Commentary: Drug turbo-capitalism swirls in Albania – Exit
Fatos Lubonja is an Albanian political analyst. He spent 17 years in the prisons of dictator Enver Hoxha. He was imprisoned in a cell for 7 years. There he wrote a novel and a diary on cigarette paper, which he hid under the cover of a dictionary. He was released in 1991. He sharply criticized key political figures in Albania, such as Prime Minister Edi Rama, former President Sali Berisha and former Kosovo Liberation Army chief Ramush Haradinaj.
I am not optimistic about the situation in Albania, I am even pessimistic. In the 1990s, after the fall of communism, we thought we needed a period of transition to move forward, but we were convinced that we were on the right track. We believed in the myth of transition. For us, the transition should mean the establishment of European democratic values and respect for human rights. This optimism was inspired by Francis Fukoyama’s ideas for the end of the story. The West had come to the end of history. Our pro-Western elite, with the help of Western elites, had to pull us out of the desert we were in.
After 30 years of experience, things are very different. I am no longer talking about transition, but that we are on the wrong track, especially in an economy unable to fight on the world market and which depends on emigration aid. The discourse on liberalism, the free man and human rights has been replaced by cruel capitalism and the inability to create a society.
We didn’t have a company in Albania before. There has been forced collectivization. A dictatorship led by a single man who suffocated everyone and who was responsible for it. The citizens were in the position of children. Children who had lost their parents found themselves in a world of extreme individualism. At the same time, we must not forget the authoritarian mentality that has flourished for centuries. The parties that were formed did not have a democratic spirit, they are parties of the oligarchy with a criminal environment. They do not carry out economic policies in favor of the people, but they have a criminal environment which guarantees their existence. We are once again living in an authoritarian regime. The only thing I will add is that there has been no police regime since the days of Enver Hoxha.
The oligarchs have taken control of all the parties which have lost their own resources. The media are also in their hands. They also have full control over the justice system. After all, we have three gangs: Eddie Rama’s Socialist Party, Sally Berisha’s Party, and a smaller one. This is what I call poutinism. The opposition and the media exist, but their influence is insignificant. We have entered a period where there is no change, no rotation.
On the other hand, the US and the EU are associated with authoritarian regimes. They don’t care enough about what’s going on in the Balkans. Moreover, given that they themselves go through periods of crisis and are not interested in the advancement of democratic processes in the region. Europe has also lost its compass. It was believed that the end of the story came to Europe, but this is not true. So we are in a situation that I call drug capitalism. It is not clear in which direction Europe is heading, and it is not clear in which direction we are heading. In short, this Europe is not the one we dreamed of. We were left with no prospect.
For the Balkans, I think that the commitment of Europe from the 1990s and a strong personal commitment to defend European values are necessary. But this can in no way be the approach of our Prime Minister Edi Rama, who offers a solution to the problem of young people leaving Albania, because they do not see their future here, by bringing in people, for example from Bangladesh . They don’t understand our language, he won’t have any problems with them, but when they learn our language and start to protest, he will replace them with others. For him, humans are only a tool!
By analyzing the economic world, which in fact determines the political world, we understand that the economy is in the hands of the mafia. There are more and more people among the deputies who are part of the criminal structures. If your money comes from human trafficking, drugs, etc., you start to criminalize society as a whole. Just look at the construction in Tirana. Old Tirana no longer exists. Things get best answered in the book The Secret History of the ‘Ndrangheta by Nicola Gratteri and Antonio Nicaso, which describes in detail how the’ Ndrangheta Mafia is emerging as the ruling class in Calabria. “This is exactly what is happening in Albania at an extremely high rate. Albania is in the same situation as Calabria in the 1960s. Money earned illegally must be legalized. Personally, I call this turbo-drug-capitalism period.
Today, intellectuals are corrupt, but their situation is not much different from that of Enver Hoxha, when he forced intellectuals to serve the regime.