Remarks on Ismail Kadare
The flag of the Albanian nation.
CIP Note: Kapllan Resuli is an extremely controversial figure in Albanian affairs. These excerpts from an interview do not indicate approval by CIP of Resuli's views on other topics, particularly involving early Balkan linguistics and present international relations..
Kapllan Resuli: - In the former Yugoslavia I was sentenced to two years strict imprisonment, allegedly for propaganda against socialism and "brotherhood and unity." After I served the punishment to the last day in Idrizovo prison, wishing to escape to the Soviet Union, I got stuck in Albania, with which the USSR in exactly those days severed its diplomatic relations. After a ten-year internment I was arrested by the Albanian authorities and sentenced to 43 years of a most monstrous imprisonment, again allegedly for antigovernment propaganda, possession of a revolver without a license, preparing to escape, and insulting the investigator. Thus, in total I was sentenced to 45 years, of which 37 were for antigovernment propaganda, because of which I think that I am the most heavily sentenced political prisoner in the Balkans and maybe am a unique world record holder. Actually, if it were not for the political changes in Albania I would probably still be in jail today. To this sentence needs to be added an annulled marriage in the former Yugoslavia, in which fortunately I didn't have any children, and also a second marriage, in Albania, in which I had two children. During the whole time of my incarceration, not only wasn't I allowed to see my children, but I didn't even know if they were alive. No one was allowed to visit me, or to give me a piece of bread. Not even the other prisoners. Those who did so were punished, and the poet Gani Shkudra, who came to see me, was not only prevented from seeing me, but in front of the jail, on the spot, they arrested him and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment, allegedly for political propaganda. The only transgression attributed to him in the accusation is recorded as: "he had gone to Burrel prison to see the public enemy Kapllan Resuli and brought him bread". While I was languishing in the infamous Burrel prison, ten times they skinned me alive, literally, wanting me to abandon my Yugoslav (Montenegrin) citizenship, Yugoslav (Montenegrin) nationality, my ideals, even my children. They were forcing me to declare myself an Albanian, not only as citizen, but in nationality (ethnicity). Several times they attempted to liquidate me, even after I was released from jail, three times they have attempted to assassinate me – twice in Tirana and once in Geneva… Even my most open adversary, the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, in those days, at the beginning of the nineties, in his attempts to befriend the European circles, and Amnesty International, who were involved in my liberation, did not shirk from naming me a martyr and a hero of Albania.
VD: - Before we turn towards that period and to your specific relationship with the most famous, but undoubtedly the most controversial Albanian [writer] as well, Ismail Kadare, let's return to the most important phases of your creative activities...
Kapllan Resuli: - In Dubrovnik in 1952 I published the poem "Bojana" in which I openly named Yugoslavia and Albania, Golgotha, in which the people struggle and suffer. I was instantly called on the phone by my "countryman" Milovan Djilas who then threatened me that he will squeeze my head so hard that instead of singing I would begin to wail. And it turned out that way. I hear in Yugoslavia he is regarded as the No.1 dissident. If truly there is no other person, then I know that I was that at least a little bit before him.
VD: - Your first jail sentence, unfortunately, occurred in Macedonia, where for some time you worked as an educator.
Kapllan Resuli: - Yes, I was a tutor in Tetova when they arrested me. As may be seen from the charges, in Macedonia I had done nothing wrong. I was accused, allegedly, of involvement in antigovernment propaganda in Montenegro. And because I was and am a Montenegrin citizen, the court proceedings should have been there, in my birth town of Ulqin. The reason for my prosecution in Tetova was that there I didn't have any relatives and UDBA (Yugoslavian State Security), which knew I was absolutely innocent, was afraid that my prosecution among my Ulqin people could provoke some unwanted problems. For that reason they ordered my prosecution in Tetova, behind closed doors. Although I am not from Tetova, the people of the town, especially my students, knew me well, as a professor and as a writer. Along the streets of the town from the court to the jail I was greeted with open support from many of them… The state prosecutor in his concluding talk, accusing me as "agens spiritus" of the Yugoslav youth against the regime, and asking that I be charged as such, stated that I had been and hoped that I will continue to be in future, as well, a "constructive citizen" of Yugoslavia. It is interesting that Fatos Nano (Albanian communist and socialist politician), after my release from jail, here in Geneva described me as a "constructive citizen" of Albania, asking me to return there, to Tirana.
VD: … You were many years in the Albanian prison of Burrel?
Kapllan Resuli: - True, that was some time after my completion of the jail sentence in Idrizovo. Burrel was not a jail, but a place of horror. While in Idrizovo they would say "You are not here for us to fatten you up, but to count your bones" in Burrel it was: "This place is called Burrel, where one can get in, but not get out".
VD: - The numerous works which you wrote here most likely helped you strengthen your spirit and, eventually, survive. Actually, there you created your most famous work, the novel Treason.
Kapllan Resuli: - Of approximately 200,000 pages written during those thirty years, half of them I succeeded in transferring out of jail and I have them here in Geneva. The other part was taken from me by the authorities and I have no idea what has happened with them. The novel Treason, otherwise, was proclaimed by the Albanians themselves as a masterpiece of Albanian literature. One of the most eminent Albanian critics, Prof. Tajar Zavalani, even described it as the only worthy work published in Albania after World War II. That type of reception for the novel in Albania and amongst the Albanian diaspora perturbed Enver Hoxha, who was attempting to establish his likeminded companion Ismail Kadare as the greatest Albanian author. That is why all of a sudden they "discovered" that I had not written the novel, attempting even to physically eliminate me, but it had been the work of Adem Demaçi, whom they were hoping, in the meantime, would perish in the Yugoslav jails. Since Demaçi got out of jail alive and I also survived, now, via the print media, they have widened a campaign against me, unseen in the history of mankind, alleging, imagine, that the novel had been written for me by UDBA, in order to establish myself with it in Albania and thus usurp the government from Enver.
VD: - Thus far twice, in a similar context, you mentioned Kadare and I would like to remind you that in 1991, when Amnesty International requested your release from jail, absurdly the one who attempted to block it was none other than Kadare. How can that be explained?
Kapllan Resuli: - Kadare was catapulted into the West by Ramiz Alia [successor of Enver Hoxha] and the widow of Enver Hoxha, with a well planned mission. At that time it was only one of his missions – to diminish my credibility amongst the Albanian public and the diaspora, fearing that I may unmask them, spoiling their future plans…
VD: - On the subject of Kadare you have up till now written much, to which special attention is paid by the Albanian public, but also in the European community, which is attracted to your books The True Face of Ismail Kadare and Lies Do Not Change Truth… what is, as you have mentioned, his "well-planned mission?"
Kapllan Resuli: - In these books, actually, with documents and with facts, but also based on his own confessions, I have proven that he was catapulted into the West as an agent of the Sigurimi (Albanian State Security), because he was always such a person. As a principal ideologue of Enver, with secret examinations of our works he was "passing judgment" leading to our mistreatment, internment and arrest. Actually, this was publicly stated, on Albanian Radio-Television in 1996 by the former head of Sigurimi, Zylfiar Ramizi, verifying that Kadare was in their service under the pseudonym "The General." He was a provocateur trained by the Sigurimi to accuse anyone who, according to him, stood in his way, as he did with me. And why? Because the Academy member Dhimitër Shuteriqi, in a principal paper which he read at the Second Congress of Albanian Writers, placed my name and novel before that of Kadare. At one plenum of the Writers' Union in 1966, I openly criticised Kadare, which enraged him, as he was not used to being criticised. Much later, after my release from jail, a major from Sigurimi involved in my arrest declared that, although I was totally innocent, they had arrested me because they had received a secret twelve-page accusation against me and my activities from Kadare. In the meantime, he put his pen and talent in the total service of his benefactor Enver, whose political speeches he was transforming into poems and novels. I don't know if you are aware that Kadare published a complimentary poem lauding Enver's "patriotic" dog, which somewhere at the border catches and pulls apart some unfortunate Albanian, only because the poor soul attempted to escape from Enver's paradise. These are only bits of evidence about the moral profile of the "great" literary and "certain" Nobel prize winner Ismail Kadare…
Moses [Hz. Musa aleyhisalem] Kills An Egyptian Overseer; a conventional North European Passover Haggadah illustration, reprinted mid-20th c. CE, Turkey. The vile attacks on religion committed by Ismail Kadare cannot be forgotten. See footnote below.
CIP Postscript: To paraphrase the French poet André Breton, if some Albanians are displeased with my critique of Kadare's antireligious rants, the should try to imagine how my mentor, the Albanian Catholic figure Gjon Sinishta, reacted to them. The same may be said of numerous other respected and beloved Albanian religious figures. Gjon's "slogan" was "Për fe, atdhe, përparim" -- "For faith, fatherland, and progress." That of the Bektashi Sufis is "Pa atdhe s'ka fe" -- "No fatherland without religion." These values brought me to the Albanians. And between Moses/Musa and the Pharaonic Egyptian oppressors, as well as their modern peers, there can be no compromise.
Stephen Sylejman Schwartz -- 2012
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