By: Shefki Hysa
Secretary of Albanian League of Writers and Artists
Pharaohs and devil’s advocates
Albanian politics has chosen the pharaohs’ governance model taken from Ancient Egypt, with the only difference that a Pharaoh used to govern there while in Albania a lot of pharaohs (formally) leaded by a Head pharaoh govern together at the same time. And this model has been chosen with Majority party and Opposition total consensus (remember the famous consensuses of our politics in the moments of crises that our country suffered in the post-communist epoch, after 1990).
Never forget that in Albania, unlike other countries, Majority and Minority is one thing and they are apparently distinguished from each other by the debate color and severity because democratic Europe calls for this (more precisely mule wants this way its woods). Thus, if you puzzle it out in detail, Albanian Majority and Opposition, which are strongly bound upside down and above like spade king’s portrait, govern together and at the same time and as they have chosen the pharaohs’ model as a co-governance model (with consensus), they should absolutely have their pharaohs and head pharaohs. And they have them. May they have them blessed! And may we have them blessed as well! It doesn’t matter if we want or not, we have them.
But why has this politics run up to Ancient Egypt and has chosen this old governance model, anyone of you may be astonished?! Don’t be astonished because even if you are astonished it is said that the greatest astonishment lasts only three days. The idea is really old, but, elaborated according to Albanian politics style and it appears as a brilliant, too much impressive, contemporary artistic realization, which firstly satisfies and puffs all Majority-Opposition political egos and leaves openmouthed all the foreign politicians who have been appointed to monitor pharaoh-democratic developments in Albania.
The poor foreigners are shocked today by our pharaoh’s democracy the same as yesterday by Albanian communist politics, and dumb in front of this original discovery, not having what to say, only shake their heads exalted: “Good, good! Albanians are on the right way, as always on unexplored pathways!’’…
And so Albanian politics (Major and Minor) governs comfortably, rising up mini pyramids and macro pyramids on its hardworking and wordless people’s back. It is understood that every pharaoh builds his own pyramid.
And all the pharaohs together (Major and Minor), a little easily derisive abase themselves from their pyramids to their Head pharaoh (appointed by them) in his Head pyramid in order to avoid waves of pharaoh envy which rules everywhere in Pharaoh’s Albania.
Pharaohs can’t govern alone, not because they don’t want to but they are brainless. And they are obliged to keep a herd of courtiers with themselves (well paid), who are called or are just malicious (in Albanian: devil’s advocates and advisers).
Devil’s advocates, although being in shadow in the backstage of courts, are the real power of Pharaohs. Pharaohs bend their head down, have their ears to the ground, hear the devil’s advocates gibberishes and then they perk like lyrebirds’ sons and give their verdict on the present and future of Pharaoh’s Albania. It isn’t difficult for them to change and rewrite its past from their viewpoint (more precisely that of the devils’ advocates). Thus, fortunately or unfortunately, call it as you want, even if I am willing or unwilling, even if you are willing or unwilling, Albanian is governed by devil’s advocates who stay in undercrofts like poison cobras (cobra as a pharaoh’s symbol).
The pharaoh’s verdict
And devil’s advocates met each other head to head and came to the conclusion that literature existence is deadly for the eternity of pharaoh’s system, because the writers, being missionaries, incline toward ideas of social development, toward utopias to see the sovereign people and not pharaohs and their power. Being such, literature had to die, to be then replaced with another form, graphomania, well paid, apparently similar to it, but substantially different, in its heart. And who looks in somebody’s heart in turbid times? Only appearance can be seen. And graphomania would be like literature and it would have an only idea in its heart: the immortalization of Albanian pharaoh’s power.
And devil’s advocates gibbered at pharaohs’ ears and pharaohs at head pharaohs and head pharaohs at the Head pharaoh that Albanian post communist literature shouldn’t be sustained and encouraged, on the contrary it should be impinged, cursed and disregarded as a heretic creature. It should be declared dead, because post communist literature has never existed and if a spark of it has exploded it has been only a naive way of some naive creators who abandoned it and it died from naivety and carelessness, like a malnourished baby (literature in Kosovo, Macedonia, Chameria and other Albanian regions is not considered to have ever existed).
Thus, literature died! The derisive devil’s advocates gibbered this way toward pharaohs’ ignorance, even pharaohs and head pharaohs repeated this way. And the Head pharaoh declared: Literature has died!
And later, after this verdict, in pharaohs’ spare time, the malicious courtiers, justify and argue delicately to their bosses that Albania is what it is: a country that lacks ideas, without intellectual elite, without heroes, without natural sources, economically undeveloped and which will grow and develop only under the domination of shiny pharaohs’ ideas, because only pharaohs’ power (inspired by devil’s advocates) will do a miracle in pharaohs’ Albania. May their power be eternal!
And devil’s advocates don’t get tired as they explain their hypotheses, willing to make them nomocracies of the pharaohs’ power. And they gibber and gibber and pretend that even heroes like Skanderbeg have had their defects and it isn’t known if they were Albanians or not, the same about Renaissance writers like Naim Frashëri and company, about realists like Migjeni and company…
Even any politician like Ismail Qemali had a suspect biography, even King Zogu who sold a piece of Albania and so on.
And so, under the reasoning of devil’s advocates all elites begin to dim and they fall from the pedestals of Nation’s Pantheon and pharaohs and devil’s advocates, the only rescuers of Albania, go up. May their power be eternal!
And devil’s advocates, after propounding, multiplying and publishing everywhere their hypotheses in the invisible waves of gossip about the suspect authenticity of Albanian heroes, don’t hesitate to run to our very dear neighbors, Greeks and Serbs, to flirt with them happily and to say to them that finally Albania has been reduced to an intellectual desert, without history, without past and original present. It is understood that the future will belong to them, pharaohs and devil’s advocates, even under Cesar’s shade (Albanian: Greeks and Serbs)!
And, Greeks and Serbs, the poor men, embarrassed by devil’s advocates, not willing to fret them (not for anything else!), stammer out that if you don’t like your heroes, more precisely when you announce them brat, let us give them the paternity. May it not be broken!
It doesn’t matter if our heroes and history have been stolen. We can live without history as we can live without literature. It is enough for Pharaohs to be safe! And viva graphomania!…
And so pharaohs and devil’s advocates and Caesars bargain on the back of Albanian issue with the unique desire to perpetuate their power, even with devil’s support.
Dead literature or…
Dear reader, I am calling to your reason with a big humility to not misinterpret my view about Albanian literature before reading even the last rows of this writing. I know that everyone in the position of an uninformed person about the real situation of Albanian literature, by right can raise and protest against me and fly at me and swear at me and fling it in my teeth as one of my friends did, saying to me that you, Shefki, are acting dirtily, that you are victimizing so much Albanian literature and that you are dealing so long with agony and its requiem as you don’t deserve to be a writer. And the state did the right thing when he took the edifice of the Albanian League of Writers and Artists, one of whose leaders were even you Shefki and you have the courage to say that Albanian literature has died…
What can I say to you dear reader, the friend that misunderstood me bothered me. And such a misunderstanding is an unreasonable rebellion and with consequences. I can accept that anyone who is uninformed, the same as my friend, can raise and defend the hypothesis that Albanian literature is safe and sound and its announcement as dead is impudence never heard, an immoral and crazy action that neither an adversary is permitted to do. This is an open intentional and hostile action, my friend dashed, dear reader… And he broke my heart… And it wasn’t my fault…
And he, everyone, my friend and your friend, dear reader, the same as that friend I mentioned, can bring a lot of facts, against my view, how our dear state loves and is keen on literature, sponsors the opening of artistic books fairs at his pyramid or ICC (International Center of Culture!), as Ministry of Culture officials call it, promotes Kadare’s publications (a big library named “Kadare” has been inaugurated at the capital center) and… and…
Even some other books of some others are being promoted, said my perplexed friend, who I don’t know how he lost the vengeful fury toward me, suddenly said to me… Whose books are those because I can’t remember it now, my friend, Shefki?!… Understand me, dear Shefki, because I can’t remember them in this instant… There are some names, I think famous, but I can’t remember them in this instant and it is said in televisions that they are in high positions and have written once… Actually they have written once and I have read something of it but I can’t bear in mind anything now…
Forgive me my friend, Shefki, because maybe I haven’t paid the right attention to their works or maybe are they really too bad to be remembered?… Then how does the state promote such creations that don’t stay in mind? May it not be real literature?!… But this is a rare madness, Shefki?!… Why do state’s money, our sweat Albanian taxpayers’ sweat go for the promotion of a literature which is not literature?… Why should my son learn only piffles at school about every kind of vulgar writers who are not writers and who don’t know what they write and not learn what do Fishta’s, Konica’s, Xhaferri’s works say?…
Why shouldn’t my son learn what post communist literature, as you call it, says?!…Why shouldn’t my son and my nephews and nieces learn what has been written about Chameria after 1990 in your interesting storybooks, which made me cry when I read?!… Even Ismail Kadare, Dritëro Agolli, Visar Zhiti and others, whom I can’t remember in this instant because I am a bit confused, have nicely written for your storybook “Chameria flavor”?!… Why doesn’t our state finance such publications and instead handle inexistent people?!… Why this bad luck for our children?… And do these politicians have children?… Don’t they feel sorry for their children who go at school and teachers persuade them with that straw seed that Albanian literature texts have instead of having the real grain corns, as it happens with civilized world texts?…
Ask the state, not me, my dear friend that prejudged me as much as you nearly spited me, ask the Ministry of Education, ask the bureaucrats who lead the artistic book boards instead of leading the real writers, I sopped my friend, dear reader but he didn’t hear me!…
May they be bureaucrats’ or graphomaniacs’ paper-works, in a word cadaver books, as you, my friend Shefki expresses yourself, he insisted?!… What do you say, Shefki because I am muddle-headed a little bit because I am revolted by your extremist attitude and a little because I can’t explain why do they make promotions for some works that neither literature are?!… Why does the state love straw more than corn production?…
Anyway, Kadare’s work rises over those cadavers and this is enough and Albanian literature will not be announced dead. Will not be abused… I please you, Shefki, to not exaggerate with that fabled mortal ceremony of literature… Although now that I am puzzling over and I am judging in cold blood that the masquerade of promotions for those kinds of authors and books which can talk about aliens as well as about nowadays Albanians and about our children’s future, involuntarily, I take your part and I am worried about state’s attitude… Anyway we have Kadare… Literature is kept alive with Kadare and only Kadare…
Dead or alive?!…
So, literature is kept alive only with Kadare… My friend was excused this way and he finally silenced… But is my friend’s “postulate” right, dear reader?… Let’s reason together, but at first forgive me, dear reader, for tiring
your judgment with my friend’s attitude. Maybe I exaggerated a little, but I had a desire to have an alley in views and not be unfairly prejudiced…
I am going on with my reasoning, dear reader, thinking that we are looking at this problem by the same view. It isn’t me the one who declares Albanian literature’s death but state’s pharaohs and devil’s advocates… It isn’t me the one who announces on television that writers and post communist literary creativity don’t exist, but those, devil’s advocates who try to argue that Albanian literature can still be kept alive with Kadare and every kind of socio-realism cadavers which are highly sustained, financed and propagandized (about works that neither they alone do know and others never written) as cultural monuments, defended by state…
Why do they insist that “the last of Mohicans” for Albanian literature is Kadare (I have nothing against him, according to me he is the greatest Albanian, Ambassador of Albanian Culture!)?… It’s easy… They are the ones who try to persuade the world that Kadare was “an accident”, a fortuity in Albanian literature. They are the ones who pretend that they wanted and invented Kadare myth, that they financed him to be the symbol of socio-realism and that this literature is the flourishing one in these lands. It flourished because they wanted so and even this literary wave is done, dead without Kadare (understand: without those who financed it). We can’t have another literature until they decide for its existence. They are the same who used to yell until yesterday that Kadare was the French’s spy, that the French had bought him, that… as a consequence of this fact we haven’t had, don’t have and will not have an Albanian literature (they say). Albanians can’t make literature if they don’t want. Pharaohs and devil’s advocates.
They are the same pharaohs and devil’s advocates (left and right) who have tried, with every kind of slander, to dim hero’s and Albanian intellectual elites’ values, to say to their Cesar (to whom they sell Albania’s interests and are well-paid) that Albanians don’t deserve any chance from this world because they are of no value, without history, without culture, art and literature, without a past and a future…
This is why our politicians behave this way and try to argue that authentic literature has died, doesn’t exist… The one they want can exist…
In these conditions no one can stop me to say: It is Albanian politics’ right to defend those kinds of “monuments”, those kinds of cadavers, to begin with its pharaoh’s experience, I suggest it to mummify them and convert “ICC” in a mausoleum with their mummies’ exhibits. It can pay well even docents and train them so they can explain to the Albanian pharaohs and head pharaohs those kinds of values that those kinds of mummy-monuments convey for the past, the present and the future of their Pharaohs…
It is a right with which state is excusing and motivating itself because we have blindly given to it! It is a right which rises for the simple fact that the Albanians themselves are those who contribute for this kind of pharaohs’ politics eternity. Then let’s enjoy together this kind of politics which decides according to its interests (not ours) about what is good or bad for Albania…
You have to deal with your state and not mine my friends; you don’t have to deal with my views… Our state misuses the incomes of our sweat’s taxes; at most I can misuse the word, a misuse that can bring only misunderstanding of views and not any slavery, as the misuse of our votes from politics’ pharaohs and devil’s advocates bring…
The terror that pharaohs’ state has practiced on writers and literature has finally succeeded. Writers of post communist period feel anathematized, disoriented, tired, neglected, neither buried nor alive. And the man in agony thinks more about death than life and work… And devil’s advocates are right when they mention death. Literature already has a dead man’s face. It is experiencing clinical death. The devil’s advocates have temporary won the battle against it. And they celebrate literature’s death as a gift for their bosses. Anyway devil’s advocates are devilishly wise. Unlike their bosses, devil’s advocates know exactly what “clinically dead” means. Clinical death is a long coma, an inward darkness and the spirit’s run toward a light tunnel which takes you in paradise. Hereupon, in this period literature is more than ever near God (devil’s advocates know exactly this fact but this is a situation beyond their opportunities). It is said that clinically dead men contemplate a while paradise and then they come back in this world with a clean spirit and with bigger desires for life after they have experienced God’s experience.
Even literature that is experiencing God’s and Paradise experience maybe will soon wake up. It will come back in life with those forces and magic it possessed in its origin. Then poor pharaohs and devil’s advocates…
Albanian writers will revive, will rise and will be implacable like the aeds, the first rhapsodists of humanity. The aeds! A-E-ds! The aeds are the first sounds of alphabet, are the first human world’s scream with musical tones, its echo and reecho. They are a poetic shouting, a song and its chorus. Aeds are those who weave the Epic of Gilgamesh, sang the wonderful Nibelungenlied (the song of the Nibelungs), the first sagas in the margins of legends about man’s birth and childhood and the coexistence with gods of his imagination, which narrate and intone pre-Homeric world’s jobs and which inspired the magnificent Homer with their spiritual potentials.
Aeds are the first rebels toward naivety and monotony of primitive man’s life. They are not only rhapsodic artists, poets and singers who used to weave, interpret and sing magically their verses but also the first polymaths, philosophers, historians and sociologists of humanity. Chieftains and kings, all the powerful men of pre-antic world used to abase themselves before the talent and power that magic of art possession gave to them. Even the king of kings of human world, the wonderful Homer, abased himself and was inspired before their power!
Pharaohs and devil’s advocates and the vicious politics which has produced the tyranny and the terror of their power, which has usurped Albania, will absolutely abase themselves once before the young Albanian aeds of post communism. Before the magic of their literature, the sand buildings of graphomaniacs’, who go on living and be well paid for their pseudo-creations, dedicated to the jobs of Pharaohs, this temporary literary-artistic desert that has plagued Albania, will fall in and disappear.
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