Chris Keulemans is a writer and journalist living in Amsterdam, Holland. He participated in the IWP in the fall of 2001. Since then, he has been constantly working on a novel-website-documentary called 'The American I never was.'

'Albanians' was written in the summer of 1999. Images of Kosovar refugees spilling across the borders filled our screens. They appealed to a dark fear in the societies of our wealthier part of Europe: the fear of the unknown, hardened, poor, violent masses entering our cities and landscapes with no regard to our rules and customs. An almost medieval premonition, that caused highly decent citizens to define 'our' culture and 'our' civilization in a way that made it very clear that these hardly bear the arrival of these newcomers.

In the meantime, the Albanians have returned to their country. But other refugees are still finding their way. And in the country where I live, Holland, the rise and fall of Pim Fortuyn, a charismatic but dangerously deranged politician, has created a public climate where the fears of 1999 are now very commonly and loudly expressed. Two definitions of what our country stands for clash: one says that we have to keep our country clean and true to highly valued traditions, the other claims that our culture and history consist exactly of being open to newcomers. Both sides cannot stand the other and in their impatience and anger, both tend to defend their positions with violence, shutting up the other with all means necessary. That is what happens in this short play.

PDF icon Albanians (PDF)159.24 KB