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Blood Feud


Krvna Osveta – Blood Feud is a law of vendetta in Montenegro and Albania practiced  throughout history since medieval times. It is an oath for revenge, meaning that the person must take revenge on whoever killed his relative by killing the murderer or one of the murderer’s close relatives.

When a family member has been killed, the perpetrator’s family (bratstva ili pleme) has a “blood debt” which can only be removed when the victim’s family (an appointed member, osvetnik) has had their revenge by killing the murderer or any member of murderer’s family (often a close male kinsman, preferably the brother or eminent member, the most respectable or educated person etc., killing of children was not encouraged). The blood feud continues if a relative decides to revenge, disregardless of who started. However, killing in your own house is the worst action, representing unmorality, which is a great shame in Montenegrin and Albanian cultures. The blood feud is not limited to males, females that have their husbands or relatives killed could take on the ‘blood debt’..

On August 24th, 1987. tragedy occurred in Kaludjerovic family. Zeljko, the only son of Nikola and Andja was murdered.   Devastated and despaired Nikola oath to revenge and on 23rd of January 1989, he killed brother of murderer and by accident one innocent man.

Pressure under which Nikola was forced to live, before he revenged his son, caused among the rest, that he lost 30 kilograms.

“I was dead, morally and psychical that I was ashamed of myself that much that I was visiting my son’s grave only by night. My dilemma was whether to kill my wife and myself or to revenge”

Nikola was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Almost 25 years after Zeljko died, I met Nikola and his wife Andja. They allowed me to make a story about their daily routines; putting on black clothes, visiting graveyard and doing house works.

Andja is regularly cleaning son’s room since, decorating it with flowers and adding air fresheners, with the photograph of their son on the desk and wardrobe full of son’s clothes. One of Nikola’s daily routines is visiting and cleaning family's grave stone where also he prepared a tombstone for him and his wife next to their deceased son’s grave stone. But most of the time they are sitting and waiting, waiting…

My intention was to perceive this "phenomena" from wider perspective; historically, sociologically, culturally. I tried to put, also, an accent on psychological aspect of this "phenomena", to express repetition of daily routines, hopelessness and absurdity, to embrace any kind of paradoxes and to reflect heaviness of provincial environment in which ancient laws are still not eradicated or even discussed on the higher level in any of institutions.