Our Albania

Editorial / August 21, 2011

Ky postim ekziston gjithashtu në Vesionin Shqip

At every summer’s end, the government of the day starts the usual talk on revenues from tourism, on this season’s tourist invasion, on quality services for tourists; yet no government will ever talk in public about potholes on the roads, blackouts in the touristic resorts, or on those unfortunate tourists forced to load up the water from the first floor of their “resort” (in the best case)… Everybody will rather skip this part, or, in some weird case, come up with some conspiracy theory that blames a massive power failure to some “hooligan” stork landing on some obscure supply line and causing a short circuit. Nonetheless, everybody visits Albania. It may lack roads, power and water supply, yet it does not lack faith in change. It doesn’t lack the good will to do things right. The reason why a tourist should visit Albania is, above all, the sea. It’s fresh, blue, clean, it’s the sort of the sea you have to get to know; falling in love with it then it’s not anymore a matter of choice. Then there are the mountains that treasure flowers, raspberries, trees and fresh waters… There are plenty of good reasons for visiting Albania we can hardly accommodate in this short editorial. Based on the data of the web portal, on the 8th of August 2011 some 57,255 tourists crossed the Albanian border. This is a very significant data for the country of eagles. There were plenty of reasons for the tourists to visit Albania this summer. Albania is much referred to in the world media, especially with regard to its wild, untainted nature. Albania was included by Lonely Planet in the list of the countries you must visit over the year 2011. The Sky magazine has quite an argument in featuring articles on exploring Albania. It’s not that we fail to notice the potholes in our streets, the poor water supply, or some redneck waiter who serves a meal in the “I’m the most disrespectful guy in the world” style. Yet we like Albania. It’s not just because we’re born here, it’s not because we’re just a bunch of snobs, it’s because it has got under our skin, and we feel good about it when foreigners spend a good word about it. Of course there are plenty of Albanians who just love to spend holidays in Albania. Yet some of them have grown into the habit of trashing the memories of their local holidays as soon as they’re back to work. Some time ago I was asked why we take such pains at writing nicely about this country. Of course I was able to give the right answer rather quick… It’s our very own country. The old Albanian passport from the times of King Zog carried the following words: “You should know and be certain about find- ing your fortune and happiness in Albania, which gives you the honour of being an Albanian”. This is why we promote Albania in our magazine, this is why we try our best to have you know it better. Of course we do it out of our own motivation. When our state officials pat us on the shoulder, by saying that our country owes us one, we just smile at it. Anyway, this might not be very interesting to the reader. What really matters is the place Albania will always have in our magazine. After all, everybody “owes one” to his or her country.

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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Shqipëria Jonë

This post also exists in English Version Në fund të çdo vere ka qeveri që, pasi bëjnë bilancin, flasin për të ardhurat...

August 21, 2011