November 19th, 2013
The well-known writer, translator and one of the most praised publicist by Albanian and international critics for his courageous thoughts Mr. Kim Mehmeti was invited by Art and Culture Club of Epoka University, to have a free discussion with students and presenting his views, aspects and stand on the past, present and future of the Albanian cultural diplomacy. Mr. Mehmeti met also the rector of university Prof. Dr. Remzi Altın.
During his discourse Mr. Mehmeti gave a critical assessment about the Albanian cultural diplomacy, noting that "it shows signs of inferiority, although it is better than political diplomacy". Known for his attitudes and critical assessments, in his discussion with students Mr. Mehmeti noted that Albanians due to historical circumstances, have been a small nation divided, which in many cases has also made communication difficult among them and this has resulted as a barrier in their representation. "We are not like other nations. We are a separated nation who shows difficulties of communication between us. It's the same case of a separated family which cannot be proud of. However unfair circumstances, reasons and problems, there are no justification for separation and this shows a weakness of this family”, Mr. Mehmeti said.
In his discourse with students, referring to Albanian identity, Mr. Mehmeti underlined same as individuals have their passports; the collective also have their passport and their portrait. In the context of the Albanian 'ID', according to him, cultural, scientific, political and business elite are a data, an evidence which identifies people."What is the individual? The individual often is himself, but in most of cases he lives and behaves as the others would like to see him. Mostly we live with masks. I came here dressed differently compared with my daily outfit, and this, because I want to create a good impression to you. I have to show how you would like to see me. I am not the real one that my family and relatives know. What I am trying to say is that nations also work the same way. Nations want to be represented as they see themselves. Normally each of us can say that Albanians are the most beautiful, wisest and friendliest. And indeed they were. But, and this is questionable. There is always one thing that we have to note: we are what we think about ourselves, what others say about us and what we want to be. When these three elements interwoven the true portrait is formed. And then you can talk about cultural diplomacy, which means that we have to sell and convince them for the beauty that we have, of what we wish for ourselves and how we look”, he said
By maintaining the idea that the identification of values and special features, of what a nation represents better, Mr. Mehmeti said that exactly those features can be used to persuade the others nations. "Being ever respected, sometimes you just have to have strong muscles, punch to anyone who says “I am more handsome than you” and make him ugly, even when he is more handsome than you. Someone else we respect for his thoughts and knowing that he is wiser than us, always we care to not interfere into his field. Small nations permanently want to use their culture as ID, because of no other opportunities. Their “force” was not enough to overcome major nations. What we have is our unique culture. And when we have this unique culture we need to know how to sell it and how to advertise it," Mr. Mehmeti said.
Mr. Mehmeti continuing his reasoning said that "in cultural diplomacy there are two aspects: the desire to reveal what makes it similar to others or what makes us different. Inferior cultures usually reveal what makes it similar to the others; they want to look the same with the other cultures"."Cultural Diplomacy itself is not so inferior and should not be inferior, but still seems to be a bit like that. Once when we go abroad, what we mostly wish is to imitate others and we don’t want to show our identity, originality. When we go to Italy we become more Italian than the Italians themselves, in Germany more Germans than Germans themselves etc. I think there is explanation, we are a lonely nation, whose language is not close to any language, we don’t have blood brothers, or even cousins. This is normal and Albanians are more convenient people, they can learn the languages quickly and be the best students wherever they go”, Mr. Mehmeti said.
However, according to him, despite the inferior aspects and behaviors that can display an individual, there comes a moment when imitation make his sub consciousness aware and feel ashamed of himself. Despite the problems encountered in past generations, or and present, due to historical circumstances, Mr. Mehmeti underlined the fact that the current and next generation have no reason to be ashamed of anything, since there is no difference with rest of nations. According to Mr. Mehmeti there is no reason that other generations fake to resemble others, because otherwise ostentatious efforts as others want to see is the hardest part. "I can’t live with the mask, because maybe not for other reasons, but because at the evening you will take off to breathe freely. There is another risk. If you wear the mask for a long time, there comes a time when you forget and confound which is your true face or your mask. Looking at yourself in the mirror every two hours, you will like your mask and forget who you really are. Therefore master of all skills, is trying to be accepted by others, but the others have to accept you, not your mask", he noted.
Mr. Mehmeti stressed also the fact that the Albanians have a good image in historical and cultural aspect. “Our people never crated troubles to neighbors or others but mostly to themselves. He emphasized also that actual generation possess the feature of “most beautiful face” of Albanian cultural diplomacy. He said that this century will be the century of the Albanians and the nowadays generation are the future ambassadors of Albania. “Success depends on you” stated Mr. Mehmeti. The discussion was followed with questions and answers session.
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