Friday, December 30, 2011

Nga Van dhe Jane Christo "Vitin e Ri 2012 Gezuar!"

Paqe per ju,
Per ata qe doni,
Per Boten
ne Vitin e Ri

Shume Vjet Gezuar


Van (Sotiraq) dhe Jane (Xhejn) Christo (Kristo)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gezuar Krishtlindjen /Merry Christmas nga Van and Jane Christo

To all of our Albanian friends in America and elsewhere

Gezuar Krishtlindjen dhe Vitin e Ri 2012

And to our non-Albanian friends everywhere

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012

Van and Jane Christo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BRAVO! Prof. Sami Repishti

Jane and I first met Sami Repishti more than 40 years ago who was introduced to us by our good friend, Agim Leka. Over the years, I have noted how Sami was often the sole voice in the Albanian community at large to cite the brutal treatment of the citizens of Kosova by Serbia. Indeed, Sami, for many years, and at his own expense, published an informative Kosova newsletter that brought the plight of Kosovar Albanians to the attention of both the Albanian community at large and the broader non-Albanian community.

More recently, Sami has had several honors heaped upon him including the naming of a street after him in Shkodra, Albania, where he was born. Because I am intent on spreading the word about this most distinguished Albanian-American, below is Sami's biography that I am pleased to post to the Frosina Blog that is visited by as many as 40 and/or as few as 15 different foreign counties each day.

For those of you who do not know him, permit me to introduce Prof. Sami Repishti, the recent recipient below of a Certificate of Outstanding Contributions from the City of New York.


Office of the President - Borough of Manhattan
City of New York

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer
is honored to award this




For contributions to the success of his birth country, Albania, and
to his adopted country, the United States and for helping to foster good relations
between the two countries.


signature: Scott M. Stringer
Manhattan Borough President


A brief biography : Sami Repishti, Ph.D. (1925- )

Sami Repishti, a U.S. citizen of Albanian extraction, received his
Ph.D.(French,‘77) from the Graduate Center of the C.U.N.Y. after prior studies
in Florence (Italy) and the Sorbonne (French Govt. scholarship). His doctoral
thesis analyzes The Theme of the Revolution in the Novels of Andre Malraux. In
the U.S., for 25 years he taught French and Italian in high schools (department
chair) and at Adelphi Univ. (N.Y.) as adjunct faculty.

Dr. Repishti was born in Shkoder, Albania, in 1925. After the Italian occupation in Albania
in 1939, as a student he joined the resistance groups. With the Communist
takeover, November 1944, revolted by the terror of the new regime, he opposed
the Communist-installed government. Arrested, and tortured, he was sentenced to
15 years in jail, of which he spent ten as a political prisoner.

WW2 was cruel to him and his family. His father, H. Ibrahim Repishti a
religious leader and a congressman,(1923-24) perished as a victim of fascist
terror (1943), and his 17 year old cousin, Zyhdi Repishti, was executed at the
Mauthausen Nazi camp (1944) His mother, Hava, of the nobility family Bushati,
his young sister and brother spent years in communist concentration camps of
Berat and Tepelene. His jail experience is described in the two volumes, Tear
Drops-Prison Stories (1997,2008) and In Rozafa’s Shadow- My Life Narrated(2004).
Released from jail, but under constant Sigurimi surveillance, he escaped to
Yugoslavia (1959)where he was kept incommunicado for a year, before being
locked in a refugee camp. In a second daring escape, he entered Italy and in
1962 emigrated to the U.S. as a political refugee. In 1968 he received American

Dr. Repishti’s past has defined his present and has chartered his future. While
still pursuing his studies, he devoted himself to the cause of human rights. The
1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights was his polar star. Member of AI-USA,
he concentrated on publicizing the violations of human rights of the Albanian
population in the former Yugoslavia, primarily in Kosovo, a rallying point for
Albanian Americans.

Dr. Repishti is the first person to testify on Kosovo before the U.S. Congress,
April 1965. For over three decades, he would report regularly on the events that
alienated the Albanians in the former Yugoslavia. In the U.S. Congress, he met
with the Hon. Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor. In him, he found a very good
ear. Past suffering brought the two “victims” closer

“The Yugoslav bloody repression of the Albanian insurrectionists in fall and
spring 1945, the massacres of Tetova and Gostivar, the arms collection
operations in 1955-56, the forced emigration of Albanians to Turkey, the brutal
methods of UDB under A.Rankovic, the crushing of peaceful student
demonstrations, especially in l981, undermined the legitimacy of Yugoslavia and
Serbia in the eyes of the Albanians” he wrote. The bloody events that ensued
until the 1999 liberation of Kosovo by the NATO forces, were the logical
consequence of those oppressive Yugoslav Communist Government policies.
With the signing of the 1975 Helsinki Accord, he saw a large window of
opportunity open. Every year, he sent a “Memorandum on the Violations of Human
Rights of the Albanian Population in Yugoslavia” to the UN Secretary General , a
collection of data and documents, in his capacity as co-founder and ideologue of
“The Albanian Kosovar Youth in the Free World“, a group of volunteer human right
activists, established in 1968. In 1977, he did the same with the CSCE. (US
Amb.Max Kampelman in Madrid) Later on, he also approached, with Arshi Pipa, the
European Parliament President (Otto von Hapsburg), with a Petition on Kosova
Most of the written material used to propagate the problem of Kosova was
distributed in front of the U.N. Headquarters, New York, aiming at sensitizing
the member States of the U.N. It was later assembled in two volumes: “Ethnic
Albanians in Yugoslavia: Ten Memorandums (1985) and “Breaking the Silence- A
Voice for Kosova” (2001). Dr.Repishti also co-authored the volume

Human Rights in Yugoslavia (C.U.P. 1986)
In 1968, he attended a Symposium on Skenderbeu and co-authored the volume
Albania (Rome,1970) In 1978,.during the ceremony for the centennial of the
Albanian League of Prizren, (New York) he appealed for organized activities in
the Diaspora. It resulted in the collection of aid for the families of the
political prisoners in Kosovo, a work not without personal peril, The Kosova
Relief Fund USA, Inc, was set up. Dr Repishti was elected its president, an
assignment he kept until the year 2000.(In 1999 alone over $ 600.000 in aid were

In 1982, Dr. Repishti succeeded in mobilizing a group of intellectuals forming
an academic nucleus dealing with the Kosovo issue, as well as a coalition of
Albanian religious leaders in America. An International Conference on Kosova
(November 1982) was held at the Graduate Center of the CUNY. attended by
fourteen American and European professors. The proceedings were published in
Studies on Kosova (C.U.P: 1984) (with Arshi Pipa) The Conference was a
resounding success!

In 1986, Dr. Repishti met with, and presented a Petition to, then Vice-President
G.H.W. Bush requesting the opening of an Information Office in Prishtina. It was
rejected but he persisted, and in 1996, the Office was opened among the jubilant
Albanian crowds. He was, then, the executive director of the Albanian American
Civic League (1986-1991)

In 1991, immediately after the fall of communism in Albania, which he greeted
enthusiastically, he wrote a booklet for general use Albania in Brief
-History-Language-Literature (N.Y.1992), and produced a volume (with Ismail
Haznedari) Albanian-Language Competencies for Peace Corps Volunteers in Albania,
(Peace Corps, Washington,D.C.1992)

In 1993, Dr.Repishti co-founded the organization American Friends of Albania,
(treasurer/secretary) a group that lobbied Washington for economic assistance to
Albania. The result was the formation of the American Enterprise Fund, later
ending in the American Albanian Bank in Tirana,Albania. (The organization was
later dissolved).

In 1996, Dr Repishti, co-founded the National Albanian American Council
(N.A.A.C.); and was elected its first president (May 1996-December 1998). NAAC
continues to operate successfully, and is seen today as the most efficient and
prestigious Albanian American organization in the United States. In his
capacity, he met with the highest federal authorities of the US Congress,
Government and Presidency.

His only trip to the liberated Kosova was taken in April 2000, and is described
in a volume, Kosova-2000-Impressions (Prishtine,2000) (with Harry Bajraktari).
Dr.Repishti is the author, of The Seminar On Chameria (2002) and of several
hundred essays and articles in the American and Albanian press mostly dealing
with human rights including: a study on “Jews in Albania-A Story of
Survival“(2009) published by the Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, CUNY
N.Y). He was awarded several medals and certificates of appreciation by the
American, Albanian and Kosova governments, including the League of Prizren Gold
Medal by Dr.I.Rugova, President of Kosova.

In 2011, the City of Shkoder named one street after its native son, “Rruga Sami
Repishti” The Manhattan Borough President awarded him a Citation for outstanding
citizenship (Nov. 2011). His latest book “The Dialectics of the Order and the
Rebellion in the works of Andre Malraux was published in Tirana, Albania (Nov.

Happy to see a free, independent and democratic Albania and Kosova, Dr.Repishti
has retired, but remains active. He is married to the former Diana Chipi, a
teacher, and his wife of 47 years. The couple has a son, Daren, a practicing
physician, and a daughter Ava, a lawyer, and five grandchildren.

Presently, the Repishti’s live in Ridgefield, CT USA.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hi Handsome!

I am not the author of what follows since it was sent to me by my old U.S. Navy shipmate, Bob Christ,but I was so touched by it, I thought I'd pass it along.

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being..

She said, 'Hi handsome. My name is Rose I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?'

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze..

'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I asked.

She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...'

'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom and experience with me..

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ' We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets..'

She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose.'

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Pass this message on to 7 people.

Monday, December 19, 2011

For "new: Albanians: HANUKKAH

For all those "new" Albanians who view Frosina's website, here's a very brief description of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah which begins tomorrow tonight at Sundown.


Tomorrow night marks the start of Hanukkah, which means beginning at sundown, menorahs will be lit, gifts exchanged, dreidels spun, and latkes made. Let our Guides help make your family's festival of lights a special one.

Lighting the Menorah

Lighting the menorah (also called a hanukkiyah) is the most important part of celebrating Hanukkah. It reminds us of the miracle of the Hanukkah lights, when only one day's worth of oil burned for eight days after the Maccabees reclaimed the holy Temple.

for a comprehensive description of Hanukkah, please visit "Celebrating Hanukkah" at About.COM, Monday, December 19, 2011.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tirana Hosts Ninth International Film Fest

Here's another tip of the Frosina hat to BIRN ( for always presenting timely and interesting news about Albania, Kosovo, and the other Balkan nations. Bravo BIRN!

Van Christo


Tirana Hosts Ninth International Film Fest

The ninth Tirana International Film Festival, TIFF, opened on Monday, showing 80 short films from 63 countries by the end of the week.

Besar Likmeta

The festival will combine a calendar of feature and short films in all formats and genres, including fiction, documentary, animation and experimental.

Each year TIFF showcases new cinematic works by established directors with international reputations as well as works by talented students and young filmmakers.

As in past editions, this year’s competitions will be in the following categories: feature films, short films, the DIGIART television film competition and a special competition for Albanian movies.

This year's Film Festival is organized in partnership with the Italian institute of Culture.

Friday, December 9, 2011


FREE transitional ESOL Program at AACA!
From: Meg Baker
Sent: Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm
To: Van Christo

Please help us spread the word!

AACA is offering intermediate-advanced ESL classes. The program is called Next Steps Transitional English Program (Next STEP). The class is FREE for all English language learners who want to improve their English to get jobs, better jobs, or enroll in college. We offer 6 classes for 4 levels--the highest level is divided into a college track or job training track. In addition to ESL, students will work with a counselor to help with enrolling into college or helping with job placement. We have had students go into different job training programs at the completion of our classes or enroll in college like Bunker Hill, UMass Boston, and other colleges of interest.

Each level is a 15 week cycle with classes 4 days a week (Tuesday through Friday). Depending on the level, class time can vary from 8 hours a week to 16 hours a week. The classes are held in the morning and daytime.

We accept applications all year round and run this program 3 times a year—January, May, and September. To apply, interested applicants should come to our information and testing session held every Tuesday at 2PM or certain Mondays at 9AM (ext. 318 will have a list of Monday testing dates).

We appreciate your help in getting the word out! Feel free to contact me with any questions. For more information, please visit our website: Next Step


Meg Baker

Asian American Civic Association
Educate. Empower. Employ.
87 Tyler Street 5/F
Boston, MA 02111
T: (617) 426-9492 ext. 251
F: (617) 482-2316