From: Aeneas Dardanos <*****@gmail.com>
Dr Mr Weir,
I came across your website 'beyond the pale'
sometime ago and I was wondering what connections
do you have with the Albanian
I'm an Albanian interested in Sufism.
Thanks in advance for your time.
Many thanks for writing to me. I’m sorry to say I have no connection with the
Albanian Bektashis. Albania always
intrigued me, not just because of the unlamented Enver, but because it is a
miracle it exists at all, even in its very reduced state.
As soon as it was possible to visit it – via cheap
flight from Corfu – I went, but only twice, to Sarandë and Gjirokastër. Subsequently I acquired an Internet Friend
from Vlorë who had emigrated to the US in 1992 . I think she was vaguely connected
to the Nomenklatura – she showed me pictures of her very beautiful family house… Anyway, through her I deepened my interest in
Albanian culture, especially poetry since World War 2. I had read Kadarë, then Fatos Kongoli in
translation to either French or English…and so on to the Bektashis, because I,
like you, for a long time (like many atheists!) have had an interest in Sufism. You may have seen translations I have made of
Rumi on my site, as well as a lot of translations of modern Albanian poetry.
I also read a very interesting little-known
book from the 1920s called “Two Vagabonds in Albania”. Their “Two Vagabonds in Languedoc” is equally
interesting and original and full of forgotten history.
I never got far in learning Albanian, as you
can see, but Zana sent me texts and literal translations, and I also had
I have always been an outsider, and still live mostly alone, aged
76 – now in SW France. (I had once
considered Albania between Vlorë and Sarandë, but being an EU citizen and
always having loved France and the very good connections by air between Ireland
and France, made me choose the latter.) Zana came to visit me in both Ireland and
France, and I took her daughter out to dinner (in an Uzbek restaurant!) in
Paris a few times when I travelled via Paris (which I don’t do now). Zana, like a lot of immigrants, does not like
the USA. I have a Lithuanian friend who
is selling up and coming to SW France with her dog, because she can’t stand
America anymore. Like many immigrants,
including Zana, she divorced fairly soon after arriving in the USA, but “kept
herself well above water”. Zana,
however, though originally a research chemist, had to live on low wages and so
is still stuck in the US. Though now she
has a permanent, Palestinian boyfriend who conveniently lives in a nearby flat:
the perfect arrangement !
Gjithë të mirat,
Flāmur : flag or
banner or standard
I like your pseudonym!