INTERVIEW WITH DIELLI’S EDITOR , MR. DALIP GRECA/
–What was the main reason for your initiative on a designated Independence issue which you started in November 2009?
– There is a list of reasons. I envisioned it as a medium of making Vatra members and the community part of the experience of the Flag Day festivities, apart from the dinner gathering which was only one night. The paper would continue to keep alive the festive atmosphere of such an event. Secondly, I intended to send a stronger message about the revival and longevity of the newspaper to the readers. After a two and a half year hiatus, the issue of November 2009 was the third in a raw, printed within one year. The September and October issue ran with 20 pages. It was my belief that the paper with triple the number of pages would convey a sense of hope that Dielli ‘The Sun’ would not set in the second century of its existence. Also, I had made a promise in front of Chairman Agim Karagjozi and Vatra’s Board that Dielli would no longer be a bulletin publication with 3-4 issues a year as had been the case in the last three decades prior to my coming abroad. It was time to have a monthly paper. In preparing the 60 page number of November 2009, I was able to allow ‘vatrans’ to be part of the Flag Day featured in the paper through congratulatory messages, interviews, photos and advertising. Besides Vatra and its members, the paper gives space to numerous organizations and businesses that support the community and the newspaper. This last point brings me to a matter of importance with respect to the special issues, namely the financial wellbeing of the newspaper. It is a fundraiser. It is well known that Dielli is published for nearly 11 decades thanks to the contributions of the members of Vatra. The big issue generates enough support in order to secure the continuation of the paper. Dielli is Vatra’s publication but it belongs to all the Albanians in the US and Canada. It has the distinctive status of being the oldest paper in record of the Albanian World from the time of the Renaissance.
-How has your initial concept evolved from its origins to the present day?
-Evolution of the special issue has been twofold, in content and in presentation. The first time it carried 60 pages, the following November we added 24 new pages and in 2011 the Independence number had 96 pages, a number which increased to 108 which is where it stands today. As far as substance, the variety of topics and subjects is diverse, and covers a lot of ground, while the page design is refined and modernized.
-What will the reader find in the pages of Dielli of November 2018?
– The special number of Nëntor 2018 which is also the Year of our National Hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu will reflect a festive atmosphere as well as give the reader an array of articles with historical content from the time of Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu raising the Flag in Kruje on Novermber 28, 1443 to the next raising of our flag by Ismail Qemali on November 28, 1912 in Vlore, there will be essays and chronicles, historical writings in both languages Albanian and English, editorials and commentaries, messages and congratulations from fellow Albanians for our Flag Day. Part of it will cover important events of this year such as the expatriation of the remains of one of the signatories of the Independence Declaration Act, the Minister of the first Government established in Vlore, Mid’hat Frasheri, etc.
-Since the events that mark the anniversary of Vatra’s Foundation and the festivities of the Independence Day are only a few months apart, how do you prepare for such large -scale activities?
– Apart from those two major gatherings, there is a third event for Dielli itself that is coming up in the next year namely the 110th anniversary of the newpaper. Vatra will convene a team for a well-deserved adequate celebration of the paper which predates the organization by three years. Dielli has been the platform for Vatra to perform some works of national importance and the paper has been an effective medium. On the 60th anniversary of Dielli, Vatra brought together the members of the community and the Arberesh of Italy in a series of activities and events in Boston and New York. The upcoming 110th anniversary may be celebrated in conjunction with Vatra’s 107th commemoration which would be beneficial to both as well as serve the community and mainly the national interests which drives Vatra.
-On your capacity as a member of the Organizing Committee, who are the main speakers and guests of honor at the November 30th event?
– Vatra has a time-honored tradition of 106 years in the celebration of the Flag Day and makes efforts to fine point the organizing aspect. This year there are two chairmen in charge of the event, Lek Mirakaj who has been with Vatra for almost three decades and Dritan Haxhia, a member of the recent years, who has mastered the art of photography and is well-qualified in the area of organizing artistic events. Therefore, they have set out to bring their new vision to this year’s celebration of independence. There will not be many speeches save the brief address of Vatra’s Chairman Dritan Mishto, and a concise greeting from the Chairwoman of the Authority on the Sigurimi Dossier. Gentjana Sula, who along with Simon Mirakaj and other representatives from the institution will be attending the evening to celebrate Independence Day with Vatra and the Albanian community.
Let me make an announcement on the topic of their visit. On December 2 2018 there will be a town hall style meeting with the Authority on the Sigurimi Dossier starting at noon at the Royal Regency Hotel. More information will be available and the guests will answer questions from the public. There will be a screening of a documentary related to the events that took place in Albania for half a century. In the evening, Vatra will award members who have been part of the organization for nearly five decades as well as other individuals who have been actively contributing in the interest of the nation.
-The last weekend of the month, specifically the 30 of November are booked by a number of organizations and associations all around the city for the occasion. What is the attraction for the participants who will attend Vatra’s celebrations?
– Vatra celebrates along with several organizations that join the Federation on this occasion as they have done continuously. The dinner will be a family event in the Albanian tradition. While trying to avoid the clamor and scramble, there will be something for everyone including the children who will come to dinner. Frederik Ndoci and Gezim Nika, two gifted artists, will be joined by performers of the community and homeland to make the evening enjoyable. There will be a professional dance group that will bring a sample of the rich variety of dances from different parts of the country.
This year’s dinner will take place at Royal Regency Hotel, where there are ample spaces and available parking. It is encouraging that up to date 90 per cent of the reservations for the main hall have been booked.
Thank you for the interview! (Rafaela Prifti)