DERA E GJOMARKUT ~ GJOMARKAJ PORTE
Through the ages one just has to ask the question: Which family gave their lives protecting the religious freedom that Mirdita and most of the North of Albania enjoys today? How many men fought wars, generation after generation, protecting the freedom of their homeland, religion and customs? Only one name stands out, that of the “Dera e Gjomarkut” the “Gjomarkaj Porte”.
Through the centuries their bravery, nationalism, pride and belief in Catholicism is undeniable. The Dera e Gjomarkut led in every war; for freedom, religion and homeland.So why is it that historians, intellectuals, journalists, commentators, politicians et al are so afraid to speak about it? Why is it that the history of this very important family is denied in Albanian history books? Not taught in Albanian schools? What are they so afraid of? Why so much organized hostility against this Porte and family?
The Kanun of Lek Dukagjini has been at the forefront of Albanian history and when the need arose it was applied judiciously by the Kapidan of Mirdita. We exhalt and rightly so, other nationalists in the media and history books, the likes of Sami Frasheri, Pashko Vaso, Isa Buletini, but when it comes to the Gjomarkaj Porte there is nothing. A void. Blank pages. What are we teaching our children, our youth about the North? About the heroism shown through the centuries by members of this Porte? Why was the North mostly Catholic and why has it remained so after 500 years?
Through the centuries and up until the present the Gjomarkj Porte was decimated, they fought and lost, but their spirit never died. They were resurrected over and over again and maintained their dignity, their nobility, their faith and deep patriotism. For centuries the Kanun of Leke Dukagjini was at the forefront of the northern provinces and when it was needed it was administered by this Porte with fairness and justly.This Porte, to whom so many brave men belong: Gjon Marku, Llesh i Zi, Bibe Dode, Preng Bibe Dode, Prenge Lleshi, Lesh Gjoni, Ndue Gjoni, Dode Lleshi, Marka Gjoni, Gjon Marka Gjoni, Ndue Gjon Marku, Llesh Gjon Marku, Dede Gjon Marku, Nikoll Gjon Marku and last but not least the flag bearer of Mirdita, the hero who led Mirdita in its fight against communism with all his might and ultimate sacrifice, his life: Kapidan Mark Gjon Marku.
They and others belonging to this Porte may not be written about by Albanian contemporary writers or discussed by analysts, but they are not forgotten by the people of Mirdita. This Porte, who gave so much and yet asked so little in return but to be free, to practice their religion and to let Mirdita grow and prosper in a democratic society, has been systematically denied their rightful and just place in Albanian history.
Shame on the so called historians and education administrators who keep denying Mirdita and the Dera e Gjomarkut their just history, thereby denying their children, the future of Albania, an undeniable truth; that the Dera e Gjomarkut has played a role in our history as no other family ever has or will again. And it is thanks to this Porte, this Dera, that the North has remained a Catholic heaven and that its customs and traditions have been left untouched.