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Getting the timing right

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by Edward Steen, Vienna, September 8, 2023

The sneakier side of the Internet became clear long ago, when Polish priests began suing each other for pinching sermons from each other, and were even warned it could spell jail-time for copy-cat clerics.

Now the issue has hit the world of witticisms, with accusations that Albanian leader Edi Rami – whose country will soon host our annual Congress – himself recently appropriated a morbid joke about President Putin offering his condolences to the widow of the late Wagner leader/owner Evgeny Prigozhin. It has now gone viral.

Rama – all a question of timing. But did he pinch the joke?

Putin’s prime minister was exercised about misunderstandings created by up to nine-hour differing time zones in the vastness of Russia, Edi Rama told hundreds of people attending the recent Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia.

“The prime minister goes to Putin and says: ‘We have a problem. My family was on holiday. I called them to say goodnight but it was already morning with them. They were already on the beach.

“‘I called Olaf Scholz to wish him happy birthday but he said it wasn’t till next day. I called Xi Jinping to wish him happy New Year. He said it was still the old one.’”

“’Happened to me too,“ Putin chipped in. ‘I called Prigozhin’s family to offer my condolences and they said his plane hadn’t taken off yet.’”


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