From: Andon Dede
Albania Needs Another “December”

How happy were we in that December of 1990! Like children we believed that from now on we would be like the rest of the world. Not only were we liberated from the chains of one of the cruelest dictatorship that this country had ever known, but we also got the green light, a light toward freedom, welfare, prosperity, and the good things those would bring.

But we were disappointed soon enough, in every way. This disappointment was more terrible, more destructive, and harder to handle compared to the one our parents had to go through, after World War II. Not because they did not eat with a golden spoon as they were promised, but had a new loop around their neck that they had never tried before. Why do I say this? At the end, the dictator and his clique did not hide they were under a dictatorship of the so-called ”proletariat,” despite that the ones in power had nothing in common with the proletariat or the hungry crowds.

This present disappointment is harder to swallow when you think that it comes at a totally different time from the one after the war; we believed that they belonged to a different “race,” the democratic one apparently. But it was not meant to be. Even them, like all other powerful people, were soon transformed. I say they were transformed and changed because in the beginning some of them were somehow idealistic, but experience showed what the rest of the world had experienced for a long time, that power is stronger than any other ideology or ideal.

The political class that has ruled during this quarter century, no matter the side, has discredited itself and has lost the right to further govern. But just go and try to remove them, it is rather hard than you think, an perhaps even impossible!


I often ask myself, and I guess this is also a question many others share with me: How is it possible that Enver stayed in power for close to half century when many honest and wise people understood since the beginning that he was a criminal and a deceiver who did not care about his people or his closest friends or fellow workers, or even the people who had put their lives to risk for him?! And I understood the answer long time ago: The first thing every dictator does is to create a system that holds and strengthens his power and keeps others under its yoke. This is what Enver Hoxha did too right when he took power. He brought the uneducated legions from the most distant villages and placed them in the ranks of aparatchiks and the infamous security service. Because they tasted a new life and had many conveniences they were ready to kill their kin if they were asked to do so.

Now let us jump to our times. The current rulers have understood and adopted this “secret” to the core and have also applied it with success by creating an administrative and security structure that has made it hard or close to impossible to move the chairs where they are seated. Whether they in opposition or in power, this does not make any difference of importance to me anymore. They exact the same wrongs and misery upon the unprotected masses that must endure them.

Everything that I expressed above, force me to think that Albania can be saved from this swamp only through another “December” that would remove from power or politics this abundance of deceivers, thieves, criminals, who in the quarter century we left behind have thought and worked only for their own benefit and have degraded the people in the worst possible sense, forcing them after twenty five years of pluralism to immigrate in order to survive. A shameful feeling and terror catches me off guard every time I get information from the media that we are in the second place in the world after Syria for the number of asylum seekers. The Syrians seek asylum to survive and to save their lives from the cruel war and aerial bombing, both from friends or enemies, but who is forcing our citizens to take the painful road of immigration, even in this new century?! This fact would be sufficient to understand who has governed and is continuing to do so in Albania during the last quarter century of the so-called transition, of which only God knows when it will end. Can you trust the fates of countries and peoples to these politicians, whether with or without power? The only solution would be a new beginning with a new mentality and a new people. I do not expect a solution through elections even if they were “free and fair” as the actual protesters in the tent built in front of the Prime Ministry pretend. Haven’t they been fully convinced during the last 25 years that such a claim in Albania is more or less a perfectly utopian?! Who will secure them? This so-called “caretaker government,” electronic voting, or the internationals, who are becoming ridiculous with the refrain they apply every other four years that “last elections were a step ahead, despite having many problems,” and other similar shams?! Therefore I state that it would be an unforgivable naivety to expect crucial changes through elections, as political rotations have convincingly affirmed until now.


When I express that we need another “December,” I am do not mean to follow the same course of actions as we did in the nineties. The times have changed, and the inner and outer circumstances have also altered. Even though the gap between the rich and the poor remains present all around the country, the ones who were capable of exploiting the new system are better positioned than the rest of the people, which remained in destitution. With another “December” I mean saying goodbye to this class of oligarchs and burglars from the political scene and their replacement with a new and more educated class that aspires to Western standards.

I am aware that my thoughts contain a big contradiction: on the one hand there is the need for the current political class to leave, but on the other hand I accept that change is improbable because the power hungry have strengthened and secured their position in such a way that it is impossible to intrude. What could be done in this case? It has become absolutely necessary to overcome this situation, but how?

I know that what I am saying is not news especially considering the first diagnosis, to escape from a system that resembles oligarchy and dictatorship. As regards the solution, while seeming impossible, the media have juggled different ideas, and a willingness to show people how it is done. A considerable part of them have agreed that the masses should be made aware of the position and changes that must be undertaken. Others are so fatalistic that they deny any possible progress in the obscure Albanian reality. There are those that believe that we can overcome this situation only through internationals… Other thoughts and ideas have been juggled around too. I agree and disagree with all of them. Why? The reality before the nineties seemed an eternity, forever cemented in existence, impossible to alter or move? But the miracle came. External and internal factors played a role in toppling that reality, because the people were extremely upset and the eastern communist world had been simmering for a long time. Both these factors caused December 1990.

What is the deal now? We are living in different times and conditions but some analogies stand true, such as the above. An increase in people’s awareness followed by a string of simultaneous actions taken with the help of the internationals could achieve something to hinder the class of oligarchs from furthering their occupation, whether they are in power or in opposition.

If we compare Albania with a sick person before he is medicated, let’s go back to know the reasons of the illness. What caused it? How could the new political class replace the old, instead of building a completely new one where real concepts of democracy could be in work, fighting abusive power? The answer is clear for many who have a minimal social and cultural knowledge of Albanian reality: the lack of institutions! Why do I say this? Corruption and criminality are common in other countries of the world with well established democracy too. What makes the difference in Albania are the “fathers” of democracy and their empty speeches, especially regarding the judicial reform. They draft laws inspired by foreign experiences that can be found in abundance, and then they apply them strictly to the Albanian reality. To be convinced about this, it’s enough to answer a simple question: the oligarchic-criminal state that has been installed here, didn’t it come from a place where there is a lack of laws, and that’s why we need reforms, right?! No, absolutely not! Let me go further and ask: the laws of Enver Hoxha regime were the only negative side of the system? Again my answer is absolutely not, it was the fact that they were not implemented!

Assuming that we agree on this, there is another problem, more complicated than the first: what can we do with our highly corrupted institutions?! Who are we going to employ in these institutions that will respect the laws and create a suffocating atmosphere for criminals and burglars?

To escape this situation I would say it is still possible but hard. How? My answer is the one from the beginning: let’s try another “December,” a velvet revolution, soft and spread gradually. To climb the top of a mountain, one must take the first step. The internationals can help us with monitoring and directing the institutions, but not as they have done until now, when they have become compromised by our ruling class in many occasions.