With vicious motives these days in Albania has curved an idea that failure to candidate as a member state to Europe is due to the presence of Muslims in Albania.
There sure cannot be found a more evil demagoguery than this. In fact this has been articulated in public by a politician but, I also hear it outside of the public talks, in closer social circles.
Before I get into the analysis of this phenomenon, I immediately want to say that, in my opinion there are only two crucial factors which failed us in getting the candidate status.
The first factor is the communistic atavism that continues to lead the mentality of many Albanians, be that in the basis or in the leadership of this country, yesterday and today.
Secondly, the fault is absolutely and without any negotiation billed to the Albanian political factors, with their decisions yesterday and the opposition today, the oppositions boycott yesterday and their decisions today.
However, over this the history will be the one which will analyze everything better than me and that will give the credits or reproach to each and everyone. As per the religious factor as a determent for the issue of Albania’s EU membership, is a demagoguery not only weak, but also an evocative and an incentive conflict.
Generally speaking, people that do this are not the ones who are defined as Christian or Muslim, since they see the religion with the lens of Marxist ideology or they measure it with the pragmatism meter, for some sought place of the Albanian administration as if allegedly their affiliation is a condition to the EU membership.
As per Europe, the history of religious conflicts is not something that has come today. In Europe, Anti-Semitism has done carnage. Isn’t this a conflict with religious colors? Christians did not need to appear the “dark-skinned” off of the coast of Gibraltar for war, since as Christians we know how to fight and split between Protestants and Catholics.
Doesn’t the same history continue to this day in Ireland? Weren’t Catholics forbidden and unwanted for three hundred years in England by their “brothers” the Christian Anglicans? Do we not know that today in Greece, Catholics do not have the equal rights as the Orthodox?
But in Albania we like to always avoid our problems and responsibilities and throw them to others.
Muslims are not the ones who hinder us to the EU integration. If Muslims have problems with themselves, as well as Christians do, this is a different matter for which they would solve it themselves and perhaps with a lot of sacrifices, as it is happening with the majority of Muslims in the Middle East and Africa, where integrals and fundamentalist minority dictates the lives of a population.
What we continuously forget is that in Albania there is no willingness to become part of European tradition, of the meeting between different cultures for one common issue.
We do not want to think (nor do we want to accept) that Europe has begun through a handshake of two enemy states, at the end of the second world conflict. Then when the unthinkable was thought, back then it happened in the Europe that we aspire today. But we do not want this because then the position and opposition would be forced to shake hands in Albania also, it would mean that the avengers would have to meet with one another, to have the most civilized debates on TV as politicians and other media, culture people, etc, etc.
We are still communists in our minds, we think in a hegemonic and in an integral way. We think “there shouldn’t exist a different alias” or “the Albanian integration should have my name on it and not the name of my opponent together with me”.
How many times during these years we have spoiled everything, we have boycotted as we continue to do so because we do not want someone else to take the merits since we do not want to share the merits.
Well, since this meeting culture is lacking why do we want to point our fingers to Muslims?
This means to wash your hands from problems and shortcomings. This means to turn religion into a conflict once again and to create a mentality of ’67, but camouflaged with secularist modernity.
Europe demands legal standards, willingness to fight against corruption, educational system in accordance with the values that have made Europe. It does not require a certificate of baptism or if you are circumcised or not. It is required that we start working seriously, that we roll up our sleeves, bring down our nose and work together despite our differences.
To give the non-integration in Europe religious colors it would mean to avoid the problem from you and find it elsewhere where it does not exist. It would mean not being even in the level of medieval culture which recognized the meeting of Christianity with the pagan philosophy and also the meeting of Christianity with Islam, as it happened when St. Francis met caliphs, or Averroes Avicenna, Persian scholars of Islam, taking us back and bringing us to mind Aristotle who for centuries has been forgotten.
Let us not forget that Europe primarily is not Christian and on the other hand, Albania is not all Islamic. If someone in Europe today (or in Albania) would go against Muslims, tomorrow (or even today) they would go crazy against Catholics and so on.
Nevertheless, I would like to close this by saying that, if it is true that Europe does not accept us because in Albania there is Muslims, then I do not want to go to Europe because I prefer to spend my life with my close to heart friends, with whom I grew up with, with whom I have shared the good and the bad, when they were needed to me and vice versa, but who preach a different creed from mine, rather than living with a Dutch, German or French with whom I declare the same creed.
If they do not accept me in Europe together with my neighbor who goes to mosque, I refuse the offer and I continue my life that is proper!
First published in Albanian language on Peregrinus.al by Dom Gjergj Meta under the title Europa e “krishterë” dhe Shqipëria “myslimane”
Translated by Saranda Shala