Kosovo Treasures Memory of ‘Living Folklore Archive’

Other children from the closest villages would join in. I think everyone wanted to spend at least one hour of their life with my dad," Donika says.

In 1990, Çetta founded of the Reconciliation Committee for erasing blood feuds in Kosovo, the "Komiteti për pajtimin e gjaqeve në Kosovë", which successfully resolved almost all the traditional blood-related feuds among Albanians in Kosovo at that time.

He was also president of the Mother Teresa Association, which provided medical care to people in Kosovo, a position taken over after his death by Don Lush Gjergji, his long-time collaborator in the anti-blood feud campaign.

Reflecting Albanian customary law, blood feuds between families remained fairly common, especially in western Kosovo, until the 1990s, when Çetta and other activists started their anti-vendetta campaign. More than 150 conflicts were resolved. The practice resurfaced, however, amid the political instability following the 1998-99 conflict with Serbia.

Cetta was born in Gjakova in western Kosovo in 1920, but lived his last days in Pristina, dying in 1995. According to Donika, he was an wonderful father.

Photo: BIRN. 

"As the first child of the family, I was very connected to my father. I was also aware that there were a lot of expectations of me. I had to be the model, the child with the best qualities, although my father never imposed anything.

"I had a lot of questions about my father, and not once he was disturbed or bored by my curiosity as a child. He said to us: 'Whatever you do in life, and whenever you face a tough decision - just think: What would I do if I would have my father here?' This sentence has followed me ever since, and in troubles or important decisions I always remember this thought,"...

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