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

By Clarissa de Waal

This new e-book examines Albania's transition from Communism through the reports of a various diversity of households, highland villagers, city elite, shanty dwellers--Clarissa de Wall has the lives of Albanians there on account that 1992. As such, it is a history--of monetary, social and political change--told from the point of view of the members. We see how a long way the archaic international of ordinary legislation maintains to pervade highland existence, from dispute payment to prepared marriages. whilst, the writer indicates us individuals of the ex-communist elite in Tirana embracing rentier capitalism, whereas squatters on kingdom farmland reside less than consistent chance of eviction. Albania, the writer indicates, is a rustic wracked by way of contradictions: in flight from its Communists prior and but nonetheless beholden to its rural traditions; willing to include unfastened markets yet with no foregoing the protection of principal making plans. I.B.Tauris in organization with the Centre for Albanian reviews

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Except in winter when most flats had wood stoves (wood was rationed, expensive and sometimes hard to get), cooking was done on thoroughly unsafe ankle-level electric plates (rezistenz) or foul smelling paraffin stoves. Electricity and water were only sporadically available. Rising at 4am was essential if there was washing to be done. Water had to be stored in buckets and bowls for the long intervals between water shifts. Even when the central power had not gone, the flats’ fuses hanging off the wall of the common corridor frequently packed up.

The meat and cheese part of the market was under cover; hot, foul smelling, fly ridden mud and blood, jam-packed with people. We used to go there with Vjollca to risk our healths trying out the different cheeses which sat in vats of dirty liquid. We did not quite have the nerve to buy meat which like the cheese was expensive for Albanians, though they bought it when they could. (But why is low meat consumption an index of a country’s poverty when westerners are told by their health advisers to eat as little as possible?

But business dealings were often no more than small scale petty commerce with perhaps a teenage son selling biscuits and sweets on the street. Thanks to Vjollca, who acted as voluntary interpreter, we were able to get to know our neighbours before we could speak the language. The central feature of all visits was the coffee grinder. Coffee beans could only be bought unroasted and were roasted at home in a kind of cylinder which you held over a flame. We had seen these in southern Greece where a few old villagers had kept them as a souvenir of an almost forgotten (though not, in fact, very distant) past.

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