From: Artan Rama
Achievements of a Small Victory

In order to understand the outcomes of decisions reached by a unjust justice, it was sufficient to observe the unusual enthusiasm of the protesters by the Venetian Tower in Durrës, when they were approached by a group of activists who just came out of the court room.

Unable to withhold the movements of victory in their bodies and faces, the result was esasy to understand: the Administrative Court had decided in their favor, discontinuing the construction work! The public concern expressed by a handful of activists had brought its first victory in the struggle to put a stop to the construction work that would endanger the city’s heritage.

Sun had risen into its golden hour and maybe, with reason, a physical coincidence like this could have been a metaphor that the thousand-years-old city of Durrës promised a different tomorrow.

This victory is temporary and incomplete, and no one is as vain as to believe otherwise, but it remains an achievement regardless! There are some reasons for this.

When I got the initial signals, no one could say anything with certainty. Local media were asleep in spite of the heavy construction machinery digging deep underground. In the name of the construction of the new square at the entrance of the port, initiated and supported by the omnipotent mayor, the Regional Directorate of Culture remained silent as well! But thanks to certain people, common citizens of the city, the first pictures from the site were uploaded on the web… The danger of possible harm to ancient ruins was clear. The conscience of citizens was awakened.

The bureaucracy was shaken by these events.

…does the victory belong to the civil society? Many would say so. This time functioned differently, making it unique and distinct, reflecting an unusual and deep characteristic that is not superficial and serving only as a tag, or a general name, that for many years we have called civil society. This was a voluntary action, a struggle that was triggered by a deeper conscience, a sense of belonging and not a forced action of a calculated relationship with profit motives.

The second reason has to do with the truth and its power! In a very short time, the mask of deception fell! The mayor was trying to hide it but the activists said otherwise, the work was conducted in a prohibited area without the presence of archeologists. The mayor’s offenses are enough for him to be held criminally liable.

What is more, this decision reflects the good taste of hope, a fair justice that can nourish the civilian movement. This was a simple but fair act in the interest of public issues, the judges returned the faith and the will that were waning, until this day, from the unsuccessful encounters with a corrupted administrate that serves the interests of an oligarchy.

The decision reached on February 16 could be considered a victory also for the way it was reported. While the protesters gathered in front of the Tower, the old media transmitted scenes of brawls from the Parliament. Aired through big colorful subtitles, with voice and image, the brawls of deputies blocked for many hours the TV screen while the activists’ victory was almost missing! It was only reported in passing.

It exploded on the web, however, getting thousands of comments and people’s support. It got supported by the activists that stood against the unprincipled intervention of the mayor of Tirana at the Lake Park, it was supported by the activists from Vlora that broke the car chains placed by the concession holder and opposed the decision of the mayor of Vlora. It got support from activists all over the country who rose against government’s attempt to allow the waste import. There are many achievements in this small victory.

This decision is a victory for the new media.

And now, after this surprising and favorable decision, the time remaining for the volunteers to accumulate some energy is short. The need to transform these powers in order to support the archeologists and urban architects is a new duty, so that the greed of private investors to devour the heritage, mistaking it for development, gets the final blow!