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

Around 1920, there was a witty story circulating in Tirana: the word went that God, descended on Earth in order to admire his creation, could no longer distinguish what he had formed in the beginning, so intrusive had been the hand of man. Tired and at a complete loss, after protracted peregrinations, he arrived in Albania, where, searching around, he expostulated: ?At last! The first country that I can recognize: it has stayed the way I first created it!? (Andrea Riccardi, p. 184).

It was the aftermath of the war, while the Italian troops were still in the country. The French had just backed away from Salonic and the district of Korçë, the Greeks from the North Epir and the Serbs from the regions of Shkodra and Durrës.

The Congress of Lushnjë had barely managed to bring a bit of harmony among the disunited local seigniorage and to form a government, under the lead of Suleiman Delvina. A certain Ahmet Pasha Zogu had been appointed Minister of the Interior; he would later become president and king of Albania.

That same year, in Bucharest, Tache Papahagi published the book of essyas entitled The Romanians of Albania, the result of a trip he had made in the company of General C. Iliescu a year before, as Secretary of the Aromanian delegation at the Paris Peace Convention. They had passed through Italy and had circulated everywhere under protection and with aid from the Italian military administration.

1920. The centennial of Ali-Pasha Tepelenli?s death.

Ali-Pasha, the Albanian bey who stepped into history as a mutineer, fighting and often looting, sometimes with the Vallachian armatols by his side, risen against the Ottoman rulers that had usurped their rights. Ali-Pasha, the governor of Tessalia and Epir, who stepped out of history as firmanli, defended to his deathbed by the Vallachians that he had so much oppressed, and who was eventually killed by the men of Kurshid-Pasha.

A hundred years during which the other Balkan peoples had won their independence, founded national states and took the road of europeanization.

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