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Albania should get Mother Teresa's remains

Published: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 00:10

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known to the world as Mother Teresa, was born Aug. 26, 1910, and to mark her 100th birthday, her home country Albania plans to open a museum in her honor.

In time for the museum's opening, Albania requested that India return Mother Teresa's remains so that she could be buried in Tirana, the country's capital. 

In a press conference on Oct. 9, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said his request was a humane one. He wishes to bury Mother Teresa next to her mother and sister, whom she loved very much.

"She told me that she prayed every day for her family and her country. That's why I think both governments should talk about (this) and find a solution," Berisha said.

India, on the other hand, has made it very clear that it are not willing to negotiate on this issue. Father Sukhendu Biswas of St. Mary's Church in Kolkata opposed the request, according to Rueters.

"It is not acceptable to the people of India," he said. "It is the wish and desire of Indian people that her mortals should remain in the headquarters of Mother Teresa. The people of the world have accepted it. The headquarters is the place where she has operated her ministry and this has become a holy shrine to Kolkata, people of India and people of the world."

Biswas is wrong. Mother Teresa's remains belong in Albania.

Even though Mother Teresa's work was centered in India, she was unable to help the Albanian citizens at the time because of the Communist party's rule.

Enver Hoxha, the Albanian dictator from World War II until his death in April 1985, closed all religious institutions and proclaimed any religious activity illegal.

This made it impossible for her to return to Albania and help those to whom she was closest. Once the Communist regime was overthrown, Mother Teresa returned to Albania and extended her help to the people.

Known for her humanitarian work, especially with the poor, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. According to CNN, when she accepted the prize she asked for the gala dinner to be canceled and the money sent to help the poor.

During her time in Albania, Mother Teresa greatly influenced everyone despite the country's various cultures and religions.

According to the CIA World Factbook, 70 percent of Albanian citizens are Muslim, 20 percent are Orthodox and 10 percent are Roman Catholic. Mother Teresa was the most influential person at bringing together Albanians.

And that's why her remains should be there.

Since Mother Teresa was born in Macedonia, it may try to claim her remains as well. At the time of her birth, however, her parents were ethnic Albanians, and she should be buried in her homeland.

Mother Teresa's words should make the decision between the countries: "By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world."

Xhenis Berberi is a senior majoring in political science and economics.


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Sat Mar 6 2010 12:00
The memory of Mother Teresa should not be abused in the way that Albanian leaders are doing and have done. She was among the great citizens of the world and her remains should not be left to chance. I found this article that shows just what might happen if the remains were ever 'returned' to Albania. This is similar to why the British and Germans dont want to return artifacts to Egypt and other nations, even though the people deserve it...the leaders seem to take advantage of opportunities like this and the people are left without important pieces of their cultural heritage, and have cheap reproductions instead.

Justins Dad
Sun Oct 25 2009 01:25
Great article Justin!! You're really cool
Sat Oct 24 2009 02:50
She should be buried with her Family!!!
Wed Oct 21 2009 23:46
Hi Xhenis,

I am from India and would like to share with you one of the many socio-cultural values that the Hindus (for that matter - almost ALL Indians) live and die by. We have, as a people, since the Vedic times followed this dichotomy of 'Matru-bhoomi' and 'Karma-bhoomi', wherein 'Matru-bhoomi' literally translates into "the land of one's birth" and 'Karma-bhoomi' means "the land where one achieves his/her karma (i.e. actions or deeds)". Now, for most people, these two (lands, or countries) are the same. However, for someone who, like Mother (as we refer to her in my country) left her Matru-bhoomi to fulfill the purpose of her life in an adopted Karma-bhoomi, our value-systems dictates that latter takes precedence over the former. Now, all this might appear very academic to you, except that Mother was herself a firm believer of this ideology. As someone who was fortunate enough to hear her speak in person, I know for myself how dear her adopted homeland was to her and how much importance she attached to her actions over where she was born. Before you jump to any conclusion, let me tell you that I am not taking the Indian side on this story just because I'm an Indian.. infact, moving her remains to Albania or anywhere else is not going to take away at all from what Mother and India were for each other, BUT I can't think of a bigger disrespect to Mother's memory by digging up, transporting fighting over her remains.

I really hope you read this and take something away from an Indian's perspective.


Wed Oct 21 2009 21:49
Russ90, when Mother Teresa was born in 1910 in Skopje-Macedonia - Skopje was the albanian city. Macedonia is formed in 1945
Your name
Wed Oct 21 2009 14:56
i agree with this article.. since mother teresa was not able to go back to her country she could not help them. and obviously indians needed more help than albanians..
Your name
Wed Oct 21 2009 13:27
Russ90- Great counter.... I'm sure you gave many readers a different stance on the matter. Kudos.
Wed Oct 21 2009 08:58
Although she was BORN in Macedonia, her "homeland," you claim, was Albania because that's where her PARENTS were from? How does that make sense? Let her parents be buried in Albania, then. Further, you make the sweeping, unfounded generalization that "Mother Teresa was the most influential person at bringing together Albanians." What evidence do we have for this? Do you have anything more than the CIA World Factbook stats that do nothing but chart the religious affiliations of Albania's people? You haven't done your research, and you seem ready to misinterpret what research you have done. Let's consider Mother Teresa's own words, which you take to mean she wanted to be buried in Albania. She says she's Albanian by blood, but by citizenship--a status she CHOSE--she's Indian. Why should blood trump chosen affiliation when it comes to deciding where to bury one's remains? But she goes on, noting that her faith makes her Catholic (perhaps we should inter her in the Vatican?), while her calling makes her a citizen of the world. The structure of the sentence emphasizes that last: she considered herself a citizen of the world. Should we bury a bone in each country? Scatter her ashes across the globe? Or bury her in the place where she did her work, among the people to whom she dedicated her life? When you mentioned her Nobel (finally a person who earned the prize), you noted that she asked that the money be given to the poor. That's partially true. She asked that it be given to the poor of INDIA. Surely that says something about where her heart belonged. But let's not lose sight of the fact that all this wrangling over her remains in more than unseemly--it violates the spirit of Mother Teresa's work, which was not self-serving, not done for fame or patriotic pride. Albania is trying to lay claim to the remains of a woman who gave herself to the world. Let her remain where she now rests, a site of pilgrimage for those she worked among and whose lives she most immediately touched.

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