Condemned to death by Politics

Shefki Hysa

Secretary of the League of Albanian Writers and Artists

Requiem for Albanian literature

Reason under the hoof of non-reason

Empty-headed countries’ policies of all time (ever since states were created and until life goes on) have condemned to death real art and literature. To all appearances with no reason, Albanian policies, since the beginning of our art and literature and the period following, have proceeded such a way. Reason under the hoof of non-reason is another of life’s great mysteries…

The expectation that post-communist policies would change their mind and would sustain and encourage the development of contemporary Albanian literature, unlike the former communist dictatorship, which only encouraged the Method of Socialist Realism, was worthless (We emphasize literature not unintentionally). On the contrary they have acted, are acting and will act the same as empty-headed, old or new equivalent policies: “Literature condemned to death!”

And the reason of non-reason is known, real literature with the messages it conveys and transmits has never been of use to (non-change) policies, but to development tendencies and human progress and as such it has been, still is and will remain one of the most uncorrupt and uncompromising eternal oppositions.

Unlike art, whose convectional language has been, is and will be difficult to be perceived by the ignorance of politics, literature speaks with people’s language and although it tries to hide with figurative means what it wants to say, is once again perceived (maybe it is perceived late like the anecdotes of police’s mind) and remains uncovered and in danger, at the mercy of unmerciful non-reason. So, literature with its direct language is not only a permanent adversary of politics, but also its enemy. The terms “Dissident Literature” and “Dissident Writer” are exactly derived from this enmity with politics…

In this writing, which is a call for help, a “SOS” for the well-wishers that have ears, eyes and lucid mind, I will try to reason and argue with a simple language (likeable even for politicians) what is happening with Albanian literature, this eternal convict of non-reason of politics.

This writing (I hope the researchers, if anyone is by error alive, will forgive me for possible inaccuracies) has unique values only for the Albanian opinion, has only an Albanian passport and there is no knowing if it will ever achieve to take a visa in any of the foreign embassies or consulates within the Albanian territory, seeing how Albania has descended into this situation from politics of non-reason (Literature is known to be imprisoned)…

Literature as a written text

Every literary creation, such as adages, phraseological figurative expressions, proverbs, anecdotes, myths, legends, fairytales, versification, poems, poetries, stories, novelettes, novels, dramas, comedies and so on, is a human work where is compressed with artistry and art the person’s or group of persons’ experience of an instant, of a period of time or of the whole life. It doesn’t matter whether the creator is an anonymous person, a folk rhapsodist (People) or a single person, such as Homer. What matters is that the creator, through the creation has evinced the desire to refer his experience to those who surround him. And in this case the composition plays the role of the last will and testament. And as it is known (not only by lawmakers and law executants) a testament has a unique and legal value only when it is written.

And as a consequence, if I am not wrong, litterateurs might have been those who have firstly think it was necessary the invention of writing to write their own texts (it was an easy matter for naive artists: they used to invent figures of their imagination in the surface of rocks and caves and so, they could transmit to their coevals the messages of their souls, no matter how much they were perceived. I think they have been perceived by their grand-nephews, archeologists or art researchers). And all the evidence takes you to the conclusion that the writers were those who invented writing.

The first inventions of the clayey stones with the ancient Sumerian writing, which document the Epic of Gilgamesh, support this hypothesis. It is one of the most ancient and awesome creations of humanity and we know through it the development history of the quite as well as conflicted, dramatic and tragic life of those ancient pre-Babylonian tribes.

Thus, the Epic of Gilgamesh, this folk creation, this literature of humanity’s childhood that expresses all the spectrum of feelings of the love-hate arch, is already a written text, a testament of the Sumerian human experience that reflects artistically not only creator’s and coevals’ inward world but also the portrait of dominating politics in that time. So, you notice that dominating politics history comes to us in a written form and reflected through the ruled individual, through the creator, writer, litterateur…

Literature as an artistic reflection of time reality

Surprisingly, the writer, the man outraged from politics, writes the text of the review of a reality and it primary comes out and features as moving, developing, progressive, educational force, so in fact a decisive force, unlike politics that pretends all these qualities, propagandizing them for demagogy and aiming the contrary, the inclination for non-change, for status quo, stagnation and other political terms of this kind, which are of use to the ruler to restrain the adversaries, the opposition, “the enemies” of his eternal power…

Notice: “Proletarian politics is first priority!”… This was what the communist Albanian dictatorship used to pretend till yesterday and the catastrophe that its blind politics of non-reason brought is well known… Dictator Hoxha’s and dictatorial men’s jobs are being forgotten and the works of Kadare, Fishta, Konica, Xhaferri and other outraged dissident writers are being glorified… The dictator and the dictatorial men are simply demon-characters described in the pages of these writers’ works, writers that had their life in danger. It happened this way and the rapports between politics and literature changed forever. They have changed so radically and diametrically to the contrary that as if Dictator Hoxha wakened he wouldn’t believe that his old-time grandiosity diminished one day and it was converted in some rows of a literary text. It became part of that literature, which was condemned to death by his communist politics, as it condemned even its dissident writers, the Bilal Xhaferrs… So, reason dominated for a long time non-reason, as politics did with literature. But one day order is reestablished and reason and God’s laws predominate… Literature converts politics simply in a raw material, in an artistic material… And the writers are the real kings and emperors of the artistic empires, the politicians are simply plebs, as they deserve to be for life… All policies in power forget this… They forget that the conquering empires are not durable… This fact has been forgotten even by feudal, communist and post-communist Albanian policies…

I will bring you another argument, Homer’s work. It was this genius of antiquity who described with its gigantesque work, in the finest artistic way the history of human world development in Ancient Greece and other countries round it. Through Homer’s work, this marvelous artistic reflection, we watch with our imagination, as in a film, the reality of life of modern man’s ancestor and we make sure that psychology of life in ancient times was as good as it is today, notwithstanding the tools and the primitive war weapons. The primeval human world, the same as nowadays, was governed by policies that used to fight for wealth and power by means of injustice on the back of their citizen’s and neighboring nation’s poverty. If Homer’s work is carefully analyzed, you come to the conclusion that present-day politicians are similar to Menelaus, the king of Sparta, to Achilles, Patroclus or to every disreputable warrior of the artistic testaments of those days… Homers of all times were obliged to take the role of ruled, downtrodden and disdained people, with their life in danger too, although they were kings and more with the gold mind that God had given them. Sometimes they could end up to the position of a slave, with no rights over their own lives, like Aesop. They could end up even with no head, like the Jewish writer Anne Frank, who was massacred by the hitlerian Nazis…

But is there any difference between Menelaus and Hitler?!… I don’t think… Both of them are two demonic heroes, masterly described in Homers’ works, which are studied willingly at schools by all world children, those who will become unfair politicians as well as those who are guided by homerian inclinations to become writers, disdained litterateurs with their life in danger by politics…

Literature as mission

Politics ruins the human world with its non-reason. It acts barbarously with every value that derives from God’s reason, violates the intellectual elites, and massacres all the persons that have shined out, who has also shown the way to the truth to simple people, to those blind and poor ones, in order that they can only look at politics and politicians and adore the force of Power and of their families’ wealth…

You don’t believe it?!… Let’s refer to the facts then. The Albanian Dictator, Enver Hoxha, fought by all means God’s cults, impoverished economically and mentally the Albanians, invented a brat key, “The New Man”, which closed all the doors of knowledge and tried to instill the cult of the communist leader as the liberator of the world into the programmed memory of this monster. Dictator Hoxha’s family was prospering in luxury, was the owner of the whole Albania; meantime the “New Albanian Man” had to work as a slave and he never filled his stomach with bread… Hoxha interned, imprisoned and shot all the intellectual people that didn’t obey his ideology. He did away with the publication right of those writers that could think differently, censured and stopped the publication of their works and those of other progressive world writers that used to jeopardize the durability of his Power with their democratic anticommunist ideas.

Ismail Kadare, the most eminent intellectual of the dictatorial years, maybe a great deal wiser than Dictator Hoxha himself, one of the most caressing as well as venturesome Albanians, was or wasn’t the owner of a three bedrooms apartment when, according to God’s laws he really deserved to be the first citizen of Albania for the intelligence and intellect he possessed… He wasn’t such a citizen yesterday because the Dictator’s shade outraged him, but he is today for all that politics wants it or not.

Ismail Kadare is the Real Ambassador of the Albanian Culture in the World…
Writers are like prophets. They foretell a society’s fate with their words, actions and work, in an implied or direct way, though they can be in danger and outraged from policies… So they are missionaries and their work is a mission. Homer foretold the end of Antiquity, snatched from political intrigues and from war fevers for wealth and Power on the back of humanity. Other Homers foretold the end of Rome and other empires after it… We read their works and despite the aesthetic pleasure and emotional interest they arouse, we get knowledge and information on history and on human development tendencies in centuries, we learn a lot about the culture of different nations and countries, about leading individuals and heroes, about their language, their psychology and inward construction and many facts on existence, on differences and similarities between human races in the world…

The writer as a missionary

Thus, seeing how it reflects the social reality and development tendencies, literature appears as a mission and the writer as a noble missionary, who tries to emancipate human world with his work. But how much sacrifices and efforts are necessary to afford successfully a missionary’s burden? As it is known, Jesus Christ was crucified by contemporaneous politics. Even other prophets Before Christ and after, up to Mohammed, whose life was saved several times by God himself, were in danger. Missions and Christian missionaries everywhere in the underdeveloped countries, as in Africa and elsewhere, even today risk of being raped and die under the hoof of non-reasoned policies, the same as journalists and writers in the front line of the regional wars and conflicts around the world. Prophets and writers are sacrificed and none of them withdraw from the mission to foretell the end of a certain policy. Christ foretold the End of the Roman Empire and of everything that was going to happen afterward for all that the Romans didn’t like his attitude and crucified him.

Fishta, Konica, the Albanian Xhaferrs, Blloshms and Nelajs rebelled against Hoxha’s dictatorial communist politics and they paid the ultimate price for their action. Literature was imprisoned in the coffers of the archives and a part of it still is not witnessing the light of publication. Only this way our children can learn from its truths rather than the manipulations and the fineries that communist yard’s literature served for fifty years, manipulations that are still served by neo-communist politics.

Why is it necessary to see yet literally inventions with “heroic jobs and the glorious victories of communism” in the Albanian literature’s texts?! Who is interested in serving to Fishta’s, Konica’s or Xhaferri’s successors their persecutors’ jobs, described by the graphomaniacs of the communist period?! Official politics, a middle-of-the-road successor of former communist politics, is interested of course.

What about post communist literature?!…Why isn’t it supported, financed and propagandized and in spite, there is a silence about it, like the old-time silence about dissident literature?!… And the worst thing is that it is still forbidden and denied (I hope you remember the way politics acted with the League of Albanian Writers and Artists: The Minister of Culture (without culture) ordered the despoilment of its Residency, the sequestration of all the assets, of its means and equipments, an action that was blindly legitimated by the Prime Minister! Thus, the writers were thrown in the street, were massacred, their work was disdained, it failed, literature was mummified).

And it was created a kind of desert where only the ostentatious dunes of ignorance mutiny like sand-dunes. I don’t know the reason, but probably this status quo, this cultural agony is convenient for the Albanian Government that induces the Minister of Culture (without culture), who appears in television and with Nero’s poses declares competently that there are no writers and literature in Albania anymore, there is no post communist literally creation and that “the last of Mohicans” were Kadare and Agolli and it’s enough! And even his neo communist courtiers, those who dream literature as a cow that lactates with milk their desires and those of their children and who imagine the writer as a shepherd of the bunch appointed and paid by the master (by the Government), try to argue this fact. The same psychology and dictatorial politics as yesterday’s…!

Literature as a milky cow that lactates…

In fact literature is even a cow with dietetic milk which can be used to lactate for the child failing the mother’s milk. It is known that if mothers’ breast gets dry they use the cow to lactate for their babies rather than the goat or the jennet…

Literature, has nourishing valor, nourishes human souls, and brings them up healthy, nourishes them with the truth of social development tendencies, precisely with that nutrition, which doesn’t interest politics… Here are the origins of politics’ abuses…
We don’t know how (by chance, is understood!) Bilal Xhaferri managed to publicize in “The voice of Youth” newspaper the poem “Cham ballad”, a real hymn like “La Marseillaise”(the song of Marseille), dedicated to martyr Chameria, whose issue was buried by communist as well as present-day politics: it is afraid to affirm and support it. Xhaferri met with it. He was banished from politics but he nourished and kept up the patriotic spirits with that ballad that even today echoes in the intellectuals’ minds that support the development of the Albanian national issue. Politics still doesn’t feel comfortable and gets angry when it hears “Cham ballad”.

The status quo established once uniformly in the relations with the neighboring Greece does interest it much more than any sudden development of the Cham issue. Thus, reason, “Cham ballad”, this milk of “cow-literature”, such lactic for the patriots, terrifies the politicians, who are ready to grab the cow and breed it in their stalls, intervening in its genes to adapt it genetically in accordance with their interests (literature of the communist yard or Socrealism), or to do away with it and with its shepherd (not legally appointed!) with every kind of methods, as they did with Fishta, Konica, Xhaferri, writers of the Albanian ethnicity. So they save politics of non-change.

Thus, politics with every kind of demagogic and propagandist means or with the violence of their Power, intervenes and alienates genetically literature, metamorphosing it in a sterile GMO, although it destroys real national literally values and deports them in the sack of anti-values, so that party militants’ and their inheritors’ interests can be fulfilled. So, the means, the ways, the nepotistic methods of political power dominate even the artistic process, damaging the mechanisms and the real nomocracies of literally creation, converting it in a clown-buffoon and everything ends up in a hideous farce, in a graphomania that is served to the ruled reader and to his children as a rare value, whose “sainthood” derives from the top of state pyramid.

Politics can deal more easily with writers because they are economically poor. It invites them to put aside their real mission and sing to its jobs and heroisms, or on the contrary, if they are not convinced, politics disregards them, humiliates and denies their values and in stead of them, it appoints pseudo litterateurs who are well paid by it (See “Tirana Observe” on 31 August 2007, “The 100 best Albanian writers”). Only those who are well paid can play the role of the greyhound or of the shepherd of cows, serving at cow-literature according to the methodical catalog prearranged by the militant state advisers (well paid too).

In the metamorphosis process of cow-literature, whose milk is destined for the official elite and the inheritors, the intention of politics is finally crowned: literature enters in the yard and as a humble courtier it covers with praises and flatteries the monarchs and their children, the immortality of their communist and neo communist power.

And in the course of this sophisticated process monarchs’ children and politicians’ children are about to be decreed and they alone are decreed as litterateurs and artists (you can find a lot of examples if you notice the surnames that have usurped the official cultural and literally-artistic Albanian institutions since 1945 and the years following)…

So, Albanian literature is before two alternatives: condemned to death or a cow of politics…

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