“Work sets you free,” a slogan used by the Ministry of Interior of Albania during this summer to promote the anti-cannabis policy of the Rama government, seems to turn to be the biggest fiasco in the light of the latest developments regarding the case of the former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri. Obviously the meaning of the saying has been totally misunderstood by the institutions and its representatives; not to mention the stupidity of the institution to use such a slogan for their campaign, a campaign destined to fail.
Work sets you free – Arbeit macht frei; someone is genuinely playing with slogans and words in a semantic game that nobody is fond of. Despite the despicable past use of the slogan by the nazis, the “spin doctors” of Rama’s cabinet used it again without shame. This slogan can now become the signature for every corrupted body in the country.
The main protagonist of the Habilaj scandal, Saimir Tahiri, used his last resort in order to get protection using his political status as a deputy, a loophole that was supposed to be resolved by the judicial reform that is not being implemented for five years now. His attempt proved successful for him. Everything worked fine despite all the evidences that came to that surface in the Habilaj–Tahiri files.
Eventually, it appears his work as a deputy set him free, as the Albanian legislation does not allow for a deputy to be arrested without the majority approval of the Parliament. This was something that was about to change with the judicial reform, but was heavily contested by the Democratic Party (PD), which swayed between cooperating and reiterating that changes made to the judiciary were unconstitutional, while asking the government repeatedly to make the necessary changes and guarantee that the immunity of political representatives would not be touched; it is the same party that now shouts for justice for the case of Saimir Tahiri.
It is interesting to analyze this, since representatives of the Socialist Party such as Taulant Balla claimed that the same procedure that was followed in the cases of Lulzim Basha and Ilir Meta will also be followed for Saimir Tahiri. All the ridiculous stances of the PD prior to the parliamentary election this year now start to unravel – its failed protest tent and the final agreement between with the Socialists. It now becomes evident what this agreement was all about. It also explains Rama’s stance towards judicial reform regarding the prosecutors and political immunity. What is the future of Saimir Tahiri after his victory in the Parliamentary vote? Basha is head of PD despite his failures and Ilir Meta became the President of Albania. Such a great future awaits the corrupted ones!
Nevertheless, we have to learn from the mistakes of the past. Waging campaigns that we do not fully believe in with slogans that have not worked in the past. People like Saimir Tahiri must be judged just like any other citizen and should not hide behind their political status. Drugs have been a plague for the Albanian society for many years, when Edi Rama came into power in 2013 he described Albania as a state that is in the middle of the road, totally crippled and severely wounded. He asked all Albanians to contribute in order to help the country stand in its own feet, yet his words seemed as empty as the rest of his actions so far.
As long as people like Saimir Tahiri are let free because of their political status, society will be going toward an uncertain future. And to add to the formula of this misery, I should also mention that, unfortunately, society is obliged to work with these corrupted actors, because there is nowhere else to turn for some redemption.