Will the Greek minority participate in the census in Albania?
The start of the controversial population census in Albania is approaching (1 October) and the climate remains tense because of the Albanian provocations against the Greek minority living in the country.
The Northern Epirots are in difficult position, after receiving more provocations, not to declare their religion and Greek ethnicity. The Albanians aim at the greatest possible reduction of the power of the Greek minority.
However on such an important national issue, it seems that the Greek minority is divided. On the one hand there are those who say that everyone should participate in the census and declare without fear their Greek nationality and Orthodox religion.
“Only this will give a definitive answer to … the tricks of the Albanians’, they say. Please note that the Albanians have announced even penalties for those that will not declare Albanian ethnicity, creating strong reactions to minority populations.
On the other hand, the organization of the Greek national minority “Omonia” has expressed the view that Northern Epirots should not participate in the census, because this census will not be based on international standards.
Omonia announced yesterday that it will hold an event in Hotel Divani Caravel, on October 2, at 11 am. Omonia will inform the expatriates, “about the reasons for non participation in the census. We will denounce the parody of this proceeding and we will report the continuing provocative violations of our rights by the Albanian government ” as it is stressed on the announcement.
“What to do?”
So, many are wondering what to do eventually. “Participate in the census, or not?” they ask.
The anxiety is aggravated by the fact that the other Greek party, MEGAN, and virtually all other organizations (Associations, Fellowships) of Northern Epirots have not decided about what ultimately the Greeks must do!
Moreover, the Greek government’s position on the issue remains unknown! Despite the constant exhortations of parties of the opposition- from Nea Dimokratia mostly – to the government to express its position on the census, the government remains “silent”, something that certainly does not help Northern Epirots.
“Just a few days before the census and there is not a common and unanimous effort” say many Northern Epirots who live in Ioannina.
They also stress, that all expatriate organizations, in cooperation with the Greek Government must immediately determine the attitude against the census, whatever might that be as long as everybody will follow it.
Otherwise, if this confusion, that now prevails, continues, “there is a danger that Greeks will be counted as fewer than what they really are, allowing the Albanians to redouble their efforts to shrink our strength.”
Please note that Northern Epirots, according to estimates are around 400,000.
Not credible …
The report states that there are no credible statistics on religious stratification in the country, since the last census in such a subject was done in 1939! The issue of religion is directly related to the population census and, as the reliable website borioipirotika.blogspot.com wrote, it has to do “with the objections of the Muslims not to record the religious strata of the Albanian society.”
The Americans see positively, that the great Cathedral of the Resurrection in Tirana is under construction, but they are worried because no land and permission was given for the erection of the cathedral in Vlora as they consider rightful the request of the Church to grant land. Please note, that the Cathedral of Gjirokaster is built, but with many obstacles from the Albanians.