From: Alba Mborja
The Floods Serve To Change the Discussion

A weekend of rain shocked more than half of the country, leading to 60 destroyed bridges, 50 heavily damaged school, 10,000 hectares and 3,500 houses flooded, the main arteries of the country blocked for about 20 hours, dozens of electrical cabins under water, the Tirana Water Supply shut down for an entire day because of  “turbulence,” many destroyed riverbanks, and, above all, a sea of dirt covering the cities that the government thought to have improved through costly investments under the slogan of “Urban Renaissance.”

But the government keeps track of the balance of its “triumph”: 1,500 people “saved” with trucks, boats, and helicopters, 6,400 statesmen ready to intervene, scenes showing the main politicians of the country embracing citizens, the unmissable mayor who personally hands out food aid, beautiful pictures of rescuing squads in uniforms and helmets outfitted with flashlights, just like on US television. A carefully crafted image of a solidary country fighting the atmospheric misfortune, happy to have “contained the losses” thanks to investments and policies (hardly known by anyone) of the last years.

Of course there were words of appreciation of the opposition leader engaged in solidarity with the government, and another attack against the party that is longer in the government, whose former minister is now held responsible for not investing the funds to protect the territory – funds that were never there in the first place.

And finally, the publication of a video with a group of faithful party militants embracing and kissing the hands of the prime minister, thanking him for visiting them during these difficult days.

Two entire days of live television with journalists bringing the catastrophe as yet another “event of proportions never seen before.” Heroic stories about tractors cutting through 30 cm of water in front of houses and barracks built irresponsibly not more than 2 meters from the railway tracks. Entire hours of transmitting images of a brilliant group of “young saviors,” equipped with an aluminium boat, or drone footage showing the “unprecedented” floods. In the end, the live transmission of the troublesome and heroic entrance of dozens of policemen lifting a rubber boat on a riverbank between two flooded basins, recalling two mythical cinematographic feats, the marines raising the flag on the island of Iwo Jima, and Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo.

Modernism has arrived in Albania too and, with the help of a visionary director who showed the callousness of nature, the reborn civilization triumphed in a spectacular manner.

From the early hours onward, the message that was transmitted by all the media, citing the prime minister, was clear: “we have significantly improved our ability to respond to floods,” but no one could actually tell what had been done concretely to achieve this improvement.

But again it seems that the narrative technique needs some improvement because the first two days the content of the interviews of technical personnel charged with different parts of the country were always the same: “We’re here, at the place of need, and we are ready to intervene should the need arise… and now we hope that the rain will stop.” The images then showed the trucks of the armed forces, on both sides of a small bridge, surrounded by police and military waiting for the water to stop destroying the already damaged object, only to declare triumphantly that with the help civilians the government immediately constructed a military bridge.

Against the fury of nature, naturally, there is nothing that a man or government can do, inshallah!

In fact, something could have been done in advance and not afterward, but in this country the government thinks only about today and how to present the citizens with a reality so beautiful that they don’t manage to judge it.

Or maybe, in this case, it thinks about how to stage a large production in a way that the discussion will change and switch to talk about “the bad luck” over which “goodwill” doesn’t manage to prevail, instead of focusing on drugs and money laundering, an even more destructive phenomenon that could be overcome by political goodwill alone.

It is not an accident that in the spaces of the Hydrological Institute, where once upon a state the government studied rainfall and floods, nowadays hosts theater plays after the government chose to transform it into the Turbine Theater.