April 2018 Report: Albania
Unfortunately, the month of April opens with a homicide committed in the suburbs of Tirana. The crime is the result of a bar fight sparked by trivial reasons between two friends.
Halfway through the month, a 28-year-old man has been killed in downtown Tirana in the middle of the day as a revenge for the murder committed by his father in 2000. The case has particularly shaken the Albanian public opinion. Operazione Colomba believes that this case is of particular gravity because the victim was denied the right to asylum by Sweden in 2014 due to Albania numerous statements about its own efforts to safeguard and protect people who risk their lives because of blood feuds. Consequently, the peaceworkers have issued a press release to urge the institutions to effectively protect the victims of this phenomenon.
At the end of the month, during a robbery, two boys have killed a man and severely injured his wife.
Relatives of the victim have stated that if the justice system will fail them, they will resort on private justice. Because of these declarations, the family of one of the two culprits now claims to be self-isolated and fears retaliations.
Sharing with others, Activities and News about the Peaceworkers
This year, the peaceworkers spent Easter in Tropoja, to experience such an important and heartfelt holiday next to the families afflicted with grief. Visits have been intense and deep and, in a particular case, the intervention of Operazione Colomba is proving to be providential. Indeed, this family feels that they have been denied justice for the murder of one close relative as the culprit served only two years in prison and now is back to live in his own house. Besides, as it often happens in blood feud cases, the feuding parties are neighbors, which means that the victim’s family is forced to see the offender daily: a situation that exacerbates pain and anger. The peaceworkers are helping this family through the construction of a mediation process between the parties and the legal advice of a lawyer, with whom they are collaborating. During the month of April, the peaceworkers offered unarmed escorts to three families that wanted to visit their relatives in prison because of blood feuds. On the way back, the peaceworkers talked through several vendetta issues with one of these families. The peaceworkers listened carefully to the words of a mother, still devastated by the pain for the murder of her daughter. She cannot find peace because no one has been arrested for this crime.
The peaceworkers used words of solace, underlining that, if they chose to take revenge, the spiral of hatred and violence would continue endlessly. Furthermore, the commitment to question the main institutions has been renewed, so that the case could be tackled and solved.
Relationship with Institutions and Civil Society
With the arrival of spring, the peaceworkers held a manifestation against the blood feuds in Shkodër. Local citizens have been asked to make a symbolic act: to remove from a poster negative words such as ‘hatred’ and ‘revenge’ in order to reveal positive terms such as ‘peace’ and ‘forgiveness’. Besides, once all the negative words were removed, the word ‘pajtimi’, reconciliation, appeared. During the event, 300 information leaflets were handed out. We would like to thank all the volunteers who, with their help, made possible the realization of this event.
Finally, April has seen the peaceworkers busy with the distribution to the national and international institutions of the three-year report on the blood feud phenomenon, along with a letter asking for the collaboration to the drafting of a strategy geared towards the eradication of this phenomenon.