By Edward Limonov
F inally even fantastically free "eXile" editors have censured my text, the last one, on Westerners killing Serbs.
They have some excuses, however. First, Mark Ames was all excited by "eXile" demonstration against bombardments of Yugoslavia, he was terribly nervous, through my telephone I could feel he was perspiring, badly out of his normal self. Second reason: Russian and American mentalities are different in details. Characterizing Albanians as "a very backward, Tzigan [Gypsy]-like, rude, crude, mountain tribe" I feel that I am describing them well. To me it is pure hardcore-ish truth: Albanians have Tzigan-like skin, they have rude manners, their level of civilization could be much better.
I know what I am talking about. I saw them in 1991 in Titograd, ugly town-capital of Chernogoria (now it is changed its name for Podgoritsa). The crowds of Albanians populating Titograd/Podgoritsa--the first impressions that Albanians is nation of only males, men without women. That is because they keep their females hidden at homes. Gloomy, wearing black leather jackets, males crowded together on dark streets, mountain wind through empty cans and bottles and dust. The town of Titograd is "no place to live with a wife and children," I said to myself.
Now, eight years later Mark Ames calling to tell me that Albanians not Tzigan-like, not backward. I believe American mentality is hypocrite. American taught that he shouldn't say, "these people are looking like dangerous brutes." Only Americans think like that. Russian is taught by his family, by friends, by all his social environment to say aloud whatever he thinks. So, I wrote "very backward, Tzigan-like, rude, crude." But Mark Ames said on telephone that it is a racist remark, he suggested to me to take them out of text. Then he gave telephone reciever to John.
John was cool. And I was cool. I said that I don't believe that to call people Tzigan-like is racist. It's only valid on condition that I would also say that Tzigans are full of shit. I also don't think that "backward`' is a racist definition. They are just not civilized, it's all. But it's OK, let us take those words, "backward, Tzigan-like, rude and crude" out of text. So we did. John and I. We also get agreement on eliminating phrase "archaical backward mountain minority" in the end of text. Satisfied, we say goodbye to each other.
Then Mark called again. That time he was even more nervous. Now, he said, he is objecting to following phrases: "Albanians? Those bastards (as Moslems of Bosnia, Croats of Croatia) cynically using possibility to get their statehood for free. I doubt that Albanians have enough of educated people to fill the offices of administration of small town, not speaking about state. And what will they do with independence on rocky mountains, having only rocks and sheep?"
I said "Mark, it has nothing to do with racism. It is only statement that Albanians have a very little of educated people. Coming out of socialism some fourteen or fifteen years ago, they live in state of violence and anarchy. So their system of education is destroyed."
"Edward," said Mark, "our readers will understand your remarks in sense that Albanians are inferior people."
"Mark, in sense of education they are. But what is bad about saying it? Maybe one day they will achieve enormous level of education, I didn't say they are stupid by nature, I said they have not enough of educated people to fill the offices."
"Edward, our readers are Westerners, for them those remarks will sound as purely racist."
As Mark sounded very serious, exhausted and nervous I said I am capitulating. I am satisfied with his editorial demands. I killed my impressions, my feelings, my beliefs.
After telephone conversation with Mark, I thought about Serbs. Big, open, gay, these smiling people are much closer to Americans than distant, sullen, withdrawn Albanians and their society of men without women. In a way, Serbs are for their region have same position as Americans for both American continents, so they could be called "Americans of Balkans." Idiocy of a "new world order" expressing itself in that very contradiction: Alas, Westerners are fighting beautiful race of brothers in order to help some aliens.
If that is racist remark, I apologize.
But honestly, who loves Albanians? What is the reason to love them?