Scanderbeg Year and November national holidays

Scanderbeg Year and November national holidays
This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and

By Alfred Peza

More than the act of the declaration of independence and Albania’s victory on fascism, this year’s November holidays served as moment to officially launch the activities relating to what the Prime Minister has announced as Scanderbeg Year. 17 January of next year will mark the 550th anniversary of the death of our National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg.

Therefore, all of 2018, which coincides with this anniversary, will be filled with activities and symbols in honor of the brave man from Kruja and leader of Albanians against Ottoman invasion. Next year is also expected to be an important moment for Albania. The country is expected to take decisive steps toward integration and accession in the united European family. Skanderbeg himself fought to uphold these values five or six centuries ago and western civilization was very grateful of his endeavor.

If, through these activities, we want to serve in the long-run to the commemoration of Skanderbeg and November 28th and 29th, we also need to invest on projects which will not yield quick results, but their values will be eternal.

First of all, Skanderbeg year will be more meaningful if the original weapons and the helmet of Skanderbeg would return to Albania. It is a known fact that they are in Vienna and we must do everything we can to bring them back. Of course, it’s not as simple as it looks. The process of bringing back artifacts belonging to historical and cultural heritage, is one of the most complicated and the most difficult ones in bilateral and international relations in the world. The archive of the Albanian Foreign Ministry contains a series of documents which shed light on a diplomatic, and institutional effort of our state to bring them back from Austria.

This effort has started since after the Congress of Lushnja. The relevant documents date back from 1922 until today. On the 100th anniversary of Independence, along with the Missal of Gjon Buzuku arriving from the Vatican to our National Library, we also saw the arrival of the weapons and the helmet of Skanderbeg to be exhibited in the National History Museum. Albania may not have all of the objects that have been lost and robbed throughout the centuries here, but we must do everything we can to have them.

Secondly, 28 November, Albania’s Independence Day would be more meaningful in its dimensions, symbolic, memory and the way it’s commemorated, if along with many historical documents of that period, we would also see the two original documents of this act: The document of the declaration of independence along with the signatures of the founding fathers of our state. Secondly, the original red and black flag that was waved in the balcony of the Vlora family by Ismail Bey on that Autumn day in Vlora.

Thirdly, even 29 November, the day of Albania’s victory over fascism would be more meaningful in its commemoration if there was an original minutes of the meeting of foundation of the Albanian Communist Party. Partisans and other party leaders, entered Tirana as winners. They led and governed this country for 45 years in a row. Spartak Ngjela testifies that in 1986, when he suffered in the regime’s political prisons, he sent a letter to Foto Çami and Ramiz Alia, saying that where he had knowledge for the existence and the place where the document could be.

It’s up to the Albanian state to make all the necessary efforts, not only concerning these acts, documents and artifacts, which relate to the issues of the recent days, but also for the numerous pieces of evidence of our national identity to come back to Albania. There are many other things like these ones which must be obtained in order for our archives to be enriched. There’s no need for a lot of funds to do this. The only thing which is needed is national awareness, vision and lots of will.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy

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