End of 2003 had a rather strong debate in media about the new demographic atlas of Albania, compiled by academy of Sciences (Geographic Studies Centre). Without having the complete knowledge and information about this scientific work produced, I felt regret about its treatment in media.
Referring not only to our future towards joining the big European family or the world charters on minorities and human rights, but also to our tradition, I think that every Albanian, who knows history a little bit, does not support this debate. Since centuries we had in a written codified form nowadays civilization laws. In the past history there is no event to testify the interest of our people about the number of minority population or various ethnic groups coming to us. It has not been and it is not in Albanian tradition to behave indecently toward these groups with whom life joined us. In our tradition, the foreigner who wanted to settle and live forever within these territories was never expelled from the area, region or village. Traditional rules prohibit every malevolent action against these individuals or groups and give them complete and equal rights with the natives, even privileges. In the customary right they were given land, freedom, pasture for the animals, water and mill turn, and their share within the community cemetery. Traditional rules define clearly the village obligations to help these individuals and groups for every need until their entire integration. These obligations were defined especially in the three first years of life. Every village family handed over for them the percentage of cereals, dairy products, meat, wine, raki and wool. The debate with national and chauvinistic feelings about the number of minority population and various ethnic groups among us has no other value save inciting hate and loss of the good image Albanians have for the religious and interethnic tolerance. Even if we had a fictive or real increase of number of these groups population, this will play no negative role in our progress and integration process in the civilized peoples community.
The population geographical atlas has a big value not only scientific, but it will serve to our society to know the demographic changes and for the new interurban relations, new situations created and the integration specifics, adaptation means, risks, advantages, priorities of one space to the other, etc. These long-term scientific works are very necessary for a population in transition because they give information to all factors operating in society.
Nationwide Reconciliation Committee and civil society in general have a great job to do for the protection of these groups\' rights and avoiding tendencies that bring about disturbing problems for them. Laws and international charters are not sufficient to protect their rights. First and foremost there is the awareness that each of us should have, to accept these groups as they are and as many as they are, to love them, to help them and profit from the good experience they have.