Friday, February 4, 2011

Ismail Kadare Defends Albania’s Independent Institutions

The renowned Albanian writer has taken a strong stand in defence of the country’s independent institutions, which are accused of orchestrating a coup d’état during the January 21 unrest.

Besar Likmeta

“For the Albanian mentality, independent institutions, for reasons we all know, don’t yet have the weight and shadow of the state.

"There are no hymns or impressive rituals for them, however it is these institutions, more specifically the respect for them, that will determine our future,” writes Kadare in a comment for the Albanian language newspaper Ylliria in New York.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the breach of their independence should be seen as a catastrophe,” Kadare adds.

Kadare’s reaction is considered to be particularly strong because the writer has hardly ever involved himself in Tirana’s loud political debates. The 75-year-old writer is the winner of the Man Booker and the Prince of Austurias prizes for literature, and is a perenial candidate for the Nobel prize.

The January 21 protest in Tirana turned into a riot when several hundred marchers attacked the police barricade set up to protect the prime minister’s office, using sticks and stones. Police responded with tear gas, water cannon and later with live ammunition fire, leaving three dead and dozens wounded.

Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his ruling majority have declared with increasing intensity over the past week that the unrest was part of a failed coup d'état. Berisha has accused the general prosecutor, the president, the secret service, the opposition and the media of being part of a conspiracy to overthrow him.

“The normality of life is destroyed by man itself …when he is not normal. Such a human being perceives normality as something foreign, even dangerous,” writes Kadare.

“It is well known that an abnormal country is ruled well, but governed badly,” he added.

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