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Year 2005 No. 82, June 27, 2005 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Ismail Kadare and the International Booker Prize:

Chronicle of Treachery and Disinformation

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

Ismail Kadare and the International Booker Prize:
Chronicle of Treachery and Disinformation

G8 Summit Protest Events, Scotland, July 2-8, 2005
Make Poverty History, Make War History

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Ismail Kadare and the International Booker Prize:

Chronicle of Treachery and Disinformation

By Chris Coleman*

It has been announced that Ismail Kadare, the Albanian novelist and poet, will be awarded the first ever Booker International Prize at a ceremony in Edinburgh, Scotland, on June 27.  The new international award results from criticism that the prestigious Booker Prize is open only to British and Commonwealth authors.   The international prize will be awarded henceforth once every two years to a living author of fiction whose works are either published originally in English or available in translation. The prize is worth 89,000 euros (£60,000).

Announcing the award, John Carey, chairman of the three-member panel of judges, said that "Ismail Kadare is a writer who maps a whole culture – its history, its passion, its folklore, its politics, its disasters".   Fair enough.   But Kadare's own words and the reporting of them in the media give a different slant. Herein lies the treachery and disinformation.

Kadare is reported as saying: "I am a writer from the Balkan Fringe, a part of Europe which has long been notorious exclusively for news of human wickedness – armed conflicts, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, and so on."   He is further quoted by the Guardian as saying of his years in Enver Hoxha's Albania that "the only act of resistance possible in a classic Stalinist state was to write – or you could go to a meeting and say something very courageous, and then be shot".   He adds: "I was very lucky to be able to publish from time to time."

Nothing could be further from the truth!  The fact is that all of the works for which Kadare is acclaimed were written and published in Albania under the former communist regime.   He was educated in Albania, given every encouragement in his writing, given a salary and apartment by the official Writers Union and allowed to travel extensively abroad. He was elected to the National Council of the broadly- based Democratic Front.

Famously, he was asked by a foreign journalist why he stayed in Albania. Abroad he could be a millionaire!  Kadare replied that he already was a millionaire.  Every one of his works was published in Albania and read by a million people!  What more could a writer want!

As John Carey's remarks suggest, his works do map a whole culture.   They map too not only the glorious and heroic history of the people of the Balkans, and Albania in particular, but the fact that this heroism arose in struggles against the introduction of the worst kind of "human wickedness" by malign foreign forces – the Ottomans, the Italian fascists and German Nazis, and latterly the Anglo-American imperialists – something which Kadare conveniently forgets.

Kadare, as is known, remained in Albania until 1990, when the communist regime was collapsing as, incidentally, were the state subsidies to the arts and artists. He then moved to France. He has produced no work of any stature since that time.

That an artist should commit treachery against the source of his inspiration and support is regrettable, but perhaps not of great relevance.   The promotion of his lies by the media, however, distorting the history of an entire region and its people, should not go unchallenged.

*           Chris Coleman is the National Spokesperson of RCPB(ML)

Article Index


G8 Summit Protest Events, Scotland, July 2-8, 2005

The G8 world leaders are meeting in a fortified compound at Gleneagles, Scotland, on July 6-8. George Bush and Tony Blair will both be there. These two in particular are leading the drive to decide world events by war. On Saturday, July 2, there will be the major "Make Poverty History" demonstration in Edinburgh. Bound up with the question of poverty is the question of war spending: one trillion (million million) dollars in 2004, half of it by the United States. The anti-war movement is joining together with the movement against neo-liberal globalisation in the G8 protests, saying "Make Poverty History – Make War History".

Actions/Events Diary

Saturday 2nd July

11am "Make Poverty History" Demo from the Meadows, Edinburgh

The creation of a giant human white band around Edinburgh city centre, with staggered starts at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm

4.30pm "Fight Poverty Not War Stage" in The East Meadows with speakers from the anti-war movement internationally

Sunday 3rd July

10am "Ideas to Change the World", G8 Alternatives Summit, Edinburgh
Usher Hall, Queens Hall & Edinburgh University. Will feature George Galloway, Lindsey German, Fausto Bertinotti, Sami Ramadani and prominent speakers from around the world in eight plenary sessions and more than 36 workshop/seminars. The purpose of the Alternatives Summit is to present a serious ideological challenge to the corrupt policies and ideology of the G8.
Plenary Sessions will focus on: War & Imperialism, The Attack on Civil Liberties, Africa, Climate Change, Asylum & Immigration, Nuclearism, Corporate Globalisation & Privatisation, Aid, Trade & Debt
Speakers will include: Mark Curtis, author of Web of Deceit & Unpeople; Susan George, Vice-president ATTAC France; George Monbiot, radical journalist & author; Trevor Ngwane, Anti-Privatisation Forum, South Africa; Dita Sari, President, National Workers’ Struggle Indonesia; Scott Ritter, former UN Weapons Inspector; Ken Wiwa - son of Ken Saro Wiwa, executed by Nigerian government; and many others.
For more information including a list of confirmed speakers visit: www.g8alternatives.org.uk
Tickets £10/5
Contact Usher Hall for tickets 0131 228 1155

6pm "Naming the Dead" Ceremony, Assemble corner of Prince's Street/The Mound to march through Edinburgh to Calton Hill

Monday 4th July

7am join the blockade of Faslane Nuclear Weapons Base

Non-violent direct action called by Scottish CND and Trident Ploughshares to disrupt Faslane as much as possible, primarily by blockading the entrances. Faslane is home to all four Trident submarines, Britain’s own nuclear WMD Programme.

5.30pm "Holding Blair to Account" – Military Families Against War Rally at St Augustine's Church, George 4th Bridge, Edinburgh with Rose Gentle, Judy Linehan (US Military Families Speak Out) and others

Tuesday 5th July

"Close Dungavel, No-one is Illegal!", mass protest at Dungavel Detention Centre, Ayrshire
Dungavel is where Scotland imprisons hundreds of people, including families and children who have committed no crime. They have merely crossed borders fleeing persecution and poverty, seeking safety and freedom.
Coaches leave in the morning from Edinburgh. Shuttle-bus service from Glasgow. For more info contact Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees: glascamref@hotmail.com

Wednesday 6th-8th July - "Another World is Possible", convergence on Gleneagles. Wednesday 6th July

12 noon Assemble 12noon at Gleneagles Train Station for a march to the gates of the Gleneagles Hotel on the opening day of the G8 Summit. Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, between Perth and Stirling on the A9.

12 noon London – School Students Walk Out

4.30pm Rally Parliament Square, London

Thurs 7th July

Climate Justice Alarm, 13.45
A one off event organised by Friends of the Earth Scotland to sound warning bells to try to wake the G8 up to the fact that time is running out to tackle climate injustice. Edinburgh and Everywhere.

Saturday 9th July

Alternatives Concert, Gleneagles

Getting there and Other Info

Click the following links for general info and travel details
(incl. downloadable leaflets for Edinburgh events)

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