“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…)
“The blood feuds phenomenon is unfortunately still a tangible and significant reality in some areas of Albania. Not only the European Union but also the Albanian institutions have recognized the existence of the phenomenon”. This is what Operazione Colomba, the Nonviolent Peace Corps of the Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII Association, stated in a note about the interview of the Counciellor of the Albanian Minister of the Interior to the Italian TV broadcast “Le Iene”.
“The phenomenon violates the fundamental human rights, including, first of all, the right to life and also causes as a consequence the problem of self-isolation. To eradicate this problem – the note goes on – it is necessary to guarantee the certainty of penalty as its absence can contribute to the use of vendetta as a form of private justice”.
Operazione Colomba, the Nonviolent Peace Corps of the Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII Association, has been present in Albania since 2010 to fight the blood feuds phenomenon.
Operazione Colomba works through the permanent presence of volunteers who daily visit people involved in this social plague, supporting them and implementing mediation and reconciliation processes among the parties in feud.
With reference to “Le Iene” broadcast, aired on the Mediaset networks on 10 February 2019, Operazione Colomba reports below some words of Albanian Interior Minister Counsellor Hilë Lushaku: “Currently there is no such phenomenon […] blood feuds are the product of some associations to obtain funds […] It is a phenomenon now gone by, that abroad is being magnified, to create problems to Albania […] Our experts are considering reviewing the article which deals with blood feuds and remove it from the Albanian penal code”.
In this regard, Operazione Colomba states that:(more…)
On January 17th, in Korça (southern Albania), a man was killed because of a quarrel triggered by trivial reasons. After the dispute, the killer went home to take the rifle and then he shoot the victim.
On January 24th, a thirty-one-year-old man killed his sister’s lover. The newspapers reported that the murder was perpetrated in order to protect his family’s honour.
The most tragic event happened in Tiranë at the end of the month. Here a man was killed because of an alleged blood feud. The victim was charged with murder few years ago, but then he was acquitted for lack of evidence. In 1997 and in 2010, two of his three brothers were killed and, since then, he had been living self-isolated and rarely leaving his house. Now the fourth brother, the only one still alive, is living in the same condition of self-isolation. (more…)
During the past days, in Italy, Blood Feuds have been a topic of discussion due to a report broadcasted by the Italian tv show “le Iene”. Without going into the details of the report, Operazione Colomba wants to take the chance to appeal to the Albanian institutions and civil society so that they urgently cope with this social issue.
For years, Operazione Colomba volunteers and other local associations have been asking for the application of the law n. 9389 of 4/5/2005, which foresees the creation and the functioning of a Coordination Council for the eradication of the Blood Feuds phenomenon.
In this regard, in order to carry on with the ongoing awareness-raising action against this phenomenon, Operazione Colomba invites everyone to join the campaign #KundërGjakmarrjes (against Blood Feuds), which promotes the application of restorative justice and non˗violent means to tackle this phenomenon.
On December 4th, a case of hakmarrje ended up with the wounding of a person. The victim kidnapped the cousin of his assailant a month earlier.
At the end of the month, a 17-year-old girl was killed and her boyfriend was seriously wounded in Tirana. It seems that the violence happened due to the jealousy of another suitor of the young girl, who had received a slap from her boyfriend, then severely injured.
In addition, this month a 39-year-old man was killed in Topojan – Dibër region – by his ex-father-in-law, with whom he had been in conflict since he was left by his wife. After a fight, the victim wounded a friend of his ex-father-in-law with a knife and threatened to kill the latter and his family. The ex-father-in-law’s reaction (“for self-defense”, as he claimed) was to hit the ex-son-in-law on the head with a piece of wood, killing him. In order to avoid the victim’s family revenge the police is now patrolling the murder’s house. (more…)