From: Alice Taylor
The Motivation Behind Albania’s Best Political Meme

A meme providing a snapshot of every political leaning in Albania has made waves on social media as users seek to figure out where on the spectrum they lie while accepting some cold, hard truths.

The “Political compass of Albania” meme provides a diagram dividing all political leanings in the country. From authoritarian to libertarian and left to right.

It includes gems such as the “Former Sigurimi Spy,” who spied on his wife, has a mountain of files in his basement, and doesn’t want the archives to be opened.

On the other end of the scale are the anti-vax and anti-Soros character who thinks COVID-19 does not exist and forwards videos on WhatsApp about “the truth.”

It also includes the Berisha Fanboy, who blames 1997 on the Socialist Party, The Vote Seller, who votes for his dead grandparent, and the Lali Eri Tree Planter, whose solution to everything is to plant a tree.

Other gems are the PS militant who loves Gramoz Ruci and has at least one cousin in Italy who sells drugs. The doomer protestor also generated laughs as they love to go to protests even though they know it won’t change anything.

The creators of the meme also took a swipe at Organizata Politike, who they say acts like a cult and get blamed for the failure of every protest in Albania, as well as feminists who shout at boomer men on TV talkshows.

Even Exit got a mention amongst those who Vote PD to Spite Rama, believe in “political rotation,” and love Andi Bushati.

The meme was originally posted by the Albanian Stats account, which posts information and data on things related to the country. Exit spoke to the people behind the meme, some of whom wished to remain anonymous, to find out their motivation and the reception.

They explained to Exit that they are part of an online network of mainly Albanians living in the diaspora, but the ones that actually created the meme are around 10.

A mixture of 20-something students and graduates, they mainly studied STEM subjects and worked in tech-orientated jobs. Aside from this, they explained they are all interested in Albania, history, politics, and social sciences, mainly representing them through graphs, maps, or other forms of visual data.

In terms of the motivation behind the meme, they said they mostly consider themselves “Enlightened Internet Elite” who, according to their work, mostly live abroad, are very defensive over Albania to foreigners, and have never voted in Albanian elections.

“Enlightened Internet Elite in many ways represents us, it was created as a kind of self-burn,” they said, adding, “but we also have overlaps with other quadrants such as the Doomer Protestor, the Bojaxhi/Libra voter, and the Nano Nostalgic.

The idea for the meme was first floated around two years ago but was never fully realized. Finding a spurt of motivation, it was picked up again, and the team of ten worked intensively for four to five days to create the artwork and fine-tune it in both English and Albanian languages.

The reaction has also been positive, they explained.

“Both on Reddit and Twitter, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. In a way, we expected it because even halfway, we saw that the meme had great potential. But it was great to see everyone liking it, even people who were in a way mocked through those quadrants.”

As for what’s next, they plan to collect their thoughts more coherently in longer-form articles on their medium channel with an idea to create more in the future.