Friday, May 2, 2008

The mountain people (Gorani)

15:00 Fri 02 May 2008 - Spasena Baramova

A little more than a month after Bulgaria recognised Kosovo in a joint act with Croatia and Hungary, European Affairs Minister Gergana Grancharova became the first Bulgarian minister to make an official visit to the newly proclaimed republic.

Along with meetings with high-ranking Kosovar and Western officials, Grancharova’s programme included talks with representatives of the Gorani community in Kosovo, including Mursel Halili, chairperson of the Gora Civil Initiatiative party.

The Gorani are a Slavic ethnic group adhering to Islam. In all Slav languages the word “gora” means “mountain”, hence the English equivalent of “Gorani” would be “mountain people”. Since Bulgarian scientists have published research showing linguistic and ethnic similarities between the Gorani and the Bulgarians over the years, debate has centred around their possible Bulgarian origin and whether they should be recognised as a Bulgarian minority.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

From Stalin to saints

Tom Blass
Published 01 May 2008

Tom Blass finds jaunty funeral parlours and newly restored monasteries and mosques in rural Albania

Hurtling along the Drino Valley floor, my taxi driver forced me to repeat after him the names of the villages that we passed through. It was a torture of sorts and to change the subject I pointed out a rash of bunkers, the concrete pimples that polka-dot the countryside, and from which Albania's former dictator Enver Hoxha believed his loyal citizens would one day defend the motherland unto their death.

The driver transferred his energies to a pantomime of machine-gun spraying and the steering wheel was left to trace the contours of the contorted road by itself. I wondered whether I had made a fatal error. But within an hour he had deposited me alive at my destination, planted a (manly) kiss on my cheek, and given me back half the fare.

It was a generous, kind gesture but, had the journey proved terminal, the likelihood is that I would still have remained well catered for. Funeral parlours in Albania are commonplace, jaunty establishments. They leave the door open and the radio on and are more ubiquitous, say, than fast-food restaurants, and about on a par with pet shops, lending the impression that Albanians die more often than other people (having eaten fewer hamburgers and bought many canaries). Statistically this is highly improbable, and the more likely explanation is that both private enterprise and public mourning, in a ceremonial sense, were denied them for so long.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008


One week ago the Greeks of Albania in Himara Region proposed to D.Foreign Minister of Greece to implement the agreement for tow citizenship of Greeks in Albania, to have the rights to vote in Greece and to have their autonomy inside Albanian territory.

According to Albanian newspaper “Panorama” which referred to BBC Albanian Section, the new Kosovo Constitution will predict the possibility for which Kosovo Albanian to have another identity, the Albanian passport.

The tow citizenship of Albanians will be reality after the Kosovo Constitution will enter in power in July 2008. Is the first time that the possibility “de jure” of Albanians both Tirana and Pristine, to be reality as the first step of “Greater Albania”.

Anyway, the possibility of tow citizenship now is to be really for Albania, Serbia, Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria citizens who should take double passport by mother lands.

Actually the minorities, the Greeks in Albania, the Gorans (bullgarian) in Albania, Kosovo and Fyrom, the Serbs of Kosovo and the Albanians of Preshevo province in southern Serbia, have expressed their possibility to have mother land passport.

One week ago the Greeks of Albania in Himara Region proposed to D/Foreign Minister of Greece to implement the agreement for tow citizenship of Greeks in Albania, to have the rights to vote in Greece and to have their autonomy inside Albanian territory.

According to the Greek Lobby of USA actually the number of Greeks of Albania who most part live in Greece, is about 600 thousand, when Tirana is categorical against, but the Albanian government has failed to make the general counting population and continues to censure the estimates about the minority groups.

The Gorans (Bulgarian) of Albania sent one week ago messages to Sofie to have in high consideration the Bulgarian community in Albania. High represent of Bulgaria, V. Prime Minister has visited Tirana last week for “important talks”, but according to information, Bulgaria wanted by Tirana to "safe" the Bulgarian minority in Albania. Sofie has given about 150 thousand Bulgarian passports for their "citizens" in Albania, estimates never known by Tirana.

The requests of minority groups of Southern West Balkan Region to be united by the “mother states” is going straight to the referendums to another faze after the stability of the region, which most to be guarantied by NATO alliance. The first step which obliges the States to protect and to integrate minorities groups giving tow citizenship for their compatriots is actually become “de facto” if the voluntary of the peoples for peace and prosperity is an important factor for general stability of the region.
South Stream a 30-year agreement

The Greek government on Wednesday unveiled the basic points of an Energy Agreement signed between Greece and Russia for the construction and operation of the South Stream natural gas pipeline on Greek territory.

The Greek section of the natural gas pipeline will begin from the Greek-Bulgarian borders carrying natural gas to Italy. The agreement will have an initial duration of 30 years, carrying around 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually. Greece will absorb part of this quantity and will also receive transit fees. Under the agreement, Gazprom and Desfa will soon sign an agreement to set up a joint venture to take over construction and operation of the natural gas pipeline.

The Energy Agreement seeks to upgrade energy security in Europe, supports the creation of a new natural gas pipeline system from the Russian Federation through the Black Sea, to supply Greece and other European countries.

It also seeks to create the necessary conditions to plan, build and operate this system according to national legislations and international treaties. Under the plan, the new company will be preferably based in Greece, with both parts sharing an equal 50 pct.