Monday, November 30, 2009

Legal Definitions: What is an Immigrant? A refugee?

I posted the legal definitions of "immigrant" and "refugee" to the Frosina website as an Advisory several years ago in response to many inquiries from both Albanians and non-Albanians seeking a clearer understanding of those designations.

Undoubtedly, the following data needs updating so visitors to this Blog are welocme to provide it as a COMMENT.


Legal Definitions: What is an Immigrant? A refugee?

What is an immigrant?

An immigrant is a foreign-born individual who has been admitted to reside permanently in the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR).

How Do Immigrants Get Admitted to Permanently Reside Here?

1. Through family-sponsored immigration, a U.S. citizen can sponsor her spouse, foreign-born parent (if the sponsor is over the age of 21), minor and adult children, and brothers and sisters. A lawful permanent resident can sponsor her spouse, minor children, and adult unmarried children.

2. Through employment-based immigration, a U.S. employer can sponsor someone for a specific position where there is a demonstrated absence of U.S. workers. A small number of diversity visas are also awarded through a special lottery to individuals from specifically designated countries.

What is a refugee?

A person outside of the United States who seeks protection on the grounds that he or she fears persecution in his or her homeland is a refugee. To attain regfugee status, the person must prove that he or she has a "well-founded fear of persecutuion" on the basis of at least one of five specifically enumerated, and internationally reconized, grounds. Those grounds include the person's race, religion, membership in a social group, political opinion, or ... national origin. A person who has already entered the United States, and who fears persecution if sent back to his country, may apply for asylum here. Once granted asylum, an asylum applicant must also prove that he has a "well-founded fear of persecutuion" based on the same enumerated grounds. Both refugees and asylees may apply to become LPR's after one year.

What is an Undocumented Immigrant?

An undocumented immigrant is a person who is present in the United States without the permission of the U.S. government. Undocumented immmigrants enter the U.S. either:

* Illegally, without being inspected by an immigration officer, or by using false documents; or
* Legally, with a temporary visa, and then remain in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of the visa.

Four out of ten undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. legally.

What are Non-Immigrants?

Non-immigrants are individuals who are permitted to enter the U.S. for a period of limited duration, and are given only temporary visas. Some non-immigrant (temporary) visas are given to: students, tourists, temporary workers, business executives, and diplomats.

What is a Naturalized Citizen?

Lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through a process called naturalization. To qualify to naturalize, applicants must reside in the U.S. for 5 years (3, if married to a U.S. citizen), demonstrate a knowledge of U.S. history and government, show they have paid taxes, have committed no serious crimes, be of "good moral character," and demonstrate that they understand, speak, and write English.

Prepared January 1997 by the National Immigration Forum, 220 I Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4362

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Friday, November 20, 2009

A Frosina infobit


In 1918, disaffected Kosova Albanians, who had rallied around Hasan Prishtina, formed a "Committee for the National Defence of Kosova" in Shkodra, their main demand being the reunification of Albanian lands. A general revolt started, known as the Kaçak (outlaw) movement, led by Azem Betja-Galica against the incorporation of Kosova into the newly proclaimed 'kingdom of Serbia, Croats, and Slovenes' otherwise known as the first Yugoslavia.The Committee issued strict guidelines to the Kaçak fighters, urging insurgents not toharm local Slavs, burn houses or churches, or mistreat victims -- instructions which were in stark contrast to Serbian activities in Kosova. The movement enjoyed considerable support from Albania, especially after 1920 when three well-known Kosovar Albanians became senior officials in Albania's government -- Hasan Prishtina, a member of parliament, Hoxhe Kadriu, Minister of Justice, and Bajram Curri, Minister of War. The key task for Belgrade, therefore, was to destabilize Albania, and an effort was made to this end, with the encouragement of the Catholic areas in Mirdita, north-east of Tirana, to proclaim an independent republic -- something that the Montenegrins had several times attempted in the past, with some success. But the new interior minister, Ahmet Zogu, managed to route the Mirdita rebels, who returned with Yugoslav forces to take some territory in northern Albania.

The Kaçak movement began to suffer, mostly as a result of politics inside Albania. The Kosova leaders fell out with Zog, and Prishtina, who briefly became Albania's prime minister, tried to dismiss him, but this ended in street fighting between the rivals' supporters.

Zog became prime minister on 2 December 1922. His squabbles with the Kosova leaders had turned him into a fierce opponent of the Kaçak rebellion, and of Kosova in particular; hence the end of Albania's short-lived support of Kosova. Zog sentenced the Kaçak leader, Betja, and Prishtina to death in absentia and had Prishtina assassinated in 1933. Betja died after being wounded in 1924 and the Kaçak movement withered away afterwards.

Two years after coming to power, Zog experienced the first and only significant challenge to his authority when he was forced out of office by a more liberal coalition led by Bishop Fan Noli and supported by Bajram Curri. Zog retreated to Yugoslavia where he was supplied with money and men and returned to stage a coup six months later. From then onwards, he became a virtual vassal of the Serbs, and the question of Kosova was buried. However, his Serbian vassalage did not last long and Zog's government and chances of survival were to remain subject to the whims of Italy and Yugoslavia. When, in 1928, Zog proclaimed himself King Zog I, transforming the country into a monarchy, political pragmatism had led him to abandon the Serbs in favor of Italian promises of economic assistance. With Italian blessing, the Albanian leader proceeded to style himself 'King of the Albanians'. The title infuriated Belgrade as it openly signalled territorial claims to Kosova and other Albanian-inhabited lands in Yugoslavia although Zog displayed no intention of planning any such thing.

The plight of the Albanians annexed into the first Yugoslavia worsened when a Belgrade programme aimed at changing the ethnic composition of Kosova and Macedonia had begun after the Balkan wars, pursuant to the 'Decree on the Settlement of Newly Liberated and Annexed Regions of the Kingdom of Serbia' of 20 February 1914. However, its implementation had been interrupted by the start of hostilities. When the war ended, the agrarian reform began, culminating in decrees passed in 1931 aimed at forcing Albanians out of their lands, with, among other things, new regulations requiring all land to pass into state property unless the owner could produce Yugoslav title-deeds -- something few Albanians had been issued with. A fuller platform for the colonization of Kosova was worked out by Vaso Cubrilovic in 1937 in the form of a memorandum called 'The Expulsion of Arnauts'.* Some of its draconian measures were implemented in the interwar period -- which coincided with the signing in 1938 of an agreement between the Yugoslav and Turkish governments on the deportation to Turkey of huge numbers of Albanians. But the Italian occupation of Albania in April 1939 and the onset of World War II subjected the country and its people to a different kind of fate.

* 'Arnaut' = old Turkish for 'Albanian'

PP 18 - 20, "The Myth of Greater Albania" by Paulin Kola, New York University Press, 2003

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Albania's Capital Tirana Shaken by Earthquake

18 November 2009 |

A light earthquake shook the Albanian capital Tirana, early on Wednesday, with no injures or damages reported.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre reports that the quake of a 4.0 magnitude on the Richter scale was registered at 4.17am, at a depth of two kilometers, with its epicenter 13 kilometers from the city.

Only two months ago Eastern Albania was hit by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake with the epicenter in the Dibra region, close to the Macedonian border, which caused roughly one million euro worth of damages.

Earthquakes up to a 5.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, are considered light and often cause only minor structural damage.

Around the world, thousands of such earthquakes of this magnitude are registered every year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thomas Simaku is a finalist in the British Composer Awards 2009

October 23th, 2009

British Composer Awards Shortlist Announced - Thomas Simaku in the finals.

Thomas Simaku's piece Soliloquy V- Flauto Acerbo has been shortlisted for the British Composer Awards 2009. The work was commissioned by Christopher Orton with funds provided from the BBC Performing Arts Fund and it was premiered at the Greenwich International Festival.

Judging of all 13 categories took place during September and October 2009 using a different panel for each category and involving over sixty music professionals including performers, conductors, promoters and festival directors.

BBC Radio 3 is again giving its full backing to the Awards and will broadcast a five-part series as part of Performance on 3 which will run in the lead up to the Award Ceremony on 1 December. For more information and a full list of shortlisted composers, please visit:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scanderbeg Operas by Vivaldi and Francouer

A relative from Albania once asked me if I did, indeed, uncover two different operas about Albania's 15th century folkhero, Scanderbeg, and was quite (pleasantly) surprised to learn that I had expended both time and money to do just that. An article written over 2o years by Del Brebner ago describing my search for the Scanderbeg operas is posted below so others wil be aware of them.

I should confess that I never got around to distribute copies of the two operas to the organizations as mentioned in the article because the box containing the copies was somehow misplaced during a move of my ad agency to another location. However, the box was eventually found, and one of these days, perhaps with the help of a volunteer, I can distribute copies of these two operas to the below-mentioned organizations.

Perchance, can some people who read this post their thoughts about these opera discoveries to this Blog?


Van Christo Uncovers Two 18th Century Operas about Scanderbeg, Albania's greatest hero

Author: Del Brebner

Liria's annual dinner dance celebrating Albania's historic Independence Day
(Dita e Flamurit) was held Sunday, November 24th, at the world-famous Anthony's Pier 4 waterfront restaurant. On that occasion, an announcement was made that bears cultural significance to the Albanian people in Albania and to people of Albanian origin throughout the world.

Master of Ceremonies at the Liria dinner, David Kosta, made the following announcement after guest speaker, Van Christo, had just finished his talk. "Ladies and gentlemen," Kosta said, "Van Christo has just informed me that he will soon donate photocopies of the two Skanderbeg operas by Vivaldi and Francouer, along with English translations to, first of all, the Fan Noli Library, the Skanderbeg Museum in Kruja, Albania, the Department of Music at Harvard University, the School for the Arts at Boston University, and the Boston Conservatory of Music."

This striking announcement was the fitting climax to years of search and research on the part of Van Christo, Boston's well-known steward of Albanian culture and proponent of cultural unity among Albanians of differing political persuasions.

Van Christo, owner and President of the Van Christo Advertising Agency, and in recent years, creator/director of the popular WCRB and WBUR radio programs, the Van Christo Radio Theatre, has held as a major personal responsibility, the preservation of the art and culture of Albania. From 1979 to 1983, he regularly made weekly trips from Boston to Worcester where he served as conductor and musical director of Kor' i Usterit which translated into Albanian means "Worcester Choir." Many remember the impressive concerts of that Albanian mens' chorale group in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and several other cities in New England.

In 1982 Christo was reading a newly-acquired book, "The Albanians" by Anton Logoreci, an Englishman of Albanian origins. It was with a great sense of excitement, of discovery, that he read the following paragraph: "Scanderbeg's posthumous renown was by no means confined to his own country. Voltaire thought the Byzantine Empire would have survived had it possessed a leader of his quality. A number of poets and composers have also drawn inspiration from his military career. The French sixteenth-century poet, Ronsard, wrote a poem about it, and so did the nineteenth-century American poet, Longfellow. Antonio Vivaldi's list of rarely peformed compositions includes an opera entitled Scanderbeg."

Van Christo admits that on reading the paragraph he was virtually trembling with excitement. A Vivaldi opera about Scanderbeg, the 15th century Albanian folk hero who for 25 years successfully repelled, vanquished and baffled the Ottoman hordes in their attempts to conquer Albania? The Scanderbeg who, in effect, created Albania through his military genius and his extraordinary leadership that made a strong and unified nation from a discordant mass of feudal lords and unruly tribesmen?

Van Christo's mind raced with questions. Did the opera still exist? Where could it be? How could one find it? Not one to sit back and wait for answers, Van Christo embarked on what he calls "the search." For the next three years he committed emotion, time, and money to finding and preserving the Vivaldi opera.

He found that the opera was originally performed at the Teatro de la Pergola in Florence, Italy, on June 22, 1718. The occasion was the re-opening of the theatre, to this day a pearl among Florentine theatres. For the event Vivaldi had been chosen to produce an opera, testimony to Vivaldi's standing in the music world at that time. That Vivaldi had selected Scanderbeg as the subject of an opera especially composed for that momentous opccasion confirms the impact that the Albanian folk hero still had on the civilized world almost 300 years after his heroic life.

This, Van Christo learned along with other details from consultations with musicologists in England, Italy, France, and the United States, from a voluminous correspondence extending over a three-year period with music librarians in Italy, from extensive research, and numerous paid consultants.

Complicating matters and adding further excitement was another discovery. In the course of his research on the Vivaldi opera, Van Christo uncovered another opera entitled "Scanderbeg," this one by the 18th century composer, Francois Francouer. While still hunting down the Vivaldi, Van Christo also initiated the search for the Francouer opera, encountering many of the same difficulties and frustrations he was experiencing with the Vivaldi search.

This time, though, from sources in Paris, he was eventually to find the entire opera (both the original plus a revised version by Francouer), librettos and musical scores, and to learn that the Francouer "Scanderbeg" had been given in command performance before their majesties, King Louis XV and Queen Marie Charlotte Leszczynska of France at Fontainebleu on October 22, 1763.

Van Christo believes it is entirely conceivable that, properly presented to various opera companies in the United States and abroad, several of them would accept the Francouer "Scanderbeg" for performance. In an interview following the Liria dinner he was asked about the possibility.

"It has both historical and musical value," he said, "I have had it evaluated and authenticated by a qualified musicologist, Dr. Graham Sadler of the Department of Music at the University of Hull in England. It is intact. Ready for production. It is imperative that opera companies honor their expressed responsibility to restore and preserve masterworks of former times. The Francouer "Scanderbeg" is a sure bet for successful revival."

He was then asked about chances of a revival of the Vivaldi "Scanderbeg." Van Christo muses. "In my heart of hearts," he says, "I'd like to be able to retain someone of -- let's say -- the stature of Gian Carlo Menotti to compose a new Scanderbeg opera based on the Vivaldi libretto and incorporating the four authentic remaining Vivaldi arias. These have been evaluated by an eminent Vivaldi scholar, Professor Michael Talbot of the University of Liverpool, and I have his recommendations for revitalizing and exploiting the work." Christo adds that a composer of Menotti's reputation would, clearly, lead to performance by major opera companies in this country and elsewhere.

"My consultants tell me that it would cost about a quarter of a million dollars to engage someone of the caliber of Gian Carlo Menotti." He tugs thoughtfully as his crisp beard. "What is needed is for a significant number of American-Albanians to come forward and help, especially the younger generation who can bring vitality, imagination, and sophistication to the project." He smiles into space. "Imagine! A Vivaldi-Menotti collaboration on a Scanderbeg opera!" He closes his eyes. Dreaming?

If it can be done, one senses that Van Christo is the person who could make of the project another successful labor of love and perseverence.

Monday, November 16, 2009

King Zog of Albania in America in 1951

Ahmed Bey Zogu, born in 1895, battled innumerable Balkan adversaries to consolidate control of his country after the First World War, became President in 1925, and declared himself King Zog I in 1928. For his coronation, he ordered an outfit that included rose-colored breeches, gold spurs, and a gold crown weighing seven and five-eighths pounds.

Zog's preoccupation once he was on the throne was how to stay alive. In 1931, he barely escaped assasination at the hands of two gunmen as he was leaving a performance of "Pagliacci" at the Vienna Opera House. His mother kept watch over the royal kitchen to make sure his food was not being poisoned. A virtual recluse in his capital city, Tirana, which in any case had neither night clubs nor theatres, Zog did little except play poker and smoke as many as a hundred and fifty perfumed cigarettes a day. Understandably, perhaps, shaking Europe's royal family trees for a queen yielded Zog no fruit. But his four sisters, each of them a division commander in the Albanian army and none of them married themselves, helped in the search, and he eventually found a penniless half-American, half-Hungarian countess, Geraldine Apponyi, who had been selling postcards in the Budapest National Museum for forty-five dollars a month. Her photograph captured Zog's heart, and they were married in 1938.

A year later, Italy invaded Albania, routing its thirteen thousand troops and two airplanes within forty-eight hours. Having fled to England with his family and a hefty portion of his country's gold, Zog watched from afar as Mussolini's Fascists and then Enver Hoxha's Communists took over his kingdom. Zog was formally deposed in absentia in 1946. Having temporarily moved to Egypt, he became friends with King Farouk while he pondered the serious question of where an ex-monarch could live.

He found the answer, he thought, during a 1951 tour of the United States: Knollwood, a sixty-room granite mansion that had been built on Long Island's North Shore in 1907. Zog bought it for $102,800 (not for " a bucket of diamonds and rubies," as some stories claimed at the time). Italian Renaissance in style, Knollwood boasted tall Ionic columns and a winding main stairway of Caen marble. Massive stone steps led down to vast reaches of landscaping, with gardens and reflecting pools. English ivy covered parts of wide terraces and also hung from marble fountains and urns. "A man must have a place to lay his head," the Times commented, "and if Zog feels he must have sixty rooms to do it in, that is his business."

Zog, it was announced, intended to turn Knollwood into his kingdom in exile. In its grounds would live Albanian subjects, working the land as his tenants. North Shore society, delighted at the prospect of royalty in its back yard, was soon flocking to Knollwood. At its gates, visitors were greeted by a bearded member of the Royal Guard: he would kiss their hands and turn them away.

Alas, Zog wanted to settle into the mansion with his entire court, of a hundred and fifteen, but the immigration authorities would allow him to bring only twenty into the country. Attempts to bribe the State Department failed, and in 1952 he was forced to pay $2,914 in taxes to save his property, having been unable to convince Nassau County that as a monarch he had sovereign immunity from such trifles. In 1955, he sold Knollwood, which had meanwhile suffered eight thousand dollars' worth of damage from vandals. The vandals thereupon converged on the estate in earnest, ripping it apart in search of treasure that was rumored to be buried in its grounds. The mansion was later demolished, and Zog spent his last days in a nearly empty villa on the French Riviera, with Queen Geraldine doing the housework. He died in 1961.

Excerpted from Muttontown's King, The New Yorker, pp. 33 & 34, September 11, 1989

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Albanian editor attacked following critical reports

Nga Komiteti për Mbrojtjen e Gazetarëve, (Committee to Protect Journalists) SHBA

Assailants badly beat Mero Baze, chief editor of the independent Albanian daily Tema and host of the prime-time television show "Faktor Plus," at a bar in the capital, Tirana, on Monday, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack and calls on authorities to bring the assailants to justice.

Baze lost consciousness after the attack and was hospitalized overnight, according to press reports. He was released Tuesday morning.

Balkan Insight, the online publication of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), said the attack on Baze was witnessed by bar patrons, including two colleagues who were sitting with the editor. Citing local press reports, Balkan Insight reported that local businessman Rezart Taci and his four bodyguards beat the journalist and then left the bar. In a statement to local news outlets, Taci said he was present during the attack but was not involved.

Besar Likmeta, BIRN-Albania editor, told CPJ that Baze had produced a series of reports accusing the businessman of tax evasion and criticizing authorities for not acting against him. Baze also discussed the allegations on "Faktor Plus," which airs on the independent broadcaster Vision Plus. An e-mail sent by CPJ on Wednesday to two of the businessman's companies, Taci Oil International and ARMO Refining and Marketing, seeking comment on the tax accusations and further comment on the assault did not generate an immediate response.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Sali Berisha condemned the attack and called on police to bring the assailants to justice. Police announced that they had detained two suspects, Likmeta told CPJ.

"We welcome Prime Minister Sali Berisha's condemnation of this brazen attack on our colleague Mero Baze," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "We trust the police will heed his call to bring the attackers to justice. The authorities need to send a clear signal that violence against reporters will not be tolerated."

This is not the first time Baze has been attacked for his journalism, CPJ research shows. In January, Tirana police barred Tema staffers from entering their newsroom following a December 2008 government decision to evict the daily from its offices in a state-owned building. Tema later relocated its offices.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Massachusetts Cultural Council News

Artist Fellowships Applications Update

Artists Foundation Report Details Challenges Facing Artists
Recently on ArtSake

Important Artist Opportunities in November

A periodic e-newsletter from the Massachusetts Cultural Council


Art Works: A Portrait of the Artist in a Starving Economy
November 10
Presented by MassINC

Artist Fellowships Applications Update

The deadline has passed for 2010 Artist Fellowships applications in Drawing, Painting, and Traditional Arts, and the review process is underway. Grant announcements will be made by early February 2010.

UPDATED: Online applications in the categories of Choreography, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry will be available December 12, 2009. The deadline to apply is January 25, 2010.
In the meantime, read the full program guidelines.

The Artist Fellowships Program offers fellowships of $7,500 and finalist awards of $500, as direct support to individual artists in recognition of artistic excellence.

Artists Foundation Report Details Challenges Facing Artists

A new survey of more than 3,400 artists working in Massachusetts illustrates many of the challenges they face making a living, securing health care coverage, and advancing their careers. The "Stand Up and Be Counted" survey by the Artists Foundation provides new insights into artists' sources of income, their work practices, and the bureaucratic obstacles many face in gaining access to services.

Recently on ArtSake

Check out our blog ArtSake, a place to explore and celebrate the creative work of Massachusetts individual artists. Recent posts include:

A weekly opportunities round-up for Massachusetts artists
A feature on Michael Downing and an audio excerpt from his fascinating memoir, Life with Sudden Death
A look at Somewhere Far From Habit, which pairs book artists with poetry, at Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge
Fellows Notes - current news from past fellows/finalists of our Artist Fellowships Program

Important Artist Opportunities in November

There are two upcoming events that all Massachusetts artists should know about:

November 7-8
Creative Massachusetts: The Artists Congress 2009 will be on Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8, 2009 at the Boston Public Library. This "Discussion of Our Creative Future" will feature panels and workshops to help artists advance their creative careers.

November 19
The Third Annual Artists Under the Dome Event 2009 is on Thursday, November 19, 2009, from 10 AM to 3:30 PM, at the Massachusetts State House's Great Hall. Register and learn more about this annual celebration of artists and their central role in our state's economy and quality of life.

Both events are free and open to artists in all disciplines. Special acknowledgement to the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition for leadership in the organization of both events.

The MCC's Artist Department:

Kelly Bennett, Exhibitions Curator/Program Coordinator (Visual Arts & Choreography)
Dan Blask, Program Coordinator (Literary Arts & Film/Video, Music Composition)
Maggie Holtzberg, Folk Arts Program Manager

Visit ArtSake.

In addition to Artist News, MCC provides Mass Culture Now (featuring general MCC News) and Creative Minds (arts education and creative learning in Massachusetts). If you would like to subscribe to these e-newsletters, please follow the link at the bottom of this email for "updating your e-mail preferences," and select the news item(s) you would like to receive.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences, to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.

Ali Pasha Tepelena (1740-1822)

Ali Pasha Tepelena was born in 1740 at Tepelenë in southern Albania, and in his youth was a leader of brigands. Later he entered the service of the Sultan and managed to achieve his ambitions: he created the largest pashaluk (a territory ruled over by a Pasha) in the Ottoman empire. His ambitions were to amass a great fortune, to avenge himself on his private enemies, and to become the independent ruler of Albania and part of Greece. Ali Pasha established and maintained contacts with all the great powers of Europe at that time. He maintained contacts with Napolean, the English Admiral Lord Nelson, and the Russian Tsar. He also gave support to the Greek struggle for liberation from Turkish rule. His pashaluks harboured organizations dedicated to winning independence from Greece. He would also have liked to secede from the Ottoman empire.

Ali Pasha's ruthlessness, cunning, and diplomatic skills earned him the title "Lion of Janina", and his court was visited by many Europeans, including in 1809 Lord Byron, who was thus inspired to devote a canto of Childe Harold to Albania and the Albanians.*

Rival feudal lords, both Albanian and Turkish, whom Ali Pasha had ousted from their holdings in Albania, Epirus, and Thessaly, as well as the Greek patriots fighting for their own liberation, put pressure on the (Turkish) Porte to get rid of Ali Pasha. Turkish forces attackled Janina, and Ali Pasha found himself deserted by his sons and allies. He fought to the bitter end and was killed in 1822. His head was sent to Constantinople and publicly displayed.

Under Ali Pasha, Janina was the most advanced centre in the Western Ottoman empire. Although the great powers did not recognize the Janina and Shkodër pashaluks as independent principalities, they treated them as separate states as relations with the Porte deteriorated.

The great pashaluks created the conditions for a faster economic development of the Albanian regions. At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, the Ottoman empire entered a new phase of decline. Its downfall came from within and not from without, through the successful struggle of the subjugated peoples in the European part of the empire -- a struggle in which the Albanians played a prominent part. A strong national independence movement took root in Albania which was not satisfied with concessions such as the creation of semi-autonomous pashaluks, but which demanded full national and cultural rights. It soon became a well-organized movement.
PP 18 and 19, Albania and the Albanians, Ramadan Marmullaku, C. Hurst & Company, London, 1975


(Ali Pasha) was rather soft and mild in appearance. He spoke both Albanian and Greek, plus a little Turkish, but was illiterate. Short in stature (about five feet five inches), an excellent shot and fearless, he remained active, ambitious, and vigorous until old age. He ruled over both Greeks and Albanians, but his main power rested with the latter (although his worst vengeance was also directed against the Albanians). He carried out considerable construction in both Epirus and Albania, including road building and the draining of marshes, while the merciless punishments curtailed crime. Despite repellent traits of behavior and the violence and ruthlessness of his rule, in official historiography he is regarded as a patriot and a fighter for Albanian independence. It is remarked, too, that Ali's death was the immediate precursor to the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence.
PP 21 and 22, Historical Dictionary of Albania, Raymond Hutchins, The Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD and London, 1996

*See Frosina infobit: Lord Byron and his Albanian Costume

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

11-foot Statue of Bill Clinton in Kosovo


Kosovo - Thousands of ethnic Albanians braved low temperatures and a cold wind in Kosovo’s capital to welcome Bill Clinton yesterday as the former president attended the unveiling of an 11-foot statue of himself on a key boulevard that also bears his name.

Clinton is celebrated as a hero by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority for launching a 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslaviathat stopped the Serb forces’ crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.

The visit was Clinton’s first to Kosovo since it declared independence from Serbia last year.

Many of those gathered waved American, Albanian, and Kosovo flags and chanted “USA!’’ as Clinton climbed atop a podium with a poster behind it reading “Kosovo honors a hero.’’ Some peeked out of balconies and leaned on window sills to get a better view. To thunderous applause, Clinton waved to the crowd as a red cover was pulled from the statue.

“I never expected that anywhere, someone would make such a big statue of me,’’ Clinton said of the gold-sprayed statue.

Clinton also addressed Kosovo’s 120-seat assembly, encouraging members to forgive and move on from the violence of the past.

The statue portrays Clinton with his left arm raised, his right hand holding a portfolio bearing his name and the date (March 24, 1999) when NATO started bombing Yugoslavia.

An estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians were killed during the Kosovo crackdown, and about 800,000 were forced from their homes. They returned after NATO-led peacekeepers moved in following 78 days of bombing.

Clinton last visited Kosovo in 2003, when he received an honorary university degree. His first visit was in 1999, months after some 6,000 US troops were deployed in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission here.

Some 1,000 American soldiers are based in Kosovo as part of NATO’s 14,000-strong peacekeeping force.

© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Norman Nuri Bayram Ahmet

Distinguised Personae

The Albanians of Canada


Norman Nuri Bayram Ahmet

(photo to come)

Renowned Canadian Educator, Director of Education and Secretary Treasurer for the Board of Education for the City of York, First Honorary Consul of Albania in Canada

Norman Nuri Bayram Ahmet was born in Toronto in 1941 of Albanian parentage. His mother, Fitret, and father, Bayram, were both born and grew to adulthood in the Devoll region of Albania. His maternal grandfather, Xhafer, was a military courier for Gani Butka and Mihal Grameno, the two illustrious leaders of the “Cetas” guerilla movement in 1909 that finally resulted in the declaration of Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912.

A top academic student, Norman graduated 1st in his Grade 12 class. He was also the first ethnic Albanian to graduate from the University of Toronto in 1963.

Beginning a teaching career in 1964 at York Memorial Collegiate Institute, Norman’s organizational talents became evident through his innovative teaching methods of Geography. He extended traditional classroom learning to include field trips in Ontario and Quebec, culminating in the production of a feature length documentary produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This film documented a trip to Scandinavia and the Soviet Union with his students - a learning experience of a lifetime!

While teaching, Norman attained a Master’s degree in Educational Administration, and was a successful contestant on 4 separate Canadian quiz shows. In addition, he was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Canadian Army reserve.

During his long administrative career in education, Norman served – consecutively - as vice principal, principal, superintendent, senior superintendent and, finally, in 1990, as Director of Education and Chief Executive Officer for the Board of Education for the City of York. When asked during an interview which of his many educational roles he preferred, Norman responded simply, “I enjoyed them all!”

Norman’s reputation as an outstanding Canadian educator quickly became noticed because whenever he was confronted with either simple or complex educational problems, he invariably resolved them through thoughtful analysis and carefully constructed solutions. Without question, his imaginative, problem-solving capabilities became his legacy in the field of public education in Canada.

Upon his retirement after 36 years of exemplary service to the Canadian educational community, Norman received an appointment as associate vice president for human resources at York University, Canada’s third largest university. He has also served as a Board member for a number of organizations, and received an appointment by Albania’s Foreign Minister as the first Honorary Consul of Albania to Canada in 1998.

Norman is perceived as a man who - professionally and personally - has worked tirelessly in the cause of improving the lives of others. He has continuously reached out to assist people in need, and all those who have had the good fortune to know him are well aware of his kindness and his generosity of spirit.

Norman Ahmet is married to Linda, a secondary school principal. They have two children - a daughter, Alexandra, a pediatric endocrinologist, and a son, Byron, an associate at one of Canada’s premiere commercial real estate firms