There is an Albanian fable according to which one day the Eternal Lord, intrigued, decided to go and see what happened to the world he created.
Great, however, was his astonishment when, having arrived on our planet, he realized that this had become unrecognizable. In the end the Eternal, disappointed and embittered, taken by despair over the sad fate of the planet, traveled from one country to another in search of some trace of the world he remembered.
Everything had changed.
Time had erased every true beauty of the past.
A world destroyed.
The world had not always been a place of suffering alone. In earlier times there had been human beings capable of dedicating life to other human beings. Some even knew the word love, and this felt for the other, for the equal. They helped old, sick, weak, children, women or men, without distinction.
They slowed their pace to allow everyone to progress, to improve. Goodness, it was called. The good, the righteous were a minority, but they existed and the man still remembered them: not their faces, vanished in the fog of history, but their gestures, yes, were indelible. Now all this no longer existed, nor would it have served.
No feeling was necessary. The system, the machines, the exhausting rhythms had the task of recovery, salvation, the creation of tomorrow, of the future, for everyone. Cities were loving mothers in their own way, so loving to "eat alive" every inhabitant, making him a slave and son at the same time. The cities continued their inexorable struggle: vertical against the sky, horizontal against the earth. Men, as a group, continued to work, everywhere, as otherworldly beasts.
The degradation of individuals, their immediate debacle was obscene.
The younger ones walked straight, looking ahead of them, as if pointing to the bright and lying future, manifesting inexhaustible energy, blind pride. Génération perdu. The mature ones, on the other hand, had tired postures, curved backs, hands and stiff arms. The older ones were now completely cracked, staring at the flames of hell with open eyes.
Building: up to die.
Work, eat, work, eat, work again, again and again, until you die.
Death is blind.
But life no.
Not wanting to see anything else, noiselessly, almost blocked with pain, his eyes wet with bitter tears, the Eternal only managed to breathe three times, trying to spread his lungs through the whiffs of smog, then turned to return to his habitat natural. Up there the air was clean of clear and suffused colors. The sky was up there.
Along the way back, the Eternal stopped to rest on a coast of the Balkan peninsula: Albania, land of the eagles. Sweet Albania!
Finally he drew a sigh of relief: "Now I can understand it," he said. This world is still how I created it! "
The truth about Albania and the Albanians
The story, with its fairy tale contours, has its own profound truth. Albania is certainly the European country where primitive and patriarchal forms of life are preserved in their integrity even today. The efforts made, especially in the second post-war period, to give Albania a more modern face have not yet completely changed, in the mountainous areas of the interior, the traditional, almost picturesque, aspect of the country.
While yielding to the renewing forces, this retraction of ancient institutions still has a certain importance and contributes to giving the inhabitants an unmistakable spiritual physiognomy. The character of the Albanians resembles that of the neighboring Montenegrin people: they have in common the persistence of sometimes primitive institutions, pride, harshness, the passionate love for their own independence, the spirit of solidarity, of will and capacity help.
The Albanians also physically resemble Montenegrins and Bosnians: they are generally taller than average, have black eyes and hats, small head, elongated face, straight nose, often aquiline, thin mouth, lymphatic-muscular temperament. Excellent runners, skilled at hunting, have a proud soul, are courageous, magnanimous, see human contradiction, they feel more gently than other European peoples the offenses of honor (they therefore make use of the ancient code, the "Kanun by Lek Dukagjini ", Which regulates the phenomena of" gjakmarrje / hakmarrje "which literally means" taking blood "and are incorruptible to money; taciturn, patient, obstinate and scrupulously observe the sworn faith ("besa").
They are open-minded, frugal and easy to please, and at the same time fantastic and imaginative, they are intolerant of every domestic domain or of any tyrannical policy; therefore despite the backwardness it is very rare to find an Albanian "servant".
The hospitality of the Albanians
Dear reader, sit down, because I have not yet spoken to you about the pearl of the Albanians: hospitality ("mikpritja").
Among the Albanians the cult of hospitality is very high: the guest is considered as a sacred person, because "the house of the Albanians is of God and of the guest". Even Lord Byron he recognized the immense hospitality of the Albanian people.
My dear mother, Ali Pacha had heard that an Englishman of rank in his dominion and had left orders in Yanina with the Commandant to provide a house and supply me with every kind of necessary, free, and though I was allowed to make presents to the slaves etc. I have been able to pay for a single article of household consumption. I rode out on the vizier's horses and saw the palaces of himself and grandsons ... Lord Byron, Prevesa, November 12, 1809