Speaking of the work of destruction of the neighbors of Albania, the Hon. Aubrey Herbert, member of the British Parliament, says: “It is my conviction that these people were systematically exterminated in various frontier areas of Alvania, by those who had sworn to befriend them. In addition to all her misfortunes, Albania has suffered this great calamity, that the world at large is ignorant of what is happening in that corner of the Balkans.”
The claims of Greece to southern Albania, or Epirus, as they like to call it, rest on a hoary confusion. She has been throwing dust in the face or the civilized world for centuries by calling every “Orthodox Christian” Greek, defying the facts of the case.
The majority of the population of the Albanian territory given to Greece by the London conference, as well as that of the region claimed by Greece at Paris, is Moslem Albania, while the Christian minority, though members of the “Orthodox Church,” is Greek neither by race, language, or sentiment.
Indeed, if they were Greek by feeling why did 350,000 of them flee before the Greek army when they illegally invaded southern Albania in 1914, just a few months before the outbreak of the European War, and went to starve under the olive trees of Vallona?
If they were truly Greeks -by feeling, why did the Greek army massacre so many of those who could not get away, and why did they devastate the whole country?
The Christian inhabitants of southern Albania or Epirus are “Greeke” only in the sense that the Roumanians and the Slavs were Greeks a few decades ago, when they had the misfortune, too, of being under the jurisdiction of the “Orthodox Church” of Constantinople.
Generally speaking, the thoroughly non-Greek character of the Albanian territory given to Greece by the London conference, as well as that claimed by her at the Peace conference under the name of Epirus, can be seen by the following testimonies:
Viscountess Strangford, traveling in 1863, states: ”We started on June 1, intending to make Janina, the capital of southern Albania, out farthest point. As we had divided upon the plain into three or four different parts, the first thing to be done, when we reached Delvina, was to find each other; but this was not accomplished until we had wandered far and wide, loudly shouting and inquiring from every man, women, and child we could see.
We were decidedly in difficulties, for it was the hour of the midday sleep and our inquiries were made in Greek, while the seeming answers were given in Albanian, neither party in the least understanding the other.
Mr. Mavromnatis, the Greek counsel at Scutari, writing in Akropolis, 30 years ago, states:
“Ethnically Albania can be divided in five zones. First, southern Albania, which extends from the Greek frontier up to the Shkumbi River; second, central Albania, which extends from Shkumbi to Matti; third, northern Albania, which extends from Matti up to Montenegro; fourth, northeastern Albania, which embraces Novibazar, Prizrend, Irishtina, etc.; and fifth, western Macedonia, from the Ochrida and Prespa Lakes up to Monastir and Perlepe.”
Considering specifically some of the most important towns of this region, we can say, first in regard to Janina.
In the fifteenth century, when Janina was attacked by the Turks, its fortresses were defended by Albanians and not by Greeks.
To this testified history, which says, that after Janina was besieged, 3,000 heads of Albania’s inhabitants of Janina were used to make a pyramid of trophy.
On the other hand, Janina is called by the beat impartial authorities, the capital of southern Albania. Here were the headquarters of Ali Pasha of Tepeleni, the independent ruler of southern Albania, to whose court diplomatic representatives from England and France were accredited. In 1878 Greece begged Europe for a rectification of her northern boundary, but by the same assembly Janina was officially declared as belonging to Albania and so was left to her.
The great French counsel, Laurent Pouqueville, speaking about Arghirokastra, says: “There are in Arghirokastra about 2,000 Moslem Albanian families. The bishop complained that there were only 60 Christian families thrown aside the plains out of town.”
The report of the foreign representatives of Monastir vilayet and especially that of the Swedish charge, for the reorganization of the Macedonian gendarmerie proves fully that the inhabitants of Kortcha, town and district, are purely of Albanian nationality.
August Dozon, French consul and distinguished scholar visited Kortcha in 1875.
In his report he says, in part, “The population of Kortcha is entirely Albanian.”
The people of the district of Kortcha number 132,000 of which 100,000 are Moslem Albania and 32,000 orthodox Christians, Albanians.
The town of Kortcha itself has a Population of 22,000, of whom there is but one resident Greek by nationality, the top, sent there by the patriarch to anathematize all those who refusing to call themselves Greek worked for the uplifting of their nation.
But in spite of this ecclesiastical and school propaganda made during the Turkish regime with such great sacrifices by the Greek patriarch, the inhabitants of these districts have always conserved their national consciousness, as the rest of their fellow countrymen throughout the country, their language and their customs.
Under the Turkish regime, when our nationality was denied to us, and when we were persecuted and imprisoned, Kortcha had the first Albanian schools, and always has been the center of gravity of the also the headquarters of the Albanian Orthodox League, whose purpose is to emancipate the orthodox Albanians from the yoke of the Greek clergy.
They also are witnesses of the firm stand of the people of Kortcha during the summer of 1914 and how stubborn they fought the Greek Army who attacked the place and like the Huns committed unspeakable atrocities with the purpose of forcing them to deny their nationality and claim union with Greece.
Titulli: Treaty of peace with Germany. Hearings… July 31 – Sept. 12, 1919
Autori: United States Congress Senate, Foreign Relations
Botues: United States Congress Senate, 1919