Fatos Lubonja is an Albanian political analyst. He spent 17 years in the prisons of dictator Enver Hoxha. He was imprisoned in a cell for 7 years. There he wrote a novel and a diary on cigarette paper, which he hid in the cover of a dictionary. He was released in 1991. He sharply criticized key political figures in Albania, such as Prime Minister Edi Rama, former President Sali Berisha and former Kosovo Liberation Army leader Ramush Haradinaj.
I am not optimistic about the situation in Albania, I am even pessimistic. In the 1990s, after the fall of communism, we believed that we needed a transitional period to move forward, but we were convinced that we were on the right track. We believed in the myth of transition. For us, the transition had to mean the establishment of European democratic values and respect for human rights. This optimism was inspired by Francis Fukoyama’s ideas for the end of the history. The West had reached the end of history. Our pro-Western elite, with the help of Western elites, had to take us out of the desert we were in.
After 30 years of experience, things look very different. I am no longer talking about transition, but that we are on a bad path, especially in an economy that is unable to fight on the world market and relies on emigration aid. The talk of liberalism, the free man and human rights has been replaced by cruel capitalism [oligarchy] and the inability to create a society.
We didn’t have a society in Albania before. There was forced collectivization. A dictatorship ruled by one man who suffocated every person and having responsibility. The citizens were in the position of children. The children who had lost their parents found themselves in a world of extreme individualism. At the same time, we must not forget the authoritarian mentality that has flourished for centuries. The parties that were formed did not carry a democratic spirit, they are parties of the oligarchy with a criminal environment. They do not pursue economic policies in favor of the people, but they have a criminal environment that guarantees their existence. We are living in an authoritarian regime again. The only thing I will add is that there is no police regime since the time of Enver Hoxha.
The oligarchs took over all the parties that lost their own resources. The media is also in their hands. They also have complete control over the justice system. After all, we have three gangs: Eddie Rama’s Socialist Party, Sally Berisha’s party and a smaller one. This is what I call Putinism. The opposition and the media exist, but their influence is insignificant. We have entered a period in which there is no change, no rotation.
On the other hand, the US and the EU partner with authoritarian regimes. They are not interested enough in what is happening in the Balkans. Moreover, given that they themselves are going through times of crisis and are not interested in the progress of democratic processes in the region. Europe has also lost its compass. We believed that the end of history had come in Europe, but that is not true. So we are in a situation that I call drug capitalism. It is not clear in which direction Europe is heading, and it is not clear which direction we ourselves are heading. In short, this Europe is not the one we dreamed of. We were left without perspective.
For the Balkans, I believe that Europe’s commitment from the 1990s and a strong personal commitment to defending European values are needed. But by no means can this be the approach of our Prime Minister Edi Rama, who is offers a solution to the problem of young people leaving Albania, because they do not see their future here, by bringing people, for example from Bangladesh. They do not understand our language, he will not have problems with them, but when they learn our language and start protesting, he will replace them with others. For him, people are just a tool!
In analyzing the economic world, which actually determines the political world, we understand that the economy is in the hands of the mafia. There are more and more people among the deputies who are part of the criminal structures. If your money comes from human trafficking, drugs and the like, you start criminalizing society as a whole. It is enough to look at the construction in Tirana. Old Tirana no longer exists. Things get the best answer in the book The Secret History of the ‘Ndrangheta by Nicola Gratteri and Antonio Nicaso, who describe in detail how the ‘Ndrangheta Mafia is becoming the dominant class in Calabria. “This is exactly what is happening in Albania at an extremely high rate. Albania is in the same situation as Calabria in the 1960s. Illegally earned money must be legalized. Personally, I call this period turbo drug-capitalism.”
Today, intellectuals are corrupt, but their situation is not much different from that of Enver Hoxha, when he forced intellectuals to serve the regime.
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