Archive / Blendi Fevziu: My friends are leaving, one took with him a piece of edging from Rinia Park
1. THE ONLY YOUNG
A few meters of concrete curbs, a few square meters of gardens, and hundreds, maybe thousands of young people huddled next to each other, experiencing sadly the catastrophe of 46 years of communism in Albania. The same boys, the same girls, the same well-known people in the "Youth" park. For years, for months, from graduate students to new high school students. These curbs, this boulevard remained their only dream. They became joy, the future, hope, the world, fashion, love, and pain, they became their youth. At any time, in any season, when the drums of proletarian actions, or revolutionary military exercises, did not ring.
It is a drama, but with other dimensions. Equally painful, just as deep. There are thousands and thousands of people who have the right to shout: where is our youth, why did you take it from us ?! You can not pass indifferent to it, you can not become deaf. A friend who was getting ready to leave the homeland forever took with him a piece of concrete from the park curb.
-What are you doing? - I asked her.
"I will make the medallion," he told me.
-I will hang it around my neck and tell everyone: this is my youth.
Yes, he is not the only one. He is one of the hundreds of other young people who took to the streets of the world with a piece of youth hanging around his neck. And wander through the cities and foreign countries even sadder for the lost youth. I find it hard to forget a society of creators who gathered here. They were talented painting students, young poets, and instrumentalists. They dreamed of becoming famous, they dreamed of sensational works, sitting on the cold concrete of the curb. They are no more. The last two left by boat for Italy. Where are they! What kind of foreign sky hangs over your head and what works are left for Albania without being done? Later, the wound that this escape opened to the homeland will be felt.
2. GREAT TIME
It was a time when the park was emptied. Except for a few frightened hawks shivering from the students' calls for democracy. December has been the day of the student movement. Those hundreds of young people who cursed their concrete destiny were the first to jump in front of the rubber truncheons, they became the spirit of revolt.
Then pluralism, the democratic wave, the hunger strike. On the faces of the young men stained with sadness, the smile of the challenge to death was discernible. At least once in our lives, we were happy ...
3. CONCRETE AGAIN AND SADNESS
Who do I see first, for whom should I write ?! And can you report on things you know so well ?! I remember a saying of Andre Zhidi: It is more difficult for you to write about what you know well. Maybe it's true.
Here is a group of high school students. A resounding tape recorder. But it's a little, it's a little to satisfy the momentum of young age. Beautiful skirts, pants, nostalgia for runaway friends, ambitions for a better life, red passports, getaway, getaway everywhere.
Who to talk to first, the start-up group or the sad Philology students. Once upon a time they still had hope. They had a school where they studied. But, a minister who in three words twice says: - honestly. - Just as sincerely closed them. They are unemployed. We are unemployed. Massive unemployment that compresses within the contours of a narrow park.
What I see first. These sad faces say it all. Find me a single joy where these hundreds of young people can forget the pain of the park. None. The drums of the orchestras were broken, the excursion buses ran out of gas, the sampling sticks rumbled at the train stations, the clubs closed early in the afternoon for fear of destructive forces, and the TV continued to broadcast pre-war films, the libraries were open until 15.00. I do not want bread, I do not want to leave the homeland - a friend told me - just find me something to do. I do not want to be disgusted with myself.
But he too fled. He boarded the ferry one day like thousands of others. And from there the phones ring. - Hello, hello, a miracle. You never get bored, there are so many things to know and learn. There are no borders.
Thousands more enchanted by this mystery do nothing but think about how and how to leave. No call for patriotism, no abstract notion can hold them anymore. The homeland tired them with the noise of revolutionary music.
I turn around again and do not know what to write. Not that I do not feel pain from running away, not that I do not feel like calling for my friends who travel the world with a few dollars in their pockets sleeping under the bridges. But because I remember the words of a friend who had just returned from Brindisi.
-I turned 22 and had to go to Italy to hear human words. I remembered the dead mother. But why, why should they find warmth in foreign countries ?!
See these thousands of young people. These full borders of "Rinia" park. They are the future of the homeland, do not give it to the world. Much more with tears of mothers, much more with brothers and sisters who whisper as they follow each other. - Fortunately, he escaped, he escaped at least from Zallahia. Why this fear of bullets in Tirana !?
It is difficult to write a report about those things that hurt yourself, it is difficult to write a report about your friends ...
* Published in the newspaper "Rilindja Demokratike", March 1992. The title is Politiko.al. In the original "Youth sadness in the Youth Park".