by Sabri Lushi

Kruja is a small mountainous town in the Republic of Albania, which is believed to be the hometown of Albania’s national hero some centuries ago. Whether he existed or not, whether he is a mythological figure or a historical one, or a mix of both, he has been considered officially a hero by the Government of Albania since 1912.

To begin with, Skanderbeg became famous as Albania’s national hero during the horrible regime of Enver Hoxha. Strangely, this dictator promoted only a few figures during his oppressive regime: Lenin, Stalin, Skanderbeg and Marx. This is not a coincidence at all, in my view. The Skanderbeg Monument was put in the main plaza in downtown Tirana during the communist regime. This is another important fact.

The descendants of those who have benefitted so much from the Ottoman Empire, the grand viziers, viziers, war generals and fierce warriors, are forced to learn in the Albanian schools that Skanderbeg defended our country from the Ottoman Empire, in a time when there was no country, no Albanian republic, and nationalism and nation-states didn’t exist yet. Ironically, Skanderbeg fought against the Ottomans from the caves of Kruja when Albanians were soon to embark on a glorious journey of power. Big, big contrast.

However, let’s entertain for a moment the communist idea of the British and those puppets who represent that British Empire in Albania – the viceroys and the traitors, that Skanderbeg was a hero, that he defended our country, that he protected our people and our land, and that he is an inspiration for our citizens.

Well, facts on the ground are a big disappointment. Albania is the poorest country in Europe. It has the highest immigration per capita, similar to a country at war. It has experienced a unique regime for four decades. It became the first atheist country in the world. It banned religion for almost three decades – this is barbaric as much as it is embarrassing. Our natural resources, especially hydro power, is stolen by foreigners. The country has no national strategy of development – I am not aware of any. The land of Albanians and their property were stolen by the terrorist regime of Enver Hoxha. Currently, the Albanian Government has started a campaign of declaring the land of Albanians as protected areas – another way of stealing our land, and this is the case of my land. Our children born abroad cannot obtain Albanian citizenship – this is the case of my children.

Yet, the same people – those who stole and continue to steal our land, our national resources, our hydropower, those who violated our fundamental rights, who oppressed and continue to oppress us, they consider Skanderbeg as their hero.

Indeed, Skanderbeg is the hero of thieves, communists, terrorists, oppressors, enemies of Albanians, bandits, those who took our land, and those who declare our land as ‘protected zones.’

Skanderbeg is their hero, not my hero.

Sabri Lushi

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