Dear Interculturalists, dear Travelers, dear Yogis,
Just returnd from there I am preparing our stay in Abania,
here I will share with you interesting information about the country especially from those who travelled to the country before.
Feel free to comment and send me more.
Enjoy and come expand your intercultural competence.
Albania: Declaration of love
I have just recently moved from Albania to Brussels. I was living in Albania for 2.5 months and I was shocked to find out of all the countries in the world I have lived/worked in (8 so far including 3 very, very rich ones) Albania is my absolute favourite. I adore Albania. Now to answer the question:
- Communism (Albania style). Unless you heave researched this and actually lived in Albania and gone to the Bunk Art 1& 2 museums it is almost impossible to understand what Communism was like for Albania. Albania was like North Korea today only worse. Having a regime like that for 40 years deeply - and I mean neurocognitively - affects a people. Alabnia is still recovering from this and it will take time.
- Communism (in general). I study at a university in a neighbouring country which was also formerly communist and what people don’t understand is that communism was like cancer in these regions. Imagine someone barely surviving cancer and having to go through years of chemotherapy just survive. Well that’s what it’s like. Albania, like Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania etc. is in remission, but it will take time for them to build back up and learn how to function. You need to realise the generation alive now is the first one where things we take for granted - i.e. banking, shares, accounting etc., private companies - are a normal, every day part of life. Albania didn’t have cars until the mid-90s!
- French Pedagogy. This will sound strange, but let me explain. I lived next to the Ecole Internationale Francaise de Tirane. Enver Hoxha, the guy who was dictator for 40 years was educated at a French private school then at French universities. French pedagogy is amongst the very worst on Earth. Before coming to Albania, I did a 1 year exchange at the Sorbonne, and the nature of French pedagogy from nurseries to grandes ecoles and universities is essentially fascist-totalitarian. It was so bad I made a formal complaint to the university which I also sent to President macron. Students never debate with professors; children are taught to shut up and listen and publicly degraded as ‘idiots’ for making mistakes etc. The entire French education system is geared to producing people inclined to be sympathetic to Fascist-Stalinist systems of thought. e.g. think about how the vast majority of the MILLIONS of French people who voted for Le Pen were young i.e. just out of school or university. This is also why the French Government was so keen to collaborate with the Nazis - it was merely a re-enactment of their childhoods and them being good little school children all over again. So, in my view, the hideous dictatorship of Hoxha is a direct result of his French education and hence … points 1 and 2 above.
- Organised Crime. When I took the guided tour the ferocious reputation of the Albanian Mafia was brought up. The guide said - ‘well it’s like children who were abused for years and years, when they grow up they have lots of anger and hatred and have to find a way to express it.’ A lot of people in the Albanian Mafia didn’t have a choice. In the 90s post communist collapse Albania was like someone having a nervous breakdown - imagine being the cancer patient (see above) and then having all your loved ones die in a car accident and your house burn down and all your savings stolen. That was basically the position Albania found itself in, in the 90s. AND they had had NO CONTACT WHATSOEVER with the outside world for 40 years. Can you see why people resorted to trying to make money any way they could? Why they didn’t trust politicians etc?
- Political Naiveté & Inexperience. Albania is trying VERY hard to transform itself into a modern European country. The euro is already a de facto second currency and as the tour guide said: ‘for us that’s what EU membership is - the light at the end of the tunnel after so many years of darkness’. This takes time, but I have no doubt they will make it, which will be a tremendous achievement, and that in the long run they will produce some very important EU politicians and contribute greatly to the EU.
- Non-genocidal history & Lack of Mass-theft. Compare Albania with Belgium (the Congo), the UK (slavery and imperialism), the USA (slavery), France (colonialism), Netherlands (colonialism and slavery) etc. The vast displays of wealth in many parts of the world today are the results of vast thefts of other people’s resources and even peoples millions of whom were effectively worked to death. Albania doesn't have that stain on its history. They were the only country in Europe that had more Jews after WW2 than before.
- Poor in what sense? I lived in Paris for 10 months and I can honestly say I would rather live in Tirana. Why? Albanians are, without doubt, the most polite, hospitable and welcoming people I have EVER met. I absolutely loved Albania and it is without doubt my favourite place on Earth. I will be going back in future and buying property there too when I have the money. Albanians may not have a lot of money but they are wealthy in other ways which ‘rich’ countries are not. For example, all of the signal boxes for the phone exchanges are painted with pop culture characters in a way that gives you a joy for life you don’t get in Paris, London, Amsterdam etc. So if you want to help them, go there and spend some money!