Kadare: dissident or conformist?

Renata Dumitrascu argues at Moby Lives this week that International Booker Prize winner Ismail Kadare’s denunciation of writers who failed to speak out during Albania’s Communist regime — and who blame their failure to write and publish books on the oppression they experienced — is a load of hogwash.

Like most of his homologues in other communist countries, Kadare was an astute chameleon, adroitly playing the rebel here and there to excite the naive Westerners who were scouting for voices of dissent from the East. But there is absolutely no question about what kind of animal he was and what pack he ran with; in fact, his resume screams careerism and conformity. All this present day chest-pounding is like Condoleeza Rice claiming twenty years from now that she was a dissident of the Bush regime because she got a tattoo of a crescent moon on her left butt cheek.


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