Denial: the word is unheard of in the Balkans.
If you happen to mention it, the listener goes dumb “Eh?”
It’s not easy to deal with ancient practices. They are rooted in the minds of both simple and sophisticated people. In some intellectual circles they are defined as being part of a greater scheme often tagged as “culture”.
Those who practice denial regularly, following ancient habits, rarely know they are acting though cultural schemes. In fact they have know idea what this is all about.
Nor do we as a matter of fact.
When Edmond appears, he is wearing a Greek expression. Or at least, an expression on masks used in the theatres of Ancient Greek.
Edmond stands contemplating a large pile of car bonnets in his yard, hoping someone will start the talking about the Blue Alfa Romeo he had to dismantle to make a chair. Edmond has his nostalgic moments.
His face has been around the Balkans for thousands of years. No one knows exactly what the expression stands for, but it generally draws respect.
Of course Edmond would deny that his face has anything to do with Greece, and with him a long list of ancestors. And ancestors are important in the Balkans.
Denying the very existence of a nation, as it is for example in Macedonia’s case, is a fact only some bureaucrats in Brussels could come up to terms with, renaming a territory so not to offend the ashes of Alexander the great and it’s legacy, and, at the same time, satisfying Greek national pride .
While Greece denies the very existence of Macedonia, Macedonians deny the existence of the ethnic Albanians living on it’s territory. And they, in turn, deny the very notion that there is a problem at all. After all, they argue, Macedonia is part of Albania, as much of Montenegro and Greece. According to a number of respected experts in classical literature, even the Roman Empire was fundamentally Albanian.
“Why do you say I am late? I am here, and there are your chairs”
“Some of my customers have been waiting six months…”
“You people keep talking of the past. It has been raining, you know perfectly well how things work here, now the sun is shining and the chairs are there”
Logic. Strict logic, with a touch of Balkan wisdom.
We have the chairs. There is no denying that.
And meanwhile, a large number of those chairs has left Paris for Abc New York.