Little Cosettes

Editorial / May 20, 2010

Ky postim ekziston gjithashtu në Vesionin Shqip

June in Albania starts with a celebration: Children Day. It’s known as a day when children rule in their homes and are given lots of gifts, but actually this doesn’t happen with all of them. I say this considering an episode when in a bar, some days ago, a little girl came at my table – she was one of many children selling salty baked almonds in paper cons and of course, she’s also one of those which won’t be celebrating Children Day. You could see a lot of children in Tirana doing so or selling other things; or maybe you see little beggars begging any cent in the streets. Any astute person could see that not away from them there’s someone always monitoring how do they “work”. At the very day the girl came to me in that bar, I was walking down the Colons and noticed her father whose name is not Thénardier and who doesn’t know that his daughter might very well be called Cosette; he was bent at his motorcycle – bought with the girl’s money so that he could give her a ride to work. His daughter doesn’t go to school – she would be at the sixth grade; the school is close to their humble home, but teachers feel more comfortable not having her at class. It’s true that nobody wants a low-level student, not to mention then that the ones coming from this community are ignored more easily. Times ago you could see in the streets buses with ads writing: “Begging mutilates my future”. And nonetheless, you ignore them passing or you support the slogan in order not to hear any- more their crawling when you’re not giving to them. An American colleague of mine considered beggars of what we randomly know as “Little bridge” as gangs, maybe because some of them wrap their arms or legs to make you give them any cent. Actually, they’re just unwashed and dirty kids forced from their parents or other ‘protectors’. This June as well there will be lots of them along streets, in bars there will be lots of little girls selling salty baked almonds, there will be also lots of grownups buying them, other grownups ignoring them, but this doesn’t mean that by not seeing them, they do not exist. I call “Little match-sellers” all of them and hope that one day I see their parents selling for a living in place of them. Many decades ago a great man called Kemal Ataturk celebrated for the first time in the world April 23 as the National Children Day in Turkey; since then, exactly since 1920, many countries in the world celebrate Children Day in different months. During this day in Albania only some organisations bother for street children, gathering them in any activity for a couple of hours. And all this ends like the curtain of a show after the last spectator’s hand-clapping.

Ky postim ekziston gjithashtu në Vesionin Shqip

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Irena Shabani
Is an Albanian freelance journalist and human rights activist specialising in investigative journalism. She co-founded Panorama, the leading newspaper in Albania, where she served as managing editor from 2002 to 2003. Prior to Panorama she was a journalist at Shekulli and Gazeta Shqiptare and has been part of the Albanian Human Rights Group from its beginning. She has collaborated on programmes for the International Research and Exchanges Board, investigating topics involving crime and political corruption and continues to collaborates with foreign organisations and local media focused on social problems and minority rights.

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Kozetat E Vogla

This post also exists in English Version Qershori në Shqipëri nis me një festë, me festën e fëmijëve. Ajo konceptohet...

May 20, 2010