Red Corner: Tirana Slandered

Every once in awhile I run across a travel article that completely gets it wrong.

Having recently spent a very enjoyable time in Albania, I was very disappointed to read A.A. Gill’s unfair rip on the country that was recently published in The Times (UK). Sure, the country has some shortcomings and challenges to overcome, but instead of accepting this and embracing the differences found there, Gill attacked with far too much glee and, perhaps even, xenophobia–hardly the attributes one normally finds in a travel writer.

For example, what responsible journalist would ever pen, “The Albanians are short and ferret-faced, with the unisex stumpy, slightly bowed legs of shetland ponies (sic).” Even if such a description were true, and it’s not, why the need to piss on those far less fortunate? Indeed, Gill gets many of his facts wrong (There aren’t “millions” of bunkers) and speculates about others: “Albanians, I’m told, have taken over the crime in Milan.”

Personally I found Albania a great country and disagree with almost every one of Gill’s outlandish and inaccurate slams. By the way, I sure hope A.A. Gill is a pseudonym because the “quarter” of Albanians who work abroad performing “mostly illegal” services (in places like London), won’t take kindly to such a write-up.

(Thanks to the well-fed folks at Our Man In Tirana for pointing out this article)