Research materials

Blood feuds in 2018 – numbers from the press

Operazione Colomba carries out a monitoring activity about data related to the blood feuds phenomenon in Albania by reading and analyzing articles published in the press on a daily basis. Every day the volunteers read 3 newspapers of the Albanian national press and try to monitor also the foreign press, looking for elements that can attribute crime news stories to the blood feuds phenomenon, when it is not already clarified in the press. The identified cases are then classified in a database, according to a subdivision between cases of hakmarrje (vengeance) and cases of gjakmarrje (blood feud).
The data collected in 2018 show a constant trend in the use of violence to approach disputes caused by different reasons, with an average of 11 cases per month of vengeance, throughout the national territory. The 5 cases attributable to the blood feud result as a consequence of vengeance acts previously committed, according to mechanism of retaliation, typical of private justice.
The case occurred in Spain highlights the phenomenon of the so-called blood feud export, a phenomenon that involves the victims even when they are abroad.
For further information on the classification and on the geographical and numerical distribution of the phenomenon, see the triennial Report “Descriptive document on the phenomenon of ‘hakmarrja’ and ‘gjakmarrja’ to raise awareness among Albanian and international institutions – III edition”, p. 18.

On the basis of data collected during 2018, Operazione Colomba in Albania has drawn the following diagram which shows the number of hakmarrje and gjakmarrje cases occurred during last year. The total number of cases is 137: 5 happened for gjakmarrje and 132 for hakmarrje. (more…)

Albania News in response to “Le Iene”

After the latest report by the Italian TV show “Le Iene” about a case of blood feud, the website “Albania News – The Voice of the Albanian Diaspora in Italy”, through Arbër Agalliu’s words, seeks to outline the phenomenon more accurately. We share with you this opinion as a further way of pressure on Albanian authorities in order to undertake effective actions against such practice. For years, Operazione Colomba volunteers, together with local associations, have been asking the implementation of the law n.9389 of 4/5/2005, which establishes the creation of a Coordination Council and its functioning in order to cope with the phenomenon of blood feuds. For this purpose, Operazione Colomba encourages everyone to join the campaign #KunderGjakmarrjes (Against Blood Feuds) to promote the transition to a restorative justice and to nonviolent means to eradicate this practice. (more…)

“Gli occhi della guerra” talks about the phenomenon of blood feuds

“Families which are supposed to take revenge sometimes, do not even mean to do it, but there is a social obligation that pushes them to take action. We believe that these families are victims of this phenomenon twice: in addition to the loss of a loved one, their members are regarded as potential assassins by the rest of society. We do our best to stand by both parts involved in the feud. Every day we visit these families in order to bring them some positivity and thereby defuse the tension. This is not easy. It is a long and challenging process.”

When talking about the phenomenon of the blood feuds in Albania, there is the risk to address superficially an issue that, actually, is difficult to grasp.
First of all, in order to understand the vendettas, it is essential to consider the Albanian socio-political context. At the beginning of the 90’s, Albania came out of a ferocious dictatorship, which lasted for about 50 years and attempted to make disappear several traditions of the country. Paradoxically, for this reason, nowadays the blood feud practices are so hard to eradicate. Indeed, despite the strides forward Albania has made in the last 20 years, the legacy of the previous regime, as well as the weaknesses of the democratic institutions and the shortcomings of their judiciary system, have created the conditions where traditional values and customs are practiced and carried out in a distorted way. (more…)