Posted by: whereisthecommonsense | November 9, 2009

Albanian Valor

I saw a television program this past weekend that profiled the heroism of many people of Albania. The documentary discussed the extraordinary lengths many of them went to, to help save Jews from persecution during WWII. I had not heard of this before and viewed it with great interest.

Especially considering the people of Albania are a majority of Muslims! Apparently, there is a fiercely held tradition of protecting any stranger that comes into their midst, even to the point of sacrificing their lives! Incredible story as the documentary followed a particular Albanian family and their sacrifice. This tradition, I believe, is called ‘Bessa”.

The documentary showed how the Albanians would take in the Jews, even after the Nazis occupied Albania. The family profiled was investigated twice by the German authorities, with the matriarch of the family taking on a fake German accent to help with the deception. Fantastic courage was shown by this family that no medal given would show enough appreciation. Tragically, the patriarch of the family was executed for no real reason, after the communist Soviet regime took over after WWII.

So what is it with the Muslims today? How did so many Muslims go from heros to terrorists? It does not make sense, even if Bessa is something specific to Albanians, they are still Muslims rooted by the same faith. Worse, actions by terrorist Muslims takes the heroic sacrifices made by Muslim people such as the Albanians, and tarnishes their memory.

It took all these decades after WWII ended to hear about the Albanian sacrifices because of the almost immediate clamp-down on everything that was behind the Soviet Iron Curtain. What a wonderful example of how humans can help their fellow humans even of different faiths. I would hope that Muslims everywhere would follow the Albanian example. I wish I could go to Albania myself, as the story of these people makes me want to visit and get to know them.



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