Ismail Kadare (photo)

Albanian Race Row Puts Spotlight on Kadare

Source: Balkan Insight / Author: Marjola Rukaj

Ismail Kadare (photo)A controversy over whether a newspaper was racist in its criticism of the US ambassador has reignited a debate on whether Ismail Kadare, Albania’s most renowned writer, is also racist.

The American embassy in Tirana severed last month ties with the daily newspaper Shekulli following publication of a comment deemed derogatory and racist to ambassador Alexander Arvizu.

The row erupted after the newspaper ran an opinion article by journalist Ilir Yzeri on April 9, entitled “The Little Ambassador of a Great Country.”

The article, which took a critical stance toward Arvizu’s track record as an ambassador, used the term “kinezeri” (Chinese-like) to describe his behaviour as well as appearance. Arvizu is of partly Asian decent.

In the letter to the newspaper the embassy noted that although the ambassador welcomed criticism, the newspaper had stepped beyond a line with a personal attack.

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