Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nexhat Osmani, One of My Favorite Albanian Singers

When shopping for Turkish coffee in an Albanian grocery, I picked up a CD with this song. I like the way Albanian music reflects its geographical proximity to Greece and the former Yugoslavia as well as its time under Turkish rule. Albanian is a very soft sounding language. The s and sh sounds are very common. On a more personal note, Turkey, of which Albania was a province until 1912 sheltered Jews from the Spanish Inquisition. Later according to the ancient Albanian honour code of "besa" the Albanian people under King Zog and under fascist occupation sheltered and hid any Jew who made his or her way to Albanian soil. During a time when crimes against the Jewish people are committed in the name of Islam, I feel it is my duty to remember and retell the stirring story of Albania, a country that is 70% Muslim and their kindness to the Jewish people. When I present the music of this small country to my audience, it is an expression of my gratitude as well as my fondness for the music itself. I hope you enjoy this song.Please click on the title to this post to watch the video

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

mfl Between 1941 and 1944, nearly 600 Jews from Greater Albania were sent to their deaths in various concentration camps around Europe. It is for this reason that many historians disagree over the role of Albanians in the Holocaust. While Albanians may have attempted to rescue the Jews in Albania proper, the government was aware of the roundup and deportation of Jews from the Kosovo In the spring of 1941, with the fall of Yugoslavia, the Kosovo province was annexed to Albania creating Greater Albania. Many Jewish families in the newly occupied territories of Greater Albania were placed in the internment prison in Pristina, Yugoslavia. About 100 Jewish men and their families from Pristina prison were taken to Berat. Once in Berat, many of these Jewish refugees were protected by local Albanians. Consequently, many historians believe it was the Italian occupation of Albania that “rescued” the Jews rather than the local population. Upon Germany’s demand, Jewish refugees being held in the Pristina prison in the annexed territory of Yugoslavia were handed over to German forces. These refugees were then shipped to Belgrade and put to death.