(en) Albania Supplement - 03/30 II

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Sun, 30 Mar 1997 13.32 GMT


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In the April issue of the monthly german marxist magazine "konkret" an interview with Wolfgang Pohrt about the situation in Albania is published. Pohrt is a marxist Author and Journalist who has just published a book about the situation in the ex-eastern block countries. However his analysis of the situation in Albania below would be shared by many anarchists too. Translation and footnotes by the german A-Infos Group.

Robert (for the A-Infos Group in germany)

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*Gangcriminality or armed uprising?*

"konkret: In your new book you write: "Since the eastern block no longer exists an outdoord social laboratory has developed in its place". What innovations do the developments in Albania bring us?

Pohrt: First of all not a new product but the rediscovery of an old realization. Adorno [1] warned us not to mistake the people with the social conditions under which they live. That the people are never as bad as these is what Albania is now showing us again. No night of the long knives [2] so far, although the people are armed. But there is no elite to tell the masses who they should kill and why. In all its greed, the governing clique forgot to promote writing, philosophy and social sciences. Now this is proving to be a fiasko for them. If people come to a military depot, the soldier thinks: Why shouldn't they take the stuff, it doesn't belong to me anyway. Why shoot the poor devils? To do this he would have to believe that by doing so he would be defending the democracy, the fatherland, his own culture, the civilisation, humanity, the human rights and so on. Somebody would have had to indoctrinate him with this belief. Somebody, who has sense of mission. Berisha has none an that is what makes him so likeable compared to, say, Weizsaecker [3].

konkret: What is so likeable about a dummy that was built up by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung [4] and the CIA?

Pohrt: Nothing besides the fact ofcourse, that the scheme doesn't seem to be working. Like back in Saigon the Americans have reached the point again, where they need to call in the big helicopters. For days they have been evacuating everything, that could be called an american citizen. It must have been an unbelievable number although Albania is hardly a tempting holiday destination for the average american citizen. The italian Mafia also seems to have had whole regiments in Albania as the extensive evacuation actions now show. Gangsters from all over the world had settled in the poor country to plunder it and now the gang is on the escape.

konkret: According to reports they are escaping the anarchy and the chaos in which Albania is now drowning.

Pohrt: Thats what the agitators are writing here, while the reporters - even Matthias Rueb in the FAZ [5] - always stress how peaceful the situation is. Now there is a real popular uprising taking place - even in Tirana itself - and less blood is being shed than every night in Washington or Rio. The number of victims so far is 50 or 100 dead. In Rostock [6] it was only due to good luck that many people didn't die in the flames during the pogrome. And there were no Bundeswehr [7] Helicopters to evacuate the people who had fled to the roof of the building to escape the mob and the flames.

konkret: Is it possible that what is now happening in Albania could repeat in the west?

Pohrt: Thats what the opinionmakers and politicians seem to fear. Lets look at the facts, as far as they are known: The people in Albania are taking supplies of arms and flour from government depots. Everyone takes what they need without scuffle and absolutely peacefully. New toys lead to high spirits: People are shooting around a lot with the guns. Four or seven deaths due to off-course bullets in one night the news says. If people hadn't received guns but motorbikes, the body-count [8] would have been much higher. Actually the west should be glad about this: Finally, privatisation is getting some drive. But Sabine Christiansen [9] sounds more like a wailing-woman. "Albania is drowning in Chaos, Murder, Plundering, Civil war" she says, and the reporter in Tirana has to correct her: No murder, only some accidents, and not really any civil war. Thats only what those in the west want to depict.

konkret: How is that supposed to work?

Pohrt: At the moment its not working. Although the press here has already discovered that there are two ethnic groups in Albania, the Gegens in the north and the Tosks in the south, old ethnic contrasts and rivalries etc. But in Albania, no-one reads the FAZ [10] or, to speak in the words of Reissmueller - "there is a lack of civilisation there". The peoples anger was sparked off by speculation Reissmueller continues, and not by human rights. That's true. No-one is asking for democracy, human rights, trallala but hard and simply for their "money back"!

konkret: And that is what the west fearing?

Pohrt: Thats how I explain myself the aggressive tone of catastrophy in which the Albanian developments are being commented. The preparations for a military intervention are running, the press is already demanding it. In Albania, a small country, the europeans can show strength and they are desperate to do so. The talk of murder and plundering - only mass rapings are missing - is being believed, because people want to believe that only the gigantic repression machinere of the state keeps people from mass murdering each other. So far, the events in Albania - and that is the great thing about them - are proving the opposite.

konkret: But the german government has declared categorically that it will not send in troops.

Pohrt: Thats what they claimed in the beginning of the conflict in Jugoslavia too. And listen to them closely: Kohl [11] is not saying no, he is asking: What should we say to the soldiers? Or, to put it another way: People from the press and from tv, do your homework! The events in Albania need to be portrayed in such a way that a christian person can simply not say no any longer. First we need the Médicins sans frontières and the reporters to escort them. Then we get a human-right campaign. Some green [12] does a strip-tease of his soul in the Bundestag [13] and tells the story of how he fought with himself to the realization that the Bundeswehr needs to intervene, especially considering Auschwitz and inglorious past of the Wehrmacht [14]. Germans have done so many bad things, now they need to make up for it. The whole pack will whine and while the "Zeit" [15] will praise the moral depth of the debate, RTL [16] will get its supply of picture material from the Soldiers wifes in case they become widows. Finally the government will broken-heartedly submit to the public pressure and its own conscience. And anyway: Somehow the unemployment rates need to get out of the headlines. The only unsecure factor in this calculation are the soldiers themselves. "German Military action in Tirana" was what the Bavarian Radio station cheered but the soldiers themselves didn't look like they would want to got again soon. They were happy to get out alive.

konkret: Does that mean good news then?

Pohrt: No, because this thing isn't continuing as good as it began. Currently, the WEU and Berishas Fino are making deals and when the humanitarian actions takes place, the humanitarian catastrophy will be there. But maybe the peacemakers will find that Albania will be united in the fight against the agressor from the outside - it wouldn't be the first time. Apart from that the dethronement of the Berisha-Clique, and even if it is only temporary, is an event that could act as an example. When the news from Albania came, the pictures about the miners demonstrations [17] were screened at the same time. Sure, Europe isn't Albania. But then the new booty- and gangcapitalism isn't the old one."

Footnotes included by the A-Infos Group (D) for readers outside Germany:

1) Adorno: Theodor Adorno (1903 - 1964), german marxist philosopher, sociologist and musicologist who was especially influential in applying marxist concepts to philosophy and culture, as in his critique of the culture industry that transforms works of art into commodities. 2) Night of the long knives: Sudden bloody purge within the Nazi party in 1934 carried out by Hitler and his followers mainly against party members who had opposed Hitler. 3) Weizsaecker: german president until 1995 who is known as an liberal humanist for his speeches. 4) Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: German foundation that is close to the ruling christian democrat party and was envolved in strengthening Berishas regime and wording the election-laws that enabled Berisha to fraudulantly win the elctions (see also Albania Supplement 03/20) 5) FAZ or Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Influential conservative newspaper in Germany. 6) Rostock: In 1992 a home for immigrants in Rostock was attacked by neo- nazis while crowds of onlookers cheered them on and the police did not interfere until it was almost too late and the building with immigrants and some anti-fascists still inside was already set on fire. People inside the building could only escape the flames and the violent mob by escaping to the roof of the building. 7) Bundeswehr: The german army. 8) Pohrt uses the english phrase here. 9) Sabine Christiansen: A german newsspeaker. 10) The FAZ has always been very eager to find ethnic roots for any conflict since the german reunification and neglect other causes. 11) Kohl: German chancellor, head of government and member of the conservative so-called christian democrat party. 12) Pohrt is speaking of members of the green party. While giving themselves an ecological and pacifist outline, the green party declared it its duty as pacifists to vote for the intervention of the Bundeswehr in Bosnia. 13) Bundestag: The german parlament. 14) Wehrmacht: Regular german army during the Weimarer Republic and the so- called third reich. 15) Die Zeit: Renowned german weekly newspaper with a liberal to conservative attitude. 16) RTL: Private TV station. 17) Germany saw mass strikes of miners who acted independantly of the reformist unions to prevent the closure of mines and loss of jobs. However, the strikes died down as quickly as they had arisen after the reformist unions and industrialists had made a deal to close down less mines.

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