Albania Today: A Portrait of Post-Communist Turbulence by Clarissa de Waal

By Clarissa de Waal

This new publication examines Albania's transition from Communism through the reviews of a various variety of households, highland villagers, city elite, shanty dwellers--Clarissa de Wall has the lives of Albanians there due to the fact 1992. As such, it is a history--of monetary, social and political change--told from the point of view of the individuals. We see how a long way the archaic global of conventional legislation keeps to pervade highland existence, from dispute payment to prepared marriages. while, the writer exhibits us participants of the ex-communist elite in Tirana embracing rentier capitalism, whereas squatters on kingdom farmland dwell less than consistent chance of eviction. Albania, the writer indicates, is a rustic wracked by means of contradictions: in flight from its Communists previous and but nonetheless beholden to its rural traditions; prepared to include unfastened markets yet with out foregoing the protection of significant making plans. I.B.Tauris in organization with the Centre for Albanian stories

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The breakdown of production meant that neither paper nor glass were being manufactured. Prices of those few items still being manufactured or imported had increased enormously, though the government had fixed the prices of certain basic staples such as bread, sugar, macaroni and rice. These had not changed since Hoxha’s time. But guaranteed prices did not mean that these goods were always obtainable. Sometimes there was no bread because there was no flour, sometimes there was no bread because there was no fuel for the bakery oven.

Their daughter, together with her husband, ran a restaurant in the centre of Tirana chiefly patronised by the foreign community; few locals could afford to feed themselves at home, let alone eat out. Prena was Roman Catholic but eclectic in practice. As well as attending the newly opened Catholic Church nearby, she often visited the Muslim Dervish Hatixhe, well known for her cures and miracles. Prena and Aishe, who were close friends as well as neighbours, were equally eclectic about evil eye cures.

Every few minutes Vjollca would say: ‘Come and meet my uncle, cousin, aunt, sister, friend, colleague’. These former privileged members of society all had jobs under the new regime, having bridged the political gap with remarkable skill professionally despite retaining powerful nostalgia for the former regime. The people who thronged the streets in the mornings were not so lucky. There were hordes of men mostly shabbily dressed, unshaven with wild haircuts. Tirana pavements are very wide but despite their spaciousness were always crowded in the mornings with groups of unemployed men meeting and chatting, greeting each other with repeated kisses on either cheek.

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