NEWS

Where chaos replaces reason, anything goes

The tour of Albania provided two surprises, according to Tsitselikis. The first had to do with the way the countryside looked. Abandoned fields alternated with sporadic, scattered and anarchic development. It reminded the students of documentaries of Greece during the 1950s, when people were abandoning the countryside in droves to escape hunger and the local policeman. In Albania, hunger is just one of the problems. Another more recent one is the energy shortage. For hours at a time, the whole south of Albania has power cuts. And they happen suddenly without warning, as in all places where chaos replaces reason. The second surprise was the Greek consul in Gjirokaster, Christos Mantelos, who did not speak about the «downtrodden Greek minority» or the 200,000 «northern Epirotes.» Instead he spoke of the people who, whether Albanian or Greek, have no reason to stay, emphasizing that this was not something that concerned Greece or Albania alone. There is an Albanian myth which relates how the two national heroes, Leke Dukagjini and Skanderbeg met a few kilometers to the north. Dukagjini was the founder of the Kanun, a set of rules that until very recently was law in isolated parts of Albania. Skanderbeg was the medieval hero who fought the Turks. According to the myth, Dukagjini divided up Albania with Skanderbeg, who cheated him. The students might well wonder for what purpose.