The speech of Ms. Adia Sakiqi during the book launch "Ten conversations with Albanians"

Excellencies, Dear Guests,
I have the very distinct honour of welcoming you today at the Embassy of Albania in the Netherlands  at this special book launch titled Ten Conversations with Albanians.
The author, Albana Shala is here with us and let me reassure you, she has done a great job, not only in writing this book both in Albanian and in English, but also in  bringing here three of the characters  of her stories.
Albana is a very good story-teller. I admire her simplicity in writing, which is simply beautiful. Though this book, Albania is telling the story of Albania. She is telling the story of Albania by telling real live stories of 10 characters.  
When I read the book I noticed the following. The characters of the book are searching for their identity. In a national level, what still marks our Albanian identity was not the consequences of  our isolation from everyone, neighbours included (during communism), but is also the way how we lived our transition. This is was peculiar.
What marked Albanian  identity  during the transition is the search for our own individual selves. Let us not forget that through the imposed collective communist self, we had lost our own private self.
If in the neighbouring countries history was marked by a search for national idenitity and national self determination,  in Albania, each of us, its citizens went looking for own individual lost soul, be it abroad, or in Albania itself.
We started looking for our lost and denied individuality  which we could finally start to express publicly. Our transition is marked by paralel and similar expression of our own individuality, not a national Project, just individuals. As, Proust would say, each of us went about looking for the time we lost during communism – en cherchant le temps perdu.
That is why all Albanians who will read this book, can relate to these stories. All non- Albanians will understand us better. That is the art that Albana is bringing us tonight. Welcome  Albana, Welcome Albina, Welcome Teta Greta, Welcome Blandi.  Please share your stories with us! 

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