The alphabet we use today, wherever Albanian is spoken, the 22 November 1908 was adopted in Manastir.
Il The Congress of Manastir or, as it is called, The Congress of the Alphabet, is commemorated each year with different activities in the Albanian city which today is located in the territory of Northern Macedonia and is known by the Slavic name of Bitola.
The unification of the Albanian alphabet, which was essentially a cultural issue, became one of the most important problems of the political class of the time, since it was linked to the Albanian identity and unity. Scholars and patriots from the regions of Ioannina, Shkodër, from Kosovo and from Manastir, as well as representatives of the Albanian diaspora from the United States, from several European countries and from other regions of the Ottoman Empire, gathered in Manastir to discuss and overcome the differences between the alphabets.
The differences between the participants - political or ideological, provincial or dialectical, religious and cultural - were set aside in the name of Albanianity, which was endangered by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire but also because of mass illiteracy and the lack of an education system.
Until the 1908, Albanians used different alphabets. The adoption of the Istanbul alphabet in the 1879 had not definitively ended this question. The Istanbul alphabet spread only in the southern region and central Albania, while in the northern region and Scutari three other alphabets were used for writing Albanian: that of the association "Bashkimi" (1899), that of Jesuits and the alphabet of the old writers of the north of the country, which was mostly used by the Catholic clergy.
In order for the Albanian language to be written neither with the Arab and Greek systems, the 14 November 1908 in Manastir gathered 160 delegates on the initiative of the "Bashkimi" association of Manastir, whose leaders declared that the resolution of this problem was the most urgent task of the Albanian national movement.
The congress was held in the home of Fehim Zavalani, activist of the Albanian national 'awakening'; the director of the congress was Mit'hat Frasheri; Gjergj Fishta he became the chairman of the alphabet commission, whose secretary was Parashqevi Qiriazi while the deputy secretaries were Grigor Cilka e Luigj Gurakuqi.
The other members of the commission: Ndre Mjeda, Hilë Mosi, Thoma Avrami, Nyzhet Vrioni, Shahin Kolonja, Bajo Topulli, Sotir Peci, Gjergj Qiriazi, Mihal Grameno, Zenel Glina, Leonidha Naçi, Simon Shuteriqi, Dhimitër Buda, Aziz Starova, Adam Shkaba , Mati Logoreci, Rrok Berisha, Shefqet Frashëri, Nikollë Kaçorri, Refik Toptani, Hafëz Ibrahimi, Emin Bej Shkupi, Rauf Bej Gjirokastra, Selahedin Bej Manastiri etc. Çerçiz Topulli, with his family, was charged with protecting congressmen.
Members of the Albanian Risorgimento saw the lack of a single Albanian alphabet not only as a cultural and linguistic problem, but as a political issue that hindered the unification of the Albanians.
The Manastir Congress unified the alphabet with 36 Latin letters that we still use today, bringing all Albanians to the national linguistic union. The resolution of the linguistic question contributed to favoring the spread of the Albanian language and literature, as well as to consolidate the national and political unity of the Albanian people, contributing to a historical momentum in the schools and in the teaching of the Albanian language.
The common alphabet actually became the precursor of independence, of the unified state, which was founded four years later in Vlore. The Albanians also attach great importance to their own alphabet, so much so that it was dedicated to them one day: the 22 November is the day of the Albanian alphabet. This is not a random date, but it is the day on which the document that started the use of this alphabet was proclaimed.
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