From: Blendi Fevziu
The Double Standard of Albania

Two days ago, during late evening, some portals were still working on the news that anti-terror police troops had brought Kastriot Myftaraj into the police station. He is a public persona, and one can call him many names, and in 100% of the cases many, including me, do not agree with him. The police arrested Myftaraj because he had published an article against the EU ambassador Romana Vlahutin. Apparently, the article promoted hate and violence. I haven’t read the article of Kastriot Myftaraj.

I haven’t read any of his articles for that matter. But, I have usually felt the noise they make in public. A mix of paranoia with slander, insults, scolding, fabrications, and often threats. I know that a few years back he published a book of 900 pages against me. Recently, he did a series of articles that were surely significantly more aggressive and insulting compared to the one directed to Ambassador Vlahutin. I haven’t paid attention to any of this. I haven’t taken them seriously but, today, I consider his arrest very serious. Not that I feel bad for Myftaraj, I don’t even appreciate him. But his arrest testifies to the law being selective and for this reason unfair and unable to create justice. There are two reasons why I believe this. First, Myftaraj’s articles have always been full of slander and insults against other public people in Albania. I doubt there is a politician or media personality that was saved from his hostility. These have been his ways for years.

Once in early 2000, and this was the only case, if I am not mistaken, he was arrested and accused of inciting religious hatred. I haven’t followed this case to learn the details in order to assess it. But in all other cases, the anti-terrorist units, prosecution office, journalist associations, or other non-profits that protest for anything and everything didn’t undertake any action regarding this. No declarations or clarifications, neither normal legal procedures that could have served to protect the ones affected. But, when a foreign ambassador was affected, then the government took action. This is a typical double standard. Before the law, everyone should be the same. The law cannot protect an ambassador and dismiss another just because he is an Albanian citizen. Myftaraj could have faced the law before, but this time he is being held accountable not for his words, but rather because of fear and a certain degree of self-consciousness we feel toward foreigners.

Second, the law wasn’t being applied the same way for everyone. Myftaraj’s articles are full of insults. How many more wander around in the Albanian press with hands inside their pockets filled with dynamites. So many pollute the image of public figures with poison or even excrement. So many defame and incite unlimited hatred even for just born babies or teenagers, their only sin being that their parents are public personalities. So many cause daily traumas in families and incite a silent but rather lethal revenge just for the pleasure they get by harming someone else. Or due to feelings of jealousy, because they haven’t achieved what their prey has. Has any law-abiding institution taken action against them? Has anyone of these people been accompanied to the police station? Has there ever been a court of law, which made a fair judgement, unafraid that the press or politics would use it? Never has there been such a case! That is why Myftaraj’s case is selective.

Third, online portals are full of comments that display hate and bitterness. Every day one can find open calls to violence, murder, hurting, condemning, and direct threats against public personalities. Has the law been applied against them? Never even once. When Majlinda Bregu required a legal rehabilitation regarding this, everyone was against her. Thus, Myftaraj’s case is selective. It should have happened many times with other people.

And last but not least, the language used by politicians is similarly annoying, arrogant, and filled with hatred. Their speeches in parliament, their Facebook posts are often much worse than the articles of the nastiest of journalists. Has any of them been charged? Has anyone taken responsibility for their slander and manipulations? Hardly ever. Everyone has justified it with “this is politics,” seems that politics tolerates violation of law or stands above it. And when this language used by irresponsible, dishonest, and mediocre politicians gets into the press, the fault is passed onto it. So, charging Myftaraj is considered a selective case, without stopping any of the other slanderers. Today, while having been at the center of Myftaraj’s attacks many times before, I am ready to admit that when the law is selective, it doesn’t do justice, but injustice!