By Plator Nesturi
Two protests are taking place in Tirana. One of them in a tent in the middle of the central boulevard and the other amid some miserable pieces of cardboard laying on the floor in front of the Ministry of Energy. Meanwhile, throughout Albania, around 30 other protests are taking place for issues relating to compensation for damages caused by floods, unpaid nationalizations of lands, problems that communities have with the construction of new power plants, which deviate rivers, thus blocking irrigation and many other issues which the public opinion is unaware of, because the media is not close to them to report them. In the boulevard, the opposition’s tent is quite big, but it is still waiting to be filled up with protesters. For an interim government to be formed, one must not only call for massive protests, but also to create trust. And it’s this lack of trust toward the political class which forced the residents of Zharra to march 130 km as refugees in their own country and to settle in front of the Ministry of Energy with their sublime protest.
The spirit of discontent is not insignificant in a country such as Albania, where the transition is not coming to an end and where injustices caused by courts, corruption and abuse with power have opened huge gaps and deep social inequalities. All of these small protests could turn into a huge one, but this hasn’t happen, given that the opposition’s tent has remained half full.
Trust is shattered by people who speak on that podium and who wave the same political flags which have destroyed the hopes of common people for the past 27 years. And all of this happens at a time when Europe, which has fewer problems than us, is going through a change of elites. The new European wave, as a civil movement, is calling for essential changes, in response to the political and economic elites, for making them suffer for the economic crisis and recently, in response to the arrogance and demagogy over reforms of growth, which nobody is feeling.
This storm, which is growing more and more in these months of winter, is not even sparing those leaders who up until a while ago were the hope of change, government efficiency and economic growth. Renzi was the most recent victim. Before him, the British Premier Cameron. The French President Holland withdrew from the presidential race, while in Europe, surprises have just started, not only for the countries which are ahead of elections, such as Germany, France and Austria, but also for other countries. Spain, Greece, Portugal and countries of the former Eastern bloc have fragile majorities, where early elections seem a plausible option fueled by domestic disgruntlement and the pressure of the developments in the continent. And leaders like Renzi seem to be the most threatened ones. Eloquent, dynamic, different to the model of the classic politician and who offered so much hope.
But all of this turned into a boomerang as a result of the loss of faith. Albania has always been late in reflecting the changes occurred in Europe. But these changes have always arrived in our coasts. And here, the citizen feels forgotten, exhausted by any political contingent which has promised change, rule of law and economic boom. His hope has been shattered, therefore he wants to move abroad, because he can see that although things may not be going well in Europe, citizens impose themselves on those leaders who have lost their trust. Powerless toward politicians who have “sinned” a hundred times more than their European counterparts, they have chosen to go and never come back. But not everyone will be able to achieve this. Then comes a day when someone must leave once and for all. It’s either the people who must find a new fatherland, or it’s this elite which must leave in the name of change. A nation that is barely surviving cannot be satisfied with the idea that all their problems will be solved and the big Change will happen once the justice system is changed completely.
* The opinion of the author doesn’t necessarily represent IBNA’s editorial line