This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al
By Plator Nesturi
The protest organized by the opposition in Saturday caused widespread debates on the participation which was going to be high and the messages that were conveyed. The installations set up by youngsters made more sense than the speeches on the so called Babale. Then, there were also debates on the short duration of the protest, when everyone was expecting this protest to last several days. In the end, what people debated the most was whether this protest could be considered as violent or not. During the protest there were 11 injured police officers and 3 injured protesters. This shows that where there are stones being thrown, damages are caused. However, this is not what the protest will be mostly remembered for.
The main message that we can draw after this protest is the fact that the protest itself could not reach the ears of the majority. If the protest was being held against traffic, connections of politics with the underworld and abusiveness, the opposition not only could not convince the masses that it will act as the guardian of the law and that it will uphold the interests of the citizens, but it could not even put adequate pressure on the majority through the language of force. Once the protest was over, PM Rama not only didn’t show any signs of concern as to what was happening in front of his office, but he even ridiculed Basha for the lack of support. The message of the protest did not reach Rama at all. The reason for this may relate to the fact that the opposition is weak or the form that it chose was not the right one. Although the protest in Kukes had a lower number of participants, it did manage to convey a message. People don’t seem to have any faith on this opposition which remains the same model of Albanian typical party, where the spirit of democracy cannot penetrate and where the main goal for the chairman and his entourage is to concentrate as much power as possible in their hands.
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 happened. 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 28 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, 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.
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.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy