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    Smile Dr. Haim Reitan – a contributor and a friend of the Albanians

    By Arben Ēokaj

    <img src="" alt="Dr. Haim Reitan" width="150" hspace="10" border="0" align="right">

    Dr. Haim Reitan was born in Istanbul (Turkey) on May 20, 1946. He is a doctor, a diplomat, a translator and a publicist. He is an Italian citizen with Israeli origin. He lives actually in Bergamo and Italy.

    Dr. Reitan works with different projects to invest in Albania, which I will explain in progress, but let’s take a short look to his CV. He has finished the college for biology in Bat-Yam (daughter of the sea) a city south for Tel Aviv, Israel.

    He graduated in medicine in the University of Pavia (Italy) in 1974. Later, he has done some specializations for cardio-vascular apparatus diseases, Phlebology, Nephrology in Pavia (Italy), in New York, Miami, Arizona and Texas, in USA, and further in London, Rotterdam and Tel Aviv.

    He is a member of the Italian Association of Cardiology and the Association of Phlebology.

    Until 2003, he has worked as a hospital director in some cities of Italy, as a forensic advisor and as a coordinator in some projects within countries of European Community and developing countries like some African countries. During 2004, he has worked as an adviser in engineering projects in the construction of the new hospital of Bergamo.

    In 2005 and 2006, he has accomplished the role of the coordinator for the development of the relations between Italy and Albania in medicine, something that he is still doing, due to the good relations that he has created with the officials of the Ministry of Health. He has assisted and continues to give a hand to many people, who need to be treated in Italian hospitals and this is a feature of his character, as a man with a spirit of charitable missionary. Meanwhile, he continues to direct his own medical center in Bergamo (Italy).

    Dr. Haim Reitan speaks some foreign languages, such as the Hebrew language, English, Italian, Spanish, French, Turkish, etc. Now he is trying to learn even the Albanian language. Owing to his ability of polyglot and erudite, he has been engaged as an adviser of some well-known political personalities, like ministers, prime ministers and presidents in different countries and with his work, he has
    influenced in the consolidation of their relations with Italy and Israel.

    He has been distinguished as a zealous and visionary diplomat, especially in the role of an honor consul and with his intelligence, he has influenced in the improvement of the relations between Italy and Israel, especially with countries like Albania, Macedonia and Kosova, Congo etc. Such people with a human and diplomatic activity serve as connective bridges between different nations.

    As a good connoisseur of the politics and the development of the situations in Balkan with cramps, conflicts and inter-ethnic tensions, Dr. Haim Reitan has contributed even in the albanological studies and balkanology. He is giving a big contribution as a translator and publicist with his editions in different media in the world. He is one of the most zealous collaborators of the magazine “The eagle’s
    wing” (Krahu i shqiponjės), an organ of the NGO: The Cultural Association “Bilal Xhaferri” and the publishing organ: The publishing house “Bilal Xhaferri”.

    Recently, Dr. Haim Reitan has encouraged some political and economic lobbies in Italy, Israel, USA, Switzerland and somewhere else to support the development of the democracy in Albania, for the recognition of Kosova independence, for the economic-administrative consolidation of its new state and for the internationalism of the Cham issue. In Albania, you can find him with the Cham historian Ibrahim Hoxha, with the writers Shefki Hysa and Namik Mane and with other intellectuals, too, public-inspired for the Albanian national issue. Dr. Haim Reitan is so in love with the Cham issue, as he express himself in the Albanian language: I am from Chameria, I’m a Cham!”

    Dr. Haim Reitan has made some personalities of the Albanian politics as friends, such as prime minister Sali Berisha, Sabri Godo, Fatmir Mediu, Edi Rama, Skėnder Gjinushi, Hashim Thaēi etc. One of his projects is the twinning of some Albanian universities with the universities of the most developed countries of the Western Europe. With his work, as a missionary of the Albanian issue in the world, he
    has gained the respect of many intellectual elites in Albania, Kosova and Macedonia.

    Dr. Reitan is trying to intercede even in the investment issue, in Italy or widely in Albania, especially the private investments, which come from the Italian business or other countries, too. As everywhere in the world, the Albanian market should be open for such people with constructive initiatives for our country. Our state institutions should be more exposed and careful to approach such people, with considerable knowledge and interest for Albania, so that their will and contribution could turn into serious and long-term investments for our country.

    In the business world, the profit is the main issue, but it’s more beneficial when the business, which is offered to Albania from human people like Dr. Reitan, is welcomed and stimulated from the Albanian goodwill and hospitality. We should try as much as we can to avoid our social wound - the corruption - because devoted people like Dr.Reitan can get tired, can feel insulted and at the end, they can give up. As Albanians, we must open the door to such constructive attempts and think in a dynamical way for the best ways of development of our country in the future.

    Published in the Albanian Newspaper Standard
    Translated by Lorena Uliu

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    Smile Chameria, how it should be

    By Arben Ēokaj

    Inspired from the book “The Diplomacy of Self-denial” of the writer Shefki Hysa
    Many times in life, we confront irresistible challenges. Efforts for existence seem impossible and the human being surrenders to the destiny. Generally, the ill-fated man believes in the destiny more than them who are successful. But nobody survives without efforts. The prophet used to tell everybody “sow”, when they asked him how the weather would be that year. And you are going to reap what you have sown.

    The Cham issue has been impossible for more than a half century. The communist regime entombed it and the most distinguished part of those Chams that were violently deported to Albania, was aggressively victimized by the wild Albanian regime, too. Albanian people, which escaped from Kosova to the Albanian
    “paradise” of that time, had the same destiny. As their expectancy was too big, they couldn’t recover from the desperation and so they were sent in prison for agitation and propaganda.

    <img src="" alt="Diplomacia e vetėmohimit" width="300" height="431" hspace="10" border="0" align="right">

    Bilal Xhaferri, the most distinguished Cham writer, had the same destiny. His father was murdered by the communists, when Bilal was just a little child. The communist regime was too cruel to deal with – it could kill you for a word. And Bilal was obliged to escape as the only way to continue his life. He created a distinguished literary work and directed for years “Eagle’s wing” (“Krahu i shqiponjės”), an Albanian magazine in USA. This magazine symbolized Chameria and it continues being published in the post-communist Albania by the well known Cham writer and patriot Shefki Hysa, director of the Cultural Association “Bilal Xhaferri”.

    A few weeks ago, Shefki Hysa published an excellent book: “The diplomacy of self-denial”, which raises many important issues of the Cham developments and author’s personal attempts to keep up the Cham issue, the spirit of a maltreated, outraged and massacred population.

    An unprecedented genocide was practiced over the Cham population at that time, when the Greek state didn’t recognize people’s rights and freedoms. The terrible crimes of Zerva bands and more, and the silence that the communist regime imposed in Albania, has been enough to press down the Cham population, especially that part of people, which was violently urged to migrate into Albania. It was difficult for the Chams to awake and the difficulties continue even today, after 18 years of democracy, because the politics of the Greek state and Albanian state, too, couldn’t converge in a political solution for Cham’s properties. When a right is denied for4 a long time, it’s difficult to win it completely. Forgetting this issue was intentional and continues being so.

    There are Chams in Albania and abroad, distinguished for their achievements in life. Chams are organized in associations, political parties and so on, and they are asking for their rights, which were negated to them in decades. They want back their property in Chameria, in that northwestern part of the neighboring country Greece, where the Chams have their lands. The Greek state isn’t yet predisposed to accept the historical truth, although the Cham issue is known by the Greek historians and it is known by the international diplomacy, too, especially by the western countries, by USA and the European Union, which has even initiated a resolution in support of the Cham issue.

    The well-known Albanian analyst and politician Arben Xhaferri, who has the same surname of the big Cham writer, would define: “there are nations, which produce history, as well as nations, which produce chronicles”. It is needed a high conscience and a common organized work, “selfless”, as the Cham writer and activist Shefki Hysa describes it, in order to transform the chronicles into history.
    Chams have their own history; they should begin to promote it more, until they achieve the desirable results.

    Despite the numerous difficulties, Chams today have the possibilities to impose on the Greek state the recognition of their rights, as a social group, not only individual issues. They will achieve this only by means of a good organization and a non-manipulative conscience. Cham’s properties are occupied by other people, some of whom Greeks, which came back from Turkey, after the Second World War. This is a social problem for Greece, too, that must give back to the Albanian Chams their properties, which have been used by the Greeks for decades.

    Seeing that the Greek state is totally lacking in desire and the problems that can be created in the Greek society with the return of Chams in their own lands and territories, a better organization is nothing less than necessary to make their rights a reality. Chams should take control of their destiny.

    The Albanian state is overmuch corrupted, incapable and liable risking helping in this issue. We can all remember the lacking affinity and the lack of interest that the Albanian state showed toward Kosova issue. The Albanian diplomacy pronounced some words only when Kosova’s people gained the western sympathy.

    The election of a black man, president Obama, in USA, gets us back into retrospective, to witness what the Black Americans have suffered in centuries. The Black Americans were slaves and only after a civil war between north and south, they could get free of slavery. Racism and harassment continued and they
    were too severe until the beginning of the past century. But their efforts made this possible, that gradually, through sufferings, maltreatments, murders and racism, they could succeed in winning their rights and today the American President is a black man, with the slogan “Yeas, we can!”. The Black
    Americans touched their dream, because they could.

    And what about Chams?! If Chams work with a high conscience and with a contemporary organization, where everybody gives his contribution and the contributions are not misused, but they are efficiently used, in order to achieve high intention for the materialization of their dream, in order to get back to the
    ancestor’s lands and to take the inherited properties, then, they would be able to reach what today seems impossible. And Chams have an extraordinary example for this, Kosova.

    I was once in Fushė-Krujė to the dentist. I was trying to explain to a man from Kruja, that Kosova was going to win independence one day, but he objected. “It will never be independent!”- he said. And I added: “Kosova will become independent for those who worked and believed that it can be independent.
    You will see that!” We were lucky enough to have US President George Bush in Albania and in Fushė-Krujė, where he announced that Kosova will be an independent country. The independence was reached with hard work and sacrifices and it will be kept such is with efforts.

    In their fair attempts, Chams should focus on finding a political and spiritual leader, like Kosovars did with Dr. Ibrahim Rugova. They should pay a symbolic contribution (Kosovars emigrants paid 3% of their salary) for this common organization, because without money no work can be done in the present-day chancelleries. And they should become aware of the reality that surrounds them, because no one can help them more than themselves.

    “The diplomacy of self-denial” can become a solution key, if a good part of the Chams work and sacrifice their time and just a little from their fortune, as the patriot Shefki Hysa does, for this common and fair issue. Successes don’t come by themselves – they come only if we work to realize them.

    Published in Albanian newspapers: Shqip, 25.01.2009, Standard, 25.01.2009, TemA, 29.01.2009
    Translated by Lorena Uliu

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    Smile Together in a front for the Cham ideal

    (Impressions from Servet Mehmeti, former director of the Patriotic Political Association “Chameria”)

    The rivers flow in eternity from faraway fountains, fruit of God. The rivers’ bottoms are their lands and nobody can take them out, as it is the territory of the Cham Albanians. It’s their land, given from God. It’s sufficient to read the poem “Cham ballad” of the dissident Cham writer Bilal Xhaferri and everything is clearly understood. He writes:

    The rainbow, like a tearful greeting of goodbye,
    Disappeared beyond the distances,
    Over the flame crests,
    in the rain…
    Beyond the distances disappeared in flames Chameria
    And all our streets lead to north.
    Wails the Mediterranean wind over the ancient epyriot lands,
    over the dear ancestral lands.
    In the abandoned pastures are grazing the thunderclaps.
    The unpicked olive-groves thunder like the waves along the hillocks.
    And everywhere the Cham land,
    covered by the clouds,
    groans tearful and bloody,
    left lonesome,
    without godhead.
    We are shown the way by the bullets that whistle in darkness.
    We are lightened the way by the flames that have swallowed up all earth.
    Behind our backs the windstorm hits the ramshackle house doors.
    And the streets reach and reach the north.
    We, a deported population, walk along the rain…
    Goodbye, Chameria!
    But why did the Cham population suffer such barbaric actions, why was it massacred violently, why did this calamity strike these people of mother Chameria?! They loved Albania, their nation. But the violence and the barbarism of the bad and evil people, such as the Greek chauvinists, unstrapped them
    from its trunk. Besides Bilal’s poetic spirit and the injustice toward the Cham population, it was even the blind judgment of the people, who didn’t appreciate the freedom and the right. Bilal Xhaferri, like the Chams, has been victimized by the communist dictatorship. The dictatorial system persecuted him, even though he went away, went far away to save his dignity, the dignity that was the life itself for him.

    Bilal Xhaferri went on developing his literary and publicistic activity in America. His creations had a big echo at Diaspora’s press. In particular echoed “Eagle’s wing” (Krahu i shqiponjės) magazine created and published by him. But even in America, the dark shadows of communism didn’t left Bilal in peace, opposing him by all means, and so he was prey to their violence. Regardless of this situation, Bilal
    went ahead with his activity at service of the country, with a more special zeal. Unwittingly, he had against him two countries: the maternal Albania, which was leaded then by a communist clique and the neighboring Greece that had ousted his brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers from their own lands. So, Bilal’s work was extinguished at the very peak of his attempts. It was extinguished a dignified successor of Hoxhė Tahsini, Abedin Pashė Dino, Muharrem Rushiti etc., men who have illuminated the history of Albania.

    Even Bilal illuminates with his light the issue of the Cham pain. We hereby should thank the former Chairman of the Parliament of Albania, Mr. Pjetėr Arbnori, the writer Shefki Hysa, director of the Cultural Association “Bilal Xhaferri” and editor of “Eagle’s wing” (Krahu i shqiponjės) magazine, the relatives and the well-wishers that enabled the return of Bilal Xhaferri’s bones in Albania.

    A group of intellectuals, headed by the writer and editor Shefki Hysa, as a sign of consideration for Bilal Xhaferri’s works and creations, which shed some light on the reality of the Albanian pain, created the Publishing House “Bilal Xhaferri”, as a necessity to widely inform the public for the work of a big writer, a big patriot at service of the Cham issue. The Publishing House “Bilal Xhaferri” was opened and quickly strengthened, and in 1993 was created even the Cultural Association “Bilal Xhaferri” and began being published “Eagle’s wing” (Krahu i shqiponjės) magazine, which was published before by Bilal himself in America. These institutions were a new support, a new wing of the Patriotic Political
    Association “Chameria”. I have so evaluated these endeavors as director of “Chameria” Association during 2003-2006.

    “Eagle’s wing” (Krahu i shqiponjės) magazine has given a special help to introduce and propound the Cham issue before people’s opinion. It is known for its social, cultural, historical values and especially for the patriotic opinion that predominates in its writings. During 2004 “Chameria” Association intensified the collaboration with “Eagle’s wing” magazine for treating and approving in parliament a resolution for the solution of the Cham problem. So the press, the televisions and the pan-Albanian opinion would be aware of this problem. Unfortunately the resolution wasn’t approved owing to the Greek pressure. The most typical example was the former Prime Minister, Fatos Nano, who inhibited its approval.

    In this difficult period, excepting the unusual activity of “Chameria” Association’s structures, was necessary even the contribution of the Cultural Association “Bilal Xhaferri” and that of “Eagle’s wing” (Krahu i shqiponjės) magazine, especially the contribution of its director, the writer Shefki Hysa, coordinator of all the contacts, the meetings and the conversations with deputies, parliamentary groups
    and parliamentary commissions of the Parliament of Albania.

    The collaboration and the cooperation between such structures of the Cham community have been and actually are an indispensable exigency and they ought to be appreciated, mostly when a national issue, like the Cham issue, needs a solution. I want to stress that it’s quite necessary the coordination of actions between “Chameria” Association, the Institute of History for Chameria and the Cultural Association “Bilal Xhaferri”, so to act as a powerful organism and with one purpose, inside and outside Albania, for the solution of the Cham issue. We should align ourselves in a front, for the sake of the Cham ideal. Furthermore, it’s required a good organization and the strengthening of the organism’s structures from the bases to the center. They have to become the real chiefs of the Cham community.

    Only in this way the Cham issue can find a solution, as an ideal of all the patriotic and honest Albanians, as a pan-national objective. I am stressing one more time that the solution of the Cham problem, the return of the Chams in Chameria, in their ancestral motherland, will come only as a result of the collaboration between these organizations that represent the Cham community.

    So the Cham community can become a compelling factor in Albania and abroad and it can achieve its objective concerning the Albanian state’s politics and this one will so feel responsibility and constitutional obligation for the national issue, a necessity and an exigency for our national prestige and pride. The solution of the Cham issue is based on the politics that the Albanian state will pursue regarding Greece and other international partners. It must keep its body straight in the treatment of this issue. Only in this way the Cham ideal can be finalized. Let’s work together and let’s hope for a safe future.

    Servet Mehmeti
    Former director of the Patriotic Political Association “Chameria”
    March, 2009
    Translated by Endri Hysa

  4. #4
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