Find heart in your home, you’ll have home in your heart (migrant story and song)

There is a beautiful song by Ilir Shaqiri, a Kosovar Albanian singer, that captures the immense joy and comfort of finding home in a foreign land better than any other songs I’ve known.

My comment sent to the author of this article_

Thank you very much for this lovely article.  Although I am in Malaysia for about two dozens of years, I still love Burma/Myanmar. Muslims suffered there from some racial and religious discrimination but now I know that there are discriminations everywhere.

You are right. If we go and stay in other country and meet our citizens from different races and religions, we could forge a stronger tie between us. As a foreigner here I felt the same thing as you have suggested. Whether they are Buddhists, Christians, Hindu or Muslims, I feel happy when I see the patients from Myanmar. Whether they are Burman, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Rakhine, Shan, Mon or mixed blooded Burmese-Chinese or Burmese Indians is not important for me. I love to speak with them and try to help them happily .

Please kindly allow me to cut and paste your beautiful lovely article in my blog_

TQ again for your good article.

Dr Ko Ko Gyi @ Abdul Rahman Zafrudin

SEPT 6 — There is a beautiful song by Ilir Shaqiri, a Kosovar Albanian singer, that captures the immense joy and comfort of finding home in a foreign land better than any other songs I’ve known. (You can listen to it here)

I first heard of this song in Timor Leste when I was working with the United Nations back in 2002. One of my Kosovar friends had played it and despite not understanding a word of Albanian, I fell in love with the moving ballad, Shaqiri’s warm voice and the exotic sound of the Latin-Slavic language.

Naturally, I was curious to know the meaning. With my friend’s help, I discovered that the lyrics were even lovelier than the song itself.

It tells a moving tale of a Kosovar Albanian who travels to Istanbul on a business trip. During the trip, he enters a poçari shop (poçari means a clay vase seller in Albanian) and asks to see the best vase available. While inspecting the vase, it accidentally slips away from his hands and breaks into twenty-five pieces, much to his mortification.

The poçari goes berserk and starts to swear in Turkish. Offended by the poçari’s unnecessary insults, he swears back in Albanian. Expecting the poçari to put up a fight, he sees tears welling up in his eyes instead.

“Is this Turk, this Muslim going crazy? I swore at him and he’s hugging me,” he wonders.

The poçari reaches for another vase and hands it over to him and says pleadingly, “Swear on me again, please. I am also Albanian. Brother, swear on me in Albanian again. Albanian words cannot be bought here in the bazaar.”

Alarmed by this, the other customers run out from the shop. When the poçari and him are finally alone, the vases come crushing down and shake the Sea of Marmara.

According to my friend, there are many ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia who were forced to escape to Turkey during the first and second world wars as well as the series of wars that erupted in former Yugoslavia during most of 1990s.

The Serbian government was determined to exterminate the “Turks”, a term given to ethnic Albanians who are predominantly Muslims, in reference to the spread of Islam by the Ottoman empire in the Balkans. An estimated 250,000 to 300,000 ethnic Albanians were driven out from their homes to Turkey between the first and second world wars and 250,000 more after the second world war. An estimated 2,000 ethnic Albanians were killed in Kosovo under Slobodan Milosevic’s leadership.

It’s no wonder that the poçari is moved to tears when he hears his mother tongue uttered for the first time after a presumably long and painful period of exile, despite its ill-intention.

Five years ago, I was in Dubai during a transit from Kabul to Kuala Lumpur. I only had time to check into a hotel and leave the next day on an early morning flight. Feeling bored, I decided to check out the hotel’s boutique shops.

An interesting shop selling Middle-Eastern paraphernalia sparked my interest. I wanted to buy one of those make-your-own bracelets with intricate carvings on silver alphabet cubes as a gift for someone. The problem was, each cube would set me back quite a lot and the person doesn’t exactly have a short name.

“Do you give discounts for these if I buy more than five pieces?” I asked in true Malaysian fashion despite the shop owner’s sombre expression. He didn’t look like he was going to entertain my attempt to haggle.

“Where are these from?” I persisted in an attempt to break the silence and hopefully, during the process, he might soften.

“Iran,” he answered rather grudgingly. By then, he probably assumed that I was not worth his time since I appeared to be a cheap-skate.

“Are you from Iran?” I persevered. He nodded his head.

I smiled and said, “Chetor Hasti? (How are you?)” perhaps a tad too enthusiastically. I was feeling smug that I could converse in basic Farsi, a similar language to Dari, one of Afghanistan’s official languages.

Unexpectedly, the Iranian man broke into a huge smile. I could literally see the muscle on his cheeks relaxed and his initial hostility disappeared altogether.

He replied cheerfully, “Khoob Hastam, khoob Hastam (I’m fine, I’m fine).”

He was curious with my rudimentary knowledge of the language and I obtained his further approval once I explained that I worked in Afghanistan.

“You take this. Gratis. It’s gift from me,” he urged. It was impossible to refuse him as he pried open my hand and pushed the bracelet firmly onto my palm. I decided to accept his well-meaning gift graciously for I understood that by refusing him, it would insult his generosity and kindness.

“Tashakor (thank you),” I said to him with a polite head bow and my right arm folded across my chest. He laughed good-naturedly and replied, “In Farsi, we say ‘merci’.”

I am constantly amazed by our desperate need to identify ourselves with something familiar and it reminded me of the time that I had spent in Wales as a law student. We had a large Malaysian student community and I have never felt more Malaysian since then.

The issue of racial differences never came into question despite the Chinese and Indians being highly outnumbered. If anything, we all embraced and magnified the differences by flaunting them in cultural events.

Since we didn’t have sufficient Chinese and Indian Malaysians, the Malay students had to participate in Chinese and Indian dances. They never complained but were eager to partake in the cultural exchanges. We even had friends from Britain, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, India and Pakistan who volunteered to get involved.

Our spirit of solidarity and unity attracted them and that made us true ambassadors. We were in a foreign territory and hence, there was no issue of whose soil it belongs to. Life as a Malaysian was simple and unambiguous.

Malaysia is not just a country for many of us, it’s home and the experiences I had from living abroad teaches me the horror of ethnic intolerance and how precious it is to be free in your homeland.

I received unverified information that in a seminar conducted by Tun Mahathir, he had said that the only way for Malaysians to be united is if everyone were to become Muslims. I snorted and thought about the sectarian fights between Muslim brothers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here’s what I think. Unity can be achieved in three ways. First, for those people who call the minorities as pendatang to be sent off to a foreign land where they are subjected to discrimination and restrained from practising their faith. Hopefully, they’ll understand how it feels like to be unwelcomed.

Second, for all of us to become minorities in a foreign land because then, we will not be Malays, Chinese or Indians, but simply Malaysians. Third, nobody has to leave home but, we have to start treating each other as Malaysians.

The poçari and Iranian man taught us an important lesson. Home has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity. It’s a place where your heart belongs to.

Find heart in your home, you’ll have home in your heart, in Malaysian Insider by Lim Ka Ea

Lim Ka Ea is a traveller who sees travel as the answer to all the world’s woes. Writing is a grand love. Ka Ea has had NGO and legal experience.

Google translation of LYRICS in Albania>>>
I went to Istanbul
haggle
memory and buy a clay vase,
– Peace and salaam, potter ustah
and better bowl
for me one of the goose.

And what the bowl by hand that dropped
and I became twenty-five pieces
m’erdhi around Marmara Sea
and Turkish shop opened to me as pit …

Without the heavy cursed Turkish potter,
I lo ng back the rash n’men
surprisingly, potters were ligsht
just two points here I saw tears in his eyes.

Do not distract the Turkish, this wretch
I chide him with hands on neck
Another vase got in store
and he said: I shout, stroke covenant, again

How I and I’m told Albanian
Shame you slip brother again,
Albanian word s’blihet shopping,
the store has long since I have not felt …

And what the bowl by hand that dropped
and I became twenty-five pieces
m’erdhi around Marmara Sea
and Turkish shop opened to me as pit …

Without the heavy cursed Turkish potter,
I lo ng back the rash n’men
surprisingly, potters were ligsht
just two points here I saw tears in his eyes.

Do not distract the Turkish, this wretch
I chide him with hands on neck
Another vase got in store
and said: I shout, stroke covenant, again.

How I and I’m told Albanian
Shame you slip brother again,
Albanian word s’blihet shopping,
the store has long since I have not felt …

They fled the store men and women
I also have other potters of Dulce
Vases tunde Marmara Sea
Vases and potter English speaking …

ORIGINAL LARYCS

Vajta në Stamboll
të bëj pazar
dhe pë
I went to Istanbul
haggle
memory and buy a clay vase,
– Peace and salaam, potter ustah
and better bowl
for me one of the goose.

And what the bowl by hand that dropped
and I became twenty-five pieces
m’erdhi around Marmara Sea
and Turkish shop opened to me as pit …

Without the heavy cursed Turkish potter,
I lo ng back the rash n’men
surprisingly, potters were ligsht
just two points here I saw tears in his eyes.

Do not distract the Turkish, this wretch
I chide him with hands on neck
Another vase got in store
and he said: I shout, stroke covenant, again

How I and I’m told Albanian
Shame you slip brother again,
Albanian word s’blihet shopping,
the store has long since I have not felt …

And what the bowl by hand that dropped
and I became twenty-five pieces
m’erdhi around Marmara Sea
and Turkish shop opened to me as pit …

Without the heavy cursed Turkish potter,
I lo ng back the rash n’men
surprisingly, potters were ligsht
just two points here I saw tears in his eyes.

Do not distract the Turkish, this wretch
I chide him with hands on neck
Another vase got in store
and said: I shout, stroke covenant, again.

How I and I’m told Albanian
Shame you slip brother again,
Albanian word s’blihet shopping,
the store has long since I have not felt …

They fled the store men and women
I also have other potters of Dulce
Vases tunde Marmara Sea
Vases and potter English speaking ..

SOURCE OF THE LYRICS HERE

.r kujtim të blej një vazo balte,
– Paqe dhe selam, ustah poçar
dhe vazon më të mirë
per mua nje e pate.

Vazoja nga dora se ç’më ra
dhe m’u bë njëzet e pesë copë
m’erdhi rrotull deti Marmara
dhe dyqani turk m’u hap si gropë…

Pa me shau poçari rëndë turqisht,
unë shqip ja ktheva n’men i rash
për çudi, poçari nuk u ligsht
veç dy pika lot në sy ja pashë.

Mos u çmend ky turk,ky qerrata
unë e shaj e ai me duar më qafë
vazo tjetër mori në dyqan
dhe më tha: Më shaj, pash besën, prapë

Se si ti dhe un tha jam shqiptar
shqip vëlla ti shamë edhe një herë,
fjala shqipe s’blihet në pazar,
në dyqan ka kohë që s’e kam ndjerë…

Vazoja nga dora se ç’më ra
dhe m’u bë njëzet e pesë copë
m’erdhi rrotull deti Marmara
dhe dyqani turk m’u hap si gropë…

Pa me shau poçari rëndë turqisht,
unë shqip ja ktheva n’men i rash
për çudi, poçari nuk u ligsht
veç dy pika lot në sy ja pashë.

Mos u çmend ky turk, ky qerrata
unë e shaj e ai me duar më qafë
vazo tjetër mori në dyqan
dhe më tha: Më shaj, pash besën, prapë.

Se si ti dhe un tha jam shqiptar
shqip vëlla ti shamë edhe një herë,
fjala shqipe s’blihet në pazar,
në dyqan ka kohë që s’e kam ndjerë…

Iken nga dyqani burra e gra
Unë edhe pocari tjetër skishte
Vazo tunde detin Marmara
Vazo dhe pocari shqip po fliste…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: