Monday, April 11, 2011
Albanians in Michigan fall short on Kryengritja's 100th Anniversary
No musical performances! No plays dramatizing 1911! No poetic recitals paying tribute to our fallen heroes and heroines! No skits displaying our national cultures and treasures, No show!
April 10, 2011, Rochester Hills, Michigan – The Albanian-American community of Greater Detroit celebrated Kryengritja e Malësise se Madhe Sunday night at St. Paul’s Albanian Catholic Church and Community Center.
The sold out event featured a keynote address by Professor Romeo Gurakuqi, Assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Shkodra “Luigj Gurakuqi” in Shkodra, Albania.
The event will be remembered more for what it was NOT than for anything worth writing home (to Malësia) about. After a long-winded opening speech by the master of ceremonies, Anton Lajcaj, a marathon run of speeches followed suit, all of which overshadowed Dr. Gurakuqi’s succinct analysis of the 1911 Malësia Uprising. In fact, Gurakuqi seemed at times to be annoyed by the rumbling of the crowd who displayed impatience throughout the evening. Gurakuqi in turn hurriedly read through his speech, never connecting with the crowd nor pausing in between sentences to emphasize the shifting paradigms during Malësia’s historical time-periods.
Many in attendance had hoped that Dr. Gurakuqi’s speech would be the last, but leave it to the organizers to turn the evening into one of the dullest on record. Seven more men made a bee-line to the podium and turned what Dr. Gurakuqi laid out flat on its back. If it were not for intermediate dance skits, the crowd was determined to gouge their eyes out with their steak knives. Those seated near the back of the hall were completely disconnected with the organization of the event, the sound never reaching the nearly 120 attendees sitting at the other side.
To add insult to this historic event, distinguished guests, congressmen Sandy Levin and Gary Peters, along with Senator Carl Levin, failed to appear. Thankfully Mayor of Rochester Hills, Bryan K. Barnett, filled this void with a delightful (and yes, short) speech commemorating 1911.
The evening concluded pretty much the same way it started – uninteresting, lethargic, boring, and empty. As the crowd emptied, a look of “can I get my refund” spoke through their half-awake eyes.
Posted by Conference Organizer at 5:09 PM