As for the external situation, Albania is almost at peace. Almost because polls show that Albanians see Greece as a threat from time to time, because we like from time to time to have a ‘war of words’ with Greece about history, about Chameria, about Vorioepirus, about the maritime border, as we like a ‘war of words’ with Serbia from time to time about Kosovo and about who is more autochthonous in the Balkans.
The international day of peace is a moment of reflection for Albania. Albania seems at peace with its neighbors, but it lacks full internal peace. It looks like a country tormented by itself, by a political class which just can’t accept the idea of not being in power and tries every possible means, even violence, to come to power, and this is a constant cycle with each government and each opposition in the last three decades. It is a political class which doesn’t offer to the public the model of peace, collaboration and compromise, at least for major issues which trespass the boundaries of political parties and their interests, but it offers to the public a zero-sum game, where the adversary should not be just defeated electorally, but it should be humiliated and possibly destroyed as not to be an adversary anymore. The constant boycott of Parliament and public institutions by whoever is at that moment in the opposition is a constant feature of Albanian politics. It is a political class that offers to the public the model that you never accept the idea that someone else is winning, that someone else is in power, that you should not accept defeat, that you should find any excuse for it, that you should never congratulate your opponent for his victory. This would be the highest sacrilege.
In this international day of peace, Albania lacks internal family peace. There is a silent war against women in Albanian families, made public from time to time when a woman is murdered by her husband. Few months pass by without a news of another women killed by her husband and few weeks pass by with news of another women being mistreated or beaten by her husband and seeking protection in the Court and the police, a protection which protects only in name, but not in deed. Despite having a new government with 75% women, their position in society is still a long way from at least being a normal one. Women are seen as a property, to be owned and obeyed to the husband or her family. The idea that a woman has the right to choose her own life is anathema. The idea that she can choose to divorce a men she can’t live anymore with is almost unacceptable by the husband, especially in rural and semi-rural communities, and he’ll do anything to stop it, and the best way to stop it is to murder her, or to beat her constantly into even greater submission.
As for the external situation, Albania is almost at peace. Almost because polls show that Albanians see Greece as a threat from time to time, because we like from time to time to have a ‘war of words’ with Greece about history, about Chameria, about Vorioepirus, about the maritime border, as we like a ‘war of words’ with Serbia from time to time about Kosovo and about who is more autochthonous in the Balkans. None of these issues threaten Albania’s external peace, secured also by NATO membership, but history can’t leave Albania and the whole region totally at peace.
Ledion Krisafi, Ph.D, a Senior Researcher and Project Coordinator at the Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) in Tirana