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This Belonged To Your Great-Great-Grandmother | Main | Dave's Done
June 03, 2007

Albania Not Even Pretending To Be A Modern Nation Anymore

Not that they ever really were. Dig this shit:

Stuck in their cottage outside the northern Albanian village of Mnela, 14-year-old Flori Bardoku and his younger sisters watch suspiciously whenever anybody makes the hour-long journey up the path to their home.

The reason for their caution is understandable: while most of their trickle of visitors are villagers bearing food and gifts, they know that one day someone may come to kill them.

The four siblings and their mother have lived in fear of their lives ever since their father, Martin, killed his cousin's wife in Mnela after discovering her in bed with another man. He is serving 10 years in jail for her death, but in conservative rural Albania, justice is seldom served by courts alone. In accordance with ancient clan tradition, the murdered woman's brothers have declared a "blood feud" against Bardoku's family - which means any of his nearest and dearest can be killed in exchange.

...

By rights, medieval customs such as blood feuds should be a thing of the past. While Albania remains a clan-based society, today's younger generation are generally much more reluctant than their ancestors were to spill blood in defence of family honour. Yet recently, the problem has got much worse - after clan chiefs, in a bizarre adaptation to 21st century ways, ruled that families could "outsource" blood feuds to professional contract killers.

The article goes on to say that, while the communists managed to suppress this sort of thing, after it collapsed in 1991 they reformed something called the "Council of Elders". I think it's safe to say that when you've got yourself a Council of Elders to run the show, you're way past caring anymore. If I read that they were bringing back trial by ordeal, I wouldn't even bat an eyelid.

I've managed to find a video that gives you a pretty good idea of what life in Albania is like these days.

I don't know. Maybe we're not so different after all.


digg this
posted by AndrewR at 08:48 AM

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