The Albanian in His Own Habitat. A Dated Portrait
Viorel Stănilă
 

If power is on the side of the Albanians, it is natural that intelligence and diligence be on the side of the Aromanians. It is Bolintineanu who says it (v. supra) and Neniţescu who repeats it (1895, p. 486): ?The Aromanians who live in Northern Albania, among the Gheg Albanians, are known under the name of goga Aromanians, and are highly esteemed by the Albanians, on account of their tempestuous valiance, and they are consulted because they are deemed intellectually superior.?

What would further be the part of the Albanian?

- Boasting: ?Arbineslu-i frate cu-alăvdarea.? (The Albanian is brother to boasting.) ?Se-alavdă ca un Arbines.? (He is boasting like an Albanian.) (Tache Papahagi, 1922, p.5)

- The impulsive character, generating irremediable situations: ?Arbinesu apresu.? (A heated Albanian.) (Saramandu, 1982, p.84)

- Lack of order: ?Ca turţîl?i tu groapă.? (Like Turks in a ditch.) (Saramandu, p.97)

- Dreamless sleep: ?Doarmi ca arbinesu.? (He sleeps like an Albanian) (Saramandu, 1982, p.102)

We could hardly expect the balance to waver in favor of the collective representation of the Other, since the Other would lose the function of his alterity, and would be merged with the representation of one?s own identity. Therefore, the Albanian should be granted the right to speak in his defence:

?Our Turk was not of the grave, suspicious type that is so widespread in this country. He was cheerful, eloquent, open, around the age of forty-five: a ruddy and rounded face, his fez fallen onto the nape, and a short forehead (?).

?Are you Albanian?? I asked.

?Albanian, yes, by birth,? he answered, ?an islamicized Albanian. The majority of Albanians are Muslim, and they are the most honest, dependable and cavalier. The Christian Albanians have become Hellenized or Romanized, and have ceased being proud of their origin. They have no word to say,? he continued, ?while this people is grand and will never desist. It will have its day, and that day might be far yet, but it is bound to come.? (Bolintineanu, 1985, p.313)

In opposition to the image that the Aromanian has of the Albanian, the latter?s self-image surfaces as a positive qualification by traits that render it identical to the Aromanian?s self-image.

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