Recently, the United States erupted into a public crescendo of awakening, fueled by the grief at the seemingly endless persecution of the Afro-American community and the bone-chilling murder of George Floyd. Similarly, Albania woke up numbed out on May 31st as news of what has become the clearest representation of how our broken system is failing kids all over Albania hit the tabloids. The difference? While Americans have made it abundantly clear they are willing to put their superficial differences aside and come together against institutionalized racism, people in Albania are spending their time actively pushing guilt and shame on those who are publicly expressing their support for Black Lives Matter, arguably the most influential movement of the post-civil rights era. I hate to break it out to you, but you definitely do not have to choose between supporting a movement set forth by an innocent 15 years old girl who was continuously abused by her 65 years old school guard, and one reignited by a murder caught on tape.
First and foremost, understand that this me-only mentality is extremely off-putting to any potential allies. Honest change-makers are in it for the long haul and deep, systemic improvements. Naturally, that requires raising awareness about a multitude of issues, whether global or local. We can bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, Me Too, Love Wins, and just about any social cause without the need to downgrade or belittle others. Our behavior cannot make a testimony of our generation that we do not recognize to be true; millennials thrive on diversity and inclusion. That being said, we can virtually stand for our brothers and sisters in America, but we can also stand by each-other on Thursday, June 4th.
Furthermore, this line of logic is deeply flawed when it comes to the most fundamental principles of social activism. No, you do not need Instagram influencers, bloggers, and account holders to post about it. So, how about not demanding it when it’s not given? How about not disregarding our own impact as a fully democratic, autonomous society who can fill the streets without the need to wait until there is nothing else going on in the world people can post about? Of course, the raised awareness and public support is welcome, but not necessary. Demonizing those that do not give it to you is simply a defense against admitting powerlessness.
Part of the problem is the current political climate and the significantly decreased appetite for social activism in Albania. After 30 long years of transition, our demands are still falling on deaf ears and being continuously met with arrogance and disregard. After the latest tragi-comic act that was the stealthy demolition of our National Theatre, one might think that our efforts to bring about lasting impact in our society are in vain and might avoid activism altogether as a form of self-defense. This hopelessness is accurately mirrored in our youngsters’ exodus. In addition to the 17,397 students that left Albania, 71% admit planning to leave Albania soon.
Make no mistake about it, the latest events, both global and local, have awaken our social consciousness. People demand change and that is precisely why you need not force them what they should publicly get behind. Change-makers are not higher beings possessed by the pagan gods that hate the sofa, they are humans who recognize there is something that is bringing people pain and that must be done differently. It is a collective effort to better the world we live in. Think of it as trees, growing to and from one another. So, next time you see someone is not posting about the social cause you have embraced, thank them for giving us all a hand however they could.
Kejsi is a sophomore at University of New York in Tirana. His “a-ha!” lightbulb moment in life was the second he realized that words carry the vibration needed to serve as a source of inspiration, encouragement, and life-changing revelations. As such, he utilizes the power of storytelling to connect with people on a deeper level of humanity. At Insider, he is Editor-in-Chief for the 1st Managerial Board. He seeks to bring into spotlight social issues that have long been the cause of injustice and inequality in our society.