My comments in response to the following links:
Sworn to virginity and living as men in Albania
I'd never before heard of Albania until my husband forced me to watch "Tune In Tomorrow..." in which Peter Falk's character comically insults and incites Albanians over a radio broadcast. My next exposure was during an episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" when an Albanian mobster kidnaps a family and rapes the 13-year-old girl -- I stopped watching "Law & Order" after that and the very mention of Albanians has made me shiver ever since. Research into the accuracy of their portrayal only made my reaction worse.
Reading these two articles cemented my opinion that Albania is not a place I'd ever want to visit -- but it also shed some light on why Albanians have such a gothic reputation. I was fascinated, and saddened, by the concept of women becoming sworn virgins. On one hand, the ill treatment and lack of respect for women is grievous, indeed. On the other hand, the fact that there WAS a solution, granted, one that required a huge sacrifice, is oddly uplifting. The source of this solution, and of the rules regulating blood feuds, is enlightening. A medieval code that has yet to be laid to rest explains a great deal about the Albanian culture. A part of me is curious to learn more about this code -- but I fear my curiosity is similar to that which won't let you look away from a bloody car wreck.
I realize America isn't perfect, but reading stories like these makes me wonder if the world wouldn't be a better place if we'd just borrow a page from "Mother England," invade these backwards countries and take over for 99 years, then leave them be once a couple of generations are accustomed to doing things our way. Extreme, true... but would it save lives? Would it eventually breed Peace?