Monday, January 3, 2011

Albanian nationalism

According to a recent survey by Gallup’s Balkan Monitor20 70.5% of Albanians support the formation of Greater Albania. Albanians consider a part of Northwest Greece in the Epirus region (called “Cameria” by Albanians) as part of Greater Albania (see map below). Thus, the presence of an increasing number of Albanians in Greece could offer Albanian nationalists a large recruiting pool of fighters (or sympathizers) for the “liberation” of “Cameria”. Moreover, the right to vote in local elections offered to legalized immigrants and the lowering of the threshold to Greek citizenship will offer political leverage to any nationalist claims which may arise.

As noted above, Greeks have the most negative attitudes towards Albanian immigrants and the events of September 2004 should always be kept in mind. Then, after a soccer match between Albania and Greece, extended clashes took place between Greeks and Albanians in many areas of Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki and in the cities of Corfu, Rhodes, Volos, Larissa, Corinth, Tripolis and Nafplion. One man was left dead and there were at least 50 wounded from the clashes. Finally, according to an article which appeared in the newspaper “Proto Thema” on March 21st, sources from the Ministry for Citizen’s Protection estimate that 3,000 Albanians who live in Greece own AK-47 rifles and unknown quantities of ammunition. It should be noted that the majority of those Albanians reside in Greece legally.

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