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Opinion / Editorial

After 30 years, the author of the novel "The Fugitive" returns to Albania, Stefan Nilson remembers his visit to Tirana during the dictatorship

After 30 years, the author of the novel "The Fugitive" returns to

Stefan Nilson, a Swedish journalist, has published a novel: "The Fugitive". Stefan was a sports journalist. His book has been translated into Albanian. In the 80s, he came to Albania with the Swedish national team. I remembered the meeting with a Swedish journalist, we even traveled together from Berat to Tirana, with the Polish Fiat of Sporti newspaper. Nilson wrote to me from Sweden wanting to talk about "Focus". For me it was fun because it took me back in time. The National team match, as always at "Qemal Stafa", while not at "Shpresave", in Berat, because the new stadium was built. I am connected via zoom from Sweden. I asked him what he remembered from Albania, when he came with the Swedish team against us. He told me that". I remember a lot. It was unusual to come to Albania. It was very different from what I was used to and it started at the airport. Almost no planes. Just our plane. Then the bus ride, then the stadium. The match and the city. Everything was different from my world. I wanted to know how they felt when they reached Rinas. He says the people were friendly. "One of the memories when we went by bus from Rinas to Tirana was crossing the train tracks. We saw that the train was coming from Tirana towards Durrës. That beam, stick, you name it, was down. The train was slowing down when they saw the bus. It stopped. And the woman who was driving that beam, the stick, lifted it up. So he let us pass and the woman waved at us. We stopped, she was saying pass. This was the first great memory." At that time, I was the manager of "Sporti Popullor" and had access to foreign teams. I remember that many fans gathered at the "Tirana" Hotel to watch the players up close. Stefan remembers how the passers-by whispered in "Skënderbej" square. He tells me that "it was surprising because Albania was under a dictatorship. We knew we couldn't contact the people, but they were friendly. They smiled at us. So when they walked in the "Skënderbej" square with our players Hisen, Pedersen, you could hear the Albanians saying their names." I tell him that a Swedish journalist came to see the hopes in Berat and came to Tirana in our newspaper's Fiat and I spoke English all the way. Every Swede spoke excellent English. He tells me that he is Jean Honson. I would like to meet him, I tell him. He says that every time I mention Albania, he remembers the trip to Berat, why he was the only one who was allowed to go there." I don't believe they had any idea about us at that time. It claims that "We only knew that you were closed, dictatorship." More closed than other countries in Eastern Europe. We didn't know anything about Albania. I came even later. Impossible to find a map. it was an adventure. It made me curious. Something from the game. I was sitting in Qemal Stafa's stand. I had a Swedish magazine. Back then you didn't have many color magazines. An Albanian colleague saw my magazine, then gave it to another colleague. Then the magazine went out of the cabin. I looked at the magazine that went hand in hand until the clock of the result. So before the second part started, the magazine started to come back to us. It came hand in hand and I took it, But the color photo in the middle was missing. Stefan Peterson of "Ajax". I ask: Have you published a book with an Albanian subject? He tells me it's a novella. "It was published in Sweden 9 years ago. It would have been published before in Albania, but it was covid. "I am curious about the subject. He begins to narrate: it is a novel about an Albanian boy who escapes in 1975. His name is Kreshnik. He was born outside Vlora. One day he walked towards Ksamil. He swims out to Crete. To escape. This is the first part of the book. The second part is when he returns to Albania in 1991, to meet his mother, whom he had not been able to contact for many years. Meanwhile, he is a Swedish-educated police officer. He starts working as a police officer in Albania. It sticks to something and is involved with the event. The third part is the events of the 97 pyramids when they were chasing the bad guys. It's a novel, but everything happened in a certain way, but not exactly." I want to know where he got the sources. How did you come up with the idea? Nis says that he got the idea from a friend of his, Ndue Gjergji, who lives in Gothenburg. "He escaped in 1959, 1960. He is from the north, from Shkodra. It came out through Yugoslavia. So, I went back in 1992-1993 and saw how the situation was. I saw the house, what he had left behind when he ran away. When he met his mother, his father was dead. That's where the idea of ??the book was born. I, he says, have been to Albania 38 or 39 times. "Would you rather wait for the book in Sweden or a different reality?" He modestly tells me that it was not a bestseller. "Albania is not a well-known country and I am not a well-known writer, I am a sports journalist. Some know me, but not many, but many of those who have read it, have told me thank you for the book. They ask me when the next book will be and I will have another book. Albanians who have read it have told me it looks like an Albanian wrote it, and they wanted to know how I had so much knowledge. Do you remember Ilia Shuke? I say yes, he tells me that my younger brother is married to his daughter. She has been living in Sweden for 30 years." For me, he says, it's a family connection. I had a friend, Arben Fagun, Agimin, Olsi Rama was a friend of Arben, I know Olsi, he was in Sweden, too. I have heard from them and their stories. Since 1991, I have managed a project with about 15 large clothing barges. Then we sent school banks, chairs, blackboards. In different schools in Tirana. They were used things, but in good quality. 200 thousand devices. I did a lot of transportation, meanwhile we created connections between 6 government schools in Tirana for exchanges with teachers, directors, people. We created libraries in 12 schools in Tirana. It was a long process. All these together made this book". he tells me that my younger brother is married to his daughter. She has been living in Sweden for 30 years." For me, he says, it's a family connection. I had a friend, Arben Fagun, Agimin, Olsi Rama was a friend of Arben, I know Olsi, he was in Sweden, too. I have heard from them and their stories. Since 1991, I have managed a project with about 15 large clothing barges. Then we sent school banks, chairs, blackboards. In different schools in Tirana. They were used things, but in good quality. 200 thousand devices. I did a lot of transportation, meanwhile we created connections between 6 government schools in Tirana for exchanges with teachers, directors, people. We created libraries in 12 schools in Tirana. It was a long process. All these together made this book". he tells me that my younger brother is married to his daughter. She has been living in Sweden for 30 years." For me, he says, it's a family connection. I had a friend, Arben Fagun, Agimin, Olsi Rama was a friend of Arben, I know Olsi, he was in Sweden, too. I have heard from them and their stories. Since 1991, I have managed a project with about 15 large clothing barges. Then we sent school banks, chairs, blackboards. In different schools in Tirana. They were used things, but in good quality. 200 thousand devices. I did a lot of transportation, meanwhile we created connections between 6 government schools in Tirana for exchanges with teachers, directors, people. We created libraries in 12 schools in Tirana. It was a long process. All these together made this book". "For me, he says, it's a family connection. I had a friend, Arben Fagun, Agimin, Olsi Rama was a friend of Arben, I know Olsi, he was in Sweden, too. I have heard from them and their stories. Since 1991, I have managed a project with about 15 large clothing barges. Then we sent school banks, chairs, blackboards. In different schools in Tirana. They were used things, but in good quality. 200 thousand devices. I did a lot of transportation, meanwhile we created connections between 6 government schools in Tirana for exchanges with teachers, directors, people. We created libraries in 12 schools in Tirana. It was a long process. All these together made this book". "For me, he says, it's a family connection. I had a friend, Arben Fagun, Agimin, Olsi Rama was a friend of Arben, I know Olsi, he was in Sweden, too. I have heard from them and their stories. Since 1991, I have managed a project with about 15 large clothing barges. Then we sent school banks, chairs, blackboards. In different schools in Tirana. They were used things, but in good quality. 200 thousand devices. I did a lot of transportation, meanwhile we created connections between 6 government schools in Tirana for exchanges with teachers, directors, people. We created libraries in 12 schools in Tirana. It was a long process. All these together made this book". I have heard from them and their stories. Since 1991, I have managed a project with about 15 large clothing barges. Then we sent school banks, chairs, blackboards. In different schools in Tirana. They were used things, but in good quality. 200 thousand devices. I did a lot of transportation, meanwhile we created connections between 6 government schools in Tirana for exchanges with teachers, directors, people. We created libraries in 12 schools in Tirana. It was a long process. All these together made this book". I have heard from them and their stories. Since 1991, I have managed a project with about 15 large clothing barges. Then we sent school banks, chairs, blackboards. In different schools in Tirana. They were used things, but in good quality. 200 thousand devices. I did a lot of transportation, meanwhile we created connections between 6 government schools in Tirana for exchanges with teachers, directors, people. We created libraries in 12 schools in Tirana. It was a long process. All these together made this book". Meanwhile, we created connections between 6 government schools in Tirana for exchanges with teachers, directors, people. We created libraries in 12 schools in Tirana. It was a long process. All these together made this book". Meanwhile, we created connections between 6 government schools in Tirana for exchanges with teachers, directors, people. We created libraries in 12 schools in Tirana. It was a long process. All these together made this book".