OP-ED

The protest of February 20, as a sign that the opposition projects normality

The protest of February 20, as a sign that the opposition projects normality

Alfred Lela

Last night, thanks to the electrification produced by the opposition protest, there was more enthusiasm than the tired uterus of Albanian events has had for a long time.

The turnout was treated as abnormal, and the comparison was made with July 7, 2022, a demonstration of hope and strength, which is still fondly remembered in opposition circles in Albania.

The debate over the numbers could go on for a long time, as could the constant drone skits and overhead views of government stations, but the face of normality that the protests offered was hardly spoken of.

And no one can be blamed since normality has been considered its opposite for years.

Yesterday's protest should be seen not as a product of abnormality but of the opposite, the need for political normality.

Even the way Sali Berisha delivered the speech, with a pulpit and the usual opposition communication banner, was an attempt to convey normality. Those who could follow the protest casually, without any specific knowledge of Albania and its political context, would not be able to understand that Sali Berisha was a leader who spoke from isolation. Yesterday, Berisha seemed to speak from the square, in front of the protesters and physically in front of them.

His speech was also an exercise in normalcy, so much so that he seemed to mock the abnormality of Edi Rama with his own programming, with the living minimum, salaries, investments, Albania of the future, etc.

Berisha was an Albanian Navalny who sought to blind government oppression with Archimedean mirrors of the laws of normality.

While the head of the opposition was normalizing Albania, Edi Rama, since the meeting with Erdogan in Ankara, insisted on the opposite. The police presence on the Boulevard was such that it seemed as if it was not the Albanians who were protesting in Tirana but the Kurds in Turkey. The language, always ready to treat the country's opposition as abnormal from the pro-government medical push, even last night after the protest, was spreading bellicose toxins.

The civilian policemen in the crowd and accompanying the protesters, or the staging of 'investigations' in front of the Prime Minister's Office, was part of the government's scenario to keep the image of abnormality alive.

Another image of normality, which the opposition provided, is that last night on the Boulevard, Albanians were not patronized or forced by the boss from work in the state. They were Albanians with free will who taught everyone about freedom and normality, especially to those who consider normal the lack of dissent, opposition, and a power that continues without competition and beyond the law.

You saw the latter last night in the studios. Half stooped and surrendered; they finally accepted the opposition, but not the normality. Still haunted by it, still hostage to the need for the anomaly of power to be the modus vivendi of things.

But February 20, like last night like 33 years ago, remains a sign that a part of society returned the country to normality, precisely when normality seems impossible.

Bringing down the bust of Enver 33 years ago was bringing Albania back to normality. Demonstrating today that things are not as Edi Rama presents them is completely normal.

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