From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Alice’s Weekly Roundup: Seven Things We Learned This Week

This is Alice’s tongue-in-cheek take on the main news in Albania over the last week.

Thousands of People Run Away from the Mayor in Tirana

Yesterday, in the centre of Tirana, some 1700 people ran away from Mayor Erion Veliaj as fast as they could. A group of Kenyan’s out for a morning coffee, heard Veliaj speaking through a microphone around the Skanderbeg Square area, and decided to sprint as fast as possible away from Veliaj as he stood on a stage talking.

Accidental winner of the mens half marathon, Abel Kibet Rop said, “We are on a weekend break to Tirana and decided to go out and enjoy the morning air when I heard this horrendous sound. It was like nails on a chalkboard so we just legged it in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, we got lost and ended up in the same place where the little man with the annoying voice gave us a medal. It was all very confusing.”

Tirana Municipality employee Ilda Hoxha who was forced to take part under threat of losing her job told Exit, “I hate my life” before limping off into the distance muttering under her breath.

During the event, Mayor Veliaj released hundreds of balloons into the sky whilst shouting “screw the turtles, screw the environment, I’m the Mayor!

Runners saved up all the bottles of water they were handed out along the route so they could shower afterwards due to the consistent lack of running water, everywhere except Veliaj’s house.

I Won My Case against the Interior Ministry and the Immigration Police

After eight months of fighting the corrupt buggers who revoked my residence permit when I was six months pregnant because I dared to criticise their Supreme Leader, I won my case. 

One of the few honest judges in the country, Semiramis Hoxholli ruled that I was right and that the police should issue my permit, pay all court fees, and basically leave me to get on with my life in Albania. The government’s attempt to intimidate me into silence backfired spectacularly and made them look like utter fools.

Next up this week is my defamation case against Mero Baze. I can’t wait to see him provide evidence that I am a Russian spy and paid by the Opposition. Spoiler Alert: There isn’t any because I am not.

OSCE Ambassador Gave Albanian Citizens the Finger

The OSCE’s Ambassador to Albania Berndt Borchardt made his real feelings about Albanians known yesterday. 

As citizens were protesting outside of the police directorate in Tirana, following the arrest of 15 people who were defending the demolition of their homes and businesses, Borchardt was filmed and photographed giving the assembled crowd the finger.

His hand gesture, usually used by petulant teenage boys means “f**k off” and is widely considered as rather insulting, but at the same time, pathetically childish. For an aging diplomat, representing an international organisation that is supposed to represent security and cooperation to insult citizens exercising their human rights to protest, is exceptionally poor form.

As a response to the outrage caused by his actions, Borchardt tweeted that he apologised to anyone who “may be offended” and said he respects their right to protest. This is of course, utter nonsense because if he truly did respect their right, he wouldn’t have told them to “f**k off” as he walked past.

Little Taulant Balla didn’t hesitate to endorse a foreign diplomat telling Albanian citizens to “f**k off”. 

It seems that Albania seems to get washed up diplomats that no one else will take, all of which seem to have a predisposition towards supporting an increasingly authoritarian rule in Albania.

Protecting Your Homes against Corrupt Government Projects Is Now a Crime

The actions of the Police and elite special forces squad were praised on Sunday night for their quick response to the terrifying presence of men, women and children, standing in the street to protest against the demolition of their homes.

Special Forces officer Ilir Cela said “we received reports of a particularly threatening four year old and his mother who disagreed with their livelihood being bulldozed to make way for a government backed money laundering scheme. We reacted completely proportionately to the threat by making the situation 100% worse.”

Fifteen citizens were arrested for exercising their human right to protest.

Genocide Denier Wins Nobel Prize, Pissing Off Albanians

The 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature was won by Peter Handke, an Austrian author who spent most of his career denying that Serbs murdered 8000 Bosniak men at Srebrenica and raped, assaulted, abused, and removed 30,000 Bosniak women. 

His response to being called out on these claims was that they person asking the questions should stick the victims corpses up their asses, although personally I think the insertion of his entire bibliography would be more appropriate.

His award was widely condemned by members of the public, NGOs and politicians including Edi Rama and Gent Cakaj with many being surprised that either of the politicians had even heard of Handke in the first place. 

Edi Rama Cries Crocodile Tears for Persecuted Minorities

This week, Prime Minister Edi Rama came out in support of women who suffer violence. After already claiming to support LGBT, Roma, Egyptians, and the disabled despite this being a total lie, he decided to add women into the mix to complete the line up of people consistently persecuted in Albania.

Rama, who was accused on a now-cancelled (allegedly at his request) television show of “pinching” a woman at the Sheraton Hotel in 2013, tried to convince people that he really does care about the plight of women in a country where over 4000 court orders are issued every year, and almost 100 women have been murdered since he took office. In addition to this, the percentage of women who are likely to suffer domestic violence during their life has increased from 50% to 67% under his regime. 

His utter nonsense was immediately called out by Albana Vokshi who called his embarrassingly false tirade “crocodile tears”, noting that his government has not done one single thing to improve the lives or safety of women in Albania. 

Rama also received wrath from Albanian LGBT organisations for pretending to the UN General Assembly in New York that he has some kind of plan to improve the rights of marginalised groups. In a rebuke, the organisations called his comments “empty promises” designed to “nourish a false and untrue image of Albania as an accepting country.”

Socialist Party Ignore Electoral Reform because they Would Never Win Another Election If They Didn’t

A Socialist Party MP involved in election rigging who sits on a Committee designed to stop vote rigging from happening has ignored proposals for electoral reform put forward by the Opposition.

MP Damian Gjiknuri whose voice appears on leaked prosecutions wiretaps showing the government, state officials, police, and criminal gangs colluding to rig the 2016 local and 2017 general elections. The Socialist Party then put him in charge of the Electoral Reform Parliamentary Commission, presumably to ensure that no reform takes place, so that they can rig the next elections as well.