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bishops, and even destroyed Slavonic books in the monasteries. In Greek eyes, all Orthodox are Greek. The Pope might with equal justice claim all French and English Catholics as Italians.
In North Epirus, which was recognized as Albanian by the Conference of London, the Greeks know very well they have nothing to hope for. They continue to demand this district because they hope by so doing to shut the mouths of us Albanians and to prevent us from demanding the restitution of South Epirus, which the Conference of London presented to Greece.
In South Epirus, starting from Cape Stilos, that is to say from the Albanian frontier as drawn by the Conference of London, as far as Preveza, the whole coast to a depth of about forty kilometers forms the province of Tchameria, which is inhabited by a solid Albanian population. Here the Greeks have endeavored to sow discord between the Christian and Moslem Albanians, and thus to stifle a national movement.
In South Epirus, to the east of Tchameria, there are some Greek villages consisting either of Greeks who have settled there for commercial reasons or of Grecized Kutzovlahs. But they form a minority when compared to South Epirus as a whole. Even in Janina, the capital of South Albania, where the Greeks for over a century have concentrated their strongest propaganda, the Albanian and Jewish elements preponderate over the Greeks and Kutzovlahs. Neither Janina nor the above-mentioned Greek villages can be separated from Albania without being doomed to economic death.
This is the case also in the Pindus, which is exclusively inhabited by the Kutzovlahs, the descendants of the ancient Roman colonists. The Kutzovlahs gain their living by cattle-raising. They pass the summer in the Pindus mountains and go with their flocks in winter to the pasturages on the Albanian coast. For them, who are neither Greek nor Albanian, it is their own interest which causes them to choose between the two. Which did they choose when the occasion offered?
The Greeks pretend that the inhabitants of Epirus are Greek in feeling. Facts are worth more than words. The Treaty of Berlin awarded a part of Epirus to Greece—the territory, in fact, which lies between the town of Arta and the River Kalamas, which cuts Tchameria in two. An International Commission went at this time to Preveza in order to effect the transfer of the district to His Hellenic Majesty. But the Commission found itself confronted by the opposition of the whole population and was forced to retire without fulfilling its purpose. The population of Epirus rose like one man and opposed the cession of this Albanian district to Greece. And in consequence of this popular resistance the Greek frontier had to be drawn at Arta.
As for those Albanian territories which are disputed by their neighbors, the Albanians are quite prepared to accept, when the time comes, the decision of a Commission nominated by President Wilson or by the British Government, which shall make inquiries on the spot after due measures have been taken to insure that the said populations may freely express their feelings and wishes, and that no aliens shall be temporarily imported for the purpose of falsifying facts.
We must now consider the question of Italy with regard to Albania.
Albania's independence was proclaimed in 1912. But before she had time to organize or establish herself she was at once caught up by the whirlwind of opposing interests—those of Italy and Austria. Not only did the two currents paralyze Albania, but they encouraged the neighbor states to make existence impossible to her. Today the situation is altogether changed. Austria has broken up completely, and on the frontier Albania will see arising in her place a large Slav State which is frankly hostile to her. To guard against possible danger, Albania must seek a support, and this time she will have no difficulty of choice. But if Albania needs the support of Italy, Italy, too, needs the support of Albania. The new Yugo-Slav State will be animated with friendly sentiments for the Kingdom of Italy, but states do not base their future upon sentiments, but upon community of interests, which constitutes the only guaranty for a lasting friendship. And they are also bound to provide for all eventualities. It is to Italy's interest that there should be a nonSlavonic buffer state which is sincerely devoted to her. She should therefore insist upon the reconstitution of the Albanian state, which should include within its frontiers all Albanian-inhabited districts. For to Italy this state is of vital importance.
The Secret Treaty signed in London in 1915—and as fatal for Italy herself as for Albania—would appear to have been imposed by Russia. Italy seized the first opportunity to denounce that portion which refers to the possible dismemberment of Albania, when she proclaimed the whole of Albania independent under her protection on June 3, 1917.
Albania needs the support of Italy, but only in so far as it does not affect her national sovereignty and independence. A desire to impose upon Albania a protectorate, or a protection that borders upon a protectorate, would be an unpardonable political blunder. Far from safeguarding and harmonizing the interests of the two nations, it would have the contrary effect. Anything imposed from without, even if it be salutary, assumes an oppressive form in the eyes of the people and provokes hatred. We do not believe that such is the intention of Italy.
Italy is in the right when she wishes to assure for herself the friendship and fidelity of Albania. This may be assured her by Albania's political and geographical position. But the Albanians are ready to assure Italy of their sincerity by more concrete guaranties, provided that these guaranties inflict no injury on Albania's national sovereignty.
After all the reasons we have given and the facts stated it is easy to understand not only that Albania cannot be dismembered, but that she is the key to the Balkan problem. It is in the interests of peace that Albania be reconstituted within her ethnographical limits and that she should be neutral and independent.
There are persons who either cannot or will not see clearly, persons for whom Albania does not exist, and who plan every description of combination and arrangement.
To such I would point out:—
1. All who have followed political events in the past recognize that the policy of non-interference and the lack of interest displayed by British diplomacy in the Balkans and in the Near East in the last few decades have been among the direct causes that unchained the world-war. The prestige and influence of Great Britain were such throughout these lands, that, had she so desired, she might have been the directing force of their policy and the undisputed arbitrator of their differences. This would have benefited all the world. German influence would have been powerless to establish itself, and all dreams of German expansion and domination in that direction must have perforce vanished. The past bitter experiences will not allow British statesmen to again fall into such errors, or permit them to be swayed by the various Balkan propaganda and intrigue. They will certainly take advantage of this dearly-bought occasion by giving a just solution to the Balkan problems and at the same time restoring the prestige to Great Britain in the Balkans and the Near East.
2. As we stated at the beginning of this pamphlet, everyone is aware that America has come to save the situation. Everyone recognizes the huge sacrifices of the United States and honors them proportionately. But the plotters and schemers appear to forget America's war aims, or not to take them seriously. In proportion as the forces of America came into the field, so did the language of President Wilson become clearer and more imperative when speaking of justice and the rights of nations, both great and small, to decide their own lot.