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Thomas Simaku with a CD Release on Naxos
A CD comprising 6 works performed by the Kreutzer Quartet has just been released in the UK on Naxos records,and also in USA and Canada.
Thomas Simaku is an Albanian Composer among 21st Century Classics.For more information about individual tracks, please go to Naxos website.
A new CD release of Thomas Simaku

Monument to the Victims of Communism in Ottawa - Canada
Communist Sign the petition to support the building of a Monument to the Victims of Communism, in Ottawa, Canada

To: Parliament of Canada
While the horrors of Nazism are well known, who knows that the Soviet Union murdered 20 million people? Who knows that China's dictators have slaughtered an estimated 60 million? Who knows that the Communist holocaust has exacted a death toll surpassing that of all of the wars of the 20th century combined ? Just as we must grasp Communism's brutality, we must understand the true cause of this era's most significant event: the fall of the Soviet Union. While we believe that Vaclav Havel was right when he saw the fall of the Communist empire as an event on the same scale as the fall of the Roman Empire, it was not the end of Communism. Sign and Join this petition

Who recognised KOSOVA as an Independent State?
Countries that have recognized or Announced the recognition of Republic of Kosova
We are honored and humbled that it is our generation that lives to see that day and we are aware and ready to take up the path that begins from here. Our future is with Europe.Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for standing by us in the worst times. In memory of those who gave and lost their lives, and loved ones. May peace and light prevail. Countries who recognized Kosova

Boycott of Greek products in Albania
Boycott of Greek products in Albania!

Albanian nationalists, who accuse Greece of turning the country into a non-conventional colony of Greece, are using the protest to halt the rising power of Greece in the country. In 2006 Greek Imports reached EUR 406mn, while Greek investments are estimated at over EUR 400mn. Greek companies and businesses own substantial shares in the telecommunication, petroleum and financial markets in the country. Strong protests were organized by the "Cham" population, ethnic Albanians that used to live in the territory of current Greece till the end of World War II. Afterwards, they forcedly expelled from their properties. Therefore we call on you to Boycott greek products in Albania

Donation for an Albanian Bridge in Shkoder City.
Has started a project to raise funds to build a bridge in the village of "Ure e Shtrenjte", near Shkoder. In need for donation to complete this project. More ..

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Albania News:

Sigurimi's new Law unacceptable for Council of Europe
Posted on Friday, January 16 @ 13:04:56 PST by classiclady

Albania News
    Read inside:
  • Terry Davis - Albanian lustration law
  • Getting Chummy Over Chameria
  • International Journal of Public Theology

  • A new law barring former Communist secret police and their informers from serving as public officials
    Communist Propaganda on millions of Slogans on every streets of Albania claiming "The Victory of Socialism over Capitalism"
    in Albania is undemocratic, the Council of Europe said Friday.

    By Llazar Semini

    The law took effect Thursday, despite strong objections from opposition parties which said it could be exploited by conservative Prime Minister Sali Berisha to target his political opponents.

    For more than four decades until 1990, Albania was governed by a xenophobic Communist dictatorship with a powerful and widely feared Sigurimi secret police force.

    The Council of Europe _ which is based in Strasbourg, France _ said the law fails to comply with international standards of democracy.

    "I understand the effort to establish the truth and sanction those who violated human rights during this period. But any such effort must comply with Council of Europe standards of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. ... I have some concerns the law does not meet these criteria," the Council of Europe's secretary general, Terry Davis, said in the statement Friday.

    The council said the new law contradicts its guidelines urging former Communist countries to have completed political background inquiries before 2000 and to avoid targeting government officials.

    "The very broad reach of the law ... and the fact that it includes people currently holding office" is a cause for concern, Davis said. His criticism is unlikely to affect the law, but it could motivate opposition parties to challenge it before Albania's constitutional court. Albania, seeking closer ties and eventual membership of the European Union, also is sensitive to international criticism of its political reforms. Parliament approved the law last month, despite a walkout by the opposition Socialists and other smaller parties. It applies to all officials in elected office as well other positions of authority, including judges. Albania has had other laws and measures seeking to identify former members and associates of the Sigurimi, but the new law is broader. The conservatives passed it after accusing previous Socialist governments of failing to enforce existing laws.

    Albanian lustration law

    Statement by Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis

    Strasbourg, 16.01.2009 – For several decades, the Albanian people suffered under one of the hardest and most ruthless communist regimes in Europe, and I therefore understand the effort to establish the truth and sanction those who violated human rights during this period. But any such effort must comply with Council of Europe standards of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Against this background, I have some concerns that the lustration law adopted on 22 December by the Albanian Parliament does not meet these criteria.

    Analysis of the law by Council of Europe experts has revealed several issues of concern in relation to Council of Europe standards. These include:

  • the very broad reach of the law in terms of the categories of officials who may be affected and the fact that it includes people currently holding office;
  • the fairness and proportionality of the lustration proceedings;
  • the severity of the sanctions foreseen and the fact that there is no time limit.

  • I also note some important discrepancies with regard to the Resolution on measures to dismantle the heritage of former communist totalitarian systems as adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 1996. Our Assembly clearly stated that any individual lustration measures should not exceed five years, that the lustration process should end by 31 December 1999, and that lustration should not apply to candidates in elections. None of these guidelines have been taken into account by the Albanian lustration law.

    The Council of Europe is ready to provide advice and assistance to the Albanian authorities in finding ways to achieve the legitimate objective of dealing with the past in full compliance with the Council of Europe standards.

    Council of Europe Press Division

    Getting Chummy Over Chameria

    by Dean Kalimniou

    When the Greek Consul-General was asked why
    Chams escaping greek genocides
    he has never deigned to respond to the invitation of the Panepirotic Federation of Australia's invitation to him to attend the annual doxology celebrating the liberation of Ioannina and the declaration of the autonomy of Northern Epirus in 1914, he smugly retorted: "Well, what do you want me to do? Invade Albania and kill all the Albanians so that you can all go and live there?" On another occasioned, he warned darkly: "Stop referring to Northern Epirus and then we will talk."

    Indeed, right up until the end of the Cold War. Greeks who dared to voice concern over human rights abuses against Greeks in Albania were generally referred to as hyper-nationalistic, ultra-right wing radicals by certain sections of the Greek community and the press. Even after the fall of Communism, when it was apparent to all that the 'paradise' that Hoxha's Stalinist regime was supposed to be, was nothing more than hell on earth, those persons who had built their reputation and pride upon the maintenance of their particular ideology, found it hard to sympathise with the hapless Northern Epirots who have been persecuted for well on a hundred years now. In scenes reminiscent of 1923, when Asia Minor refugees fled genocide to re-settle in Greece and were called Turks, the Northern Epirots who fled poverty and persecution to settled in Greece after 1992, were called Albanians and treated as objects of derision. Further, despite the fact that the various Epirot organizations that exist throughout the world have consistently striven to showcase human rights abuses in Albania, their task is Herculean. For they do not have to convince world opinion alone. Firstly, they have to convince a doubting or contemptuous Greek world that is
    totally ignorant of what lies beyond its front fence and which, in its smug bourgeois comfort, still persists in labeling people who are only interested in the human rights of the Greek minority in Albania as fascists, that a sizeable minority just to the north of them is being harried out of its ancestral home and that further, its persecutors are making demands on Greek territory.

    The recent debacle in Albania, where President Karolos Papoulias traveled to the Northern Epirotan city of Agioi Saranta in order to meet Albanian president Alfred Moisiu is illustrative of this point. Papoulias cancelled his meeting because his hotel was besieged by "Chamerians" (descendants of Albanians who once lived on the west coast of Epirus, and who engaged in wholesale slaughter of the Greek population under German supervision during the Second World War. At its end, they fled to Albania, fearing reprisals and trials) variously demanding that Greece 'return' what we call Tsamouria to Albania or provide restitution for properties seized from Chamerians who 'fled' to Albania. There is enough evidence to suggest that the protesters were not 'Chamerians' at all, but rather, were bused purposely from Tirana in order to make a statement, a gesture that has all the hallmarks of operation of Albanian PM Sali Berisha. The Albanians refused to move the protesters along, in a huge insult to Greece and its president and further, had the gall to state that Papoulias, who rightly left the country in disgust, was at fault for his hasty departure.

    In a way, Papoulias' fate is fitting. After all, it was he who as foreign minister of Greece in 1987, agreed to the dissolution of the state of 'phoney-war" that had existed between Greece and Albania since the Second World War. That this was an admirable action is beyond doubt. What however is not admirable is the fact that Papoulias unilaterally dissolved the state of war, without first requesting
    Chameria Map
    and/or obtaining guarantees for the safety of the Greeks in Northern Epirus and a guarantee that Albania's irredentist claims over Epirus would be officially abandoned.

    Albania has never abandoned its 'claim' to Epirus and to add insult to injury, it demands 'compensation' for those criminals and slaughterers of innocent people, who abandoned Tsamouria in order to escape reprisals after the War. As Nikos Vafeiadis, Ant1 journalist discovered in the recent documentary screened on Ant1 Pacific and pulled off half-way, only to be replaced by music clips, Albanian textbooks, even the Greek ones designed for the Greek minority publish maps where the whole of Epirus up until Preveza are designated as integral parts of the Albanian State. History books portray Greeks as murderers and enemies. All the while, the Albanian government harasses the Albanian Orthodox Church, which it sees as a vehicle for Greek propaganda, abuses the electoral process so that the Greek party OMONOIA will not be elected, ensures that schools and other facilities are deliberately run down in areas where the Greek minority lives and generally encourages a climate of intimidation and hopelessness in minority zones.

    Greece on the other hand, has totally abandoned its claim to Northern Epirus. That in itself is not to be condemned as Greece wishes to avoid conflict with other nations and ensure its own security. What is to be condemned though, is its wholesale abandonment of the Northern Epirots, who variously either migrate to Greece to live as second-class citizens or otherwise, remain in Albania, in extreme poverty, at the mercy of opportunistic demagogues in Tirana, who indulge in persecution once in a while, just to re-assure their nationalist supporters that they truly do hate Greeks. It is also condemnable that successive Greek governments, instead of dynamically intervening to guarantee the safety and well-being of the Greeks of Albania, have sought to 'close' the issue by allowing them to be harried out of their homes. The first generation of the Greek community in Australia knows how heartbreaking it is to have to leave one's home. Imagine how heartbreaking and devastating it would be to be forced out of one's ancestral home, when help could be had just a few kilometers away.

    Nikos Vafeiadis, during his brief sojourn in Albania, learned to his horror that Greek books have not been sent to the minority schools of the area by the Greek government since 1994 and that the Greek government subsidy that was instrumental in keeping teachers of Greek in the area have also been discontinued, causing a mass exodus of professionals who could keep Hellenism alive. Contrast this with the vast bulk of Greek government books mouldering away unused in Greek schools around Melbourne, or indeed, with the unsubstantiated rumour that the Greek Consulate in Sydney requested money from SAE Oceania to pay Customs for Greek books that are to be sent to Tasmania, owing to impecunious circumstances. The smug, self-assured diplomats who condemn others' vociferous support of the Northern Epirots' rights to freedom from persecution by parodying them, insulting them and misrepresenting them, have not been forced to endure extreme persecution under Hoxha, nor have they experienced extreme poverty or have been forced out of their homes in sheer desperation. They are to be condemned worst of all, at least if one was able to reach them, given that at Melbourne at least, appointments at the Consulate are "fully-booked" until January.

    It does not seem to be a good year for Greece. Greece seems to be losing ground on the Macedonian issue, it seems to have lost any sort of edge it ever may have had over Turkey and sits idly by as the Ecumenical Patriarchate is threatened by the Grey Wolves, with the tacit approval of the powers that be. Now Albania is repeating its irredentist claims and insulting the highest officer of Greece. And indeed, it is not the first time that Albania has done so. Moisiu attempted to raise the issue of Tsamouria with former President Kostis Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos, a fearless defender of the rights of the Northern Epirots, given that he is of Northern Epirot extraction, angrily dismissed this attempt and countered by demanding that Greeks be protected in Albania. Now Karolos Papoulias, possibly the architect of Modern Greek mishandling of Greco-Albanian relations, is learning to his chagrin that it is not wise to underestimate a neighbour who, despite your generosity, continues to treat you as an enemy.

    Politics is politics and nations such as Albania and FYROM have moulded their national identity in spite of and as a reaction to Greece. Ridiculous requests over Tsamouria and petty Balkan irredentist principalities are comical but they should be taken seriously. The protester who maintained that Tsamouria is the key to Greek and Albanian friendship is absolutely correct. Leave of the Chameria hype, and we can be chums. What should be taken even more seriously is the fate of Greek minorities in such Ruritanias. After all, we can all take a leaf out of their book, in so far as they have maintained their identity under impossible conditions. It is not fascistic or quaint to actively assist these people and protect them from harm. One would think it is our duty as human beings.

    Review of 'Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity?'

    Reviewed by Professor John Swinton
    University of Aberdeen, UK

    Mother Teresa is one of the world’s best known religious figures. Millions have been touched, moved and challenged by her powerful ministry with the poorest of the poor in the back streets of Calcutta . Born in Albania in 1910, her unique ministry has become paradigmatic of a selfless life lived with and for the poor. The religious power of her life is testified to in her beatification by Pope John Paul II in 2003 just six years after her death in India in 1997. Hers is truly a heroic story, or so it seems, but Gëzim Alpion sees things differently. Alpion argues that in order to understand Mother Teresa one needs to understand the ways in which her life and ministry are indebted to the power of ‘modern celebrity culture’. Her lasting
    Mother Teresa
    significance can only be understood in relation to the mass media, celebrity culture, the church and the various political groups that were central to her rise to fame.

    Alpion argues that from the late 1940s when she was about to set up her Missionaries of Charity, the Indian media took an interest in Mother Teresa, using her to offer the world a positive perspective on the country following separation from Pakistan in 1947. From there she gradually became a media celebrity in India and on into the rest of the world. Rather than her story being one of humble commitment to the poor, her ‘rise to prominence was carefully engineered and monitored by public relations experts and spin doctors both in the east and in the West’ (p. x). Mother Theresa was no passive onlooker in this process. She was a key figure in promoting her religious cause, although arguably, not herself. As her celebrity status grew various political, religious and business persons and organizations began to develop an interest in her and ‘used’ her for various causes; such as President Regan’s campaign to end abortion in the United States . Mother Teresa became an outspoken advocate for forgiveness and social justice, intervening in a number of high profile world situations; maintaining her high media profile became a vital dimension of her religious calling.

    One of the most interesting and controversial suggestions in Alpion’s book is his assertion that the motivation for Mother Teresa’s entry into Christian mission was not a divinely given burden for the poor (although she may have believed this to be the case), but rather a grief response to the death of her father Nikollë Bojaxhiu. Bojaxhiu died in mysterious circumstances aged 45. Mother Teresa (then known by her Christian name of Agnes) was nine years old. Alpion suggests that it was this event rather than her Christian upbringing as a child or special divine calling as an adult that took her down the path that led her to become the celebrity figure of Mother Teresa. Agnes, unable to come to terms with the loss of her father, turned to the figure of Jesus as a divine surrogate father; a protective figure who would never leave her. Alpion interprets her strong feelings towards and constant reference to Jesus within this psychoanalytical frame; the implication being that her devotion to Jesus was primarily therapeutic rather than spiritual and that her dedication to the poor in Calcutta could be viewed in a not dissimilar way. This being so, as with all celebrities, there was much more ‘self’ in the ministry of Mother Teresa than is normally assumed.

    The book offers an interesting and different perspective on Mother Teresa. As a bibliography and original thesis this book is well worth the read. While there is much to commend it, one has to question the self-proclaimed neutrality of the author’s approach. His statement that he ‘stands between the rationalists and the spiritualists’ (p. 159) in the discussion over Mother Teresa’s life stands in rather odd tension with the general rationalist thrust of the book and the statement in the preceding paragraph that: ‘It is worth noting that the ‘rational’ approach to religion has not diminished our apparently pathological drive to have faith in something otherworldly’ (p. 158). Alpion’s uncritical Freudian assumption that religion is pathology and that grief is a mode of neurosis that can be treated with the opiate of religion (p. 167) is more than a little reductionist. No real attention is paid to the internal meanings of faith within the Catholic community or the possibility that such belief in transcendence might be more than mere imagination. This, I suspect, will make the book a difficult read for people who claim religious faith to be more than psychological or social construction; for those who do not consider such commitments important, the book offers a challenging perspective that is worthy of consideration.

Published by ACLIS Jan 16, 2009

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