2019 administrative elections. In recent weeks, Albania News has given ample space to the strong presence of Albanian-born candidates for the now imminent municipalities and the presence of Gerarta Dance in the Southern Circumscription to the Europeans.
Today we present you Eva Meksi, candidate a Bari (Puglia) with the list "Bari Common Good" in support of the outgoing mayor Antonio DeCaro. (In Bari she is also a candidate Uljana Gazidede).
Interview with Eva Meksi
I am Eva Meksi, born in Tirana and I live in Bari since August 91. I arrived here with the largest landing of Albanian immigrants, almost 20000, aboard the Vlora ship.
I have a degree in Business Economics from the University of Tirana.
In Italy I did various jobs starting with cleaning, babysitting, interpreter / translator, cultural mediator, representation for Albanian and Italian companies etc.
Candidate in support of the outgoing mayor Antonio Decaro with the list Bari Bene Comune.
This is a civic list born from the political association, not a cultural movement in which I belong, La Giusta Causa.
1. What is your proposal within the program of the Bari Bene Comune list?
The program was a team effort, the result of long discussions and discussions where everyone expressed his opinion, his idea. Therefore I cannot make my own one or another proposal in particular but surely I am fully in the whole program that guarantees the support and the continuity of the work already carried out in these past 5 years. On the other hand, the BBC list (Bari Bene Comune) reflects a perspective of particular attention for the "needy" groups of our Bari community.
The BBC's programmatic lines begin with the right to Citizenship, urban planning and the environment, tourism and economic development, culture and education, etc.
It is clear that each of us focuses on one point rather than another. It is a program that from my point of view, in addition to highlighting the most critical problems of our City, does not want to neglect the nerve center of the general political situation that is biting our lives daily. In some way it is necessary to intervene and each of us must do something in his own small way. Here I refer, unfortunately, to the racist tones used a little often by those who should represent and protect us.
2. If you win, what do you think you propose to be innovative for all citizens?
I am for an ever more beautiful and welcoming Bari. Bari is a very important port and as such must be a more active and organized, open reception point, and here it is not just about welcoming people in need, therefore the immigrant. History has shown that with immigration a city like Bari has always given its best but now I am referring to a Bari as a tourist port, as an increasingly tourist city, as a point of reference for those coming from outside but also for those who comes from the surroundings and the suburbs. Bari must be efficient at 100% and tempting, facilitating the arrival and permanence of tourists but also of those who work. Any investment in caravan parks, car parks, public baths, transport, information points, etc. will benefit the city itself, the economy of the municipality and the inhabitants of Bari themselves.
In addition, it is very important to improve the work and efficiency of a network of social services to help women, children, the elderly and families in difficulty.
3. Why do you think they will have to vote for you?
It is difficult to answer a question like this, because the fear that it can always pass as propaganda, as a car proclaims, like a race, a race ... which in reality it is ... but .... I like constructive competitiveness.
It is not in my style to talk about myself, I have always left others to make judgments about my person and my way of doing so I will try to be clear and without too many words.
They must vote for my seriousness, integrity and respect that I have always shown in comparison to anyone. And also because I love this city and I will put all my determination, energy, positivity into the support of every project that improves Bari and the life of the people of Bari. Because I am a mother and I would like our children to see their city more and more beautiful and well organized, to grow respecting it and to have much more study and work opportunities from Bari. Because in my being "foreign", in the fact that I went through so many difficulties without a family or acquaintances behind me, it is as if I lived many lives, I lived transversally Bari, I touched and immediately all the problems, so always before complaining I have always rolled up my sleeves and this will continue to do if I am elected.
4. Being in possession of a dual citizenship, belonging to multiple cultures and speaking multiple languages is a point of advantage or disadvantage for you and why?
Surely it is a point of advantage, I feel I have lived even more lives, I have more positive energy, determination, the obstacles do not scare me, my whole life has been a race for obstacles, I have an open mind and a point of view much wider. I learned to be tolerant and to know how to listen, it's fundamental.
5. You are of Albanian origin. What is Albania for you?
I was born in Albania and I went to 24 years. I trained in Albania. I have Albanian roots and that part of the trunk that supports everything else. I have never denied being Albanian even when the Albanians were seen only as delinquents and murderers, indeed it was a way of showing that the Albanians are the ones who work every day, not just those you see on TV. The same pride I also inculcated to my daughter who, although she has always lived in Italy and loving Italy at 360 degrees, she loves Albania, she knows perfectly the language and history, she knows the news of Albania as if she lived there.
6. What does it mean to have a foreign name in your everyday life?
Here I smile because I have a universal, biblical name. The first reaction ever: what a beautiful name you have EVA. A small difficulty only for the surname when I have to dictate Meksi, with the "K". We Albanians have woken up from the lethargy the "K" in the Italian alphabet. 😂
7. Are you Italian enough for those who will vote for you?
Friends call me Albarese. Of course I'm Italian and you understand it when in complaints, in pains, when you're sad, you think and you express yourself in Italian. I always play with "I am a foreigner" but in response there is always "seeee you are more Italian than us".
However I would like to say that more than being Italian enough or any other nationality, what matters is being human and being respectful of everything you want to take care of. I want to take care of my city, because this is where I live, and I want to take care of my country with what I can with all the means I have and can have available.
8. Do you care about polls? What do they say about the list you signed up for?
I follow the polls but I don't believe it at all. I learned to read newspaper articles not from sensational headlines, not just reading the lines but especially between the lines. They are often buffalo surveys. I see the polls paying attention among the people.
I must say that I am moved when I get some message that supports me even if I can't vote for it or when they express their support by spending wonderful words, which sometimes I fear I don't deserve at 100% ... that's what counts for me. Because it means that a person is giving you a few minutes of his time.
Regarding the list Bari Bene Comune- Antonio Decaro Mayor, can only speak well. The list is not the only town in Bari for adoption. There has been some incident of racism against a candidate, a Roma couple who represent the Roma community in Bari, but we have all gathered around them for moral support. I met so many other candidates on our list from where there is really a lot to learn and who have the determination to strengthen the work done by the Mayor Decaro's administration in these years.
9. What does it mean to be integrated in your opinion and what are the proposals to be made to improve immigration policies?
Integration is not Italian citizenship. Integration is a long and serious process and in this you must invest because you invest in the future of the country, indeed you invest in yourself. We cannot pretend that foreigners are not there or that they are a separate category that we meet on the street or at work and then everyone at home. The more integration and serene and sustained the more positive it will have in society, the other generations will be born and they will grow from peers and not with bitterness, rancor transmitted for the injustices suffered. I remember when I had just arrived that I appreciated much more the demonstrations of affection, solidarity, respect, rather than an 100 thousand lire given to me. Hence the proposal to increasingly strengthen the reception network with schools not only to learn the language but the habits and customs, civic education, to teach trades. In the police stations or in any case for the police stations there must also work the cultural mediators, social assistants not only to facilitate the legal process but that goes hand in hand with social integration.
10. Is there an organized Albanian community where you are a candidate? (like some association, a school, etc.). How many Albanians are there in your constituency?
Is there an Albanian community? The Albanian community is the most integrated in Italy. The Albanian works hard and quietly, he cares about his integration and the future of his children but precisely this great merit stems from a defect of ours not to make a group between us. Lately in this sense we are moving a little because now there is great esteem of the Albanians and pride is returning in us too and the desire to get closer. First, because of so much negative propaganda, we were far from one another, as if we wanted to demonstrate a sense of non-belonging. However, there is a lack of associations.
11. Don't you think they only chose you to draw on the votes of your community?
I don't think this is the main reason why most votes are lower, because precisely because of the perfect integration of the Albanians it is not said that an Albanian must necessarily vote for an Albanian. All Italians have a best Albanian friend. For the vote, perhaps the awakening of pride will be counted as being represented in the administrative life of the city as it has been for years now in all other fields.
It must never be forgotten that the Bari Bene Comune list has always courageously supported the welcome and integration line, it is a list that demographically reflects the country. I am a witness.
12. What do you have to say to the other candidates of Albanian origin who compete in other lists?
To the other candidates I make a big wolf and may the best win. I don't see competition but pride of having the same final goal. This is for those who are candidates in my own city and also for all the other Albanian candidates in Italy. I feel like saying that if any of us will manage to do everything we can not to disappoint not only the Albanians but all the voters, we must show that we are smart people, honest and coherent, that we are able to give our best in this field.
13. Do you want to add something or say more that you think is important?
You have been quite precise with the questions and you have created all the possible spaces to express myself and tell me about this very important phase of my life. I see this election as a new era for all of us, and with the I mean the whole Albanian community in every corner of Italy. An era is beginning where we must not only choose but we must also be chosen, a new era where we can no longer just complain but become a responsible part of the realities that belong to us to which we belong.
So we no longer need to reflect but also react. Let's not forget that Albania is a country that is not yet part of the European Union, but here we have one candidate of Albanian origin for the European Championships, I mean Geri Ballo. It is not just. It is the demonstration that sacrifices and work always pay off. Important do not stop but keep looking ahead.
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