A family tragedy which illustrates the Albanian national drama

A family tragedy which illustrates the Albanian national drama

Tirana, 24 August 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

Ela Haziraj would not become this famous for the Albanian and German public, if her life hadn’t come to an end in a tragic way, there where she was dreaming to change her life.

At the prime of her youth, only 23 years of age, Ela, along with her fiancé, Saimir Gjokpalaj (photo), left for Germany in search of a better life.

In Albania, they had no work and no hope.

Saimir from Elbasan had completed his studies in Political Sciences, while his fiancée from Kukes, had studied Albanian Language and Literature. Both of them had studied in Tirana, where they knew each other and fell in love. Both of them tried to do different jobs in the metropolis, but in the absence of a job, they were forced to travel to Germany and seek asylum.

Ela was the eldest daughter of a family with four children. Her father worked as a driver in a company and most of the time, he didn’t work. Her mother, unemployed.

Meanwhile, Ela, the eldest child of a family who lived in very difficult circumstances, like thousands of other Albanian families, chose the path of migration.

But the dream to escape misery and poverty, came to an end as a result of a tragic accident. A few days after her asylum application was refused, along with her fiancé, she was in a train station on their way to a camp. In a fatal moment, while they were talking to their relatives in Albania through a mobile phone, an accident occurred. A freight train claimed Ela’s life and caused serious wounds for her fiancé.

But the cause that led to this tragedy is much bigger. This is not just an individual tragedy. What happened to Ela is a family tragedy and also a national one, because it’s the drama of thousands and thousands of Albanians from Kukes and the whole of Albania, who leave, as they have borrowed money and have sold every possession that they had, because they are unemployed and hopeless.

Leader of opposition: The exodus is a national drama, those who caused it do not speak

For the leader of the Albanian opposition, the causes of this national tragedy relate to those who do not speak and are indifferent. It seems that Basha is referring to the refusal of PM Edi Rama to comment on the issue of asylum seekers in the last press conference. “It’s terrible when one hears and sees the positioning of those who caused this national tragedy, which is now becoming international. The indifference and their stance shows their responsibility. A responsibility which first of all comes as a result of the lack of sensitivity toward the problems that people have, their unemployment and poverty. This lack of insensitivity produces violence, high taxes which cause more unemployment and more poverty”, Basha says.

The democrat leader says that this national tragedy requires a national response. But how can this response be achieved? Basha says that the opposition has a plan: “First of all, the solution comes by identifying ways on how to solve the crisis which obliges Albanians to leave the country massively, like never before. Secondly, by finding the means to implement this rescue plan. The means are in the hands of the people, because in a democracy, there’s nothing that isn’t depreciated by the joint strength of the people. There’s no law that would challenge the unity of the people”.

The leader of the opposition visited the family of the deceased in the north of the country. There, he appealed for Albanians to find their solutions in the country where they live and not abroad. “Let us search and decide the solution of this unacceptable solution which makes our fellow countrymen leave the country on a daily basis, here and not abroad. Let us do this by identifying the causes, taking responsibilities for the solutions and by showing their place to the people who caused this tragedy”, Basha said.

Swarming toward Germany continues, the government appeals for help to the EU

The government hasn’t made any comments recently on the issue of asylum seekers. Earlier, PM Edi Rama said that Albanians are cannot be granted asylum in the European Union. According to him, this is “a social problem, which can be softened through EU’s economic and political support for Albania”.

Meanwhile, large numbers of Albanians who went to Germany with the hope of being granted asylum didn’t stop even last month.

According to the monthly report of the German Interior Ministry, 7633 Albanians sought asylum in Germany last month, around 1700 more than the previous month. Even in July, Albanians ranked second, as far as the number of asylum applications are concerned, after the Syrians with 9413 applications. Syria and Albania are the only countries from which asylum applications to Germany saw the highest growth. But there’s a difference” In Syria there’s war and people have a strong motive to leave.

The opposite happens with neighboring countries such as Serbia, FYROM and Bosnia, where the growth rates are low. Meanwhile, Kosovo is seeing a decrease of the number of applications.

For the period January-July 2015, there were 30 thousand asylum applications from Albania and this ranks the country third after Syria and Kosovo.

German Minister of Interior, Thomas De Maiziere, says that the number of refugees in Germany this year is expected to reach an all time high of 800 thousand people, twice as much as in 1992, as a result of the war in former Yugoslavia.

European agency for frontiers, Frontex, has also published several figures where it says that for the period January-July 2015, the number of asylum applications in the EU countries has reached a figure of 400 thousand.

Asylum seekers complain about violation of rights, the embassy denies

German diplomats in Albania have recently said that asylum procedures in Germany will be sped up. This aims at repatriating as many applicants as possible.

In the recent days, there have been many complaints by Albanians who have applied for asylum. They say that they were not informed by German authorities that their application was refused and they were not informed that they were going to be repatriated to Albania.

German embassy to Tirana says that these are false claims. According to it, the people who are subject to repatriation or deportation from Germany, have been clearly informed by authorities. The embassy also says that the authorities have responded to all the questions of the asylum seekers in the presence of interpreters.

A job or asylum in Germany?

German experts call on migrants from the Balkan not to seek asylum, but focus on chances for employment. Herbert Bruker of the German Institute for the Labor Market, says that the German economy needs citizens from Albania, Kosovo or the Balkan, but depending on the qualification and skills that they bring.

“In the past five years, the German labor market has created around 1 million new jobs for foreigners, mainly in branches such as gastronomy, hotels, agriculture, healthcare system for elderly people and engineering. These are professions which require very little qualification, but on the other hand, they are physically and psychologically hard jobs”.

Vienna Summitt, Merkel will demand a solution for asylum seekers

Massive arrivals of asylum seekers from Western Balkan is one of the big concerns for the German government. Citizens from these countries make up for 45% of the general number of asylum seekers in Germany in these 7 months.

German chancellor, Angela Merkel has decided to discuss the ways on how to stop the arrivals from Western Balkan during the Vienna conference, which will see the presence of the leader of the countries of the region and among them is also the Albanian PM, Edi Rama.

One of the much discussed alternatives is for the European Union to declare Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro as safe countries of origin, with the hope that this will put an end to the arrivals once and for all.

This measure means that all asylum requests will be refused by the authorities in the EU member countries. The same decision was taken a year ago on for Serbia, FYROM and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Meanwhile, German Interior Minister, Tomas de Mezier, spoke about the issue of asylum seekers from Paris, where he met these days with his French counterpart. He said that the reintroduction of the visa regime for Albania and Balkan countries is not ruled out as a way of stopping asylum seekers from going to Germany. /ibna/