THIS WAR IS TEST OF CHARACTER OF EVERYONE 

Dear fellow citizens!

Brothers and sisters!

I decided to reach out to everyone of you through this statement, looking everyone in the eye without distinction, as one of you, as an Albanian among Albanians, who unlike any of you and thanks to all of you, I have the unmatched honor and the extraordinary responsibility to be in charge of the affairs of the country at the time of such an unparalleled ordeal of this fight against the threat to our health and our very life. 

This is a global test which for 9 months is fiercely challenging all countries, health systems, people regardless of nationality and social categories.

This is definitely an incredible ordeal for the science, medicine science, health system, politics, definitely the government and certainly the media.

But, most importantly, this is an ordeal and a test of the character of the nations, the societies and individuals, regardless their language, gender, colour or different beliefs and opinions.

It was not us the Albanians who have chosen this ordeal, just like we didn’t choose the ordeal of coping with the severe effects of the earthquake a year ago, but we are challenged to face it with the strength of our character.

Nobody is to be blamed that the country and the people are hit by an earthquake or a pandemic. But the way we respond to such shocks shows who each of us is, as people, as citizens, as a community under an aggression from a force majeure.

The earthquake hits hard in the blink of an eye, leaving behind its consequences in a long time recovery ordeal. 

Whereas the virus invades gradually through a prolonged time and its effects challenge our resistance as individuals, as citizens and community.

But our character is revealed in both cases, not only as a people and as family members, but also as a public voice in the media and politics and of course as a leader as well. I am really proud of how as a nation have responded to the two crisis and how the overwhelming majority of people have come together either to help the hapless people affected by the earthquake on Nov 26 last year, as well as to do their part of sacrifice in these long months of the fight against the virus that is challenging entire world. Just as I am very proud, as Prime Minister, of how the this state troops have been made available to people in need, from thousands of boys and girls, men and women in the Armed Forces, the State Police, the National Emergency and Civilian Emergency structures in the wake of the earthquake, to the members of our health system, from the doctors and health workers in the line of fire, to every expert and structure to every family doctor without forgetting our Ministry of Health and our Minister of Health during all this time under attack from the invisible enemy.

I am very sorry that my today’s appearance was provoked by the complete opposite of the strong character and virtues that have positively characterized the Albanians’ fight against the two great evils throughout this year.

While the vast majority of this nation is doing the best amid these very challenging conditions, a rowdy minority stands idly aside, watching, putting curses and accusing. They throw every day stones to those who deprive themselves of the sleep, fight, serve and sacrifice each day in the frontline of this endless war of nerves, from those who care for the sick to save as many lives as possible from the claws of this treacherous virus, to those who help this fight from every position they contribute from.

Don’t reckon me among this long line of people who are doing the impossible. I am not here to complain about the mud and the spits on me by this riotous minority. I don’t either ever complain for myself, because not only I emerge stronger from the abusive speech and accusations of all sorts, but they also really motivate and energize me to lead our battles in all areas. 

They say I can’t stand the critics and that I think I am always right. This is simply not true, yet there is a big difference between the critics and the abusive speech. The latter make my blood boil even more than necessary when I have to publicly confront slanderers and insulters. Many call it arrogance. I don’t know. It might be that. But they should also see it as an expression of the passion that keeps me in this post, the great passion for the job I have been trusted for and the Albania I want for all our kids.

We can surely have different opinions on various projects and events and this is called democracy. However, resorting to abusive speech and making defamations is neither a matter of different opinions nor a thriving democracy. Certainly, in the middle of a war like this, we can develop different opinions on many things, yet we can’t be politically divided when it comes to the number of the dead, or, unfortunately, play politics by even using clandestine images from the hospital’s morgue. This is no longer democratic, but it is openly inhuman. Of course, the government and the expertise of the independent scientific commission can be challenged in the middle of this war, yet it is impossible that even President can create his alternative committee and the opposition also set its alternative committees, with one of them saying that the government should buy masks for every citizen so that they can be protected from the virus, while the other claiming that the virus doesn’t exist at all and that citizens can go to the churches and mosques to pray against the government. This is not democratic, but clearly inhuman irresponsibility.

Of course, we can differ on the opinions how the economy should be supported in the middle of this war. And this would even be helpful and healthy should the slanders and abusive speech were not to accompany instead of arguments any alternative plan with 3, 5 or 7×7 points. We can’t be a unique example in Europe, with the government having to fight every single moment and by everything it can against COVID to protect every Albanian life, while the opposition, together with the President, forge an alliance with COVID to overthrow the government, by instilling panic and anxiety, insecurity, fear in the daily life of Albanians and by publishing clandestine images of the hospital morgue. This is neither democratic nor Albanian, but it is clearly inhuman. Just like it is neither democratic nor Albanian, but clearly inhuman that at the peak of this war, when the second wave is shocking whole world with the surge in the number of infected people, playing politics by resorting to fake news, even about the dead.

Telling people that the government is concealing the number of the dead today, when the burden of the health crisis in every country is reaching unbearable limits and the burden on the doctors and nurses shoulders is reaching the superhuman edges, means that you are crossing any limit of democracy, even any limit of the harshest of struggle for power. This is brutally inhuman.

How one can possibly go that far, no matter how weak the character of a political leadership is?

How one can possibly provoke the psyche of a nation under the aggression of a disease that threatening the beloved members of every family?

How one can possibly threaten the human integrity, not simply professional, of a whole army of doctors who for nine months now have been forced to forget their families, their children, and their parents to care for the family members, children and parents of each of us?

How the political being can possibly degenerate to this extent as to brutally violate the human being inside him and provoke every family that might have lost their beloved ones and sow fear and horror in every family with a member having contracted this lethal virus!

How one can possibly fall asleep after uttering such macabre things, regarding a whole nation a blind force that should be driven towards vengeance against those who, according to this inhuman presumption, use power to manipulate the number of the dead. 

This is not the character of this country. 

This is not the character of this people.

This is even not the character of politics itself and by no means the character of the majority that governs this country today.

This is an extreme manifestation of the kind of weak characters that inflicted grave damage at crucial times and prevented Albania and the Albanian people from breathing freely, always appearing in the wrong moment and place with all the irresponsibility of their weakness. It can’t get more disgraceful and indecent than that!

However, you can’t state even that anymore, because, indeed, at this point it is no longer imaginable how far the shamelessness towards the country and the people of this country can go. 

What are those who lose their lives in hospitals?

Are they just votes that disappear during the ballot counting during elections in the Democratic Party?

Or are they show boxes filled with illegal cash departing from the Lalzi Bay to media resources? 

Who are the frontline doctors fighting in the line of fire of this war which is a matter of life and death? Are they members of Nishani committee, who came together to eliminate Fahri’s son from the MP candidate lists?

Or the President’s advisors who disseminate fake news?

Are the professors in the doctors’ white coats, who for years have been signing every medical record of patients who unfortunately lose their lives in the hospital, the same as their accuser who denies his own signature, as he finances the party campaign with money that is not known where it comes from?

Or can the dead in the hospital fade away, like those poor human beings in the lost tape about the Krusha massacre for which the accused by the witnesses only knows how to curse and accuse the witnesses? 

Or the COVID-19 victims can be concealed just like the security surveillance camera images at the Prime Minister’s Office were deleted only a day after the January 21 events?

(Immanuel) Kant once used to say: “He who accuses you of something you haven’t done, he has either done himself, or he would have done if in your position and weak characters are clearly distinguished, among other things, when they accuse others without any providing any evidence, they are indeed capable of doing exactly what they accuse others of. It doesn’t matter a lot whether it is about manipulating a party election voting form, to eliminate a tape recording crimes against humanity or falsify a list of people who have died at hospital. 

But fortunately there is no theoretical, no more practical possibility for the government to hide the number of victims at the hospital. Just like there could be normal political party on the planet to determine the diagnosis of patients who lose their lives and to raise charges that would also raise the dead from the grave.

The professional and legal responsibility to determine the patients’ diagnosis lies with every doctor in our hospitals, just like the accusations over alleged concealment of the deaths is not only a political and civic irresponsibility, but also a terrible weakness of the character of this opposition. This is not the first time, but it is simply the culmination of a series of repeated cases since the very start of this war, when this opposition, with its verbal rudeness is equally great as its character weakness, level accusations accompanied by calls on the Prosecutor’s office. But to call on the prosecution to look into the dead in hospitals at the peak of the war with the pandemic, putting such excessive pressure on doctors who need solidarity, support, encouragement, gratitude, appreciation today, this goes beyond the level of disgust for politics of this sort and enters the realm of contempt for the inhuman.

If we are forced to get used with the criminalization of any decision, public work, reform, or with the criminalization of anyone serving in a high-level public duty as part of this governing majority, criminalization of our doctors, when Albania and Albanians need them more motivated than ever, is beyond any possibility to consider it a normal consequence of the power struggle of this characterless opposition. 

The prosecution knows best its job whether to consider it reasonable to become involved in this political horror and shed light on the criminal madness of this magnitude. Nobody can and won’t thwart Prosecutor’s office. However, this extreme escalation of the struggle for power should be noted by a court, the supreme judge of Albania, the Albanian people, as an intolerable insult to our character as a nation and as Albanian people. 

The deadly virus doesn’t distinguish between the parties, regions or social categories, even between the family members and this heinous episode of the struggle for power should not be forgotten as an attempt to sow division among us and Albanian citizens in the middle of the war against this invisible enemy, as an attempt to incite hatred against our doctors on whom monstrous dubious shadows have been cast, it can even incite desperate people who have lost their beloved ones to resort to violence against doctors when losing their beloved ones, as a shameful act for our character as a country, as a people, as Albanian citizens and as mere human beings.

We will win this war, though through continued efforts, hard work, unwavering confidence and trust and enormous patience. I would beg everyone to observe the rules. Limit unnecessary movements, contribute to the efforts to avoid by any means a second lockdown and don’t question the veracity of the official data about which the government and the health authorities are highly responsible, primary before you. Don’t fall prey to the fear they want to sow in your soul, those who unfortunately are seeking to use you as cannon fodders of their blind struggle for power and plunder.

We will cope with difficult winter together and along with the winter season Albania will also cope with the most of this evil that has gripped us, but that we will defeat through the strength of our character.