From: Sesilia Plasari
Open Letter to Luigi Soreca, The New EU Ambassador to Albania

Dear Sir,

I believe it is right that you should know the disappointment that many Albanians, who had placed high hopes and expectations in you as a new EU ambassador to Albania, felt when they saw your retweet of a picture of Erion Veliaj surrounded by children.

I do recognize that you’ve just started your mission, and despite all your efforts to be informed, it would be too much to expect of you to really know the person whose picture you retweeted, or his efforts, including his loathsome mannerisms, to seduce the young and the old. These mannerisms have become the butt of the jokes and a source of mockery and anecdotes, hence a public concern, which you could easily verify.

The Mayor of Tirana is one of the politicians who, along with other damages to the rest of the city, have been trying to demolish the building of the old National Theater, a monument of multiple, important cultural and historical values. For these efforts to succeed, Mr. Veliaj has stooped to the most loathsome of means. These are unconstitutional means, but unfortunately we are currently in a situation without a functioning Constitutional Court to judge over them. The government is trying to replace this monument of multiple cultural and historical values with a hugely profitable complex, which will be erected alongside a so-called “new theatre” –  all financed by, what else, suspicious sources.

To accomplish his goals, the Mayor has resorted to the most undignified, or more appropriately put, disgusting levels. His verbal accusations against a section of the artists and citizens whose opinions differ from his, can be classified as a gutter jargon which if I would be offended to translate. He has absolutely no intention of apologizing to the public against whom he has proclaimed war; a public whose voice you have yet to hear. You haven’t heard them Mr. Ambassador, because Albania is a country under censorship: the media are muzzled and not allowed to express the indignation of this public; and to keep Albanian society at large, and especially those who are against the destructive Veliaj & Rama plans, informed.

The protest of these people in defense of the National Theatre, as a monument of multiple cultural and historical values, began back in February and it perseveres, to this day. There has been no break or rest period for any of them. They were present every day during the Summer months, protesting in front of the building earmarked for demolition.

Your arrival, nonetheless, was a source of encouragement for them. You come at a moment when an important part of Albanian society feels discouraged by certain foreign diplomats as your important media access will soon allow you to understand. Erion Veliaj has all the main media outlets and the propaganda machine behind him. Your posting on Twitter can only have a negative impact, making him on the other hand, feel even more invincible. Please be informed that Albanian society does have others who deserve your attention. Albania does not have only a Mayor of Tirana who lacks any kind of  professional quality or background apart from an NGO agitprop track record, or a Prime Minister who is the former’s personal political tutor.

If you were to be informed about the methods which Albania’s opinionated Prime Minister uses, opposing the most distinguished of intellectuals of this country, then you would be briefed, for example, on recent comparisons he has drawn equating himself to Engineer Gustave Eiffel. Amongst the senseless delusions with which he struggles to brainwash the public opinion, you can also find the way he compares the “new theatre”, which he claims to offer as a “donation” to the Albanians, to the Eiffel Tower. Yes, as you will soon understand, no one has opposed or protested against the construction of a “new theatre,” wherever that may be built in Tirana, and even less so the protesters themselves. The theater protest by the architects, cultural heritage experts, historians, etc.,  have spearheaded the efforts against the demolition of the existing National Theatre as a monument of multiple cultural and historical values, but never against the construction of a “new theatre.”

With futile efforts, Mr. Rama has even tried to denigrate Maupassant, with his conviction that if the great writer were alive, the Albanian Prime Minister would have convinced him to change his mind. Most likely, as you can imagine, if Maupassant were truly alive, such a character as this Prime Minister would have been a golden inspiration for his satirical works. Therefore, I implore you, concentrate your efforts so that Albanian society does not feel such disappointment again, because it has suffered more than ever these past few years as the trials and tribulations of emigration can prove – relevant facts and figures should be readily available for you.

I, the author of these lines, am a stage producer and lecturer. After 18 years of study and professional activity in France, I returned to contribute to this work in my own country, but I was compelled to leave for a second time because the government in office today treats the artists barbarously. And not just the artists, of course. I also had to leave because in contrast to my colleagues in Albania, who are compelled to keep their mouths shut and tow the line at the real risk of losing their livelihoods, I did not keep my mouth shut. Those of us who do not remain silent or refuse to buckle under, soon find out that there is no employment for them in Albania. The experience of France and the protection it extends me, oblige me not to remain silent, not to conform, but to speak out also on behalf of those who can’t; and also to write to you.

Please accept, honoured Ambassador, my considerations of the highest respect,

Yours faithfully,

Sesilia Plasari