdita where there have been reached very positive results in the elimination of murders for blood feud and liberation of locked in families. Thanking the head of the state that has come here for supporting our efforts, allow me to guarantee him on your behalf that he and the Albanian state will always find our endless efforts in support of rule of law, in support of human rights, in support of the life of citizens, democracy and peace. Wishing him a good work in the holy duty that he has on his shoulders I invite him to hold a speech.