Ylljet Aliçka is an Albanian writer, scriptwriter and former Albanian ambassador in France, Portugal, Monaco and at the international heritage organization UNESCO.  He wrote several short stories collections and novels, and also worked on several screenplays based on his books: one of them, “The slogans” (Slloganet) a French-Albanian movie, among others, awarded at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Prize at the International Film Festival of Tokyo. His books have been published in French, Polish, Czech, Norwegian, Italian, Arab, German, Persian, Esperanto and Chinese languages. 


Madam K., a high ranking dignitary from the Centre rarely visited this country, but when she did she would decry the goings-on of the local politicians and then would fervently swear that she would never set foot in this country again because of the headaches they gave her.

– I have reached the end of my tether with you! You don’t deserve my attention anyway, – she shouts, glaring into the television cameras and the faces of the country’s personalities, trembling from head to foot as she spits out these words. But, later on, like a loving mother, although she has no children of her own as she is single, she manages to dominate the shattered nerves and re-commence patient advising and instructing of the wayward child, that is this ungrateful people who are so unappreciative of all her sacrifices, and then, with such munificence she unfolds what this country must do to advance along the course of progress. And, as always, she ends her visits leaving behind her exacting, but nonetheless heartfelt conclusions.

At the beginning, the locals were devastated by the whiplash criticism of the high ranking dignitary, a despair which, she claimed, stemmed from their inability to carry out her instructions, in short, to embark on the road of progress. However, if one were to believe the words of her colleagues in the centre, this lady would have died of boredom without the complexities of work in this tiny country. Although Madam K. does not die of boredom, it takes a major effort on her part to overcome the utter despair the locals cast her into, when they fail to devote sufficient attention to her instructions.

But this is also due to the diplomatic language Madam K. uses to express and formulate her lengthy reports; they throw local opinion into total confusion and plunge the political class into profound reflection, which, loyal to the principle that the Internationals never act rashly, tries to absorb to the last detail every one of her recommendations and the most elusive insinuation.

And the more generalized Madam K’s speeches are, the more local politicians declare:

– These Internationals are something else…you never know what they imply…! I bet my life on it that behind this phrase there is something big, really big!!

They say what they say and shake their heads in conspiracy, waiting impatiently for this big thing to happen, which, in truth, rarely shows any signs of happening.

Conversely, Madam K.’s speeches actually help the political forces within the country to interpret her words at their will, whilst the occasional, irksome political analyst claims that the high-ranking dignitary says the same things year in and year out; in short, she repeats herself. And this happens, he claims, because Madam K. lacks sufficient staying-power to follow the affairs of the country in detail.

Still others claim that this is the case because this country has no specific priority in the greater international agendas and policies and that the high ranking functionaries at the Centre simply do not have the time to devote the attention required to the range of complex and yet egocentric issues this country has, not to mention, for goodness sake, that when, due to lack of time and nerves, the Centre presents to the local public political and institutional opinion reports bearing major messages written by the local employees of the Representation…

…She then moved on to valuable advice regarding the pushing ahead of reforms in the country, gave evaluations of politicians she was not keen on and those she preferred, naturally based on her recollections of previous years. To wind up, Madam K. issued a declaration which at first glance appeared higgledy-piggledy related to the formula of the general elections, a formula which just happened to run counter to another proposal made a few days earlier by two or three other International Representations. This intensified confusion within the political class and local public opinion, giving political analysts the courage to declare that some Internationals peddle one version and other Internationals a completely different version.

The thing was, though, that experience with elections in this country had proven that either they were rigged by the political forces in office, or the tendency was more for rotation to take place with violence. Then, the overwhelming majority of the Internationals thought that Madam K.’s alternative originated from some huge geo-strategic policy, and therefore no-one had the courage to doubt what she said.

At the end of the day even Madam K’s unexpected stands have a reason, she is incredibly occupied with important commitments and doesn’t have the time to study statistics and routine data, and as it is often the case with human nature, she relies more on her own astute feminine intuition rather than anything else.

Thanks to this intuition, Madam K. determines leadership capacities of local politicians proceeding from the simplest of things, but, which, according to her are of outstanding significance. For instance, one meeting at one of the receptions organized in her honour is sufficient for her to understand which politician has a future and which politician would soon be history.


Translated by June Taylor