Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My wife Jane and I had the good fortune, many years ago, to meet Anton Logoreci in London during our visits to that historic city where we quickly became good friends with him and his lovely, wife, Doreen. They invariably found interesting places for us to dine in London, and also entertained us in their home located in Disraeli Gardens. During one of our visits, Jane and I were pleased to learn that Anton and Doreen met at the BBC where they both worked during WWII. They were very proud of their son, Philip, who is a lecturer at Queens College in London.

Jane and I have remained in contact with Doreen over the years especially because she always asks about our son, Zachary, who was only 4 years old when we first met the logorecis, and who always accompanied us during all of our London visits.

Anton Logoreci was a well-informed man, and his book about Albania, described below, remains as a valuable resource of informative and little-known data about Albania.


A Frosina infobit

Anton Logoreci(1910-1990):
Torchbearer of Democracy
Pishtar i Demokracise

Anton Logoreci was born in Shkodër, Albania on July 19, 1910 and died in London on September 23, 1990. He was the latest treasure to be given to the world by his Albanian Catholic family. Others included the Archbishop of Shkope, Mother Teresa's parents, and Logoreci's uncle Mati who worked to preserve Albanian culture in Kosovë, and assisting in the formulation of an agreed alphabet for the Albanian language. Logoreci attended the Franciscan elementary school in Shkodër during his childhood where he served at the altar of St. Anthony's church. He regularly served Mass for Fr. Gjergj Fishta, the great Albanian author and poet laureate. At the encouragement of his uncle, he transferred from the Jesuit College Saverianum to the AmericanTechnical College in Tirana which was established by the American Red Cross in 1922. The College was an important addition to Albania -- in its classrooms, a cosmopolitan group of young men were formed with the education essential to make Albania a full member of contemporary European society, and Logoreci was one of its brightest pupils.

While studying at the Technical College, Logoreci was editor of the school magazine Laboremus. There he developed a distinctive prose style which he would later use to great success working for the BBC in London. He graduated with honors in 1927 and worked first as a teacher in the mountain villages of Albania. King Zog appointed General Jocelyn Percy to organize a gendarmerie, and he chose Logoreci as his interpreter. This work gave him a first-hand knowledge of the political eccentricities of Eastern Europe which he would use the rest of his life.

In order to better serve his homeland, Logoreci went to study at the London School of Economics (LSE) and while finishing his studies there, Mussolini invaded Albania. Unable to return to Albania, Logoreci was spared internment and gained a post as head of the BBC's new Overseas Service. There, beginning in 1940, Logoreci's reports were broadcast into his homeland bringing news to his countrymen when it was unavailable elsewhere until the BBC ended the service after the war. He was one of the best-qualified Eastern European commentators and, later, he became a program writer on Central Europe and remained a valuable commentator for the BBC for years afterwards where he specialized in Eastern Europe's human rights problems as well as developments in Albania.

Logoreci was single-handedly responsible for most of the attention Albania received after the war. He condemned Hoxha early in his dictatorship, stressing that Albania's future must lie in Western democracy rather than communism. Logoreci was a vociferous defender of Kosovë's autonomy, culture, and traditions. His commentaries were insightful and often prophetic.

But all of Logoreci's political expertise and knowledge were accidents of his trade, and not his greatest love. Literature was his great passion. His distinctive style in Albanian prose and poetry was admired for its sharp beauty. He introduced his countrymen to Europe's contemporary writers with his literary essays. He likewise introduced Europeans with Albanians in his 1977 book, The Albanians -- Europe's Forgotten Survivors (Victor Gollancz, London, 1977 ASIN 0575022299).

-- Excerpted from the Albanian Catholic Bulletin, San Francisco, California, Volume XII, 1991


In 1993, Albania awarded Logoreci the medal "Pishtar i Demokracise (Torchbearer of Democracy)."

The Award read as follows:


The President of the Republic awards Anton Pjeter Logoreci with the medal
"Torchbearer of Democracy"

An outstanding many-sided personality of Albanian culture, a staunch
anti-communist and a brilliant champion of the entire national cause.

Tirana, August 2, 1993 Decree No. 616

(signed) Sali Berisha, President

Monday, October 26, 2009

a frosina infobit

Academy Award Nominee: Colonel Bunker
(Kolonel Bunker)*

Albanian Film: Colonel Bunker (French-Albanian-Polish)

A 3B Prods. (Paris)/Orafilm (Tirana)/Film Studio Dom (Warsaw) production.

Produced, directed and written by Kujtim Cashku, Camera (color), Afrim Spahiu, Jerzy Rudzinski; Editor, Kahena Attia-Roveill; Music, Andrez Krause; Production Design, Shaqir Veseli: Costume Design, Astrit Tota; Sound, Ilir Gjata.

Reviewed at the Thessalonika Film Festival, Greece, Nov. 12, 1996. Running time: 103Min.


Muro Neto (Colonel Bunker)................Agim Qirjaq

Ana, his wife.......................................Anna Nehrebec

With: Cun Lajci, Guljem Radoja, Kadri Roshi, Petrit Malaj

Film Review: VARIETY, Dec. 9-15, 1996 A dark-hued political parable based on fact, "Colonel Bunker" shows in stark detail the lengths to which an insanely paranoid regime will go to terrorize its own people. Occasional technical weaknesses, and one or two self-consciously poetic interludes, do blunt the film's grimly humorous impact. Director Kujtim Cashku's ninth feature (submitted by Albania for the forthcoming best foreign-language pic Oscar) deserves to put his country's little-known movie industry on the map.

In 1974, the hard-line Stalinist Enver Hoxha regime, having quarreled with virtually every other state in the world, retreated into sulky isolation. A program known as "bunkerization" was instituted with 700,000 semi-subterranean concrete bunkers to be built for the population of 3 million in case of hostile action by any of Albania's myriad enemies. The program, which calls on virtually the entire economic resources of Europe's most impoverished country, is to continue until 1981.

Cashku's film focuses on the man chosen to organize this concrete nightmare: Muro Neto, a professional soldier who becomes known as "Colonel Bunker." Secretly skeptical about his task, he nonetheless obeys. However, the same day that he's assigned the job, Albania's politburo decides to abolish all military ranks, thus thwarting him of an expected generalship. When Neto finally displays his resentment publicly, it brings about his downfall.

Early on, there's a scene -- in darkness cut by flashing lights and wailing sirens -- where a panicky populace is hurried down into underground shelters by uniformed figures. What makes the familiar sequence so bizarre is that the people are bewildered peasants driving their cows and goats along with them. The deranged response of Albania's leaders to an imagined external threat underlines the film's message that the true enemy of the people was their own government.

As portrayed by Albanian actor Agim Qiraqi, Neto is no stone-faced appararatchik but a troubled figure, forcing himself to go along with a policy he knows is insane. His one anchor is his love for his Polish wife, Ana, played with moving dignity by Anna Nehrebecka.

With its moody lighting, Afrim Spahiu's lensing enhances the film's atmosphere, though occasionally shaky editing and continuity mar the effect. Inclusion of some confusing, would-be lyrical episodes involving a pair of English-speaking youngsters making love in the bunkers is a mistake, as is a clinched ending, in which Neto dies. (The real-life Neto is still alive, and helped with the making of the film). However, such lapses matter little, given the revelatory power of the story the pic tells. -- Philip Kemp


-- Winner "Le Prix de la Critique" Mediterranean Film Festival, Bastia, France, 1996

-- "Special Jury Prize" International Film Festival, Izmir, Turkey, 1996

-- Official Entry OSCAR-96 for the Best Foreign Language Award, 1996

-- "Selected Official Competition" Montreal World Film Festival, Canada, 1997

-- "GRAND PRIX" Eurofilm Festival, Saint Etienne, 1997

-- Premio-CICT-IFTC (UNESCO) 1998

-- "Grand National Prix" Albanian Film Festival, Tirana, 2000

*Colonel Bunker was among 39 films selected for the Oscar prize. Before arriving in Los Angeles, the film was sent to Montreal, Canada where it was selected for showing at the A Series Film Festival, and then to the International Film Festival in Salonika, Greece, and the Strasbourg European Film Festival in Germany.

Albanian dialects - a new website!

I have never met Robert Elsie in person but I think it's OK to state that we became friends by our many exchanges of letters and E-Mails over the years. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name of Robert Elsie - who resides in Germany - please know that he has produced the definitive work on Albanian literature for which he is to be highly commended. Just below is his latest contribution!

- Van Christo

Albanian dialects - a new website

From: info@elsie.de


I am pleased to announce a major presentation of the Albanian language on the internet. Under www.AlbanianLanguage.net you can now hear audio recordings of 137 dialect variants of Albanian, from ten countries where it is spoken as a native language. Best wishes, Robert Elsie


Ju njoftoj për një paraqitje të madhe të gjuhës shqipe në internet. Në faqen www.AlbanianLanguag e.net mund të dëgjoni inçizime zanore të 137 varianteve dialektore të shqipes nga dhjetë shtete ku ajo flitet si gjuhë vendase. Ju uroj dëgjim të këndshëm, Robert Elsie


Ich freue mich eine Präsentation der albanischen Sprache im Internet vorstellen zu können. Unter www.AlbanianLanguag e.net finden Sie Tonaufnahmen von 137 Mundartvarianten der albanischen Sprache aus zehn Ländern. Alles Gute, Robert Elsie

Thursday, October 8, 2009

a frosina infobit

The Italian Invasion of Albania (1939)

On March 28, 1939, Italy presented an ultimatum to the government of Albania making various demands including that Italian forces should control strategic points, that Italian farmers should settle in Albania with the rights of Albanian citizens, andthat a customs union should be introduced. A response was required by 6 April 1939. This was kept secret by the Albanian government which offered a counterproposal on 5 April. This in turn was disregarded by Italy which started landing troops on 7 April (Good Friday). Little organized resistance was offered although there was some resistance by individual soldiers, sailors, and armed civilians. One such stand delayed the Italian transit from Durrës to Tirana. Despite this, Durrës was captured on 7 April, Tirana the following day, Shkodër and Gjirokastër on 9 April, and almost the entire country on 10 April. King Zog at once fled. On 12 April a constituent assembly composed of people who had previously entered into secret relations with the Italian embassy in Tirana proclaimed King Victor Emmanuel III as king of Albania. Francesco Jacomoni (former Italian Ambassador to Albania - Ed) was appointed as his lieutenant. A new Albanian government was formed under Shefqey bey Verlaci, and signed with Jacomoni a series of conventions. The Albanian army was suppressed as an independent force; Albania would no longer have any parliament or diplomatic relations. The two countries were proclaimed united.

At the time, this occupation was viewed in the West as part of a coordinated plot by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. It is now known that it was more nearly a riposte by Mussolini to the German annexation of Bohemia and Moravia on 15 March 1939 which, shaking Europe like a thunderclap, precipitated the end of the Western powers' policy of appeasement. The Italian motives were, however, mixed. Albania, politically and economically undermined and incapable of serious resistance, appeared as an easy victory. The territory later served as a springboard for the Italian invasion of Greece launched on 28 October 1940.

pp 125 & 126, Historical Dictionary of Albania, Raymond Hutchings, The Scarecrow Press, 1996

Italian Occupation Of Albania (1939-1943)

The Italian occupation of Albania lasted from 7 April 1939 (the date of the invasion) to the Italian capitulation to the Allies on 8 September 1943. During this period, Albania and Italy were organically linked. The armed forces of Albania and Italy were merged. King Victor Emmanuel III was proclaimed king of Albania (King Zog had fled). Italians occupied the chief towns and strategic points. The former Italian ambassador to Albania, Francesco Jacomoni, was appointed governor. Economically, the two countries were merged. Customs duties in trade between them were abolished. Italians could settle without restriction in Albania.

From 28 October 1940 onward, when Italian forces invaded Greece, Albania was the primary base for Italian forces waging this war. Albanian forces, being considered part of the joint Italian-Albanian army were assigned to the front. Some individual soldiers refused to fight and were confined in a concentration camp in Shijak. At first Italian forces advanced into Greece; soon they were thrown back, and Greek forces pressed into Albania. Following the overthrow of Yugoslavia by German forces, Yugoslavia was partitioned, and areas which contained any sizable number of Albanians were assigned to Italy and added to the Albanian state. In general, Albanians welcomed this accession of territory containing their compatriots but regretted the union with Italy. Economically, Albania benefited in two ways: first, through the addition of Kosovo with its more favorable ratio of land to population, and, second, through the Italian investment (in roads, etc) and technical aid. Opposition was expressed by way of strikes (such as Shkodër) and demonstrations (such as Korcë) and partisan resistance began.

Following the Italian capitulation, the occupation ceased but numerous Italians (perhaps 20,000) remained within the country. These were rounded up by the Germans and taken to Germany (many officers being shot) or else they evaded capture and adopted some disguise, for example, as agricultural laborers. A small number even joined Albanian partisan groups. This aftermath is illustrated in Ismail Kadare's The General of the Dead Army and in Reginald Hibbert's Albania's National Liberation Struggle: The Bitter Victory.

Excerpted from pp 126 & 117, Historical Dictionary of Albania, Raymond Hutchings, The Scarecrow Press, 1996

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Frosina Information Network Advisory

FALL-209 Consumer Information Catalog
Free and Low-cost information from U.S. Government

Albanians and other newcomers to the USA should be informed about the
FALL-2009 Consumer Information Catalog from the U.S. Government Printing Office that provides data about Health - Housing – Federal Programs - Drugs and Health Aids and other useful information.

Almost 100 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. Shown below are only a few of the new Fall-2009 listings along with costs for the new booklets. Multiple copies of some FREE titles are also available – call toll-free 1-888-878-3256 for more information.

1. Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants 101T $10.00
This comprehensive guide contains practical information to help immigrants deal with everyday life in the United States, as well as a basic introduction to the U.S. system of government. It also gives new immigrants TIPS on how to get involved in their new communities and exercise their rights as citizens pr permanent residents. 122 pp. 2007 USCIS

2. Consumer Action Handbook 568T FREE
Use this updated guide to get help with consumer purchases, problems, and complaints. Find consumer contacts at hundreds of companies and trade associations; local, state, and federal government agencies; national consumer organizations, and more. 172 pp. 2009 FCIC

3. The Constitution of United States and the Declaration of Independence 110T $2.75

Learn more about the foundations of our country’s freedom with the full text of both historic documents. 48 pp. 2006 HOUSE

4. High Blood Pressure – Medicines to Help You 623T FREE
Free medication, along with healthy eating and exercise, can help lower your high blood pressure. Learn about the various drugs available, their potential side effects, and warning signs. 18 pp. 2007 FDA

View Catalog listings by punching in Federal Citizen Information Center at www.pueblo.gsa.gov. Mail your order to: FCIC-09D, PO Box 100, Pueblo, CO 81002, or go Internet: order publications online, and save the $2.00 service fee!

Phone: Call toll-free 1 (888) 8 PUEBLO to place an order M-F 6 am to 8 pm ET _____________________________________________________________________________________

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.

FROSINA INFORMATION NETWORK / 162 BOYLSTON ST. / BOSTON, MA 02116 / TEL: 617 482-2002 FAX: 617 482-0014

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Albanians in Romania: A Brief History

Albanians in Romania: A Brief History

Cristia Maksutovici

The Albanian community in Romania is one of the oldest of the Albanian diaspora. It ranks second only to the Arbëresh in Italy. Following the conquest of Dacia, Emperor Trajan brought some Illyrians (Ed-from whom the Albanians are descendants) into this area, with the aim of using them to exploit the mines found in the Apuseni Mountains of Transylvania. The first documented Albanian emigration occurred in 1595 when the Romanian Waivoda Mihai Viteazu permitted a sizeable group of Albanians to settle their families in Romanian territory north of the Danube. This document furnishes the first evidence that a large and unified Albanian group settled in hospitable Romanian territory. The report was written by Giovanni de Marini Poli, an agent of the Imperial Councillor Pezzen who stated that "...the Albanians of Cernavoda and other neighboring villages having sent a petition to the Waivoda of Walachia that they wanted to come with their families and live in Walachia and abandon their home in Turkish lands. The Waivoda immediately agreed and soon afterwards 15,000 Albanians, with their belongings and beasts, crossed the Danube and came to live in Walachia..."The most important period of the Albanian community in Romania extended from the late 19th to the early years of the 20th century where, in 1844, the Albanian patriot Naum Veqillarxhi developed the first Albanian alphabet. It was sent to Albania where it was well received. Verqillarxhi also sent a manifesto that incited his compatriots to fight for a national rebirth. He ranks among the true promoters of "Relindja (Rebirth).

"Princess Elena Ghica (Dora d'Istria) was a promoter of Albanian national liberation. In 1873 she published ‘Albanians in Rumania’ at Florence. This first unedited documentary history of the Albanians of Walachia contributed to the Albanian cause - it gave the liberation movement prestige throughout Europe. The princess was rightly named the "highest star in the unfortunate Albanian firmament." From the founding of the Drita (The Light) society in 1884, numerous Romanian intellectuals and political activists supported the organization. In 1887, the Dituria (Knowledge) cultural association was created. Under the dual patronage of Drita and Dituria, important works of literature and history were published. The groups also supported printing of Albanian language schoolbooks.

The writings of the Frashëri brothers, Sami, Abdyl and Naim, Jan Vretua, K. Kristoforidhi and others were also printed. Bucharest became an important spiritual and cultural center for the Albanian national movement.Nikolla Naçua and the Drita Association oversaw operations of the Romanian-Albanian Institute. This Normal school that operated between 1892 and 1901 was partly subsidized by the Romanian State. Diplomat teachers were sent to various Albanian settlements "even at risk of death" to instruct in the Albanian national language. Under the presidency of Prince Albert Ghica, a Pan-Albanian Congress was organized in Bucharest in 1905 where Ismail Kemali deliberated with Bucharest's Albanian community.

In 1953, an arbitrary decision of the communist authorities suppressed the last Albanian organization in Romania. Government agents confiscated all the property of the Albanian associations including libraries, archives, national costumes and musical instruments. Today, the Executive Committee of the Albanian Cultural Union of Romania is striving to reinvigorate a sense of pride among Albanians in Romania. Cultural exhibits, television shows and radio broadcasts, as well as printed articles, are offered to encourage a spiritual renewal following decades of oppression.
-Excerpted from the Albanian Catholic Bulletin