Join the Harvard College Albanian Students Association for a panel discussion on the Cham issue with historian Dr. Isa Blumi and human rights lawyer Dr. Rudina Jasini on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 11 a.m. ET. The webinar will include presentations followed by Q&A with the audience moderated by Deni Hoxha ’21.
Sunday at Harvard University!
Free and open to the public. Registration is required
Submit your questions below or live during the event.
The Cham Issue:
The 1912-1913 Greek invasion of Chameria left Cham Albanians outside of their home country’s borders. From 1913 onwards, the Cham Albanian population steadily declined due to persecution, forced expulsion and ethnic cleansing. The final push was in 1944-1945 when a brutal campaign was launched by Greek forces. Paramilitary forces carried out a number of full-scale atrocities, including massacres of men, women and even babies. While the world turned a blind eye, as many as 25,000 refugees crossed the border into Albania and over 2,000 Chams were killed. Today, Chams form a community of at least 250,000 in Albania, 100,000 in Turkey and 70,000 in the United States. The Parliament of Albania declared June 27th as The Day of Greek Chauvinist Genocide Against the Albanians of Chameria. As for Greece, 77 years later, the government still denies the existence of a Cham issue and even the existence of an Albanian minority in Greece.
Dr. Isa Blumi, Associate Professor of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies at Stockholm University, will provide historic roots to the events that oversaw the occupation of Chameria and the ultimate invasion by Greek forces that led to an internationally imposed annexation of the region delinking the indigenous Albanian-speaking peoples from other Albanian inhabited areas. Dr. Blumi’s contribution will also put into historic context the international mechanisms that facilitated the divisions of the former Ottoman lands along criteria that resulted in the depopulation of Chameria of its inhabitants.
Dr. Rudina Jasini, lawyer and researcher specializing in international criminal law and human rights law at the University of Oxford, will provide an insightful perspective of the legal and political challenges in respect of the Cham issue, as well as the legal avenues and forums where the Cham issue may be deliberated. One of the most characteristic features of addressing the past and deracinating the truth is the urge for recognition and establishing the legitimate search for justice for aggrieved and historically oppressed groups. Many aspects of the history of the Albanian Chams have been little known or greatly misrepresented, thanks to a multitude of measures and enactments adopted within Greece. The decades since the dreadful events of the Second World War have involved much soul-searching on the part of the Cham people and a struggle for awareness.