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66 Jahre Genozid an Cam-Albanern

Erstellt von Fan Noli, 25.06.2010, 14:39 Uhr · 406 Antworten · 24.091 Aufrufe

  1. #111
    Jehona_e_Rahovecit
    Zitat Zitat von Greko Beitrag anzeigen
    Den Text haste doch selbst net gelesen...
    Dann kannst du ihn ja lesen und mir nachher erklären was darin so geschrieben steht.
    Bist doch an dem Thema Cameria im 2.WK sehr interessiert oder?

  2. #112
    Jehona_e_Rahovecit
    The Chams are the ethnic Albanian, and predominantly Muslim, population from
    the area of north western Greece known to Greeks as Threspotia and to Albanians
    as Chameria. The region, which is centred around the Tsamis river, extends from
    Butrint and the mouth of the Acheron River to Lake Prespa in the north, eastward
    to the Pindus mountains and south as far as Preveza and the Gulf of Arta.
    Nineteenth century British travellers such as Lord Byron and his companion John
    Hobhouse noted the preponderance of Albanian-speakers in these regions. While
    there is much comment focused on the position of the Greek minority in Albania,
    there is very little information about the Albanian minority which remained in
    Greece after the founding of the Albanian state. Most of these Albanians were
    originally Christian Orthodox by religion, but converted to Islam during the latter
    years of the Ottoman occupation. According to a Boston-based web-site which
    Albanians use to exchange ideas on current affairs, "the Albanians in Greece are
    divided into two distinct categories: Albanians who live on Albanian territory but
    who have remained outside the unjust borders which were drawn up by the
    Ambassadorial Conference (London, 1913), and those Albanians who departed
    Albanian territory during the first diaspora in the 14th and 15 centuries".

    1 These Albanians fled their homeland during the battles against the invading Ottoman
    Turk and many settled on the island of Euboea. Others went to Italy.
    The Cham conflict arose as a result of the delineation of the border between Greece
    and Albania at the end of the Balkan Wars. In 1912 the London Ambassador's
    Conference allotted the Chameria region to Greece, so today only seven Cham
    villages, centred on the village of Konispol, are in Albania itself. There were three
    distinct phases of emigration of the Cham population from northern Greece. The
    first occurred during the Balkan Wars 1912-1914, the second following the signing
    of the Turkish-Greek Convention at Lausanne in January 1923, and the third
    occurred at the end of the Second World War, in the period from June 1944 to
    March 1945, during which an estimated 5,000 men, women and children were
    killed. The rest of Chameria's Albanian Muslim population fled over the border to
    Albania where they have lived in exile ever since.
    The Chams are demanding the recognition of about 4,000 Chams who disappeared
    as a result of those conflicts, and the property rights of about 150,000 others.3 The
    Chams are also building charges against Greece at the international courts, arguing
    that they were stripped of around US$340m-worth of properties which are worth
    roughly US$2.5bn at current market prices. The Greeks, however, see the Cham
    question as a "non existent issue".4
    The forced movement of the entire Albanian Muslim population from Greece has left
    a lingering sense of injustice amongst Albanians in general. This has contributed in
    part to poor bilateral relations between Albania and Greece. The controversial
    Cham issue has lain dormant in recent years and none of the post-war Albanian
    governments, whether communist, democratic or socialist, have ventured to try to
    make it a key issue in relations with Greece. In May 2001, at the height of last
    year's ethnic Albanian insurrection in FYROM, a headline appeared on the wires of
    a Belgrade news agency, which ran: "New Albanian (Cham) Liberation Army on the
    March in Greece."5 The purpose of this paper is to highlight the crucial historical
    and political issues that have led to such alarmist headlines, and to gauge the
    extent of Cham grievances, the support they elicit, and the degree to which their
    political agenda has changed since they arrived in Albania in 1945.

    Historical Background
    The name 'Chameria' comes from the ancient Illyrian name for the Tsamis River,
    which traversed the territory of the ancient Illyrian tribe of Thesprotes. Chameria
    was part of the Roman Empire before being conquered by the Byzantines, and in
    the thirteenth century it became part of the Epirus despotate. In the second half of
    the fourteenth century it was included in the Albanian despotate of Arta. After the
    Ottoman invasion in the 15th century it was firstly in the sanjak (municipality) of
    Delvina, then in that of Janina. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the
    mostly Albanian population of northern Chameria - from Konispol to the Gliqi river
    - was forcibly converted to Islam, whilst those living south of the Gliqi down to
    Preveza Bay remained Orthodox Christians. The Muslim Albanians of Epirus were
    eternally feuding with their Christian neighbours and, favoured by their Turkish coreligionists,
    had gained the best land, whilst Christians had been forced onto less
    fertile soil. Historically the Epirus region has had a very blurred ethnicity. As one
    late nineteenth century visitor noted: The whole of the Tosk6 country has been
    strongly influenced by Greece, or rather it would be difficult to say whether Epirus
    is Greek or north-western Greece is Albanian. Though the southern dialect of
    Albanian is used for conversation, Greek is universally understood.7
    After the defeat of the Ottoman forces during the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), the
    future of Albanian-inhabited areas was discussed at the hastily convened
    Conference of Ambassadors held in London in December 1912-January 1913,
    where it was agreed in principle to support the establishment of Albania as a new
    political entity.
    Greece had emerged from the Balkan Wars with a heightened sense of achievement,
    and a determination to try to secure southern Albania for Greece. The emphasis
    was not on territory that was ethnically strictly Greek, but rather on lands in which
    Hellenic civilisation was believed to be predominant.8 In October 1913 the Epirote
    insurrection broke out, as Greek volunteers raided southern Albania, terrorising its
    inhabitants by burning their villages. The Greek objective was to set up an
    autonomous Vorio Epirus (Northern Epirus), in an attempt to sabotage the
    international discussions then being held in Florence on the future status of the
    region. Finally in December 1913, the Powers agreed on the terms of the Protocol of
    Florence, whereby, in return for Serbia's retreat from Albanian territory, Austria
    reluctantly agreed that the Albanian districts in what is now Kosovo and Macedonia
    should be formerly ceded to Serbia, whilst Greece received the large southern region
    of Chameria. The Albanian state was thus reduced to the central regions together
    with the town of Shkoder and its surrounding territory.
    Following the establishment of the Florence Line, some Greek troops began to
    withdraw from Chameria. Greek terrorist bands, however, remained as active as
    ever. As the majority of Chams were Muslim, they were treated with the same
    contempt as ethnic Turks living in Greece. On 23 February 1913, 72 people were
    killed in the village of Proi I Selanit near Paramithia. This marked the beginning of
    attacks on Albanian Muslim civilian targets, which were designed to instil fear into
    the population and thus prompt them to leave their homes. Throughout the next
    decade, the property of Albanian Muslims was systematically looted and many
    young men were deported to internal exile on the Aegean islands. Thousands of
    hectares of Cham-owned land were expropriated without compensation, their
    harvests were requisitioned, and they were prohibited from sowing their corn, or
    from selling or letting their property to forestall its expropriation. It was thus
    rendered impossible for many families to remain in Greece - forcing them to flee
    northwards to Albanian in search of land.9 In an effort to settle the Cham issue,
    the Athens government had tried to gain Ankara's approval for encouraging some
    Chams to migrate to Turkey, in the hope that the rest would follow. Initially Ankara
    had been unwilling to allow the settlement of Albanian Muslims on Turkish soil, but
    following intense diplomatic efforts by Athens, the Turkish government agreed to
    allow the settlement of some 5,000 Chams.
    Meanwhile, in 1923, the position regarding the 20,000 or so Muslim Albanians still
    remaining in northern Greece was being hotly debated at a special session of the
    Council of the League of Nations. The convention that made possible the exchange
    of Greek and Turkish populations had been signed at the Lausanne Conference on
    30 January 1923. The Albanian government had then insisted, via telegrams and
    delegations to the League, that the Greek authorities were forcing the Chams to
    leave their homes and move to Turkey, and that their lands were being settled by
    Greek immigrants from Asia Minor. The Greeks countered these accusations by
    arguing that the term 'Albanian' could only be applied to those who were born in
    Albania, thereby excluding from consideration the Greek-born Albanian Muslims,
    who were equated with Turks. The League responded to the Albanian allegations by
    establishing a Mixed Commission to examine the question in detail.
    In March 1924, the Commission decided that Greek subjects who were Muslims
    and of Albanian origin, and more specifically those residing in Epirus, had to be
    excluded from the compulsory exchange of populations between Greece and
    Turkey.10 For the Albanian Chams, however, the issue centred around their claims
    to belong to the Albanian nation. The Council of the League discussed this matter
    during its thirtieth session (29 August-3 October): the Albanian position maintained
    that the Greek authorities were encouraging the 'Albanians of Epirus' to consider
    mass migration by calling them 'Greeks of Turkish origin' and convincing them to
    adopt the second identity in their public pronouncements. The Council finally
    decided to appoint neutral members of the Mixed Commission as its 'mandatories'
    charged with the responsibility of protecting the 'Muslim minority of Albanian
    origin' residing in Greece.11 Meanwhile, the Athens government settled Greek
    immigrants from Asia Minor in Chameria in order to populate it with Orthodox
    Christians, and to put further pressure on the remaining Albanian Muslims to
    emigrate. Throughout the 1920s entire villages, such as Petrovica and Shendellinja
    were emptied of their Albanian inhabitants. Whole families left for Albania, Turkey
    and America.
    In March 1926, the Greek government declared that the process of population
    exchange was over and that the Chams would henceforth have the same rights as
    those enjoyed by other Greek citizens, However, these "rights" remained highly
    selective. No Albanian-language schools were permitted and the speaking of
    Albanian was discouraged outside the home. The signing of the Italian-Albanian
    pact in November 1926 caused some anxiety in Athens and focused Greek attention
    on the still unresolved question of the Chams, which was leading to increased
    tensions between Greece and Albania. The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs had
    serious reservations about the pact because it was feared that the interests of the
    Albanians for their "brothers" in Epirus now had the backing of an important
    power, whose territorial ambitions in the Balkans could benefit from the existence
    of the Cham minority which favoured Italy and was hostile to the Greek state. Italy
    could also use the Chams as a counterweight to Greek ambitions in southern
    Albania.
    Albanian charges directed against Greece concerning the Muslims of Chameria
    gradually increased and reached their climax during the first half of 1928. In
    March, the Albanian Foreign Ministry delivered a memorandum to the Greek chargé
    d'affaires in Tirana, which highlighted Tirana's concern over the 'austere measures'
    exercised by the local authorities against the Chams, and expressed a formal
    protest that the Greek government did not recognise them as a 'national minority'.
    The Greek side argued that 'the Albanian government had no right to get involved in
    the domestic affairs of another country: the Chams were Greek citizens and the
    projection of Albania as a protector state constituted disregard of the basic elements
    of Greek sovereign rights.'12 With the coming to power of the Ioannis Metaxas
    fascist government in 1936, the situation of the Albanian population of Chameria
    became even more difficult. The colonisation of the area by Greeks intensified,
    confiscation of Cham property was stepped up and the names of places inhabited
    by Albanians were replaced by Greek place names.13 In the meantime, the League
    of Nations continued to note the Albanian protests over the treatment of the Chams,
    but by then more important issues were now emerging concerning other minorities
    in Europe.
    The Second World War
    The outbreak of the Second World War brought about a brief union (1941-1943) of
    Kosovo with Albania, and the possibility of the remaining Albanian-inhabited
    regions of the Balkans being united. In August 1940 Italy invaded Greece. In an
    effort to rally the Albanian people to her cause, Italy had promised the Albanians
    their national unity. The German-Italian agreement of 1941 stipulated the
    formation of a 'Greater Albania', to include the large Albanian-inhabited areas of
    Yugoslavia and, to a lesser extent, Greece. The Italians were able to exploit
    Albanian irredentist sentiment by insisting that the unification of all Albanian
    inhabited lands was conditional upon an Axis victory. The Chams were
    subsequently armed by the Italians and co-operated with them against Greek
    villages controlled by Greek resistance fighters. During this period, atrocities were
    committed by a minority of Chams against Greek civilians, thousands of whom were
    forced to flee from their homes. The majority of Chams, however, were merely
    passive collaborators, distrusting the Italians as much as they did the Greek
    Royalist guerrilla force of Napoleon Zervas. In little over a year, Greek forces were
    able to push the Italians back over the Albanian border. There was widespread
    alarm amongst the Chams when the hoped-for Axis victory turned to defeat. Near
    the village of Vrina in southern Albania, in June 1940, the headless body of the
    Cham leader Daut Hoxa was discovered. It was alleged by the Italian-controlled
    government in Tirana that he had been murdered by Greek secret agents. Hoxha
    was a military leader of the Cham struggle during the inter-war years. The Greek
    government claimed he was merely a bandit.14 In October 1944 when the Germans
    began withdrawing from Greece, many hundreds of Chams also fled with them into
    Albania. Henceforth, the remaining Muslim Albanians in Greece were regarded by
    the Greeks as the enemy within.
    In an attempt to establish an ethnically pure border region, the Chams were evicted
    from northern Greece by guerrilla forces under the command of General Napoleon
    Zervas acting under the instructions of allied officers. In the light of recent
    research, wartime documents show that Greek actions against the Chams were
    supported and authorised by the British. These actions resulted in around 35,000
    Chams fleeing to Albania and others to Turkey. Colonel Chris Woodhouse, head of
    the British Military Mission in Greece reported that: "Encouraged by the Allied
    Mission I headed, Zervas drove the Chams out of their homes in 1944. The
    majority fled to find shelter in Albania. Their eviction from Greece was carried out
    with large-scale bloodshed. Zervas's work was followed in March 1945 with a largescale
    massacre of the Filiates Chams that cannot be excused. The result was the
    eviction of the undesirable Albanian population from their land."15
    The most infamous massacre of Albanian Muslims by Greek irregulars occurred on
    27 June 1944 in the district of Paramithia, when forces of General Zervas's National
    Republican Greek League (EDES) entered the town and killed approximately 600
    Albanian Muslims, men women and children - many having been raped and
    tortured before death. According to eyewitness accounts, the following day, another
    EDES battalion marched into Parga where 52 more Albanians were killed. On 23
    September 1944, the town of Spatar was looted and 157 people died. Young women
    and girls were raped and those men who were still alive were rounded up and
    deported to the Aegean islands.16 According to statistics provided by the Chameria
    Association in Tirana, in total 2,771 Albanian civilians were killed during the1944-
    1945 attacks on their villages. The breakdown is as follows: in Filiates and suburbs
    1,286, in Igoumenitsa and suburbs 192, in Paramithia and suburbs 673 and Parga
    620. Sixty-eight villages with 5,800 houses were looted and then burnt. A detailed
    list of material losses includes 110,000 sheep, 2,400 cattle, 21,000 quintals of
    wheat and 80,000 quintals of edible oil, amounting to 11,000,000 kilograms of
    grain and 3,000,000 kilograms of edible oil.17
    As a result of these assaults, an estimated 28,000 Chams fled to Albania where
    they settled on the outskirts of Vlore, Durres and Tirana. Several hundred Chams
    moved into properties along the Himara coast left by families who had been wiped
    out during the vicious fighting firstly against the Axis occupiers, and secondly in
    1944 between the Greek nationalist Northern Epirus Liberation Front and the
    Albanian nationalist Balli Kombetar partisan fighters. Some Chams moved into
    existing villages along the coast such as Borsh which were traditionally Muslim,
    thus augmenting the non-Hellenic character of the region. Other Chams
    established entirely new villages, such as Vrina, near the Greek border.
    International observers noted the brutality of the Cham evictions. Joseph Jacobs,
    Head of the US Mission in Albania (1945-1946) wrote: "In March 1945 units of
    Zervas's dissolved forces carried out a massacre of Chams in the Filiates area, and
    practically cleared the district of the Albanian minority. According to all the
    information I have been able to gather on the Cham issue, in the fall of 1944 and
    during the first months of 1945, the authorities in north-western Greece
    perpetrated savage brutality by evicting some 25,000 Chams - residents of
    Chameria - from their homes. They were chased across the border after having
    been robbed of their land and property. Hundreds of male Chams from the ages of
    15 to 70 were interned on the islands of the Aegean Sea. In total 102 mosques were
    burnt down."18 The Greek authorities then approved a law sanctioning the
    expropriation of Cham property, citing the collaboration of their community with
    the occupying Axis forces as a main reason for the decision.
    For those Chams of the Orthodox faith who remained in Greece after 1945, their
    Albanian identity was suppressed as a deeply repressive policy of assimilation
    ensued and, as before World War II, the Albanian language was not allowed to be
    spoken in public, nor taught in the schools. The demographic structure of
    northwest Greece was altered by the introduction of settlers from other parts of
    Greece. Vlachs in particular were encouraged to settle in abandoned Cham villages
    without the legal right of ownership.19 Greece wanted the demographic structure of
    the province changed because it did not trust the rest of the Albanian population
    who remained there, even though they were of the Christian Orthodox faith. As the
    speaking of Albanian was prohibited in public, the assimilation of Orthodox
    Albanians gathered momentum and they have struggled ever since to maintain
    their identity.20
    Attempts to Internationalise the Cham Question
    Following their expulsion from Greece to Albania, the Cham refugees who had
    Greek citizenship but Albanian nationality were placed under the direction of the
    Cham Anti-Fascist Committee (CAFC). The new post-war Communist government
    of Albania took the Cham issue to the Paris Peace Conference (1946) to demand the
    repatriation of the Chams and the return of their property. At the end of September
    1944, the first Cham Congress was held in the village of Konispol in southern
    Albania. The following month a delegation of the CAFC was sent to Athens to lodge
    a protest with the government of George Papandreou against the continuing Greek
    atrocities in Chameria. The Cham delegation also delivered protest notes to the
    Greek National Union, the Mediterranean General Command, the missions of the
    allied governments and the Central Committee of the National Liberation Front
    (EAM). The Commission was completely ignored by the Greek authorities. At the
    same time, the Cham National Liberation Committee made several attempts to
    internationalise the question and to secure the support of the Allied Powers. They
    sent telegrams of protest to the Soviet, British, American and French military
    missions, and the Yugoslav Legation in Tirana. Memorandums explaining the
    plight of the Cham refugees were also sent to the Allied Foreign Ministers'
    Conference in London (3 September 1945) and to the United Nations Assembly in
    New York (25 October 1946). Each included a plea for recognition of their plight:
    `Despite protests we have made and the rights we are entitled to, we continue to be
    in exile, whereas the Greek government has gone all out to establish aliens in our
    Chameria in order to prevent us from returning home.'21
    The Memorandum ends with a note of optimism and faith in the international
    justice system. It reads: "On behalf of our Cham population, we lodge a protest and
    bring to the attention of the Investigation Commission of the United Nations
    Security Council the tragedy played out in Chameria and the act carried out to
    exterminate our population. We stress the need for an urgent settlement of the
    Cham problem, confident that our following demands will be met:
    1. Adoption of immediate measures to halt the settlement of aliens in our native
    land.
    2. Repatriation of all the Chams.
    3. Restitution of our property and remuneration of damage in liquid and fixed
    capital.
    4. Assistance to rebuild our homes and resettlement.
    5. Safeguards and guarantees emanating from the international treaties and
    mandates, such as guaranteed civil, political, cultural rights and personal
    safety.
    6. Trial and condemnation of all those who are responsible for the crimes they have
    perpetrated.22
    These demands were never answered. The UN Assembly in New York did, however,
    acknowledge the humanitarian crisis facing the refugees. From September 1945 to
    the spring of 1947, Albania received a total of US$26 million of assorted goods,
    materials and equipment from the UN Relief Programme, UNRRA (United Nation's
    Relief and Rehabilitation Administration). Of this approximately US$1.2 million
    was allocated specifically for refugees from northern Greece. It was mainly due to
    this aid programme that Albania escaped a major famine.
    On 23 September 1945, the Second Cham Congress was held in the Albanian
    Adriatic port of Vlore, where an increasing number of Chams were beginning to
    settle. As a result, yet more memorandums were despatched to the London Peace
    Conference and to various Allied Military Missions in Albania, requesting the Cham
    issue be discussed. Until 1947, the Chams struggled to internationalise their plight
    by informing virtually every international agency and mission that they could reach.
    After 1947, however, Albania and Greece fell into two separate political camps and
    the Cham issue lay dormant until the collapse of communism in Albania in 1991.
    Then throughout Albania, all those who felt dispossessed as a result of the wartime
    period or persecution under the Communists immediately formed organisations to
    seek recognition and compensation.
    The Current Situation
    In January 1991, as the one-party state in Albania was disintegrating, the
    Chameria National Political Association (Chameria Shoqeria Politike Atdhetare,
    CSPA) was founded as a political lobby to "express and defend" the interests of the
    people of Chameria. Since then the CSPA has overseen the establishment of Cham
    cultural events and the Cham newspaper Vatra Amtare Chameria (The Motherland
    of Chameria), as well as issuing a series of demands for the return of Cham
    property and financial compensation. The then Greek foreign minister, Karolas
    Papoulias, said in the summer of 1991 that these demands should be settled by a
    bilateral commission. The chances of forming one, however, are non-existent
    because under current Greek law there is no legal means of challenging requisition
    (or expropriation) of land by the Greek state. In the meantime, the issue has been
    taken by the Tirana government to the World Court of Justice, in an effort to secure
    financial compensation for lost Cham property. There has been little progress to
    date. According to the official Greek stand, the Muslim Chams will not be allowed
    to return to Greece "because they have collaborated with the Italian-German
    invaders during the Second World War, and as such they are war criminals and are
    punished according to Greek laws".23
    In post-communist Albania, the Democratic and other right-wing political parties
    have been far more supportive of the Chams than have either the Socialist Party,
    which has always been indirectly supported by Greece or middle ground parties
    such as the Democratic Alliance and Social Democrats. The Democratic Party (DP),
    which came to power in March 1992 (until 1997), gave much vocal support for
    "those Albanians whose voices were silenced under the (communist) dictatorship".
    Indeed, under the DP government in June 1994 a new law was passed, which
    proclaimed 27 June as "The Day of Greek Chauvinist Genocide Against the
    Albanians of Chameria" and set up a memorial to the Chams in the southern village
    of Konispol.24
    Every time a Greek minister makes an official visit to Tirana, the Chams are out in
    protest. In August 1999, the CSPA - by now more commonly known as the
    Chameria Political Association (CPA) - in Tirana delivered a petition to the Albanian
    government and international organisations in the Albanian capital, during the visit
    to Albania of the Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Simitis. The document read: "We
    protest energetically against the stand of the Greek government to the Cham
    problem; to the denial of our legitimate right to return to our native land after the
    expulsion from Chameria at the end of the Second World War, and to the denial of
    our property right. We therefore demand:
    1. That the Albanian government requests the Greek government to allow the
    return of the Cham population to their native land;
    2. The return of their legal and legitimate properties, which have been stolen and
    are being exploited arbitrarily by the Greek state;
    3. The compensation of the income derived from the 55-year exploitation of our
    properties;
    4. Recognition and respect of the human rights sanctioned by international acts,
    rights which have been violated by the Greek state in our case;
    5. That the Albanian state intervene more actively in international organisations to
    make the Cham problem better known, and to use their authority to provide a
    solution to this problem."
    The petition ended rather ominously with the phrase: "We are convinced that unless
    the Cham problem is solved, there will not be friendly and quiet relations between
    Albania and Greece, nor peace in the Balkans."25
    In November 1999, the CPA organised a fringe meeting entitled `The Cham Issue -
    In Search of a Solution' during the unrelated OSCE summit in Istanbul. Foreign
    delegations attending the OSCE conference were invited to attend the meeting
    where the Chairman of the CPA, Hilmi Saqe, gave a lengthy speech. He spoke
    about the main historical developments in Chameria, and especially about the
    atrocities committed during the 1944-45 Greek offensive. Saqe unfortunately
    equated the deaths of around 5,000 Chams with those of 6 million Jews during the
    World War II. He claimed that "these massacres were almost at the same level as
    those of the Holocaust on the Hebrews".26 Such exaggeration does the Cham cause
    an injustice by raising scepticism amongst outside observers as to the true nature
    and extent of the human rights abuses committed against the Chams. Saqe's
    speech included yet another list of demands:
    1. The implementation of basic human rights on the part of the Greek state;
    2. The recognition of Cam assets restitution and any other rights which derive from
    it. These assets have been forcefully captured by the Greek state.
    3. Recognition of the right of the Cham population to return to its autochthonous
    lands;
    4. Recognition and protection of the Cham problem from the international
    community.
    5. The same rights that the Greek minority in Albania enjoys.
    This last request was aimed specifically at cultural issues, such as the right to
    attend primary, secondary and higher education in Albanian language classes.
    Hilmi Saqe ended his speech on an angry note: "In today's world it is difficult to
    believe that the Greek government, which has signed and ratified international
    conventions and agreements, could be so hostile towards the Cham people. If one
    of us has managed to get a Greek visa at the Greek embassy in Tirana, their
    passports are torn at any border point with Greece upon entering Greek territory.
    We have appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana to discuss the matter
    with their Greek counterparts in order to allow members of our Association, who
    were born in Chameria, to visit their houses. But the Greek authorities do not
    allow any Cham people to set foot in Greece."27 Anyone who has witnessed the
    undignified process outside the Greek embassy in Tirana or the consulate in
    Gjirokaster, whereby daily hundreds of Albanians desperately queue for Greek
    visas, will verify the difficulty of obtaining a much-valued Greek visa.
    The current Socialist-led government in Tirana has done little to address the
    Chams' demands since coming to power in 1997. If anything it has evaded
    questions on an issue which causes embarrassment to a government that is closely
    aligned with Greece - Albania's second most important trading partner. The Cham
    issue did, however, arise during a visit to Athens of Albanian Premier Ilir Meta at
    the end of 1999, though it was not on the agenda of talks with his Greek
    counterpart Costas Simitis. Simitis said that the Greek government considered the
    Cham issue as a closed chapter. The Greek Premier's statement prompted a reply
    from Meta for home consumption to Albanian journalists covering his visit. He said
    that Albania expected the Greek government to solve the issue of Cham properties
    according to the European conventions by which Greece abides.28 Perhaps the only
    Albanian politician to speak out publicly for the Chams is Sabri Godo, a right-wing
    republican, who has always pressed Greece to tackle the Cham issue. Godo
    believes that "Greece needs firstly to lift the state of war law against Albania, which
    would create the basis for discussion,"29 and that the issue could be solved
    "diplomatically with meetings of the personalities of the two countries".30
    In January 2000, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Sali Berisha, on a
    tour of southern Albania demanded more rights for the Cham minority in Greece,
    saying relations between Albania and Greece might suffer if mutual problems were
    not solved. Berisha demanded more cultural rights for Albanians living in Greece,
    such as the opening of an Albanian-language school in the northern Greek town of
    Filiates, and a solution to the property issue of the Cham population.31 On 27 June
    2000 a ceremony took place in Tirana where local officials renamed a street
    "Chameria", which had been settled by Cham refugees in 1945. The street's first
    informal name was the Bazaar of the Chams. The Communists renamed it after a
    nearby school. The Albania-Greek Commission, which was set up in 1999 to
    discuss the Cham property and assets issue, has not yet functioned. A troubling
    issue is the law approved by the Greek parliament (No 2664, dated 3 December
    1998) on the registration of assets, which jeopardises the Cham issue and
    endangers their case. The deadline to register property was just one year. After the
    end of 1999 there was no more legal right to claim property. Those who missed the
    opportunity to register have now to go through a lengthy and costly court
    procedure.
    Every year on the anniversary of the June 1944 massacres at Paramithia, the Cham
    Association organises a demonstration or rally in Tirana, which usually attracts
    more media attention than actual physical support. On average between 500-900
    people attend, which given a Cham population in Albania of around 200,000, is not
    a strong show of support. Nevertheless, the demonstrations are highly vocal and
    well publicised. On 27 June 2001, to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the
    expulsion of Muslim Albanians from Greece, a group of around 500 Cham
    demonstrators marched through Tirana to the Greek embassy, calling on Athens to
    restore their confiscated properties in northern Greece, and to allow them to return
    to their homes. At a press briefing following the demonstration, a Greek foreign
    ministry spokesman said irritably: "There is no Cham issue, and certain quarters
    wished to contribute to the destabilisation of the region by raising such nonexistent
    issues. Such matters have been dealt with by history."32
    Today one can see numerous ruined Cham settlements scattered throughout north
    western Greece, especially in the region between Paramithia and Filiates. An
    estimated 40,000 Christian Orthodox Albanians still live in the Threspotia region.
    Although the majority are of original Cham decent, a significant minority migrated
    to the region after the collapse of communism in Albania in 1991. The process of
    assimilation is only gradual and as yet does not threaten their Albanian identity.
    Although their children go to Greek schools and Greek is spoken everywhere
    outside the home, inside the houses Albanian is spoken by all familiy members,
    and events in Albania are keenly followed. One traveller in the late 1970s noted
    that: "There are still many Greek Orthodox villagers in Threspotia who speak
    Albanian among themselves. They are scattered north from Paramithia to the
    Kalamas River and beyond, and westward to the Margariti Plain. Some of the older
    people can only speak Albanian, nor is the language dying out. As more and more
    couples in early married life travel away to Athens or Germany for work, their
    children remain at home and are brought up by their Albania-speaking
    grandparents".33 Meanwhile, in Albania itself, the Muslim Cham villages around
    the area of Konispol are noticeably impoverished in comparison with other non-
    Cham villages in that part of southern Albania. Those Chams who settled in urban
    areas of Albania appear to have fared far better economically.
    There is a long-term political aspect to the current situation in Threspotia, because
    the demographic balance is gradually changing in the region. Albanians are quietly
    re-establishing themselves in long-abandoned property, which has been handed
    down from generation to generation. This is happening despite the region being
    effectively under a form of military occupation. The former Cham capital Filiates is
    now a major military garrison town, and all along the Albanian border are off-limits
    army controlled zones. Many in the Greek foreign office believe that the local police
    are in the pay of the Albanians, and thus turn a blind eye to the Cham returnees.
    This seems highly probable given the amount of illegal activity in and around the
    Greek-Albanian border, and in the port area of the town of Igoumenitsa, where
    Greeks and Albanians openly operate in the smuggling of illegal immigrants to Italy.
    Regional Response to the Cham Issue
    The Chams are not the only group interested in keeping their cause in the public
    eye. A number of other regional elements, most notably nationalist groups from
    Serbia, FYROM, Greece and Turkey, also have a vested interest in making sure the
    world is alerted to the issue. The first three are at pains to broadcast all reports
    relating to the existence of a "Cham Liberation Army", thereby exposing the "real
    threat to regional security of pan-Albanian expansionism". Turkey, meanwhile, is
    finding the Cham dispute a useful tool with which to draw international attention to
    the plight of the Turkish minority in Greece.
    During the conflict in FYROM in 2001, some Serbian, Slav Macedonian and Greek
    media reports told of a new "Liberation Army of Chameria". These alarmist
    accounts warned of a logical continuation of a pan-Albanian initiative to create a
    "Liberation Army" in all the "occupied territories" with the eventual aim of creating a
    Greater Albania. At the height of the fighting in FYROM, a report over the internet
    by a news agency in FYROM published comments ostensibly made by a spokesman
    from the NLA to Australian radio. The NLA's political representative, Ali Ahmeti,
    apparently spoke of the existence of a Chameria Liberation Army in north western
    Greece, which is ready to "defend" the rights of Albanians living in that region.34
    Ahmeti later denied he had made such statements, in an interview with the BBC.
    Another Serbian agency reported the same statement "by a representative of the
    Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA), Ali Ahmeti", which said "the Albanian
    Liberation Army of Chameria will soon be ready for action as the legitimate
    representative of Albanians in defence of their rights".35
    Although such reports in the Greek media are dismissed by Greek government
    officials, this is purely because acknowledging the existence of any Cham military
    organisation would mean also having to address the cause of why such a
    "Liberation Army" exists at all. The claims highlight what appears to be a growing
    agitation movement over the internet, where Albanian groups appear to have
    launched an "information campaign" to put pressure on Greece over an issue that
    Greece says does not exist. The Greek authorities reacted angrily to the supposed
    statement by Ahmeti. "The sick imagination of certain terrorist elements, who
    attempt to present non-existent issues, seems to have no bounds," said Greek
    Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayotis Beglitis.36
    The contemporary Greek press has also published accounts about the clandestine
    activities of a "Chameria Liberation Front". The first of these appeared almost a
    year before Ahmeti's supposed statement, when a report by the newspaper Tipos tis
    Kiriakis (9 July 2000) claimed that a new Liberation Army of Chameria (UCC -
    Ushtria Clirimtare Chameria) had been formed in Albania, and had already finished
    two large manoeuvres. The article described the UCC as an offshoot of the Kosovo
    Liberation Army (KLA), and a logical extension of the ethnic Albanian guerrilla
    groups that had sprung up in southern Serbia - the Liberation Army of Preshevo,
    Medveje and Bujanovac (UCPMB) and the National Liberation Army (NLA) in
    FYROM. The article claimed that the UCC's plans for Greece were decided in
    November 1999, at a conference held in the Gjakova district of southern Kosovo, at
    which it was decided to set up the first brigade of the 'Chameria Liberation Army'.
    The operational base of the brigade will be in Janina, which will also be the hub of
    the liberated region.37
    The article highlights quite specific details of the activities of the UCC. Apparently
    on 26 February 2000, the first armed group participated in manoeuvres called
    'Freedom and Unity' (Clirim dhe Bahskim) held in a remote area of northern
    Albania, ten kilometres north of Bajram Curri. Weapons used for these exercises, it
    is claimed, came from an Albanian army depot, while others were new, especially
    anti-tank missiles purchased from Hungary. An estimated 40-60 fighters formed
    the nucleus of the first 'Chameria Brigade', which was controlled by a Commander
    Remi.38 Such specific and confidently announced details are difficult to
    substantiate. One allegation, however, does appear plausible. The article states:
    "Most of the organisers behind the UCC belong to the right-wing, formerly fascist
    Albanian organisations, that co-operated with various NATO services to oppose
    Enver Hoxha's communist dictatorship in Albania."39 This would place the
    embryonic UCC within the umbrella organisation now known as the All Albanian
    National Army (AKSh), which is a loosely-knit group of right-wing nationalist
    activists in opposition to the Socialist-led government in Tirana and to the
    Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) in Pristina.40
    Given the current military and political situation in the southern Balkans, the
    scenario proposed by this article appears fairly improbable. At present and for the
    foreseeable future, NATO is firmly entrenched in Kosovo, and with a significant
    presence in Albania and FYROM. This factor, in conjunction with Greece being a
    member of NATO, means it would be extremely difficult for such a small group of
    Albanians, who lack the local support base provided for other ethnic Albanian
    insurgent groups in the Preshevo Valley and FYROM, to launch a military-style
    campaign in northern Greece. At the time, however, back in November 1999, when
    the Tipos tis Kiriakis article claims the first UCC brigade was set up, Kosovo was in
    a very volatile situation. Just four months after the end of the conflict with Serbia,
    the Kosovars were euphoric with the scale of their victory. This mood was highly
    infectious. Other Albanian elements with unresolved national demands were
    confident that the international community would be receptive to their plight,
    following the shocking revelations about the treatment meted out to the Kosovo
    Albanians by the Serb security forces in the spring of 1999. It was against this
    background that the Chams, along with Albanians in the Preshevo Valley and
    FYROM, began to discuss moves in which to publicise their long-held grievances.
    Publicly therefore, the Greek government has played down such media reports
    saying that the UCC does not exist, but privately there is concern. The AKSh is
    now active in FYROM and numerous arms caches are known to be hidden in
    locations just over the Greek border in Albania. The Greek authorities are believed
    to have an informal list of banned Cham activists, who are refused entry into
    Greece. However, it is not just political and military issues surrounding the Cham
    dispute which are causing tensions. Socio-economic issues also play a part in
    exacerbating the debate. In southern Albania, particularly in the border districts
    with Greece, there has developed considerable tension over the legitimacy of
    property ownership since the collapse of communism. This has placed the Chams
    in a difficult position since they represent non-traditional inhabitants. The growing
    number of disputes over land ownership has led many Chams to seek ways in
    which to recover their pre-war property assets in northern Greece. The pre-war
    Cham population was split into two distinct socio-economic groups: the first
    comprised wealthy, predominantly urban Beys, who owned vast tracts of land,
    whilst the second group were mainly poor, rural peasants, who grazed livestock in
    the more hilly regions, or worked on the Beys' estates.
    The Greek authorities are less concerned about the latter group, as their claims are
    void because they owned no land and their grazing rights were based upon old
    Ottoman laws, which have no meaning under contemporary Greek law. However,
    there is real concern that the Beys do have substantial land claims. It is difficult to
    assess the exact differentiation between the descendants of the landed or landless
    Chams in contemparary Albania. Although many Beys and their older sons were
    liquidated when they went up to join the nationalist organisation Balli Kombetar in
    1942-1943 to fight the communists, many other relatives survived in their
    traditionally large families. These people remained landless and without power
    during the 47 years of communist rule in Albania. Since the collapse of the oneparty
    state in 1991, they have joined forces with representatives of landless Chams
    to fight to regain not only their land, but also their privileged social status as
    wealthy property owners.
    Another regional player that is more than ready to exploit the Cham issue is
    Turkey. Turkey wants to pressure Greece on the minority issue to gain formal
    recognition of the Muslim minority in eastern Thrace as Turkish. Turkey also
    wishes to highlight the overall Greek failure to provide educational, religious and
    cultural rights for all minorities in Greece to comply with EU standards. Greece
    refuses to acknowledge virtually any ethnic minority in the country unless forced
    to, as in the case of the Florina Slavs in 1997.
    Tirana's taboo subject was publicised recently by Turkey's Foreign Ministry in a
    statement which called the "Cham tragedy one of the most painful tragedies of the
    European continent".41 It went on to criticise the Greek authorities "for sticking to
    the concept of absolute denial over the existence of ethnic groups on Greek territory
    … and as history has recorded, Greece has committed genocide against Albanians
    of the Muslim faith".42 The Turkish authorities have urged the Greek government to
    participate in an international conference on the Cham dispute at which the
    Albanian government would also be present. Athens was also asked to
    acknowledge the Albanian nationality of Albanian-speaking Orthodox Christians in
    the same area, to compensate the displaced Chams for the property they have lost,
    to provide an Albanian Orthodox Church for Albanian Christians, to repatriate the
    Cham minority and to provide them with Greek citizenship.
    It is important here to mention an aspect of this debate, which goes to the very core
    of the problem. In their historiography the Greeks avoid the use of the term
    Albanian when referring to Albanian-speaking people residing in Greece. Instead
    they use the term 'Arvanites', which denotes an Albanian-speaking Christian. This
    is an ideological construct designed to reinforce Greek national self-definition as a
    purely Christian state. In other words, the Cham Muslims were never 'real Greeks',
    unlike their Christian brothers, and as such have no claim to Greek citizenship.
    The State of War
    One significant factor that directly affects the ability of the Chams to effectively
    challenge the Greek government is that technically a state of war may still exist
    between Greece and Albania. The law in question, adopted in 1940 when Greece
    was invaded by Italian troops through Albania, was repealed by the Greek
    government in 1987 but was never ratified by Greece's parliament. Albanian
    officials maintain that the law prevents Albanians from claiming property they
    owned in Greece prior to the Second World War. Greek officials, however, counter
    that the state of war cannot be said to exist because it was lifted automatically in
    accordance with international law in 1987.43
    Albania's President Rexhep Meidani has called on Greece to cancel the law. "It is
    unacceptable that the law of the state of war is still valid. It hinders investments,
    exchanges between the two countries and integration processes," Meidani told
    Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatopoulos during the latter's visit to Tirana in
    July 2000.44 Two months later the President again raised the matter to an
    international audience. In his speech to the United Nation's General Assembly's
    Millennium Summit in September 2000, Meidani obliquely criticised Greece for
    maintaining a legal state of war with Albania. "We must ask ourselves," he said,
    "can we arrive at an acceptable definition of good governance while members of the
    United Nations maintain a de jure declaration of war with other members?
    Certainly not."45 The Albanian authorities want the matter officially and legally
    closed. Why, they ask, was this issue never settled during Greece's negotiations to
    join the European Union?46 This is clearly a matter that needs to be clarified in the
    interests of Albanian-Greek relations.
    Conclusion
    The expulsion of the Muslim Chams from Greece during the period 1912-1945 can
    be seen as merely a continuation of the bitter inter-ethnic feuding that
    characterised the southern Balkans from the time of the Balkan Wars through to
    the end of the Greek Civil War in 1949. This period witnessed the settling of old
    scores against those minorities unfortunate enough to find themselves on the wrong
    side of their own ethnic borders. In the case of the Chams, their particular
    situation is very much a product of Greece's entire historical perception of her
    northern border. Greece has never really had a concept of a fixed northern border,
    where prior to the settlement of Greeks from Asia Minor in 1922, very few Greeks
    had ever lived.47 After the Greek Civil War, right-wing Greeks from areas like the
    Piraeus port district of Athens were settled in towns and villages in the Cham and
    Slav minority areas, in order to reinforce the "loyal" Greek element in the region,
    and to inform Athens of the activities of the local non-Greek inhabitants. This is
    still very much the case today. The idea of Greek expansion northwards, which was
    embodied in the 19th century national programme known as the Megali Idea,48 has
    never really been abandoned by the Greek Church or nationalist elements within
    the Greek establishment. This, combined with the state of war law, causes Albania
    still to regard Greece as a security threat.
    There are indeed militant ethnic Albanian groups dedicated to changing borders in
    south eastern Europe to create an "Ethnic Albania".49 Others wish to see a "Greater
    Kosovo".50 But these groups represent a minute percentage of the Albanian
    population of the Balkans as a whole, with an equally tiny support base amongst
    the radical fringe of the diaspora. The Cham population in Albania is far less
    radical than is believed in Athens. Those families who have relatively prospered
    tend to be far more philosophical about the entire Cham question. Even those who
    believe they have land claims in Threspotia are prepared to wait until Albania
    becomes a full member of the European Union, when they believe they will
    "automatically" be able to cross freely into Greece and either reoccupy their former
    homes or negotiate compensation from the Greek authorities through normal legal
    channels.51 Poorer Chams, on the other hand, tend to be angrier and less patient.
    These are more likely to join the Cham Association and to demonstrate on the
    streets. Yet even these people draw the line at violence, believing instead in the
    power of "European institutions" to give them justice. "We don't want or need an
    intifada," said one Tirana Cham activist. "We are Europeans and we have European
    institutions, such as the international courts in which to present our case."52
    Although the Albanian government has officially avoided addressing the Cham
    issue, prominent Albanian individuals such as President Meidani and Sabri Godo
    have raised the subject publicly on a number of occasions. Currently, a number of
    Albanian parliamentarians are meeting members of the Cham community to
    discuss mounting a legal suit against Greece. This is something the Greek
    authorities could avoid by agreeing a financial compensation settlement with the
    Chams before the matter reaches the international courts. If a legal suit is
    eventually mounted against Greece, it could prove prohibitively expensive for the
    Greek exchequer because it would open a floodgate of claims from people, other
    than Chams, who also lost their property in the aftermath of the Second World War.
    These include supporters of the Greek left and members of the Slav minority, who
    were strongly represented amongst the left-wing forces that lost in the Greek Civil
    War. Many Slavs, like the Chams, were forced to flee from Greece in 1949, either to
    Yugoslavia or to Australia. A few even went into political exile in Albania.
    As long as it remains unresolved, the Cham issue is prone to exploitation by
    elements wanting to discredit Albanians in general, regardless of where they live
    and their political and national stance. Nationalist elements in Serbia, FYROM and
    Greece have spared no effort to "inform" the international community of the
    existence of a "Cham Liberation Army", which is poised to attack Greece in pursuit
    of a "Greater Albania". This negative outlook on behalf of small but vociferous
    groups amongst the neighbours of Albanians is highly detrimental to the
    development of regional security and peaceful co-operation in the southern
    Balkans. Turkey is also able to manipulate the Cham issue by attacking Greek
    policy over its own ethnic minority issues in Greece, thereby undermining the Greek
    case over Cyprus.
    In many respects, the Cham issue is the most easily resolved of the many unsettled
    questions regarding Albanians in the Balkans. If the issue was handled sensitively,
    it could benefit both Albanians and Greeks. Given that the Chams do not believe
    they will ever be allowed to resettle in Greece, they are concentrating their efforts on
    gaining financial compensation. Yet, if families were able to return to their old
    properties, the economy of the Threspotia region would improve remarkably. Over
    the past thirty years, the north west of Greece has become seriously depopulated as
    people move out of the villages to the larger towns and cities. Vast swathes of once
    heavily grazed hillsides have reverted to dense forest, much as they were in
    Ottoman times.53 Albanians would probably be only too willing to graze the land
    once more with flocks of sheep, and thus provide the Greek yoghurt industry with
    the raw material it so badly needs. Although the Greek government has sometimes
    expressed some sort of readiness to discuss issues relating to property and asset
    compensation, it categorically does not recognise the right of the Chams to Greek
    citizenship, which is referred to as "historical". Many Chams, however, desire
    Greek citizenship above all else. This would release them from the humiliation of
    going through the degrading visa application process in Tirana, and provide an
    opportunity to escape the dire poverty and unemployment in Albania. Despite their
    general assimilation, the Chams have never really felt welcome in Albania. In fact,
    many non-Cham Albanians, especially in Tirana, use the term 'Cham' in a
    derogatory sense to denote an untrustworthy person.
    This matter needs to be addressed before the year 2004, which will see the Olympic
    games held in Athens, and which will also mark the 60th anniversary of the
    massacres at Paramithia in 1944. There are plans to commemorate this event with
    large-scale demonstrations and perhaps the further recruitment of a minority Cham
    activists into military-style groups. There is the risk of a greater radicalisation of
    Albanians in general as they become more aware about the Cham issue and the
    "historical injustices" suffered by their nation at the hand of their neighbours.
    During recent years, a new breed of young historians are bringing the matter to the
    attention of a new generation of Albanians. The new pan-Albanian school textbooks
    now include whole passages on the history of the Chams.54 In the interests of
    Albanian-Greek relations, the state of war should be officially nullified by the Greek
    government. Otherwise Albania will continue to see Greece as a security threat.
    What is needed is to get EU standards on this and other minority issues actually
    enshrined in Greek law and properly enforced. Despite the Greek authorities
    declaring that there is no Cham issue, the "issue" itself remains a very tangible
    evidence of how far minority issues in the Balkans have yet to progress in order to
    comply with even the most rudimentary minority policies within the European
    Union. The matter reflects badly upon Greece, which despite a veneer of EU
    respectability, remains very much a Balkan country still deeply entrenched in the
    mind-set of Ottoman times, when a "nation" was deemed as such by its religious
    affiliation rather than by the main determinants of ethnicity such as language and
    culture.
    ENDNOTES
    1 Frosina Information Network, Error!. Other
    websites which deal with Cham issues are: http://www.albanian.com/main/other/cameria,
    and Alba & Bel [Indeksi i Përgjithshëm / Generale Index / General Index].
    2 Miranda Vickers & James Pettifer, Albania: From Anarchy to a Balkan Identity, C
    Hurst & Co, 1997, pxii.
    3 For detailed historical and documentary accounts of the Chams and Chameria see:
    Albert Kotini, Tre Guret e zes ne Preveza, Fllad, Tirana, 2000; Albert Kotini, Chameria
    Denoncon, Fllad, Tirana, 1999; Fatos Mero Rrapaj, Fjalori Onomastik I Epirit, Eurolindja,
    Tirana, 1995; Drejtoria e Pergjithshme e Arkivave - Documente per Chemerine, 1912-1939.
    Dituria, Tirana, 1999.
    4 Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis, Kathimerini (Athens), 2-3
    June 2001.
    5 INET (Belgrade), 30 May 2001, 11:15.
    6 The term Tosk refers to Albanians who live south of the Shkumbi River. They speak
    a different dialect, and have different cultural traditions, from the Gheg Albanians who live
    north of the Shkumbi.
    7 Odysseus, Turkey in Europe, London, 1900, p401.
    8 Jelavic, Charles and Barbara, The Establishment of the Balkan National States 1804-
    1920, Washington, 1970, p77.
    9 A similar pattern was emerging in the Kosovo region of southern Serbia, whereby
    Albanians were being encouraged to leave their lands for Turkey, and Serb and Montenegrin
    colonists were brought in to settle on the vacated Albanian land.
    10 Michalopoulos, D, 'The Moslems of Chamouria and the Exchange of Populations
    Between Greece and Turkey', Balkan Studies, Vol 27, No 2, 1986, pp305-6.
    11 Michalopolous, pp306-7.
    12 Michalopolous, p310.
    13 For a list of the most important changes in place names from Albanian into Greek,
    see James Pettifer, The Blue Guide to Albania and Kosovo, third edition, London, 2000, p57.
    14 James Pettifer, The Blue Guide to Albania and Kosovo, third edition, London, 2000,
    p439.
    15 British Foreign Office PRO/FO No.371/48094/544/R8 564.
    16 Eyewitness accounts of the attacks on the Cham districts of Paramithia, Parga and
    Spatar, Memorandum of the Anti-Fascist Committee of Cham Emigrants in Albania, Tirana,
    1947, p4, hereafter 'Memorandum'. It should also be noted that most of the influential
    books in English on the region have been written from the viewpoint of the Greek Royalist
    Right, from Henry Baerlein's 'Under the Acroceraunian Mountains', Rene Puaux's 'Sorrow of
    Epirus' and Pyrrus Ruches' 'Albania's Captives', to modern polemical works such as 'Eleni'
    by Nicholas Gage. For a pro-Cham viewpoint, see 'British Imperialism and Ethnic
    Cleansing' by N Zanga, Tirana, 1997.
    17 Memorandum, p6.
    18 Documents of the US Department of State, No. 84/3, Tirana Mission, 1945-1946, 6-
    646.
    19 Vlachs are semi-nomadic pastoralists who speak a language akin to Romanian and
    live in south-east Albania, north-west Greece and southern FYROM.
    20 For useful information on the tensions between Albania and Greece over the
    Chameria/Epirus dispute, see: Border and Territorial Disputes, 3rd edition, Albania-Greece
    (Northern Epirus), Longman, Harlow, 1992.
    21 Memorandum, p8.
    22 Memorandum, p9.
    23 Statement of Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis on the occasion of his visit to
    Tirana, May 1992.
    24 Republic of Albania - Law No: 7839, passed in Tirana, 30 June 1994. The Cham
    monument was erected in Konispol in 1995.
    25 Petition to the Albanian government and international organisations, the Chameria
    Political Association, Tirana, 24 August 1999.
    26 Speech by Hilmi Saqe, OSCE Istanbul Summit, fringe meeting, 18 November 1999.
    27 Ibid.
    28 Albania Daily News, 1226, 18 January 2000.
    29 Godo was referring to the law that Greece imposed on Albania in 1940, which was de
    facto lifted in 1987, but which still has to go through a final parliamentary approval.
    30 Albania Daily News, 1571, 29 May 2001.
    31 Albania Daily News, 1226, 18 January 2000.
    32 Albania Daily News, Tirana, 1 July 2001.
    33 Arthur Foss, Epirus, London, 1978, p173.
    34 Kathimerini, 2-3 June 2001.
    35 INET (Belgrade), 30 May 2001, 11:15.
    36 Albania Daily News, 31 May 2001.
    37 Albanian Nationalist Army Seen Claiming Greek Territories, Tipos tis Kiriakis, 9 July
    2000.
    38 Ibid.
    39 Ibid.
    40 During the late 1940s, the British and Americans devised a complicated and risky
    plot to overthrow Hoxha's regime. The plan was to equip and train an anti-Communist force
    recruited from hundreds of right-wing Zogist and Ballist refugees who had fled from Albania
    after the war. For a fuller account of these events see Miranda Vickers, The Albanians, a
    Modern History, London: 1999, Chapter eight, & Nicholas Bethel, The Great Betrayal
    (London: 1984).
    41 The Republic Of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
    http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/ac/ack/03.htm, 6 June 2001.
    42 The Republic Of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
    http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/ac/ack/03.htm, 6 June 2001.
    43 Interview with Greek officials, Tirana, March 2001.
    44 Reuters, Tirana, 1 August 2000.
    45 RFE/RL, 9 November 2000.
    46 Interview with Albanian officials, Tirana, April 2001.
    47 In Ottoman times what is now northern Greece was largely inhabited by Turks,
    Albanians, Slavs, Vlachs and Roma.
    48 The Megali Idea was a plan of expansion which would include all Greeks within a
    single Greek state, as well as entailing the revival of the Byantine Empire. The lands to be
    adjoined to this empire included Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia, Thrace, the Agean islands,
    Crete, Cyprus, the west coast of Asia Minor, and the territory between the Balkan and
    Rhodope Mountains.
    49 Extreme nationalist Albanian rhetoric for a Greater Albania.
    50 The union of Kosovo with western FYROM.
    51 Interview with Cham families in Vlore and Tirana, May 2001.
    52 Interview with members of the Cham association, Tirana, September 2001.
    53 In marked contrast to to the decline in the human habitation of Epirus, the wolf
    population has increased over the past three decades and is now on a par with wolf
    numbers in Ottoman times.
    54 An example of the new presentation of the Cham issue can be found in the book 'The
    Political Philosophy of the Albanian Question', Pristina, 1997, by the young Kosovo Albanian
    historian Ushkim Hoti.
    Appendix
    Cham population settlement in the Republic of Albania according to the 1991
    registration of Chams by the Chameria Political Association.
    Place Persons
    Shkoder 1,150
    Kruje-Lac-Fushekruje 720
    Lezhe 35
    Tirana (District) 29,700
    Durres-Shijak-Sukth 35,000
    Kavaje-Golem-Gose-Rrogozhine 10,500
    Peqin 1,400
    Elbasan-Cerrik 12,650
    Lushnje-Zhame-Dushk 8,300
    Berat-Kucove 6,900
    Fier-Patos-Rreth 39,800
    Vlore (District) 42,300
    Sarande (District) 12,100
    Delvine (District) 2,900
    Total 204,255

    Published By:
    The Conflict Studies Research
    Centre
    Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
    Camberley Telephone : (44) 1276 412346
    Surrey Or 412375
    GU15 4PQ Fax : (44) 1276 686880
    England E-mail: csrc@gtnet.gov.uk
    http://www.csrc.ac.uk

  3. #113
    Jehona_e_Rahovecit
    The Chams are the ethnic Albanian, and predominantly Muslim, population from
    the area of north western Greece known to Greeks as Threspotia and to Albanians
    as Chameria. The region, which is centred around the Tsamis river, extends from
    Butrint and the mouth of the Acheron River to Lake Prespa in the north, eastward
    to the Pindus mountains and south as far as Preveza and the Gulf of Arta.
    Nineteenth century British travellers such as Lord Byron and his companion John
    Hobhouse noted the preponderance of Albanian-speakers in these regions. While
    there is much comment focused on the position of the Greek minority in Albania,
    there is very little information about the Albanian minority which remained in
    Greece after the founding of the Albanian state. Most of these Albanians were
    originally Christian Orthodox by religion, but converted to Islam during the latter
    years of the Ottoman occupation. According to a Boston-based web-site which
    Albanians use to exchange ideas on current affairs, "the Albanians in Greece are
    divided into two distinct categories: Albanians who live on Albanian territory but
    who have remained outside the unjust borders which were drawn up by the
    Ambassadorial Conference (London, 1913), and those Albanians who departed
    Albanian territory during the first diaspora in the 14th and 15 centuries".

    1 These Albanians fled their homeland during the battles against the invading Ottoman
    Turk and many settled on the island of Euboea. Others went to Italy.
    The Cham conflict arose as a result of the delineation of the border between Greece
    and Albania at the end of the Balkan Wars. In 1912 the London Ambassador's
    Conference allotted the Chameria region to Greece, so today only seven Cham
    villages, centred on the village of Konispol, are in Albania itself. There were three
    distinct phases of emigration of the Cham population from northern Greece. The
    first occurred during the Balkan Wars 1912-1914, the second following the signing
    of the Turkish-Greek Convention at Lausanne in January 1923, and the third
    occurred at the end of the Second World War, in the period from June 1944 to
    March 1945, during which an estimated 5,000 men, women and children were
    killed. The rest of Chameria's Albanian Muslim population fled over the border to
    Albania where they have lived in exile ever since.
    The Chams are demanding the recognition of about 4,000 Chams who disappeared
    as a result of those conflicts, and the property rights of about 150,000 others.3 The
    Chams are also building charges against Greece at the international courts, arguing
    that they were stripped of around US$340m-worth of properties which are worth
    roughly US$2.5bn at current market prices. The Greeks, however, see the Cham
    question as a "non existent issue".4
    The forced movement of the entire Albanian Muslim population from Greece has left
    a lingering sense of injustice amongst Albanians in general. This has contributed in
    part to poor bilateral relations between Albania and Greece. The controversial
    Cham issue has lain dormant in recent years and none of the post-war Albanian
    governments, whether communist, democratic or socialist, have ventured to try to
    make it a key issue in relations with Greece. In May 2001, at the height of last
    year's ethnic Albanian insurrection in FYROM, a headline appeared on the wires of
    a Belgrade news agency, which ran: "New Albanian (Cham) Liberation Army on the
    March in Greece."5 The purpose of this paper is to highlight the crucial historical
    and political issues that have led to such alarmist headlines, and to gauge the
    extent of Cham grievances, the support they elicit, and the degree to which their
    political agenda has changed since they arrived in Albania in 1945.

    Historical Background
    The name 'Chameria' comes from the ancient Illyrian name for the Tsamis River,
    which traversed the territory of the ancient Illyrian tribe of Thesprotes. Chameria
    was part of the Roman Empire before being conquered by the Byzantines, and in
    the thirteenth century it became part of the Epirus despotate. In the second half of
    the fourteenth century it was included in the Albanian despotate of Arta. After the
    Ottoman invasion in the 15th century it was firstly in the sanjak (municipality) of
    Delvina, then in that of Janina. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the
    mostly Albanian population of northern Chameria - from Konispol to the Gliqi river
    - was forcibly converted to Islam, whilst those living south of the Gliqi down to
    Preveza Bay remained Orthodox Christians. The Muslim Albanians of Epirus were
    eternally feuding with their Christian neighbours and, favoured by their Turkish coreligionists,
    had gained the best land, whilst Christians had been forced onto less
    fertile soil. Historically the Epirus region has had a very blurred ethnicity. As one
    late nineteenth century visitor noted: The whole of the Tosk6 country has been
    strongly influenced by Greece, or rather it would be difficult to say whether Epirus
    is Greek or north-western Greece is Albanian. Though the southern dialect of
    Albanian is used for conversation, Greek is universally understood.7
    After the defeat of the Ottoman forces during the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), the
    future of Albanian-inhabited areas was discussed at the hastily convened
    Conference of Ambassadors held in London in December 1912-January 1913,
    where it was agreed in principle to support the establishment of Albania as a new
    political entity.
    Greece had emerged from the Balkan Wars with a heightened sense of achievement,
    and a determination to try to secure southern Albania for Greece. The emphasis
    was not on territory that was ethnically strictly Greek, but rather on lands in which
    Hellenic civilisation was believed to be predominant.8 In October 1913 the Epirote
    insurrection broke out, as Greek volunteers raided southern Albania, terrorising its
    inhabitants by burning their villages. The Greek objective was to set up an
    autonomous Vorio Epirus (Northern Epirus), in an attempt to sabotage the
    international discussions then being held in Florence on the future status of the
    region. Finally in December 1913, the Powers agreed on the terms of the Protocol of
    Florence, whereby, in return for Serbia's retreat from Albanian territory, Austria
    reluctantly agreed that the Albanian districts in what is now Kosovo and Macedonia
    should be formerly ceded to Serbia, whilst Greece received the large southern region
    of Chameria. The Albanian state was thus reduced to the central regions together
    with the town of Shkoder and its surrounding territory.
    Following the establishment of the Florence Line, some Greek troops began to
    withdraw from Chameria. Greek terrorist bands, however, remained as active as
    ever. As the majority of Chams were Muslim, they were treated with the same
    contempt as ethnic Turks living in Greece. On 23 February 1913, 72 people were
    killed in the village of Proi I Selanit near Paramithia. This marked the beginning of
    attacks on Albanian Muslim civilian targets, which were designed to instil fear into
    the population and thus prompt them to leave their homes. Throughout the next
    decade, the property of Albanian Muslims was systematically looted and many
    young men were deported to internal exile on the Aegean islands. Thousands of
    hectares of Cham-owned land were expropriated without compensation, their
    harvests were requisitioned, and they were prohibited from sowing their corn, or
    from selling or letting their property to forestall its expropriation. It was thus
    rendered impossible for many families to remain in Greece - forcing them to flee
    northwards to Albanian in search of land.9 In an effort to settle the Cham issue,
    the Athens government had tried to gain Ankara's approval for encouraging some
    Chams to migrate to Turkey, in the hope that the rest would follow. Initially Ankara
    had been unwilling to allow the settlement of Albanian Muslims on Turkish soil, but
    following intense diplomatic efforts by Athens, the Turkish government agreed to
    allow the settlement of some 5,000 Chams.
    Meanwhile, in 1923, the position regarding the 20,000 or so Muslim Albanians still
    remaining in northern Greece was being hotly debated at a special session of the
    Council of the League of Nations. The convention that made possible the exchange
    of Greek and Turkish populations had been signed at the Lausanne Conference on
    30 January 1923. The Albanian government had then insisted, via telegrams and
    delegations to the League, that the Greek authorities were forcing the Chams to
    leave their homes and move to Turkey, and that their lands were being settled by
    Greek immigrants from Asia Minor. The Greeks countered these accusations by
    arguing that the term 'Albanian' could only be applied to those who were born in
    Albania, thereby excluding from consideration the Greek-born Albanian Muslims,
    who were equated with Turks. The League responded to the Albanian allegations by
    establishing a Mixed Commission to examine the question in detail.
    In March 1924, the Commission decided that Greek subjects who were Muslims
    and of Albanian origin, and more specifically those residing in Epirus, had to be
    excluded from the compulsory exchange of populations between Greece and
    Turkey.10 For the Albanian Chams, however, the issue centred around their claims
    to belong to the Albanian nation. The Council of the League discussed this matter
    during its thirtieth session (29 August-3 October): the Albanian position maintained
    that the Greek authorities were encouraging the 'Albanians of Epirus' to consider
    mass migration by calling them 'Greeks of Turkish origin' and convincing them to
    adopt the second identity in their public pronouncements. The Council finally
    decided to appoint neutral members of the Mixed Commission as its 'mandatories'
    charged with the responsibility of protecting the 'Muslim minority of Albanian
    origin' residing in Greece.11 Meanwhile, the Athens government settled Greek
    immigrants from Asia Minor in Chameria in order to populate it with Orthodox
    Christians, and to put further pressure on the remaining Albanian Muslims to
    emigrate. Throughout the 1920s entire villages, such as Petrovica and Shendellinja
    were emptied of their Albanian inhabitants. Whole families left for Albania, Turkey
    and America.
    In March 1926, the Greek government declared that the process of population
    exchange was over and that the Chams would henceforth have the same rights as
    those enjoyed by other Greek citizens, However, these "rights" remained highly
    selective. No Albanian-language schools were permitted and the speaking of
    Albanian was discouraged outside the home. The signing of the Italian-Albanian
    pact in November 1926 caused some anxiety in Athens and focused Greek attention
    on the still unresolved question of the Chams, which was leading to increased
    tensions between Greece and Albania. The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs had
    serious reservations about the pact because it was feared that the interests of the
    Albanians for their "brothers" in Epirus now had the backing of an important
    power, whose territorial ambitions in the Balkans could benefit from the existence
    of the Cham minority which favoured Italy and was hostile to the Greek state. Italy
    could also use the Chams as a counterweight to Greek ambitions in southern
    Albania.
    Albanian charges directed against Greece concerning the Muslims of Chameria
    gradually increased and reached their climax during the first half of 1928. In
    March, the Albanian Foreign Ministry delivered a memorandum to the Greek chargé
    d'affaires in Tirana, which highlighted Tirana's concern over the 'austere measures'
    exercised by the local authorities against the Chams, and expressed a formal
    protest that the Greek government did not recognise them as a 'national minority'.
    The Greek side argued that 'the Albanian government had no right to get involved in
    the domestic affairs of another country: the Chams were Greek citizens and the
    projection of Albania as a protector state constituted disregard of the basic elements
    of Greek sovereign rights.'12 With the coming to power of the Ioannis Metaxas
    fascist government in 1936, the situation of the Albanian population of Chameria
    became even more difficult. The colonisation of the area by Greeks intensified,
    confiscation of Cham property was stepped up and the names of places inhabited
    by Albanians were replaced by Greek place names.13 In the meantime, the League
    of Nations continued to note the Albanian protests over the treatment of the Chams,
    but by then more important issues were now emerging concerning other minorities
    in Europe.
    The Second World War
    The outbreak of the Second World War brought about a brief union (1941-1943) of
    Kosovo with Albania, and the possibility of the remaining Albanian-inhabited
    regions of the Balkans being united. In August 1940 Italy invaded Greece. In an
    effort to rally the Albanian people to her cause, Italy had promised the Albanians
    their national unity. The German-Italian agreement of 1941 stipulated the
    formation of a 'Greater Albania', to include the large Albanian-inhabited areas of
    Yugoslavia and, to a lesser extent, Greece. The Italians were able to exploit
    Albanian irredentist sentiment by insisting that the unification of all Albanian
    inhabited lands was conditional upon an Axis victory. The Chams were
    subsequently armed by the Italians and co-operated with them against Greek
    villages controlled by Greek resistance fighters. During this period, atrocities were
    committed by a minority of Chams against Greek civilians, thousands of whom were
    forced to flee from their homes. The majority of Chams, however, were merely
    passive collaborators, distrusting the Italians as much as they did the Greek
    Royalist guerrilla force of Napoleon Zervas. In little over a year, Greek forces were
    able to push the Italians back over the Albanian border. There was widespread
    alarm amongst the Chams when the hoped-for Axis victory turned to defeat. Near
    the village of Vrina in southern Albania, in June 1940, the headless body of the
    Cham leader Daut Hoxa was discovered. It was alleged by the Italian-controlled
    government in Tirana that he had been murdered by Greek secret agents. Hoxha
    was a military leader of the Cham struggle during the inter-war years. The Greek
    government claimed he was merely a bandit.14 In October 1944 when the Germans
    began withdrawing from Greece, many hundreds of Chams also fled with them into
    Albania. Henceforth, the remaining Muslim Albanians in Greece were regarded by
    the Greeks as the enemy within.
    In an attempt to establish an ethnically pure border region, the Chams were evicted
    from northern Greece by guerrilla forces under the command of General Napoleon
    Zervas acting under the instructions of allied officers. In the light of recent
    research, wartime documents show that Greek actions against the Chams were
    supported and authorised by the British. These actions resulted in around 35,000
    Chams fleeing to Albania and others to Turkey. Colonel Chris Woodhouse, head of
    the British Military Mission in Greece reported that: "Encouraged by the Allied
    Mission I headed, Zervas drove the Chams out of their homes in 1944. The
    majority fled to find shelter in Albania. Their eviction from Greece was carried out
    with large-scale bloodshed. Zervas's work was followed in March 1945 with a largescale
    massacre of the Filiates Chams that cannot be excused. The result was the
    eviction of the undesirable Albanian population from their land."15
    The most infamous massacre of Albanian Muslims by Greek irregulars occurred on
    27 June 1944 in the district of Paramithia, when forces of General Zervas's National
    Republican Greek League (EDES) entered the town and killed approximately 600
    Albanian Muslims, men women and children - many having been raped and
    tortured before death. According to eyewitness accounts, the following day, another
    EDES battalion marched into Parga where 52 more Albanians were killed. On 23
    September 1944, the town of Spatar was looted and 157 people died. Young women
    and girls were raped and those men who were still alive were rounded up and
    deported to the Aegean islands.16 According to statistics provided by the Chameria
    Association in Tirana, in total 2,771 Albanian civilians were killed during the1944-
    1945 attacks on their villages. The breakdown is as follows: in Filiates and suburbs
    1,286, in Igoumenitsa and suburbs 192, in Paramithia and suburbs 673 and Parga
    620. Sixty-eight villages with 5,800 houses were looted and then burnt. A detailed
    list of material losses includes 110,000 sheep, 2,400 cattle, 21,000 quintals of
    wheat and 80,000 quintals of edible oil, amounting to 11,000,000 kilograms of
    grain and 3,000,000 kilograms of edible oil.17
    As a result of these assaults, an estimated 28,000 Chams fled to Albania where
    they settled on the outskirts of Vlore, Durres and Tirana. Several hundred Chams
    moved into properties along the Himara coast left by families who had been wiped
    out during the vicious fighting firstly against the Axis occupiers, and secondly in
    1944 between the Greek nationalist Northern Epirus Liberation Front and the
    Albanian nationalist Balli Kombetar partisan fighters. Some Chams moved into
    existing villages along the coast such as Borsh which were traditionally Muslim,
    thus augmenting the non-Hellenic character of the region. Other Chams
    established entirely new villages, such as Vrina, near the Greek border.
    International observers noted the brutality of the Cham evictions. Joseph Jacobs,
    Head of the US Mission in Albania (1945-1946) wrote: "In March 1945 units of
    Zervas's dissolved forces carried out a massacre of Chams in the Filiates area, and
    practically cleared the district of the Albanian minority. According to all the
    information I have been able to gather on the Cham issue, in the fall of 1944 and
    during the first months of 1945, the authorities in north-western Greece
    perpetrated savage brutality by evicting some 25,000 Chams - residents of
    Chameria - from their homes. They were chased across the border after having
    been robbed of their land and property. Hundreds of male Chams from the ages of
    15 to 70 were interned on the islands of the Aegean Sea. In total 102 mosques were
    burnt down."18 The Greek authorities then approved a law sanctioning the
    expropriation of Cham property, citing the collaboration of their community with
    the occupying Axis forces as a main reason for the decision.
    For those Chams of the Orthodox faith who remained in Greece after 1945, their
    Albanian identity was suppressed as a deeply repressive policy of assimilation
    ensued and, as before World War II, the Albanian language was not allowed to be
    spoken in public, nor taught in the schools. The demographic structure of
    northwest Greece was altered by the introduction of settlers from other parts of
    Greece. Vlachs in particular were encouraged to settle in abandoned Cham villages
    without the legal right of ownership.19 Greece wanted the demographic structure of
    the province changed because it did not trust the rest of the Albanian population
    who remained there, even though they were of the Christian Orthodox faith. As the
    speaking of Albanian was prohibited in public, the assimilation of Orthodox
    Albanians gathered momentum and they have struggled ever since to maintain
    their identity.20
    Attempts to Internationalise the Cham Question
    Following their expulsion from Greece to Albania, the Cham refugees who had
    Greek citizenship but Albanian nationality were placed under the direction of the
    Cham Anti-Fascist Committee (CAFC). The new post-war Communist government
    of Albania took the Cham issue to the Paris Peace Conference (1946) to demand the
    repatriation of the Chams and the return of their property. At the end of September
    1944, the first Cham Congress was held in the village of Konispol in southern
    Albania. The following month a delegation of the CAFC was sent to Athens to lodge
    a protest with the government of George Papandreou against the continuing Greek
    atrocities in Chameria. The Cham delegation also delivered protest notes to the
    Greek National Union, the Mediterranean General Command, the missions of the
    allied governments and the Central Committee of the National Liberation Front
    (EAM). The Commission was completely ignored by the Greek authorities. At the
    same time, the Cham National Liberation Committee made several attempts to
    internationalise the question and to secure the support of the Allied Powers. They
    sent telegrams of protest to the Soviet, British, American and French military
    missions, and the Yugoslav Legation in Tirana. Memorandums explaining the
    plight of the Cham refugees were also sent to the Allied Foreign Ministers'
    Conference in London (3 September 1945) and to the United Nations Assembly in
    New York (25 October 1946). Each included a plea for recognition of their plight:
    `Despite protests we have made and the rights we are entitled to, we continue to be
    in exile, whereas the Greek government has gone all out to establish aliens in our
    Chameria in order to prevent us from returning home.'21
    The Memorandum ends with a note of optimism and faith in the international
    justice system. It reads: "On behalf of our Cham population, we lodge a protest and
    bring to the attention of the Investigation Commission of the United Nations
    Security Council the tragedy played out in Chameria and the act carried out to
    exterminate our population. We stress the need for an urgent settlement of the
    Cham problem, confident that our following demands will be met:
    1. Adoption of immediate measures to halt the settlement of aliens in our native
    land.
    2. Repatriation of all the Chams.
    3. Restitution of our property and remuneration of damage in liquid and fixed
    capital.
    4. Assistance to rebuild our homes and resettlement.
    5. Safeguards and guarantees emanating from the international treaties and
    mandates, such as guaranteed civil, political, cultural rights and personal
    safety.
    6. Trial and condemnation of all those who are responsible for the crimes they have
    perpetrated.22
    These demands were never answered. The UN Assembly in New York did, however,
    acknowledge the humanitarian crisis facing the refugees. From September 1945 to
    the spring of 1947, Albania received a total of US$26 million of assorted goods,
    materials and equipment from the UN Relief Programme, UNRRA (United Nation's
    Relief and Rehabilitation Administration). Of this approximately US$1.2 million
    was allocated specifically for refugees from northern Greece. It was mainly due to
    this aid programme that Albania escaped a major famine.
    On 23 September 1945, the Second Cham Congress was held in the Albanian
    Adriatic port of Vlore, where an increasing number of Chams were beginning to
    settle. As a result, yet more memorandums were despatched to the London Peace
    Conference and to various Allied Military Missions in Albania, requesting the Cham
    issue be discussed. Until 1947, the Chams struggled to internationalise their plight
    by informing virtually every international agency and mission that they could reach.
    After 1947, however, Albania and Greece fell into two separate political camps and
    the Cham issue lay dormant until the collapse of communism in Albania in 1991.
    Then throughout Albania, all those who felt dispossessed as a result of the wartime
    period or persecution under the Communists immediately formed organisations to
    seek recognition and compensation.
    The Current Situation
    In January 1991, as the one-party state in Albania was disintegrating, the
    Chameria National Political Association (Chameria Shoqeria Politike Atdhetare,
    CSPA) was founded as a political lobby to "express and defend" the interests of the
    people of Chameria. Since then the CSPA has overseen the establishment of Cham
    cultural events and the Cham newspaper Vatra Amtare Chameria (The Motherland
    of Chameria), as well as issuing a series of demands for the return of Cham
    property and financial compensation. The then Greek foreign minister, Karolas
    Papoulias, said in the summer of 1991 that these demands should be settled by a
    bilateral commission. The chances of forming one, however, are non-existent
    because under current Greek law there is no legal means of challenging requisition
    (or expropriation) of land by the Greek state. In the meantime, the issue has been
    taken by the Tirana government to the World Court of Justice, in an effort to secure
    financial compensation for lost Cham property. There has been little progress to
    date. According to the official Greek stand, the Muslim Chams will not be allowed
    to return to Greece "because they have collaborated with the Italian-German
    invaders during the Second World War, and as such they are war criminals and are
    punished according to Greek laws".23
    In post-communist Albania, the Democratic and other right-wing political parties
    have been far more supportive of the Chams than have either the Socialist Party,
    which has always been indirectly supported by Greece or middle ground parties
    such as the Democratic Alliance and Social Democrats. The Democratic Party (DP),
    which came to power in March 1992 (until 1997), gave much vocal support for
    "those Albanians whose voices were silenced under the (communist) dictatorship".
    Indeed, under the DP government in June 1994 a new law was passed, which
    proclaimed 27 June as "The Day of Greek Chauvinist Genocide Against the
    Albanians of Chameria" and set up a memorial to the Chams in the southern village
    of Konispol.24
    Every time a Greek minister makes an official visit to Tirana, the Chams are out in
    protest. In August 1999, the CSPA - by now more commonly known as the
    Chameria Political Association (CPA) - in Tirana delivered a petition to the Albanian
    government and international organisations in the Albanian capital, during the visit
    to Albania of the Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Simitis. The document read: "We
    protest energetically against the stand of the Greek government to the Cham
    problem; to the denial of our legitimate right to return to our native land after the
    expulsion from Chameria at the end of the Second World War, and to the denial of
    our property right. We therefore demand:
    1. That the Albanian government requests the Greek government to allow the
    return of the Cham population to their native land;
    2. The return of their legal and legitimate properties, which have been stolen and
    are being exploited arbitrarily by the Greek state;
    3. The compensation of the income derived from the 55-year exploitation of our
    properties;
    4. Recognition and respect of the human rights sanctioned by international acts,
    rights which have been violated by the Greek state in our case;
    5. That the Albanian state intervene more actively in international organisations to
    make the Cham problem better known, and to use their authority to provide a
    solution to this problem."
    The petition ended rather ominously with the phrase: "We are convinced that unless
    the Cham problem is solved, there will not be friendly and quiet relations between
    Albania and Greece, nor peace in the Balkans."25
    In November 1999, the CPA organised a fringe meeting entitled `The Cham Issue -
    In Search of a Solution' during the unrelated OSCE summit in Istanbul. Foreign
    delegations attending the OSCE conference were invited to attend the meeting
    where the Chairman of the CPA, Hilmi Saqe, gave a lengthy speech. He spoke
    about the main historical developments in Chameria, and especially about the
    atrocities committed during the 1944-45 Greek offensive. Saqe unfortunately
    equated the deaths of around 5,000 Chams with those of 6 million Jews during the
    World War II. He claimed that "these massacres were almost at the same level as
    those of the Holocaust on the Hebrews".26 Such exaggeration does the Cham cause
    an injustice by raising scepticism amongst outside observers as to the true nature
    and extent of the human rights abuses committed against the Chams. Saqe's
    speech included yet another list of demands:
    1. The implementation of basic human rights on the part of the Greek state;
    2. The recognition of Cam assets restitution and any other rights which derive from
    it. These assets have been forcefully captured by the Greek state.
    3. Recognition of the right of the Cham population to return to its autochthonous
    lands;
    4. Recognition and protection of the Cham problem from the international
    community.
    5. The same rights that the Greek minority in Albania enjoys.
    This last request was aimed specifically at cultural issues, such as the right to
    attend primary, secondary and higher education in Albanian language classes.
    Hilmi Saqe ended his speech on an angry note: "In today's world it is difficult to
    believe that the Greek government, which has signed and ratified international
    conventions and agreements, could be so hostile towards the Cham people. If one
    of us has managed to get a Greek visa at the Greek embassy in Tirana, their
    passports are torn at any border point with Greece upon entering Greek territory.
    We have appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana to discuss the matter
    with their Greek counterparts in order to allow members of our Association, who
    were born in Chameria, to visit their houses. But the Greek authorities do not
    allow any Cham people to set foot in Greece."27 Anyone who has witnessed the
    undignified process outside the Greek embassy in Tirana or the consulate in
    Gjirokaster, whereby daily hundreds of Albanians desperately queue for Greek
    visas, will verify the difficulty of obtaining a much-valued Greek visa.
    The current Socialist-led government in Tirana has done little to address the
    Chams' demands since coming to power in 1997. If anything it has evaded
    questions on an issue which causes embarrassment to a government that is closely
    aligned with Greece - Albania's second most important trading partner. The Cham
    issue did, however, arise during a visit to Athens of Albanian Premier Ilir Meta at
    the end of 1999, though it was not on the agenda of talks with his Greek
    counterpart Costas Simitis. Simitis said that the Greek government considered the
    Cham issue as a closed chapter. The Greek Premier's statement prompted a reply
    from Meta for home consumption to Albanian journalists covering his visit. He said
    that Albania expected the Greek government to solve the issue of Cham properties
    according to the European conventions by which Greece abides.28 Perhaps the only
    Albanian politician to speak out publicly for the Chams is Sabri Godo, a right-wing
    republican, who has always pressed Greece to tackle the Cham issue. Godo
    believes that "Greece needs firstly to lift the state of war law against Albania, which
    would create the basis for discussion,"29 and that the issue could be solved
    "diplomatically with meetings of the personalities of the two countries".30
    In January 2000, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Sali Berisha, on a
    tour of southern Albania demanded more rights for the Cham minority in Greece,
    saying relations between Albania and Greece might suffer if mutual problems were
    not solved. Berisha demanded more cultural rights for Albanians living in Greece,
    such as the opening of an Albanian-language school in the northern Greek town of
    Filiates, and a solution to the property issue of the Cham population.31 On 27 June
    2000 a ceremony took place in Tirana where local officials renamed a street
    "Chameria", which had been settled by Cham refugees in 1945. The street's first
    informal name was the Bazaar of the Chams. The Communists renamed it after a
    nearby school. The Albania-Greek Commission, which was set up in 1999 to
    discuss the Cham property and assets issue, has not yet functioned. A troubling
    issue is the law approved by the Greek parliament (No 2664, dated 3 December
    1998) on the registration of assets, which jeopardises the Cham issue and
    endangers their case. The deadline to register property was just one year. After the
    end of 1999 there was no more legal right to claim property. Those who missed the
    opportunity to register have now to go through a lengthy and costly court
    procedure.
    Every year on the anniversary of the June 1944 massacres at Paramithia, the Cham
    Association organises a demonstration or rally in Tirana, which usually attracts
    more media attention than actual physical support. On average between 500-900
    people attend, which given a Cham population in Albania of around 200,000, is not
    a strong show of support. Nevertheless, the demonstrations are highly vocal and
    well publicised. On 27 June 2001, to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the
    expulsion of Muslim Albanians from Greece, a group of around 500 Cham
    demonstrators marched through Tirana to the Greek embassy, calling on Athens to
    restore their confiscated properties in northern Greece, and to allow them to return
    to their homes. At a press briefing following the demonstration, a Greek foreign
    ministry spokesman said irritably: "There is no Cham issue, and certain quarters
    wished to contribute to the destabilisation of the region by raising such nonexistent
    issues. Such matters have been dealt with by history."32
    Today one can see numerous ruined Cham settlements scattered throughout north
    western Greece, especially in the region between Paramithia and Filiates. An
    estimated 40,000 Christian Orthodox Albanians still live in the Threspotia region.
    Although the majority are of original Cham decent, a significant minority migrated
    to the region after the collapse of communism in Albania in 1991. The process of
    assimilation is only gradual and as yet does not threaten their Albanian identity.
    Although their children go to Greek schools and Greek is spoken everywhere
    outside the home, inside the houses Albanian is spoken by all familiy members,
    and events in Albania are keenly followed. One traveller in the late 1970s noted
    that: "There are still many Greek Orthodox villagers in Threspotia who speak
    Albanian among themselves. They are scattered north from Paramithia to the
    Kalamas River and beyond, and westward to the Margariti Plain. Some of the older
    people can only speak Albanian, nor is the language dying out. As more and more
    couples in early married life travel away to Athens or Germany for work, their
    children remain at home and are brought up by their Albania-speaking
    grandparents".33 Meanwhile, in Albania itself, the Muslim Cham villages around
    the area of Konispol are noticeably impoverished in comparison with other non-
    Cham villages in that part of southern Albania. Those Chams who settled in urban
    areas of Albania appear to have fared far better economically.
    There is a long-term political aspect to the current situation in Threspotia, because
    the demographic balance is gradually changing in the region. Albanians are quietly
    re-establishing themselves in long-abandoned property, which has been handed
    down from generation to generation. This is happening despite the region being
    effectively under a form of military occupation. The former Cham capital Filiates is
    now a major military garrison town, and all along the Albanian border are off-limits
    army controlled zones. Many in the Greek foreign office believe that the local police
    are in the pay of the Albanians, and thus turn a blind eye to the Cham returnees.
    This seems highly probable given the amount of illegal activity in and around the
    Greek-Albanian border, and in the port area of the town of Igoumenitsa, where
    Greeks and Albanians openly operate in the smuggling of illegal immigrants to Italy.
    Regional Response to the Cham Issue
    The Chams are not the only group interested in keeping their cause in the public
    eye. A number of other regional elements, most notably nationalist groups from
    Serbia, FYROM, Greece and Turkey, also have a vested interest in making sure the
    world is alerted to the issue. The first three are at pains to broadcast all reports
    relating to the existence of a "Cham Liberation Army", thereby exposing the "real
    threat to regional security of pan-Albanian expansionism". Turkey, meanwhile, is
    finding the Cham dispute a useful tool with which to draw international attention to
    the plight of the Turkish minority in Greece.
    During the conflict in FYROM in 2001, some Serbian, Slav Macedonian and Greek
    media reports told of a new "Liberation Army of Chameria". These alarmist
    accounts warned of a logical continuation of a pan-Albanian initiative to create a
    "Liberation Army" in all the "occupied territories" with the eventual aim of creating a
    Greater Albania. At the height of the fighting in FYROM, a report over the internet
    by a news agency in FYROM published comments ostensibly made by a spokesman
    from the NLA to Australian radio. The NLA's political representative, Ali Ahmeti,
    apparently spoke of the existence of a Chameria Liberation Army in north western
    Greece, which is ready to "defend" the rights of Albanians living in that region.34
    Ahmeti later denied he had made such statements, in an interview with the BBC.
    Another Serbian agency reported the same statement "by a representative of the
    Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA), Ali Ahmeti", which said "the Albanian
    Liberation Army of Chameria will soon be ready for action as the legitimate
    representative of Albanians in defence of their rights".35
    Although such reports in the Greek media are dismissed by Greek government
    officials, this is purely because acknowledging the existence of any Cham military
    organisation would mean also having to address the cause of why such a
    "Liberation Army" exists at all. The claims highlight what appears to be a growing
    agitation movement over the internet, where Albanian groups appear to have
    launched an "information campaign" to put pressure on Greece over an issue that
    Greece says does not exist. The Greek authorities reacted angrily to the supposed
    statement by Ahmeti. "The sick imagination of certain terrorist elements, who
    attempt to present non-existent issues, seems to have no bounds," said Greek
    Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayotis Beglitis.36
    The contemporary Greek press has also published accounts about the clandestine
    activities of a "Chameria Liberation Front". The first of these appeared almost a
    year before Ahmeti's supposed statement, when a report by the newspaper Tipos tis
    Kiriakis (9 July 2000) claimed that a new Liberation Army of Chameria (UCC -
    Ushtria Clirimtare Chameria) had been formed in Albania, and had already finished
    two large manoeuvres. The article described the UCC as an offshoot of the Kosovo
    Liberation Army (KLA), and a logical extension of the ethnic Albanian guerrilla
    groups that had sprung up in southern Serbia - the Liberation Army of Preshevo,
    Medveje and Bujanovac (UCPMB) and the National Liberation Army (NLA) in
    FYROM. The article claimed that the UCC's plans for Greece were decided in
    November 1999, at a conference held in the Gjakova district of southern Kosovo, at
    which it was decided to set up the first brigade of the 'Chameria Liberation Army'.
    The operational base of the brigade will be in Janina, which will also be the hub of
    the liberated region.37
    The article highlights quite specific details of the activities of the UCC. Apparently
    on 26 February 2000, the first armed group participated in manoeuvres called
    'Freedom and Unity' (Clirim dhe Bahskim) held in a remote area of northern
    Albania, ten kilometres north of Bajram Curri. Weapons used for these exercises, it
    is claimed, came from an Albanian army depot, while others were new, especially
    anti-tank missiles purchased from Hungary. An estimated 40-60 fighters formed
    the nucleus of the first 'Chameria Brigade', which was controlled by a Commander
    Remi.38 Such specific and confidently announced details are difficult to
    substantiate. One allegation, however, does appear plausible. The article states:
    "Most of the organisers behind the UCC belong to the right-wing, formerly fascist
    Albanian organisations, that co-operated with various NATO services to oppose
    Enver Hoxha's communist dictatorship in Albania."39 This would place the
    embryonic UCC within the umbrella organisation now known as the All Albanian
    National Army (AKSh), which is a loosely-knit group of right-wing nationalist
    activists in opposition to the Socialist-led government in Tirana and to the
    Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) in Pristina.40
    Given the current military and political situation in the southern Balkans, the
    scenario proposed by this article appears fairly improbable. At present and for the
    foreseeable future, NATO is firmly entrenched in Kosovo, and with a significant
    presence in Albania and FYROM. This factor, in conjunction with Greece being a
    member of NATO, means it would be extremely difficult for such a small group of
    Albanians, who lack the local support base provided for other ethnic Albanian
    insurgent groups in the Preshevo Valley and FYROM, to launch a military-style
    campaign in northern Greece. At the time, however, back in November 1999, when
    the Tipos tis Kiriakis article claims the first UCC brigade was set up, Kosovo was in
    a very volatile situation. Just four months after the end of the conflict with Serbia,
    the Kosovars were euphoric with the scale of their victory. This mood was highly
    infectious. Other Albanian elements with unresolved national demands were
    confident that the international community would be receptive to their plight,
    following the shocking revelations about the treatment meted out to the Kosovo
    Albanians by the Serb security forces in the spring of 1999. It was against this
    background that the Chams, along with Albanians in the Preshevo Valley and
    FYROM, began to discuss moves in which to publicise their long-held grievances.
    Publicly therefore, the Greek government has played down such media reports
    saying that the UCC does not exist, but privately there is concern. The AKSh is
    now active in FYROM and numerous arms caches are known to be hidden in
    locations just over the Greek border in Albania. The Greek authorities are believed
    to have an informal list of banned Cham activists, who are refused entry into
    Greece. However, it is not just political and military issues surrounding the Cham
    dispute which are causing tensions. Socio-economic issues also play a part in
    exacerbating the debate. In southern Albania, particularly in the border districts
    with Greece, there has developed considerable tension over the legitimacy of
    property ownership since the collapse of communism. This has placed the Chams
    in a difficult position since they represent non-traditional inhabitants. The growing
    number of disputes over land ownership has led many Chams to seek ways in
    which to recover their pre-war property assets in northern Greece. The pre-war
    Cham population was split into two distinct socio-economic groups: the first
    comprised wealthy, predominantly urban Beys, who owned vast tracts of land,
    whilst the second group were mainly poor, rural peasants, who grazed livestock in
    the more hilly regions, or worked on the Beys' estates.
    The Greek authorities are less concerned about the latter group, as their claims are
    void because they owned no land and their grazing rights were based upon old
    Ottoman laws, which have no meaning under contemporary Greek law. However,
    there is real concern that the Beys do have substantial land claims. It is difficult to
    assess the exact differentiation between the descendants of the landed or landless
    Chams in contemparary Albania. Although many Beys and their older sons were
    liquidated when they went up to join the nationalist organisation Balli Kombetar in
    1942-1943 to fight the communists, many other relatives survived in their
    traditionally large families. These people remained landless and without power
    during the 47 years of communist rule in Albania. Since the collapse of the oneparty
    state in 1991, they have joined forces with representatives of landless Chams
    to fight to regain not only their land, but also their privileged social status as
    wealthy property owners.
    Another regional player that is more than ready to exploit the Cham issue is
    Turkey. Turkey wants to pressure Greece on the minority issue to gain formal
    recognition of the Muslim minority in eastern Thrace as Turkish. Turkey also
    wishes to highlight the overall Greek failure to provide educational, religious and
    cultural rights for all minorities in Greece to comply with EU standards. Greece
    refuses to acknowledge virtually any ethnic minority in the country unless forced
    to, as in the case of the Florina Slavs in 1997.
    Tirana's taboo subject was publicised recently by Turkey's Foreign Ministry in a
    statement which called the "Cham tragedy one of the most painful tragedies of the
    European continent".41 It went on to criticise the Greek authorities "for sticking to
    the concept of absolute denial over the existence of ethnic groups on Greek territory
    … and as history has recorded, Greece has committed genocide against Albanians
    of the Muslim faith".42 The Turkish authorities have urged the Greek government to
    participate in an international conference on the Cham dispute at which the
    Albanian government would also be present. Athens was also asked to
    acknowledge the Albanian nationality of Albanian-speaking Orthodox Christians in
    the same area, to compensate the displaced Chams for the property they have lost,
    to provide an Albanian Orthodox Church for Albanian Christians, to repatriate the
    Cham minority and to provide them with Greek citizenship.
    It is important here to mention an aspect of this debate, which goes to the very core
    of the problem. In their historiography the Greeks avoid the use of the term
    Albanian when referring to Albanian-speaking people residing in Greece. Instead
    they use the term 'Arvanites', which denotes an Albanian-speaking Christian. This
    is an ideological construct designed to reinforce Greek national self-definition as a
    purely Christian state. In other words, the Cham Muslims were never 'real Greeks',
    unlike their Christian brothers, and as such have no claim to Greek citizenship.
    The State of War
    One significant factor that directly affects the ability of the Chams to effectively
    challenge the Greek government is that technically a state of war may still exist
    between Greece and Albania. The law in question, adopted in 1940 when Greece
    was invaded by Italian troops through Albania, was repealed by the Greek
    government in 1987 but was never ratified by Greece's parliament. Albanian
    officials maintain that the law prevents Albanians from claiming property they
    owned in Greece prior to the Second World War. Greek officials, however, counter
    that the state of war cannot be said to exist because it was lifted automatically in
    accordance with international law in 1987.43
    Albania's President Rexhep Meidani has called on Greece to cancel the law. "It is
    unacceptable that the law of the state of war is still valid. It hinders investments,
    exchanges between the two countries and integration processes," Meidani told
    Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatopoulos during the latter's visit to Tirana in
    July 2000.44 Two months later the President again raised the matter to an
    international audience. In his speech to the United Nation's General Assembly's
    Millennium Summit in September 2000, Meidani obliquely criticised Greece for
    maintaining a legal state of war with Albania. "We must ask ourselves," he said,
    "can we arrive at an acceptable definition of good governance while members of the
    United Nations maintain a de jure declaration of war with other members?
    Certainly not."45 The Albanian authorities want the matter officially and legally
    closed. Why, they ask, was this issue never settled during Greece's negotiations to
    join the European Union?46 This is clearly a matter that needs to be clarified in the
    interests of Albanian-Greek relations.
    Conclusion
    The expulsion of the Muslim Chams from Greece during the period 1912-1945 can
    be seen as merely a continuation of the bitter inter-ethnic feuding that
    characterised the southern Balkans from the time of the Balkan Wars through to
    the end of the Greek Civil War in 1949. This period witnessed the settling of old
    scores against those minorities unfortunate enough to find themselves on the wrong
    side of their own ethnic borders. In the case of the Chams, their particular
    situation is very much a product of Greece's entire historical perception of her
    northern border. Greece has never really had a concept of a fixed northern border,
    where prior to the settlement of Greeks from Asia Minor in 1922, very few Greeks
    had ever lived.47 After the Greek Civil War, right-wing Greeks from areas like the
    Piraeus port district of Athens were settled in towns and villages in the Cham and
    Slav minority areas, in order to reinforce the "loyal" Greek element in the region,
    and to inform Athens of the activities of the local non-Greek inhabitants. This is
    still very much the case today. The idea of Greek expansion northwards, which was
    embodied in the 19th century national programme known as the Megali Idea,48 has
    never really been abandoned by the Greek Church or nationalist elements within
    the Greek establishment. This, combined with the state of war law, causes Albania
    still to regard Greece as a security threat.
    There are indeed militant ethnic Albanian groups dedicated to changing borders in
    south eastern Europe to create an "Ethnic Albania".49 Others wish to see a "Greater
    Kosovo".50 But these groups represent a minute percentage of the Albanian
    population of the Balkans as a whole, with an equally tiny support base amongst
    the radical fringe of the diaspora. The Cham population in Albania is far less
    radical than is believed in Athens. Those families who have relatively prospered
    tend to be far more philosophical about the entire Cham question. Even those who
    believe they have land claims in Threspotia are prepared to wait until Albania
    becomes a full member of the European Union, when they believe they will
    "automatically" be able to cross freely into Greece and either reoccupy their former
    homes or negotiate compensation from the Greek authorities through normal legal
    channels.51 Poorer Chams, on the other hand, tend to be angrier and less patient.
    These are more likely to join the Cham Association and to demonstrate on the
    streets. Yet even these people draw the line at violence, believing instead in the
    power of "European institutions" to give them justice. "We don't want or need an
    intifada," said one Tirana Cham activist. "We are Europeans and we have European
    institutions, such as the international courts in which to present our case."52
    Although the Albanian government has officially avoided addressing the Cham
    issue, prominent Albanian individuals such as President Meidani and Sabri Godo
    have raised the subject publicly on a number of occasions. Currently, a number of
    Albanian parliamentarians are meeting members of the Cham community to
    discuss mounting a legal suit against Greece. This is something the Greek
    authorities could avoid by agreeing a financial compensation settlement with the
    Chams before the matter reaches the international courts. If a legal suit is
    eventually mounted against Greece, it could prove prohibitively expensive for the
    Greek exchequer because it would open a floodgate of claims from people, other
    than Chams, who also lost their property in the aftermath of the Second World War.
    These include supporters of the Greek left and members of the Slav minority, who
    were strongly represented amongst the left-wing forces that lost in the Greek Civil
    War. Many Slavs, like the Chams, were forced to flee from Greece in 1949, either to
    Yugoslavia or to Australia. A few even went into political exile in Albania.
    As long as it remains unresolved, the Cham issue is prone to exploitation by
    elements wanting to discredit Albanians in general, regardless of where they live
    and their political and national stance. Nationalist elements in Serbia, FYROM and
    Greece have spared no effort to "inform" the international community of the
    existence of a "Cham Liberation Army", which is poised to attack Greece in pursuit
    of a "Greater Albania". This negative outlook on behalf of small but vociferous
    groups amongst the neighbours of Albanians is highly detrimental to the
    development of regional security and peaceful co-operation in the southern
    Balkans. Turkey is also able to manipulate the Cham issue by attacking Greek
    policy over its own ethnic minority issues in Greece, thereby undermining the Greek
    case over Cyprus.
    In many respects, the Cham issue is the most easily resolved of the many unsettled
    questions regarding Albanians in the Balkans. If the issue was handled sensitively,
    it could benefit both Albanians and Greeks. Given that the Chams do not believe
    they will ever be allowed to resettle in Greece, they are concentrating their efforts on
    gaining financial compensation. Yet, if families were able to return to their old
    properties, the economy of the Threspotia region would improve remarkably. Over
    the past thirty years, the north west of Greece has become seriously depopulated as
    people move out of the villages to the larger towns and cities. Vast swathes of once
    heavily grazed hillsides have reverted to dense forest, much as they were in
    Ottoman times.53 Albanians would probably be only too willing to graze the land
    once more with flocks of sheep, and thus provide the Greek yoghurt industry with
    the raw material it so badly needs. Although the Greek government has sometimes
    expressed some sort of readiness to discuss issues relating to property and asset
    compensation, it categorically does not recognise the right of the Chams to Greek
    citizenship, which is referred to as "historical". Many Chams, however, desire
    Greek citizenship above all else. This would release them from the humiliation of
    going through the degrading visa application process in Tirana, and provide an
    opportunity to escape the dire poverty and unemployment in Albania. Despite their
    general assimilation, the Chams have never really felt welcome in Albania. In fact,
    many non-Cham Albanians, especially in Tirana, use the term 'Cham' in a
    derogatory sense to denote an untrustworthy person.
    This matter needs to be addressed before the year 2004, which will see the Olympic
    games held in Athens, and which will also mark the 60th anniversary of the
    massacres at Paramithia in 1944. There are plans to commemorate this event with
    large-scale demonstrations and perhaps the further recruitment of a minority Cham
    activists into military-style groups. There is the risk of a greater radicalisation of
    Albanians in general as they become more aware about the Cham issue and the
    "historical injustices" suffered by their nation at the hand of their neighbours.
    During recent years, a new breed of young historians are bringing the matter to the
    attention of a new generation of Albanians. The new pan-Albanian school textbooks
    now include whole passages on the history of the Chams.54 In the interests of
    Albanian-Greek relations, the state of war should be officially nullified by the Greek
    government. Otherwise Albania will continue to see Greece as a security threat.
    What is needed is to get EU standards on this and other minority issues actually
    enshrined in Greek law and properly enforced. Despite the Greek authorities
    declaring that there is no Cham issue, the "issue" itself remains a very tangible
    evidence of how far minority issues in the Balkans have yet to progress in order to
    comply with even the most rudimentary minority policies within the European
    Union. The matter reflects badly upon Greece, which despite a veneer of EU
    respectability, remains very much a Balkan country still deeply entrenched in the
    mind-set of Ottoman times, when a "nation" was deemed as such by its religious
    affiliation rather than by the main determinants of ethnicity such as language and
    culture.
    ENDNOTES
    1 Frosina Information Network, Error!. Other
    websites which deal with Cham issues are: http://www.albanian.com/main/other/cameria,
    and Alba & Bel [Indeksi i Përgjithshëm / Generale Index / General Index].
    2 Miranda Vickers & James Pettifer, Albania: From Anarchy to a Balkan Identity, C
    Hurst & Co, 1997, pxii.
    3 For detailed historical and documentary accounts of the Chams and Chameria see:
    Albert Kotini, Tre Guret e zes ne Preveza, Fllad, Tirana, 2000; Albert Kotini, Chameria
    Denoncon, Fllad, Tirana, 1999; Fatos Mero Rrapaj, Fjalori Onomastik I Epirit, Eurolindja,
    Tirana, 1995; Drejtoria e Pergjithshme e Arkivave - Documente per Chemerine, 1912-1939.
    Dituria, Tirana, 1999.
    4 Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis, Kathimerini (Athens), 2-3
    June 2001.
    5 INET (Belgrade), 30 May 2001, 11:15.
    6 The term Tosk refers to Albanians who live south of the Shkumbi River. They speak
    a different dialect, and have different cultural traditions, from the Gheg Albanians who live
    north of the Shkumbi.
    7 Odysseus, Turkey in Europe, London, 1900, p401.
    8 Jelavic, Charles and Barbara, The Establishment of the Balkan National States 1804-
    1920, Washington, 1970, p77.
    9 A similar pattern was emerging in the Kosovo region of southern Serbia, whereby
    Albanians were being encouraged to leave their lands for Turkey, and Serb and Montenegrin
    colonists were brought in to settle on the vacated Albanian land.
    10 Michalopoulos, D, 'The Moslems of Chamouria and the Exchange of Populations
    Between Greece and Turkey', Balkan Studies, Vol 27, No 2, 1986, pp305-6.
    11 Michalopolous, pp306-7.
    12 Michalopolous, p310.
    13 For a list of the most important changes in place names from Albanian into Greek,
    see James Pettifer, The Blue Guide to Albania and Kosovo, third edition, London, 2000, p57.
    14 James Pettifer, The Blue Guide to Albania and Kosovo, third edition, London, 2000,
    p439.
    15 British Foreign Office PRO/FO No.371/48094/544/R8 564.
    16 Eyewitness accounts of the attacks on the Cham districts of Paramithia, Parga and
    Spatar, Memorandum of the Anti-Fascist Committee of Cham Emigrants in Albania, Tirana,
    1947, p4, hereafter 'Memorandum'. It should also be noted that most of the influential
    books in English on the region have been written from the viewpoint of the Greek Royalist
    Right, from Henry Baerlein's 'Under the Acroceraunian Mountains', Rene Puaux's 'Sorrow of
    Epirus' and Pyrrus Ruches' 'Albania's Captives', to modern polemical works such as 'Eleni'
    by Nicholas Gage. For a pro-Cham viewpoint, see 'British Imperialism and Ethnic
    Cleansing' by N Zanga, Tirana, 1997.
    17 Memorandum, p6.
    18 Documents of the US Department of State, No. 84/3, Tirana Mission, 1945-1946, 6-
    646.
    19 Vlachs are semi-nomadic pastoralists who speak a language akin to Romanian and
    live in south-east Albania, north-west Greece and southern FYROM.
    20 For useful information on the tensions between Albania and Greece over the
    Chameria/Epirus dispute, see: Border and Territorial Disputes, 3rd edition, Albania-Greece
    (Northern Epirus), Longman, Harlow, 1992.
    21 Memorandum, p8.
    22 Memorandum, p9.
    23 Statement of Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis on the occasion of his visit to
    Tirana, May 1992.
    24 Republic of Albania - Law No: 7839, passed in Tirana, 30 June 1994. The Cham
    monument was erected in Konispol in 1995.
    25 Petition to the Albanian government and international organisations, the Chameria
    Political Association, Tirana, 24 August 1999.
    26 Speech by Hilmi Saqe, OSCE Istanbul Summit, fringe meeting, 18 November 1999.
    27 Ibid.
    28 Albania Daily News, 1226, 18 January 2000.
    29 Godo was referring to the law that Greece imposed on Albania in 1940, which was de
    facto lifted in 1987, but which still has to go through a final parliamentary approval.
    30 Albania Daily News, 1571, 29 May 2001.
    31 Albania Daily News, 1226, 18 January 2000.
    32 Albania Daily News, Tirana, 1 July 2001.
    33 Arthur Foss, Epirus, London, 1978, p173.
    34 Kathimerini, 2-3 June 2001.
    35 INET (Belgrade), 30 May 2001, 11:15.
    36 Albania Daily News, 31 May 2001.
    37 Albanian Nationalist Army Seen Claiming Greek Territories, Tipos tis Kiriakis, 9 July
    2000.
    38 Ibid.
    39 Ibid.
    40 During the late 1940s, the British and Americans devised a complicated and risky
    plot to overthrow Hoxha's regime. The plan was to equip and train an anti-Communist force
    recruited from hundreds of right-wing Zogist and Ballist refugees who had fled from Albania
    after the war. For a fuller account of these events see Miranda Vickers, The Albanians, a
    Modern History, London: 1999, Chapter eight, & Nicholas Bethel, The Great Betrayal
    (London: 1984).
    41 The Republic Of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
    http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/ac/ack/03.htm, 6 June 2001.
    42 The Republic Of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
    http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/ac/ack/03.htm, 6 June 2001.
    43 Interview with Greek officials, Tirana, March 2001.
    44 Reuters, Tirana, 1 August 2000.
    45 RFE/RL, 9 November 2000.
    46 Interview with Albanian officials, Tirana, April 2001.
    47 In Ottoman times what is now northern Greece was largely inhabited by Turks,
    Albanians, Slavs, Vlachs and Roma.
    48 The Megali Idea was a plan of expansion which would include all Greeks within a
    single Greek state, as well as entailing the revival of the Byantine Empire. The lands to be
    adjoined to this empire included Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia, Thrace, the Agean islands,
    Crete, Cyprus, the west coast of Asia Minor, and the territory between the Balkan and
    Rhodope Mountains.
    49 Extreme nationalist Albanian rhetoric for a Greater Albania.
    50 The union of Kosovo with western FYROM.
    51 Interview with Cham families in Vlore and Tirana, May 2001.
    52 Interview with members of the Cham association, Tirana, September 2001.
    53 In marked contrast to to the decline in the human habitation of Epirus, the wolf
    population has increased over the past three decades and is now on a par with wolf
    numbers in Ottoman times.
    54 An example of the new presentation of the Cham issue can be found in the book 'The
    Political Philosophy of the Albanian Question', Pristina, 1997, by the young Kosovo Albanian
    historian Ushkim Hoti.
    Appendix
    Cham population settlement in the Republic of Albania according to the 1991
    registration of Chams by the Chameria Political Association.
    Place Persons
    Shkoder 1,150
    Kruje-Lac-Fushekruje 720
    Lezhe 35
    Tirana (District) 29,700
    Durres-Shijak-Sukth 35,000
    Kavaje-Golem-Gose-Rrogozhine 10,500
    Peqin 1,400
    Elbasan-Cerrik 12,650
    Lushnje-Zhame-Dushk 8,300
    Berat-Kucove 6,900
    Fier-Patos-Rreth 39,800
    Vlore (District) 42,300
    Sarande (District) 12,100
    Delvine (District) 2,900
    Total 204,255

    Published By:
    The Conflict Studies Research
    Centre
    Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
    Camberley Telephone : (44) 1276 412346
    Surrey Or 412375
    GU15 4PQ Fax : (44) 1276 686880
    England E-mail: csrc@gtnet.gov.uk
    http://www.csrc.ac.uk

  4. #114
    Jehona_e_Rahovecit
    Im Jahr 1991 fand in Albanien eine Volkszählung bei der die Zahl der Camen in Albanien registriert worden ist und dies kam dabei heraus:

    Shkoder 1,150
    Kruje-Lac-Fushekruje 720
    Lezhe 35
    Tirana (District) 29,700
    Durres-Shijak-Sukth 35,000
    Kavaje-Golem-Gose-Rrogozhine 10,500
    Peqin 1,400
    Elbasan-Cerrik 12,650
    Lushnje-Zhame-Dushk 8,300
    Berat-Kucove 6,900
    Fier-Patos-Rreth 39,800
    Vlore (District) 42,300
    Sarande (District) 12,100
    Delvine (District) 2,900
    Total 204,255

    Aus dieser Volkszählung geht hervor dass die Camen 204,255 Menschen in Albanien ausmachen und über das gesamte Land verteilt worden sind.
    Ihr Hauptsiedlungsgebiet befindet sich nachwievor in Epirus(Südalbanien).Sie haben sich in diesem Gebiet angesiedelt in der Hoffnung in ihrer angestammten Heimat wieder zurückzukehren.
    Leider verweigert ihnen unbegründet der griechische Staat die Rückkehr.

  5. #115
    Avatar von BlackJack

    Registriert seit
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    Zitat Zitat von Jehona_e_Rahovecit Beitrag anzeigen
    Du fängst an zu beleidigen weil du nicht weisst dir anders zu helfen.
    Billiger gehts nimmer aber so kennt es man von den Nazis.
    Nur weil dir dein Großvater etwas vorgegaukelt hat, heisst dies nicht dass es stimmen muss.
    jetzt hör sich mal jemand diesen hetzerischen Idioten an, schreibt vorher
    Jeder Grieche hier, der behauptet dass das griechische Verbrechen an den Camen kein Genozid war, kann mir ein blasen und dann das Maul halten. Aber zuvor sollten sie ihr Maul mit Desinfektionsmittel reinigen, damit sie meinen Sschwanz beschmutzen.
    aber wirft dem anderen Beleidigung vor ... halt selektive Wahrnehmung

  6. #116
    Avatar von Thrakian

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    Zitat Zitat von Jehona_e_Rahovecit Beitrag anzeigen
    Dann kannst du ihn ja lesen und mir nachher erklären was darin so geschrieben steht.
    Bist doch an dem Thema Cameria im 2.WK sehr interessiert oder?
    Also keine komitees und aehnliches.

    Die resoluzion will ich sehen.

  7. #117

    Registriert seit
    20.02.2010
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    Zitat Zitat von Opala Beitrag anzeigen
    Hier ein Paradebeispiel für Unwissenheit aber trotzdem meinen mitreden zu können.

    Auch dir rate ich dich über die Camen Organisation Këshilla die von den Dino Brüdern geleitet wurde zu infomieren.
    auch wenn einnige albaner mit den nazis zusammengearbeitet haben rechtferitgt das noch lange nicht das man wahrlose die unschuldige camen bevölkerung angreifft du arschloch zeig mitgefühl es wurden 2700 nur in einer nacht getötet familien wurden von der heimat vertrieben es wurden gezielt nur camen getötet also war es ein genozid

  8. #118
    Avatar von Thrakian

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    Following the Italian invasion of Albania, the Albanian Kingdom became a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy. The Italians, especially governor Francesco Jacomoni, used the Cham issue as a means to rally Albanian support. Although in the event, Albanian enthusiasm for the "liberation of Chameria" was muted, Jacomoni sent repeated over-optimistic reports to Rome on Albanian support. As the possibility of an Italian attack on Greece drew nearer, he began arming Albanian irregular bands to use against Greece.[9]
    As the final excuse for the start of the Greco-Italian War, Jacomoni used the killing of a Cham Albanian leader Daut Hoxha, whose headless body was discovered near the village of Vrina in June 1940. It was alleged by the Italian-controlled government in Tirana that he had been murdered by Greek secret agents. Daut Hoxha was a notorious bandit killed in a fight over some sheep with two shepherds. According to some other specific works Hoxha was a military leader of the Cham struggle during the inter-war years, leading to him branded as a bandit by the Greek government.[10]
    From June of that same year up to the eve of the war, due to the instigation of Albanian and Italian propaganda, many Chams had secretly crossed the borders in order to compose armed groups, which were to side with the Italians. Their numbers are estimated of about 2,000 to 3,000 men. Adding to them in the following months the Italians urgently started organizing several thousand local Albanians volunteers to participate on the "liberation of Chamuria" creating an army equivalent to a full division of 9 battalions (4 blackshirt battalions -Tirana, Korçë, Vlorë, Shkodër-, 2 infantry battalions -Gramos and Dajti-, 2 volunteer battalions -Tomori and Barabosi-, one battery corps -Drin-[11]). All of them eventually took part in the invasion to Greece at October 28, 1940 (see Greco-Italian War) under the XXV Italian Army Corps which after the incorporation of the Albanian units renamed to “Chamuria Army Corps” under General C. Rossi, although with poor performance [12].
    The Greco-Italian War started with the Italian military forces launching an invasion of Greece from Albanian territory. The invasion force included several hundred native Albanian and Chams in blackshirt battalions attached to the Italian army. Their performance however was distinctly lackluster, as most Albanians, poorly motivated, either deserted or defected. Indeed, the Italian commanders, including Mussolini, would later use the Albanians as scapegoats for the Italian failure.[9]
    These two Albanian battalions, namely, battalion Tomorri and Gramshi, were formed in the Italian army only three months before the invasion, and during the Greco-Italian War, the majority of them crossed to the Greek Army. The leader of these two battalions, Spiro Moisiu, would become the general in chief of the Albanian Anti-Fascist Army, and eventually a head of the Albanian Army after the war.[13]


    wiki kann ich auch posten, schau mall

  9. #119
    Jehona_e_Rahovecit
    Zitat Zitat von BlackJack Beitrag anzeigen
    jetzt hör sich mal jemand diesen hetzerischen Idioten an, schreibt vorher
    Idiot?
    Du bist du einer der größten in diesem Forum.
    Schreibst überall etwas und hast gar keine Ahnung was du da geschrieben hast.
    Hast wohl nichts anderes zu tun.
    Bist ziemlich arm, versuchst aber reciher zu werden in dem du auf fast jedem meiner Beiträge mit Idiot oder Hetzer antworten musst.
    Verkriech in deine Ecke wenn du vom Thema keine Ahnung hast.
    Zitat Zitat von BlackJack Beitrag anzeigen
    aber wirft dem anderen Beleidigung vor ... halt selektive Wahrnehmung
    Auf die Beleidigung habe ich reagiert weil er sich auf alle Albaner bezog.
    Hätte er nur mir geschrieben bzw. mich beleidigt wäre mir dies am Arsch vorbeigegangen.

  10. #120
    Avatar von Thrakian

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    2.437
    Xhemil Dino - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Xhemil Bey Dino (born 1894, Madrid, Spain date of death 02.07.1972) was an Albanian diplomat.
    He was a delegate from Albania to the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Assembly of the League of Nations (1925–1927).
    He became ambassador of Albania to the United Kingdom in 1932
    During the Italian occupation, he was the Foreign Minister of Albania in Shefqet Verlaci's government from April 12, 1939, until the Ministry was abolished and the foreign affairs were taken over by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 3, 1939. Dino was then given the rank of an ambassador in the Italian service.
    When Greece was occupied by the Axis forces (1941-1944), Dino was appointed the High Commissioner of Thesprotia (Cameria) and actively collaborated with the Italian and German forces.

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