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Astrit 10-10-2009 02:07 AM

[QUOTE=Risto the Great;24647]Astrit, do you believe Ghegs and Tosks descended from the same people?[/QUOTE]

Yes, without a doubt but they have evolved in different ways.
Nevertheless they have mare similarities than differences.

Risto the Great 10-10-2009 02:54 AM

What do you feel caused them to evolve differently?

Astrit 10-10-2009 03:21 AM

[QUOTE=Risto the Great;24649]What do you feel caused them to evolve differently?[/QUOTE]

I will name a few among many reasons

Ghegs(Northerners) were predominately Catholic and supported Rome while Tosks(Southerners) were predominantly Orthodox and felt closer to the Eastern Roman Empire favoring Constantinople.

Southerners lost their tribal society earlier than Northern Albanians.

South and central Albania was exposed to more of the outside world because of the coastline, warmer climate.... While the north was more isolated due to it's harsh mountains. Which led to Ghegs becoming herders while Tosks became farmers, merchants...

When Albanians were conquered by the Ottomans it complicated the situation even further. Most Ghegs became Sunni Muslims, while several tribes fled in isolated mountain areas where they continued practicing Catholicism. The majority Tosks remained Orthodox those that did converted to Islam did not choose to become Sunni but rather Bektashi's which most other Muslims would likely consider infidels because of their Christian in this case specifically Orthodox and pagan influence.

More contemporary causes of the rift would be communism. Most communist officials including the head of the party Enver were Tosks. It is no secret that they favored southerners while oppressing the north more so than any other area. Gheg culture suffered during communism while it's Tosk counterpart flourished. More money was poured building the infrastructure of cities in south and central Albania then the north.

From the 1990's onward Tosks favor the successor to the Communist party the Socialist Party PS, while Ghegs generally lean toward the Democratic Party or PD. There is still to the lesser extent some rivalry but we are still united by our Albanian identity above all else.

TrueMacedonian 10-10-2009 03:39 PM

[QUOTE=Astrit;24645]Who's descendants are the Albanians? I am interested in finding out your point of view.[/QUOTE]

Who wouldn't be the ancestors of todays Albanian is the real question that should be asked. Slavs, Turks, Vlachs, Arabs, etc. And it very well may be possible that alot of your descendents are from the Caucauses. If I ask Tito for his time machine maybe we can find out together.

Soldier of Macedon 10-10-2009 07:36 PM

[QUOTE]I would like to see [B]how many examples there are of Albanians claiming to be Illyrians, or people claiming Albanians to be Illyrians, prior to 1854[/B]. Perhaps some of our Albanian members who periodically visit the forum can answer this for us.[/QUOTE]
Astrit, can you answer this question?

TrueMacedonian 10-10-2009 08:24 PM


Fatos Lubonja
Re-Inventing Skenderbeg
Albanian nationalism and Nato neo-colonialism

Skenderbeg as a national hero of Albania is just one sign of "history-making" in Albania and Serbia. Fatos Lubonja writes on how the creation of national myths and memories over the centuries has provided the seedbed for the conflicts in the Balkans, but that such memories can also show the way to an open society and provide hope for the future.
In the centre of Tirana stands a monument to the Albanian national hero. At the centre of the Albanian collective awareness, this man was the son of an Albanian prince; he was taken away by the Ottomans as a child, and brought up and trained by them to become a powerful Ottoman general. However, according to the myth as it is always retold, he did not forget his origins and when he grew up he turned against the Turks and liberated his fatherland, fighting in 1443 for her freedom for 25 years until his death.

Skenderbeg represents a climax in Albanian historical memory just as the Serbs consider the battle of Kosova in 1389 in which Prince Milos killed the Turkish Sultan, one of the most important myths in the Serbian collective awareness.

[B]Despite centuries of repetition, both these myths increasingly "forget" two historical truths, that the mother of Skenderbeg (Vojsava) was a Slav, and that Albanians also fought alongside the Serbs against the Ottomans at the Battle of Kosova under the flag of Christianity.[/B]

After six centuries, this historical "oversight" has also produced its own anti-climax: Albanians and Serbs are now killing each other, and hate each other as never before in their history, convinced not only that they are fighting for the sake of the injustices perpetrated against them, but that they are settling the accounts of their forebears.

[B]History Shorn of Myths[/B]
Writing in the 19th century about nationalism, Engels made a distinction between "historical" and "non-historical" peoples. According to him, the first, among whom he counts the larger states of western and central Europe, have been able to construct viable states. The second, among whom Engels counts the southern Slavs (without even mentioning the Albanians), lack the necessary ability and energy. Hence, in Engels' view, these nonhistorical peoples were to be banished from the stage of history in order to facilitate the development of the historical peoples. This reflects one of the concepts of Hegel, who wrote that annexation is a crime against which one has a right to revolt only if the annexed people equally represents as large, fertile, and viable an IDEA as the IDEA personified by the occupier. There are nations which represent no IDEA and have lost their reason for existence; these nations are doomed ultimately to disappear.
Yet since that time, history has shown that the nations which, according to Engels, were to disappear as peoples "without a history" have survived.

During this time, some of these nations have liberated themselves and have made their own history (to a greater or lesser extent, earlier or later in time). It appears that "history-making" has been the main factor in forming these nations. However, the Serbs and the Albanians have pursued different paths of forming nations, and these different paths have created a widening gulf between the Serbs and the Albanians both split from the body of the Ottoman Empire about a century ago. Yet Albanian nationalism began later than Serbian nationalism. At the beginning of the 19th century, when Greeks began to aspire for political freedom, nationalism was seen as the harbinger of a movement of mankind toward a better and fairer world. These views impelled Byron to fight for Greek independence. A similar movement had taken place in Serbia; guerrilla wars and uprisings by Serbs brought them limited autonomy in 1815. Meanwhile, the Albanian nationalist movement was as yet unborn. [B]The largely Islamicised Albanians still felt themselves to be a part of the Ottoman Empire, which secured high offices and privileges for their leaders.[/B]

It is very important to realise that Albanian nationalism took root later, and in a different historical context. It appeared at the close of the Russian-Turkish war (1878) and subsequently in the course of the Ottoman Empire's rapid decay, in response to the need to preserve Albanian territories from the Slavs and Greeks. [B]Note the contrast: on the one hand, the nationalism of Albania's neighbours began as part of the need to achieve liberation from Ottoman rule by those with a shared Christian religious identity; on the other hand, Albanian nationalism, at this time largely Muslim, started first in response to the need to be free from the dangers posed by the Albanians' neighbours, who were Christians. Turkish support was an important factor in this. However, those who are today known as the leaders of the Albanian national rebirth, who conceived the spirit of romantic nationalism, have felt the need for separation from Turkey, and began to appeal to history and legends evoking the pre-Ottoman period.[/B] It was in this way that they came across and retrieved the national hero of Skenderbeg, who had fought against the Turks. This dualism in Albanian history is reflected in the very name of this hero. He has two names, and it is hard for Albanians to say which is the most important: Gjergj Kastrioti, which is his Christian name, or Skenderbeg, which is his Turkish title.

The historical hatred of the Serbs for the Albanians is rooted in the latter's links to the Turks. For Serbs, Albanians conquered their lands by means of Turkish expansion. Albanian hatred for the Serbs is linked to the fact that after the Russo-Turkish war and later - after the Balkan wars (1912) - the better organised and more powerfully allied Slavs of the south ("Yugoslavs"), took the land where Albanians had lived for centuries. According to their own myths, Albanians claim themselves descendants of the Illyrians who lived in the north of Greece since the times of antiquity; hence, in their view, Albanians had inhabited this land for centuries prior to the Serbs. Kosova is the biggest part of that land.
Why Have There Been Recurrent Ethnic Cleansings of Albanians?
Contending Albanian and Serbian nationalisms have been territorially hungry for a long time. Since 1878 and throughout the twentieth century, Albanian nationalism has been fed by a desire to defend inhabited territories and aspirations for a union of separated lands. Meanwhile Serbian nationalism, which never really regarded the consolidation of their own nation state as complete, has been nourished by a recurrent yearning to ethnically cleanse their own territories inhabited by the Albanians as well as a ravenous racism towards Albanians. Throughout these conflicts, Serbs have almost always been in the position of the strongest and of the aggressor while Albanians were typically victims who often tried unsuccessfully to defend themselves. These territorial longings became more and more complex as each group gradually became more regionally dispersed (especially the Serbs).

The first ethnic cleansing of the Albanians happened in 1878 (after the Russo-Turkish war) when Serbs had their independent state and took a part of the Ottoman Empire inhabited by Albanians. "The more Albanians you kick out of our land the more patriotic you are" was the slogan of their king Obrenovic at that time. It was successful. More than 100,000 Albanians were removed at that time from the surroundings of the city of Nish to other parts of the Ottoman Empire.[1]

The second ethnic cleansing dates from the year 1913 just after the Balkan wars, when the Serbs took Kosova and that part of the Ottoman Empire which is now Macedonia. This second wave of cleansing was stopped by the explosion of the First World War.

In the 1920's, agricultural reform gave the Serbs another pretext to expel more Albanians by claiming that the land was given to them unjustly by the Turks.

In the 1930's, Serbia made an agreement with Turkey to accept Albanians. During this time many Albanians left for Turkey.

In 1937, a Serbian academic named Vaso «ubrilovic, presented a memorandum to the Serbian fascist prime minister Stojadinovic entitled For the Ethnic Cleansing of the Albanians. It's a long document with several chapters. After one chapter on the history, a second describes the Serbian need for more vital space, only to be followed by chapters that portray how the Albanians had to be removed and were; then, how the colonisation of this area with Serbs had to be organised.[2] The project never materialised because one year later the troubles of the Second World War began. (During Tito's time «ubrilloviÁ became first a Serbian then Yugoslavian academic and member of the Yugoslavian Communist League).

During the Second world war, Albanians thought that their moment of revenge had finally arrived, when the Italians and then the Germans created a "greater Albania". The Kosova Albanians even created a military division named "Skenderbeg" which fought alongside with the Germans (against Serbs). But this moment would be short-lived.

Even during Tito's time in the 1950's, when an effort to disarm the population was made, many Kosova Albanians found it easier to go to Turkey (as permitted by the pre-war treaty), than to relinquish their weapons or remain undefended.

Nevertheless, generally speaking, we can say that communism somehow stopped the ethnic cleansing of Albanians from Kosova. In order to remain at the centre of power in a multiethnic Yugoslavia with careening ethnic tensions, Tito was forced to juggle ethnic balances with the internationalism of the communist ideology. That's why he gave autonomy to Kosova in 1974. Another factor that helped the Albanians to survive ethnic cleansing has been their demographic explosion, which Serbs have always regarded as very threatening.
The disintegration of Yugoslavia
It has often been simplistically remarked that fifty years of communism were like a long sound sleep which froze the memory of a people, who, after waking up, found themselves back in the pre-communist period. But the memory of the communist period is much more complex, like history itself. A half century of communism in Tito's Yugoslavia revealed that different ethnic groups can live together without hate. This is only a part of that history, yet it is precisely that aspect which manipulators of history want us to forget. Another part of that history disclosed a strong nationalist substratum under the communist ideology; this substratum started to appear more and more with the failure of communism as an economic system and as a hope for a better future. Even worse, the communist regime did not allow the development of some of the key elements of civil society, such as the pluralism of parties and values as well as the acceptance of diversity. Thus, new struggles for power (which in the Balkans means the manipulation of crowds without individuals) were based on nothing other than a nationalist substratum.

If there was a crucial moment for the outbreak of evil, that was the year 1989, when Milosevic, realising the end of the magic power of communist symbols as instruments of power, turned to nationalist symbols, promising the Serbs that he would repair all the injustices done to them during Tito's time. That promise was made in Kosova Polje during the six hundredth anniversary of the lost battle against the Turks. The first concrete action to emerge from his promise was the removal of the autonomy of Kosova. This event marks the beginning of the disintegration of Yugoslavia. There were prophets who, at that time, predicted that the process of disintegration would come full circle to return to where it started, in Kosova.

In the Yugoslavia of that time a crack began to deepen and widen - a crack that had remained invisible and silent under the ice and iron of the Cold War and the communist principles of internationalism. That was the stress fracture caused by the crushing opposition between the principle of self determination on the one hand and that of unchangeable borders on the other hand. One ideal way for resolving such powerfully opposing forces was shown by the experience of Western Europe. But the problem was: Are the people of the Balkans mature enough to follow that example or not? The disintegration of Yugoslavia showed that they were not. The solution of that widening split in Yugoslavia offered three models: the clean separation, like the separation of Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia; the imposition of connivance by the international community like in Bosnia and, what the Serbs had applied till the beginning of the war in Kosova, the domination of the strongest over the weakest combined with gradual ethnic cleansing. During that period, the Albanians of Kosova fooled themselves. By comparing themselves to Slovenia which had achieved independence with only 1 million inhabitants, these Albanians naively pretended that because they were two million in number, they had twice as much of a right to live separately from the Serbs than those in Slovenia. To this fantasy, the Albanians of Kosova even added the argument that they should be independent because they were quite different from the Slavs; indeed, they maintained, they were not members of the Slavic family of peoples (such as Serbians, Croatians, Slovenes, Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Belo-Russians, Czechs, Poles, etc.); indeed, they would reassure themselves, Albanians spoke quite a different language and had a different religion. Or again, these Albanians of Kosova would remind themselves, they started their movement for independence as a peaceful movement. Their leader, Rugova, in keeping with the times, was increasingly referred to as the Gandhi of Kosova.

Meanwhile, the growth of the Serb repression created a new and more frustrated generation. Most young Kosova Albanians had no chance to be well educated so that they might support a peaceful movement respecting new Western myths like those of human rights, etc. Especially after the Dayton Accords of 1995, during which the Kosova issue was taken completely off the agenda, the Albanians of Kosova became convinced that their issue would be considered by the international community only if they would start fighting with arms for their cause. It goes without saying that the Albanians started their rebellion knowing their military inferiority, but having in mind that the main protagonists of the division of borders in the Balkans: those who made the Congress of Berlin in 1878 and that of London in 1913 today have another relationship with each other and another vision for the world. These Albanians of Kosova were convinced that the powers that be would not let the Serbs carry out their ongoing ethnic cleansing. They were right, at least partially.
Controversy of the war
In Kosova there have been simultaneously two wars and three protagonists: the protagonists were the western world, the Serbs and the Albanians. The two wars were: a nationalist war between the Serbs and the Albanians and the war of the western world against the Serbs in the name of human rights and multi-ethnicity. In fact, the Serbs and Albanians have been and still are in an anachronistic situation towards modernity. The mainstream of their politics, based on ethnic nationalism, goes against the actual western mainstream which supports peace rather than war, democracy rather than dictatorship, multi-ethnicity rather than ethnic nationalism and integration rather than separatism. This mismatch between the times and the spirits of the peoples who live in them was especially evident even in the old medieval castle of Rambouillet during the failed negotiations in February 1999. The Albanian and Serb representatives remained in separate halls while the three negotiators, the American Hill, the Austrian Petrish and the Russian Majorski were running from one's team hall to the other in order to convince them to sign the agreement. The failure of Rambouillet through the signature of only Albanian representatives was essentially an expression of the conflict between these two spirits of time.

Despite interpretations which claimed that the declared goals of the war of Nato against Serbia were not its true goals and despite the fact that the Albanians were forced to sign that agreement because they needed western help, Serbs bear great responsibility for opposing the aspirations of humanity for more peace, integration and human rights. It is true that neither Serbs nor Albanians were fighting for multi-ethnicity in Kosova. "Non-historical peoples" fight for different myths. As has been the case several times in this century, these myths and their battles change the history of the so-called "historical peoples." Yet now is the time when Albanians have the opportunity to embrace the better myths of universal human rights than the earlier myths of nationalism and communism.

To paraphrase the Prussian Karl von Clausewitz's definition of war as "a continuation of politics by other means," bombardments were the continuity by military means of what the West tried to realise peacefully in Rambouillet.

Now there exists an especially intractable situation. Historical events have created a horrible memory for these so-called nonhistorical peoples. Albanians and Serbs are forced to live together at a time when they hate each other more than ever in their history. There is no sign that Serbs feel guilty for the atrocities they committed towards Albanians. On their side, Albanians have never been less ready to forgive the Serbs. The west has to impose its civilisation through its army. It's a new form of colonialism that has its good and bad sides.[3] We are being called to a wider and deeper history, but exactly what will come next is very unpredictable. Perhaps some future Albanian savant will rediscover Skenderbeg's shifting allegiances (like his father's conversion from Orthodoxy to Catholicism) as prototypically Western and worthy of emulation; hence Skenderbeg can be retrieved as a champion of a multiethnic Albania/Kosova! Anything is possible, but don't hold your breath; one of the essential things the recent conflict has taught us is that we nonhistorical peoples have historical memories and myths, not just changeable allegiances and preferences. But therein also lies our hope. Today Albania remains a fascinating illustration of the kind of existential questions about the necessity and harm which myths bring to the creation of a community and its transition toward a civil societyča society in which some of the most important values are the acceptance of diversity, a critical spirit, and consciousness that to err is an essential part of being human.[4]

[1] The city of Nis is in current day eastern Serbia.
[2] Vaso Cubrilovic was one of the Bosnians who participated in the plot to kill the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The language of "vital space" echoes wartime Nazi language of Lebensraum ("living space") used as a pretext for expansion and aggression. According to Judah, in 1937 Cubrivolic invoked the examples of German expulsions of Jews and forced population movements by Russians; during and after the war, Cubrivolic again suggested (then to communist authorities) that Albanians (and others) be expelled from Yugoslavia. See Tim Judah, (Yale, 1997), 149-150.
[3] The author clarified that he favors a presence of the west, in the name of the myths of human rights, as long as it is a "wise presence". He has further developed these themes in an article entitled
[4] This concluding sentence paraphrases a similar claim in another essay by the author on the role of the national-communist myths in Albania entitled,

Soldier of Macedon 10-11-2009 01:20 AM

The TV show with terrorist Thaci being lectured by the Albanians of Albania.


Soldier of Macedon 10-11-2009 01:27 AM

Astrit, I put it to you, that Thracian has much more to do with Balto-Slavic languages than Albanian. In fact, of that I am most certain, anybody that has taken a look at a Thracian lexicon can clearly see this.

The fact that people look to Illyrians on the one hand, Thracians on the other, Pelasgians on the other, and so forth, demonstrates the weakness in all of those theories. As little of Illyrian has survived barring a few words and names, it is not possible to definitively determine a non-relation between it and Thracian, for all we know, they may have been large dialectal groups of the same mother tongue. Some words certainly seem to indicate as such, while others still, clearly show more relation to Balto-Slavic than Albanian.

How can the Illyrians use a word like 'Osseria(tes)' for a lake (Macedonian: Ezero, Russian: Ozero), yet Albanians only have 'Liqen' (Italian: Lago)?

Where are the pre-1854 Albanian Illyrians?

makedonin 10-11-2009 06:15 AM

Some interesting stuff from [URL=""]Prof. Dr. Kaplan Resuli-Burovich [/URL].

Soldier of Macedon 10-13-2009 03:20 AM

Origins of Albanian language and ethnos
Evliya Celebi was a 17th century Turkish traveller during the Ottoman period who wrote about his experiences in the empire. There are a number of obvious discrepancies in his works concerning european history and placename etymology, he also overlooks local identities in favour of former powers subdued by the Ottomans; failing to make reference to Macedonians, Vlachs and other groups (at least in the chapters I am intending to cite) and instead speaks of Macedonia as being placed near Constantinople. Europe, or non-Ottoman Europe is called Firengistan, while the citation of a Bosnian language in Kosovo goes against his name for the language of the Serbs, which is Latin.

Despite these inaccuracies, however, his recorded travels still provide a useful source for Ottoman society, and, the Albanians, whom he refers to as the 'Arnavud'. Celebi had developed a great respect for the Albanians after spending much time with them in their dwellings, learning of their people, history, customs and language. Given his attention to detail to this particular group as opposed to others in the Balkans, he can consequently be regarded as one of the first chroniclers of the modern Albanians. The information he provides, be it fact or myth, largely derives from what was told to him by the Albanians themselves.

Celebi states that the first ancestors of the Albanians were Arabs who arrived in Epirus during the 7th century. After the rise of Islam the Quraysh spread out into the Caucasus regions and Celebi states that these migrant Quraysh tribes formed the ancestral lineage of the Circassian, Lazkha and Abkhaz peoples. A segment of this group broke away and is said to have sought refuge with the king of Spain. On page 191, Celebi states the following:
[QUOTE]When the blessed Omar conquered Jerusalem, Jabal could not remain any longer in that place, so they boarded ships and took [B]refuge with the king of Spain. Jabal-i Alhama was given the mountains of Dukat, Progonat and Frengis in the Albanian regions of Avlona and Delvina to live in, which were then under Spanish rule.[/B] These lands were previously uninhabited and, within a short period of time, he settled them and, mingling with the Franks, [B]they created the Albanian language from a mixture of Frankish and Arabic[/B]. The place they originally inhabited, and where they still reside after many generations, is now called the mountain of Quryelesh, since they are descended from the Quraysh tribe of Arabs. [B][U]Accordingly, the Albanian people boast that they are descended from the Quraysh, the companions of the Prophet.[/U][/B] Although Jabal-i Alhama died as a Muslim and was buried at this site according to his last will and testament, his descendants intermarried with the treacherous Franks and became Frankish and bookless themselves..........The Albanians claim that their ancestor Jabal-i Alhama was a companion of the Prophet and died a Muslim. [B][U]In short, Jabal-i Alhama of the Quraysh tribe is the ancestor of the Albanian[/U][/B]..........[/QUOTE]
His explanation on how the Albanian language came about and developed is most interesting given that the said language does not belong to any other group in Europe, has a huge number of loanwords, and has several characteristics that do not appear to be European. When referring to the surrounds of Lake Skadar on page 41, Celebi states:
[QUOTE]They all speak Arnaud, which is [B]like no other tongue[/B]. In origin, the Arnaudi were one of the Arab tribes of Quraysh in Mecca. That is why there are some Arabic words still in use among them. When these Arnaud tribesmen emerged from the mountains of Skadar and Vlora, [B][U]they mingled with the Italians and Franks, and so, during the Caliphate of Omar, produced a language between Arabic and Frankish[/U][/B].[/QUOTE]

If the Albanians are descended from Jabal-i Alhama who lived during the Caliphate of Omar (634 - 644), they would not have arrived in present-day Albania during his lifetime, nor even in Spain, which fell under Muslim rule in the 8th century. Their arrival into the Balkans may have taken place at a later date, as Muslims conquered Sicily in the 9th and 10th centuries. There is also a source (Michael Attaliates?) that apparently wrote of a people called 'Arbanitai' who were transplanted as mercenaries from Sicily to Albania by a rebel military commander called George Maniakos in 1042.

However it took place, the story and legend of Jabal-i Alhama must have been popular among Albanians, as he was even said to be buried outside the city of Elbasan. On page 189 Celebi writes:
[QUOTE]All the Albanians visit the grave, [B]claiming him as their ancestor[/B]. [/QUOTE]
On page 65, Celebi states the following:
[QUOTE]Jabal-i Alhama subsequently died as a Muslim in the city of Elbasan. In the Tuhfa history, there is extensive information on this Arab tribe. [B][U]This clan of Quraysh actually do look like Arabs[/U][/B]........[/QUOTE]

One of the most significant points concerning Celebi's works about the Albanians is the complete absence of George Kastriot Skenderbeg, despite the extensive visits and interaction.

**Source: Robert Dankoff, Robert Elsie; Evliya Celebi in Albania and adjacent regions (Kosovo, Montenegro, Ohrid).

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