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Essay on albanian imm - 2269 Words

albanian imm

Yana Krivoruk
GHS 240 OL
August 10th, 2014

Albanian Immigration in America

On the Eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea lies the 28,748 sq. km country of Albania. The country is slightly larger than the state of Maryland, with a population of approximately 3.162 million people. It is surrounded by Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece to the north and the south of it. The country is bordered by the Adriatic and Ionian sea. Currently there are approximately 201,118 people of Albanian decent living in the United States of America. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the total population of the United States of America is 317 million people. When the number of Albanian Americans is compared to the total population, it is easy to see that they make up a very small portion of the American population. Despite, the fact that Albanians only make up 0.1% of the U.S population, living in New York City, I have surprisingly stumbled into many individuals of Albanian decent. This sparked my curiosity in this particular ethnic group and the story of their immigration to the United States of America. Before the 20th century, only a few Albanians had immigrated to America. Albanians are one of the most recent group of European immigrants to come to America. The first reporting of an Albanian coming to America was in 1876. However it wasn’t until pre World War I, that the first substantial groups of Albanians came to the United States of America. The primary abundant number of Albanian people moved to America right before World War I for a few reasons. During that first migration, many of the immigrants were young men who came to the new country for economic gain. Many of them left Albania to escape the poor economic and political conditions. Many of them wanted to escape their military duty to the Turkish army. Most of these men came to America with the goal to make money, and then return home. These early groups of Albanian immigrants settled in Boston. Some others settled in other parts of Massachusetts, such as Worcester, South-bridge, Cambridge and Lowell. These were areas were unskilled factory work was available. This was essentially all the talent many of the first Albanians to settle in America had to offer because they had little education and did not know how to read or write. Around the time of 1907, Albanians were occupying jobs in mill factories, newfound factories, shoe factories, wood and leather factories, or in restaurants and hotels. From 1919-1925, some of these Albanian immigrants returned home. However, some of those who left America, soon returned and became permanent citizens. The next surge of Albanian immigration was in 1919. It was reported that approximately 30,000 Albanians immigrated. Yet again, a vast majority of those who migrated, were men. It was reported that about only 1,000 of them were women. Similarly, about 10,000 of those immigrants went back home. Finally between the time of WWI and WWII the new mass of Albanian immigrants came with the aim of settling down. After WWII, Albania was governed under really strict communist rule. It discouraged immigration. The Albanians who came during this time, came to escape such strict conditions. Up until this point, many of the first Albanian immigrants continued to settle in Boston. Around the time of 1985, the government began to become more liberal. However, Albania remained poor. It remains poor up until today. In 1991, the fall of Communism triggered many Albanians to escape and emigrate to areas all over the world, one of them being America. At this time, approximately 7,000 Albanian immigrants came into the United States of America. This time around, they were not only illiterate and uneducated physical laborers looking to support their families back home. They were laborers, professionals, and scholars, in search of a new home. In 1996, the newly “democratic” Albania entered an economic crisis. At the time, many of the Albanian people.

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Red and black runs in my veins Everyone fears that it does Because of you I am me And because of you I am AlbanianAlbanian is what I am It keeps me going And because of you A piece of me is apart you I am willing to die To see you fly The two headed eagle is in my heart The shqiponja is what I see And for you ill keep my head up high And for you I will die I’m proud to be Albanian Reflection 1 I chose to write about this because this is apart me who I am. And I love the fact that I am Albanian it means a lot to me. It mean a lot because of the traditions that have been passed down to my parents to me. But also it means a lot to me because of my cultural had to do to be who we are now. We want people to think two ways about who Albanians are. We want them to know we are kind and hardworking. We are kind and respectful to the people that want to get to know and to show them that we aren’t just a bunch of fighters and not respectable people. But on the other hand we show fear because of what we are willing to do for our flag and country. The fact the people know how much the flag and country mean to us, think we are crazy and ridicules but in the end we are just people who’s flag and country means a lot to them just like there families do. When the reader reads this I want them to know that we will do anything for our flag. We will die and defend it to anyone who puts it in.

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Pepperdine University School of Public Policy Scholarship

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Human And Womens Rights In Albania Sociology Essay

Human And Womens Rights In Albania Sociology Essay

Published: 23rd March, 2015 Last Edited: 23rd March, 2015

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

In 1990, coinciding with the dissolution of the communist regime, the slogan "We want Albania with the rest of Europe" resonated loudly in the streets of Tirana, expressing clearly the desire of the Albanians to be included in the "great family of Europe" after half a century of isolationism (Bogdani, 2004).

The rise from the bottom of the European Movement in Albania, clearly favors the process for integration into the European system, but there are still several problems and incongruences that must be faced in order to conclude the process.

On 12 June 2006 Albania signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement which was the first major step toward Albania's full membership in the European Union.

The European Union is reflecting on both its identity and its relationship with Albania, which has been and continues to be a unique country, characterized by its underdeveloped economy and infrastructure, cultural diversity and most importantly, a different scale of values, especially as concerns those values which are related to the condition of women and the old traditions that have their origins in ancient times and are still deep grounded in the conscience of Albanians. These are often in open contrast with the most rooted European principles.

Albanian customary law deserves to be studied carefully in order to understand the best way to involve this country into the European entourage; in particular this thesis is devoted to the study of the Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit (in English the most accepted translation is "Code of Lek Dukagjini", according to the version realized by Leonard Fox in 1989), which constitutes a whole set of the most ancient Albanian customs and traditions ever published in the Albanian language (Trnavci 2008). Its contents, but most particularly the norms of vengeance, or blood taking, as its standard punitive apparatus, continues to be a subject of historical, sociological, anthropological and juridical interest.

For centuries, the Kanuni has strictly governed all important aspects of social life in Kosovo and in the secluded regions of Northern Albania. The current version of Kanuni is the result of a century-long assemblage which was mostly realized by adding new norms and interpreting old rules applied in concrete disputes.

This sum of rules of "common law" (Vickers 1999) was collected and catalogued in 1913 by Shtephen Gjecov, a Franciscan monk who brought all the ancient rules together in 12 sections; Gjecov died before finishing his work; the Franciscan fathers, using his notes and manuscripts, finished editing of the collected works and finally it was published in 1933.

The text reflects the entire collection of the Northern Albanian customary law and it is divided into 12 sections - "The Church", "The Family", "Marriage", "The House, Cattle, and Property", "Work", "Loans", "Pledge", "Honor", "Damages", "The Kanuni against Harm", "The Kanuni of Judgment", "Exemption and Exceptions".

The collection was later scientifically analyzed and studied as literature and, in particular, as a work relating to oral literature. Scientists now mostly agree that this ancient unwritten law was formed through centuries and it cannot be precisely ascertained that it had been promulgated by the real historical person Lekë Dukagjinit.

It is most widely known for the predominance of blood feud and vendetta as its intrinsic principles. As will be demonstrated in this dissertation, the rules on blood feud form only a small part of the Kanuni and not its core, as often erroneously believed; according to the blood feud the blood of a killed man must be redeemed by way of killing the nearest member of the murderer's family; the only exception is in case the victim is a woman: in this case a sum of money must be given to her family as the price for her blood.

According to these ancient principles of behavior it can be deduced that women are considered to be of a lower social status: they do not share either the rights and privileges or the responsibilities of men, although they are well protected against insults and carnal violence.

The Kanuni also reflects values that are still considered unquestionable today: these include the given word or "bessa" (which means also truce), the sacredness of promises and respect for guests and friends.

For centuries, this ancient unwritten law was observed in all important aspects of social practices in Kosovo and in the Northern regions of Albania in spite of the fact that it never achieved the status of State law. Particularly because of its inaccessible and rugged terrain, as well as the conflicting mentality of its inhabitants, Northern Albania was for a long time out of reach for numerous foreign invaders, although they conquered the coastal areas. Thus, for ages, Northern Albania existed as a society without state power, where spoken words outweighed written words.

Nevertheless these rules of law were reasonable during times when the Albanian population, historically without any support, faced conquest and repression by foreign rulers. This continuous repression obliged the Albanians to seek a tool for survival. In those periods when the Albanians did not have their own state, the Kanuni acted as their constitution. Aiming to protect life, family, property and the existence of the nation, Albanians established and passed on the Kanuni through the centuries and it was better respected and dearer than the Bible or Koran. In effect it will be demonstrated that the Kanuni maintained its significance although there were various different religions prevalent. This had allowed that archetype of tolerance between Islam, Catholicism and Orthodoxy which the Albanians have been always proud of.

Analyzing the Kanuni in terms of rights, we will clearly see how this society, which when compared with Western democracies may seem retrograde and archaic, was well advanced before the birth of Christ in regard to equality of men (but only among the men since women are not considered equal) and in protecting minorities and the weakest of the society (Durham 1909; Malcom 1999; Biagini 1999).

It will be shown that according to the Kanuni, families are patrilineal (wealth being inherited through a man of the family) and patrilocal (upon marriage, a woman moves into the family circle of her husband's agnatic family).

Marriages are arranged, often at birth if not before, or in early childhood (Vickers 1999; Villari 1940; Olsen 2000; Capra 2002).

Girls do not have the right to choose their husbands and are obliged by this law to accept the man chosen by their father. The majority of marriages in modern Albania still appear to be arranged by the families in accordance with the instructions of the customary law. Once a woman is deemed eligible to marry, she moves out of her parents' home and into that of her husband. There she becomes submitted to her husband's agnatic family.

The Kanuni also stated that, under certain conditions, a man may kill his wife (but only using the bullet that her father gave to the groom before the wedding) with impunity for adultery and for betrayal of hospitality. For these acts of infidelity the husband was entitled to kill his wife without incurring a blood feud, because her parents had received the price of her blood at the engagement.

Furthermore, women widowed as a consequence of blood feuds have no right to be married again and those who take the risk of doing so are denied the right to take care of the children born during their first marriage. Such children, in addition to having lost their father, are deprived of their mother as well.

Yet, the Kanuni has also a sort of positive impact on everyday life since it prescribes respect for the dignity of the women who live alone in the mountains (Durham 1909). This obligation appears to have been preserved in contemporary life as well.

Since the collapse of Communism, Albania has suffered a renewal of blood feuds. There are not any accurate fonts about the precise total of murders for vendetta as well as the exact number of people obliged to live imprisoned in their houses for escaping the blood feud.

According to data reported by the Committee for National Reconciliation based in Tirana, in 2007 there were 2.800 family units subjected to vendetta "who live under an ever-present death sentence" (Pancevski & Hoxha 2007) and for this reason they must live isolated in their houses (Mangalakova 2004).

Besides, as stated by Amnesty International thousands of women in Albania are at risk of violence from their husbands or their intimate partners who may act against them according to the Kanuni (AI 2006); the barriers which prevent women from gaining access to justice can be found in the justification of violence as part of Albanian tradition and culture (Arsovska 2006); in the failure of law enforcement officers to respond appropriately to women seeking assistance and the malfunction of the official legal system to recognize violence against women in the family as a criminal offence.

This study is dedicated to the analysis of the Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit, devoting special attention to the condition of women in Albania and Albania's integration into European structures.

The ambition of this work is to find the answers to the following questions: how does the EU deal with Albanian customary law regarding human rights violation and discrimination against women? Which are the instruments at EU's disposal to find a balance between European human rights law and the deep-rooted centuries-old rules of customary law? Could they coexist or does the accession to the EU presuppose the formal and actual elimination of the rules reflected in the Kanuni?

1.2. Methodology.

Before discussing the history and the main contents of the Kanuni, starting from origins through the rationalization made by Prince Lekë Dukagjinit, to the ascendancy of the Ottoman Empire until nowadays, it is necessary to clarify the extent of the subject. In fact the theme of this thesis is Albanian customary law in relation to EU law. Customs by their nature have widespread impact beyond both natural and political boundaries. Albanian customary law was practiced in those neighboring districts which although populated for the most part by Albanians, are parts of political territories of neighboring countries (Valentini 1946). This study will be limited to the Northern Albania.

I will utilize the text by Shtjefën Gjecov in its English version, as translated by Leonard Fox in 1989 to analyse the rules of Albanian customary law that disciplines any aspect of life, keeping in mind the following issues.

This text is undoubtedly the most complete collection available but the specific provisions of the Code change from feud to feud and it is not possible to determine how to track those changes in its history. What can be stated as authentic is the sum of the fundamental values: besa, honor, hospitality, blood, equality among men, social bond and inequity of women, ("A woman is a sack, made to endure", Art. XXIX). these principles can be correctly considered the essence of the Kanuni.

It is important to underline that the word "Code", which is often used in the English translation (Hasluck 1954; Arsovska 2006; Vickers 1999; Oakes 1997; Fox 1989 and many others), will be recalled in this work as bearing the meaning of "code of conduct" since this compilation cannot be considered at all a proper code of legislation in the connotation we usually give to this word, nor in the meaning of State law, nor official law.

In the same way, the conversion of the expression Kanuni in "Canon", which is adopted by many authors (Villari 1940; Valentini 1956; Hall 1994; Clark 2000), especially by Italian scholars, since the Italian word "Canone" means "collection of rules of law", cannot be accepted and requires clarification: commonly in English the word "Canon" indicates a "rule of law or decree of the Church, laid down by an ecclesiastic Council" (Black Law Dictionary 2006).

De facto the Albanian word "Kanuni" derives from the ancient Greek "Kανών" (kanón), which, according to the Greek-English Lexicon, simultaneously signifies "rule," "model" and "standard of excellence" (Liddell, Scott 1966). Indeed it does not come directly from Greek because Albania had never been dominated by Greeks: probably it comes from the Turkish word "qānÅ«n", adopted by Islamic legal scholars to distinguish the administrative regulation from the Shari'a or Revealed Law (Hasluck 1954; Fox 1989).

The origin of the word seems to confirm that the Kanuni I Leke Dukagjinit is the "concrete and codified expression of the northern Albanian customs" (Villari 1940, p.47).

The structure of this work follows a logical sequence that starts from an analysis primarily focused on the historical background and on the main contents of the Kanuni. This part of the thesis will be followed by an analysis of the customary law and will conclude with an evaluation and discussion of its implications.

Additionally the arrangement of chapters follows a specific order. In the first chapter I throw light on the history of the Kanuni, which is strictly connected to the history of Albania.

Subsequent to that I explore the contents of the Kanuni and its main values, although only few scholars provide precise and authentic information and most of them are the results of travelers' diaries.

Despite this relative lack of literature I analyze primary and secondary documentation. For primary documentation I use the text of the Kanuni by L. Fox as well as the Italian version published in 1941 by the Reale Accademia d'Italia. Italian literature will be taken into consideration because there is a small collection of Italian studies on this topic as a result of the interest in Albania and its occupation during the fascist period.

The condition of women in family and society will be considered in the second chapter, starting from the description of their low social status followed by an analysis of the European Convention on Human Rights on protection of women. I then compare Albanian customary law with European human rights law, taking into account the procedures for accession. A contextualized comparative legal approach will be adopted in this part of the work. The scheme of contextualization has the advantage of not leaving aside important components such as the sociological, historical and cultural context (Orucu & Nelken 2007). The parallelism between Albanian customary law and the European Convention of Human Rights will be conducted by taking into account the specific sociological and cultural environment of Albania.

In fact, it is important to contextualize the customary law in its natural environment: this must be done acknowledging the cultural environment in which the Code is followed, an essential basis for a deeper understanding of the Albanian customary law lies in the recognition of the local mentality, which is profoundly different from some other European countries. On the other hand, it is possible to note some similarities and common values with countries like Greece, Southern Italy, Spain and Portugal (Bogdani 2007). In particular I want to refer to the concept of law mentalitè strictly connected to specific social context, historical development and cultural values and cannot be undoubtful ignored in legal comparative studies (Legrand 1996).

Albanian culture is the result of a century's long stratification of different cultural processes and historical events. Having as its main characteristics a deep rooted sense of honor and an extreme distrust for strangers, who have invaded and dominated them for thousands years, Albanians trust and respect the Code for the same reason as the other populations respect their customary laws. This respect is due to their true belief in the validity of its system of values: "Their influence depended solely on the voluntary internalization of such values system by the groups to which they are addressed themselves to, and people respect for their judgments" (Kishwar 2000 p. 6). Those values also affect their national identity especially because the Kanuni was the symbol of independence under formal foreigners' domination; its strength is also demonstrated by the strategy of acceptance of customary law that was adopted by the Ottomans as well as the Italians, who preferred to work within the customs rather than against.

Another relevant point regards the remark on Catholicism in Gjecov's collection probably due to his personal background while nothing is said about Islam.

It must be pointed out that the study of the Kanuni is undoubtedly difficult for several reasons: lack of literature in English, problems related to language and translation from Albanian, limited official recognition of the phenomenon, and complexity in finding authentic data and statistics on the real extension of the impact of the customary law nowadays. Consequently the opportunity to do further research involving fieldwork and interviews in order to enlighten the real weight of the Kanuni and its application in modern-day Albania, is strictly recommended, but could not be carried out for the purpose of this limited, preliminary study.

1.3. Theoretical approach: Feminist Legal Theory and Legal Pluralism

The aim of this work is to chart a theory which explains how human rights and equality laws of Europe can cope with a customary law tradition such as that followed by the northern Albanians.

Feminist legal theory is considered crucial for this research due to the fact that the focus is on the analysis of the Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit, devoting special attention to the condition of the women and human rights protection in Albania.

Feminist legal theory starts from the concept that law reflects only the point of view of men (Barnett 1997; Fineman & Thomadsen 1991; Bartlett 1990; Olsen 1995). This approach analyses and explores theoretical topics starting from the relation between laws and women from the female point of view.

The panorama of feminist thought, both in its historical development and present configuration, is heterogeneous and characterized by different trends whose common denominator is a strong commitment to improving the condition of women. The achievement that must be realized is the creation of a legal and social system in which women as well as men are treated fairly according to their differences.

According to this ideal it is possible to achieve the goal of social equality once men and women are treated fairly as equals based on the same principles, rules and criteria and to keep in mind and respect the differences that exist between them (Bacilli 1996).

The identification of the changes needed in the Albanian customary law in order to initiate the process of evolution, which could be crucial for their accession in the EU, must start with bringing about awareness in the women and men involved, as they are the recipients of this discipline (Kishwar 2008). In fact, it can be seen in the geographical context that I am taking into consideration that the female population is completely unaware of the problems inherent to their condition, due to the ancestral rules which have governed their everyday lives for centuries. Frequently women do not have power to adjust inequitable practices because of their lack of knowledge; in fact they are not even aware that their rights have been violated or that they have rights at all. It has been stated about the awareness of women that "Even through logical reasoning and education it is difficult to overcome customs" (Cerner & Wallace 2000, p. 624).

The theoretical relationship between equality and dissimilarity, national and European law in the Albanian context, the reformulation of these ancient models, as well as all the political and legal consequences of those concepts should be studied and discussed according to feminist jurisprudence for the reason that this approach is needed to challenge and defy the dominant legal principles and to develop different rules which take into consideration female experiences and requests.

It appears evident that the aim of Albania to join the EU poses different kinds of problems that can be analyzed according to the theoretical standpoint of legal pluralism. In particular the discussion on human rights and women rights has become universal and is pressing for its own law, not only from a source other than the states but against the states themselves (Bianchi 2009, Tuber 1997, pp. 3- 28).

Besides, more recently, the geographical and global expansion of the theme of human rights, as well as its importance from a historical perspective, have made it indispensable for legal scholars to rethink traditional and critical analysis in order to overcome the old approach and face this theme in a more constructive way. Taking into consideration the years 1980-1990 (following the end of the Cold War), there has been a strong expansion of regional legal systems, like EU and NAFTA, and also transnational and global legal systems, as the discourse on human rights and the UN system (which is the most important instrument of their diffusion). They have basically enhanced cross-cultural or even similar-cultural contexts, which have increased the comparison between different societies because, under numerous points of views, they can no longer be considered and compared as isolated and impermeable systems (Merry 1997, pp. 247 - 271).

The importance of this approach is comprehensible if we consider two points: first, its juridical values in the past demonstrates that it can exist together with the official law; second, there are some rules that could remain unchanged because they do not contradict European Law. Besides, the analysis of customary law under the point of view of legal pluralism represents the correct approach for this research and appears decisive because it will be required to deal with phenomena of pluralism in order to find a balanced coexistence between traditions, customary law and European law.

In the past five hundred years the Kanuni has been in force and considered as law. Although it cannot be considered official law and State law, the Code of customary law has always been predominant in Northern Albania. The Kanuni demonstrates how legal concepts, which are deeply diverse from the Western rationality, can coexist and be integrated with them; the validity and longevity of its rules prove the power of an alternative political system; the way in which it was in force during the centennial Ottoman domination as well as during the Communists era, evidences the actualization of legal pluralism across centuries.

Considering the elements underlined above, this study will try to set a legal system in which women are treated fairly and human rights are recognized, according to the European Convention on Human Rights standards of protection. For this reason feminist jurisprudence and legal pluralism are the right choice in order to predispose a system of respectful co-existence among genders and people of different cultures who share a common participation to the European Union.

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