Why were there no Albanian schools in the Ottoman Empire? 'Balkans history is overloaded with myths'

Why were there no Albanian schools in the Ottoman Empire? 'Balkans history is overloaded with myths'
By Arben Lalla  
 Albanian historiography as well as the historiographies of our Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, etc. neighbors, are overloaded with myths, especially for the period of Ottoman rule. One of the issues that still weighs on Albanians is: Why were there no Albanian schools during the Ottoman period? But why don't Albanians ask if there were Albanian schools before the Ottoman period? Why was the Albanian language not a religious language, that is, of the beliefs, prayers of the church, and the mosque? How is it possible that 500 years of Ottoman rule we did not suffer genocide, the forgetfulness of the Albanian language, as has happened with other peoples of the French, Spanish, Portuguese, British, Dutch colonies? The fault lies with the Albanians themselves, the intellectuals, and the pashas, ​​who made a valuable contribution to the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman period is interpreted mainly from the point of view of "oppressed" nations, and the Ottoman state is presented to us only as a mechanism of oppression. This historiographical tradition was created at the beginning of the 19th century, when were founded the nation-states, from Slavic, Greek and later Albanian historiography after 1945s. These, influenced by the currents of romanticism and positivity, but also by triumphant nationalism, developed it and presented to us as scientific, academic historiography, as well as other forms of publications, such as textbooks, have reproduced this false form in the 1830s to the present day. The period of the Ottoman Empire is very positive, especially in the 1600s, when Islamic science was very advanced and the Ottomans were considered the elite of civilization in the world, who had created their own way of life, music, the functioning of the state, etc. The Ottoman Empire was shown tolerant to Orthodox, Armenians, Jews, etc., who retained the right to life, religion, education in their own language as long as they paid the taxes prescribed by law.

Why there were no Albanian schools in the time of the Ottoman Empire. Was the bad luck of the Albanian language, because it was not a religious-ecclesiastical language like Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Greek, which enjoyed the status of privileged in the Ottoman Empire. And these states were created with the motto of orthodoxy by holding the cross and the weapons, rich in the protection of the Russian Empire, France, Great Britain, etc .. Schools in these languages ​​were in operation within the religious institution, the Patriarchate, which provided financial support from taxation. -taxes of their believers. Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian patriarchs were part of the administration of the Ottoman Empire.

So, the Albanian language, not being part of the ecclesiastical prayers, created the gap to prepare its teachers. If we look back, we will notice that most of those who started the first steps for the opening of the Albanian school or even for the creation of dictionaries, primers of the Albanian language were the Albanians, who were graduated in pedagogical schools in other languages ​​such as Greek, Romanian, etc. .. Many of these students paid with their lives to open Albanian schools.

Under the decree of reform of the Ottoman Empire of 1856, each community had the right to establish public schools, and the Ottoman state allowed the financing of these schools to come from outside powers such as Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Serbia. An "Later Law on School" of 1869 also stated that teaching could be organized in the local language.

Meanwhile, Albanian historiography continues to be enriched with tales of Albanian and foreign historians that only Albanians were forbidden by the Ottoman Empire to learn the Albanian language. But the truth is that Albanians were privileged people in this empire, having about 40 great viziers, not to mention pashas or governors. And it is clear that the Albanian language was more powerful in use during the Ottoman Empire than after 1908, when the new Turks (Young Turks) came to power.

The time has come for historians in general, those who build and support the myths, to analyze the misunderstandings and erroneous realities, freeing themselves from the past, which has many inconsistencies between the scientific history and what they teach in public schools. The history taught in Greek public schools is overloaded with myths, emotional narratives, with fairy tales inherited orally, which have served the Greek nation as true stories.

While scientific history is always serious, stripped of one-sided national and religious emotions. Thus, this scientific historiography solves inherited problems and misunderstandings. The historian who says he defends the truth on sound scientific grounds always produces responsible work that resists every legend-myth. While the story reproduced several times with myths offered to students in public schools remains far behind, in the dark, not allowing the development of friendships between ethnicities, beliefs within a state, and beyond. While the myths serve the political elites, who provide them with successful careers, using the theory: To restore the glorious era.

And the statement of the great Albanian writer Ismail Kadare (if Kadare really said it): “In 1887, there were three thousand schools in Albania. Of which one thousand two hundred Turkish public schools, as many Greek private schools, three hundred Bulgarian, Serbian and Vlach schools, Albanian school only one, with director Pandeli Sotiri”. It is a myth, a legend, and I challenge him scientifically to prove to us with facts and not empty words of how many Greek schools actually had. But again I doubt the great writer said that.

The Ottoman Empire did not deal with linguistic issues other than religion, as it had a theocratic administration and was ruled by Islam. In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries there were not thousands of Greek schools, but a number of impressive schools, about 40, not many of them were of high quality. In some cases, they were, in fact, well equipped with physics, chemistry and libraries in today's Greek areas and territory, Asia Minor, Istanbul, Wallachia and Moldova.

Albanians during the Ottoman period or the Ottoman rule "were stabbed" by the translators of the Ottoman language, who were mostly Greek-Romans. During the centuries of the Ottoman Empire, the office of the imperial archangel was always held by Greek Phanariots and practically became the Foreign Ministry.

There are still thousands of documents, books and manuscripts found in state and private libraries that have never been used during this period. It is understood that historians who will deal with the new interpretation must know the sources well before proceeding, in order not to have a reprint of the old theory. The new interpretation would help the younger generation to get to know and see the other through the eyes of a good neighbor and not that of the enemy with hatred. Gone are the days of teaching school history, where the younger generation was educated on the mobilization of sacrifice to protect the nation-state-religion. I believe that the expansion of territories for the Balkan countries is over. We need to be clear about this as historians, politicians, and people who want to see the future by recognizing the other who is not far away from us, but neighbors.

It is understood that the projects for a new interpretation of history, scientifically written, are difficult and difficult because do not serve the popular mythology and consequently the political and religious class as is the case of Greece which recognizes no Albanian national minority where the state is one with the Orthodox religion.

History has an important role to play, because it has been and should be used as a discipline that can shape the conditions of support and acceptance based on a common understanding of the past. The Balkan countries need more of this, whose stories are overloaded with myths.  
Why were there no Albanian schools in the Ottoman Empire? 'Balkans history is overloaded with myths' Why were there no Albanian schools in the Ottoman Empire? 'Balkans history is overloaded with myths' Saturday, May 09, 2020 Rating: 5
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