By: NENAD JOVANOVIC
One of the commonpoints of this “Balkan culture” (and thus also Macedonian) is the one that tells us that it doesn’t know how to respect its best representatives during their active life. In the “cultural flourishing” here, it is a common thing for mediocracy to cut, break and pull off the flowers that have sprouted over the poor ground in all possible ways; when from such a strong kick comes recognition from another, far bigger and stronger country than yours, then our people start watering them carefully.
Not even Xhabir Deralla managed to resist this picturesque domestic custom. Or, more specifically, the locals failed to refrain from their uncivilized mentality. For his engagement, he has been attacked for years, marginalized, sued, persecuted, and after all these decades of “engaged life”, recognition came from the President of Ukraine, Zelensky, personally. So, Xhabir Deralla doesn’t receive recognition from our own for his rich engagement, but from a country that is 1,700 kilometers away from our country. And this recognition (why stupid and provincial modesty?) has belonged to Derallafor a long ago.
Let me be more precise: The Macedonian culture is a culture of “slowed reflexes”: it took us time to understand who Xhabir Deralla is and what value he represents.
And now, it’s like I’m hearing those moronic voices: “Why so much excitement around an activist, known journalist and publicist?”, ask our concerned epic-patriarchaltroubadours and “criers”. The type of people to whom being active in the media and civic activism is a “miserable” form of writing, worthless babbling with an expiration date shorter than a cup of yogurt. Our ladders of cultural values are still topped by untalentedscribblers who print thousands of pagesabout the “sufferings, but also about the greatness of our people”. Of course, it’s wonderful to be Thomas Mann or Tolstoy, but at the right time and right place…
The “Deralla case” and the Order from Zelensky, shows quite “dawning” how ungrateful it is to be a civic activist and media worker, intellectual who doesn’t act from some suffocating academic-cabinet “office”, but you my dear brother enter the brutal society every day, and at the same time you also defend someone else’s country that is attacked from its first and bloodthirsty neighbor.
In an environment and surrounding that is frustrated not only by the mentality and strong castration by the media, only few stay afloat and persevere, not betraying their writing craft and their values with which they have been formatted. Engaged intellectuals and civic activists such as Deralla, are never, at least for me, “political journalists”, and it’s always such in such an environment who are suspicious and persecuted by the almighty “politics”.
I have no doubt, and now I know – before I didn’t know! – in authoritarian societies, the saying applies – “Everything is politics”. Therefore, the spirit of freedom and creativity demanded of itself, only on the first ball, some marginal places, “stay out of the way, don’t get in anyone’s way”, because only then you get the least attention of the kerbers. That is why our most capable people and journalists were persecuted and will continue to be persecuted and slandered, because “they get in the way” of our untalented commoners. But, still, that essential difference between talented writers (and Deralla is one of them!) and dilettantes(you have as much as you want of them) was and has remained the same: the latter knows, even from the most frustrated to draw some kind of benefit for themselves, while the first one – the good author and writer – knows that there are no good or bad topics, everything can be written well if there is a good talent.
“The banality lies in the writer, and not in the topic”, and Xhabir Deralla knows this very well. That is why recognition came from the place where today not only Ukraine is being shattered, but the very survival of humanity as well. And this, brother, isn’t a small thing. In fact, there couldn’t be a greater thing.
The influence of Deralla in our journalism is priceless. That most hopeless journalistic subgenre, usually reserved for low-ability readers and seriously illiterate, had to endurea stylistic-linguistic landing. Deralla tore down this discipline from the ground up: he exposed the principle of false objectivity, replaced depersonalization with open cheering for the weaker, for the victim, and destroyed the linguistic uniformity with his eloquence and, what is most important, Deralla treats activism and journalism as part of a planetary mass culture.
Everything that Deralla has been doing all these years, he has been doing as an authentic writing professional. His rich and fulfilled life, regardless how pathetic it may sound, is actuallythat price that a professional pays acting inan ideocratic and dilettante environment.
Zelensky is not a man from “our block”, Zelensky is a global icon of the free world. And that’s not a small thing, that recognition that will be presented to Deralla, I believe in Kyiv, Ukraine, practically means – allow me to use the “gaming jargon” – you have overplayed the game to the limit. After that, whether you like it or not, you have made history beyond your will. Your name, along with other world names from film, culture, journalism and activism, will shine until eternity in the collective memory of the free countries and free people.
Translation: N. Cvetkovska