Among my batch of peace corps volunteers (group 15) I’m known as the 20th century Albanian history buff and as an admirer of the relics from the socialist era. Some people think, mistakenly, that I am a communist. With this in mind, I wanted to jokingly title this blog post:
“look at this totally cool communist era statue they tore down in Tirana…boo”
The joke, of course, is that this “totally awesome communist era statue” was of the communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, and was torn down when communism was ending in Europe and people were freeing themselves from those repressive regimes. You could say that although Hoxha died in 1985, he wasn’t actually toppled until his statue was, in 1991.
The actual date the statue came down was 20/2/1991, or almost exactly 22 years ago. The communist party lost control of the Albanian congress about one year later, after democratic elections, thus ending their nearly 50 year rule in Albania.
The Peace Corps came to Albania in 1992, stayed until Albania fell into chaos in 1997, and returned in 2003.
This blog post raised the issue of what to do with all the other totally awesome communist era stuff in Albania… a topic I promise to write about another day. I will say now, however, that I don’t think I am the only person who sees the artistic, historic, and touristic value in these relics and I think some preservation is not only appropriate but obligatory to preserve humanity’s past for future generations.
Hajde, Shendet, Mirupafshim (Come, Health, Good to have seen each other!)
Check out the video, jump to 9:00 for the statue topplin’ action ya came here for.