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Albania and Guantanamo

The BBC carried a couple of reports yesterday by Neil Arun on inmates from Guantanamo who have been granted asylum in Albania. The first, Guantanamo Uighers' Strange Odyssey, focuses on three of the five men who arrived last summer.
The men were initially unsettled by the prospect of settling in Albania.

"We were scared because we thought Albania would be like China - we heard it had gone through 50 years of communism," Abu Bakr says.

But they say they were pleasantly surprised. "We've received a lot of help here," Adil says. "Albanian people are very welcoming and there are many Muslim brothers here."

"Albania is a poor country," Abu Bakr says. "But it showed itself to be strong in standing up to the Chinese."

The men plan to learn the Albanian language and eventually find work here. Locals talk of hiring them in the security industry. Others say they could cash in on their "celebrity" by establishing Albania's first Uighur restaurant.

The second, Albanian Fix For Guantanamo Dilemma, looks more generally at the practice of transferring inmates from Guantanamo to Albania. Noting that eight former inmates have already been transferred to Albania, Arun claims that

experts say dozens of men due to be released from Guantanamo could soon follow suit because of US concerns over human rights in their home countries.
According to Col Maurice Davis, the Pentagon's chief prosecutor, the US plans to prosecute around 75 of the roughly 400 inmates remaining in Guantanamo. That leaves more than 300 who will presumably be released eventually. Since most of these come from countries with dubious human rights records they will have to go to third countries. But are they all going to be coming to Albania?

Comments

Anonymous said…
hopefully not....
Anonymous said…
these Uighers are only trouble now that we need China's support for Kosovo.
No one wanted them in Albania, if you followed the debates on tv. We just do it to please America.
Wow...now these people want to work here, learn Albanian...now we will never get rid of them!
They even call us "muslim brothers".
...
Can't wait for Kosovo issue to be resolved.
Too many intruders from all parts into Alb now!
ローラ said…
this makes me sick.

i don't know if it's a nationalist reaction, or if it is related to my feelings on albania's "muslim" identity, or my feelings on religion in general. it's probably all of the above.

in any case, it was a very very stupid diplomatic move and could have only happened under berisha's watch. once again he creates precedents for trouble. big trouble.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dritan said…
Anonymous said: "... his wife is of slavic heritage(that's why she looks chinese) ... After 97-98, they were trying to take Berisha to court and hold him accountable for what had happened ..."

Anon, yes they did take Berisha to court, on account of his wife's looks, but he insisted that his wife looks fine. "Take a look at her look," he said "doesn't she look normal?" They took another look - a closer look this time - using a magnifying lens, even a microscope; they looked up at the 'Catalog of Approved Looks' and concluded that they could not find anything compromising. "Perhaps previous looks were affected by bad makeup?" they pondered. "Perhaps" he admitted. "Pay closer attention to her makeup next time" they ordered and they let him go.
ITS said…
Nuts, I would like to see the Uighers sell roasted chest-Nuts on the dusty sidewalks of Tirana!
locals talk about hiring them in the security industry??!!
I hope they mean securities not security, for that would be a bit thought-provoking no?
Anonymous said…
actually the restaurant is not such a bad idea.

Looks like Albania will be having the first Uighur cuisine out of all Balkan countries.

Just shows how tolerant they are as people:P
ourmanintirana said…
I like the restaurant idea myself - we could do with some more variety here. Maybe they could send a few Iranians next; I like Persian food.

Anonymous - regarding your views of Berisha etc. - since I believe in free speech I believe you should be free to declare your hatred of whomever you wish. Since I believe in private property, you're not doing it on my blog.

Anonymous, you have been deleted.

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Welcome

Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.