Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – January 2019
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.
In January, the ongoing #KundërGjakmarrjes (Against blood feuds) campaign has been spread on our Facebook and Instagram profiles. By visiting our blog www.kundergjakmarrjes.org, everyone can download the campaign logo and post it on their social network profiles. In addition, in order to support our initiative, anyone can print the logo, take a picture of it in one of the most representative locations of his/her city and share it with us.
During the month, in Shkodër it snowed a lot. The snow caused many difficulties to the families in blood feuds we know. Many of them had run out of their wood and they couldn’t afford to buy more, due to their poverty conditions.
Despite the bad weather, we kept on our daily visits to the families in blood feuds, sharing together pleasant moments away from their daily troubles. One day, during a joyful afternoon spent together with a woman and her three children, we were greeted by her words: “It is a pleasure for us sharing with you what we have, even if it is not so much. You are always welcome to our home”.
The snow awaked the childhood memories of a man, who told us how difficult it was to live, during the winter time, in his native village, from which he had to flee away when his brother killed a neighbour. Fearing vendetta, he has never come back and he constantly feels homesick since he moved out. He tells us: “If we reconcile with the other family, it would be nice to come back to the place I grew up and, in the summer, take care of the land and the animals”.
Relationship with institutions and civil society
This month we met the First Secretary of the Italian Ambassador in Tiranë, with whom we have developed a trusting collaboration during last year. Thanks to her support, in the next months we will be able to illustrate the Kundër Gjakmarrjes campaign also in some of the bilingual Italian-Albanian schools and so to spread our initiative in many other cities of the country.
On January 16th, we attended a public meeting in Tiranë focused on the message of Pope Francis, during the celebration of the World Day of Peace (1st January).
In this message, peace – with other people and among family members – is seen as a way to recover our own inner serenity. That is the reason why we donated a copy of the Pope’s message to a family that has not decided yet whether to forgive the murder of a beloved relative.
At the end of the month, we started to organize some meetings in the schools of Shkodër, which are planned between the end of February and the beginning of March, and they will be held by Father Gianfranco Testa, a Consolata missionary and the founder of the University of Forgiveness. These meetings will be an opportunity to spread the Kundër Gjakmarrjes campaign also among young people, in order to inspire them to a positive social pressure which promotes nonviolent conflicts resolution.
This blog is written in the framework of the project “Alternative dispute resolution and legal aid to solve blood feuds” as part of the sub granting scheme of the project The Civic Engagement for a Functional Judiciary System and Access to Justice in Albania, funded by the European Union and implemented by Save the Children and the Centre of Integrated Legal Services and Practices.