Letër të hapur për Kryeministrin Edi Rama

Kryeministrin Edi Rama,

ky eshte nje nga artikujt qe u hodhen ne leter ne 25 Maj, 2017. Ne ket foton ju mund te shihni Kryetarin e Partise Socialiste te Shkodres z.Luan Heta. Partia Socialiste ka qene pas ketyre akteve dashakeqese. Partia Socialiste ka interesa mbi pronen time siç kane dhe te tjeret por gjithsesi ata arsyetohen si pjese e partise, ata jane perreth prones sime. Ata jane ankuar se nuk kane hapesire mjaftueshem per hyrjen e ambulances por kjo nuk eshte e vertete. Une negociova me ta per te lene hapesire te mjaftueshme. Ajo cfare une negociova eshte ti lija pjese me teper sec ishte e nevojshme, per parkimin e makinave te banorve. Ne fund te dites une mendova se u mora vesht por konstatova qe nuk mjaftonte per keta njerez. Ata duan ate cfare nuk i takon. Por ne nuk do leshojme pè. Fatkeqsishte per ta qe po tentojne te me largojne e te me nxjerrin jashte kesaj por ata nuk me njohin mire.

Une do te luftoje dhemb per dhemb aq sa eshte e mundur. Une nuk do heqi dore per ate qe po luftoje, per te drejten, ligjoren qe historikisht me takon. Kam dy pyetje per z.Rama qe jane:- Si pretendon te hysh ne Bashkimin Europian? Kur qeveria juaj, partia juaj ne veçanti, po ndalon pronaret rezident te perdorin pronen e tyre siç e shohin te arsyeshme ?! Dhe -” Kush eshte pergjegjes? Policia?!Deputet te zgjedhur?!Artikulli 11 i Kushtetutes Shqiptare . 2. Prona publike dhe private jane te barabarta dhe mbrojtura me ligj. Artikulli 1 i ECHR : Mbrojtja e Prones Protection of property .Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.”

Askush nuk kishte asnje pergjigje, e vetmja gje qe ben ishte te shikonin njeri-tjetrin kur i sfidon me pyetje -“Kjo eshte prona ime. Ti nuk ke te drejte te me thuash qe te mos hedh materiale ketu, kush ta jep kete te drejt? Nga erdhi ky urdher?” Z.Rama nuk e di a jeni ne dijeni te opinionit tim, ndoshta ju jeni neutral dhe nuk dua ju gjykoj pa ju njohur ne person por shpresoj qe ju do e shikoni kete pune dhe ta ndaloni ate. Si Kryeminister dhe Kryetar i Partise Socialiste ju e keni per detyre dhe eshte pergjegjesia juaj te mos shkelet ligji. Ne kete rast flitet per banoret e  Shkoder, te; Lagjes Vasil Shanto, tek ish Kulla e Gjonmarkajve; ata duhet te respektojne pronen tone. Po ju pyes si pjesetare e familjes qe eshte pjese e historise kombetare. E familjes qe sakrifikoje bijte e saj per Shqiperine e Lire. Nje familje qe nuk kerkoj asgje ne shkembim nga vendi vet, perveç se e deshi ate, luftoje per te dhe vdiq per te!

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Open Letter to President Nishani

Dear Mr. Nishani,

I am sure you are aware of the issues revolving around my property in Shkoder at the Kulla Markagjoni. I have every right to enclose my backyard as I see fit as it is private property. I have gone through all the legal venues to secure a permit from the Bashkia in Shkoder and have everything finalized. Upon commencing the ‘unloading’ of my material on May 25th, for the future project, I was met by resistance warranted only in time of war. Not one, not two, but 4-5 police cars from every corner of state institutions arrived. They did not arrive to protect me from the dwellers in the building behind my property but to harass me and ignore my requests and stop the work that had begun. Why you ask? Because a relative of a Minister of your government lives in one of the buildings and he along with the other residents have gotten used to parking their automobiles on my property for the last 30 years, since it wasn’t enclosed, and now refuse to allow me to put up  a fence, clean it and finally claim the space. The residents of these buildings have no right to my property. I negotiated with the Bashkia in Shkoder enough room for emergency vehicles to be able to access the buildings. There are no issues which involve infringement on ‘their’ access, on the contrary, they have built extensions to their buildings without permits and I had to relinquish a certain amount of square footage in order to allow access for these emergency vehicles. So you see, once again, I had to give up land, not them! Beside the fact there is no private-on-private property issue here, my property borders with public land, not private property.

Mr. Nishani, you can give all the awards and letters of recognition you want to so called ‘members’ of my family, as you did this year, not once but twice, but they are meaningless to the family of Kapidan Gjon Markagjoni. The fact that your government states on paper how proud they are of my family’s sacrifices and how honored they are is meaningless when the same government is trying to obstruct justice and infringe on my legal rights as a property owner. Mr. Nishani,  it is an embarrassment for Albania to be seen in such a light in the eyes of the world.

I only hope in light of the situation at hand and after reviewing the issue carefully you and your government, the government of Edi Rama, will come to the conclusion that private property rights have to be protected and preserved according to your constitution and to the ECHR (European Council on Human Rights) code. This is not negotiable. This is a right and it has to be protected. I will not shy away from thugs who come onto my property and try to intimidate me into quietly going away. I will not shy away from the police who is under orders to obstruct anything I am trying to do on my property because of the whim of a politician. I will keep on raising my voice and fighting for what is mine and I only hope that you as President of a country who is trying to pass herself off as democratic and respectful of human rights will not only see to it that justice is done but will make a statement by speaking out against this corruption which is openly evident for the world to see!

Regards,

Bianca Gjomarkaj Nakovics

Head of the Socialist Party in Shkodra, Luan Heta (far right), giving interviews to the local media speaking out against my right to put up a fence. It’s election time so he’s buying votes.

Private Property Rights Albanian Style!

On May 25th I got a glimpse of what it is really like to live in a still Communist/Socialist country run by Communists and Socialists and it wasn’t pretty. This is my story! My family has owned property in the center of Shkodra for over 100 years. The house belonged to Princ Preng Bibe Dode and following his death to my grandfather, Kapidan Gjon Markagjoni #gjomarkajfamilyhistory. The house was stolen from us by the communist regime of Enver Hoxha in 1944, my family evacuated, imprisoned and interned for the next almost 50 years. After ‘democracy’ arrived in 1991 my family home was restituted, but the land had been divided, part of it in the back was now occupied by 2 buildings built during communism where now families lived. We have never been compensated for that portion of the property!

Back to the main house. This “Kulla” is roughly 2650sqmt and encompasses a house of 813sqmt. The back of the property was left ‘open’ since my family reoccupied it, for various reasons. This ‘lot’ is roughly 71sqmt. This is the crux of the problem. Now that I live here we have decided to finally clean up the lot and fence it in, thereby taking away the 30 year long ‘free parking’ for the residents in the back buildings. It took me almost 2 years of battling City Hall to get a permit to finally build a fence and close in the property but I finally got it despite all the obstacles thrown at me. The Vice Mayor of Shkodra, Dritan Meta, went on record saying that “a year ago the Municipality of Shkodra addressed the issue of the possibility for the urban retraining of this residential block and the municipality has planned the retraining of this square with an investment of 13 mln new and will be realized within half of 2018.” In the end, Meta made it clear that the Markagjoni family was asked to leave out two sections of their property to enable the movement of emergency vehicles.” This is what was ultimately approved in the permit: the full lot less the necessary footage for access by emergency vehicles, not so the ‘animals’ could freeload for the next 30 years off my land and graze like sheep. They did ask for more but we AGREED ON JUST WHAT IS ON THE PERMIT.

We went to start work on the property some months back and the contractor we had hired backed out at the last minute for ‘his own reasons’. I came to find out he got paid off! Ok…next plan was to have material for the project delivered to the site until I could find another suitable contractor, which by the way is turning out to be very hard because nobody wants to be ‘involved’ in the mess they know is coming. This month I finally found a contractor who would build me cement blocks and deliver them to the site for later. Everything was set up for this morning. We had to have the bailiff come on Monday with the police and topographer to stake out the property line and after some altercation with the ‘animals’ and I don’t use that term lightly because that is what they are, we finally staked it out. Well no sooner did night fall that the ‘animals’ in the back were either driving over the iron stakes to flatten them or tearing down our construction tape. Ok, no biggie.

  

On May 25th  we were ready to roll. The truck parked there the night before with the materials and all we were going to do was unload the material onto our property in designated spots according to the permit given to us by City Hall. The day started off fairly easy at about 6.30am, by 9.00am the ‘animals’ were out screaming and yelling like the wild dogs they are.

They called the police, ON US! The police by the way had signed off on the project on Monday and was supposed to come and endorse OUR order, not because some commie dwellers weren’t happy that they weren’t going to get anything for free any more. With that, at least not one or two but five police cars came: State Police, Road Police, Tax Police, Tax Commissioner, and some other useless state vehicle. Not to protect the owners of the property from these ‘animals’. The day went from bad to worse. The news channels came. The police took my cousin in for ‘questioning’. A stop order was put on the site. I spent all day running around from the mayor’s office to the police station to the site. In the end I was told by the head of the Permits at City Hall that we had ‘every right to deposit’ material on our property. I was told by the police that ‘they had no problem with us depositing material on our property’, yet when we tried for the second time, again the police didn’t come when we called five times within the hour, but came when ‘they’ called and promptly took my cousin back to the police station without reason.

In the end my friends, it was a very telling day and one that I will not forget. The corruption, the lies, the backstabbing, the venom coming out of people when they feel something is being taken from them, when they have no right to it, is abhorrent. I can see why everyone who lives here wants to leave. 10% of the country, roughly 3m people, desperately put in for a Visa Lottery to either America or Canada. It is a cesspool of corruption, greed and lawlessness. This story will not end here. I will fight it til I can but the world needs to know what the hell is going on here. My family’s contribution to this country, the sacrifices and love for it helped to maintain the North a Catholic region.  Without the Dera e Gjomarkut there wouldn’t be any Catholicism in this country and this is the THANKS WE GET! A spit in the face by the leftover commies in power, their underhandedness and deceit, their total disregard for private ownership and the list goes on. I am very, very, very glad that my father and his father did not see what a cesspool their beloved country has become!

These are photos taken of the police who came when called to come and remove cars parked illegally on the property. The came, they saw, they had coffee in the bar in the back and they left!

P.S. Since drafting this article on Thursday, May 25, I found out that one of the people involved in the ‘demonstration’ that day was the Head of the Socialist Party here in the City. This is just one of many articles that came out in the paper Shqiptarja.com yesterday. In the second photo you can see the head of the Socialist Party in Shkodra, Mr. Luan Heta. The Socialist Party has been the force behind all this malice and vicious attacks. The Socialist Party has interest in my property as do many others, however there are relatives of people in high levels within the Party who live in one of these buildings hence the circus. They claim that they don’t have enough space for emergency vehicles to get by when that is not correct. I negotiated with City Hall to leave enough room for emergency vehicles to reach the buildings. What I did not negotiate on is to leave a much larger piece of property for those residents to park their cars. At the end of the day I gave up square footage for the allowance we negotiated on, but that is not enough for these people. They want what’s not theirs and will go to any length to get it. Well I hope not to ANY length. Regardless, if their intention is to tire me out, wear me out, wait me out, they don’t know me very well. I will fight fire with fire as long as possible. I will not give up the fight for what’s rightfully, legally, historically and morally mine. So bring it on. My two questions to Mr. Rama are this “How do you propose to be received into the European Union #europeanunion, #privateproperty, #Albania, #edirama, #lulzimbasha, #jozefinatopalli, #saliberisha, #eduartndocaj, #albandaci, #bujarnishani, #donaldlu, #voltanaademi,#usembassytirana, #usstatedepartment, #whitehouse, when your government, your party in particular, is prohibiting its residents from utilizing THEIR OWN property AS THEY SEE FIT, not as you see fit?” and “Who exactly is in charge? The police? The elected officials?”

Article 11 of The Albanian Constitution guarantees that:
“2. Private and public property are equally protected by law”.
ARTICLE 1 of the ECHR (European Council of Human Rights):
Protection of property
“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law”.
Nobody had any answers on Thursday, all they knew how to do was look at each other when challenged with the question, “This is my property. You have no right to tell me I can’t unload materials here, who gave you that right? Where did the order come from?”

Mr. Rama, I don’t know you therefore my opinion of you is neutral and I don’t make any judgments without knowing an individual, but I do hope that you will look into this and put a stop to it now!

As Prime Minister and head of the Socialist Party, it is your responsibility to ensure that your representatives are not disrupting the law but rather work within it. In this case the interest of the residents of Shkoder, in Llagja Vasil Shanto, behind the Kulla Markagjoni has not been infringed upon but rather the interest of the property owners has! I’m asking as a member of a family who is part of this nation’s history. A family who sacrificed through the ages for a Free Albania. A family who never asked anything of her country but only loved it, fought for it and died for it! Put a stop to this now!

Mr. Luan Heta (far right), head of the Socialist Party in Shkoder, giving interviews to the media as to how ‘this constituents were being disenfranchised’ HA! Let us all go to his house and take over his yard!!!

By the way, the same media interviewed me for 5 minutes where I showed them all my documentation and told them my story but they decided not to run that portion of it! Free Press!!!!! It’s all being driven by the ruling political party, PS.

Venerable Sister Maria Rosa Agostini of Loreto, Italy

This post does not regard Albania however, since I live here and travel to Italy often I thought I’d share it with you nonetheless.

Portrait of Sister Maria Rosa Agostini, oil on canvas, c.1800 (personal collection).

‘My nun’, that is what I call her. She was the Venerable Sister Maria Rosa Agostini, born in Loreto, Italy in 1722 and died there in 1768. She belonged to the order of the Third Dominicans and after her death was Beatified and Canonized by Decree from Pope Pius VI in 1791, after her 9 miracles were recorded and confirmed. Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person’s entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name.

I grew up admiring her portrait, it was an inheritance from our maternal grandfather, Carlo Agostini. At times it frightened me, it is a darkly painted oil on canvas about 200 years old and as a little girl looking at this old oil painting of an austere yet serene image of Sister Maria Rosa it was kind of impressionable. However, as the time passed I came to appreciate it more, so much so that about 5 years ago I contacted the Santuario in Loreto and inquired about her. They were extremely helpful and aided me in collecting her background, ultimately sending me copies of writings from their monthly magazine, at the time called “Annali della Santa Casa di Loreto”, published in a series between 1931-1935, from their archives.

These documents detailed a story which in this day and age seems unthinkable. Her daily life as a devout follower of Christ was filled with love for Him and those around her. Reading her story I became more and more involved in it and finally decided to compile a book about her from the archived documents, and that’s what I did. I published the book in 2016. A great accomplishment. But it wasn’t enough. I now had to visit Loreto and see for myself where she was buried in the Santuario; where she lived and walk the streets she walked. It was something that just had to be done.

I went to Italy last week for various reasons and decided that this time I was going to finally make the journey to Loreto. I took the early train from Rome and arrived in Loreto around 11.30am. The taxi ride to the Pensione Piemonte was short, about 10 minutes. Loreto is not a very big city, about 12,000 inhabitants. I arrived at the Pensione, checked in and immediately made my way to the Santuario. The center of Loreto is within walls with two main streets linked to each other by way of short stairwells under porticos. There are about 4 of them which you can take from one street to the other parallel to it. I walked about 1 minute to one of the stairwells and on the other side another old street filled with shops awaited me. At the end of this street is the Santuario. It is a magnificent site, but I will let you read about that on your own. My mission was to find ‘my nun’. I went to the congregational shop and met with father Giuseppe who recognized me when I walked in, as I had sent him a copy of the book. He was very glad to meet me and escorted me to the Chapel of the Crucifix. This is the chapel where Sister Maria Rosa was ultimately interned, after having been relocated a couple of times. It was her wish before she died that she be buried in the chapel with ‘her’ crucifix. This crucifix was very special to her and she didn’t want to be far from it, neither in life nor in death.

          Chapel of the Crucifix

           

The chapel is stunning and the almost life size crucifix hangs above a small altar. To the right on the marble floor is the headstone for Sister Maria Rosa. She is there, buried where she wished, right near ‘her’ crucifix.  I somehow felt a little closer to her at that moment and felt as though she was happy that I had found her and that I am reviving her story. After seeing her resting place Father Giuseppe showed me where she had lived. Since the archival documents state that she lived in the ‘shadow of the House’ in the south-east corner where she could see the cupola an the Santuario, also as shown on an etching created by Pietro Leone Bombelli (1737-1809), it put her house right above what is now a souvenir shop. I stood there for a little while just admiring it and looking at the small windows, I could envision her there looking at the cupola of the Santuario, praying and wishing above all else to become a Sister of the order.

 

Pietro Leone Bombelli (1737-1809)

 

Sister Maria Rosa’s house. The view from the top floor was most likely the inspiration for the etching.

My stay was short, one day and a half. I returned to the chapel and sat with her for a little while. I wanted her to know she was not forgotten but rather admired for her life. It’s not every day someone has an ancestor who is so pure and full of love for her Saviour, an ancestor who was accredited nine miracles and one who was decreed Beatified and Canonized by a Pope. I feel very proud of her and know that I have very, very big shoes to fill!

The Beauty of Olive Wood in Art

Have you ever really, really looked at an Olive Tree? If you had you would see the absolute beauty of it; the gnarled trunk and the year round silvery green leaves, the small white feathery flowers and of course, the olives.

The Olive Tree is one of the oldest trees dating back to about 30 million years. It is native to the Mediterranean countries. Olive oil has long been considered sacred and the olive branch was often a symbol of abundance, glory and peace. The leafy branches of the olive tree were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures as emblems of benediction and purification, and they were used to crown the victors of friendly games and bloody wars. Today, olive oil is still used in many religious ceremonies. Over the years, the olive has been the symbol of peace, wisdom, glory, fertility, power and purity.

Having said all that…I live in a country where the tree is plentiful. I love it! And now I found a local artist who loves it as much as I do; Muhamet Trepçi. Mr.Trepçi has found a way to transform olive wood into exquisite works of art. He sees images in the cut wood and transforms it into wall art and jewelry. It really something to be seen.

I met Mr.Trepçi  today and he gave me a guided tour of his art and his process, which was extremely insightful. The pieces he creates are original and absolutely stunning.

If you are visiting Shkodra I strongly recommend you visit his studio located on the corner of Rruga Jezuiteve and Rruga Edith Durham or you may contact him directly following this link Eco Art. Trust me it will be well worth your visit!