Shkruan: Fahri XHARRA
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Një nga veshjet më karakteristike të shqiptarëve që e gjen me një shtrirje gjatë gjithë territoreve ku ka banuar etnia shqiptare është fustanella. Në mënyrë të gabuar shpesh herë ajo është referuar si një veshje kombëtare e përdorur vetëm në jug të Shqipërisë, por në fakt si mund të identifikohet dhe nga një numër gravurash të fillimit të shekullit të XIX por edhe nga fotografitë e Fototekës “Marubi’, fustanella gjen një shtrirje të admirueshme si veshje edhe në veri të territoreve shqiptare duke marrë pa dyshim atributet e një veshje kombëtare gjithë shqiptare. (shkruan Dorian Koçi)
A relief circa 400 BCE depicting the builder of the sanctuary of Vari Cave
Përhapja e fustanellës , veshjes kombëtare të shqiptarëve ndërmjet popullsive të tjera fqinje të Ballkanit si grekët dhe turqit na vjen përmes dëshmisë së historianit anglez Xhorxh Finleit, i cili në një udhëtim të bërë në gjithë Perandorinë Otomane, Shqipëri, Maqedoni,Greqi etj vuri re se veshja e zakonet shqiptarëve vlerësoheshin në mënyrë të veçantë dhe imitoheshin.
Ai shprehet “…. madje dhe turqit, që gjithmonë kanë ndikuar shijet dhe zakonet ushtarake, u bënë imitues të shqiptarëve” duke folur për rolin e madh dhe rëndësinë që patën shprehet ; Një shenjë të vockël, por që bie në sy, të pozitës së lartë që fituan shqiptarët, na e tregon pranimi i përgjithshëm i veshjes së tyre.
Atëherë u bë një gjë jo e pazakonshme, në Greqi e në Maqedoni, që të shihje fëmijët e osmanllinjve më krenarë të veshur me fustanella ose me fundin e bardhë të toskëve. “Madje dhe të rinjtë grekë me pozita guxuan që ta pranonin këtë veshje, veçanarisht kur bënin rrugëtime, meqë ajo u jepte mundësinë që të mbanin armë” 
Në sheshin Sintagma të Athinës, ndërrohen rojet përmes një ceremonie elegante, përmes ritmit, lëvizjeve e veshjeve…Turistët nuk lënë pa kapur asnjë çast në aparatet e tyre, e duke kundruar këtë ritual. Ushtarët në detyrë nuk lëvizin, me shikimin lart dhe veshjen ceremoniale.
Por, më shumë se çdo gjë tjetër, veshja e tyre për ne, mbetet e njohur… Ajo që na bën përshtypje për ne, si shqiptarë, është fustanella…por me disa ndryshime në kostumin e ushtarëve të gardës, duke qenë më e shkurtër, – qëndron mbi gju dhe me më pak pala se, fustanella shqiptare.
Nuk gjendet në popullsinë vendase, por veçse në ceremonialet e ushtrisë greke… Sipas etnologes Afërdita Onuzi, diskutimet mbi fustanellën kanë përfunduar, e ajo njihet si një veshje shqiptare.
Për Gardën Greke, Onuzi thotë se, “Ajo nuk është fustanella e mirëfilltë”, duke përmendur më tej Mbretin Otto të Greqisë, “që e pa këtë veshje tek arvanitasit e Greqisë, autoktonë prej shumë shekujsh në ato troje”. “E përdori në një variant më të shkurtuar”, përmend Onuzi, ndërsa sipas koleksionistes, Linda Spahiu “gardistët e tij (të Otto-s) ishin suljotët, si mercenarë. Pra, garda e vet personale ishin fshatarë me veshjen e tyre tradicionale, nga jugu i Shqipërisë”. ( Nga Edmond Prifti )
A Souliote warrior wearing fustanella, by Dupré Louis.
Gjergji 2004, p. 16: “Among the most important documents is one of the year 1335, which relates how at the port of Drin, near Shkodra, a sailor was robbed of the following items: (ei guarnacionem, tunicam, mantellum, maçam, de ferro, fustanum, camisiam abstulerunt). This is the earliest known evidence in which the “fustan” (kilt) is mentioned as an item of clothing along with the shirt.” Gjergji, Andromaqi (2004). Albanian Costumes through the Centuries: Origin, Types, Evolution (in Albanian). Tirana: Mësonjëtorja. ISBN 978-99943-614-4-1.
Athanassoglou-Kallmyer 1983, pp. 487–488: “Delacroix’s fascination with the near east in the 1820s, in part as a result of his interest in the Greek War of Independence, accounts for a number of studies of oriental costumes, among which the best known are perhaps his oil sketches representing dancing Suliots (Fig.38). A water-colour of Two Albanians, in a private collection in Athens, can now be related to this group of works (Fig.34). Two chieftains are shown within a landscape that recedes towards a low, distant horizon. The man on the left poses in rather stiff contrapposto. His companion sits cross-legged, Oriental style. The standing man wears the white kilt, and embroidered vest and sash typical of Albanian dress…As opposed to the rather general handling of the setting, the figures are depicted with great specificity. Delacroix must have intended the latter to serve as mementoes, as records of ethnic types and dress, part of the process of collecting Orientalist visual imagery in which he was engaged in the 1820s. His enthusiasm at the lush beauty of the Albanian costume must have matched that of his favourite poet at the time, Byron. In a letter to his mother from Epirus dated 12th November 1809, Byron had marvelled at ‘the Albanians, in their dresses, (the most magnificent in the world, consisting of long, white kilt, gold-worked cloak, crimson velvet gold laced jacket and waist-coat, silver mounted pistols and daggers)…he admitted to having succumbed to the temptation and acquired some of these ‘magnificent Albanian dresses…They cost fifty guineas each, and have so much gold, they would cost in England two hundred’.” Athanassoglou-Kallmyer, Nina (1983). “Of Suliots, Arnauts, Albanians and Eugène Delacroix”. The Burlington Magazine. 125 (965): 487–490. JSTOR 881312.
Koço 2015, p. 17: “The closely observing eye of the painter Edward Lear, in his travels around Albania in 1848 and 1849, depicted the fustanella as a typical national costume of the Albanians.” oço, Eno (2015). A Journey of the Vocal Iso(n). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4438-7578-3.
Maxwell 2014, pp. 170–171: “The foustanela, like the Scottish kilt or Lady Llanover’s Cambrian Costumes, provides ample material for authenticity—fabrication debates, not least because its origins apparently lie in Albania. During the Greek independence war, however, its Greek connotations became so powerful that foreign Philhellenes adopted it to show their sympathy for the Greek cause. Henry Bradfield, a surgeon who served in Greece, observed one English gentleman who tried to make a foustanela from a sheet. Philhellene enthusiasm for the foustanela survived knowledge of its Albanian origins; Philhellene William Whitcombe described the foustanela as a light Albanian kilt” in his 1828 memoirs.” Maxwell, Alexander (2014). Patriots against fashion: Clothing and nationalism in Europe’s age of revolutions. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-27713-8.
Bialor 2008, pp. 67–68 (Note #4): “Also, Albanians, Arvanito-Vlachs, and Vlachs, from the fourteenth until the nineteenth centuries, had settled major areas of Northwestern and Central Greece, the Peloponessos and some of the Saronic and Cycladic islands. Though usually remaining linguistically distinct, they participated “as Greeks” in the War of Independence and in the further development of the new nation. As a consequence of extensive Albanian settlement, the Greek national dress up until the twentieth century was the Albania foustanella (pleated skirt) with pom-pommed curved shoes called tsarouchia.” Bialor, Perry A. (2008). “Greek Ethnic Survival Under Ottoman Domination”. Research Report 09: The Limits of Integration: Ethnicity and Nationalism in Modern Europe. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.
St. Clair 1972, p. 232: “Gradually, more and more Greeks found ways of getting themselves on the Government’s pay roll. The money was never accounted for in detail. A captain would simply contract to provide a number of armed men and draw pay for that number. Again, the opportunities for embesslement were eagerly seized. Anyone who could muster any pretensions to a military status appreared in Nauplia demanding pay. It was probably at this time that the Albanian dress made its decisive step towards being regarded as the national dress of Greece. The Government party, being largely Albanians themselves, favoured the dress and a version of it was common among the Greek klephts and armatoli. Now it seemed that anyone who donned an Albanian dress could claim to be a soldier and share in the bonanza.” St. Clair, William (1972). That Greece Might Still be Free: The Philhellenes in the War of Independence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Skafidas 2009, p. 148: “The modern fustanella appears in Greece worn by Albanians, and especially the Arvanites, as Greeks of Albanian ancestry were called, most of whom fought alongside the Greeks against the Turks in the long war of independence.” Skafidas, Michael (2009). “Fabricating Greekness: From Fustanella to the Glossy Page”. In Paulicelli, Eugenia; Clark, Hazel. The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, and Globalization. New York and Oxford: Taylor & Francis (Routledge). pp. 145–163. ISBN 978-0-415-77542-7.
Angelomatis-Tsougarakis 1990, p. 106: “On the other hand, Albanian dress was daily becoming more fashionable among the other nationalities. The fashion in the Morea was attributed to the influence of Ydra, an old Albanian colony, and to the other Albanian settlements in the Peloponesse. Ydra, however, could not have played a significant part in the development since its inhabitants did not wear the Albanian kilt but the clothes common to other islanders. In the rest of Greece it was the steadily rising power of Ali Pasha that made the Albanians a kind of ruling class to be imitated by others. The fact that the Albanians dress was lighter and more manageable than the dress the Greek upper classes used to wear also helped in spreading the fashion. It was not unusual even for the Turks to have their children dressed in Albanian costume, although it would have been demeaning for them to do so themselves.”
Welters 1995, pp. 59: “According to old travel books, the nineteenth-century traveler could readily identify Greek-Albanian peasants by their dress. The people and their garb, labeled as “Albanian”, were frequently described in contemporary written accounts or depicted in watercolours and engravings. The main components of dress associated with Greek-Albanian… men an outfit with a short full skirt known as the foustanella.”; p. 59–61. “Identifying the Greek-Albanian man by his clothing was more difficult after the Greek war of Independence, for the so-called “Albanian costume” became what has been identified as the “true” national dress on the mainland of Greece. In admiration for the heroic deeds of the Independence fighters, many of whom were Arvanites, a fancy version of the foustanella was adopted by diplomats and philihellenes for town wear.”; Welters, Lisa (1995). “Ethnicity in Greek dress”. In Eicher, Joanne. Dress and ethnicity: Change across space and time. Oxford: Berg Publishers. pp. 53–77. ISBN 978-0-85496-879-4.
Beller & Leerssen 2007, p. 168: “The Aegean, the Peloponnese and the Roumeliotes of the mountainous interior each claimed precedence based on their records of trials and exploits during the War of Independence. The political muscle of the latter ensured that their traditional dress (fustanella) was chosen as the national costume; it has remained a universal emblem of Greekness.” Beller, Manfred; Leerssen, Joep (2007). Imagology: The Cultural Construction and Literary Representation of National Characters: A Critical Survey. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. ISBN 90-420-2317-1.
De Rapper 2005, pp. 182–183: “By the beginning of the nineteenth century and later on, the British, French and Austrian travellers who visited Lunxhëri, most of them arriving from Ioannina, described the Lunxhots as Albanian-speaking Orthodox Christians, and had the feeling that, starting north of Delvinaki, they were entering another country, although the political border did not exist at the time. Greek was not spoken as it was further south; there was a change in the way of life and manners of the peasants. As one traveller reported Hobhouse 1813: Every appearance announced to us that we were now in a more populous country. (…) the plain was every where cultivated, and not only on the side of Argyro-castro [Gjirokastër]… but also on the hills which we were traversing, many villages were to be seen. The dress of the peasants was now changed from the loose woollen brogues of the Greeks, to the cotton kamisa, or kilt of the Albanian, and in saluting Vasilly they no longer spoke Greek.” De Rapper, Gilles (2005). “Better than Muslims, Not as Good as Greeks: Emigration as Experienced and Imagined by the Albanian Christians of Lunxhëri”. In King, Russell; Mai, Nicola; Schwandner-Sievers, Stephanie. The New Albanian Migration. Brighton-Portland: Sussex Academic. pp. 173–194.
b Blumi 2004, p. 167: “While quite popular among those who depicted Malesorë life in paintings, the use of the foustanella among Ghegs was basically reserved for formal occasions; it was worn by groups in the Kelmendi, Hoti, Shala and Berisha village groups. On such important occasions such as declarations of allegiance, the settlement of disputes and the election of paramount representatives, elite males would adopt these long white garments and wear their tirq underneath. The foustanella became famous once King Otto of Greece declared it the national dress of independent Greece, probably due to the fact his largely Albanian speaking army wore it.” Blumi, Isa (2004). “Undressing the Albanian: Finding Social History in Ottoman Material Cultures”. In Faroqhi, Suraiya; Neumann, Christoph. Ottoman Costumes: From Textile to Identity. Istanbul: Eren. pp. 157–180. ISBN 978-975-6372-04-3.