February brought a wave of floods in the southwestern region of Albania. Although Prime Minister (PM) Rama decided not to officially declare the “State of Emergency”, acted emergently on the situation by being every day in the area. These floods, which come also as a result of damaging the environment for decades, uncovered once more the inherited and continued incompetence of the state of not being able to take precautions on such phenomena. Even though today one can simply receive forecasts by pressing twice on a smartphone’s screen, the meteorological and military services failed to deliver a report. Inefficiency to evacuate the endangered families was another failure, although they were kept awake with the personal promises of politicians that they would subsidize the lost belongings. For sure, the PM didn’t miss a chance to mediatize his presence there, as if the flooded inhabitants needed so badly a picture with him. In his media declarations, as he did during all of his 500 days in power, Rama repeated that the misfortunes of Albania, are indeed a bad legacy of mistakes prior to June 23 (2013 elections). So, with a bold rhetoric built in more than a year and a half, the PM seems to be wanting to implant in his peoples’ mind the concept of two epochs: Pre and post June 23rd. Before and after the Coming of Rama. In communication theory this technique is called INCEPTION.
On 11th of February, the PM participated in the conference for energetic renewal, where he took the chance to congratulate himself for the ‘aggressive’ (as he put it) action in collecting money: “Today we can witness some data, which are the results of a courageous vision, of an aggressive planning, of an iron fist law enforcement”. If we stick to the speech analysis to have a deeper understanding of his communication psychology, we must say that labels such as courageous, aggressive and iron fist, in political sciences, are first and clearly affiliated to right wing ideologies. In order for this contrast to be brighter, let’s build the same sentence with certain “Socialistic” keywords. He would have to say: “Today we can witness some data which are the results of a social vison, of a careful planning, of a solidary regulation”. Yet, the Prime Minister could never speak such a sentence, for, actually, his politics is purely compact with his words. Long story short, right wing terminology for right wing policies from a self-declared-leftist activity.
Another moment of failure in the political discourse of Mr. Rama is his speech in parliament on February 12th, when Tirana woke up under TNT explosion’s terror. Lost in wonder, of course, the Prime Minister did not deliver his speech based on the need of the citizens to be thoroughly informed, but on the contrary, he based it on his desire to attack the opposition. During this long and uncomfortable speech, he said: “Even to the target of the revenge, the Kanun, grants a 24 hour tranquility period, yet you did not even wait 4 hours … “, as he was looking at the opposition seats. The mistake that the PM is making here, does not concern merely – obstructing the public opinion from the issue of the day (public terror) – but mostly the unconsciously delivered idea that if the opposition would have behaved as a Kanun-obeying revenge-seeker, then, this would bring a bit of decency upon them. Some might say that it is so clear that it wasn’t in the PM’s intention to give legitimacy to the revenge-seeking, and yet we mustn’t forget that a Prime Minister is not responsible only for the things he does intentionally, but also for those that he makes out of carelessness, just like the rest of us.
The news that “Deutsche Telekom” would bring 10 thousand Electronic Electricity Counters, was good news, but only for the first seconds, because, as the public joint declaration of PM Rama, and Mrs. Nemat was ending, Mr. Rama repeatedly thanked Germany, Merkel and the Embassy, but did not mention the terms of this project. Thus, a few scenarios were presented by political scientists. Firstly, it might be that the company, with the initiation of the German company has decided to donate them to Albania, however if this were true, the company would have not allowed not mentioning the words ‘’donations’’, ‘’gifts’’ or ‘’free’’ throughout the speech. Secondly, there is a chance that the company has donated the first 10 000 counters (since Albania is the first country where their functionality will be tested), in order to win the tender for another 1 million counters. At the same time, the price for 1 counter was not made public (eventhough in the world the minimum cost is 60$). Thirdly, there is a chance that the government has already paid the 10 000 counters and will buy the rest, without making the contract with this company public. Not to mention: the health problems these counters create, data private and the mistakes in calculation (for more follow the link: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/smart-meters/).
On February 16, the Prime Minister inaugurated the join customs between Albania and Kosovo, a good symbol of the romantic dream for national unification. However, no data on the current customs exchanges were made available and how this customs office would contribute to lower corruption and to further increase exchanges.
During the same day, Rama met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia, Vesna Pusić. In the meeting Mr. Rama thanked Croatia for the financial assistance this state accorded to Albania during the floods, something that was not made public before. Earlier, several media wrote that Serbia had accorded a fund for floods in Albania and of course other more powerful states must have done a similar action. However, the Albanian people will not know who to be grateful to, as nobody in the government published a list of countries and their donations.
On February Seventeen, the Prime Minister offered a bombastic figure: 92.521 more people employed since he took office. However, a nominal list was nowhere to be found. With this behaviour of the Prime Minister seems to be an underlined message, that: it is sufficient to believe in the figures I offers, no need to check the facts. We still don’t know when the data will be published.
There were of course good moments during february, while the Prime Minister signed two important agreements: 1- The agreement to mutually recognize social contributions over the yearswith Belgium and 2- with Romania.
Another one in the line of scandals for our primeminister, happened on february 19 towards journalist, Erisa Zykas. After a meeting with President Juncker in the European Parliament, the Prime Minister offended twice the journalist. The first time by saying she did not understand his speech, which would mean she needed extra English courses and the second time by completely and cynically ignoring her second question regarding ‘’the wave of explosions that has gripped the country’’.
In his speech during the SEECP conference, the Prime Minister declared, among others, that: ‘’In order to face these challenges, strengthening the level of security in our regional cooperation is essential’’. Hence, Our Joint Declaration Against Terrorism, to be adopted in this meetind, emphasizes our engagement to implement further reforms, strengthen rule of law, and support cooperation between young people and economic development’’. Every IR scholar would accept that these words, more than anything else, are empty talk. Keeping in mind that Albania cannot engage in any defense initiative outside of NATO and even less contribute to common defense in the region at a time when defense budget does not reach 4% of the total government’s budget.
Therefore, February too, with a lot of SHOW that seems like work, ended with a Prime Minister that makes Albanians ‘’proud’’, as he signs autographs for his book in Budapest. Let’s not loose hope of better days to come.