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Kim Mehmeti's interview: Neither the individual nor the people have the opportunity to embellish their past
This article is part of the column "PRINT" opened by Politiko.al with materials taken from the funds of the Periodical and the Book of the National Library. Published in the newspaper "RD", dt. January 9, 1994, p. 3.
Interviewer: LASER STANI
Albanians everywhere are, have experienced these last two-three years great social, spiritual, and psychological shocks. You, as a writer, what have you experienced in these two three years?
KM We are the children who lied and were told that if we inadvertently follow the direction from which the leader's hand is stretched, there is no need to doubt whether or not we are on the right path and we should not tire of waiting for us downhill or a road full of mortar. We were building the great illusion called socialism. In that journey full of illusions, someone believed a little more, someone so that others would not investigate what he suspected, while there were those who did not believe at all. But sinners for all that happened are not only liars but also liars: if not then for the tendency shown to believe lies.
After abandoning the one-story boulevards of socialism and heading to the crossroads of the multiparty system, we who until yesterday bowed before the ideological churches of oneness, the last two or three years created the new illusion that on the plane can stand both hypocrites and demons, even the wise, but also the whites: this illusion that all the above creates the belief that the time has come when everything can be sold in the market. Of course, it is difficult at crucial times to pay enough attention to the line, but there is a principle that should not be forgotten: when the journey is long and tedious, the strongest camels should be saved for the hardest part of the road through it. which the caravan must pass. Otherwise, the caravan can carry a lot of dust and cover itself - it loses its way. I will publicly acknowledge: that I have spent the last two or three years marveling at the adaptive abilities of others and my own flaws in how little I have known people, especially those who adapt to any ideological calendar. Now let me praise myself a little: I have already escaped from that confusion and convinced myself that man is a strange dough, the quality of which depends on the hob you knead and from which, as well as from ordinary dough, you can cook anything.
Say we now travel through new roads. Yes, that freedom, how do you see it now, near or far? Do we still have a long way to go to achieve at least what others, civilized peoples, have achieved?
KM Liria, like many other things, is somewhat relative, to controversial infinity. For me, the meaning of freedom for others may not be that. Freedom, finally, is not something that is given by written decrees, but it must be known and had conditions to be realized. How useful are the people who have been given the freedom to own private jets if they do not have economic conditions or to eat properly ?! True freedom in society requires the necessary preconditions, among which political culture and economic development are factors without which civic freedom turns into a fluke like any other pleasant to hear, but without any content. In short, all of us who are just building new social relationships — that is, the former socialist states- are far from the desired freedom and we should not lie to ourselves that immediately, after facing the first turn, we will face the palaces we have dreamed of for years. What needs to be done now is the truth that no moment should be lost to watching the personal show, not to become impatient to hold a general rehearsal as soon as possible, to give a premiere and then follow the restraining applause that will follow we bow proudly like modern-day heroes muttering to ourselves: Yes, we are the ones who played the lead roles! In these times it must be understood that each generation plays its part and it cannot escape it. If so, then the tears of the new time are dripping, as from the eyes of the bride facing the first wedding night,
Today we live in a specific climate, a political climate, so even politics for no moment can be avoided, can not be set aside? How do you assess today's Albanian political action?
KM I am far from being competent to give any assessment of Albanian political action. Currently, the plague of Albanians is Kosovo. And, until that wound heals, we will all suffer no matter how we live where we are. Therefore, even Albanian political entities today must concentrate their forces on solving the Kosovo problem. The skeleton of Albanians will be broken or sculpted there. The captivity of Kosovo will always resonate in our consciousness as a threat that all Albanians are enslaved. In Kosovo and nowhere else today Albanianism is defended: there or we will all fall, or we will win, regardless of the fact that we live in different countries. I think that we Albanians in Macedonia, and not only, in this age have it clear.
There have been deep upheavals in the PPD. What is your opinion and do you see perspective in the future of this party?
KM I am not a member of this party or any other, so I would not have allowed myself to interfere in work that are members of the PPD. I can repeat what I said two years ago, which at the time bothered me greatly, that the expensive PPD would pay for its fluctuation between the political party and the popular movement. This party has never really been a classic political party, but it remained to be torn between two antipodes that have nothing in common between themselves, the political party and the all-Albanian front in Macedonia. In this way she committed a double sin: she behaved almost as if there were no other Albanian entities in Macedonia and prevented the voice of Albanians from being heard outside the political parties. Changes have long been needed in this party. Finally, the PPD is one of the few parties in Macedonia in which no renewal has taken place since the elections. My impression is that this party makes the mistakes that the Communist Party once made, only to increase the membership number by not paying attention to quality. For this party, the primary value of the member has valued obedience. I may not be right, but I think that the current shocks in its ranks are a consequence of all that I mentioned above.
I'm a writer, and you ask me about politics? I understand that you have this remark aptly.
But today most Albanian writers deal with politics. How do you view this trend of writers in our states?
KM Art does not know politics, but neither does politics know art. So two extremes that nothing unites. Therefore, it is incomprehensible to me what the creators want in the diversity of politics and what is it that makes them so envious of politicians. I may be very narcissistic, but I think all kings and presidents should envy me for the mediocre stories I write, and I have no reason to envy them. In art the creator sacrifices himself by giving it, the most beautiful he possesses, to others. Art requires complete sincerity, so creators who sacrifice creativity for politics have their own flaws. This statement does not apply only in special cases such as Kosovo today,
What is the role of culture and the writer in creating harmony and understanding among the peoples of the Balkans as a necessary condition for a civilized future?
KM Every cultural treasure proves its value, not only by how tangible and useful it is for the environment where it is created but also by how open it can be to the forms and contents of the cultures and values of others. It is not possible to increase one's own values by denying those of others, nor is it possible to be satisfied only with one's own values. The peoples of the Balkans have no choice but to communicate normally with each other, especially in the diversity of culture. Walls should not be allowed to be erected in cultural relations, because such walls are the most difficult to tear down. Seen in this context, writers must make their own contributions. Here I mean creators who write genuine values because it suits others to close: it suits them to be the first in their neighborhood. Cultural isolation is as fatal as any other isolation if not more so. I think that in this regard you who have lived in Albania have a bitter experience as a rarity in the world.
Even a much-discussed problem today is that of the intellectual? How do you see the intellectual today in relation to society, the state, politics, and the future?
KM Intellectuals today, first of all, must clarify whether these times and, even more so, times when all the former whispers and all that we are silent need to say out loud? Yes, these are the times, and even more so, these are the days when care must be taken to analyze the piano and the sad subtitles of many years of silence so that we do not dive into some dizzying noise now. We must never forget that we are children of collective tranches, students of tactful applause, faces from those group photos with smiles exactly measured on the lips, body with hands behind backs, as only one hand had to stand raised and with finger-pointing from the hill where the palace surrounded by red roses was to stand like the blood of the leader! Why do I say that? Because now we can become victims of not having the patience to reach the best days naturally. Even among intellectuals, there is an impatience, a rush to make up for a lost time, which is not possible. Such a rush is also reflected in the relationship of intellectuals with society, the state, politics, and the future. When it comes to compensating for what is lost, there is truth in the fact that there are things that can not even be compensated. Intellectuals, perhaps before all others, must convince themselves that even passengers who have sailed on the lying ship have the right to disembark, disembark, and run happily after exploring the ground underfoot. And if so, let it comfort us that we were not alone in lying, but all those who dreamed of communism without brothels! Finally, neither the individual nor an entire nation has that opportunity to adorn its past.
Among the intellectuals of the Balkans, do you see those who work for a peaceful and harmonious future of our peninsula?
KM Our peninsula is mired in the mud of human folly and a God knows how things will end. Intellectuals carry parts of sin and are guilty because they allowed human stupidity to take precedence and even prevail over common sense and wisdom. In some peoples of the Balkans, such as the Serbian people, intellectuals failed the human exam and not just the intellectual one. Some will need years to clean the stains from their own intellectual portrait if something like that is possible. It is understood that there are such intellectuals who know how to stand up even in such times. I know such people and they give me hope that not everything has collapsed.
What are the relations between Albanians and Macedonians in your new state? What are the annoying barriers that create misunderstanding between the people of this state and provoke disaster?
KM International distrust in Macedonia is a legacy from the past period when a terrible campaign would be conducted in Macedonia against the Albanian intelligence and the entire Albanian people. Indeed, from 1981 until before the multi-party elections, Macedonia was an exposition of Serbian anti-Albanian policy. Today, Macedonia pays the bills of the period when Albanians were deprived of many rights. I have a tendency to believe that today in Macedonia the conviction of all national collectives is growing that this state can exist only as a state of equal citizens. It will take a lot of work to restore international trust, but we must move toward this difficult path. There is no other solution. You have to trust the one you have to live with. There must be tolerance and understanding for the other. I believe that Macedonia is well on its way to achieving the only goal that can guarantee it a good future: to become a state of equal citizens. Macedonians and Albanians, as two numerically larger collectives in this country, remain the biggest responsibility for the stability of this country. They have a moral obligation to take care of the rights of other nationalists in this republic and they should always keep this in mind during their political quarrels. The instructive elements who know how Macedonia can be destroyed if there is an international Albanian-Macedonian conflict should not be underestimated. Therefore, further provocations should be expected, especially from the pro-Serbian bloc, which is not weak in this republic,
You started publishing successful creations at a young age. What was the path that the young Kim Mehmeti described to reach the writer Kim Mehmeti?
KM Road is full of walks around the world and through life. Walks through faculties, and professions. Kim Mehmeti, the passionate traveler, and Kim Mehmeti the writer, always traveled together knowing that life is full of juices that can be filled and that should be enjoyed. Why should I lie: I'm happy with what I've achieved, I've lived my life the way I wanted to - of course, things become relative where nothing depends on me and, even when it comes to creativity it has offered me as much as I have invested in it. I do not belong to that category of creators who are willing to sacrifice everything for creativity - life has other beauties. I managed to collect as much as I could and therefore I have very little reason not to be satisfied, except for some tragic family losses which can neither be forgotten nor healed for a lifetime. I spent happy youth, I lived in many centers of the former Yugoslavia and abroad, I changed many professions, I have a warm and quiet family hearth, which is my greatest asset, and a pleasant living room where until in the late hours of midnight I can immerse myself in my creative world, which materializes on the computer screen to later give it to readers.
Literally, Skopje has been a deaf area for many years. Unfortunately, in our cultural consciousness, the Albanians of Macedonia still constitute a culturally erased area. Is there any reason to think so today?
KM I am not one of those who think that you in Albania have lost a lot because you do not know us creators from Macedonia, which does not mean that such a thing can be justified and tolerated even further. In reality, the creative potential of the Albanians in Macedonia can not be even close to what Kosovo has. We, the creators of Macedonia, are and should be a segment of the national culture, but I am for the fact that there is always a proper verification of values and competent creative standards. I have never been a proponent of the principle that values be invented at all costs. Albanian culture does not need such a thing, because thank God, it possesses many genuine values. Why do I say that? Because today, when the contact between the Albanians from Macedonia and Albania is realized somewhat normally, investigate a dissatisfaction among us creators on this side of the border and it seems as if someone is in a hurry to take their place in the column of national values. I am convinced that genuine values will find their place, and that is why I do not care at all where I stand. This can also be understood: for years we could not wait to have normal relations with the mother country, hoping that then we will find it easier to publish in Tirana. But I am convinced that even that day is not so far away and so now we have to successfully realize this, the stage of self-knowledge. There is no doubt that the obligations are mutual: ours to contribute to the national culture as well as the mother country to help Albanians outside Albania. I am convinced that genuine values will find their place, and that is why I do not care at all where I stand. This can also be understood: for years we could not wait to have normal relations with the mother country, hoping that then we will find it easier to publish in Tirana. But I am convinced that even that day is not so far away and so now we have to successfully realize this, the stage of self-knowledge. There is no doubt that the obligations are mutual: ours to contribute to the national culture as well as the mother country to help Albanians outside Albania. I am convinced that genuine values will find their place, and that is why I do not care at all where I stand. This can also be understood: for years we could not wait to have normal relations with the mother country, hoping that then we will find it easier to publish in Tirana. But I am convinced that even that day is not so far away and so now we have to successfully realize this, the stage of self-knowledge. There is no doubt that the obligations are mutual: ours to contribute to the national culture as well as the mother country to help Albanians outside Albania. For years we could not wait to have normal relations with the mother country, hoping that then we will find it easier to publish in Tirana. But I am convinced that even that day is not so far away and so now we have to successfully realize this, the stage of self-knowledge. There is no doubt that the obligations are mutual: ours to contribute to the national culture as well as the mother country to help Albanians outside Albania. For years we could not wait to have normal relations with the mother country, hoping that then we will find it easier to publish in Tirana. But I am convinced that even that day is not so far away and so now we have to successfully realize this, the stage of self-knowledge. There is no doubt that the obligations are mutual: ours to contribute to the national culture as well as the mother country to help Albanians outside Albania.