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Brian J. Donnelly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brian J. Donnelly
Brian J. Donnelly.jpg
United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago
In office
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded bySally G. Cowal
Succeeded byEdward E. Shumaker III
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byJames A. Burke
Succeeded byDistrict eliminated
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
Succeeded byAlfred E. Saggese Jr.
Personal details
Born (1946-03-02) March 2, 1946 (age 73)
Boston, Massachusetts
Political partyDemocratic

Brian Joseph Donnelly (born March 2, 1946, Boston) is a former ambassador and U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, serving from 1979 to 1993. He is a Democrat.

Donnelly attended private schools in Suffolk County. He graduated from Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, in 1963. He received a Bachelor of Science from Boston University in 1970. He was a teacher and coach in the Boston public schools. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1973–1978, where he served as assistant majority leader in 1977–1978.

Donnelly was elected as a Democrat to the 96th and to the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1993), but was not a candidate for renomination in 1992 to the 103rd Congress. While in Congress, Donnelly served on the Committee on Public Works and Transportation and, beginning in 1985, on the Committee on Ways and Means.

During his tenure in Congress, Donnelly authored, along with Congressman Bill Archer of Texas, legislation to repeal the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-360) after the law became politically unsustainable.[1] The law's political unsustainability reached its peak when the chairman of the committee that drafted the law was chased from his district office by angry senior citizens protesting it.[2] The enactment of the Donnelly legislation restored the Medicare program to its pre-1988 status.

Donnelly's second major accomplishment in Congress was the enactment of the so-called "Donnelly Visa" program, which authorized 5,000 visas annually for citizens of countries that had been historically under-represented in the United States' immigration system that primarily relies on family reunification. The primary beneficiaries of the Donnelly Visa program, in its early years, were Irish nationals – many of whose families lived in Donnelly's South Boston district. Congress reauthorized the program in 1990; today, it is known as the Diversity Visa (DV) program and authorizes 50,000 visas annually to nationals of countries statistically deemed under-represented in the current immigration system. Donnelly's original intent was for the program to benefit Irish nationals but the reach of the program is far broader today.[3]

As a Knight of Columbus, he helped defeat an effort to tax fraternal insurance companies which would have diminished their ability to make charitable contributions.[4][5]

In 1994, he was named United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago.[6] He served in this capacity until 1997.[7] In 1998, he ran for Governor of Massachusetts, finishing third in the Democratic primary behind state Attorney General Scott Harshbarger and former state Senator Patricia McGovern.[8]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Zog: King of the Bloodfeud


Today’s story is about a man called Zog. Even if I didn't have anything to say to about him, I’d find a way to make this story. Because the man’s name is Zog. He sounds like a wizard from a fantasy novel that has a large chested woman in a bearskin bikini on the cover. It’s a great name. But lucky for me, his life story is equally interesting. Because Zog was the king of the blood feud. About three months ago, we released an episode from Chile on the topic of human sacrifice. And although I was really happy with how the story turned out, after seeing the response I'd realized I’d made a crucial error. I ended it too early. The episode hinted at the concept of justice, but it didn’t actually state it. And because of that, I’ve been answering angry comments ever since. But I’d like to rectify that. Because justice is a very complicated concept, and how we interpret it has profound effects on the society around us. Humans throughout all history have been struggling to find a balance between our personal desires for vengeance and our social desire for a beneficial outcomes. It’s the true weight on that blind lady’s scales. For the people of the Balkans in the early 20th century, justice was a hard thing to achieve. Hundreds of years spent under a colonial Ottoman yoke was replaced by a series of pseudo-dictatorships with weak central authority. Ethnic cleansing was rampant, uprisings were common, and extrajudicial murder on the part of the government was an unfortunate reality of Albanian life. Few people expected the state to hear their concerns, particularly those far from the centres of authority. And even if the state somehow did hear their cries, the odds of them getting any form of real justice were slim to none. Corruption and power politics trumped anything remotely resembling the rule of law. But in those communities, a form of tribal justice had long since developed to fill the gaps. Especially when it came to murder. In the highlands of Albania, the ancient custom of Gjakmarrja is a unspoken law of the land. The word translates to blood feud, which sounds like the title of a late 2000’s guilty pleasure film starring Nicholas Cage, but the actual reality isn’t particularly entertaining. It’s a cycle of violence without end. Mob rule. And for the communities that still practice it, it provides far more guilt than pleasure. Gandhi was correct in saying that an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. Once a blood feud starts, it can be a very hard thing to stop. But this form of personal vengeance isn’t unique to this region. Most societies in history have had a period where personal revenge trumped state justice. In many regions around the world, vendettas are a commonly understood part of social law. For example, in American culture, my misspelled namesakes are famous for their feud with the McCoys. Many of the world’s currently active mafias rose out of the need to defend themselves from feuds. And because of that, there are hundreds of communities around the world that still operate this way today. As of 2018, there are over 700 currently active blood feuds in Albania. In Kosovo, a movement to stamp out the practice saw over a thousand vendettas wiped away and forgiven, momentarily lowering the murder rate to a nearly impossible zero. Feuds arrive when the state can’t offer justice. That’s the real point I'm looking to make. And to do so, I’d like to focus on the story of Zog, the self-proclaimed king of Albania. Zog is a complicated figure in this country. While he presided over a period of growth and relative stability, he was by no means in it for the love of the people. He was a leader turned dictator, a dictator turned king and a king turned vassal of fascism. He had little support beyond his clans. So to stay in power, he murdered his critics wholesale. Destroying political rivals, democratic leaders, criminals, and the innocent alike. Which led to two opposing outcomes. The first of which is that he remained in power for a number of decades. He would only be ousted when a stronger dictator decided it was his time to go. The second of which is that he racked up the blood feuds like nobody before him. At the time of his death, he had over 500 active feuds to his name. According to one journalist, he’d survived over 50 assassination attempts. Not quite Castro, granted, but certainly indicative of his standing in society. The most important of those attempts came from a man named Avni Rustemi. Or at the very least, a member of his posse. Avni was an assassin turned politician, born into a colony, but determined to die a free man. He was a staunch believer in democracy but somewhat ironically not a man opposed to killing his rivals to achieve it. He’d been fighting a guerrilla war of independence since he was 13 years old. His first high-profile assassination attempt came at age 15. His first success when he was 25. This was a man who lived by the sword, and a man who would die by it. But it was a different assassin who would sign the Ottoman death knell and see Albania on the course to freedom. A Serbian. And as the world war that he inadvertently started saw the sick man of Europe die in his bed, the Balkans surged towards independence. But just like humans, an infant democracy needs constant care to grow to adulthood. So it shouldn’t be too surprising to find that as the situation devolved at home, Rustemi would try his hand at assassination once again. In 1924, he sent one of his men to kill Zog, then the prime minister of a government with a rapidly devolving rule of law. But his man failed. Despite getting two bullets past the skin, Zog survived the attack. And gjakmarrja demanded vengeance. Within days, Zog had Rustemi killed in the streets. Justice for the individual at the expense of the social order. And society revolted. After years of silencing rivals, Zog, king of the blood feud, had finally killed the wrong man. At Rustemi’s funeral, a political compatriot by the name of Fan Noli gave a rousing speech about the death of democracy, turning Rustemi into a symbol of struggle that lasts right up until the modern day. And it must have been one hell of a speech. Because from that graveside, a civil war erupted, forcing Zog into exile and placing Noli on his throne. Which sounds like a wonderful way to cap off this story. Democracy wins, right? But that’s not how blood feuds work. Kicking out Zog, just like killing Rustemi, had only exacerbated the situation. Vengeance may solve the needs of the individual, but it does little for society. With Zog still alive, the blood feud continued. Only with Rustemi in the ground, and revenge produced by the hands of democracy, the enemy became the nation itself. Within six months, Zog’s loyalists restarted the civil war and took back power. Albanian democracy teetered again back to dictatorship. This time, there would be no velvet on Zog’s fist. Whatever he was before, now he was serious. Opposition, freedom, rule of law. These all became words of the past. The legacy of Avni Rustemi wasn’t instilling democracy for those six short months, it was fortifying the will of a dictator. It was heightening a blood feud. And the reason I tell this story is because as I see it, there are two types of justice. One is the justice of the individual. Personal vengeance. And the other is the justice of society. The egalitarian outcome that best benefits the many. And these two forms of justice rarely meet in the middle. I’d even say they’re more often than not at odds with one another. One of the major reasons countries have juries is specifically to attempt to fuse this schism. Having your peers help decide the punishment is a roundabout way to value the vengeance of the individual. The death penalty, which has been shown to have no impact on future crimes, is a way to value the vengeance of the individual. But it turns the state into a murderer. It doesn’t so much stop the blood feud as it changes the target. The problem with Avni Rustemi’s assassination attempts is that they heightened tensions. They solidified his opponents. Sure, he’s easily seen as justified because he was fighting for democracy, but look at what happens when he achieved it. A prime minister turned to dictator. Whatever semblance of political opposition had existed before died in the blood feud. The ends didn’t justify the means, they all but guaranteed they’d continue. In our episode on human sacrifice, the response to hearing about an innocent child’s murder nearly seventy years ago prompted calls for genocide. Murdering not just the man who held the knife, but his village. His tribe. His society. But if the state had followed that path, they likely wouldn’t have solved the problem. They would have just exacerbated it. As individuals, we yearn for vengeance. To see our mother’s rapist flayed before us. But as societies? The only answer can be that which attempts to stop the cycle. Because otherwise, we’ll never stop the bleeding. This is Rare Earth. - Thank you! Much appreciated. - Please. He has been helping us throughout our entire time in Albania. He runs a taxi in Tirana. If you're in Tirana, write me a little note. I'll connect you with him. Then you're going to get the best taxi in the country. - Thank you! - Thank you so much, man! Appreciate it.


  1. ^ Rich, Spencer (October 5, 1989). "HOUSE VOTES TO REPEAL HEALTH PLAN". Retrieved November 5, 2017 – via
  2. ^ "Dan Rostenkowski: Classic Chicago Pol and Bipartisan Figure". August 11, 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  3. ^ "Diversity Visa Lottery: Inside the Program That Admitted a Terror Suspect". Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  4. ^ Lapomarda 1992, p. 129.
  5. ^ Franklin, James L.; Vaillancourt, Meg; Wen, Patricia (April 3, 1995). "Fraternal Group Uses Clout to Safeguard Its Interests". The Boston Globe.
  6. ^ "President Clinton Names Donnelly Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago". Retrieved August 27, 2006.
  7. ^ "State Dept, Ambassadors to Trinidad and Tobago". Retrieved August 27, 2006.
  8. ^ "Massachusetts primary results". CNN. September 15, 1998. Retrieved October 23, 2006.

Works cited

  • Lapomarda, S.J., Vincent A. (1992). The Knights of Columbus in Massachusetts (second ed.). Norwood, Massachusetts: Knights of Columbus Massachusetts State Council.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James A. Burke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 11th congressional district

District eliminated after 1990 United States Census
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sally G. Cowal
United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago
Succeeded by
Edward E. Shumaker III

This page was last edited on 25 May 2019, at 00:45
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