IBNA Special Report
For a number of years now, ahead of May 7, an important date for Jehovah’s Witnesses, Albania has seen a number of consecutive suicide cases, the majority of which end up in a tragic way.
Some people say that Jehovah’s Witnesses spread the thesis “die now to be reborn now”. This is a thesis, which according to some people, causes confusion and dilemmas especially on children and people in a difficult state of mind.
What are these suspicions based on?
In the past 24 hours alone, 2 children, one of them 13 years of age and the other 14 years of age, surrendered themselves to self sacrifice in Durres.
The 14 year old boy died after he hung himself, while the other, a year younger, is fighting death in hospital. He took a knife at home and attacked himself by causing serious wounds.
This phenomenon is repeating
In the past few years, in April and May, an increasing number of suicides have been seen on young ages in Albania. These suicides are often seen in rural areas near the metropolis and big cities, where boys and girls ranging from the age of 12 to 16, attempt suicide. The majority of them find death.
What do they have in common?
The residents near the areas where these cases are seen say that the victims are often found with brochures given by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The latest case is that of Monday, when a 13 year old children was found hung in the Beach of Durres, a quarter mainly populated by people from other districts.
The child with the initials B.Xh, after he finished school and came back home to his parents, his 20 year old brother and grandmother, greeted them and went out by saying to them that he was going to play with his friends. But, the 13 year old boy never met them. A few hours later, his body was found hung in a tree behind the house.
Why did the 13 year old from Dibra kill himself? This is the question that haunts the family of the child and public opinion. The family says that they had never had conflicts or financial problems. The victim didn’t even have problems at school. His friends said that he had never showed any signs of depression. But the family and several neighbors voiced one concern: They suspect that the boy was under the influence of the theology of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The tragic story of the 19 year old girl comes as an appeal
Many boys and girls, mainly American, come to Albania as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Before they arrive, they are trained and learn the Albanian language very well. What characterizes them is the sense of persistence.
The author of these lines recalls a painful story that he reported on national media several years ago: A 19 year old girl refused to carry out a blood transfusion at the hospital of Tirana, as the religion that she had embraced forbade it.
The family insisted for the girl to be saved from the serious illness, but at the same time, the Jehovah’s Witnesses were standing at the door of the hospital’s room where they were persuading the girl not to take blood, because even if she died, she would be reborn. The truth is that several days later, the girl died. Doctors said that she would have lived had she undergone blood transfusion.
The family of the girl manifested their anger for the Jehovah’s Witnesses with pain and strength.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are once again at the focus of the recent cases. They defend themselves by saying that they’re against suicide. In a press statement, they say that “God Jehovah promises that He will turn Earth into a paradise”, adding that: “He is planning on fulfilling this until the end and he has the strength and desire to do this. The hope that the Bible gives is credible and it’s a strong reason to refuse suicide”.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the 13 year old say that the theory that is served differs to the “advices” offered by individuals who present themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
One of the families says: “We found the bulletins of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and we have suspicions. The only reason that may have led him to suicide is the effect of Jehovah’s Witnesses. At home, he used to have some of their texts. We found them in his room. One of them showed how Jesus died upon sunset and went to heaven. Near his bed he used to keep a leaflet which said that after death, everyone will be reborn again. He did what he read, he hung himself. Children are being subject to an intensive propaganda. This must come at a stop”.
What characterizes Jehovah’s Witnesses in Albania is their persistence. They knock on every door and stop people on the road. They are polite to them and demand them to heed them. They give brochures and demand to have regular meetings with people.
They often face angry people who insult them. This doesn’t discourage them and they continue to spread their faith.
Many people say that Jehovah’s Witnesses and the texts that they promote are forbidden in countries such as Germany, Russia or Greece, adding that the same thing must also be done in Albania.
Therefore families appeal to state structures to act. “Our appeal goes to the prosecution to shed light upon these serious events. They must not be passive, as we all have children. We’re all saddened about yesterday’s event. Children are affected by the brochures of Jehovah’s. Stop them!” /ibna/