The Cham World, a spirited historical – publicistic narration

The writer Shefki Hysa, one of the most passionate searchers of the Cham’s spirit and psychology, following in the footsteps of Bilal Xhaferri and the other apostles of the Albanian letters, in that forgotten corner of Iliriada, where the goddess Dodona spoke for the first time the Albanian language, not once, in his writings and books has addressed the collective consciousness of a muhaajir population, the Cham one, in the veins of which flows the pure blood of the old Epirotes, that wrote the history of the proud and refractory tribes against the foreigners, in the bark of the giant tree of our national memory.
Shefki Hysa has converted the Cham’s subject of destiny into a universal metaphor of the discrete identity search where the individual and collective destiny interweaves in the metaphysics of the time-space of freedom.
After a lot of marvelous narrations, such as tales, novels and sagas, where the Cham world moves in the dark-light of time, Shefki Hysa turn to a straightforward story, “a history spirited from the poetic ego”, as Umberto Eco might say, for the Cham forbidden history. This time is given in its three-dimensionality, with regard to those bridges of the Albanian, Balkan, European and worldwide memory, where historical facts, timid truths and those proclaimed in a sensational way passes toward the tree of pain and the love of a prohibited population.
In this track, his new book “The diplomacy of self-denial” is a fiction review with articles, essays, interviews, memories, impressions, portraits, adjustments, redactions, comeback, reportages, narrations, sketches, whose focus is the discovery of the Albanian world of Chameria, in that historical and actual vector that is called the Cham issue and makes up the Gordian point of the modern Albanian history.
With a tight and concise style, but at the same time warm and colorful, where narration and investigation, the portraiture and the analysis, literary hue and the journalistic principle, the personal and the communitarian attitude are mixed together, and onward the national attitude for this capital issue of the Albanian world, with a lithesome and elegant language, where the integral search of the journalist is combined with the aesthetic principle of the writer, Shefki Hysa brings us with this book more than a concern for the historical destiny of a outgoing population, sacrificed in the road of a double Calvary, the Greek-zervist one and the communist-enverist one.
He is the author of some artistic books such as narrations and novels, and also editor of the prestigious magazine “Eagle’s wing” (“Krahu i shqiponjës”) where frequently he has given us narrative spaces and occurrences of the Cham world, (Even Ismail Kadare speaks with admiration for his last book that treats the destiny and the fatality of the Cham world) Hysa in this book brings us a philosophical and historical-literary estimation about a wound of the Albanian world, the Cham wound. The author, with facts and with his intellectual attitude of Gandhi type, claims that this wound, which continues to cause pain to all the Albanian people, must be soon operated, before it turns into gangrene and without damaging the frame of the Albanian national issue.
The author underlines with the force of argument, that in the dark tunnel of the tragic past, which still seems that holds the memory of the living people and the dead ones, after so many times in silence of prejudice and disinformation, finally a ray of light is seen. The author invites us to run after this light, to see beyond it, that street where the vision and the future strategy for that land and the sacrificed population is disclosed.
This voluminous book speaks about historical characters and VIPs, ordinary people and individuals that have carried the Cham burden along the streets of the Albanian Stalinist Gogoltha, these are Bilal Xhaferri, Ismail Kadare, Namik Mane, Sabri Godo, Bedri Myftari, Ibrahim Hoxha, Pandeli Koçi, Pjetër Arbnori, Sali Berisha, the shortsighted political vision that doesn’t generates nothing except moment conjunctures for the sake of x party or y politician survival, but even that vision which is molded in the anvil of the real nationalism ( not the folkloric nationalism) and generates ideas for the future of the Cham land and population.
But even international personalities such as Hillary Clinton, the British researcher and diplomat Miranda Wickers, who in the gloomy monastery of the Cham issue has fired up the candle of hope, aren’t excluded from the ample, investigative, comparative and polemical view.
The universe of the author point of view is the same multiple and broken universe of the Cham issue, which constitutes a dimension still unexplored of the Albanian national issue.
As a matter of fact the book is an experience that the author and his collaborators have lived, with victories and losses, with seen, rationalized, argued, prejudged achievements and judged from the viewpoints of those people, who in their dream and ideal vision, have had and still have Chameria in the head place.
The author estimates the diplomatic world and its reactions, which though insubstantial, have done again their best to make conscious this joyless space of the collective memory of the Albanian world, emphasizing the fact that the achievements of the foreign diplomacies are bigger than those of the wars.
Disciple of the Gandhi’s spirit and of those streets that bring water in the effective national choices from the intelligent grinder, Hysa appeals to the Albanian society elite to do what is necessary for the Chameria, to contribute for the Cham vision, so it won’t be a hostage of the gloomy past.
The author emphasizes with pain the silence, almost apostolic of the Albanian state in front of this historical and actual drama, the Cham drama, meanwhile the foreign diplomacy, benevolent versus the Albanians reminds the politicians of the eagle country that Chameria is a historical hostage that needs to get rid of the misunderstanding and the injustice, getting off this issue from the moldy buildings of the archives into the political agenda of the day.
The author describes the labyrinths of a misunderstood and startling dossier from the perception rate of the Albanian political conscience. The action that our indolent and expectant politics has never done and it won’t take the courage to do, will be effectuated from the responsible foreigners, our country friends with their eyes toward the west. Thus in the summer of 2001 with the intercession of Hillary Clinton, the Cham issue was introduced before the American Senate. In an auditory session the senators were informed about the Greek-Albanian relations, the developments, the irritations and the appeasements, from the summer of 1944, when genocide was plied over the Albanian Muslim population of Chameria, called otherwise Thesprotia, massacring and deporting them from the birthplace and the dwellings, from their ethnic land. The author describes the reaction of the Greek lobby in America and the official policy of Athena, the cards of justification of this policy, the closure in an isolated cairn of this problem, the manifestation of the mock fact that in Albania doesn’t exist a organism to represent the Chams, that the Albanian state moots this issue only as a counterweight in the irritation moments of the bilateral relations between Tirana and Athena, that this problem doesn’t exist and when something doesn’t exist it doesn’t need a choice.
The British searcher and diplomat Miranda Wickers, as sublimating a new political reality, which was now contoured in the American senate for Chameria, referred another challenge to the Greek policy, when she, as a representative of the British Foreign Department published a detailed study with incontrovertible historical data and facts about the tragedy of the Cham population and its beginners. This gave a strong buffet to the political circuits of Athena, set in motion some deputies of the European Parliament, like the radical Italian deputy Marko Panela and other personalities such as Dr, Haim Reitan etc, who were a protest voice, which was coming in the right time and from the right direction against the silence, till oblivion, of one of the most cardinal problems of the Albanian history.
An important part of the book has the academic and intellectual personality of Bilal Xhaferri, the elite writer of Chameria, the dissident that paid up the freedom of creation with his young life, the most industrious and passionate amplifiers of the Cham world, whom he boosted in the seventh sky of a brilliant aesthetics.
Shefki Hysa, with his intellectual obligation, with the foundation of the Publishing House “Bilal Xhaferri” and of the Cultural Association “Bilal Xhaferri” (Shoqata Kulturore “Bilal Xhaferri”), influenced that the figure of Bilal Xhaferri could get out from the fifty years of misunderstanding and adulteration flour and could take the deserved place in the forgotten pantheon of the dissidents letters.
The journey of Shefki Hysa in the annals of the Cham world is a virtual journey where the historical fact and detail is interweaved with the impressions of the author, the international geopolitics with the narration of the apostolic silence, till political naivety, of the official Tirana institutions, the investigations for the truths covered from the oblivion flour with the deduction for the intellectual Gandhism, as a tool for the identification and the profit of the Cham paradise.
As our remarkable writer Ismail Kadare says: “This book is necessary, imperative, virtuous, like every ripe publication of this kind, as are numerous the reasons that the Chams don’t forget Chameria, and it can be intended that this is not only their right but the right of all the Albanians.
Furthermore, it is a moral obligation because one can never forget a suffering wound of thousand people. A displacement can never be forgotten. The birthplace can never be forgotten, where the house is… Chameria can never be forgotten”.

Dukagjin Hata
Writer

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