- and there was no one left to speak for me.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 5, 2019 10:11

- and there was no one left to speak for me.

Story Highlights

  • On its way to forty years in the past, there will be no one left to speak for Albania before it's too late.

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By Sidonja Manushi

 

Martin Niemöller emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

He is perhaps best remembered for his postwar words, which go as follows:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I

was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I

was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

 A few days after Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama carried on with his controversial local elections, marked by an extremely low voter turnout, a resigned opposition, no real competition for the Socialist representatives in most districts and irregularities conducted in broad daylight for the world to see, reading Niemöller’s words gives me goosebumps like never before. This morning, one of Rama’s adherents (their ministerial posts don’t seem to matter much, anymore) came out and announced an updated draft law aiming to decapitate press freedom based on the lawlessness of defamation and the “respect” towards human rights. Rama’s “anti-defamation” package, ironically coming some weeks after he himself promised to stop calling journalists doing their job “trash bins,” seeks to formalize and regulate all online media through enforced registration. Each media outlet will then be bound to ensure that all articles are true, non-defamatory, and objective and must not be used for criminal purposes. Albania is one of the few countries in Europe where libel and defamation are still considered as criminal, as well as civil offences.

Albania wants to be like France, but Albania’s Prime Minister cannot handle a country where journalists are allowed to think, say, write and, if necessary, even mock their political figures, alla Charlie Hebdo style. 

Albania wants to be like Germany, but Albania’s Prime Minister cannot grant journalists the right to investigate and report freely, because that violates his human rights, and the PM’s human rights are more important than the human rights of those who journalists protect. 

Albania wants to be like the US, but Albania’s Prime Minister does not, cannot, fathom stepping down when caught in fault or, even worse, when his own people stop trusting him.

And yet, what is more concerning is everyone’s apathy towards this fast-growing plague. They came for the workers and the taxpayers, the political opponents and the journalists, the students and the thinkers, the doers and the believers.

On its way to forty years in the past, there will be no one left to speak for Albania before it’s too late.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 5, 2019 10:11