The echo of footsteps in round dance and polyphonic songs has long passed the present borders of this small Balkan country. Successive waves of barbaric invasions to the annexations of the imperial powers more or less neighboring have pushed the peoples of these mountains all over the globe. From the southern of Italy, to the very center of the Ottoman power, to the African shores of the Mediterranean, it has sometimes had to go far when we add the places of exile of our time.
The amazing work of Luan Rama in his book “Pont entre deux rives” (Bridge between two banks) redraw perfectly the trips, exiles and wanderings of the foreign citizen in Albania in order to find a temporary refuge, but indeed staggering. Here we are, the Albanian traditions and customs cannot be represented correctly if they were only seen from inside, but also related with Albanians connection outside.
We do not speak the same language in the North as in the South, or even beyond the current geopolitical borders of Albania. Some dialects are very opaque and can make exchanges complicated, but whatever, the Albanians have an indestructible connection of fraternity among themselves, before all because history has not always been tender and they have always advanced together. It was thanks to them and their force that the Nazi army was moved backwards outside the borders of this country.
Besides the force and the courage that you have to show when your home is threaten, we also know how to take advantage of life because it is too short, for everybody. The intoxicating intensity, calculated wisdom, shrewdness insight, measured pragmatism, the head in the stars of another galaxy or well rooted feet, an Albanian wants to live to the maximum of his means. The sweetness of the East, the warm Mediterranean blood, the biting complexity of the Latins, we are at the perfect crossroads of civilizations. It is as laborious to portray this people as it is to undertake an initiatory journey. As the other one would say, you start off with lots of clichés and you come back with uncertainties, and it’s a difficult task to simplify. An Albanian is precisely at the intersection of all these influences and inspirations. A foreign traveler, you will have to let yourself be rocked by a real and authentic charm, only metamorphoses the one who can. But the door is always open like the hearts of the men and women of this country, both so young and so old in what they have to say and share. We are not the ones who are saying this, but the lines that constituted what the Albanians are today.
The variety of exchanges and inspirations forged a strong heart in the image of the fate of the Frashëri brothers who contributed to the Albanian Renaissance in the 19th century. This only period in their history will include neighbouring Kosovo because it is there that the future of Greater Albania in the geopolitical sense was played out, in part… We would not limit ourselves to the territories where Albanian is spoken. Pashko Vasa is inspired from the Marseillaise to produce leaflets of resistance to Ottoman governance, in the same way as in South American nations where an air of freedom was beginning to be desired. It’s this complex heritage that each Albanian of Albania, Kosovo, neighbouring territories such as Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro, or farther away, carries within him and who edge of the lips, seductively enchanting the person who has been there for a meal, a night, or a particularly unpredictable wandering if you want it to succeed.
Author: Amélie Gicquel