By Auron Tare
It has been a while since Blendi started promoting tourism. During the summer period, visits and promotes little-trodden vissive and peasant areas mainly for an Albanian public.
Their promotion by a journalist known as Blendi certainly brings an added attention to the fact that there are a number of considerate followings on social networks. I also write a few lines about Blendi's visits to Albania.
A few days ago I saw him promote the Gjinokastre Market. A monument of its kind. Blendi stood there, this crossed the bazaar's paths, passionately showing the large number of visitors who walked around taking pictures or looking at storefronts.
But even though Blendi promoted the Bazaar quite a bit, behind his back the small shops left them silent. Maybe he had nothing to say about what he saw in his store.
The Gjinokastre Bazaar has been restored in recent years by a fund of the Albanian Government and the Albanian American Fund AADF. Restorations have made it possible to restore a particular part of the city's architecture. The market looks really resurrected and full of life.
It should be said that the Bazaar was also restored in the berishe II perush with a fund of 6 million euros. What happened to these funds, whether they were really restorations or not, remains a mystery. In 2013, it was promised that this investment of 6 million euros in The Bazaar would be investigated and the responsible would go to justice. What I did with this promise and where those 6 million euros went, nobody knows more.
The theme of this sign is not the restoration of the Bazaar but its management. Every year with different groups I visit the Bazaar not only as part of the attraction but also that some of the shopkeepers I know. Gjinokastre's bazaar, in addition to its name and the understandable attractiveness of visitors, is a typical albanian tourism mirror. Nice facade with fake goods.
Most of this bazaar is shown "handicrafts" produced in Turkey or China. They are kitch products, free, tasteless, without artistic spirit and without any connection to the former Albanian craftsmanship.
A working wood in a corner of the Bazaar, a working stone and a couple of working fur who barely hold themselves cannot be the artisant representatives in the Albanian South.
The bazaar as a complex is managed by an organization created by the AADF (Albanian-American Fund). Imagine for a moment if this Fund (to which The Butrint is being administered) would like/know how to make this Bazaar an important center of Albanian art.
Imagine if someone were really serious about bringing back the amazing art of albanian craftsmanship, what golden feats the numbers of tourists who come around seeing the Turkish/Chinese kitchin in Gjinokaster.
Imagine for a moment the funds spent on the fun or the banal "concerts" such as "Tekno Ceco" "The Grandmothers in F'est" "Fustanella Pala pala" "Gliko me Nut" or sugars of this kind given for the support of southern artisans? What if the art of every artisan in the South was financially relied on and exhibited in the Gjinokaster Market in front of a growing audience?
Po sikur dikujt qe ka vulen ne dore t’i shkonte mendja dhe te ndalonte cdo prodhim kitch Turko/Kinez te shitej ne Pazarin e Gjinokastres? Po sikur hapësira e mbushur me banalitete te prodhuara ne provincat e largeta te Kines ti jepej artizaneve dhe fshatareve te Jugut te Shqiperise per prodhimet e tyre? Po sikur ne nje nga godinat e restauruara te hapej nje shkolle artizanati ku te rinjte te mesonin artin e tradites se Jugut? Po sikur veshjet e shtrenjta te malesoreve te Jugut te ringjalleshin perseri dhe te lakmoheshin si dikur nga artiste dhe poete europiane?
Artizanati i nderthurur me turizmin eshte pjese e rendesishme e ekonomive lokale. Shume vende e kane zhvilluar duke e shtrire ne nje sistem kapilar i cili krijon mundesi te arta punesimi, zhvillim ekonomik rural por edhe ruajtjen e tradites kulturore. Vlere kjo shume e rendesishme ne turizmin kulturor.
Per te mos shpikur rroten ka plot modele nga ku mund te marrim dhe ta zhvillojme jo vetem ne Pazarin e mrekullueshem te Gjinokastres por edhe ate te Shkodres, qendra e dikurshme e artizanatit ballkanik. Ringritja e artizanatit tani qe turizmi po mer nje zhvillim te dukshem eshte nje nevoje urgjente jo vetem si nje mundesi ekonomike por edhe si shprehje e artit dhe trashegimise kombetare. Me shume pak fonde dhe me shume dashuri ky Pazar mund te ringjallet shpirterisht ashtu sic u ngjall eshte fizikisht.
Ne kete menyre Pazari i Gjinokastres nuk do te ishte më një fasade me mallrat e rreme por nje vitrine e kultures shqiptare te cilen Blendi mund ta promovoje çdo sezon veror pa ju shmangur dyqaneve te vogla pas shpines se tij.