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Opinion / Editorial

A pending birthday and correspondence with Martin Camajt's student

A pending birthday and correspondence with Martin Camajt's student

On April 2, 2013, the well-known translator, student of Martin Camaj, Hans – Joachim Lanksch turned 70 years old. In those days at the beginning of April, since everywhere had marked only the year of birth and not the date and month, I asked Hans with the intention of writing something on this anniversary. And he, without one, without two, once and for all, answered, with even humor, adding that "I barely escaped fate with this April Fool's joke, that is, I was born on April 2, 1943." With this outstanding personality, who refuses to be called an albanologist, but simply a researcher, for years we have had a beneficial correspondence, learning every day more and more about Albanian culture in Germany and not only about the outstanding personality of Albanian letters, the poet Martin Camaj. readers, for the "Sot" newspaper, I am bringing two correspondences of Hans-Joachim Lanksch, where unknown sides of the great Albanian translator come to light, although he does not want to be written about, even after a message sent from mine a month ago, when I was thanking him for the time he wasted answering me by communicating with me, he gave me a message: "Just please: don't write me praises!" But I didn't keep my word, to write about without mentioning the outstanding contribution towards the Albanian language, his life and activity are undoubtedly one-sided. "I was very happy for your shipment and for the contact with you. I am happy every time I receive news from the northern parts of Albania, which are too "exotic" for me, because you can feel or read about them only when there is bad news - big tracks, deep snow, lack of light, isolated family etc. If you follow the Albanian press (which I do every day on the Internet), the impression is created that the North, apart from various catastrophes, did not exist at all, especially for the reason that culture supposedly exists only in Tirana, Durrës, Elbasan. I have only the city of Bajram Curri for a few moments, in a documentary about Albanian virgins. The views from the center of the city suggest to me the impression that Bajram Curri, who is ten years old, is mostly left behind (as well as the whole North). Let me clarify one thing: I am not an Albanianologist. The truth is that I studied albanology with Martin Camaj, but I do not work as an albanologist. I am a simple translator for the Slovenian and Albanian languages, where I also translate poetry. I like the haiku genre very much. I even translated German haiku into Slovenian (keeping the original form 5+7+5). I remember this as quite difficult work and, at the same time, very touching and beautiful. I appreciate your consideration for the poet Martin Camaj. I am very happy that in Albania there are people who appreciate his work and why it "officially" did not exist at all. Before long, in the newspaper "Albania" there was a debate about an article by Moikon Zeqos, who said that writing and criticism in Albania are provincial. Interesting for me is the reaction of Jorgo Bulos, director of IGJL, who said: "But we have Kadare and Agolli".Besides being allergic to fossil names in social literature, I think it's quite provincial not to mention Camajian art. Otherwise, I am of the opinion that Albanian papers are not provincial at all. Provincial, in my opinion, is the climate, the "official" cultural atmosphere of today's Albania, while there are simply no literary critics. It seems to me that Martin Camaj has only a few readers or "fans", while the few he has in Albania are all in the North (with the exception of some Tirana writers such as Agron Tufa, Behar Gjoka). Otherwise, neither Camaj nor Rreshpja seems to have penetrated to Tirana, Durrës, etc. For me there is not much to show. I left in 1943 in the north of Germany. In Munich, I studied Slavic studies and Balkanology, and I have remained in Munich until now. As I said before, I work as a translator. I am married, I have two sons (13 and 18 years old - I am a late father). The second letter was written later and talks about some well-known creators in Albanian literature. "I was very happy that our communication continues, even though - for my fault – unforgivably late. I was also very happy about Din Mehmet's poem that you forwarded to me. I appreciate the poet Mehmeti since I came in contact with his poetry. I have the impression that in Kosovo - or rather, they told me correctly - in Pristina, they have ignored his poetry for decades, because he is not a member of the various cliques and clans there. Only in recent years did they take him into account more, because he is more and more a poet of national-political moments. However, I personally appreciate his poetry from the 60s-70s-80s. For his poetry of the decades before the last decade of the last century, it seems to me that the semi-official voices of Pristina have done a great injustice to Din Mehmet, you evaluated this creativity as supposedly "pathetic", while now they praise him for his poetry with pathos national. Quite absurd work. As for knowing Martin Camaj in Albania, I remain quite skeptical. Surely, more and more people know him in the North of Albania, while in Tirana, Vlora, Durrës, Elbasan, Gjirokastër, etc. remains unread even more. The "top of the pyramid of Albanian letters" rules there (that's what I read in the Albanian press - Kadareja plus Agolli. Literary criticism in Albania does not exist. Respectively, it is corrupt and incompetent - whatever you want. They only exalt creators who are published abroad. If a second-rate writer has a literary evening in any village behind the seven mountains of Germany or Switzerland, they praise him to the heavens, but they don't even say a word about great creators like Martin Camaj, Frederik Rreshpja , Mihal Hanxhari, Zef Zorba, etc. You mention it in Primo Shllaku's book about Camaj. It seems to me that his book does not have many readers (outside the North), because the author is very unknown in Albania (in his words: they bombarded me in silence.) I have a lot of influence, maybe the book by Behar Gjokaj, which you wrote, and that one book about Martin Camaj.Gjokaj is known to some extent as a critic of an Albanian literary alternative, who even dares to express critical opinions towards the "top of the pyramid of Albanian letters", he committed himself to authors such as Kasëm Trebeshina, Martin Camaj, Anton Pashku, etc. I greet you, Sincerely, Hans-Joachim Lanksch. While being very interested in Albanians, and in particular in Albanian culture and literature, he wrote me a message with these words: "I hope that the government under the leadership of an artist, with a minister of culture, translator and a minister of language education, will do more for culture and will deal more seriously with culture than previous governments."