Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Lek Dugagjini Code

One cultural aspect that I don't think I've ever addressed in this log is that of the Albanian Lek Dugagjini Code.  The code states that a family can avenge the death of a relative by killing the killer or a member of the killer's family.  If a person refuses to avenge the death of their relative, they are considered a coward.
The event that calls this code to mind is the shooting of a detainee in police custody in Peja/Pec.  The detainee was alleged to have stabbed the KPS officer's brother to death in a bar six months prior and the officer extracted revenge today by killing the suspected murderer, fulfilling the "blood feud" between the families.  The problem now is that a member of the detainee's family should now "return the favor" for lack of better description and avenge the death of his family member against the family of the KPS officer.  It gets very messy and the blood feuds can last for decades or even centuries between families.