June 2018

PRESENT SITUATION

In June there have been at least two episodes related to blood feuds.
At the beginning of the month, the police arrested a man who is charged with attempted murder for an attack with explosives that took place in July 2017. Investigations uncovered that the attack was carried out in the attempt to avenge another violent episode that dates back to 1997, when the man was injured and two others were killed.
Near the middle of the month, a man was killed in Shkodër, near his garage. The murder was probably executed on commission and it is likely to be rooted in a previous conflict that involved the victim’s family.


Sharing with others, activities and news about the peaceworkers
Like every month we went to Tropoja to carry on with our work. In particular, we visited and supported a family that is dissatisfied with the State justice process that followed the death of one of its members. In addition to providing them with legal support, thanks to our lawyer’s help, we strive to maintain a close relationship with this family; our presence is fundamental to strengthen their choice of forgiveness and to reduce the desire for revenge.
In June, we handed a letter to a woman who had lost her daughter in a blood feud. In the letter we reiterated our closeness to her and her family, reminding her that revenge would only bring more suffering. After reading it, the woman showed trust and esteem for us, but at the same time she told us how difficult it is for her to forgive. Just in June, it was her daughter’s death anniversary and, like every year, we accompanied the family to pray at the cemetery. It was a very intense situation, which allowed us to reflect on the sense of being next to this family both in the most difficult and lightest moments.
Thanks to the help of a nun and a priest from a village in the outskirts of Shkodër, we met a new family, struck a few months ago by a severe mourning. The family welcomed us with great hospitality, and we were cautious and delicate in approaching the pain that all of them are going through; we explained that our work consists in being close to the people who suffer. The victim’s sister unexpectedly revealed her great faith with words of understanding: she is sure that God wanted her brother with Him because He needed a special soul; moreover, she is convinced that her brother’s sacrifice can help the boy who killed him to change his bad attitude since he lost his way. This visit confirmed the incredible strength of Albanian women, who play a leading role in transforming the violent and painful aspects of their society.
At the beginning and at the end of the month we organized two playful moments with the group of young boys and pre-teenagers involved in blood feuds – key moments to consolidate a group that continues to reflect and work on forgiveness. An Albanian young man has been helping us for some months with these activities, taking care of these young people’s future: his strong presence, as well as his difficult life experience of falling down and rising up, is a precious gift both for the boys and for us volunteers.
In the middle of the month Giulia arrived, a volunteer who returned to Albania after a few years. We wish her to spend a time full of new experiences in our project.

Relationship with institution and civil society
In June, we received letters from national and international institutions in response to the publication and distribution of our three-year report about blood feuds. Besides thanking us for our work, they said they were willing to collaborate with us in order to overcome the phenomenon of blood feuds. Hence, in the following months, we will meet them with the hope that such meetings will be fruitful.
Since April 2018, the European Union, through “Save the Children”, have been supporting the project of Operazione Colomba in Albania. This support enables the implementation of our activities, aimed at overcoming the blood feuds phenomenon. Furthermore, our staff had the possibility to participate in some training sessions, organized and promoted by them, to increase its skills in order to build a more effective action. Therefore, we would like to give our special thanks to give our special thanks to them.