Fatos Lubonja


Birthdate: 1951

Theme: journalism, politics

ECC Participation: panel member

photo: private archive

A writer and a journalist, human rights activist. Imprisoned during the 1973-1991 period by the Albanian regime (the experiences of the life in the cell are an important element of his works ). Became a harsh critic of the post-communist Albania, and while not accepted by many of his compatriots, he is one of the country’s most important ‘ambassadors’. His essays and lectures help Europeans learn more about the history and current affairs of this Balkan nation.

Graduated from the Department of Physics at the University of Tirana. His father, Todi Lubonja, was the general director of Albanian Radio and Television, arrested for succumbing to western influence and departure from the socialist realism. Fatos’ mother, Liri, had also been imprisoned.

“I want our culture to be more introspective, I want us to be able to understand ourselves.”

In 1991 Fatos Lubonja became the secretary of the Albanian branch of the Helsinki Committee. Was active in the Human Rights Forum. Publishes “Endeavour” quarterly, which aims to introduce the readers to the literary output of Albanian intellectuals of the prewar era and to initiate an open debate about the current issues. In 1997 Fatos was briefly imprisoned for opposing the authoritarian inclinations of the government chosen in democratic election. He lost his permanent column in “Shekulli” , the most popular newspaper in the country, when he opposed sending Albanian troops to Iraq.

He is faithful to ideals of freedom and democracy, which is why readily defends civil rights of the former functionaries of the regime. On the other hand he criticizes Ismail Kadare, the most famous Albanian poet, for his servile attitude towards the communist regime. He supports Albania accession bid to the European Union.

His articles were published in “Gazeta Wyborcza”, “Krasnogruda”, and the collection of essays “Nostalgia. Essays on the Longing for Communism”. One of his books, “Albania: Endangered Freedom” was published in Poland in 2005. Lubonja had in turn printed Andrzej Stasiuk’s essay titled “Albania” in his quarterly. Lubonja has received the Alberto Moravia Prize for Literature, the Herder Prize, and Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize Award given for effort made to facilitate rapprochement of cultures and religions.

listen to the content print version