Scandals as 'Our Common Secret'
By Alqi Koçiko
Albanian Daily News
Published October 19, 2017
To all appearances, the fact that two drug traffickers cite the name of a minister or other senior official cannot be categorized as an incriminating evidence for the former Interior Minister. For a long time, we Albanians have been our own witnesses of how we try to name names of officers, friends or cousins in high positions, in front of any minor confrontation with the law, even with traffic policeman, in the hope that he would retreat. Let us admit that thanks to Minister Tahiri, this is no longer the case at least with the traffic police.
But as always there is more to it, than just the appearance. First, the guys whose conversations were wiretapped by the Italian police, are not two random dealers bragging to each-other about having “connections”, but two friends and associates, one of whom a relative of the former minister and user of his "magic" car; they were not boasting, but were discussing their business concerns and the then minister's name seems naturally brought out in dialogues. Secondly, and most importantly, the Habilajs had long been accused with significant indications by the opposition and other parties (ex police officers) that under the shield of the Interior Minister, they had become wholesalers of cannabis.
After saying this, we can join the numerous (or not) choir of those who insist that from now on we should keep our silence and let justice speak. We are neither experts in criminal and judicial evidence, nor excellent connoisseurs of criminal code. But we can say for sure something else: In terms of popular rumors, it was known for a long time what Habilajs and some others were doing; as it was also common knowledge that they were assisted by the police of the respective areas and the whole activity was protected by using the minister’s name and authority, who obviously as one would assume, had his own share. After all, weren’t the coastal radars regularly shut down when a drugs party had to cross the Adriatic? We should add that in different times, different ministers and different areas of the country, these “words of mouth” have always been a custom.
But is it not a lack of seriousness to believe in everything you hear at the street? In Albania, in fact, and perhaps in small (and quite criminalized) countries like ours in general, there is an interesting phenomenon going on. Whispers in environments where everyone knows one another and their deeds, tend to be even more real than "official truths". The irony is that the institutions, officials, justice and its organs do not try to disclose and unmask what everybody knows, but to cover it and produce another “truth”, and a twisted reality. The amount and skill with which the big guns escape the real truth by fabricating their "truth" is translated to us as an indication of their political success, and also of the support they receive from the masses as "resourceful and intelligent leaders".
In other words, let us admit that a good part of us knows, has heard of and was informed for any scandal that is being uncovered in this country, mainly for the merit of partner services; that issue "becomes a scandal" just because it is formalized. Will something change for the better this time? Hardly...