Besa is a cultural precept in Albanian tradition that means “to keep the promise” and “word of honor”, often translated as “faith” or “oath”. It is a fundamental value in the Albanian customary law known as Kanun, which guides personal and social conduct. In Albanian mountains, even if someone had committed a murder, the giving and accepting of Besa would mean that the giver would protect the receiver of Besa, even with his own life. The concept of Besa is based on faithfulness towards one’s word, which is demonstrated through loyalty and allegiance. It also includes a sense of obligation towards family and friends, as well as internal commitment, loyalty and solidarity when dealing with others. With outsiders, secrecy is also a key aspect of Besa.

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