Gjergj Komnino
charcoal on paper
11" x 14"
$300 (framed or unframed)

(Purchasing Information)

Prisoner of Conscience/Refugee

Gjergj Komnino spent 25 years in an Albanian prison for "anti-Communist crimes" before fleeing to Italy to seek asylum. He died in 1996, at the age of 76, while awaiting a decision on his claim. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution". However, the general right to seek and to enjoy asylum has not always translated into the individual right to be granted asylum. Many states have continually exhibited an unwillingness to agree to international edicts that would impose responsibility in asylum situations. While some individuals may be sent immediately back to the persecution they fled, other may be kept waiting in uncertainty for years until a decision is made. In 1997, the Italian Government forcibly returned almost 300 asylum-seekers to Albania, despite severe political and social unrest in that country, and imposed 60-day residency limits on those it harbored. During his own wait for asylum, Gjergj Komnino wrote this poem: 

Who breaks an important promise
Who does not keep his word
He also breaks his consciousness
And breaks his happiness.

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