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Fasliu, the character who gave life to Xhuvan's "white path".
Written by Gjon Neçaj 4 Dhjetor 2023
In the 70s of the last century, writers and artists, by a decision of the then Government, were dispersed to the base, to be as close as possible to the "socialist reality". The collectivization of agriculture had just begun and Dhimitër Xhuvani, a 32-year-old man, took the journey towards the North, towards Tropoja, little known by the creators. And he "settles" in a remote province, in a village at the foot of Shkëlzen, Gashi province, in Berbat. That's where the events of the novel "The White Path" begin, published by the publishing house "Naim Frashëri" in 1976. One spring day of this year, in the public library we meet exactly one of the main real characters, who in the book is known as Martin Bukalla, this is Fasli Osmaj. Fasliu kindly agreed to talk about the novel and the author Dhimtër Xhuvani, whom he admired and had remained a hostage of his life since they had never met before. Dhimitri was then a young man even at the age of his real characters. We did a short interview with Fasliu, which he gladly accepted. How was the first meeting with Dhimitër Xhuvani? It was the fall of 1970, I was 25 years old at the time, and I was driving cattle for the agricultural cooperative. One night, when I return home I find a somewhat special guest. My parents, father and mother, told me that he is a writer. The guest has come from Tirana and will stay for a week because they will write in the newspapers about the cooperative, about Berbat. It was a guy about 30 years old, wearing a sweatshirt, thick pants and boots, because it was cold. He also had a scarf wrapped around his neck. He immediately entered into conversation with me, asking me about the village, the cooperative, the cattle. After dinner, he told me that you were an interesting character to include in my book. How many days did he stay in your house and what did Dhimitri do during the day? He woke up early in the morning, drank coffee with his father, which his mother prepared for us, stayed until 10:00 a.m. writing on the men's stove that we had given him. After having breakfast, he went out into the village, came to the stables, or met his fellow villagers, who became the characters of his work. He often told his father that it is a sin for his son not to continue school. He had a briefcase where he kept notepads, notebooks, pencils, and a fountain pen, and he wrote almost every night until late. I have many memories from Dhimitri, but I want to recall one of them that impressed us in those years. My mother, excuse me, used to boil pumpkins, because it was autumn, and she used a spoon to remove the boiled pieces, the top part with seeds. He took the seeds, peeled them and ate them and addressed his mother: "Loke, 4-5 seeds have more calories than the whole pumpkin." I remember that at the time when Dhimitri was there, I fell one day behind the goats, I still have the mark today (points to the leg with the mark at that time), when I went home, he said to ease my pain a little: "Fasli, a popular saying from your side, says "you get fat before you get married",