Statement of the Greek American Lobby
Condemnation of the death of our compatriot Aristotelis Goumas From Albanian terrorists
HELLENIC AMERICAN NATIONAL COUNCIL
We condemn the racist death of Aristotelis Goumas a member of the Greek Minority in Himara a region of Northern Epirus in Albania, simply because he was speaking Greek.
The region of Himara is a territory in Albania inhabited by many ethnic Greeks who are still deprived from their minority rights
The death of Aristotelis Goumas is the last of a long list of incidents of terrorism to the Greek people in Albania caused by Albanian citizens who claim the properties owned by the Greek minority.
Criminal actions like this are intended to stimulate Ethnic tension with unpredictable consequences and undermine the bilateral relations between Greece and Albania.
The respect and protection of Ethnic Greeks and their rights and security, beyond the self evident obligation of the Albanian government, is also mandated by international law and the European Community for which Albania desires integration. The Greek Minority in Albania as all Minorities in the world has its own rights that should be respected by both the Albania government and the Albanian citizens.
The Hellenic American National Council demands from the Albanian government the following:
• To find and prosecute the murder(s) of our compatriot Aristoteli Goumas.
• Be impartial in the trial of the fugitives who committed this crime.
• Ensure the proper expeditious administration of justice, which serves as the only practical response to the legitimate concerns of the Greek National Minority
• We also demand the recognition of the Greek language and the Greek National
character of the district of Himara.
Finally with all our respect we urge the Greek and American Governments to proceed immediately and take all necessary steps to the Albanian government to ensure full investigation and justice in this case and recognize, secure and respect all minority rights in Albania.
PANEPIROTIC FEDERATION OF AMERICA
P.O. BOX 56046
ASTORIA, N.Y. 11105
The situation happened when Arisotelis Goumas of Himara, was overheard by a group of Albanians speaking Greek. Upset by this, the Albanians began harassing Mr. Goumas and questioning him why he was speaking Greek. Mr. Goumas replied to them that “no one has the right to tell me what I can speak in my own house” (HIMARA). Later on, this group of Albanians followed Mr. Goumas, who was riding a motor bike and ran him over.
This is not the first time something like this has taken place. In the last 20 years, since the fall of communism, there have been numerous aggressive incidents towards the Greek Minority that lives in Albania.
With Albania getting ready for acceptance into the EU, they still disrespect the rights of the Greek minority. Recently, Sali Bersha, admitted after the incident, that “the people of Albania should know that Himara has been a bilingual community for about 200 years.” There is a problem with this statement Mr. Berisha. Greek was the only and chosen language in Himara and in Northern Epirus for over 3000 years. Still today everywhere you go in Northern Epirus it is the language of choice, there mother tounge
We call on the Albanian Government to respect the rights that the Greek minority is entitled to. The right to speak in there mother tongue freely. Also to respect all property and religious rights that are due to them.
We ask all Greek American societies and federations to please send out the following form and statement to the state dept, Embassies here, in Greece and in Albania
Thank you and God Bless
Fotis Galitsis Demetrios Koutoulas
President General Secretary