Tribes in Arms. Gjon Marka Gjoni and the Irregular and Paramilitary Volunteer Forces of Northern Albania during the Fascist Occupation (1939–1943)
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This paper analyzes the relationship between Gjon Marka Gjoni, head of the Mirdita tribes in North Albania, and the phenomenon of mobilization and recruitment of many men from the hinterland of North Albania in the irregular and paramilitary forces, i.e., in the voluntary bands and the Milicia Fashiste Shqiptare [Albanian Fascist Militia], during the Italian occupation (1939–1943). In addition to his personal role and interpersonal ties, it focuses on the personal motivations of these forces, with an emphasis on both economic ones – wages, benefits, and potential banditry opportunities – and emotional ones, the latter driven by various kinds of fears. Finally, to better understand their local activity and the dynamics that emerged, this paper also addresses the nature and the extent of their violence and the consequent impact on the population.