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By: Bejtullah Destani

Albania: To Be or Not to Be?

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‘‘We ourselves, at the outset of the war, received from a responsible Serbian source this frank announcement: “We will extirpate the Albanians.” Now that this system of annihilation is being persisted in without modification, despite all European protests, we deem it our duty to reveal the designs of the gentlemen of Belgrade without more ado… In this matter facts speak more loudly than any confessions could. Since Serbian troops crossed the borders last autumn and occupied districts there inhabited by Albanians, one blood-bath has followed another in sequence. In isolated cases the conqueror may have been forced in self-defence to proceed with all martial vigour against an Albanian village from which his troops were perhaps fired on from behind. But to raze hundreds of villages to the ground, to butcher tens of thousands of non-combatants, men, women, and children, these are deeds which no martial law, no precept of self-preservation enjoins...”

British-Albanian scholar. Bejtullah Destani was born in Prizren in Kosovo and went to school there. He studied political science in Belgrade in the 1980s, where he published his first book, A Selektivna bibliografija knjiga o Albaniji, 18501984 (Selective Bibliography of Books about Albania, 1850–1984), Belgrade 1986. In 1991, in view of the increasingly perilous situation in his native Kosovo, he immigrated to London, where he has since lived. Destani has devoted himself to Albanian studies, in particular to research on British-Albanian cultural relations and has made many significant discoveries in British archives and libraries. He was appointed First Secretary of the new Embassy of Kosovo in London in October 2008 and was made Minister Counsellor at the Embassy in London and in September 2022) was appointed Embassy of Kosovo in Rome as Deputy Head of Mission.

In 1997, Bejtullah Destani founded the Centre for Albanian Studies in London initially very much a one-man show, and has managed, as head of this centre, to publish or republish a number of important works in Albanian studies.

1. Harry Hodgkinson: Scanderbeg, London 1999.

2. M. Edith Durham: Albania and the Albanians, Selected Articles and Letters, 1903–1944, Bejtullah Destani (ed.), 2001.

3. Dayrell R. Oakley-Hill: An Englishman in Albania, Memoirs of a British Officer, 1929–1955. London 2002.

4. Duncan Heaton-Armstrong: The Six Month Kingdom – Albania 1914, Bejtullah Destani (ed.), 2004.

5. Arthur Evans: Ancient Illyria, Bejtullah Destani (ed.), London 2007.

6. Edward Lear in Albania, Bejtullah Destani and Robert Elsie (ed.), 2008.

7. Albanian Greatest Friend – Aubrey Herbert and the Making of Modern Albania, preface by Noel Malcolm, Bejtullah Destani & Jason Tomes (ed.), London 2011.

8. Sir Arthur Evans: Albanian Letters: Nationalism, Independence and the Albanian League, Bejtullah Destani & Jason Tomes (ed.), The Centre for Albanian Studies, London 2017.

9. The Cham Albanians of Greece-A Documentary History, Bejtullah Destani & Robert Elsie (ed.), London 2012.

10. The Balkan Wars, British Consular Reports from Macedonia on the Final Years of the Ottoman Empire, Bejtullah Destani & Robert Elsie (ed.), London 2013.

11. Albanian Dialects, Prince Louis-Lucien Bonaparte, Bejtullah Destani (ed.).

12. M. Edith Durham: The Blaze in the Balkans, Selected Writings 1903–1941, Bejtullah Destani & Robert Elsie (ed.), London 2014.

13. Nicholas Bethell, The Albanian Operation of the CIA & MI6, 1949–1953, Robert Elsie & Bejtullah Destani (ed.), 2015.152.

14. Kosovo, A Documentary History: From the Balkan Wars to World War II edited by Robert Elsie & Bejtullah Destani, 2018.

15. MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Christian Minorities 1838–1967 10 volumes, 6500 pages; Editor: B. Destani.

16. MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Druze Communities 1840–1974 4 volumes, 2000 pages; Editor: B. Destani.

17. MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Kurdish Communities 1918–1974 4 volumes, 2000 pages; Editor: B. Destani.

18. MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Muslim Minorities in Arab Countries 1843–1973 4 volumes, 2400 pages; Editor: B. Destani.

19. MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Religious Communities in Jerusalem1843–1974 4 volumes, 2090 pages; Editor: B. Destani.

20. The Zionist Movement and the Foundation of Israel 1839–1972 10 volumes, 8000 pages; Editor: B. Destani.

21. Albania and Kosovo: Political and Ethnic Boundaries 1867–1946 1 volume, 1100 pages; Editor: B. Destani.

22. Ethnic Minorities in the Balkan States 1860–1971 6 volumes, 4400 pages; Editor: B. Destani.

23. Montenegro: Political and Ethnic Boundaries 1840–1920 2 volumes, 1800 pages; Editor: B. Destani, with an introduction by former President M. Djukanovic.

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