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

?Its day? was favorably at hand in 1919, when, as we have shown in the beginning of our study, Tache Paphagi enterprised his research trip in Albania, as secretary to the Macedonian and Romanian delegation at the Peace Conference in Paris. On working out its independence again, in 1920,  Albania entered the sphere of influence of Italy until 1938, when the fascist state invaded it. From a cultural, economic and political point of view, this invasion had been prepared from the onset of the 20th century. At approximately the same time that Burlieanu published his impressions (1906), the Italian Ugo Ojetti too had his volume of correspondence published by the daily ?Corriere della Sera? from Albania (1902): ?(?) the Albanian, diligent, industrious, sober, sincere, honest, proud, enthusiastic without abandoning himself, who always bears on his figure and in his heart the austere solace of his mountain, and who is sure of his rifle alone (?) is content of his personal freedom, of his personal hatred and love, content of what he can sell or buy at the bazaar.? (apud Riccardi, 1999, p.181)

Those who, on reaching the closure of this study, somehow have the tendency to settle comfortably within the condition of their own ethnicity are kindly directed to Chapter 8, ?The Romanians? Social Behavior?, in Klaus Heitmann?s study The Image of the Romanians in the German Linguistic Space (1995). They are not to find major differences between the way the Aromanians portray the Albanians and the way that the Germans portray the Romanians, the more so as the background underlying the representation of alterity was so different for the two identity formulas.

The rapport of identity to alterity are, by their nature, rapports of subordination, ordered on the vertical axis of the relation between identity and subjectivity, where by subjectivity we have designated that enduring nucleus of collective identity, reckoned by collective imagination as being the Center, or Source. The formulation may well seem a paradox, but the Center itself is a domain of the paradox: an a-dimensional space that can become actual in a multiplicity of dimensions, simultaneously internal and external. The restoration of  a collective identity in the aftermath of a crisis always presupposes a following of this symbolical ascending trajectory toward the Origin, with its prestige and plenitude.

That state of collective crisis of which we have spoken, that break with the center, is for the most part plastically rendered by the image employed by an Aromanian in order to describe the state of his ethnic group: him oarfăni noi, n-avem tată! Să ştim noi că băneadză tata-l nostru, şi atunci să ne vedeţi! (We are but orphans, but should we know that our father is out there chasing, then you should see us!) (Burileanu, 1906, p.121)

The image of the father is at the same time an image of center and of subjectivity: ?In modern imagologic research", Heitmann demonstrates, "the opinion that the representations a people forms of an other have a predominantly negative character is the general rule; even more, negativity is as constitutive to national heterostereotypes as is subjectivity.?

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