By: Shefki Hysa
Notes for the novel “When the Vikings flock” of Pjetër Arbnori writer
As you read the title of the book “When the Vikings flock” (Kur dynden vikingët) of Pjetër Arbnori writer the mind goes immediately to the barbarian invasions since among the most ancient times. Not without pain you picture all the extinct civilizations, undo people, assimilated races and languages. Vandals eager for glory have swallowed even their soul, not only their matter, without having the opportunity to be human, to resemble somehow those who tried to subdue.
But what flock does the author speak about? Communist plague perhaps? The note “Written in Burrel’s prison”, on the top as a significant subtitle, promotes the view that in this book, the object of the rebel writer, worthy and political opponent of the former dictatorship, should be exactly that hell climate that possessed all the communist East and especially Albania. However in the first sentence of this novel you face with the third Rajhu of the Nazi Germany. It is about Hitler’s dictatorship, one of the most perfect models of inhuman pressing machines of Stalinist type. Events movements through Nazi Germany labyrinths, it’s nothing but the author’s message, sent from Burrel’s prison for the similarity of the Nazi and communism crimes in family, social and political life. Furthermore, the curiosity to find the relationship between symbolism and reality which carries in itself the phrase “Vikings flock” awakens. Why not “Vikings flocked”? Where the use of the present simple of the verb flock does have its secret and vantage in comparison with the past forms which could adapt with the period of the events development?
Do Vikings still continue to flock? To what extent and what are the consequences of the flock?
Such questions harass for a while, but are soon forgotten in a very emotional reading in front of that strange space that displace vivid in your eyes as tempting and evocative shores of Odyssey sirens or as magic islands of Çirçe where later you experience only anxiety, pain, revolt, terror for that human ugliness that comes before the road. Sleek blonde blue-eyed Erna, who fascinates the reader, not only her husband who is the main character, with her observations and behaviours, where after the reflections of calm spiritual chest are hidden the turmoil and traps of the evil, is the magician of the modern times. There comes a moment and somewhere it runs down and starts to unravel the fraud fabrics long woven in the invisible loom pent through dictatorship depths of the edifice.
There comes the real face of Erna with the whole ugliness and blemish, wickedness and snares that their black souls hold. Then you can notice the approach that the author makes through Hitler’s reality, dictatorship of all the times. Even the former dictatorship. Death remains repulsive and black evil in any circumstance, in form and manner to fight with it. Death is death even when it comes from vampire’s kisses like Erna whose counterparts have encountered during the communist dictatorship. For the author the dictatorship is not simply a blind mechanism but the black mind and murderous hand of demons like the lawyer Fon Shvajcer the fanatic trustee state-party. Party dogmas, his only ideal, as the figure of demon synonym of the evil. At the same time, as a shadow he is everywhere and nowhere. Even Erna’s soul is his shadow, the mentality and all the activity of law and state representatives are nothing other than his property. Not without pain and constriction of the heart, without skin shudder, in parallel with the reading of the work, come to mind all that macabre guard party-state, with the party secretary, neighbourhood activists and spies, security officers who foist someone in jail though he had a beautiful wife. So the pages slowly discover that mean-spirited, servile, background and simultaneously criminal world that flattens every human value, the communist world established for 50 years even in Albania. Similar as twins the Nazi Germany with the Red Dictatorship. Apparently the author marks Nazi and strike communism that plague that took his youth, family and everything. It seduced as the sirens song, as the amazing view of Çirçe and all the magicians, Hitler or Enver propaganda and then without understanding it desecrated the moral, conscious, and if you objected it took your soul through its catacombs as it acted with the author slamming through black prisons. This unfortunate “song” that distributes throughout death ions, you feel it till in your core when reading this work of Pjetër Arbnori. You also feel that revolt that must have inspired him in the dark cell when he conceived the vital material to convert into art. This extremely realistic novel with a sense of boundless humanity that probably no one expected from a persecuted as Pjetër Arbnori (30 years in prison) sounds like a powerful indictment for all the dictatorship’s time, those which passed and can come. Poor world cultures and civilizations toward dictatorships. Ancient flocks of Vikings are nothing in comparison with the cataclysm that causes the dictatorships and their monsters, new Vikings. Nazi died, the communism fell in Albania however the risk of the Vikings flock hasn’t paused yet. That’s why the title of this book is simultaneously a call for vigilance: be careful, people, be aware of the modern times Vikings!
This novel has few pages but by the ideas and the message it is a dignified work that reminds “People destiny” (“Fati i njeriut”) of Shohollovi, “Tartar desert” (“Shkretetira Tartare”) of Dino Buxati, “Old man and the sea” (“Plaku dhe deti”) of Ernest Heminguej etc. It is a poem for the resistance of the trampled man of all the times toward the demons of nature or the human society. Simultaneously it is a clear signal that makes you understand how much Albania has lost persecuting such talents like Pjeter Arbnori and friends. Could be dozens more who never achieved to say their song from hell’s dungeon even delayed.
Ultimately this book is a nice surprise and a successful beginning that warns a big help, not only for a personal glory of the author but in service of nation.
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