Everything started with a gun and ended by it…

On the 24th of January 2022, 17-year-old Florian was incarcerated by the police of Lezhë for committing murder- revenge. Florian at his most tender age found himself facing the most tragic of events a child could ever face. And as if this was not enough, he was left alone and overwhelmed by his childhood trauma. The abandonment handed him a spiritual prison. The warned murder, that was someday going to happen, then gave him the physical prison.

What was the origin of his tragic life, later became the origin of his tragic future, that brought him to violence and consequently to his incarceration.

Manati, Lezhë

In 2009, the brother of the victim Lekgjonaj killed the father of the 17-year-old boy, who at the time was only 5 years old, in front of his eyes. The mother of the boy was in a church when she received the news saying that both her husband and son were dead, news that motivated her to commit suicide. Therefore, the crime that occurred in 2009 killing the father of the boy, also took the life of his mother leaving him an orphan, with a brutal trauma at only five years old.

The past of the teenager became his life and the crime committed on the 24th of January, his life goal. Knowing the details of this case, it is clear that the trauma of the 5-year-old has not been treated throughout the most critical years of an individual’s growth.

While childhood is the age in which a person goes through the process of socialization and learns the basis of life and life within society, from the models the child is surrounded by, including family, school, and people in the community, adolescence includes the years in which the individual starts questioning its person, the world, and what he/she has learned by testing them with a lack of an adult’s rationality, given by the brain’s state at that age.

This 17-year-old has lacked external support, from the family, institutions, and the system itself in an individual’s most critical age, and while affected by a brutal trauma that has understandable consequences on the teen’s psychological state and growth.

Arma me të cilën Floriani kreu krimin

To contribute to his neglect and later his engagement in violence, are many factors that too often are not considered when incidents like this one occur. Some of these factors are the acknowledgment of the area in which the young boy spent his first years of life, a village in the countryside of Albania, areas that have been historically and still are very much neglected, left to themselves, with no support from the state.

The neglect these areas suffer from the state involves a lack of an educational system, a health system, a system of social and psychological service. When communities are neglected and not given the minimal and necessary support from the state, they are forced to find or create the resources and provide for themselves on their own, since trust cannot be given to a state that makes them victims of inequality and lets them die, while it provides more than necessary to other areas of Albania.

Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit, ku bazohet gjakmarrja

This 17-year-old boy is not only a victim of the crime that has made him an orphan, but he is most of all a victim of neglect from the state. The two most important things in a person’s life were taken away from him, starting from the moment he was born, to when he lost his family at 5 years old, to when after losing his family in front of his eyes he has not been given the minimum support to cope with his trauma.

A child whose only resources have been violence, the violence that killed his father, and the violence that killed her mother. Two different forms of violence, yet violence. This socialization he has been subjected to has certainly contributed to his present engagement with violence, being his most early and traumatic teaching of life.

How does a child learn of blood feuds in the 21st century and make of it its life goal? How have these norms lasted for centuries and still are what shapes the lives of some boys and men in Albania? A blood feud is a social norm that has found its way in this century too. It especially affects men of neglected rural or peripheric areas, that have been ripped of their dignity, from the state, society, and other factors.

For centuries this phenomenon has been considered the way back to men’s dignity, due to the social norms that have been given to men, and what being a man is supposed to mean.

Rules like this, are passed down from generation to generation, and like this 17-year-old other boys are socialized to believe in such rules and believe that their dignity will be re-acquired by dedicating their lives to them. Blood feud does not come from an inborn desire to kill men have, but like many other phenomena, it is taught and learned and can be prevented through education and other forms of social support.

The fact that it affects certain areas and certain demographics more than others, must make us understand the fact that this is not the culture of a country, but a reaction that results in certain subcultures that have been subjected to neglect on behalf of an entire system, that results into a lack of trust toward the state, a feeling of alienation and resentment that pushes people towards violence.

This happens in Albania, like in many other countries where the government and other agencies fail to give equal social services and support to the people.

The reality of this phenomenon can really much be compared to the plot of the tv show, Squid Game. While the show has surprised, many around us, live a reality very similar to the game played in the show in their everyday lives. Was violence an inborn desire and choice, or was it a desperate call for help?


The author, Sofia Marcelli, studied Criminal Justice ate Lewis University, Chicago.


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