What I Didn't Say on Albanian-Polish Relations
By Genc Mlloja
Albanian Daily News
Published December 5, 2017
Having a look at the website of the Polish Embassy where you can find most of what Albanian media have written on Poland and its relations with Albania over the last years, it is impressive the wide-range of topics covered by different newspapers, particularly during September 2014 – November 2017 span of time.
A careful watch reveals that the newspaper Albanian Daily News, according to what its website carries, has published during this period more than 20 features and interviews with the current Ambassador, Karol Bachura and his predecessor Marek Jeziorski, and various senior officials not including in this cluster reports and news on different activities like visits of officials of both sides, economic, social and cultural events.
I was prompted to share these findings feeling impressed by the motivation for which the medal "Bene Merito" was awarded to me as a journalist of Albanian Daily News on December 1, 2017 learning from it how much attentive the Polish Foreign Ministry and other institutions of that country, particularly the Embassy of Poland in Tirana, are with regards to the cooperation with media and in this case with Albanian media outlets appreciating their work and engagement.
Lessons of Warsaw on ADN's pages
It is significant that the support of Poland to Albania has been unwavering having a long history since old times. And the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries passing this year has provided an extraordinary opportunity to analyze how rich and varied the contacts between Poland and Albania and their people have been since the late middle Ages up to now, has said Ph. D. Tadeusz Czekalski of Jagiellonian University, Institute of History in the Polish city of Krakow.
Mr. Czekalski was in Tirana to elaborate in depth the links between the two people in a seminar organized by the Polish Embassy under the motto of the “80th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Poland and Albania” on May 4, 2017.
“Although Poland and Albania have had no borders in history and there is a long distance dividing them, they have not been an obstacle to mutual contacts in different fields,” said the Professor answering a set of questions put by Albanian Daily News, which was in contact with him in his hometown Krakow. The Professor was very kind in his effort to make a resume of the main highlights of his untiring in- depth scientific endeavor to trace the linking points between the two countries, said ADN on May 31, 2017.
"Success of Polish transformation an example for Albania," said Deputy Minister Moscicka-Dendys for Albanian Daily News on April 10th 2014. At that time the author of this feature was on a work visit to Warsaw.
“In the early 90s the political elites - the government and the opposition - in a broad consensus across the political lines said that Poland’s place is in Europe, in NATO and EU,” pointed out Deputy Minister Moscicka-Dendys. “Albania will have to face the same reforms Poland had to undergo and is still undergoing because the membership in the EU is about constant reforms. And we think that you can learn from our mistakes in order not to repeat them,” she added.
"You are responsible for your future," Ambassador of Poland Karol Bachura would note in an exclusive interview for Albanian Daily News on April 6, 2017. "Grains are sown, now it's time to care," Mr. Bachura said on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Poland and Albania.
Poland an Unwavering Supporter of Albania's EU Drive
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szyd?o said as quoted by Albanian Daily News on December 10, 2016, when she was in Tirana on an official visit, that Poland backs the opening of the accession negotiations of Albania with the European Union.
In the meantime former Speaker Ilir Meta, now President of Albania, was quoted by ADN on October 4, 2016 as saying that Poland is Albania's important partner in the European Union.
But in two separate interviews for ADN Dr. Piotr Bajda, a political analyst, would say that Warsaw and Tirana need an idea on December 27, 2016, and Professor Tadeusz Czekalski of Jagiellonian University would dwell on the role of smaller countries to define EU's future. "A View from Krakow on EU-Poland Dispute" was the headline of the above interview on that topic carried by ADN on September 6, 2017.
Polish Ambassador Bachura opened the conference when the rotating chairmanship was passed to Hungary, presenting the course and achievements of the Polish Presidency of the Visegrad Group in the period 2016-2017. He briefed the audience on the V4’s history and its example as a successful regional cooperation format. He also referred to the experience of sharing and supporting by the Visegrad Group of the Western Balkans’ regional cooperation development in the conclusions of Poland's one-year chairmanship in the Visegrad Group in the conference held on June 29, 2017 in Tirana in cooperation with the Embassy of Hungary.
Under the headline "Polish Ambassador Hands Over V4 Presidency – Achievements, Challenges of Visegrad 4" Albanian Daily News reported in a lengthy article the deliberations of the conference on June 30, 2017.
Poland in Albanians' Eyes through Cultural Events
As it is shown by an overview of what Albanian Daily News has written on cultural events, the Polish Embassy in Tirana has had that aspect as a major target introducing the Polish culture among Albanians not only in Tirana but across this Balkan country and I many aspects. Of course, there is no space in the newspaper to mention all but some highlights are meaningful.
"History of Poland" in Albania, the work of Polish historians Jerzy Lukowski and Hubert Zawadzki was introduced on October 22, 2014 in Tirana. The “History of Poland”, as part of the prestigious book series History of Nations and States, is an important scientific position published by the publishing house Dituria with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland and co-financing by the Book Institute in Krakow.
The promotion of Polish literature in Albania has already taken new dimension because following the success of subsequent Almanacs of Polish literature in Albania (published in 2014 and in 2016) as well as numerous events related to the publications of new translations of Polish poets and writers in Albanian editions, an advisory Committee to Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Tirana on promotion of Polish literature and culture has been set up. The aim of the Committee is to expand the circle of sympathizers of Polish culture and literature in Albania. During the first meeting of the Committee among the discussed topics were plans for the upcoming months, including specific translation proposals.
In the meantime numerous Polish movies have been screened in Albania among which It was an exceptional event the screening of the movie "The Zookeeper's Wife" in Tirana in September 2017. A special film for a special audience – in such words The Zookeeper's Wife movie was introduced in the opening speech by Ambassador of Poland Karol Bachura, addressing a numerous guests in Tirana. Polish Ambassador referred to the fate of Poles and Polish Jews in the Holocaust, drew attention to the symbolism of September 28 (the day of Warsaw's surrender and the date of the treaty on friendship and borders between the Third Reich and the USSR sealing the division of the Second Republic of Poland). He referred to the history of J. Zabinski and the necessity of living according to his principles – decency and humanity.
The Israeli Ambassador, Boaz Rodkin in his speech during the event referred to the need to maintain a permanent memory of the Holocaust, especially at the time of the rebirth of ultra-right-wing views and the rise of the glorifying power of the Third Reich.
In addition the screening of the famous Polish documentary - “Defilada/The Parade” by Andrzej Fidyk - was presented on 19 September at the XII International Human Rights Film Festival (IHRFFA). IHRFFA is an initiative of the Marubi Film Academy and includes in its program presentation of documentary movies dealing with human rights issues.
But the annual celebration of Europe Day was significantly carried out this year in Gjirokastra in the south of Albania and highlighted by the participation of Heads of EU Member States. The event took place at the house museum of the outstanding Albanian writer Ismail Kadare. The Polish Ambassador, Karol Bachura read in Polish language several fragments of the Ismail Kadare’s works in the translation of Dorota Horodyska. All of these events have been covered by ADN.
Albanians Continue to Be Honored by Poland
"I have experienced often at the Polish Embassy in Tirana emotions combined with pride while attending awarding ceremonies for prominent Albanians by the Polish State," I said in my remarks while receiving the award "Bene Merito" on December 1, 2017.
It is the case to note that the list of prominent Albanians honored by the Polish state having the recommendations of the Polish Embassy in Tirana is getting longer and longer, but I will just mention some of them like Prof. Osman Kraja, Florent Çeliku, Prof. Arqile Teta, Ylli Alibali, Vasillaq Orgocka, Leonard Zissi, Prof. Pandeli Cina, Valter Gjoni, Prof. Anita Dibra Tartari, Astrit Beqiraj, Prof. Spiro Theodosi, sculptor Mumtas Dhrami etc.Such events have been reported by Albanian Daily News highlighting the gratitude of the Polish State for the Albanian people.
I had the privilege to meet among others Prof. Pandeli Cina, former Ambassador Leonard Zissi, the well-known translator of Polish literature into Albanian, Astrit Beqiraj, who is also official at the Polish Embassy, and other prominent Albanians, who have been awarded different medals by the Polish State earlier and while congratulating me they rejoiced over such a special honor and respect shown steadily by the friendly Poland to Albanians.
In this spirit it is worthy and meaningful to conclude these impressions by repeating what Ph. D. Tadeusz Czekalski told Albanian Daily News in the interview published on May 31, 2017 as quoted above: “Although Poland and Albania have had no borders in history and there is a long distance dividing them, they have not been an obstacle to mutual contacts in different fields.”