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> Flori Bruqi:Kush eshte Flora Brovina
Flori Bruqi
Postuar nė: 29.10.2006, 16:18
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Tėrė kohėn flas :)
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Flora Brovina (b. 1949), poet, pediatrician and women’s rights activist, was born in the town of Skėnderaj in the Drenica valley of Kosova. She was raised in Prishtina where she went to school and began studying medicine. After finishing her university studies in Zagreb, where she specialized in pediatrics, she returned to Kosova and worked for a time as a journalist for the Albanian-language daily newspaper Rilindja. Soon thereafter, she returned to her true profession and calling of health care and worked for many years in the Pediatrics Ward of the Prishtina General Hospital.
As the political situation in Kosova deteriorated in the nineties and fighting inevitably broke out, Brovina ran a health clinic in Prishtina in which she distributed health care information on matters as diverse as snake bites, dressing wounds and delivering babies. She also used the centre to shelter an increasing number of orphaned children, many of whom had lost their parents during the fighting and expulsions. She and her fellow workers were taking care of up to twenty-five children at any given time.
On 20 April 1999 during the Kosova war, Brovina was abducted by eight masked Serb paramilitaries from the home she was staying in and was driven off by car to an initially unknown destination. She was thus in captivity in Serbia when NATO forces took the capital and Serb troops withdrew from the country. The first news of her abduction broke on 24 April 1999 when her son managed to contact the international writers’ association, PEN, with an urgent appeal that the news of her abduction be made known as widely as possible. She was transferred to a Serb prison in Pozharevac and, in her first month of detention, was subjected to over 200 hours of interrogation in 18 separate sessions lasting typically from 7 A.M. to 5 P.M. On 9 December 1999, in a show trial, she was accused of ‘terrorist activities’ under Article 136 of the Yugoslav Penal Code. She spent a year and a half in Serb prisons before being released as a result of international pressure.
As a writer, Flora Brovina is the author of three volumes of lyric verse. The first collection, Verma emrin tim (Call me by my name), was published in Prishtina in 1973 when she was a mere twenty-four years old. It contains forty-two poems and gives proof of distinct lyric expression. Six years later, in 1979, the collection Bimė e zė (Plant and voice) followed which evinces a more mature style and a steadier hand. It is in this collection that some of the main themes of Brovina’s poetry crystallize. Conspicuous among them is the fate of women in society, and in particular the role of women as mothers, as life-givers and nurturers. It is here typically that births, umbilical cords, amniotic fluid and suckling breasts begin to make their appearance. But plants, too, grow and unfold their leaves in her poems. These are perhaps the most ubiquitous symbols of her verse production. Her third and last collection of original verse, entitled Mat e ēmat (With the tape it measures), was published in Prishtina in 1995. It is the most compelling and impressive of her volumes. Mat e ēmat appeared at a time when Kosova was obviously and perhaps inevitably gravitating towards war. Though this third collection cannot be interpreted as political verse to any great extent - too personal, maternal and feminist is the world of Flora Brovina -, there are many poems in the volume which reflect her preoccupation not only with the problems and aspirations of individuals, but also with the fate of her people, with freedom and self-determination. The very survival of the verdant plants budding in the poet’s hands had been called into question.
In 1999, Flora Brovina was recipient of the annual Tucholsky Award of the Swedish PEN Club, a prize which has been awarded to other writers of note such as Salman Rushdie, Adam Zagajevski, Nuruddin Farah, Taslima Nasrin, Shirali Nurmuadov and Vincent Magombe. She was also given the Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award by the American PEN centre and the Human Rights Award of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin.
Despite this international recognition, it is curious to note that, as a poet, Flora Brovina has never been part of the literary establishment of Kosova, nor has her verse found its way into the mainstream of contemporary Albanian literature. A collection of her verse has appeared in English in Flora Brovina, Call me by my Name, Poetry from Kosova in a bilingual Albanian-English Edition, translated by Robert Elsie, New York: Gjonlekaj 2001.
The year 1981
The stench and clank of metal spread,
The music of the streets has taken refuge in the suburbs,
The little girl has scraped her knee, off with you now and don’t cry,
Wide-eyed he emerges from the crowd,
Entering the race,
The unseen arena, toreador and bull,
Olé olé olé,
The weight of the tank leaves tracks in the asphalt,
Olé olé olé,
He rushes forth
And grasps it
By the head,
Covering it
With a red cloth,
The machine, now blinded by the eagle,
Is dazed
And disoriented,
What black beauty,
Empty flowerpots
Cascade down from balconies,
Rakatak, rakatak,
Rakatak, rakatak,
Flowerpots hurtling through the air
Know nothing of the curfew,
Rakatak, rakatak,
You in the midst
Plant artificial flowers,
The policeman screams and takes down your address
While guarding the shattered flowerpots
And tank tracks in the asphalt.
[Viti 1981, from the volume Mat e ēmat, Prishtina: Rilindja 1995, p. 22, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie and first published in English in Flora Brovina, Call me by my name, Poetry from Kosova in a bilingual Albanian-English edition, New York: Gjonlekaj 2001]

The first lesson
Jusuf,
Jusuf the yellow stork,
Jusuf Gėrvalla... is missing.
Teuta, Ilir, Agron, Yll
And Fadil, Fadil Talla... is missing,
And Ylfete, Ylfete Humolli... is missing,
And Shukrije, Shukrije Obėrtinca... is missing,
Kimetja, Arsim, Kujtim
And Halim, Halim... is missing,
Shpresa, Besa, Kastriot,
And Fatmir, Fatmir Kėrleshi... is missing,
And Afrim, Afrim Zhitia... is missing,
And on it goes,
Valbona, Shkurta, Gjon,
And Xhevat, Xhevat... is missing,
Nesimi’s son Bekim is missing, too,
And Afrim, Afrim Prebreza... is missing.
Bring me
No medical certificate,
No paper from parents, police or state,
Say only missing,
We will heal your wounds with flowers
And wait for you,
And wait for you,
Say only missing,
Blood-red flowers will bloom
The lesson continues...
(9 May 1990)
[Ora e parė, from the volume Mat e ēmat, Prishtina: Rilindja 1995, p. 23, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie and first published in English in Flora Brovina, Call me by my name, Poetry from Kosova in a bilingual Albanian-English edition, New York: Gjonlekaj 2001]

Skėnderaj
Do not think back, do not dream
Of the fragrance of the quince,
Said my mother.
Every time I mentioned you,
My teeth grew numb,
Open the window,
Take a deep breath
Every time you are pregnant,
Can you better smell
The fragrance of the quince,
Of our homeland,
Said my mother.
[Skėnderaj, from the volume Mat e ēmat, Prishtina: Rilindja 1995, p. 67, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie and first published in English in Flora Brovina, Call me by my name, Poetry from Kosova in a bilingual Albanian-English edition, New York: Gjonlekaj 2001]

Gu gu gu
Gu-gu-gu Isuf,
Gu-gu-gu Istref,
Mother, why did you teach me the language of the cuckoos,
Of my sister, oh,
Gu-gu-gu Isuf,
Gu-gu-gu Istref,
Under my eavestrough
Gu-gu-gu in the trees in the courtyard
Gu-gu-gu on the roof,
I look for
Gu-gu-gu my brothers, oh,
Gu-gu-gu they were beaten,
Gu-gu-gu they were murdered,
Gu-gu-gu they are gone, where are they?
Gu-gu-gu Isuf,
Gu-gu-gu Istref,
Gu-gu-gu on the house,
Gu-gu-gu I’m waiting for them,
I’m waiting for them
To come back,
To return,
They will return,
I’m waiting for them,
Gu-gu-gu
Gu-gu-gu.
[Gu-gu-gu, from the volume Mat e ēmat, Prishtina: Rilindja 1995, p. 68, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie and first published in English in Flora Brovina, Call me by my name, Poetry from Kosova in a bilingual Albanian-English edition, New York: Gjonlekaj 2001]

Status habitus
Lost in a labyrinth,
No boundary, no belongings,
No white felt cap,
Status habitus,
Sitting cross-legged,
Slantwise to the planet,
No identity papers,
My countryman
Speaks not of love
From each of the telephone booths,
Hi, hi! How’s it going back home,
It was hard to get through,
How’s Mum,
Status habitus refrain,
In big cities
Where the youth wastes away
Melting like lead
Crumbling like riverbanks
Status habitus,
Hey, what about the schools,
Hey, are there any jobs,
Hey, and in the hospitals
Are there corpses, are there,
Status habitus,
They poisoned the children,
In each of the telephone booths
You can recognize my countryman
Even without his identity papers,
To the big cities of the West
The river of exile
Keeps flowing and flowing,
Status habitus,
In the labyrinths
It seeks the road of return.
(Zym, 1991)
[Status habitus, from the volume Mat e ēmat, Prishtina: Rilindja 1995, p. 71, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie and first published in English in Flora Brovina, Call me by my name, Poetry from Kosova in a bilingual Albanian-English edition, New York: Gjonlekaj 2001]

Exodus
1.
With white scarves
At the doorstep
Waving
From behind the window curtains
Tears in our eyes
In a sombre room,
In longing
Did we wish you
A fair journey,
Pallid,
Pallid,
When you left us.
2.
Large is our home,
Large the courtyard
When I cross it barefoot,
How long the day, how long,
Shaky is my pace,
I tumble and rise like a child
When it learns to walk,
How long my hair,
How strong my breasts,
The crimson apples, how mature they are now,
What thirst for apple juice,
I stand there in the courtyard,
Where are you?
3.
The maidens cut their hair
Their games forgotten
When the boys once chased us
For our braids,
Few of you have remained
Since the exodus began.
4.
At the river
We’ll wash our hair,
We’ll wash our ruddy faces,
We’ll sprinkle our breasts with water,
We’ll drench ourselves at the river,
We’ll be like the Virgin Mary
If they do not return.
5.
Do not observe yourselves in the mirror,
Barren maidens,
Every day more wrinkles
In our eyes, on face and brow
Flow tears,
Let us abandon our longing in the stairwell
And bow our heads
Like old women.
6.
Woe upon us
If it does not rain
And the river runs dry
And they do not return,
Night has fallen
Woe upon us, woe.
7.
The maidens walk
Like flowers,
Longing, longing, longing
Wings hover in the air,
Are there dewdrops
In the early morning hours?
The wind rises,
Their heads pressed close together,
The flowers walk hand in hand,
Towards the sun
Behind them
Grows the flowerless grass.
[Ekzod, from the volume Mat e ēmat, Prishtina: Rilindja 1995, p. 73, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie and first published in English in Flora Brovina, Call me by my name, Poetry from Kosova in a bilingual Albanian-English edition, New York: Gjonlekaj 2001]

Dimension
With the tape it measures,
And with the tape it measures
My waste and right arm,
With the tape it measures,
Crawling up my spine,
Rib for rib
As I stand erect,
And with the tape it measures
My long hair and bare shoulders,
Taking a furtive glance of toes
On naked feet,
With the tape it measures
Droplets slithering down my body,
Down my brow and down my cheeks,
I stay put
I don’t go out, I don’t go in,
I don’t go out, I don’t go in,
And with the tape it measures
My bare physique,
My stubby limbs,
No, please, not the head,
And with the tape it measures,
Overlooking nothing,
Missing not a hair,
It puts a noose around my neck
To fashion me a collar
And makes me clothes to its dimensions,
Soaking wet I shiver,
With the tape it measures,
And with the tape it measures,
Nothing can I conceal from it
Neither brow, nor curves, nor belly,
Neither fever, nor blood, nor sweat,
It sees it all,
My whole physique, oh,
But not the tears
Below the lashes, no,
For these there is no tape,
And so the clothes will not be fashioned
To its own dimensions.
[Pėrmasė, from the volume Mat e ēmat, Prishtina: Rilindja 1995, p. 79, translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie and first published in English in Flora Brovina, Call me by my name, Poetry from Kosova in a bilingual Albanian-English edition, New York: Gjonlekaj 2001]

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