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I’m in a tiny Tirana café built around a eucalyptus tree. John Belushi, the Madonna and someone’s deceased grandma charm its wooden walls. I sip a macchiato to start my day. At the bar, an old man in an old suit orders a raki. It’s not quite nine, yet he’s downing a shot of five-alarm firewater. A minute later, another grandpa does the same.

Near the Avni Rustemi roundabout, there are grilled meat joints where I sometimes sit after dark, enjoying the breeze and gazing at the sidewalk. For around \$5, I can stuff my face with kebabs, sausages and fries, and drink a large beer. Even in the morning, though, there are old farts at these zgara places, with fat mugs in front of them. Albanians start early, I’ve learnt.

In Shkoder, there are many kebab carts on sidewalks. Served on a soft roll, each costs less than a buck. Some mustard would help, certainly, but this is not Germany. Though no soft drinks are for sale, many carts have raki, though not always advertised. I’ve been advised that raki goes well with kebabs, best eaten with fingers. Fork tines ruin the taste.

Half a liter of raki costs less than two bucks, enough for a temperate slush for two days. It’s much cheaper than beer.

A Shkoderian, Asti, tells me, “I drink raki when I get up, before I drink water, or eat food.” He laughs, showing no teeth. “Some people drink it at five in the morning.”

“But if you start so early, you must keep drinking it all day!”

“True.”

We’re sitting in a café on Skanderbeg Street, not far from the Mother Teresa Statue, with its reverent flowerpots. At other tables, there are five men, all middle-aged. Michael Jackson is on the radio. Outside the plate-glass windows, beautiful young women keep parading by. Seemingly assured, with the world at their high heels or Adidas, they have their own unsquelched terrors.

Most cafes serve raki, of course, but many stores also sell it. Pointing to a tobacco shop across the street, I ask Asti, “They sell raki too?”

“Maybe. Many do. People know where to buy.”

“So it’s not regulated?”

“No.”

Forty-four-years-old, Asti looks at least 60. About 5-10, he has that classic Albanian beak nose, and dresses rather shabbily, usually in a white T-shirt. Albanian men past 40 tend to be much more formal. Even when riding a junk yard bicycle with a plastic bag-covered seat, many wear a suit and dress shoes.

In his 20’s, Asti spent three years in Greece working as a construction worker, gardener, office cleaner or packer in a garment factory.

Asti’s two older brothers also do construction, same as their father, “I am the worst. That’s why I made small money. I was always a dreamer. I read too much.”

Asti has taught himself four foreign languages, Greek, Italian, English and French, with the last his weakest, “I started to learn it after I was 30-years-old.” His English is fluent enough, with few mistakes, such as his substitution of the French “magasin” for the English “store.”

Asti has written a 200-page novel, longhand, “As a boy, I had two dreams, learn a foreign a language, and write a novel.” So he’s done it, though it’s only read by maybe three people, before being tossed away.

Publishing anything anywhere is nearly impossible. With a population of just three million, Albania’s book market is miniscule, but at a Shkoder sidewalk kiosk, I saw translated titles by all these authors displayed: Orhan Pamuk, Amos Oz, Mario Vargas Llosa, Junot Diaz, Bukowski, Richard Kapuscinski, Jane Austen, Homer, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Swift, Goethe, Voltaire, Pushkin, Dumas, Orwell, Pasolini, Kundera, Kafka, Sartre, di Beauvoir and Faulkner. There were also several Kadare novels, of course, and serious history books, such as Jack Weatherford’s Genghis Khan, Misha Glenny’s Histori e Ballkanit and Bhuto’s Pajtimi [Reconciliation]. All this, at a tiny shop in a provincial city, so don’t tell me Albanians aren’t civilized.

Moving boxes and delivering for a food and beverage distributor, Asti makes less than 100 euros a month, but his duties are light. Often, he just sits at a nearby café. “I have a problem, you see. I’m slightly schizophrenic. I must take medicines every day.” Mixed with raki, they’re curing his madness, apparently.

To give you an idea of prices here, a fat baguette is about 60 cents. A sandwich costs \$1 to \$1.50. In a rather nice Shkoder restaurant, I saw an old man order pilaf with a single kebab for just a buck. A macchiato is 50 to 70 cents at most cafes. A bus ride in Tirana is 40 cents, and 30 cents in Shkoder.

Earning just over 200 euros monthly, Asti’s wife labors in a garment factory. They have two girls, aged 14 and 11, and an 8-year-old boy. One afternoon, he joins his dad and me for a long walk through the mostly drab outskirts of town. Three overgrown concrete bunkers are rare highlights. Quiet, the kid is just happy to be out of the house. We pass two young men on a motorbike truck.

“Gypsies,” Asti explains. “They buy junk.”

Another time, Asti has joked, “The Gypsies, they beg all day, then sing and drink until three in the morning. A Gypsy boy starts to smoke at 3-years-old, drink alcohol at 5-years-old. A Gypsy girl is a mother at 12-years-old.”

And, “A 15-year-old Gypsy leaves her 3-year-old boy at an intersection. When someone says, ‘Why are you leaving him there like that?’ She says, ‘I’m too old to work. He makes more money than me.’”

And, “During Communism, the border guards shot everybody who tried to escape, but not the Gypsies. If they saw a Gypsy escaping, they’d say, ‘Have a safe trip! I hope you’ll have a nice life over there! Don’t come back!”

When Asti was 14, soldiers dragged to his village two corpses behind a truck. These young men had been tortured then shot for escaping. With everyone gathered, a soldier asked a woman while pointing at a mangled cadaver, “Do you know who that is?”

“No.”

“It’s your son,” he laughed.

Asti, “I will never forget that. He had bullet holes in his face and on his chest. No one could recognize who he was. They showed the corpses to all the villages, to scare people, you know, from escaping.”

ORDER IT NOW

Asti also told me about Dom Simon Jubani, a Shkoder priest who was jailed, and often tortured, for 26 years. In late 1990, Father Jubani conducted an illegal mass at a cemetery attended by thousands. His book, From the Depths of Hell, I Saw Jesus on the Cross, has not been translated into English, only French.

Unlike so many anti-Communists, Father Jubani did not praise the USA, but said on live Albanian television that Uncle Sam was “the master of terrorism.” This most impresses Asti.

With his foreign languages, Asti also supplements his pinched income by giving tours for tips, or for steering tourists towards hotels, with each referral earning him one euro. The Covid crisis has dried up this side hustle, however.

Luckily for Asti, he pays no rent. He shares with one brother a charming house built by their dad. Eleven people sleep in six bedrooms over two floors, and they have a pleasant and productive garden that grows tomatoes, eggplants, olives, onions, scallions and grapes, the last a must for most Albanian houses, even Muslim ones, with any patch of earth. I’ve seen countless grape arbors on concrete roofs. Homemade rakia is best.

I’ve sat at a cafe with this brother. Fifty-three-years-old, with close cropped white hair, he’s ravaged from decades of rakia, so now mostly sips B-52, the energy drink. He also likes to gamble, when there’s extra cash, which is almost never. Though a master with floors, he hardly works.

Asti’s mother also lives there. For 27 years, she took care of 23 cows and milked them. At her retirement, the state gave her one more cow. Her monthly pension of 100 euros isn’t quite enough to cover food and medicines, and she’s still in pretty good health. In simple black, she’s often seen sitting on an armchair on their shady porch.

From Asti’s house to his workplace downtown is just a twenty-minute walk, so there’s no transportation cost. Asti has no motor vehicle.

Compared to Tirana, bicycles are much more visible in Shkoder, and at least a dozen streets here resemble flea markets, with vendors, many of them rural people, selling absolutely everything on sidewalks, not just produce and clothing, old or new. I’ve seen used sewing needles, rusty frying pans, TV antennas, ancient microwaves and prehistoric washing machines, etc.

At bulletin boards with death notices, old people often peruse, to check for their friends and quietly delight at those younger who have perished. One day, each will jump at seeing his own face and name, for he will realize, with finality, that he has become a ghost.

After a decade in Greece, Asti’s other brother moved to Italy 20 years ago. He’s doing well and has a Georgian wife, a relative of Stalin.

Scoping out Il Bel Paese, Asti visited his brother for two months, “I could only make small money there, so I went home. You know, Albanians went there very early, in 1991. Some of us did bad things, so Italians, they really didn’t like us, but we are doing better. Albanians have Italian friends. They feed them, buy them drinks. Now, Italians don’t hate us so much.”

Foreign jobs simply pay more, so going abroad has become a standard aspiration here. Very nice houses built from money sent back challenge those who remain. Hamstrung for 45 years from the harshest Communism, Albanians are still recovering. Just be thankful you haven’t experienced a Hoxha.

“Your son is eight-years-old,” I say to Asti. “Maybe he won’t have to go anywhere when he’s 20.”

“I don’t know. I hope so. I’d like to keep him close to me.”

“When you’re an immigrant, you have so many problems.”

“That’s true. People humiliate you, look down on you. They say you’re taking their jobs, that you’re only there to send money to Albania.”

War, insane ideology and free transfer of capital have dislocated millions of people. Millions more must flee from societies they themselves have befouled, through collective stupidity, cowardice or depravity. It’s who they are, simply. Before you sneer or curse, though, remember that you too may end up just like them, perhaps even before dawn. How much have you contributed to your nation’s destruction?

A visible minority anywhere is like an albino or midget. Even if he’s never treated differently, which is impossible, he’s likely to build up resentment at being so odd, even if his distinctiveness is viewed favorably.

A traveler, though, doesn’t mind such handicap, for he gets the entire world in exchange. Easily bothered people can’t move an inch.

To really see any country, it’s important to get out of the capital, with all its financial, cultural and power distortions, so I’ve been taking buses or passenger vans here and there, with almost no idea what I’m going to see.

On each trip, I’m the only foreigner, but everything has been smooth. Once, I found myself sitting on a round cushioned stool in the narrowest aisle, for all other seats had been taken. Also on an improvised perch and with a bicycle tire between her legs, the woman facing me could barely suppress a grin.

Northern Albania was Skanderbeg’s stronghold, so the last part of the country to yield to the Turks. Its mountainous villages are also repositories of Albania’s most ancient mores. This is Albania at its most savage, true and tested. Shkoder is the main city of this region.

Asti, “Goat milk is best for babies, and goat meat is also very good. In the mountains, there are wild goats. You can only shoot them with a silencer, because if they hear the sound of your gun, they’ll jump three meters in the air!”

I’ve visited Shkoder twice before, but only this time, did I get a room, for three nights. Booking it online, I didn’t know its address was purposely incorrect, to evade the tax man, I suppose. To reach this unmarked property, I had to meet a young man at a street corner. It was like the worst spy movie. Smiling, he emerged from the dark.

Though the online price was \$12 per night, he asked for over \$14 before checking me in. Since it was already evening, and I was exhausted and more than buzzed, I didn’t protest too much. It was still dirt cheap.

There is no breakfast, as promised, but the room is large and comfortable. With two narrow beds, a couch, coffee table, chest, cabinets, sinks and TV, it’s a basic apartment, so for a long stay, it wouldn’t make a bad base. A bare bulb dangles from the ceiling.

My bathroom is indeed private, though not en-suite, and the water heater must be just for show. Nothing happened after I plugged it in, flipped on the switch and fidgeted with the dial. All my showers, then, have been bracingly brief.

The toylike toilet seat is suitable only for last stage anorexics. On my second contact, it loudly cracked. Still usable, it pinches one’s thigh slightly. For a buck maybe, they can replace it with an old one, off the sidewalk.

ORDER IT NOW

Two of my three keys were likely forged during the Ottoman era, if not Venetian or Roman. So many of the big boys have marched down this corridor. Since they’re impossible to use, I haven’t locked my door, but it’s fine. The owner is in the next room, so she can be my watchdog. Plus, we’re on the second floor, over a small courtyard, down a longish, narrow path, off an alley. (Four doors down is a Baptist church, sign of a changing Albania.)

I’m near Edith Durham Street, with its Saint Stephen Catholic Cathedral, built in 1858 with Ottoman permission. During Communism, it was converted into a sports hall, where ping pong was played and gymnasts could tumble and fall. After it was renovated in 1993, Pope John Paul II celebrated a mass there, with Mother Teresa in attendance.

Faint on an outside wall, there’s an all-seeing eye inside a radiating pyramid, with this inscription in Italian, “DIO VEDE TUTTO.” That’s our best hope for justice, isn’t it? Unless we’re the torturer, swindler or simple adulterer, then the absence of God means all is forgiven. Hallelujah!

More than anyone, Durham corralled Albania for English readers. Asti’s kids attend Edith Durham School. It’s heartening to see her honored.

It’s baffling how a nation that’s nestled between Rome and Greece, thus at the heart of Europe, could be so little known, and still so dimly seen. Read Durham’s High Albania, to start.

Spending much time here, Durham recorded Albania’s enduring customs, including its blood feuds. These have not been eradicated, incredibly. Honor still matters.

Durham in 1909, “Such backwaters of life exist in many corners of Europe—but most of all in the Near East. For folk in such lands time has almost stood still.”

Albania’s most exotic superstitions and practices, then, predate their exposure to the Turks and Islam, so don’t point your finger eastward with your diatribes. These are the deepest layers of Europe, its bedrock.

Durham, “Marriage is arranged entirely by the head of the house. The children are betrothed in infancy or in utero. Even earlier […] The most singular part of the business is the readiness with which most youths accept the girl bought for them. I never heard of one refusing, though I met several ‘Albanian virgins,’ girls who had sworn virginity to escape their betrothed.”

Durham, “According to the Canon a man is absolute master in his own house, and, in the unmodified form of the law, has the right to kill his wife, and any of his children. My informants doubted whether the killing of the wife would be tolerated now. She would be avenged by her own family. A man may, however, kill his wife with the consent of her family […] By the Canon a man could divorce his wife by cutting off a piece of her dress and sending her home thus disfigured.”

Albanian women did enjoy a certain leniency. Durham, “A woman is never liable for blood-vengeance, except in the rare case of her taking it herself. But even then there seems to be a feeling that it would be very bad form to shoot her […] I roused the greatest horror by saying that a woman who commits a murder in England is by law liable to the same punishment as a man.”

Durham on Albanian hospitality, “The sacredness of the guest is far-reaching. A man who brought me water from his house, that I might drink by the way, said that I now ranked as his guest, and that he should be bound by his honour to avenge me should anything happen to me before I had received hospitality from another.”

There were no prisons on Albanian mountains, so justice was often mete out through revenge, but its violence had to be proportionate. Durham, “I would remind you that we play the same game on a much larger scale and call it war,” and she wrote that before the two World Wars, with its millions butchered, and entire cities, filled with civilians, obliterated in a flash.

More than a century later, there are no more infant betrothals, legally discretional wife killings, sartorial divorces or fiercely honorable protection of guests, but the mindset that gave rise to such habits must still linger, like a bias, ghost, undercurrent or whiff, in this weather.

Honor was everything. Even if it would get him killed, a man must act correctly. Justice and balance had to be achieved.

“Ah, shut up already,” I can hear a chorus rising. “Those Albanians are just Turkic barbarians, with their chains of brothels encircling this disgusting world. Too bad there isn’t one in my Christian town. All we have are thrift stores and tattoo parlors. Never had Balkan pussy. Dark meat, I reckon. What’s this shit about Albanians being white?! I’m so white, I’m invisible! I only show up online, anonymously. Hold on a sec, let me adjust my new panties. Bought them on sale yesterday. Too much polyester chafes my purple balls. My wife just told me she’s a lesbian, by the way. That’s all right, I’m a lesbian too, but in a man’s body. We can keep having the worst sex ever, once a year. Fuck the Albanians!”

Still lagging, Albanians are the most unadulterated whites alive, and that’s to their advantage, whatever you may think. They’re some of the last Europeans with balls.

Sadly, they’re trying to catch up by reading Barack and Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, and about Joe Biden and Elon Musk. They’re listening to the worst American rap, and imitating it. In Tirana, there’s a George W. Bush Boulevard, and in Kamez, there’s a Donald Trump one. Many seem to think the American flag has talismanic power.

In Lezhe, there’s the American Strip Nightclub. Ogling local girls, patrons can pretend they’re staring at fake boobs and many more tattoos. In the dim, reddish light, they can add piercings to gyrating flesh.

On the fringe, Albanians are unaware they’re in much better shape than the toxic center, with its radiating foulness. Before Albanians are fully sucked in, though, the satanic cesspool will implode, thus saving them from soul sapping contamination.

Running for the hills when necessary, they’ve endured for over two thousand years, as countless other tribes have lost not just land, but language and memory. These hardy survivors will likely outlast yours.

By chance, I’m in Shkoder on Flowers Day, what they call Saint George’s Day here. Strolling through a well-landscaped park, I’m suddenly surrounded by beaming angels in paper headdresses, Native American style. Some wear goofy polyester skirts, with sequined or stitched flowers. On a stage, kids sing or dance, but innocent happiness is everywhere. From toddlers to the very old, they are simply enjoying themselves, being themselves.

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Albania 
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  1. Rahan says:

    I need to drink some Raki now.

    • Agree: Agent76
  2. Emslander says:

    On the fringe, Albanians are unaware they’re in much better shape than the toxic center, with its radiating foulness. Before Albanians are fully sucked in, though, the satanic cesspool will implode, thus saving them from soul sapping contamination.

    Same here in the backwaters of mid-America, I hope.

    • Agree: Alternate History, moi
  3. Wild Bill says:

    A lovely refreshing and uplifting read. Thank you Linh Dinh.
    While others are arguing and mentally fighting past wars and the current war rages with its fifth columnists beating on their doors with syringes in hand, you have managed to find a quiet backwater and a bit of peace.

    • Agree: Alfred
    • Replies: @Cowboy
  4. Cowboy says:
    @Wild Bill

    A lovely refreshing and uplifting read.

    Uplifting? Did you miss the parts about the man with the ruined peepee and the shemale with purple balls?

  5. A visible minority anywhere is like an albino or midget. Even if he’s never treated differently, which is impossible, he’s likely to build up resentment at being so odd, even if his distinctiveness is viewed favorably.

    A traveler, though, doesn’t mind such handicap, for he gets the entire world in exchange. Easily bothered people can’t move an inch.

    That’s the essence, isn’t it? It’s what makes a life of travelling so accessible and so intoxicating.

    Great writing, Linh!

    • Agree: FLgeezer
  6. Wild Bill says:
    @Cowboy

    No, I didn’t miss that but attributed it to poetic license.
    I didn’t miss this either
    With everyone gathered, a soldier asked a woman while pointing at a mangled cadaver, “Do you know who that is?”

    “No.”

    “It’s your son,” he laughed.
    and there was not a man among them who would cut his throat.
    Which is where we are today.
    But, contrast is necessary to deliver a message.

    • Replies: @Fred777
  7. HOPE, n. Desire and expectation rolled into one.

    Delicious Hope! when naught to man it left—
    Of fortune destitute, of friends bereft;
    When even his dog deserts him, and his goat
    With tranquil disaffection chews his coat
    While yet it hangs upon his back; then thou,
    The star far-flaming on thine angel brow,
    Descendest, radiant, from the skies to hint
    The promise of a clerkship in the Mint.

    Fogarty Weffing

    From https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/Bierce/bierce.html#H

    The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

  8. Whenever there’s a long delay between your posts’, my imagination runs wild and I think you have succumbed to another Covid attack or diarrhea.

  9. HalconHigh says: • Website

    Shkoder looks like a beautiful place Linh, hope you’re having fun.

    You’re description of the toilet was hilarious.

    If I drink, it’s in the morning, but then, I’m an insomniac.
    7am for me is like 7pm for others.
    Know a few people who wake up and head straight for the bar though, they’re basically hard core alcoholics.

    Checked out Charlie Christian like you advised and y’know I’ve seen that guy on TV a few times, but didn’t know his name.

    Wow, can he play though….just a beautiful sound.

    Till next time…stay young, Linh.

  10. Alvin says:

    Last photo says it all. Kids unmasked and holding hands — like normal — unlike in most western countries today where kids are masked, socially distanced, and to be feared as granny killers.

  11. Albania would make a nice white homeland. But first everybody has to convert to Islam.

    • Troll: Dumbo
  12. The world according to Linh. Old, wasted and full of trash, it seems like a chalkboard ready to be wiped clean and something new ready to take its place.

  13. Svevlad says:
    @Kevin Barrett

    Funnily enough, they’re basically atheists. The only religion with actual presence that grows is based Orthodoxy.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  14. Svevlad says:

    They’re a funny people. Extremely capricious, and easy to anger, so they make good attack dogs. Work for the highest bidder.

    Make damn good pastries and sweets tho.

  15. @Cowboy

    The rest of the story and the message therein is uplifting and full of hope.

  16. google image search (albania goat) is not bad!

    • Replies: @Sarah
  17. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi all,

    Here’s a shot of Donald Trump Boulevard in Kamez, snapped just yesterday, after article was posted.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  18. Franz says:

    Before Albanians are fully sucked in, though, the satanic cesspool will implode, thus saving them from soul sapping contamination.

    Hope springs eternal; here’s hoping you are right.

    Went to school with Albanians long ago. None looked like John Belushi and none probably liked him. Albanians in America are fun-loving and outgoing. Along with that, very conservative.

    They may make it and if they do, lots of us (who knows?) find a way to retire there someday a long ways from now.

  19. Dumbo says:
    @Kevin Barrett

    Albanians are not white. I’m not even sure I’d consider them European. I certainly don’t consider Turks European, despite their having been whitened by their kidnapping of thousands of Slav slaves (yeah, that’s the origin of the word).

    But first everybody has to convert to Islam.

    Or else they will be decapitated? European whites should never submit to Islam.

    Still lagging, Albanians are the most unadulterated whites alive, and that’s to their advantage, whatever you may think. They’re some of the last Europeans with balls.

    One of the dumbest things Mr. Dinh has written. Albanians are not white/European. Just as Arabs or Turks are not white/European. I wouldn’t also call Armenians Europeans, despite their being nominally Christian and sort-of white. Albanians are kind of similar to Armenians.

    Nothing against them or their culture. They might be nice people for all I care, I never met many Albanians.

  20. @Svevlad

    The Greek Orthodox Church has been very active in Northern Epiros (southern Albania) and even as far as Tirana.

  21. @Dumbo

    Albanians probably originated somewhere around northern Serbia and migrated towards the sea where they probably admixed with the non-Hellenic tribes in the area. Clearly, they are European but they have adopted some non-European features like Islam.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  22. @Dumbo

    Well, Albanians were once neigbours of Armenians:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_Albania

    Wikipedia claims that modern Albanians have no connection to this other, older Albania, but they could well have moved, or been moved around by past powers that ruled large swathes of Eurasia.

    So both Armenians and Albanians are Caucasians which means White.

    • Replies: @Inverted Blue
    , @Sarah
    , @Druid
  23. @Dumbo

    Albanians are white.

    This is a PCA chart. It shows how related different people are. Albanians are as white as every other Balkan people. They’re most closely related to Greeks.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  24. @Commentator Mike

    They have nothing to do with each other. For one thing, Albanian is not a Caucasian language like Caucasian Albanian was. Albanian is Indo-European and developed in the Balkans. This is obvious from the amount of loanwords from Latin, including classical Latin.

    This is like saying Iberians were transplanted from the Caucasus, because there is a place called Iberia next to Albania on that map. Romans named these places. This is not what the natives called it or themselves. Scotland used to be called Albania too. Are Albanians from Scotland now? This makes no sense.

  25. @Linh Dinh

    You will probably have your residence visa cancelled but a visit to this place could also prove to be a gold mine.

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/big-story/Iranian-MEK-US-terror-list-halls-congress-PMOI-Iran

    John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and the late but not lamented (and in hell now) John McCain visited and gave rousing speeches that netted them thousands of dollars.

  26. @Emslander

    But for how long more?

    • Replies: @Emslander
  27. @Inverted Blue

    Like most Greeks I disliked Albanians intensely in the 1990s. They brought a lot of crime to the country and they were generally unlikable. Very alien. However, over the years, some have brought their spouses and had children. Given they were basically atheist under the rule of Hoxha, many easily converted to Orthodoxy and changed their names. Similarly, given the Albanian language was only recently formalised and written down, and was divided between two non-intelligible forms, they did not have a unified linguistic and literary tradition which would act as a bulwark against Hellenisation. My cousin baptised a young Albanian boy who now has a traditional Greek name, knows only one language and is indistinguishable from other Hellenes. That is when I realised these people are Europeans but they had diverged under pressure from two alien ideologies, Islam and later an extreme weird form of Marxist-Leninism. Once those two cultural features were wiped, they were easily molded into Europeans. So, there was little genetic component to their alieness.

    Of course, Albanian nationalism occasionally rears its ugly head but the intelligence services and the police do a fine job of stomping that down. Also, Greek’s high entho-centric levels means there is strong pressure; especially, away from the gay and fake liberal centres of certain parts of Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra to conform.

    • Agree: Ray Caruso
    • Replies: @Blade
    , @Ray Caruso
  28. Emslander says:
    @Irish Savant

    By the end of this summer, is my guess.

  29. @Agathoklis

    ‘…Clearly, they are European but they have adopted some non-European features like Islam.’

    It’s worth pointing out a good deal of Europe was Muslim at one point or another — often for several hundred years. It’d be more accurate to think of Albanian Islam as a remnant than as an import.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
    , @DrWatson
  30. Broke: Greece and Cyprus following EU’s lockdown regime strictly because of being Brussel’s slaves (not sure about Northern Cyprus and Bulgaria, are they doing the charade like Greece or slacking off like Turkey?)
    Woke: Turkey half-assing the restrictions and giving lots of breathing room under those
    Bespoke: Albania and Serbia doing their own thing and allowing everyone to ignore the mandates (after getting their madhead premier out of the picture)

  31. Blade says:
    @Dumbo

    Moron. Turks had always been a Eurasian people, migrating between Kipchak Steppe and East Asia. Many of them were whiter than your grandma from time immemorial. Both Pechenegs and Kumans were known for their blonde hair and blue eyes, Hungarians who are probably the best looking Europeans were also one of those tribes. Some others were more mixed with Asians, not a bad thing at all especially compared to your mulatto countries lol. But I will give you that your nickname fits your comments.

    Albanians are certainly not Turks, though very close culturally and still, a lot of Turks live with them because unlike in Greece Turks haven’t experienced a genocide there. Compared to kinky-haired Greeks or Armenians they are a far whiter and European people, not that it is important but since you care you might want to know.

    • Replies: @James Forrestal
  32. Blade says:
    @Agathoklis

    Like most Greeks, you are part Slav, part Albanian, and part Turkish. Hellenes died out long long ago. You might want to read Hellene history, from original sources. First Slavs and Avars (Turks) settled the emptied Greece. A few centuries later many Albanians, there is a reason a bunch of your independence heroes are Albanians. Then a century later 100K+ Turks, Karamanlis, and Cappadocians people who didn’t even know a word of Greek at the time they were sent to Greece. Your nation is an invention of European Romantics, original Hellenes were gone over 1000 years before Greece was independent.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  33. Clown World.

  34. @Dumbo

    Your handle is quite appropriate and your post does justice to it. If you haven’t met many Albanians, then on what do you base your judgment that they are not White? It certainly isn’t on their appearance. If it’s on some aspect of their culture, then you don’t understand the concept of race.

  35. @Agathoklis

    According to this, Greece had assimilated a large number of Albanians prior to the 1990s wave of immigration:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arvanitika

    Generally speaking, Whites are assimilable by other Whites while non-Whites are not.

  36. s.n. says:

    a very enjoyable read. I was last in Tirana in 2018, and back then there were 2 well-stocked bookstores in the center [mostly albanian titles] and a large book fair held in early November. Also a good contemporary art museum and a world class collection of socialist realist painting.

  37. There’s something very special and quaint about the photos in your pieces Linh. Makes want to be there. I don’t know why, but I do. And they go perfectly with the descriptions. Thanks for the marvelous reads that create an odd familiarity about places I may never get to visit.

    • Agree: One-off
  38. @Colin Wright

    “It’s worth pointing out a good deal of Europe was Muslim”

    Even at the height of Muslim occupation of Iberia, they remained Christian. Likewise, most of the Balkans remained Christian despite Ottoman occupation. Not sure where you get the insane idea that a good deal of Europe was Muslim. Regarding the Albanians, most of them converted to Islam in the 17th century. Prior to that they were Christian. So, Islam was an adoption from Christianity.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  39. @Blade

    Yawn.

    Genetic origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature23310

    The genomic history of the Aegean palatial civilizations
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867421003706#bib212

    • Replies: @Blade
  40. Sarah says:
    @Morton's toes

    google image search

    Don’t use Koogle🤬

  41. Sarah says:
    @Commentator Mike

    wikipedia

    Stop using this fakepedia. Biased and censored unliable crap.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  42. No doubt about it! Albania is the last paradise for American Tourist in Europe with Dollars.

    • Replies: @A Half Naked Fakir
  43. “Another time, Asti has joked, “The Gypsies, they beg all day, then sing and drink until three in the morning. A Gypsy boy starts to smoke at 3-years-old, drink alcohol at 5-years-old. A Gypsy girl is a mother at 12-years-old.”

    And, “A 15-year-old Gypsy leaves her 3-year-old boy at an intersection. When someone says, ‘Why are you leaving him there like that?’ She says, ‘I’m too old to work. He makes more money than me.’”

    And, “During Communism, the border guards shot everybody who tried to escape, but not the Gypsies. If they saw a Gypsy escaping, they’d say, ‘Have a safe trip! I hope you’ll have a nice life over there! Don’t come back!””

    Nice Joke! But all kidding aside, the Gypsy, not unlike the Jew, has survived in hostile environments for a very long time but can that be said of the Albanian? He went from being a part of greatest Christian culture of the world to the inbreeding culture of Turks and Islam (which by the way explains the classic beak nose) and is the burden of Europe, nay, the shame of Europe. Cast ye the first stone…

  44. @Kevin Barrett

    Not only convert to Islam but be a criminal to boot!

  45. @Zarathustra

    Not easy to get a Muslim pussy… just remember it before you head over there in the footsteps of Lin Din.

    • LOL: Zarathustra
    • Replies: @Emslander
    , @TKK
  46. Emslander says:
    @A Half Naked Fakir

    Not easy to get a Muslim pussy

    And the problems start if you ever do. Beheading is the standard family reaction and we may be talking about a couple of heads for the average guy.

  47. Fred777 says:
    @Wild Bill

    “and there was not a man among them who would cut his throat.
    Which is where we are today.
    But, contrast is necessary to deliver a message.“

    Nor is there a man here who would do it.

  48. @Emslander

    You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly
    A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic.

    But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption
    Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet there are left the mountains.

    Robinson Jeffers

    • Thanks: Emslander
  49. @Agathoklis

    ‘Even at the height of Muslim occupation of Iberia, they remained Christian. Likewise, most of the Balkans remained Christian despite Ottoman occupation…’

    No…it’s been calculated that actually, at one point, there were more Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula than Christians. 40% of the population of Crete was Muslim. The middle and upper classes of Serbia mostly converted, and became ‘Turks,’ and so had to leave — which goes far to explain the character of Serbia since.

    So you’re wrong. What happened is either that the converts reconverted, or remaining ‘Turks’ or ‘Moors’ or whatever were either massacred or wound up in Morocco or Anatolia or wherever. There are, for example, Circassians in Syria. Quite a few towns in Morocco trace their origin to expellees from Muslim Spain.

    Europe was not all Christian, groaning under the Muslim boot. A great deal of it became Muslim, and rechristianizing it all was a prolonged process. More generally, history is similar to nature; it’s not a morality tale. There are all sorts of ambiguities, and people doing things you wouldn’t do, and so on. A lot of Europe was Muslim for quite a while. That’s the way it was — whatever you might prefer.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
    , @Blade
  50. DrWatson says:
    @Colin Wright

    It’s worth pointing out a good deal of Europe was Muslim at one point or another — often for several hundred years. It’d be more accurate to think of Albanian Islam as a remnant than as an import.

    Where do you get your historical facts from, I wonder?

    It is patently wrong and ignorant! Europe has NEVER been Muslim by and large but here and there fell victim to Turkish or Moorish etc invasion. During the era of communism we used to have a little poem saying:

    Ne búsulj Kenyeres,
    nem tart ez örökké,
    150 év alatt sem
    váltunk törökké.

    Do not grieve Kenyeres,
    it won’t last forever
    Not in 150 years
    we became Turkish.

    Which resonates with Albanian history, where there was a much longer Turkish occupation. We managed to get rid of them around the time they started to adopt the Muslim religion.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    , @Zarathustra
  51. @DrWatson

    ‘Where do you get your historical facts from, I wonder?’

    See my response to Agathoklis. History is not simply whatever would suit your preferences. It’s what actually happened — palatable to you or not.

    Ivo Andric’s writings — The Bridge on the Drina and his short stories — manage to approach this topic with some understanding and emotional maturity.

    • Replies: @awry
  52. Lucky you Linh! I wish I was there too! It has been a couple of years since I was there. One of the best climates in Europe with surprisingly educated and friendly people. In the middle of Europe (one hour from Rome/Vienna/Munich/Frankfurt) and in the belly button of the Mediterranean.

    Agree with all you have said. Here are a couple of more perspectives :
    1) In the Blloku area in Tirana, you will find better restaurant/cafés than anywhere in Philly (not center city, not South street, Manayunk or Main line….I know you lived in Philly).

    2) There are lot of bookstores and more importantly, as you mentioned, people read quite a lot of books. I highly recommend you seek out and have a chat/beer/lunch with an albanian publisher in Tirana named Alfred Cako (a local celebrity…. you will find out why….). You will understand these people are quite special. It would be highly interesting to see what you would write after meeting him…..

    3) The official national heroes of Albania are two: 1) Skanderbeg and 2) Mother Theresa. Both Catholics. Skanderbeg is known as the Protector of Christianity in Europe. Most people know about Mother Theresa already. Turks killed many Albanians for over 500 years and imposed religion in a bloody way. During communism they taught their people these facts. Most Albanians are agnostics. In fact they will openly tell you : the religion of an albanian is albanianism…. That is how they identify themselves. The northern and southern neighbors unfortunately continue to spread hate and unfriendly narratives (even here…). One true fact remains though: All Balkans (Albanians, Greeks, Serbs, Croatians etc….) are leaving their lands in droves. The area is being emptied. Economics?

    4) I see you went in the north. You should take a look at the south. Real Mediterranean. Lots of old Castles. This is a very old country and people. How stupid and shameful to read here idiotic comments such as are they white or not, religion etc…… these are the old Europeans, as old as greeks and italians.

    5) Enjoy Linh. One of the very few places left to do so…. and not for long…. Otherwise, here in the Northeast we are staying in long lines for gas. You do not miss Philly, do you???

    • Thanks: Emslander, Polemos
    • Replies: @Blade
  53. awry says:
    @Colin Wright

    In Hungary there was no mass conversion, but in the wake of the Ottoman-Christian wars, there was widespread destruction, and an impoverished and diminished population, the latter having dire consequences for the future of the Kingdom of Hungary (“Greater Hungary”) as the Magyar population diminished the most.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  54. @DrWatson

    Kenyeres mean Bread eater, (like poor folks.)

    • Replies: @DrWatson
  55. anon[297] • Disclaimer says:

    Any other country besides Long Gone USA
    have the miserable creature known as,
    “door-to-door salesman”?

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    , @republic
  56. @anon

    ‘Any other country besides Long Gone USA
    have the miserable creature known as,
    “door-to-door salesman”?’

    Apparently England at least used to. The occupation figures in some Conrad story.

  57. BorisMay says:

    Uplifting piece of prose which defies the horror of other Unz articles composed by all the usual suspects.

    Clearly Albania is having a soporific effect upon our languishing correspondent since this is perhaps the most cohesive presentation yet!

    I’ve never been to Albania but did once take a bus from London to Greece in the autumn of 1983. It was full of orange pickers and broke Greeks returning home.

    I remember the gypsies at Argos market. They were dressed in bright cheerful clothes, so different from the black and drab coloured clothes that the Greeks wore.

    A friend bought a pair of jeans from one of their stalls, which fell to bits the first time they were washed!

    Albanians operate brothels full of Ukrainian girls in London, run drug rings and organise a sort of amateur mafia, more physical but less sophisticated than others of the same ilk…more reminiscent of the Krays.

    Immigrants are always worse than those that stay at home. Usually they have failed at home and find their new host country naive and easy to exploit. Then they move on to their next victim country.

    So the Albanians LD meets are the decent ones mostly, even if they are alcoholics.

    I was hoping another LD article was due. A pleasant surprise.

  58. @awry

    ‘In Hungary there was no mass conversion, but in the wake of the Ottoman-Christian wars, there was widespread destruction, and an impoverished and diminished population, the latter having dire consequences for the future of the Kingdom of Hungary (“Greater Hungary”) as the Magyar population diminished the most.’

    On the other hand, the Ottomans were only in Hungary for a hundred years, and I have no knowledge of how thorough their occupation was. Were they able to pervasively impose devsirme, for example? The whole frame story of The Bridge on the Drina involves — surprise, surprise — the bridge, which is built by a local Christian boy who was carried off to be converted and serve the sultan. He makes good, and builds the bridge as a gift to his home town.

    Whatever moral judgements one wishes to pass on them, the Ottomans did effectively incorporate much of the Balkans and Aegean into the Muslim world, with an at least partially Islamicized upper and middle class — and this lasted for three-four hundred years. A similar transition overtook most of the Iberian Peninsula, and I believe Sicily.

    Finally, of course, much of what we now think of as the Islamic world was once part of Christendom: Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia…right round the Mediterranean. So some of the conversion stuck.

    I guess my point is that there wasn’t a Europe, once and always fundamentally Christian, and an Islam that momentarily spilled over its borders to superficially occupy the God-given Christian patrimony. Augustine of Hippo lived in what is now a Muslim land — and yet the inhabitants would violently and rightly object if you tried to change that. In the thirteenth century Egypt may still have been more than half Christian. A few centuries earlier, Spain may have been mostly Muslim.

    The real difference isn’t that Spain is somehow rightly Christian while Egypt is rightly Muslim. It’s pure historical contingency. The Christians recovered Spain; they didn’t recover Egypt.

    Nu? Hell, Greece had a go at taking Western Anatolia in 1921-1923. That doesn’t mean they rightly should have got it. It is what it is, and events occur regardless of one’s opinion of them.

  59. @Colin Wright

    No, your original statement, “It’s worth pointing out a good deal of Europe was Muslim at one point or another — often for several hundred years” is completely wrong and plain dumb.

    Even if we assume that all of Iberia, Crete and Serbia was Muslim (which was not the case) at the same time (which again was not the case as the Iberian occupation happened much earlier than the Balkan occupation) then less than 6% of Europe was Muslim at one point or another.

    Inputs:

    Europe ~10.1 square kilometres

    Crete 8,000 sq km
    Spain 500,000 sq km
    Serbia 88,000 sq km

    Less than 6% is certainly not a ‘good deal of Europe’.

    • Disagree: Colin Wright
  60. Blade says:
    @Agathoklis

    Unfortunately, written history cannot be changed by imaginary DNA studies with populations that went extinct (so the set of meaningful samples is ZERO). I am referring to the recorded history. Written by the people who were there at the time. Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII wrote that Greeks had died out in Greece due to cholera and that Slavs were settling in. This was already three centuries after huge flows of Slavs and Avars into Greece. It is also a fact that Turkey sent 100K+ Turkish Christians to Greece. These people had been Turks even before 1071. Byzantine Empire had settled them in Central Anatolia. They didn’t even know Greek.

    There are several other genetic studies that put Greeks closest to Turks and Azerbaijani Turks. These DNA studies are what it is, completely meaningless to detect roots unless you have the actual DNA samples and aren’t using modern population samples to infer results. You could end up finding Turks are Persians or vice versa if you just use modern samples. Then one look into the demographics of Iran or Turkey would tell you much more than any DNA studies. Turkey has many Iranic people (Kurds), and Iran has many Turks. But neither Persians are Turks nor Turks are Persians. DNA would not tell you that.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  61. Blade says:
    @Colin Wright

    50%+ of Cretan population was Muslim before they were expelled. 50% for Bulgaria. Other than that you are right. Just in Greece 150K was massacred during the Greek rebellion. In Crete, they were mostly expelled. Many Cretans went to Libya, others to Anatolia. It is well documented that in all 5 million Turks were killed/exiled between 1820 to 1920. Death count ranges anywhere from ~1 million (low) to ~3 million (high).

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  62. Blade says:
    @Philly biker

    Nonsense. I am sick of these fluctuating explanations. When asked why most Christians remained Christian if Turks imposed Islam, the answer is “because Turks didn’t want to lose taxes.” When it is about Balkan Muslims, suddenly the answer changes to “Turks imposed religion.”

    Turks didn’t impose Islam. It is not even Islamic to do so. If they did, there would be no Christians left all the way up to the gates of Vienna.

    • Replies: @Philly biker
  63. @Blade

    Not sure where/how you got your info Blade. You could not be more wrong!!!
    Otherwise, if you spent any time over there you would know they are not religious, at all. Up until 1991, they were known as “communist”, then after the wall fell, somehow “someone” labeled them islamic….. strangely, as the overwhelming majority of them then, and still now are agnostic. In schools, movies, books, and theatres they still celebrate Skanderbeg’s battles. A whole industry over there is with tour guides (and daily bus trips from Durres for most Mediterranean cruises) to his castle in Kruja.

    Your last 3 sentences would be an insult….. to most Turks. They would tell you that is not true.

    Ask any turk about the word “arnaut” and how do they use it in every day language. Arnaut (turkish for albanian) is used to depict someone unruly, head strong, ungovernable.

    • Replies: @Blade
  64. Alden says:

    Thanks for the article Linh.

  65. @Blade

    …unlike in Greece Turks haven’t experienced a genocide there.

    You spelled both “Anatolia” and “committed” wrong. You’re welcome.

    • Replies: @Blade
  66. Durham, “According to the Canon a man is absolute master in his own house, and, in the unmodified form of the law, has the right to kill his wife, and any of his children.

    Honor was everything. Even if it would get him killed, a man must act correctly. Justice and balance had to be achieved.

    “Ah, shut up already,” I can hear a chorus rising. “Those Albanians are just Turkic barbarians…

    Well… I’m not sure those are exactly “barbarian” or “Turkic”/ Mongol concepts:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pater_familias
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coverture

    Or that entirely abandoning the concept of “honor” was such a great idea…

    Also have to second comment #5 from “Just Some JB” — nice turn of phrase.

  67. 1. Genetics based on statistics is crap. Mostly of the balkans from 1400-1450 to 1800-1900 was part of the turkish empire so there was intemingling of populations with the result of what you see today.
    2. Nobdy likes the turks in the balkans except for the turko-albaninans and bosnians.
    3. The otoman empire divided population in millets so an ortodoks christian was a rum (roman as in belonging to the Roman Empire) a catolic christian was a latin and last and most important a muslim was a muhamedan. Christians were “kaur-s” for the muslims and muslims were turk’s dogs or just turks for the christians.
    4. The muslim Albanians were ok with beeing turks and eating the sultans bakllava until 1912 when the sultans sweets run out. Than under the sponsorship of katolik Austro-Hungary (who was planning to add this part of the balkans to their empire) and Italy (who wanted a friendly power controlling the otranto strait of the Adriatik Sea) the turkish elite decided to do away 500 years of brotherhood with the turks and arabs and people with the names of Qemal, Esad, Mohamed declared themself descendants of a kristian ortodoks duke with a serb mother by the name of George Kastrioti.
    5. The comies put people that tried to show belief in god in prison for 30 years until 1990 when the berlin wall went down and albania had a taste of the thugo-ekonomi of the type of rusia of yelcin.
    6. Albanians were the first to revolt in 1997 and when they brought down the US sponsored goverment with weapons (they got a new one of the same type just different label, from pakistani style whabi demokraci to tukish/polish wanabe patriotic one). The revolt started in the south so in the north and in kosovo there is no sympathy for it.
    6. CONVERSION to islamism: example: you are a christian peasant in the otoman empire, you go to the pazar day with your wife your 16 year old daughter. 4 muslims assault you take your wife and daughter. If you resist and strike the muslims is instant death for assaultin a muslim (mohamed’s law). If you want to bring it to a kadi (judge) you can’t beeing a non muslim you can not bring a case against a muslim. So you are lucky if they send back your wife.
    7. So 6 proves how merciful was the muslim law in the otoman empire. Now if you decide to convert nobody can bother you, furthermore you go to the next village and get somebody’s daughter for a 2nd wife and 2 cows. Nobody can stop you, you have the right religion. So muslim population exponentially grows.
    8. The antigreek thesis: greeks are not the hellenes of the old: and so? in the last 2500 years from Odyses time around 200 people have marched throu the balkans, and the populations of balkans and anatolia that speak greek today can claim decedent from the helenes, better than the turks of sarajevo or the kurds of hamburg.
    9. The antialbanian thesis: Albanians are not from the balkans but from azerbaxhan. Well did some albanins remain there to prove this? Any language there related to todays Albanian? Truth is Albanians used the turks to expand territorially and numerically at the expense of their neigbours by the magic of the conversion to the ruling religion.
    10. Albanians are mameluks: no they are not. But 200+ years ago when the sultan had some problem with .. guess who.. the wahabis of saudi arabia he gave a tax collecter from thesaloniki the mandante to clean up. The guy whent to his native village somewhere in north albania and collected 10 000 mountanier fighters. They whent from oasis to oasis in arabia killing the males and raping womans, children, goats and camels. Than whahabi himself whas sent to the sutlan to be beheaded. When the sultan told them to go back the thug and his minions took egypt and created his own principate under the otoman flag. This lasted until some colonels from his grand grand child army revolted and turned egypt into a republik some 80 years ago.
    11. “Albaninans run a brothel near me in london”. TRUE, they may run most of them, they produce every year more marihuana then Maroc, send it all over evrope and even in tureky. The also run the white powder strait from ecuador to europe too. Do not ask me why, call your parliament representative and ask why the police and secret service loose time following social media posts and permit this. Of this money a little comes to albaina and a lot goes to dubai. Thanks to globalism albania export that you mostly see is crime.
    12. Albanian girls: That you have seen on tv: Rita Ora, Dua Lipa, Eliza Dushku. Albanian girls you have not seen and you should see: Kejvina Kthella, Vjola Spiro, Angela Martini. As everywhere there are girls for sale from Albania just not all of them are.
    13. Albanian blood vegenance: true, expecially in north. Thanks to 1990 thugocracy albanians may resort to self justice due to lack of justice, the same as in the sicily of 1950. For those with a background in law “Lek Dukagjine Kanun” may be an interesting read.
    14. Is Albania safe: yes safer than Malmo, Molembenk, Paris after a soccer game or US Apple stores after a police incident involving an afroamerikan.

  68. Blade says:
    @James Forrestal

    I have studied enough to differentiate between genocide and civil war, and unlike you, from actual histories not from popular blogs or newspapers. When you talk about the ‘Armenian Genocide’ you should also let us know how many Turks and Kurds Armenians had killed as well. Also give me the data, pre-war and post-war populations. If you tell me 1.5 million Armenians were killed, with no resource from original documents, when the number of total Armenians could barely reach 1.5 to 1.6 million, I cannot take you seriously. 817.000 Armenians were expelled; this is the number reported by NER, you can find the data in NARA. ~400.000 remained in Turkey by 1922. It means between 300 to 400K Armenians died/perished during WW1. Considering WW1, it is not any more of a disaster than what other Ottomans, including Turks, went through.

  69. Blade says:
    @Philly biker

    Never heard any Turk using Arnavut as an insult. There are many Albanians living in Turkey with no problems. What is your source for this claim? I am guessing your bottom.

  70. @Blade

    Conveniently ignoring hard science. Interesting.

    “Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII wrote that Greeks had died out in Greece due to cholera and that Slavs were settling in. This was already three centuries after huge flows of Slavs and Avars into Greece.”

    The reference to Constantine VII is inaccurate. He wrote that the Peloponnese was Slavonised not Greece. However, other textual references such as the Chronicle of Monemvassia state that the eastern Peloponnese and major towns including Athens remained Roman (Greek). The archaeological evidence suggests the so-called Slavic invasions were not that significant. The genetic evidence also suggests that the Slavic admixture was not that significant either and even less so in Crete, Cyprus, Greek islands and Greek areas of southern Italy. When Byzantine control was firmly reestablished around 780-820, the Byzantines forcibly removed Slavs and also re-settled Greeks into the Peloponnese in some cases as far away as Calabria and Sicily. By around 900, the Peloponnese was firmly Greek-speaking with tiny Slavic holdouts in the mountains.

    Note, the Peloponnese was only a small part of the Greek-speaking world at that time, and actually, the most dense populations were around Thrace, Messembria, north-west Anatolia and western Anatolia (many areas which are not part of Greece today). Therefore, Greeks had not gone extinct. Also, the Byzantines could not have resettled parts of the Peloponnese if Greeks had become extinct.

    “It is also a fact that Turkey sent 100K+ Turkish Christians to Greece. These people had been Turks even before 1071. Byzantine Empire had settled them in Central Anatolia. They didn’t even know Greek.”

    Turkish Christian migrations into Greece? Please provide a credible reference to this claim.

    “There are several other genetic studies that put Greeks closest to Turks and Azerbaijani Turks”.

    Western Turks plot closely to Greeks but they are mostly Anatolians, usually Greek, who had converted to Islam and were Turkified. I would be interested to see the so called study which shows Greeks plot close to Azerbaijanis. Please provide a credible reference?

    “These DNA studies are what it is, completely meaningless to detect roots unless you have the actual DNA samples and aren’t using modern population samples to infer results.”

    The DNA studies I sent you are based on ancient DNA samples.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    , @Blade
    , @Blade
  71. @Blade

    “50%+ of Cretan population was Muslim before they were expelled.”

    No credible source, even Ottoman sources, make this claim. Where do you get these numbers from?

    “Other than that you are right. Just in Greece 150K was massacred during the Greek rebellion.”

    Source? A credible one please?

  72. @Agathoklis

    Blade or better Haxhar is a turbo-folk turko-albainan patriot.
    They have a long an “carefully” studied albanian history. If you give him time he will tell you that his great .. greatfather is also yours and how the old turko-albanians build the piramids and invented writing for all euroassia, but you greeks stole it.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  73. @Agathoklis

    ‘50%+ of Cretan population was Muslim before they were expelled.”

    No credible source, even Ottoman sources, make this claim. Where do you get these numbers from?’

    The number I’m familiar with is 40% — but the principle really is unaffected.

    Across a great deal of ‘Europe’ — not to mention those lands that remain Muslim to this day — Islam managed to convert a varying percentage of the population, from virtually all in Tunisia et al to perhaps negligible numbers in what is now Romania or Hungary.

    More generally, they seem to have managed to convert the land-owning classes — the gentry and wealthier peasantry. Plus, of course, the local soldiery and the government were Muslim. Spain, Portugal, Sicily, the lower Balkan Peninsula, the Aegean, Anatolia, and the entire Eastern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean — these all became at least partially Muslim, and remained so for anything up to four hundred years — if they don’t remain so today.

    There would be all but an infinity of variations on the pattern, but in general, that’s just the way it was. You can get mad about the fact if you wish — but it remains a fact.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  74. @Agathoklis

    You’re checking out of serious discussion land.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  75. @Blade

    Mongols like “Blade” hate it when you mention the Seljuk Turk/ crypto-jew massacre of millions of Christian Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians. Like all ignorant, hate-filled anti-Whites, they insist on making these failed attempts to deny their crimes, no matter how egregious. You can’t really expect anything else from them, given their heritage.

    • Replies: @Blade
  76. Anonymous[141] • Disclaimer says:

    Somehow reminded me of Turkey.

    I was in remote Turkey (very remote…more like Kandahar, no palm trees) for second half of 2020. Remember the raki, etc. Kind of a harsh life, but good money (mining work). The Australians drank like fish. And so did the sorts of Turks that do mining engineering. And they still had sort of a friendly interest in Westerners and Americans. And the town was kind of geared up for selling us fish and lamb and raki and the like. But still had sort of that shabby charm as from your article.

  77. TKK says:
    @A Half Naked Fakir

    Some girls and women will have anal sex with a man/boy very fast. Three dinners out and a few gifts. But not regular intercourse. To preserve the image of a virgin.

    And Emslander is correct- I foolishly made a light hearted joke about my buddy’s 18 year old sister getting a text from a boy. She had terrible acne scars and I was happy for her, as she was genuinely sweet.

    HUGE MISTAKE.

    It was a miserable ordeal – for her- and she was withdrawn from her job at a mall, and then escorted to her college courses by her unsmiling brother Zafir and her cell phone taken away.

    This was in cosmopolitan Beyoğlu, a very nice part of Istanbul.

    In terms of a female’s “HONOR”- most Turks are back in the caves. Husbands can visit hookers and many frequent the gay bathhouses that the Germans and Dutch flock to in order to be dominated by Turkish men, but if a woman even looks at a man, she is likely to be slapped, or worse.

    Ah…..Islam!!!!

    • Replies: @A Half Naked Fakir
  78. @Colin Wright

    As I expected there is no substance to your claims. Just making assertions and hoping they will stick in accordance to fit some twisted agenda.

  79. Blade says:
    @Agathoklis

    For Slavization reference, The History of Byzantine Empire by Vasiliev. I never claimed that people weren’t Hellenized. If they weren’t there wouldn’t be Greeks today. However, ethnically, ancient Hellenes are long gone.
    Moreover, not only Slavs, but even large number of Avars (Turks) also invaded Greece. Modern Greeks are genetically very similar to Turks, if we go by DNA studies. Before you claim it is because Turks are Turkified Greeks, I would point that you are also very close to Azerbaijani Turks. By the time Turks invaded Anatolia, the land was largely depopulated due to mismanagement, wars with Arabs and epidemics. That is why within ten years of coming to Anatolia Turks could establish states near as West as Smyrna.

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/146519?seq=1
    https://ojs.lib.uom.gr/index.php/BalkanStudies/article/viewFile/828/836
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/natural-disasters-in-the-ottoman-empire/black-death-and-the-rise-of-the-ottomans/D83E412C0BB3C092E79683722AFFFC33/core-reader

    Turks had been around Balkans and Central Europe way before they conquered Anatolia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vardariotai

    Also, Pechenegs, Bulgars, Avars and more. And Pechenegs had been employed by Byzantine Army, later these Oghuz Turks (Christian converts) were settled in Central Anatolia by the Byzantine Army (source Vasiliev’s same book). They are the ancestors of these people:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karamanlides

    Ataturk is said to show great regret when he realized they were overlooked and had to go to Greece. These people, obviously didn’t know a word of Greek, and had been looked down in Greece for decades.

    Greeks didn’t convert Islam in droves, and no one forced them to do so. Read the third paper above, there was a reason Turks easily conquered Anatolia to the point a few thousands Turks could establish a state in a major center like Greece just ten years after 1071. Population was so thinned out that by the time Turks conquered Istanbul, then Constantinople the city had only ~35.000 people. Fifty thousands Turks did not come from Asia and took over Eastern Roman Empire. It was a process that took 800 years.

    I cannot find the DNA study. I recently saw it, don’t know where. I don’t really care about DNA studies anyway. Their results wildly differ and not reliable. Especially when you factor in nomad populations. I don’t know how you would obtain meaningful amount of samples from people who died 2000 years ago, and how would you know that the sample isn’t from a random nomad or traveler? I prefer looking at historical sources, and people who were there at the time, and combine it with other evidences. DNA studies can be used to fortify arguments, if there are a lot of other proofs and if they don’t conflict with other evidence. Otherwise they are garbage as far as I can see. People take a color wheel and make wild assumptions. Even with modern samples you’d get huge inconsistencies. If you get average of Germany you might think Germans are close to Turks, if you didn’t know there is a huge Turkish diaspora in Germany. With 500/1000/2000 years samples it is even worse. Sample size small, we don’t know the ownership of DNA and so on.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  80. Blade says:
    @Agathoklis

    *It should be “a major center like Smyrna.” Not “Greece” in the post above.

  81. Blade says:
    @James Forrestal

    We have the population data. Your (and most other people’s) sources for numbers like millions of massacred Christians follows this route. Some politically charged modern people give a number -> number is the highest claim in the last fifty years -> go back the same era number is already halved (General Harbord, American observer reports 800K Armenians died) -> then turns out 800K number was given by missionaries -> missionaries it turns out got these numbers from random Armenians who had been fighting Turks at the time ie: one side of the fight. Then you research more and find that Near East Relief reports 817.000 of the world Armenians are Ottoman deportees. Then you find out another 400.000 remains in Turkey. This is in 1922. Add up numbers and you find 300 to 400K Armenian deaths.

    FYI, Turks fought Greeks and both massacred each other. Gang wars mostly vs. Pontic Greeks. Both Armenian massacres and Assyrian (especially Assyrian, because no Turks lived around them) are mostly carried out by Kurds. But you are not supposed to know that because then your public might develop a dislike for Kurds and Kurds are useful against Turkey for the time being. If you do know and ask about it, then the claim will switch to “Turks made Kurds do it.” When you ask for evidence for that, you will be declared a Turkish racist because there is no evidence. Both Assyrian and Armenian properties are in the hands of Kurds today. Robbing these two people’s properties were actually a huge part of massacres (that Turkey could not stop, it was basically like Afghanistan back then). Still, no one killed 1.5 million Armenians. That number was the average of all population estimates, the total number of Armenians living in Ottoman Empire.

  82. Blade says:
    @Agathoklis

    William Yale, The Near East: A modern history, one source that claim 45%. I am away from my library, so cannot find the Ottoman book.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretan_Turks

    Macrakis (a Greek I assume) here also says 47%.

    “The orgy of genocide exhausted itself in the Peloponnese only when there were no more Turks to kill.” St. Clair, William (1972). That Greece Might Still Be Free – The Philhellenes in the War of Independence.

    Estimates vary, but there were over 100K Turks in Peloponnese. They all had been massacred. I know people from originally Selanik, Crete and Rodos. There are a lot of them. But never heard of anyone from Peloponnese. In Tripolitsa alone 35.000 people were massacred, Kolokotronis brags that all Turks of the town had been killed and he couldn’t walk on streets without walking on the corpses of Turks. Let’s also remember that this was after the city surrendered upon the promise of being allowed to leave unharmed.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  83. @Colin Wright

    Whatever the case may have been, Europeans got rid of most of those Muslim invaders and converts from their territories after centuries of occupation and colonisation, and now they’re letting them back in without even putting up a fight. And it’s now illegal to even call for their eviction. What happened? Where are the smarts, the high IQ of these Europeans?

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  84. DrWatson says:
    @Zarathustra

    Thanks for the comment, I have been thinking about the name but your explanation didn’t occur to me. It sounds right.

  85. @Blade

    Vasiliev was writing in the 192os. There has been substantial progress in textual, material and DNA evidence since then. He was clearly very intelligent but today he is an outdated source.

    “I never claimed that people weren’t Hellenized. If they weren’t there wouldn’t be Greeks today. However, ethnically, ancient Hellenes are long gone.”

    But I showed you modern DNA analysis which demonstrates that modern Greeks are quite similar to Mycenaean Greeks. Of course, they are not the same. No one would be after 3000 years but to claim ethnic Greeks went extinct is absurd.

    “Before you claim it is because Turks are Turkified Greeks, I would point that you are also very close to Azerbaijani Turks”

    I am still waiting on a credit reference?

    “Turks had been around Balkans and Central Europe way before they conquered Anatolia”

    If this is a reference to your earlier statement, “It is also a fact that Turkey sent 100K+ Turkish Christians to Greece. These people had been Turks even before 1071” then you are out by a few hundred years. There were no Turks in the regions before 1071 to send to Greece.

    “I cannot find the DNA study.”

    How convenient.

    “I don’t really care about DNA studies anyway. ”

    Of cours, you do not as they negate your outlandish ideas.

  86. @Blade

    William Yale, The Near East: A modern history was published in 1932. They did not have the techniques to estimate population size at that time.

    “Just in Greece 150K was massacred during the Greek rebellion.”

    “Estimates vary, but there were over 100K Turks in Peloponnese”

    Any credible sources for these claims?

    • Replies: @Blade
  87. @TKK

    They will be feasting tonight to end their Romodom and then back to the butchering of the infidels… ah, Islam. Alo O Akbo!

  88. ricpic says:

    Why Linh’s compulsion to romanticize exotics, like these Albanians? In short order he would find them just as dispiriting in their limitations as the lumpen crowd in an American mall.

    • Replies: @Polemos
    , @New Dealer
  89. @Blade

    I’m skeptical of your minimization of Armenian demographic losses, but otherwise, I agree with most of what you say.

    Too many people want to put the Armenian genocide-or-whatever-term-you-prefer to good use…for their own purposes. There’s no authentic concern or sympathy for the Armenians there at all.

    Otherwise, while I’ll agree the late Ottomans were hardly an attractive bunch, their rule had degenerated to the point where it was more a matter of staying afloat than of calculated ill-will. If they fed the Armenians to the Kurds, it wasn’t because they hated Armenians so much as this represented the only way for them to retain any power at all.

    Often, when reading about goings-on in the late Ottoman Empire what strikes me is that the Ottomans were no longer rulers so much as merely the biggest dog in the pit. The whole place was disintegrating into anarchy.

    • Replies: @James Forrestal
    , @Blade
  90. @Commentator Mike

    ‘Whatever the case may have been, Europeans got rid of most of those Muslim invaders and converts from their territories after centuries of occupation and colonisation, and now they’re letting them back in without even putting up a fight. And it’s now illegal to even call for their eviction. What happened? Where are the smarts, the high IQ of these Europeans?’

    Yeah — but these are really two completely separate issues.

    Muslims might never have been in Europe, or it might have been their ancestral homeland. In neither case would the current occupants be somehow obliged to let them in.

    It’s not necessary to denigrate Islam or to deny history to refuse to admit them to Europe. You may well be a mighty fine guy. Your grandfather may even have rented the basement here in 1923. I don’t need to prove otherwise to justify my refusal to let you move into my house.

  91. @Blade

    Ignorant, hate=filled Mongols like “Blade” feel very strongly that their efforts to ape Persian civilization — and their adoption of an Arab religion — somehow “justify” their collusion with crypto-jews to genocide indigenous Armenian, Greek, and, Assyrian Christians in Anatolia.

    Sad!

    • Replies: @Blade
  92. republic says:
    @anon

    Common in 3rd world,in US still used in solar roof sales.

  93. @Colin Wright

    Otherwise, while I’ll agree the late Ottomans were hardly an attractive bunch, their rule had degenerated to the point where it was more a matter of staying afloat than of calculated ill-will. If they fed the Armenians to the Kurds

    Though it was more the Young Donmeh who orchestrated the Armenian genocide than the Ottomans per se. Perhaps they felt a certain… tribal affinity for the Kurds?

    It’s also interesting to note that it was common in pre-genocide Anatolia for jews to refer to the Armenians as “Amalek.”

    What does the Jewish Virtual Library have to say about that? “This is the Byzantine term for the Armenians.” Yeah that’s obvious BS: “We started calling those people that we hate ‘Amalek” because, uh… hey look at those Christian goyim over there! It’s their fault!” And they got the idea for chewing on “Haman’s ears”* from the Christians too, I’m sure…
    Then the JVL author contradicts himself in the very next sentence: “It was adopted by the Jews from the Josippon chronicle” [a jewish source]. What does the JVL say about the Kurds and Amalek? “Amalek was conquered by Benjaminite noblemen under Saul (ibid., 26), and Benjaminites are already assumed to be the founders of Armenian Jewry in the time of the Judges (Judg. 19–21). Benjaminite origins are claimed by sectarian Kurds.” Huh.

    Of course, when the Tribe refers to a particular group as “Amalek,” it’s not because they simply adopted that term from their non-jewish neighbors — it’s because they’re expressing a desire to do this to them.

    *”In European countries, Purim pastries were often shaped like parts of Haman’s body so that people coud ‘eat him into oblivion’.”

  94. @Blade

    Well, at least you’re now willing to admit that ignorant, hate-filled Mongols like yourself colluded with Kurds to massacre millions of Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian Christians for no reason other than blind, genocidal hatred and pure savagery.

    Contrary to your claims, the Kurdish role in the malign massacres is well-known to anyone who pays attention:

    As is the reason why the Kurds are left out of the story of the Armenian genocide by the major narrative promotion agencies — and invariably portrayed as the “good guys” in current year ME narratives:

    http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/This-is-our-1948-Kurds-kindle-a-close-relationship-with-Jews-and-Israel-453715

    Though there are some who realize that the media portrayal of Kurds is grossly at odds with reality — but fail to understand why.

    It’s kind of interesting that when vomiting forth your hate-filled tirades, you’re careful to ignore the role of the (((Young Donmeh))) in planning the genocide. As I noted above, there’s a reason why the Tribe commonly referred to Armenians as “Amalek” in pre-genocide Anatolia…

  95. Blade says:
    @Colin Wright

    You are right in your last sentence. However, I am not minimizing anything. I referred to a report by an American organization who was active in Anatolia at the time. 1922 report by NER (Near East Relief) reports that 817.000 of world’s Armenians are Ottoman deportees. Another 400K remained in Turkey (not all Armenians were deported) as of 1922. Also, in the past the claim was 800K Armenian deaths. Including in the American representative General Harbord’s report. No one in 1924 claimed 1.5 million Armenians had died. If you consider the reports and numbers from 1922, even for 800K claim Armenian population has to be 2 million but it was not. The claims are all just based on reports of Armenians themselves. No one stood there counting dying people, and other data we have shows that there cannot be 800K deaths. The reason the number kept getting inflated has to do with the growing world population. If they claimed a more realistic number it wouldn’t be as dramatic today.

    The second issue is that Ottomans fed them to Kurds. No one did that. Kurds were semi-autonomous and not under control. The region was basically like Afghanistan today. They attacked Armenians for two reasons, one revenge because Armenians also killed Turks and Kurds, but also two, they wanted their properties and loot. I can easily refer dozens and dozens of Ottoman war time correspondence detailing and ordering how to deport Armenians and protecting them. It was not competently done during war time, but there is no evidence to claim that Turks fed them to Kurds while ordering their officers to protect Armenians.

    A Turkish Armenian journalists responded a Kurdish political leader (head of HDP, PKK affiliated party) a few years back, on his charge against Turkey for Armenian deaths. He pointed that the Kurdish leader’s grandfather was the one who lead the charge against Assyrians in Mardin (yeah so this is the ‘Assyrian genocide’ they now started to claim on the net, no Turks lived around Assyrians), in which 45.000 of them were massacred. He also wrote that their properties were owned by the Kurdish guy today. Interestingly, soon after that article (and a couple others that didn’t fit the designated narrative) his murder was organized by CIA assets in Turkey (of course they made sure to use an 18 year old Turkish kid for the murder). But anyway, this is sort of irrelevant.

  96. Blade says:
    @Agathoklis

    I have given you plenty of sources, you are nitpicking when it doesn’t fit your own biases. Just think about it, does it really sound likely a small minority of nomads come and assimilate a larger urban population of Eastern Roman Empire. Contrary to your refusal and belittling, older sources are usually better (given they are not written by clergy or others with clear bias). Why? Simply because older academics weren’t worried about political correctness. They are much more candid about today’s sensitive issues like, say genocides in Africa or slave trade.

    Only two things I cannot refer about my claims are regarding the exact population of Turks in Greece (but still showed that all Turks were wiped out, 35000 in Tripolitsa alone), I am away from my library. Not that you could find the book in English anyhow. The other is the DNA study about Turks/Greeks/Azerbaijan. I saw it on the net somewhere, but cannot remember where.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  97. Blade says:
    @James Forrestal

    You are ranting. It is me who has been giving sources, and you keep posting conspiracies about donmeh. Yes, some of the Young Turks were the Donmeh Jews so what? There were also Armenians and Greeks among Young Turks, but I guess it doesn’t fit your conspiracies.

    • Replies: @James Forrestal
  98. @Blade

    Yawn.

    Typical Turk or Turk-apologist claptrap. Turks are innocent of every crime and the victim of every crime. No credible references to back up claims other than ‘I saw it on the internet’, ‘I am away from my library’, ‘my grandmother once told me’ and so on.

    • Replies: @Blade
  99. Polemos says:
    @ricpic

    What suggests he’s romanticizing?

    From a different perspective, I take it he’s drawing parallels to how people who live on the “fringe” in their run-down shabbery tend to be more authentic than those who live in the LCD/LED nightmares of the “power centers” where lies and myths keep the lights on. Is authentic life —where women get beaten for being genial or men age fast from toxic self-abuse— a romantic life?

    No doubt the fact that he’s a ‘foreigner’ means people put themselves into their own curious otherness around him. I have my own experiences with that, being so unusual and weird around people who crave conformity and predictability, even the ones who just want to hurt you for reminding them of how little they know of it all. When you stand out, being kind opens up opportunities for people to try out their own hospitality, their own kindness, their own new takes on old honesties. Or their cruel, violent fear.

    If we met God as ourselves, we’d ignore what we saw, never noticing such daily grace. It’s only when God is stranger than ourselves that we discover our Stranger within. Is it romantic to notice our shit, our filth, our foibles, our flaws —yet laugh at ourselves? Is it romantic to recognize the human being is universally strange, individually peculiar, uniquely singular among others just the same?

    Maybe, maybe not?

    I might not make sense.

  100. Blade says:
    @Agathoklis

    Lol, when did I claim Turks are innocent? Of course, Ottoman Empire did massacres throughout its history to punish populations, they massacred Turks as well just like any other Medieval empire. However, your genocide narratives are false for too many reasons. Made up numbers, general lack of evidence, one-sided narratives, legal problems (trying to apply laws and terms retroactively only when they work against Turks; if Armenian deaths were genocide then what about 200K+ Muslims Armenians killed?), and a general lack of empathy defines you. Have you ever apologized for ethnic massacres started by Pontic Greek gangs? Have you ever apologized for burning pretty much the whole of Western Anatolia? Peloponnese? Crete? So why are you blaming Turks and expecting things from them that are not expected from anyone else?

    I have been giving sources, references, and data. It is mostly the other side that blames Turks based on hearsay. Being generally good people; ancestors of Turks did not even talk about massacres or suffering they’ve gone through in order to not remind that stuff to others and perhaps to not make next generations hate others. Average Turk knows none of the stuff I mentioned here; I learned pretty much all from Western historians and sources.

  101. @Blade

    Note that the ignorant, hate-filled Mongol “Blade” remains pathetically incapable of refuting even a single one of the well-known facts that I cited — all he can do is screech about how the White Christian goyim are supposedly engaged in a “conspiracy” against him.

    But at least he’s now able to admit that:

    1. He deliberately attempted to obscure the jewish role in orchestrating the massacre of millions of Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian Christians in Anatolia.

    2. He was lying when he falsely claimed that I “denied” that the Kurds colluded with Blade’s fellow Mongols and the Tribe in their genocidal massacres.

    Hey, even Mongols can learn. Perhaps “Blade” is somewhat educable. One of these days, he’ll manage to move past his incoherent protestations that “We Mongols never killed those Christian goyim — and they deserved it, too!”

    Maybe he has some potential to become a reasonable, decent, tolerant person… but I doubt it.

  102. Something sounds fishy about those jumping goats . . a modern rifle bullet travels at over twice the speed of sound, so it would reach the goat before the sound of the rifle.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muzzle_velocity

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  103. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @gar manar nar

    Hi gar manar nar,

    It’s fishy enough to claim that any mammal can jump three meters straight up.

    In Edith Durham’s High Albania, there is also this passage, “Two came with us, and dashed into the hedge to hunt a large grass snake (Pseudopus), excellent eating they said, only you must cut off its head, for it is poisonous (it is not, but can bite sharply); also because you must always cut off a snake’s head. If you leave it as dead, and other snakes find it before sundown, they will cure it even though its back be broken to pieces.”

    Linh

    • Replies: @gar manar nar
  104. ” If they saw a Gypsy escaping, they’d say, ‘Have a safe trip!”

    A Greek expression for “Who cares?” (kati trehei sta gyftika) literally means “There is is trouble in the Gypsy camp.”

  105. One-off says:

    So beautiful. Easy into this gorgeous, vivid read I wanted to prematurely comment “yet” after “(J)ust be thankful you haven’t experienced a Hoxha” but, of course, you went there in grand detail. It is always sad to discover Imperial filth oozing into a remote outpost of decency, but you likely are right the dirt factory will be shuttered long before this distant victim is covered with its mud.

    There are many such remote outposts, even within the Empire’s original borders, watching the clock run down as the trash piles up. We can hope for all to persevere, perhaps endeavor to do so to pre-empt the low-hanging joke, but the Albania you describe seems more likely than most to survive this wicked season.

    Again, another lovely morality poem, and again, Ron Unz is fortunate to have you.

  106. @Linh Dinh

    Interesting . . Pseudopus is a genus of lizards, so maybe this is some kind of folk tale account of a lizard losing its tail. I was surprised to find that some snakes will stiffen up and play dead if you grab them (this happened to me one day when I moved a small snake off the road so it wouldn’t get run over).

  107. @ricpic

    Ricpic, perhaps you are new to Linh Dinh? His earlier work was about hanging with the lumpens in American strip malls! Postcards from the end of America. Recently, he’s been on the road beyond America, looking for humanity in the ruins.

  108. Druid says:
    @Commentator Mike

    They are not the same people, despite the same named areas

  109. @Sarah

    “Stop using this fakepedia. Biased and censored unliable crap.”

    Wiki is OK as long as the subject isn’t in the slightest bit politically contentious. If it is, then forget it.

    I laugh when I see people claiming wiki as the final authority in some political debate.

  110. anon[410] • Disclaimer says:

    “I have a problem, you see. I’m slightly schizophrenic. I must take medicines every day.”
    Worst mistake you could ever make. I took a few described drugs for even a few days til I realized that prescription drugs for your mind are the very worst thing that can happen to you. We’re talking about mind drugs in a civilization which is barely out of the Stone Age. What could possibly go wrong?
    Everything. Best advice I could give you is don’t take them. They are in it for the money and will look for any weakness in you as an excuse to sell you poison. I took one prescribed drug like that about 40 years ago (prescribed by a doctor when I went in to get a prescription for sleeping pills) and never really got over it, even thought I only took it for about a week.
    Drug name in my country: lorazepam. Turned out that in Europe at that very time there were groups of people suing the company for side effects from suicide to murder. I keep what’s left of the prescription in case anybody or group of people in my country brings it to court. 40 years.

  111. Tsigantes says:

    Thank you, I enjoyed reading this here in Lesvos. For more on the Canon [pronounced Kanoon] read Broken April by Kadare, for me his best book. Riveting!.

    And Linh, try locating the 500 terrorist MEK camp the US has foisted on Albania. That priest was right!

  112. A life of swilling raki and free Pfizer shots from America – not seeing a lot of hope there. It all sounds rather dead-end. Maybe that’s what we need to adjust to, though.

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