Alright. So, the Tirana Gay Pride parade (which was never to be supposed to be a Gay Pride, but a “Parade of the LGBT flag”) debate has degraded to the predictable game of “personalities” arguing pro and against such a parade, spectres of forced tolerance, reasonable voices of patience and discussion, boredom of let-them-just-do-what-they-want-we-have-bigger-problems-pass-me-the-coke-please, and reactionary backbenchers minting intransigent political coins.
The miraculous thing is that most of the debate is copy-paste from whichever NGO spreadsheet that’s used around here and does not seem to pertain to Albanian reality — not that I’m such a realist, but symbols and their rationales are highly context dependent, and such nuance and relation with the actual being-gay-in-Albania experience seems to be entirely lacking from the public exchange (a bit of Heidegger, that’s what we need here. Anyone for a rereading of Being and Time?). A typical fall-out debate was the one on Albanian Screen a few days ago, “Gay, tendencies and fobias“: interviews with the “man on the street” (well guess who is on the street during a working day next to the main mosque in Tirana), and a panel comprising a smart but slightly conservative sociologist, anything-goes-liberal party animal, traditionalist journalist, feminist activist, and legalistic gay (straight?) representative. But it must said: at least there’s a debate! Applaus. End credits.
There was, however, one voice in the debate that raised my attention, namely a manifesto that appeared on the newsblog ResPublica, run by the well-known journalist Mustafa Nano, entitled Manifest i kundërsulmit homoseksual (Manifesto of homosexual counter-aggression) written by the Komiteti i Bythqirëve (Committee of Ass-Fuckers). I have tried to translate the whole text below:
It seems that some of you want to “beat us with sticks.” It seems that some of you say that we threaten the “democracy of many years of the majority of the population.” Let us therefore be clear. Whether you like it or not, 1 out of 10 of you, your friends, and family are homosexual, and we are pretty sure that many more of you have had the pleasure to touch and judge your friends’ ass, cock and balls. We know, because we have done so too, and cruised many “straight” guys during our nightly hunts. And what we find is everything from the highest politicians to the lowest street cleaners.
They all have cocks and we know how to work them. You may say that we are perverted — we won’t deny it– but just remember when you jacked off with your high school friends or neighbors under the balcony or behind the bushes.
We decorate your fancy bars in Bllok. We announce your news on television. We serve your drinks in bars. We teach your children at university. We clean your streets. We rule your parties. We are your prostitutes. We shoot your guns. We cut your hair. We write your laws. We design your houses. And you really think that all things are really yours? Anything creative in the history of mankind came from a man who enjoyed a good piece of ass. Don’t be mistaken. We don’t give a goat’s fuck for your bourgeois marriages and petty religions where guys like to dress up as if they’re in a cheap drag show. At least one thing that Comrade Enver [Hoxha] did was right, hanging all these frustrated priests and imams on the highest trees of Albania.
Do gays deserve human rights? Fuck off! We already know that human rights are only given to the ones already in prison or starving to death in a godforsaken desert. So please keep them for yourself in case your friends or enemies decide to explode another village or loot another weapons depot.
We know why you drive big black cars. We know why your tuta are hanging low and show your ass so well. We know why your dogs parade their balls while you slap their asses. We know why you walk arm in arm and kiss each other on the cheek. We know all this, and sit on benches while you pass by, running in shorts and dripping in sweat. We pretend to be good boys and read in the park but in fact we judge your every move and get a big hard-on.
Now and then one of us gets infected by your discourse of “decent” politics and starts whining things about tolerance, diversity, and respect.. He puts out polls and writes open letters to all ambassadors, complaining how the community has been mistreated and attack, trying to prove he is on the “good side.” You believe that he wants to become one of you. Truly, he would sell his soul for a respectable position close your warm crotches; in the end, also the human rights’ activist needs to pay his rent.
But this is all façade. We send out these pathetic creatures to confirm your image that we want to be like you, hoping that you won’t notice it when we check out your cousins’ crotches. No drug is as potent as a good shot of cum, and we’ll maybe respond to this so-called tolerance, diversity and respect when your boys are begging us to remove our cocks from their ass.
Your so-called democracy that we threaten is nothing but an endless pit of corruption that you call tradition. Your so-called majority of the population that we infect lives in abominable conditions while you fill your pockets. So, hit us with a stick and we might both enjoy it. Your fantasy is just the beginning of the endless variety of perversions we can introduce you to. So, pick up that stick and join us in the basement, we will assure you your treatment will be royal!
So… and about this parade. We all know by whom parades were really enjoyed…
Within minutes of its publication on March 26, it had assembled comment after comment, and I have also seen it turn up on the Facebook pages of several Albanian gay rights groups. Most reactions were of the types: “ResPublica, why do you publish this type of filth…,” “Shame!…,” “You see, this is how perverted they are…,” and so on, most of them paraphrasing the profanities used in the text to sustain their “arguments.” There were even some reasonable voices, saying that the text did not represent the majority of “reasonable” Albanian gays, and there were even some voices that claimed that the manifesto had been written by a heterosexual to discredit the marvelous gay culture. Be that as it may, it seems that the irony of the piece, which basically puts the language that is constantly used in nearly any political debate in the mouth of a subaltern. The result: volte-face fireworks!
Fortunately, there were a few voices attaching to the irony suggested by the “manifesto,” such as “Flaka”:
What if we thought, just for a moment, that the author deliberately wrote it to provoke debate, mainly for the anger of Ekrem Spahiu? To throw a counter-argument into his face. Okay, the tone is heavy, factually untrue, and in fact, what is even worse, deliberately and sarcastically provocative sarcastic to people about the idea that we “bourgeois” have about homosexuals. I don’t wait for the moment that Ekrem Spahiu would ResPublica […]. There’s no probability that the newspapers that Mr. Spahiu reads would publish a comment like this. If things are seen in this perspective, the article that is bothering everyone is in fact the pot for the lid [i.e. fit for us] and the only way that the homophobes who think that sexual orientation is a choice are caught by a terrible panic every time they go out to the lake. In this regard, the article makes me laugh.
And “Nexhmija” (a reference to Enver Hoxha’s wife?):
O people, do not understand the deep irony of this article?!!
Your comments only prove that what the story meant convey. The tolerance that some of you say to have toward homosexuals is the most intolerant attitude possible, more intolerant than a fundamental conservative or a fanatic believer. Toward homosexuals we have the same attitude as you would have to “some people with deep and disgusting problems, but which you, thanks so much proclaimed tolerance of the shitty democratic system, keep to your great bosom and respect their rights.” Whose rights are you seeking to respect? Who the hell are you to place yourself in a position of respect or disrespect, of tolerating or not tolerating?
As the Committee of Assfuckers says above you cannot put up with a gay-subject: you big liberals of democracy do not have any problem as long as gays need your approval, and as long as they seek approval, you are ready to affirm them […] (diversity, tolerance, democracy, human rights). When gays do not seek approval from you, more precisely, when they are not protected by you at all, (so they are subjects), you get angry. The article has reached its goal. You are angry as shit!
Are you offended that Respublica has not respected the “ethical code”?! Fuck off with this whole shitpile of supposedly ethical conventions. You do not have any problem to the language used, no. You are angry that you were not asked, no tolerance, no respect, no permission for parades stupid was asked from you.
– Committee of Pussy-Rubbers
Not a bad score you say? Mr. Nano himself weighed in on the debate, probably after receiving an inbox full of indignation:
A number of readers, having read the Manifesto of Homosexual Counter-Aggression, are scandalized. And I feel that I have to say a few words. I start by agreeing that the language used is vulgar, very vulgar, but it is such with a clear provocative function. And in this sense, I considered the provocation more important than the language. And to remain at this first point, I must say that respublica.al is not a website for elementary school students who would feel violated by this language. All the time I thought that readers of this website are among the Albanians most vaccinated against pornographication of our traditional prayers. I did not expect this. And so even I am a bit scandalized by the fact that I see many people scandalized. I ask: Which language is more terrible, that of an ignorant like Spahiu who promotes eloquent violence toward a certain category of people who are different from him, or of this anonymous gay who responds to this violence with a vulgar anger and with a self-irony brought to the extreme? Which language is more terrible, that of our prime minister who offends in the face of the whole world a high public functionary with the words ’boulevard whore’ [that's what Berisha called the chief prosecutor Ina Rama], or that this gay man who does this ”impersonal attack with dirty words”? What is worse in the end, killing four people on the boulevard in order to hold on to political power, or to open your mouth against the hypocritical morality of a society from an anonymous position?
[…] Are we all perhaps a bit Spahiu inside?
Not bad at all! My respect for Mustafa Nano has certainly grown, and I’m sure he plays this well as the article seems to attract many hits… The dissemination of this type of arguments deserves our attention, because they move beyond European action plans and directive, but show the development of a relation between the issues of gay discrimination and other controversies within Albanian society. As far as I’m concerned, so-called gay rights cannot be divorced — at least not without a considerable level of aggression on all sides — from other social questions. They have to be addressed all at the same time.
Sensibilization in this sense is “debilization”: it creates an apparent independence and authority where there is none, and should be none. So what about de-sensibilizing this discourse of holding hands? The legal proceedings against Ekrem Spahiu are on their way and the progress of this juridical trajectory will show how the State of Albania views part of its subjects. As for the other “men on the street,” it’s already too late — gay rights, human rights, it all remains empty as long as there not even the slightest sense about what is “right” — or “left,” for that matter.