Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kempe Quarterly 5

Bob Kempe, a longtime friend of more than 35 years, is our next-door neighbor at our summer residence on Cape Cod. It has been our good fortune to participate in some of his discussions about world politics, global warming, education, and much more. If I had to give a one-word description of Bob, it would be "Sage". At my request, Bob initiated a series of commentaries called the Kempe Quarterly, and I am privileged to share his most recent commentary below and invite your comments.

Kempe Quarterly 5

Energy- One more Time

Do not doubt it: we can free ourselves from petroleum as a highway fuel, and we can do it within 5 years.

I belong to a discussion group, Great Decisions developed by the Foreign Policy Association. I was triggered to this in discussions on Energy. I think and write as a U.S. Citizen.

KQ5 is built on three poignant questions from that session:

  • Should the U.S. Government involve itself in the U.S. energy market?
  • To what degree do you believe the U.S. should invest in energy alternatives verses diversify its energy resources?
  • What roles should individuals, Corporations and Governments play in reducing the national reliance on fossil fuels?

I answer (1) and (2): The U.S. will plan and execute a specific, pragmatic, and budgeted program which ends our use of petroleum as a highway fuel and do it in five years. We can definitely drive all our cars without one drop of petroleum based gasoline and do so in five years. Do not doubt it.

To (3) Individuals: Each of you, should and can write to your Senators and Representatives and ask that she/he start action to free us from the penalties of petroleum in five years with realistic and practical technology.

Why the Confidence?

The Fischer Tropsch process distills and fractionates coal into a liquid fuel usable in gasoline engines. The process now fuels cars in South Africa. The company that makes that fuel is Sasol, and they make money at it. It is an old process, more than a century, and tech articles tell of recent improvements, some based on Nano technology. Before the end of WW2 strategic bombing had eliminated Germany’s petroleum availability. F-T is how they fueled Luftwaffe.

Fischer Tropsch is no cure all.

First, it puts more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Second, it needs new, costly plants. Third, coal will not be there for all time, and this might hasten its unavailability. Fourth, at least to start it will cost more. Plus, we can count on our present suppliers to price cut to move us off this kick, and we will be lambasted with massively funded advertising, metaphors, and rhetoric to stick with oil for many, many reasons.

There may well be a better way. As a first stage we must analyze and evaluate others, then chose one and go with it. We must schedule it, repeat- must schedule. If one is found better than F-T and it will take six years, I say go with it and take the six. One more time – must schedule.

In the preamble our Constitution states its aims and so the purposes of our Government. Two of them:

Promote the general welfare.

Provide for the common defense.

The Middle East owns most of our world’s oil reserves. Those countries and others with lots of oil run by guys who sharply differ with our views of freedom and general welfare. So our freedom and welfare will precipitously drop when they have oil and we have run out. Plus, when we seriously gear up to replace oil we will build jobs for U.S. workers and engineers and make profitable growth opportunities to U.S. corporations.

Most of those on the 911 planes were Saudi’s. There is strong reason to think that most of their funds came from Saudi charities. Then add the positions and attitudes of Russia, Venezuela, and Nigeria we face a formidable group. I say we have strong enemies, and as we free up from oil, we:

Provide for the common defense.

So if you agree please write your Representative and Senators and tell them it is key to our general welfare and common defense. If you disagree, post your comments below and tell me your points. I will give you my attention. I don’t know it all. And, I do change my mind once in a while.


Robert A. Kempe

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How can 60.9m euros assist Albania to gain EU membership?

I came across an interesting article sent by email that stated in part that the European Commission (EC) had recently announced it would grant 60.9m euros to Albania as part of its pre-accession partnership. The funds will finance 24 projects in administrative reform, education and rural infrastructure. The purpose of this grant is to bring Albania closer to EU membership. I believe this to be a crucial next step for Albania to secure important ties to the European community.

In addition, I was more than pleased to note that one of the projects the EC would fund was for much-needed administrative reform.One of the reforms that I believe should be a top priority is to restructure Albania's judicial system to make it completely free of corruption. As a second and related priority, I would recommend that a portion of the funds be expended to restructure the State and local security systems to limit the incidence of bribery and other forms of corruption and to bring the police and other law enforcement agencies into positions of respect and honor. Clearly, these will not be easy to undertake or implement.

I would be interested in your thoughts on the 60.9m euros. If the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister asked for your list of priorities, what would you tell them?

Check out the link below for the complete article, and let us know what you think.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Taken or Mistaken

I recently received an email from Barbara Tzetzo Gosch that raises an interesting issue: In the just released movie, TAKEN, Albanians are portrayed as the villains. Could this be the beginning of a trend? Please read her comments below and let us know what you think.

"Taken" or "Mistaken"

Has anyone seen the popular suspense thriller "Taken" currently being shown at movie theaters throughout the country? It stars the great Irish born actor, Liam Neeson, whom you may remember as the hero in "Schlindler's List"- Neeson helps Jews escape from the Nazis. In "Taken" Neeson again assumes the role of hero. This time he plays a father(retired from the CIA) trying to save his daughter who has been kidnapped by thugs and sold into the sex trade business.

Who are the bad guys in this movie? Albanians. Yes! They're the Albanian Mafia which appears to be the "New Albanian" image that the American public sees. While I saw ads for this movie on television, I didn't pay much attention to them. Later, through an email, a friend said she detested the plot of "Taken" and that it was a true story. I didn't believe that was correct."Taken " is not a true story, but it could be. In addition, I discovered that the translation of sugar in Albanian is incorrect.

Shortly after hearing from my friend, my son called from out of town. "Mom, you're not going to like this, " he said. "I was listening to NPR and I heard a movie review on "Taken" and they talked about these gangster,thug, Albanians." He was right. Not only was I upset by this ugly portrayal of Albanians, but I realized that whenever there is anything about Albania or Albanians by the media(TV or movies) it's negative. Remember the (1997) film"Wag the Dog" with Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman? Albania was a joke. In a recent James Bond movie, the villian was Albanian, and in an episode of TV's "Law and Order," Albanians were depicted as part of the Albanian Mafia in New York. There is even a game out-you got it, Albanians are the bad guys again.

I want it understood that I believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution and freedom of speech. But, I also believe in taking pride in one's own culture and showing both sides. In my family, I grew up with ideas of Albanians standing for freedom and independence, along with a rich cultural heritage. Thus, I object to this unfavorable one-sided impression of Albanians often viewed in visual terms which is very effective in influencing people.

A friend asked (when I mentioned I was going to write on this topic) "Why do it? Look at the Italians. They lived with it." "But," I said with a sense of humor, "Italians have Tony Bennet and Old Blue Eyes (Sinatra). The list goes on and on. Furthermore, the Italian community has voiced objections about how they are portrayed(for years) in an unfavorable image. There have been other groups as well, such as, women, Native Americans and African Americans, etc. The list is endless.

Why doesn't our ethnic community speak up? Isn't it time so that we are not consistently "mis-taken" for who we are?

Barbara Tzetzo Gosch

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ahtisaari and Kosovo

On the recent first anniversary of Kosova’s independence, I was reminded of an editorial I once read in the Boston Globe* titled "A real peacemaker" that made a lot of sense to me. It hailed fomer Finnish president Marti Ahtisaari for being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize as "a patient mediator who has had more success resolving intractible conflicts around the world."

After citing several of Mr. Ahtisaari's notable worldwide achievements such as ...helping to bring aboutthe birth of an independent Namibia in 1990, and ...persuading Serb leader Slobodam Milosevic to accept NATO's terms for ending the war in Kosovo in 1991, and ...freeing the people in 1993 of what had been South West Africa from apartheid-era South Africa, and ...negotiating a peace in 2005 in Indonesia that ended a war of succession that had lasted for over 30 years, the editorial concluded with the following statements:

"Ahtisaari's one notable failure came last March, when Serbia refused to accept his plan for a phased movement toward independence for Kosovo . With unnecessary impatience, the United States and the European Union nonetheless recognized an independent Kosovo..If anything, his Nobel prize ought to make the American and European leaders have second thoughts. They should have kept Serbs and Kosovars at the negotiating table with Ahtisaari. Eventually, his patience and persistence could have produced a mutually acceptable resolution of the Kosovo dispute - like others he wrought in Asia, Africa, and Europe."

*October 8, 2008

Sam Yoon as Mayor of Boston?

It came as no real surprise to me to read that Sam Yoon, a Councellor-at-Large in Boston, has just announced his candidacy for Mayor of Boston in the upcoming November election. Since I have served on the Governor's Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants for several years, I became somewhat familar with Sam Yoon after he began sending me eMail notices and comments about immigration and other matters affecting the City of Boston. Because some of Sam's comments were directed to the immigrant community at large, I posted several to the Frosina Forum believing them to be helpful to Albanian and other immigrants in the Greater Boston area.

The February 11, 2009 Boston Globe newspaper has published two interesting articles about Sam Yoon that offer opposing views about him serving as the Mayor of Boston. One article titled "A race, finally" by Globe columist Yvonne Abraham presents a postive view of Sam Yoon while the other titled "Yoon's earnest shot in the dark " by Scot Lehigh provides a somewhat contrasting look at him.

I believe that both Globe articles by Yvonne Abraham and Scot Lehigh about Sam Yoon are worth reading especially by anyone planning to vote for Mayor of Boston in the November elections - here's where you'll find them: /02/11/a_race_finally/ icles/2009/02/11/yoons_earnest_shot_in_the_dark/

Famous Prizren bread of Kosovo

Several years ago, my wife, Jane, our son, Zachary, and I had the good fortune to make an automotive tour of Kosova. We fell in love with picturesque Prizren where we spent several wonderful days exploring that historic town and visiting the now-museum where the famous "League of Prizren" was formed by Albanian Kosovar leaders who first advanced the concept of an independent, ethnic Albania comprised of the Albanian populations of the four vilayets of the Ottoman Empire called Shkoder, Kosova, Manastir, and Janine.

One of the high points of our visit to Prizren was to taste a most delicious bread called Pitalke, for which, I was quickly informed, Prizren was famous.

Back in America, I had sought -unsuccessfully - for the recipe for this mouthwatering Prizren bread for several years so I'd be able to publicize and share it with others. On a later trip to London, Jane and I had the good luck to meet two delightful and friendly sisters from Gjakove, Magdele and Miljane Mejzini, who gave me, at long last, the recipe below for the famous Prizren bread Pitalke.

A few years later, I had the unique opportunity to meet Kosova's president, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, at a reception in his honor to which I was invited by the late, venerable Anthony Athanas, at his famous Pier 4 restaurant on Boston's waterfront. I shall never forget the quick and broad smile that came across President Rugova's face when I informed him how much Jane, Zachary, and I had enjoyed eating that delicious Pitalke bread!

Here's the recipe, so enjoy!

Recipe for Prizren bread Pitalke (aka Samuni)


  • 10.5 ounces (300 gr) flour

  • 17 fluid ounces (500 ml) water

  • 0.5 ounces (15 gr) salt

  • 0.3 ounces (10 gr) yeast


    Kneed ingredients together thoroughly to make dough and then set aside for half an hour, then kneed again. Set aside for another ten minutes, and then divide dough into equal-sized, round shapes about 200gr each, allow them to rise for a few minutes, and then flatten each dough portion with your hands. Spread some flour on the bottom of a flat pan and place individual portions on top. Bake at 300 degree temperature for 7-10 minutes.

    Allow to cool and serve.

    (With thanks to Endri Misho for the Metric conversions)

Fan S. Noli

I came across an impassioned speech given by Fan S. Noli in September of 1924. I was struck by how his words seemed to foreshadow the concept of the United Nations that was formed after WWII.

Known simply as "Fan Noli" by Albanians all over the world, he served as the Premier of Albania in 1924 and founded the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America. Fan Noli was also an important poet and writer who translated the plays of Shakespeare and of other major writers into the Albanian language. To many, Fan Noli became a legend in his own lifetime.

Fan Noli enhanced the name of Albania in European diplomatic circles who knew little - or cared about - that small Balkan country until Fan Noli appeared on the world scene on behalf of the fledgling democracy that he sought to establish in Albania. Without exception, Fan Noli made substantial contributions both to Albania's history and to its literature and culture.

Below is an excerpt from Fan Noli's impassioned speech before the League of Nations on September 10, 1924, where he sought the assistance of the World Powers to come to the aid of the newly democratized Albania:

"We must teach our children that wholesale killing is as criminal as individual instances of killing. They must be taught that our tribal gods are the source of all the ills that have tormented humanity for centuries. They must be taught that there is but one true God that we ought to serve, the God of humanity, common to all tribes. They must be taught to become honest members of the Superstate which unites all tribes, noble citizens of the world federation which is on the way to being realized, which will surely be realized.

"When our children have learned these simple truths, then we shall not have the moral disarmament which has to precede material disarmament, but we shall also have the real cooperation of all the races of the world toward peace, progress and international prosperity."

The Muslims of Kosovo

When Albanians, wherever they were located in the world, were once asked about their religion, a common response had traditionally been, "The religion of Albania is Albanian." Although the majority of Albanians in southeastern Europe are Muslim, it is a little known fact that in the 17th century, they were all Christian - the northern regions were Roman Catholic and the southern, Orthodox Christian.

After the Ottomans subjugated southeastern Europe in the 15th century, there began a slow conversion of its Albanian populations to the Muslim faith - not, necessarily, out of religious belief, but mostly because of the perks Albanians would receive by converting - less taxes, less military serve, ability to advance in government, etc.

After Albania, for example, finally achieved its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, the majority of its population had converted to Islam, but King Zog, a Muslim, insisted that all religions - Muslim, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Christian - serve in his royal cabinet. After King Zog's brief ouster from Albania in 1924, the new Prime Minister, Orthodox Christian Bishop Fan S. Noli, also appointed representatives of the three faiths to his cabinet, This practice continued under communist dictator, Enver Hoxha. even though he eventually outlawed religion in Albania in 1967. Representation of the three faiths continues to this day in the current Berisha government of Albania.

Attempts to radicalize Albanian members of the Muslim faith in southeastern Europe by outside influences have invariably failed because Albanians - of all faiths - prefer, instead, to emphasize the secularist structure of government.

For a close look at religion in Kosovo, an informative article titled "The really moderate muslims of Kosovo" by independent foreign correspondent, Michael J. Totten, should be must reading. Here's where you can read it:

Divorce Albanian Style wins award

I was more than delighted to receive the recent news that the film "Divorce Albanian Style" won a Special Commendation at the 2008 PRIX EUROPE for Best Television Documentary.

The film documentary"Divorce Albanian Style" by Adela Peeva (Bulgaria, 2007, in Albanian-Russian-Polish) is a heart-rending film that reveals the experience of several thousands of Albanian families who were forcibly separated for marrying foreigners by the totalitarian regime of Albania's Enver Hoxha, the longest-serving dictator of the 20th century. It tells the story of love and forced separation that takes place in the surreal world of 1960s communist Albania as told by survivors of this extraordinary period.

Many of these "mixed marriage" couples were imprisoned for many years - the last person was released as recently as 1987. The film tells the stories of three of these Albanian-Foreign National couples, and of the apparatchiks and officers of Albania's secret police who changed their lives forever.

Films of Adela Peeva were always considered controversial and have been shown at over 50 international film festivals winning many other major awards.

The Frosina Information Network served as Sponsor of "Divorce Albanian Style" when it was screened at the Remis Auditorium at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts on March 8, 2008. A reception for the Director, Adela Peeva, was held after the screening at the well-known VLORA restaurant located in Boston's Copley Square owned by Albanian-born Aldo Velaj.

Free Catalog from US Government

Frosina regularly produces Advisories that might help Albanians and others obtain useful information either free of charge or at low cost. Typically, these Advisories offer a wide range of useful information and aids covering a variety of topics as shown by the most recent one just below:

A Frosina Information Network Advisory

WINTER 2008-2009 Consumer Information Catalog

Free and Low-cost information from U.S. Government

Albanians and other newcomers to the USA can receive a FREE copy of the WINTER 2008-2009 Consumer Information Catalog from the U.S. Government Printing Office that provides information about Health - Cars - Housing - Food and MUCH MORE useful data in the form of individual booklets by sponsoring federal agencies and offices including the following only partial listings under each category:

HEALTH - "High Blood Pressure - Medicines to Help You," "How to find medical information," "Over the counter drugs," "Mammograms," "Cell Phones"

DRUGS AND HEALTH AIDS - "Buying Contact Lens Online or by Mail," "Smoking - Medicines to Help You," "Medicine and Pregnancy"

CARS - "Buying a Used Car," "Nine Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs"

FOOD - "Food Safety for Seniors," "Listeria," "Revealing Trans Fats"

And much more helpful information!

Over 125 booklets are free of charge (except for a $2.00 service fee to accompany an order)with other costs beginning at 50 cents and up per booklet. Multiple copies of some free titles are also available - call toll-free 1-888-878-3256 for more information.

INTERNET: View Catalog listings by punching in Federal Citizen Information Center at, order publications online, save the $2.00 service fee!

For a FREE copy of the WINTER 2008-2009 Consumer Information Catalog,

please write to:


PO Box 100

Pueblo, CO 81002

The Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) was established to help Federal agencies and departments develop, promote, and distribute useful consumer information to the public. One of the ways to do this is by publishing a new Consumer Information Catalog four times a year. Each quarter, FCIC searches out the best new consumer publications and reviews those already listed in the Catalog for accuracy.

Evaluation of diplomas from foreign universities

The information below is an important source for all those seeking USA equivalency of foreign diplomas.

A Frosina Information Network Advisory

Sources for the Evaluation of Diplomas from Foreign Universities to Determine USA Educational Equivalency

Albanian and other newcomers to the USA who have received diplomas as graduates of universities or institutes of higher learning in Albania and other foreign countries should have their diplomas evaluated to determine their equivalency to degrees offered by USA colleges and universities. This is important when seeking to continue with academic studies or for professional employment purposes.

Evaluation standards for reviewing foreign diplomas are those recommended by the National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials. In response to many inquiries, the Frosina Information Network is pleased to list the following organizations that are qualified to review foreign diplomas and to issue certification of their USA equivalency:

Center for Educational Documentation, Inc.
Ann K. Kugler, Director
PO Box 199
Boston, MA 02117-0199
Tel: (617) 338-7171 / Fax: (617) 338-7101

World Education Services
Mariam Assefa, Executive Director
PO Box 745
Old Chelsea Station
New York, NY 10011
Tel: (212) 966-6311 / Fax: (212) 966-6395

Educational Credentials Evaluators
James Frey, Executive Director
PO Box 92970
Milwaukee, WI 53202-0970
Tel: (414) 289-3400 / Fax: (414) 289-3411

Josef Silny & Associates
Josef Silny, President
PO Box 248233
Coral Gables, FL 33124
Tel: (305) 666-0233 / Fax: (305) 666-4133

Academic Credentials Evaluation
Jasmin Saidi, President
PO Box 6980
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Tel: (310) 275-3530 / Fax: (310) 275-3528

Foundation for Educational Services
Jack Hoover, President
200 West Mercer St., #503
Seattle, WA 98119-3950
Tel: (206) 298-0171 / Fax: (206) 298-0173

Classical Music in Albania

Here's some little-known information about classical music in Albania!

When Paloke Kurti (1860-1920) wrote the "The Unity of Albania March" in 1878, Albania was still a long way from establishing a classical or professional music tradition. Kurti was a musical amateur, singer, instrumentalist and composer educated in the popular music of his native city, Shkodra, in northern Albania. Albanian musical form took its first real steps towards professionalism during the second decade of the 20th century with its main initiator, the Franciscan priest, Padre Martin Gjoka (1890-1940) who has the distinction of being the first person in Albania to compose classical music in different genres. Following the classical music tradition of Bach and Handel, Gjoka wrote polyphonic and choral works as well as an unfinished symphony. He can also be considered the first Albanian musician who showed serious interest in traditional Albanian folk music, mostly that of the deep mountainous areas which was less influenced by Eastern music. However, because of the lack of musical institutions and any system of professional music education, his works remained an isolated phenomena - they were performed mostly by amateurs and heard only in small circles. Nevertheless, thanks to Gjoka and a few other musicians of his time, Shkodra became the most important focus of musical life in Albania during the period between the two wars and, especially, after WWII. There, the first orchestral and choral groups were formed and the first musicals were staged, practices that later spread to the southern city of Korça. As a result, Shkodra became the center of education for some of the most distinguished representatives of the first generation of Albanian composers during the second half of the 1900s.

Preng Jakova

(1917-1969), who studied clarinet at the Conservatory "Santa Cecilia" of Rome, wrote mostly vocal music. With his operas "Mrika" (1958) and, later, "Scanderbeg" (1968), he is known as the creator of the Albanian national opera. As a composer with lyric inspiration, he wrote under the influence of the traditional Italian opera of the 19th century and in the operatic style of belcanto, at the same time involving the intonations of Albanian songs and dances.

There is no doubt that the most famous composer in Albania of all the time is Çesk Zadeja (1927-1997), also born and raised in Shkodra, and rightly called the father of Albanian classical music. Zadeja graduated in music composition from the Conservatory "P.I. Tchaikovsky" in Moscow, and from 1956 until the end of his life, he propogated his artistic activities in Tirana. He was one of the founders of the Music Conservatory of Tirana, the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, and the Assembly of Songs and Dances. Equally important were Zadeja's teaching activities as the founder of the Academy of Arts in Tirana and its professor of music composition for 30 years. Under his direction, well-known figures of Albanian classical music were educated. Zadeja's musical repertoire spawned the formation of classical music tradition in Albania after he wrote his first symphony in 1956. He also composed two ballets, several concertos for instruments and orchestra, dozens of symphonic pieces, several sonnets, music for trio and quartet, etc. Zadeja's compositions are distinguished for their polished technique and for the rational integration of intonational structures of rhythm and timbre of the most valued Albanian folk music.

During the second half of this century, Albanian music had to confront major challenges resulting from the absence of true professional tradition. This is one of the reasons that its musical development concentrated mainly on classic-romantic styles. The Albanian classical musical scene during 1950-1990 is replete with names such as Tish Daia (b. 1926), the composer of the first Albanian ballet "Halili and Hajria", Nikolla Zoraqi (1928-1991), a composer with very wide and complex activities that include some short instrumental and vocal pieces for opera and ballet; Tonin Harapi (1925-1991), who was one of the first piano teachers at the national level; Feim Ibrahimi (1935-1997), who, with two concertos for piano during 1970-1980, played a sensitive role in the emancipation of the Albanian musical theatre; Shpetim Kushta (b. 1943), Thoma Gaqi (b. 1949) and others.

With the advent of democracy in 1990, Albanian music had to confront new challenges. Liberation from the constraints of state dictatorship and ideology resulted in the creation of completely new musical structures. Two important musical groups - "The Society of Music Professionals" and "The Society of New Albanian Music" - were formed during 1991-1992, and both became members of the most prestigious European and world musical organizations. Recruiting the best talents and performers of the country into these societies created a different environment for Albanian music and accelerated integration into the world contemporary music scene. Since 1992, the Society of New Albanian Music has organized annual Festivals of New Music while the Society of Music Professionals directs the concerts of New International Chamber Music. Among the composers who are most active in Albania today are Aleksander Peçi (b. 1951), Sokol Shupo (b. 1954), Vasil Tole (b. 1963), and Endri Sina (b. 1968).


Frosina thanks Sotiraq Hroni for supplying the above information and Migen Hasanaj for the translation from Albanian into English.

The compositions of Çesk Sadija, Tonin Harapi, Ramadam Sokoli, and many other Albanian composers can be heard on two CD Discs titled "Kenge - Albanian Piano Music", Guild GMCD 7257 -Kirsten Johnson Piano, and "Rapsodi - Albanian Piano Music Vol. 2," Guild GMCD 7300 -Kirsten Johnson Piano.