For more than a week, Romania has been bustling with massive protests organized by immigrants and civil society activists. Dramatic images of police clashing with citizens managed to break through the drowsy Albanian heat as if to point out the unnatural apathy of a society that is even more problematic than the Romanian one. During the last two years Romania has found itself in a vortex of social turmoil as a result of widespread corruption and suspect legal initiatives of the executive power to pardon high officials convicted precisely of corruption, that, year after year, corroded the efficiency of the Romanian administration. In Albania, too, the Romanian model has been commonly cited in the political scene. The government used the Romanian Justice Reform as one of many gears in its propaganda machine. The opposition has used Romania’s vigor to warn the government that its arrogance towards the opposition and the people may lead the country down a dangerous spiral. Nevertheless, us and Romania have a long history of parallelisms, in which our country has always played the aspirant, whereas Romania, for years, has been the country whose example we must follow.
Romania’s influence on Albania’s political and cultural developments may be seen in various examples, from the Albanian colony of Bucharest, to the spectacular execution of the Ceaușescu couple. The first ones sacrificed their wealth to ensure Albania’s freedom and independence. The second ones, through their death, indirectly avoided bloodshed in Albania and inspired the final overturn of the Stalinist dictatorship. Of course, the second ones left an impression on the drowsy people of Tirana. On January 29, 1990, a significant number of people marched peacefully on Tirana’s central boulevard in solidarity with the 1000 victims of Bucharest’s Victory Square. This was the first protest of the capital city, but by no means the last. Apart from the shadows of of hundreds thousands of people marching on the boulevard tiles, Ceaușescu’s shadow was also cast upon the heads of Ramiz Alia and other bureau members. This demonstration told the regime that the violent oppression and bloodshed would return with tragic ends, not only for them, but their families as well.
28 years ago, the heroism of the Romanian and Hungarian people in Timișoara ignited in Albanians the desire for a democratic regime in which human rights and liberties would not be restricted by any ideology. 28 years later, the Romanian protest have ignited racism and masochism: racism in the form of contempt for an immigrant people with the same problems as us; masochism because contempt for the Romanians’ aspirations of a corruption-free government conceals our ignorance and inability to recognize even the minimum of what Romania is asking for. Unfortunately, Albanians have started liking the swamp in which they and their children barely manage to survive amongst the inferno of politics. Anything that takes place beyond the borders of the farm ruled with an iron hand by the pigs is foreign and meaningless to us. Anyone who comes along and tries to make us see is a spy, a communist, paid to do so, inferior, and fundamentally incapable of showing us the basis of democracy and a lawful state. This allergy to anything foreign harkens back to communist times: a knee-jerk repulsion at the unknown that comes as a symptom of the chronic inferiority Albanians have been suffering from for many years now.