US researcher Lori Amy says the Theater Demolition in Tirana is communism crimes continuation

 The American researcher of cultural heritage, Lori Amy, an opponent of the demolition of the National Theater in Tirana, said that its demolition is a continuation of the crimes of communism, but with a different name. In a conversation with VOA, Dr. Amy said that yesterday's violence and the destruction of the National Theater repeated the national trauma that Albania still needs time to overcome communism.

Amy said that Enver Hoxha had started the unparalleled terror exactly starting from this theater, with the trials of 1945, when he ended the clearance of his political opponents.

"17 people in one day were found guilty, were executed on the spot and buried in a ditch outside Tirana. Another 53 people have been sent to Gulag along with their families in internment camps. Communism and its state crimes began at the National Theater and began with expropriation through the Gulag system (concentration camps and forced labor in the Soviet Union) and quite frankly today we are continuing the crimes of communism only under a different name. Illegal developments work in the same way as the expropriation that took place under the communist regime, just look at the Gulag leadership and system, We don't have a home yet for many people who were victims of the earthquake and yesterday that violence and destruction exceeded,” she said.

The researcher said that the reasoning of the Tirana government for the construction of a new theater in the ruins of the old one is a distorted narrative.

"In the first place, as many have said, everyone wants a new theater that can be built anywhere. But the National Theater is not only a place of remembrance that we must return to face the wounds of communism that have never healed, but it is part of the 800 years of historic progress that has remained in the city center. And this is a special value of Albania to contribute to Europe. In the quartet where the government proposes constructions, at one end is the Byzantine fortress of Justinian for 800 years and in the middle are the villas of the Ottoman era that are part of the settlement of Tirana and at the end, the 20th century. Where else is there such historical progress? In a few hundred meters eight centuries of the evolution of Western civilization: from Byzantium to the Ottomans, and to the 20th century. It is a special progress and we cannot destroy it. This means destroying the country's memory and identity. It means destroying a unique value that Albanians can offer to the world. This hurts me and I want to speak carefully, because part of the wounds of communism that continue to drip blood, is the culture of recycling attacks and counterattacks," she said.

Dr. Amy says one of the problems in the political arena is that none of the ordinary citizens believe in whatever politicians say. She says citizens think everything is a continuation of the performance of a political theater.

"So instead I want to talk about what people are sad about. Every senior diplomat has begged the Albanian government: wait, open public debate, open consultations and dialogue. For 2 years and 3 months people at the National Theater held a debate in the square, which is literally an agora, the place where people come to learn how to be participants in true democracy. I think more than anything this is what people are sad about. Destruction remains part of that closed circle of attacks and political counterattacks that only fuel more violence in response to previous violence. What I'm hearing from people is that they want a day of mourning: to stop, to cry, to understand what happened… I think it's extremely important not to get caught up in the cycle of guilt, accusations, attacks and counterattacks. "I also think we need to focus on what we can do in the future rather than on what opportunities have been missed."

Researcher Amy says that the National Theater can be rebuilt and for that, according to her, there are funds.

"Currently, there are funds from Europa Nostra that were allocated for the restoration of the theater. Those funds can be used to rebuild what has been destroyed. Those funds can be used to rebuild that square as a place of national consciousness that enables the country to unite and mourn what it has never been able to do. And there's one more important thing to mourn. The bodies of eighty percent of those executed by the communist state have never been found. And you in Kosovo know what that means. They are buried, then exhumed and reburied, often from several occasions to prevent families from finding their loved ones to mourn. Therefore, having a field of conscience that finally works for the country as a place of remembrance would help those families who to this day still grab shovels and mines in places where they have been told that perhaps their relatives are buried. It would give them a place to mourn, and that's what the country needs to move forward."

The American researcher of cultural heritage says that her studies so far for Albania have started exactly from the National Theater, while calling for unification, especially at this time of pandemic that the world is facing..
US researcher Lori Amy says the Theater Demolition in Tirana is communism crimes continuation US researcher Lori Amy says the Theater Demolition in Tirana is communism crimes continuation Tuesday, May 19, 2020 Rating: 5
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