by Sabri Lushi

In 1990s, when the communist regime officially came to an end in Albania, the country demonstrated some very interesting political phenomena related to the behavior of people. After fifty years of complete isolation, absolute political control, and massive communist brainwashing, it was time for the final test. The result was amazing. As predicted, in my view, people had been fully transformed from individuals into a herd.

Right after the fall of the regime, which was a fully controlled process behind the scenes, Albania underwent a massive domestic migration. Without any economic or political justification, thousands of citizens started to move from rural areas or smaller cities to the surrounding areas of the capital Tirana. The process including no planning in advance, no preparation, and no economic reasons.

Within a very short period of time, the farming fields around Tirana were covered by shelters, and even tents. It was a mind blowing phenomenon: people who had a perfect house in a village or a small town, a stable economy, and most probably a job, left everything behind and decided to live in a shelter in a land that they didn’t own, didn’t buy from anyone and started to build houses without construction permits.

The whole process ran on a herd mentality – people following each other without thinking what they were doing. This was not simply about copying each other on small matters, such as buying the same clothes, but on a very important process: changing their places of residency and deciding to live for some time in a shelter built on a land that they didn’t own.

Along with the process of the domestic migration, Albanians were tested also on their ability of doing research about where to invest their money. All of a sudden, many financial institutions and banks started to offer high interest rates for their deposits. Even though the Ponzi schemes were endorsed by the Government of Albania, what people did – selling their houses and properties and investing in such an uncertain financial market, was no less than a collective insanity.

In my view, this was a test as Albania has served as a laboratory for the British Empire for fifty years. The test results were incredible. Albanian people demonstrated that when left without political guidance, they were not able to navigate interpedently and think critically. They followed each other on things that were very serious. Abandoning a perfect house and deciding to live in a shelter is not a small matter.

Basically, this showed that people without political awareness, which includes the ability to think critically, and act independently and responsibly become a real herd – easily controlled. That’s exactly what the communist government did: it trained people not to think politically to the extent that they were not able to decide any longer for themselves and their families. Without political awareness, people end up as slaves.

Sabri Lushi

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