Thursday, May 30, 2024

BLACK NOVEMBER AND HUMANISM

The politicians’ “reality show” seems another problem that speaks for the Machiavellian mentality when it comes to winning the next election. It is okay and obligatory for political representatives to be with the people in need in these cases, but not “live” in the party media that, even in this tragedy push the agendas of political leaders.

Author: Xhelal Neziri 

November is a festive month for ethnic Albanians across the globe for two reasons: on November 22, 1908, the Albanian language alphabet was determined that unites this ethnicity, and on November 28, 1912, the ethnic flag of Albanians was declared and the Albanian state declared independence. In addition, the last Friday of November is seen as “black one” since the stores in many countries around the world make huge price cuts in order to clear the goods.

This festive November of “Black Friday” actually turned into a “black November” for Albania, the region and the world. The number of earthquake victims in Albania’s Durres region has jumped to nearly 50, while rescuers still have hope that they will rescue living people from the terrible ruins. Durres, a city beloved by tourists, is now almost uninhabited. Numerous residential buildings are expected to be put out of use due to serious damage to their structure. Hundreds of families will be homeless just in time for the winter season.

It’s an apocalyptic scene that no one had ever thought would happen. Neither the officials of the earthquake-affected municipalities have never imagined this horror when they had given permits without the necessary planning and examination, nor the builders had taken account of the standards of the palaces they were building, nor had the buyers of the housing thought much of how the palace was built, where they would create what should be called a warm house. Everyone was thinking only about the price: officials were thinking about their pockets and the party, the builders for the net profit and the buyers for the low price per square meter. Now, when the most devastating earthquake of the last century happened officials have realized standards are not bought with bribes but precisely enforced, builders have become aware that non-standard investments return as boomers and buyers – the price does not always have to be the determining factor in buying an apartment. The occurrence of non-standard over buildings is another dangerous adventure, which was nevertheless allowed by the authorities.

Earthquakes, like any other natural disaster, are hard to predict. However, the state must be ready in all forms to prevent or minimize the consequences, by imposing standards, or to manage the crisis situations that cause these disasters. The positive thing was the mobilization, humanity, solidarity and compassion of ethnic Albanians around the world for victims of the same ethnicity in Albania. There was also unprecedented solidarity from all the Balkan countries, the EU and the globe. Search and rescue units from North Macedonia, Kosovo, Greece, Croatia but also Serbia saved dozens of captive and helpless lives under the ruins.

What appeared to be a problem was the lack of organization and coordination of the collection of numerous aids. No one knew what he was collecting, which created chaos, which then served to spread false news in order to demotivate humanism and solidarity. There was no comprehensive coordination body set up to announce where and what can be donated, who is authorized – which institution or organization – in all states. Unfortunately, in Albania, there is no center that will inform the public of all developments and there is no opening or coordination with experts outside Albania who have experience with earthquakes such as Italy, Japan or even North Macedonia. It seems that every individual, organization, institution, club, city or village organizes the collection of aid without coordination with Albania in terms of the real needs of the people affected by the earthquake. 

The politicians’ “reality show” seems another problem that speaks for the Machiavellian mentality when it comes to winning the next election. It is okay and obligatory for political representatives to be with the people in need in these cases, but not “live” in the party media that, even in this tragedy push the agendas of political leaders.

Albania will also have a lot of work to do with sanitation of the earthquake damages. Also in regulating the chaos of construction caused by the urban mafia. Correct management of donations would allow them to continue until the complete reconstruction of Durres, Kavaja and the surrounding areas affected by the earthquake. On the contrary, the earthquake could turn into a political tremor with a greater consequence for Albania.

To illustrate the frivolous approach of the Albanian institutions, I am reminding you of a report of the Tirana Construction Institute seven months ago. In early April, the Institute had drafted a report recommending the demolition of the 28-storey palace on the first line of the beach at Kavaja, Durres. It is the tallest hotel, with a scary build, which the Albanian authorities failed to bring down. This hotel, however, is said to have withstood the latest earthquake.

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