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Blood feuds in Albania leave families in isolation, poverty for generations

Hektor Pustina / AP

Children stand at the entrance to a room of their house turned into a barn in northwestern Albania, Jan 13. In 1995, their father killed a friend in a drunken rage, sparking a series of retaliatory killings that have left five people dead so far.

 

Hektor Pustina / AP

Marsela, 9, plays with her doll at her home in northwestern Albania.

Under a centuries-old Albanian code of conduct known as the Kanun that regulates many aspects of life, killings must be avenged with blood. Grieving relatives are duty-bound to target the culprit and the culprit's family. Albania's blood feuds are carried on through generations. These feuds leave entire families living in extreme isolation for years, struggling through abject poverty as nobody can leave the house to earn a living.

 

Hektor Pustina / AP

Teacher Liljana Luani, center, gives a weekly lesson to children whose family is forced to live in isolation in northwestern Albania, Jan. 18, following a murder conflict.