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Albanian Limbo

While searching for decent news stories about the President's visit - without success - I did come across one more interesting piece on the Uighers from Guantanamo (available in Albanian here). It's a shame the media mob who follow the President can't come up with more interesting stories like this one.

Yesterday, while sitting at the Opera House cafe waiting for the motorcade to arrive, an older man at the next table spoke to one of the friends I was with - an Albanian man in his twenties.

My friend told me that the man had said that when he was my friend's age he had been thrown into prison by the Hoxha regime. Now as an old man he was sitting watching the American President visiting his country, driving through a square where the former site of the statue of Enver Hoxha was sheathed in banners bearing the American and Albanian flags, and proclaiming their partnership. Wouldn't that have made a great story?

Perhaps by the time they get to be White House correspondents following the President around they are too full of themselves to try any more.


Viktor said…
I see a chance for you to write a story like that while this state of limbo is on - you can be sure that you have audience for that kind of stuff.
Anonymous said…
Actually the NY times on Sunday ran a story about the inmates transferred to Albania. It was a front page story.
traveller one said…
How true! The country is full of very interesting people who just need someone to listen to their stories!
our man said…
Hi Viktor. Thanks for the suggestion. I might take you up on it. I'm also planning to get to Belgrade at some point over the summer. Maybe we could meet up?

Anon, I think that's the same story - the NYT owns the IHT. I'm all in favour of telling the story of the Guantanamo guys since I think they are in a terrible situation.

But I was thinking of some of the more positive stories - it's all very well saying Albania is pro-US, but a personal story or two or three gives that some meaning.

Journalistic platitudes about President Wilson or Kosovo tell us nothing.

The problem is that getting those stories requires some work - sounding off with platitudes is easily done from the air-conditioned comfort of a nice hotel with free food and drink.
Anonymous said…
How about this story.
I called my friend in albania yesterday to say hi and what he told me was "Can't talk I am busy our president Bush is talking on TV" and I thought Ok lets call mom, but I was wrong no interest on me whatsoever. The line from my mom was like that "Now did you decide to call that Bush is on TV, call me later, I think Bush has lost some weight, he work to hard, bla bla bla bla bla". My second and last sentence for that conversation was Ok mom speak to you next week.
pmusaraj said…
Yeah, I'm with you on the sad guantanamo prisoners who are trapped in albania. I translated part of that article for "peshkupauje" here:
I think it's important that Albanians read this's really really sad what mess these poor innocent fellows are in.
Anonymous said…
Is there any way people in Albania could help them?
Anonymous said…
Do not shed tears for the Uighurs, but for your kin who will soon be slaughtered in the name of the 'status quo'.

Albania will never attract the necessary capital to develop, and Kosovo will never survive as an independent country.

How about journalist takle that pickle?
Viktor said…
Our Man,
sure, I think I will be in Belgrade at the time, just contact me through Belgrade2.0 blog.
our man said…
OK. Will do Viktor.
Anonymous said…
OK... I was watching the Today show on NBC this a.m. and got upset about a segment where they kept insinuating that Bush's watch got stolen during his visit in Albania. I got so upset I had to send them an email.

"I think your story this morning on the Today Show about the President's watch in Albania was in very poor taste. First you insinuate that it was stolen by the people of Albania. Then, after doing that at least four times before commerical breaks, you showed that President Bush showed a total lack of trust and removed it himself.

I just felt the piece was garbage, shame on the Today show for picking on such a small, poor, and beautiful 3rd world country; the same people and place that gave the world Mother Teresa (a Macedonian born ethnic Albanian)

Albania has become the dumping ground for those released from Gitmo by the US. The US State Department can't find any other countries willing to take these refugees.

Albania, as poor as that country is, still has troops deployed to Afghanistan & Iraq.

I've been a loyal watcher of the Today show for YEARS, but I believe that will end... today."

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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Miss Globe 2007

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