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Reality of Cameria

THE ALBANIAN MINORITY AND CAMERIA MASSACRE IN GREECE 

THE GEOGRAPHY WERE THE ALBANIAN MINORITY LIVES AND SHORT HISTORY

              CAMERIA REGION BEGINS FROM THE SOUTH OF ALBANIA AND INCLUDES SOUTH EPIRUS WHERE THE ALBANIANS HAVE LIVED SINCE THE ANTIQUITY. THIS FACT HAS ALSO BEEN ACCEPTED BY THE GREEK AUTHORS AND THE GREAT GREEK ENCYCLOPEDIA, THE PEOPLE LIVING IN THE REGION AT PRESENT AND THE LANGUAGE THEY USE IS THE GREATEST PROOF OF THIS.

              ALBANIANS ARE ONE OF THE OLDEST PEOPLE OF THE BALKAN PENINSULA AND ARE OF THE MOST DEMOGRAPHICALLY SPREAD NATIONS.

             IT IS POSSIBLE TO GATHER THE ALBANIANS HAVING LIVED IN GREECE UNDER THREE GROUPS. THESE ARE :

             1. ORTHODOX ALBANIANS (ARNAVITES)

            2. MUSLIM ALBANIANS (CAMERIA)

            3. EMIGRANTS, REFUGEE ALBANIANS COME TO GREECE AFTER THE COLD WAR.

             ORTHODOX AND MUSLIM ALBANIANS HAVE BEEN SUBJECT TO EITHER EXILE OR ETHNIC CLEANSING OR ASSIMILATION IMPOSED BY THE GREEK STATE AT VARIOUS TIMES. ATHENS ADMINISTRATIONS HAVE NOT RECOGNIZED THEIR ETHNIC IDENTITY OR EXISTENCE AND AIM THAT ESPECIALLY THOSE OF ORTHODOX RELIGION ARE GREEK. ALTHOUGH IT IS KNOWN THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WITHIN THE ABOVE MENTIONED GROUP WHO DEFINE THEMSELVES AS GREEK, THE PRINCIPAL REASON FOR THIS IS THE POLICY OF GREECE BUSED ON ASSIMILATION.

             AS FOR THE MUSLIM CAMERIAN ALBANIANS, WHILE THEY HAD BEEN IN THE MAJORITY IN SOUTH EPIRUS UNTIL THE SECOND WORLD WAR, THEY WERE MASSACRED DURING THE GREEK CIVIL WAR IN 1944, THE SURVIVORS WERE FORCED TO FLEE TO ALBANIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES AS A RESULT OF ETHNIC CLEANSING.

             THE ALBANIANS IN THE OTHER GROUP ARE THE EMIGRANT/REFUGEE 150-200 THOUSAND AND WHO, DURING THE POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC TURBULENCE EXPERIENCED IN ALBANIA AFTER THE COLD WAR, COME TO GREECE THROUGH LEGAL OR ILLEGAL WAYS MAKING INDIVIDUAL OR MASS ATTEMPTS AS FROM THE LAKE 1980’S AND EARLY 1990’S AND WHO ALSO LOOKED FOR JOBS AND FOUND/DID NOT FIND THEM THROUGH LEGAL OR ILLICIT METHOD.

             IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN SOUND AND NEW DATA ABOUT THE EXACT NUMBER OF THE ETHNIC ALBANIANS IN GREECE, AS IT IS THE CAUSE WITH THE OTHER MINORITIES. THE LAST TWO NUMBERS STATED BY GREECE IN THIS RESPECT BELONG TO THE YEARS 1926 AND 1951, THE NUMBER OF THOSE MOTHER TONGUE IS ALBANIAN WAS INDICATED AS 18.773 IN THE FORMER YEAR AND AS 22.736 IN 1951. IN THE FOLLOWING CENSUS AND STATEMENTS, THE LANGUAGE AND THE EXISTENCE OF THIS MINORITY HAS NOT BEEN MENTIONED AS A RESULT OF CLAIMS OF BEING PERU GREEK AND HOMOGENEOUS GREEK. HOWEVER, HIGH NUMBERS HAVE BEEN PRONOUNCED CONCERNING THE ALBANIAN DIASPORA. THE DEMOCRATIC CAMERIA LEAGUE ORGANIZED IN THE USA GIVES THE NUMBER 100.000 FOR THE TOTAL ALBANIAN MINORITY. THE ORGANIZATION (FEDERAL UNION OF EUROPEAN NATIONALITIES) DEALING WITH ETHNIC  PROBLEMS AND THE MAIN BRANCH OF WHICH IS LOCATED IN NORTH GERMANY.

              FLENSBURG INDICATES THE POPULATION OF THE WHOLE LOCAL ETHNIC ALBANIAN MINORITY IN GREECE AS 95.000 THE CAMERIAN PATRIOTIC POLITICAL ASSOCIATION WHICH PUBLISHED A PAPER REGARDING THE MATTER IN JULY 1993 SPEAKS ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF APPROXIMATELY 250.000 – 300.000 ALBANIANS WHO DO NOT DISCLOSE THEIR ETHNIC IDENTIFY. 

OPPRESSION POLICIES IMPOSED ON THE ALBANIAN MINORITY BY GREECE

             A.            FOLLOWING THE GREEK’S CLAIMS THAT THE ALBANIANS COLLABORATED WITH THE OCCUPYING ITALIANS IN WORLD WAR II AND CIVIL WAR, THE ALBANIANS WERE BANISHED IN MASSES BOTH ALONG  THE BORDER OF ALBANIA AND IN THE OTHER REGIONS OF THE COUNTRY, MASSACRED OR DRIVEN A WAY TO VARIOUS REGIONS OF GREECE.

             THE GREEKS MASSACRED 3.242 CIVILIAN, PEOPLE IN WHOLE CAMERIA FROM JUNE 1944 TO MARCH 1945; 2900 OF THEM WERE OLD PEOPLE OR YOUNG MEN, 214 WOMEN AND 96 CHILDREN. IN ADDITION, 745 WOMEN WERE RAPED, 76 WOMEN ABDUCTED, 32 BABIES YOUNGER THAN 3 YEARS WERE MASSACRED, 68 VILLAGES WERE DESTROYED, 5.800 HOUSES AND SANCTUARIES, INCLUDING MOSQUES WERE BURNED DOWN AND DESTROYED AND THE HOUSES WERE PILLAGED.

             B.            EDES (DEMOCRATIC GREEK UNION) FORMING THE ANTI-COMMUNIST FRONT IN THE GREEK CIVIL WAR AND MOVING FIRST ON THE REPUBLICAN, THEN ON THE MONARCHIST LINE AND ITS HEAD GENERAL NAPOLEON ZERVAS, ON THE ONE HAND FOUGHT AGAINST THE COMMUNIST FORCES AND ON THE OTHER HAND CONDUCTED CLEANSING ACTS AGAINST NON-GREEK ELEMENTS, MACEDONIANS AND ALBANIANS. A PART OF THESE ATTACKS WAR DIRECTED TOWARDS THE EPIRUS REGION AND THE ALBANIANS LIVING IN CAMERIA.

              GENERAL ZERVAS WARNED OUT A WIDE-SCOPE MASSACRE AND ETHNIC CLEANSING IN CAMERIA IN JUNE 1944. THE IS SUE THAT OTHER STUDIES ALSO POINT OUT IS THAT CONDUCTING ETHNIC CLEANSING HAS BECOME A STATE TRADITION IN GREECE.

             C.            NOWADAYS, THE CAMERIAN ALBANIANS CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR THEIR RIGHTS AS VICTIMS OF THE GENOCIDE APPLIED TO THEM BY THE GREEK. WHILE THERE WAS 99% ALBANIAN POPULATION IN THE CITIES OF THE REGION AND 100 % IN THE VILLAGES UNTIL THE CAMERIAN GENOCIDE DAYS 24 JUNE 1944, THIS POPULATION IS NOW SPREAD. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE ETHNIC IDENTITY OF THE ORTHODOX ALBANIANS IS DENIED AND ENDEAVORED TO BE SHOWN AS IF IT DOES NOT EXIST.

              IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE 1945 EVENTS, THE GREEK ADMINISTRATORS SETTLED GREEK, ULAH AND GYPSY POPULATION HERE TO UPSET THE DEMOGRAPHIC STRUCTURE OF THE REGION AND THEY DID NOT RECOGNIZE ANY RIGHTS OF THE ALBANIANS OF ORTHODOX SECTS WHO COULD REMAIN THERE. AS A RESULT OF THIS POLICY OF ATHENS WHICH DENIES THE ALBANIAN ETHNIC IDENTITY EXCEPT FOR THE ORTHODOX IDENTITY, THE CHAMERIAN ALBANIANS ENDED UP NOT BEING ABLE TO SPEAK THEIR OWN LANGUAGE ON THEIR OWN TERRITORIES AND WERE RESTRICTED THE GOODS AND PROPERTIES OF THE CHAMERIAN ALBANIANS WHO HAD BEEN EXPELLED, FO THE NEW RESIDENTS, HAVING NOT BASED ON ANY LEGAL GROUNDS.

              NOWADAYS, THE GREEK GOVERNMENT DOES NOT GIVE PERMISSION TO THE CHAMERIAN ALBANIANS TO ENTER THE COUNTRY AND CONDUCTS A POLICY OF ISOLATION AND DISCRIMINATION TOWARDS THEM. THE GREEK ADMINISTRATION HAS CHANGED ALL THE NAMES OF THE PLACES IN THE REGION INTO GREEK BY APPLYING A CULTURAL ASSIMILATION POLICY.

             THE THEN PRIME MINISTER KONSTANTIN MITSOTAKIS MADE A SPEECH IN TIRANA DURING HIS ALBANIA VISIT AN MAY 1992 AND SAID THAT THE CAMERIA ALBANIANS HAD COLLABORATED WITH THE ITALIAN AND GERMAN OCCUPIERS AND THERE FORE THEY WERE WAR-CRIMINALS AND CONSEQUENTLY THEY WERE PUNISHED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GREEK LAWS AND WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO GREECE. HOWEVER, THE CAMERIA ALBANIANS DID NOT COLLABORATE WITH THE OCCUPIERS. GERMAN DOCUMENTS PROVE THAT NAPOLEON ZERVAS WHO KILLED THE CAMERIA ALBANIANS HAD COLLABORATOR WITH GESTAPO.

 

THE REACTIONS OF THE ALBANIANS TO THE ATTITUDES

             OF GREECE, AND THE PERSONS, INSTITUTIONS AND FOUNDATIONS WHO HAD STUDIES ABOUT ALBANIAN MINORITY, ALBANIAN PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY ACCEPTED AND PROCLAIMED THE DATE OF “27 JUNE” AS THE COMMEMORATION DAY OF CAMERIAN GENOCIDE WITH THE RESOLUTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY ON 30 JUNE 1994. CAMERIA ISSUE WAS INCLUDED IN THE AGENDA OF THE 4TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNREPRESENTATIVE NATIONS AND PEOPLES ORGANIZATION IN JANUARY 1995, THE HAGUE. IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY 20-26 JANUARY THE FOLLOWING POINT WERE EMPHASIZED:

              COMMEMORATION DAY OF CAMERIA GENOCIDE HAD A GREAT EFFECT IN TURKEY AND THIS ISSUE TOOK PLACE IN TURKISH MEDIA. VARIOUS NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES PUBLISHED NEWS AND ARTICLES ABOUT CAMERIA ISSUE IN JUNE AND JULY 1998.

             AFTER THE KOSOVO CRISIS, GREECE HAS PLACED SOME POSSIBILITIES OF ACTIVITIES AT THE AGENDA AGAINST CAMERIA WITHIN ITS BORDER. THE EXISTENCE OF SOME OF THE UNDERGROUND ORGANIZATIONS LIKE “CAMERIA LIBERATION ARMY” OF WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE ESTABLISHED BY THE BOLDER SECTIONS OF VARIOUS CAMERIA ORGANIZATIONS WHICH HAVE MORE THAN 150.000 MEMBERS ONLY IN ALBANIA IS EXPRESSED WITH CONCERN BY GREECE ITSELF. IT WILL BE OBSERVED IN THE COURSE OF TIME THAT TO WHAT EXTENT SOME EFFORTS THAT STARTED AT THE END OF 1998 AND IN THE FIRST HALF OF 1999 TOWARDS A CLOSER RELATION BETWEEN TWO COUNTRIES WILL POSTPONE THESE PROBLEMS.

             THE CAM ALBANIANS WHO WERE EXILED TO ALBANIA BY GREECE TOOK THE PERMISSION OF ESTABLISHING ASSOCIATIONS IN THE TIMES OF SALI BARISHA, LEADER OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN ORDER TO RETURN TO THEIR LANDS AND DEFEND THEIR RIGHTS AFTER ENVER HODJA HAD DIED, AND THEY PERFORMED ACTIVITIES IN 17 DIFFERENT PLACES HOWEVER, FOR SOME REASON OR OTHER THE SOME GOVERNMENTS CLOSED THESE ASSOCIATIONS IN 1994 BY FORCE OF POLICE IN ORDER NOT TO CAUSE ANY PROBLEM FOR GREECE. AT THE TIME WHEN THE “ASSOCIATION OF CAMERIA” WAS CLOSED THE NUMBER OF ITS MEMBERS WAS 200 THOUSAND. THE ASSOCIATION WAS OPENED AGAIN BUT ESPECIALLY AT THE TIME OF FATOS NANO GOVERNMENT IT COULD NEVER BE PLACED ON THE AGENDA OFFICIALLY BECAUSE GREECE HAD POWER OVER THE COUNTRY. PRIME MINISTER ILIR META PAID A VISIT TO GREECE ON 22-23 DECEMBER 1999 AND IN THIS VISIT WHEN SIMITIS, THE PRIME MINISTER OF GREECE, DENIED THE CAM ISSUE AND THE PROPERTY RIGHTS OF THESE PEOPLE, ILIR META REPLIED THAT THE CAM ISSUE WAS A FACT AND WOULD NOT AFFECT THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES.

Click here for the photos taken from the renaming ceremony of PTT Street to CAMERIA Street in Tirana