Paranoid Dictator’s Communist-Era Bunkers Now a National Nuisance
"In Albania, 750,000 Communist-era bunkers populate the landscape, relics of the paranoia and skewed priorities of former dictator Enver Hoxha. Now they exist as quirky homes, animal shelters, ad hoc storage and make-out spots. "
- In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
Leka I Zogu died November 30, 2011
at the age of 72. When he was less than 48 hours old, Mussolini's troops invaded Albania and drove out his father, King Zog I of Albania, and the rest of the royal family. He spent the rest of his life fleeing invading armies, stockpiling weaponry, trading commodities, attempting coups, returning to Albania (three times), and eventually settling into a quiet life in the very country where he refused to relenquish his claims to the throne. [more inside]
Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci - who swept elections just a few days ago
- is allegedly the head of a "mafia-like" Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs
through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report
on organised crime.
"Soon were the lofty peaks of Corcyra lost to view;
We coasted along Epirus, and coming to the Chaonian
Harbour, we drew near Buthrotum, that hill city."
- The Aenid - Book III, Virgil (trans. Cecil Day Lewis)
Founded by Trojans, populated by Chaonians, a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, colonized by the Greeks and Romans, sacked by the Goths, ruled by the Slavs, the Byzantine Empire and the Turks, taken by Manfred of Hohenstaufen, purchased by the Most Serene Republic of Venice, invaded by Ali Pasha and Suleiman the Magnificent, eventually becoming a place of refuge for the likes of Casanova and for hunters and painters, the ancient city
, a microcosm of Mediterranean history
, is a World Heritage Site
within a National Park
which includes a Wetland of International Importance
all of which is being kept alive by a partnership of local, national and international organizations
. Come and explore Butrint
. [more inside]
"Pashe Keqi recalled the day nearly 60 years ago when she decided to become a man."
In today's New York Times: an account of the twilight of an ancient Albanian tradition that permitted young women to forever pledge to live as men -- swearing completely off sex and marriage in exchange for greater social, political, and economic freedom. A last few women who took this step are still alive, and still treated as men by their communities.
MetaFilter: A small city in Albania?
This is, to be perfectly clear, a link to a site designed primarily with the intent of getting people to link to it.
received a hero's welcome on a recent trip to Albania. This has been the first time a serving U.S. President has visited the country, and it's probably the first time a president has had his wristwatch stolen while shaking hands
The New Islamic Mafia
- An introduction to Albanian organized crime
"A sworn virgin is called such because she swears—takes a vow under the law of the Kanun
—to become a man. From the day she takes this vow (which is sometimes at a very early age), she becomes a man: she dresses like one, acts like one, walks like one, works like one, talks like one, and her family and community treat her as one. She is referred to as he. He will never marry and will remain celibate all of his life." If you find this stuff intriguing, by all means read Alice Munro's great short story "The Albanian Virgin" (from Open Secrets
, 1994); you might also want to check out A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology, and Folk Culture
, where there's much more cultural weirdness, and Edith Durham's classic High Albania
), from which I first learned of these mannish gals. Oh, and there's a movie
Our stalwart ally ... Albania?
When there is much to be concerned about with America's relations with other nations, it's a relief to see that America and Albania can work together militarily after they spent 45 years aligned against the US. What a difference a few decades could make in foreign relations.
The joke has become reality.
Albanian and Russian observers sent to monitor American elections... [via Cursor]