Thursday, July 30, 2009

Frosina Advisories

I have been producing Frosina Advisories for many years in order to provide possible helpful information to Albanian and other newcomers to the USA. At first, I distributed them to all Albanian-oriented and other organizations in Massachusetts and elsewhere, but as the cost of postage kept going up, I began the practice of placing Advisories on the literature rack in Frosina's reception area, including them with other mailings, while also posting them to the former Frosina Forum. To date, I don't really know if these Advisories were ever useful to anybody so here's the latest one below. I'd be curious to get your comments if you believe they're worthwhile or not.

A Frosina Information Network Advisory

SUMMER-2009 Consumer Information CatalogFree and Low-cost information from U.S. Government

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

HEALTH – “Antibiotic Resistance,” “Concerns about Cell Phones,” ”Safe Use of Cosmetics,” “Mammograms,” “Pap Tests,” “Sleep Disorders,” “Strokes””

DRUGS AND HEALTH AIDS – “Over-the-Counter Drugs,” “Smoking – Medicines to Help You,” “Menopause and Hormones,” “Use Caution with Pain Relievers”

HOUSING – “How to Buy a Home with a Low Down Payment,” “A Consumer’s Guide to Mortgage Refinancing,” “Twelve Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs”

MONEY – “Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance,” “Protecting Yourself from Overdraft and Bounced Check Fees,” “Building a Better Credit Report,”

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.

MAKE IT EASY - GO INTERNET !! View Catalog listings by punching in Federal Citizen Information Center at, order publications online, and save the $2.00 service fee!

For a FREE copy of the SUMMER-2009 Consumer Information Catalog,
please write to: FCIC-08B
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.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The 2009 Elections in Albania

As a result of the recent elections in Albania, Prime Minister Sali Berisha lacked only one vote in the Parliament needed to form a majority. Therefore, PM Berisha entered into a coalition with Ilir Meta's Socialist Party to - just barely - attain the required number of seats to achieve the majority he sought.

After 19 years of achieving democracy,I am very proud of the progress that the Albanian government and the Albanian people have made. I have personally seen some very positive results when my wife Jane and I visited Albania in 2008. I am hopeful that Albania can continue to earn the respect of other nations of the world and can continue to make the kind of progress necessary to assume its rightful place in the community of European nations.

I am, however, concerned about the statement in the BBC report below that,"Albania has never managed to hold an election that meets international standards - a condition of progress towards EU accession."

I welcome your comments concerning the elections, and your opinions about the BBC report below.


Albania PM re-election confirmed

Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha's alliance has won enough seats to form a government, though it fell one seat short of a majority, officials say.

The result means Mr Berisha's centre-right alliance will be forced to govern with a small left-wing party.

Election officials announced final results from the 28 June vote following a lengthy recount.

The election was seen as a critical test for Albania's aspiration of joining the European Union.

However, a preliminary assessment by a large observer mission criticised the vote, underlining widespread irregularities.

In the results announced on Monday, Mr Berisha's Democrat party and allies won 70 seats in the 140-seat parliament.

The opposition Socialists and an ally won 66.


Four coalitions contesting vote
Proportional representation system
Parliament has 140 seats
Four-year mandate

It leaves Mr Berisha's Alliance for Change one short of a majority, and it will have to govern in coalition with the small, left-wing LSI party.

It is the first time since the start of multi-party democracy in 1991 that a ruling party has been forced into a coalition through not winning enough seats on its own, says the BBC's Balkans correspondent, Mark Lowen.

The Socialists have complained of fraud, telling the BBC the election was stolen in several areas of the country.

They will decide at a national congress on Tuesday how to respond to the result.

Our correspondent says Albania has never managed to hold an election that meets international standards - a condition of progress towards EU accession.

Criticism of the latest poll could mean the country's EU aspirations remain a distant dream, he says.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fatos Lubonja: Albania's Vaclav Havel?

When the famous Albanian activist, Fatos Lubonja, visited Boston to give a lecture at Boston University, my wife, Jane, and I had the good fortune of arranging a dinner party in his honor at our residence in Brookline, Massachusetts. Notwithstanding Fatos Lubonja's long and unjust prison confinemment (see below) by a brutal communist regime, we all found him to be warm and outgoing and showing no visible bitterness about his long imprisonment, and quite pleased to respond - frequently at great length - to the many questions that were asked of him by our guests that evening. We all agreed that Fatos Lubonja is a remarkable human being as you will learn when you read the two articles about him below!


Fatos Lubonja: Albania's Vaclav Havel?

Few have done more to struggle for and constructively criticize Albania's democracy than Fatos Lubonja, writer, editor of the quarterly journal Përpjekja, and now representative of the Forum for Democracy, that is attempting to replace confrontation with dialogue in Albania's political life. In his 1995 writing, Lubonja presciently analyzed what he calls "the vicious circle of depotism and defence" which he blames for the difficulty in implanting civic freedoms in Albanian society: "It is precisely because of the Albanian individual, being at the beck and call of the patriach and the clan, has little scope for expression, that he has often displayed either compliance, which has created a closed society, or been prone to violent outbreaks in the shape of devastating acts of parricide..."

Lubonja's judgement is backed with the moral authority of 17 years in communist prisons, and a family history of intellectual resistance. His father, Todi, for many years general director of Albanian Radio-Television, was imprisoned on 1973 following a clampdown by Enver Hoxha on "liberalism" in the arts. Fatos's mother, Liri, was interned in a remote village while her husband and son were in prison, and she too has written a book about her exile, Far Away, Among People, which portrays the wretched life of the Albanian peasantry.

At age 23, Fatos was sentenced to 7 years' imprisonment for "agitation and propaganda" after police found his diaries, which contained criticisms of Hoxha, in his uncle's attic. He began serving his sentence in the copper mine of Spaç. In 1979, while still incarcerated, Lubonja faced a second accusation, this time of having created a "counterrevolutionary organization" alongside nine other prisoners, and was sentenced to a further 25 years. He has described his trial and the circumstances surrounding it in a documentary novel called The Second Sentence, published in Tirana in 1996. Like all Lubonja's prison writings, The Second Sentence is remarkably free of bitterness and resentment. It is a memorial to Lubonja's fellow defendants, three of whom were shot, and records a fearful journey through the moral labyrinth of the totalitarian world.

Following his release from prison in 1991, Lubonja became involved in human rights, and went on to found the quarterly journal “Përpjekja” (Endeavor) in 1994. The journal, Lubonja says, "aims to bring a critical spirit into Albanian culture, and conceives culture not to be a closed archive, but a means of understanding reality."
( Përpjekja carries short stories, poetry, literary and cultural criticism, and articles critical of Albanian political developments, and has fast earned a reputation as the foremost Albanian cultural review. A book-length English-language anthology of Përpjekja, entitled "Endeavor" was published in Tirana in May, containing work by Lubonja and leading intellectuals from Albania and Kosova, including Bashkim Shehu, Edi Rama, Ardian Klosi, and Shkëlzen Maliqi.

In January 1997, public fury rose when popular pyramid investment schemes collapsed devastating the Albanian economy. Lubonja and other intellectuals published a memorandum calling for free elections, and warned, "A people who are not allowed to correct the institutions of the state by a free ballot and through their opposition will do so with fire" With two other former political prisoners, Lubonja bcame a representative of the Forum of Democracy calling for peaceful dialogue in Albania's increasingly polarized political climate. The Forum's attempts to organize peaceful demonstrations in February, under the slogan, "Flowers instead of stones" has several times led to the detainment of Lubonja and other coalition leaders. "These", Lubonja writes, "are the times when a person must consume extraordinary quantities of spiritual energy to preserve himself and not to surrender to negative emotions such as fear and terror, which not only cost him his clarity of mind but also his dignity, and make him give way to evil." -- Excerpted from the article "Leading the Endeavor" by John Hodgson, Transitions, June, 1997


Albania, the Nation Without Heroes / Why Its Own Vaclav Havel Is an Intellectual Ignored

If most Westerners had to choose one person to symbolize Eastern Europe's emergence from Communism, it would be Vaclav Havel, one of a generation of Western-oriented intellectuals and writers who were dissidents and political prisoners under Communism and then continued to provide moral and sometimes political guidance after Communism fell. Then there is Albania, and Fatos Lubonja. He is the author of two novels, numerous essays and a diary and stories from prison. He uses his prison experiences -- the murder of a cellmate's cat, the joy of a prisoner released from shackles into the relative liberty of solitary confinement -- to write about freedom and dignity ... he has helped found Albania's first human rights group. In Endeavor, the remarkable journal he edits, he argues for a more critical, tolerant and European Albania. Mr. Lubonja is all the more isolated because most of Albania's intellectuals now live in America, France, and Italy. Some left to make a living they cannot make in Albania, others to be free of Mr. Berisha's thugs. Mr. Lubonja stays because he thinks intellectuals must build a European political culture and show Albanians that not everyone in public life is there to get rich. -- Excerpted from Editorial Notebook by Tina Rosenberg, New York Times, December 13, 1997

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Albanian classical music composers on CDs

It is a little-known fact that Albania has produced a wealth of interesting and impressive classical music by Albanian composers,* and a sampling is now available on CD.

When Jane and I entertain guests at our home, I invariably play the CD "KENGE" (listed below) as background music.

I urge visitors to the Frosina Blog to add the 2 CDs described below to their classical music collections!

The compositions of Çesk Sadija, Tonin Harapi, Ramadam Sokoli, Kozma Lara, and other well-known Albanian composers can be heard on two CD Discs titled:

“KENGE - Albanian Piano Music ”, KIRSTEN JOHNSON piano, Guild GMCD 7257 and
"RAPSODI - Albanian Piano Music Vol. 2," KIRSTEN JOHNSON piano, Guild GMCD 7300.

*Also see "Classical Music in Albania" under INFOBITS at

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Statue of Mother Teresa in new Albanian Cultural Garden

I picked this up from Mark Kosmo's posting on massalbanians as another tribute to the Albanian Mother Teresa and thought I should pass it along:

New Albanian Cultural Garden to feature statue of Mother Teresa

Robert Smith / Plain Dealer Reporter July 15, 2009

Another saintly presence will rise in Rockefeller Park as the Cleveland Cultural Gardens make room for a new nationality group.

Albania's favorite daughter, Mother Teresa, will anchor an Albanian Cultural Garden recently approved by the Cleveland City Council for the north end of Martin Luther King Drive.

The Albanian community plans to raise a larger-than-life statue of the late Catholic nun, who was renowned for her work with the poor of India. She will join a garden chain that already includes Mahatma Gandhi, St. Sava, Christian bishops and Greek philosophers.

The former Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born into an Albanian family in Macedonia in 1910. She is a revered figure in the local Albanian community, which has grown in recent years through immigration.

An Albanian Garden Committee hired Kreshnik Xhiku, an Albanian-American sculptor in suburban Washington, D.C., to craft a 10-foot statue of the woman many Christians consider a saint. She is to be depicted in sandals and humble clothing and with her age-lined face looking upward, to capture the sunlight.

Committee members are counting on volunteer labor to help construct a $200,000 garden by Aug. 27, 2010, Mother Teresa's 100th birthday.

To help, call Adem Meta at 440-454-1364.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Origin of the name “Albania”

Over the years, I have received many, many inquiries requesting information about the origin of the name "Albania." The information below provides, I believe, a definitive response.


Origin of the name “Albania” is Illyrian tribe “Albanoi”

One of the first written evidences of the use of the word "Albanoi" as the name of an Illyrian tribe in what is now north-central Albania goes back to the AD 130, in a work of Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy). Albanopolis of the Albani is a place located on the map of Ptolemy and also named on an ancient family epitaph at Scupi, which has been identified with the Zgërdhesh hill-fort near Kruja in northern Albania. Arbanon is likely to be the name of a district – the plain of the Mat has been suggested – rather than particular place. An indication of movement from higher altitudes in a much earlier period has been detected in the distribution of place-names ending in -esh that appears to derive from the Latin -enisis or -esis, between the Shkumbin and the Mat, with a concentration between Elbasan and Kruja.

The term Albanoi may have been slowly spread to other Illyrian tribes until its usage became universal among all the Albanian people. According to the Albanian scholar Faïk bey Konitza, the term "Albania" did not displace "Illyria" completely until the end of the fourteenth century. The word "Alba" or "Arba" seems to be connected with the town Arba (modern Rab, Croatia), in prehistoric times inhabited by the Illyrian Liburnians, first mentioned in 360 BC.

The derivation of the name Albania is of considerable antiquity, dating back perhaps to the pre-Celtic alb (hill), from whence Alps, or possibly from the Indo-European albh (white), from whence albino and Albion. Approximately a millennium after, some Byzantine writers use the words "Albanon" and "Arbanon" to indicate the region of Kruja. Under the Angiò, in the 13th century, the names "Albania" and "Albanenses" indicate the whole country and all the population, as it is demonstrated by the works of many ancient Albanian writers such as Budi, Blanco and Bogdano.

We first learn of the ancestors of the modern Albanians in their native land as the Arbanites of Arbanon in Anna Comnena's account (Alexiad, IV) of the troubles in that region caused in the reign of her father Alexius I Comneus (1081-1118) by the Normans. In the History written in 1079-1080, Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates was first to refer to the Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the duke of Dyrrachium (present day Durres on the southern Albanian seacoast – Ed). Their descendants in Greece and Italy have been called in different ways with the passing of the years: Arbërór (in Arvanitic) or more commonly Arvanites (in Greek), Arbënuer, Arbënor, Arbëneshë, Arbëreshë. There seems to be no doubt that the root Alb- or Arb- is earlier than Shqip-, from which the modern name of the state (Shqipëria) derives, a name which appears only in the time of the Turkish invasions.