Liri Gero (1926-1944) was a young Albanian communist activist and resistance member during World War II. Fighting along the partisan forces, she was killed in a skirmish with the Nazis. For her heroism she received the title People’s Hero of Albania. Gero was born in Fier, southern Albania, in 1926. At a very young age she was involved with the resistance, as part of the communist cells opposing the Fascist occupation. Her home was one of the “safe houses” used by the resistance members for their activities. On 14 September 1943, Gero and other 67 girls from Fier, 68 in total joined the same night the ranks of the partisans of the National Liberation Movement, a remarkable moment in the history of Albanian resistance, considering the fact that Fier had around 5,000 people at the time. Liri joined the 16th Attacking Brigade (Albanian: Brigada e 16-të Sulmuese). On 6 October 1944, while fighting against the German forces along the national road in Çukas near Lushnje, she was wounded. Without the possibility to move she continued fighting until she lost her senses. The Nazis found her unconscious. Infuriated by the non-predicted resistance of the 17-year old, they tied her to a tree, poured gasoline on her, and set her on fire. She received posthumously the “People’s Hero” (Heroinë e Popullit) title. Her monument resides in one of Fier’s main parks since 2010. A school and a neighborhood in Fier are also named after her.
Tiranë: They just put up this banner in Sheshi Skënderbej to celebrate 70 years since the end of Nazi occupation in Albania. The statue of Skënderbej is so beautiful at night with all of the lights and very safe to walk around even in the wee hours of the night. We went to an Edith Durham conference and I saw these awesome posters for the Tirana Film Festival. Tirana has truly become a cosmopolitan city- I took this slightly ghetto panorama pic to try to capture that. We also found our new favorite people watching corner coffee shop (me vetesherbim! very american) called Mulliri Vjeter.
Fier: My experience in Fier was like a giant mush of dull colored food and environments, but I managed to get this beautiful still life of a clock while I was there. The best part of cities that are not the prettiest, is that I have found they usually contain beautiful souls that give you so much love and beauty and make up for any visually aesthetic shortages. They still manage to inspire me, sometimes even more so.
Shkodër: We just got here this afternoon so I only have taken a photo of Skenderbej’s grave and our new favorite bread store that is only a 2 minute walk away. I have already noticed that it is way cheaper than Tiranë (naturalishte). It was pouring rain on the way in so prepare for a lot of beautifully moody dark photos to come. So far most of my photos I have posted are with my iPhone, I will coordinate with my Nikon soon. My friend and I explored Shkodër tonight in the rain, it was almost like a ghost town but oddly filled with only men in coffee shops, no women. We have heard it is a very traditional town so I think we will just pull the American card everywhere we go to avoid making any cultural mistakes. The dialect is more difficult for m to understand vs. in the capital but people (so far just the lady who sold us vegetables) seem to be more interested in us and where we are from. They must get less tourists.