"Every day I see a journalist less and less. I have a cross of journalism, one finger in my mind and one in my heart"

2024-01-03 12:29:48Dhoma e rrëfimit SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX
Fatos Bazhaku

By Entela Resuli

I also have an interview with Fatos Baxhak in my archive. It's one of those long conversations, held with a glass in front of you, where time doesn't feel. Professor Baxhak would offer this feeling even when you did not know him closely (for me it was the first time I met him), he made the conversation easy and full of stories.

We talked about politics, about marriage, about family, about the village, and even about his passion for collecting stones and shepherds' sticks, which he collected in the areas where he traveled.

This interview is published on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the birth (January 9, 1964) of the journalist and publicist who passed away five years ago. He was one of those journalists that you rarely find in our country. This conversation with him in a modest cafe on the street of Durrës comes to remind us that all of us media workers need a lot of work to be called journalists.


Fatos Bazhaku was not one of those journalists who likes to give advice. Even if something bothers him, he should give his opinion in the corner of a newspaper. Such was the genre that he chose to study. He has always liked to write reportage, an opportunity to breathe freely, outside the uniform of the obedient journalist that he finds burdensome in today's newsrooms. Even in everyday life, this is how the journalist Baxhak is. It is so friendly to the common people that it is not difficult to ascertain such a thing. We find the well-known journalist not in his traditional corner. We meet him at a corner near the house where he lives, on Durrës Street. It's the freedom he wanted. For years, Baxhak has given up running the newsrooms. He says that the direction of work in the staff does not suit his model. He has refused many offers, he admits that for some time, even the publishers themselves have stopped answering his phone.

-Mr. Baxhak, how do the village residents see politics?

Politics sees these people as votes, not as human beings. That politics itself is a closed sphere, within a large sphere called society. Many of them, the politicians to justify that demagoguery, say that politics has its own rules, don't judge us. For example, in society you cannot betray your friend, in politics you can. Since there are other moral rules, of behaving, of standing, of speaking, which the politicians themselves choose, of course a big gap is created. Gap which they try to cross in election campaigns. They go to schools, caress the kolopuchs, and carry some sacks of flour or beans. So, I don't have any advice to give to politics. But I know what the people down there are thinking. And what people think below, is a kind of disappointment from all sides. This is where politics has to put its finger on the head, because if all the wings go out of play, then the raison d'être of existence is lost. What I have seen, with the exception of militants, small interests, anyone who will become a policeman. Yes, the general is kind of disappointing.

- Are people manipulated by politics?

It depends on the cultural level. We have inherited it since the Ottoman Empire, expected from above. It used to be Bey, then came the Labor Party, now politics. We have a kind of eastern tradition of non-active civic participation. Not having an uninfluenced idea of ??your own. We kind of like to lie. We like to lie and sleep comfortably.

-Mr. Bazhaku, we talked about politics and people. What about nationalism, what do you think?

Someone has said that: "Nationalism is the last refuge of masquerades". The Balkans confuse patriotism with nationalism. All the more to speculate with national symbols, but to speculate so much that I get on the tip of people's noses. Then this is just a political game to get the votes of the disillusioned, the votes of the poor and that part that thinks that evil always comes from outside. I am afraid that this time nationalism will get some votes, but this is a very big risk.

- What does the opposition need to take power?

The opposition must convince the people, but not with demagogic promises. Not starting from the idea that we can say that this people eats it. The opposition must make a policy with its feet on the ground. From both sides there are promises which consider the people as a flawed child. If it was both arms with real promise then that would be ideal. But under these conditions, we must choose the best liar.

-A few days ago, the court announced the decision of January 21, which was not guilty. How did you receive this news?

It seemed strange to me. It seemed strange to me as far as we know this event and from what we have seen on the screen it is evident that we have four killed by government forces. From whom, from where, let's find out, but there are four killed by state weapons and there is no doubt about that. So even if they are not the specific people, the commander or the guard, justice must find who they were. Here we come back to the frustration of justice. Sometimes we take someone who stole a car more seriously than these state crimes. Crimes with irreparable consequences.


"A good journalist is the one who equates to the peasant on the street"

The breakfast of the journalist Baxhak is that of a soldier. Early work has tricked him into waking up at sunrise. It is a vice that comes from the frequent movement to remote areas related to his reporting work. In this second part of the interview, the journalist talks about the work in journalism and the problems that the media in Albania is going through today.

-Mr. Baxaku, do you wake up early in the morning?

Since the time I was traveling I have become a real soldier. No matter how late I fall asleep, at 6:00 I fall asleep on my own whether I want to or not. Then whether or not I leave the house is my choice. But I have an awakening like a rooster's work. It was created as a reflex of the services we used to provide.

-What about when you leave the house?

It depends. Something is happening to me that the more the years go by, the more I like the house. I have my own corner there with a library and computer, so when I'm not forced to go out, I don't go out. I like to sit and make up some work that no one asks me to do.

-What bothers you in this city?

Noise and lack of respect for pedestrians. I am a permanent pedestrian. I don't have a car. I don't wear it because I can't concentrate on the wheel and I'm afraid it will hurt myself and others.

- We know you as the editor-in-chief. Why did you leave the newspaper as a leader?

Yes it is true. I have been the editor-in-chief several times, but in all cases I was not the initiator. I liked being a little freer than the freedom that comes with a schedule, a closed office. On the other hand, I don't really like giving orders. Giving orders seems ugly to me.

-Did you immediately start work as editor-in-chief?

Yes Yes. Chief editor of three people. It didn't make sense, but the name had to be noted.

-How did you go about those beginnings of work?

After that, journalism continued, thanks to many young people and the school of journalism. Many young people came from very passionate circles who, to be honest, have worked more sacrifice and more than those of us who had a plate of food for dinner, a bed and a shower. Those who really came were heroes of that time.

- Over time, how did journalism change? More and more it is said that journalism is not what it should have been?

The media has been at the forefront of development. The media and the construction industry have made Albania boom in these 20 years. The media, of course thanks to the development of technology and the passions of certain characters, has progressed. However, the media, no matter how good it is, is still a product of this country. We cannot pretend to have a media like America and a country like Afghanistan. So we are all a product of the good and the bad of this country. So is the media. I once said that he is like a kind of good teenager, but he still remains a teenager, who is often stubborn and does inexplicable actions. Now it's time to withdraw this. Adolescence has passed. I want to say that it is a developing media and it will be much better if it is freed from the political-financial chains of certain circles. You know what!? The media in our country has a very big problem. It was not born as a business to win. The truer the news, the more it sells. The opposite happened to us. Businesses were born first and then the media was created to protect businesses. This shadow is not being separated, it is not being separated and it is not being separated..

-In your eyes, how is the media today?

Chaotic. I'm hearing about colleagues who are suddenly fired, today for tomorrow, this is a very serious thing. Unfortunately, we also have some journalists' associations which do not feel like protecting the interests of journalists. We do not have journalists' unions to protect employees. We still have colleagues who work without a contract, in the dark, while the media itself must expose this. The journalist who has to unmask him is himself in black.

– Since the moment you left, have you been asked to be the editor-in-chief again?

No one has told me for three years. They already know that I am no longer inclined to this.

-You feel good in this position. Being a freelance journalist?

It has its pros and cons. It has the advantage that it gives you a kind of freedom. You don't have schedules, you don't have these editorial meetings that sometimes become monotonous and so on. On the other hand, you have to make some sacrifices because it is a choice, everything is paid.

-When you were editor-in-chief, what were your principles that you asked your journalists to follow?

They remind me with a laugh now, since no one practices it anymore. I had a kind of cross of journalism that was, a finger in the mind and a finger in the heart. This means that you need both heart and mind. Mind to find the news and heart to tell it. This is. Although it is not a complicated craft like Physics for example that you have to learn the formula, but there is another formula that you have to be as equal as possible with those in front of you. Equal to the public, to the people you interview, that we sometimes exaggerate with this power X. Okay, we are the power, we are at another level, not at the level of the working employee. At that level we should be as equal as that peasant we meet on the road.

-Mr. Does journalism make you rich?

Some yes, relatively rich, at least with a house in Durrës. This job should not be thought of as a profession that makes you rich. Nor can I say that I leave you poor. For me, a journalist is a figure of the middle class, or the lowest part of the middle class, which means somewhere in the elementary school teacher. Because journalism is more of a lifestyle. Journalism is not a profession, it is not like a doctor, decide now to study and become one. Journalist is the way you dress, how you eat, how you live... Personally, I don't regret choosing this path. It has given me a lot of pleasure.

- Do you meet a journalist today?

Less and less.

-Mr. Baxaku, better like this, cheap?

It works. I don't feel good in the office. You have to be wild, rude. I like to laugh. I would get a fine letter and tear it up. The journalist received 300 thousand lek salary. Do you impose a fine? Incomprehensible.

-What advice would you give to a journalist?

Kill your mind. Don't fall asleep without finding two topics that nobody has for tomorrow, if you want. Look! I am very good friends with Armand Shkullak. In a period, when he was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Koha Jonë" and I was of "Gazeta Shqiptare", we spent almost the whole day together in our free time and did not speak a word about work: What a beautiful time today... (laughs) . We were friends, but when the phone rang, we left. As soon as we finished the newspaper, at 12.00 at night, we would meet again and ask each other: What did you open it with?. Once, I put it in vain. It was the time of Zani Çau?i. He tells me: How did you open it? "How did you open it, - I say, - you are finished. Zani has been caught". "The deserter went to change the newspaper. I took him on the phone and said: "Come on, come on, I was joking." After a week: "How did you open it," he tells me. "Nothing," I say, "with a party title." What about you? "With Zani Caushin," he said. "They caught him. go away, don't make fun". You wish it was so. It was really caught. I ate it there (laughs).

- Can they be two good journalist friends?

Of course. There is no newsroom without being friends. They should support each other.

- Are you a parent?

Yes, of two daughters. The eldest is in America and has completed her studies in Sociology. The second one is here, Regji is finished. The little one said that it was influenced by me in the choice of profession. We lived together. She also likes to travel a lot.

-How do you relate to girls?

Very good. I got married very young and we are rumored to be friends. I am now divorced. The work of this craft is more like a mission. You must have a person by your side to understand you to the end, otherwise he will say: "What did you do for 15 hours at work."

- Did your divorce come as a result of this reason?

Not only. This was one of the reasons.

- Is it worth destroying the family for the profession?

This is also a personal choice. It's a little selfish.

-What makes you nervous?

Stupid makes me nervous. The kind of fool who does harm to others without doing good to himself.


"Outside the boulevard, Albania is a tired country"

-Z. Baxhaku, ju keni udhëtuar shumë nëpër Shqipëri për shkak të punës suaj. Si është Shqipëria jashtë Tiranës?

Për të përfytyruar Shqipërinë jashtë Tiranës, Vlorës apo Durrësit, të qyteteve të mëdha, secili prej nesh duhet të përfytyrojë gjyshin, po gjyshin pak të lodhur që nuk ka kohë të bëj llastime e të tregojë përralla. Ka shumë pak bukë të të japë dhe nxehet. Ndonjëherë të lidh te këmba e karriges, se ka për të punuar arën. Pastaj befas shfaq një mirësi pafund. Nëse keni parasysh gjyshin, gjyshërit e mi të paktën kështu kanë qenë. Kështu është Shqipëria jashtë Tiranës, një gjë e lodhur, hera herës e zhgënjyer, por që nuk e humbet kurrë shpresën dhe që merret shumë me të ardhmen.

-Gjatë këtyre udhëtimeve keni takuar, keni parë shumë njerëz. Çfarë ju ka mbetur në mendje?

Duke u nisur edhe nga origjina (nëna ime ka qenë nga Shkodra), duke pasur gjuhën e nënës, kam një ndjeshmëri për gegnishten, kështu që ndihem pak më i çliruar kur flas gegnisht. Një nga zonat ku kam shkuar është edhe Mirdita. Është një zonë tradicionalisht e izoluar si nga pikëpamja fetare, ligjore, ekonomike e politike. Për hir të këtij izolimi kanë mbetur ende në këmbë rrëfenja, veshje, kulla, peizazhe, portrete. Dhe nga ky vend unë kam një amanet nga nëna Mrikë që ka dhënë shpirt para disa kohësh. Ishte muaji gusht, po binte shi dhe ne ishim strehuar në një Kullë. Ishte një shtëpi si e zymtë, aq më tepër, bëhej e zymtë nga shiu që binte jashtë me ato dritaret e vogla. Nuk e di se ç’pata, më kapi një trishtim. Më thonë që më janë mbushur sytë me lot, por unë nuk e kam kuptuar. Nëna Mrikë më thotë pastaj, hajde dalim pak këtej dhe më pyeti: Çfarë punon? I them, gazetar. Ça do me thënë gazetar? Po ja këto që themi bashkë, unë i shkruaj. Me tha: “Do ma mbash një fjalë”? Në qoftë se shkruan kaq bukur sa po qan jemi në rregull. Këtë amanet mundohem ta mbaj. Ka plot historia, e aventura, sepse këtë punë e kam filluar që në Gazetën “Shqiptare”, në 1996.

-Ju ruani kontaktet me njerëzit?

Me shumë prej tyre. I kam bërë edhe miq tani, ndonjëherë marrë rrugën dhe shkoj kur fejojnë fëmijët.

-Kur shkoni në udhëtime, çfarë sillni në fund të ditës në shtëpi?

Dikur koleksionoja gur, por unë kam një shtëpi të vogël dhe ajo u mbush plot ndaj edhe e ndërpreva. Ishin gur që i merrja kudo që shkoja. Zakonisht i mblidhja nëpër lumenj. Më pas mblidhja shkopinj çobanësh, edhe kjo fazë kaloi.

-Cili është fshati më interesant që keni parë?

Të gjithë janë interesant. Mua më ka pëlqyer shumë Vithkuqi, që është fshat ku detyrat janë të ndara. Po kështu edhe Zogaj i Shkodrës, aty ku fshatarët kanë bërë një kooperativë.

-Prej sa kohësh jetoni në këtë lagje, në rrugën e Durrësit?

Unë jam këtu prej vitit 2001. Shtëpia e mëparshme ka qenë pranë shkollës “11 janari”.

-Ju keni lindur në Tiranë. Ju kujtohet ky qytet në fëmijërinë tuaj?

Of course. I remember it greener and less cluttered, calmer. My parents were teachers and they passed this on to their children. My father was the dean of the Faculty of Sciences, my mother was a Language and Literature teacher. I have two brothers, one older, one younger. The eldest is a professor in Mathematics, the youngest was an Italian teacher, now he is an immigrant in Canada.

-You have studied history, but what is your relationship with him today?

I continue to read a lot of stories. Books with memories, documents. I used to read a lot of literature too, but now I don't have time anymore.

-Which is the place that if you didn't live in Tirana, you would choose to live?

Pogradeci. The first time I went there was as a child. I like the second one, since I can't work during the summer. I have a problem with the heat and in Pogradec you don't feel it. And the third time in Pogradec I spent my great loves. So, if there is a possibility, a shack in Pogradec would be great.

'Confession Room' exclusive column of VoxNews.


This article is exclusive to VoxNews, it is copyrighted according to Law No. 35/2016, "On copyright and related rights". The article can be republished by other media only by citing VoxNews and placing the source link at the end, otherwise any violator will be held responsible according to Article 178 of Law No. 35/2016.