Albania

This essay has a total of 2514 words and 10 pages.

Albania

Albania: The Development of a Developing Country
Albania, a small country located in Southeastern Europe, is a nation that does not have a
true identity - its people are Muslim and Christian, it is a country that is both and
poor, it is as much urban as it is rural, and has evolved from monarchy to socialism and
now to fledgling democracy. In other words, Albania and its people have seen it all. The
extremes of Albanian society are vivid, and underlying tensions are evident. But Albania
is not "another Yugoslavia" - there is no doubt that the internal environment of Albania
has been and somewhat continues to be tense, although the breaking point has never been
fully reached. Albania is a country with a fervently tense past (especially during the
Cold War era), yet many people do not know about it, and few would be able to find the
country on the map. Despite its beautiful during, its plentiful natural resources, and its
extraordinary tradition of hospitality, Albania has always been "the most isolated country
in Europe and from World War II until very recently, one of the most isolated countries on
earth" ("Real Adventures - Albania" 1).

Amongst the booming economies of Europe, Albania is markedly poor, and is trying to make
the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. In addition, the government
is taking steps to encourage economic growth as well as trade. Albania, according to 2003
estimates, "has a GDP of $16.13 billion, with a per capita GDP of $4,500" ("Albania - CIA
Factbook" 2) This is an improvement over the Cold War era, in which Albania's economy was
a complete disaster - still, however, Albania's economy is considerably weak compared to
its European neighbors. The economy is helped by "remittances from people abroad of
$400-$600 million annually, mostly from Greece and Italy, and this money helps lower the
sizable trade deficit" ("Real Adventures - Albania" 1). Agriculture, which accounts for
half of Albania's GDP, is frequently stifled because of recurring drought and the burden
of having to modernize their equipment and trying to make use of sparse land. What also
complicates economic matters is that there have been severe energy shortages, and
old-fashioned and highly inadequate infrastructure makes it difficult to attract
large-scale foreign investment, which accounts for 18.7 % of Albania's GDP (according to
2003 estimates). The government plans to boost energy imports to alleviate the shortages
and is moving rather slowly in their efforts to improve the poor national road and rail
network, which has long suffocated economic growth and stability in Albania. An estimated
30 % of the population lives below the poverty line ("Albania - CIA Factbook" 3).

From 1991 until today, Albania has welcomed foreign visitors but, as the poorest country
in Europe, it has attracted relatively few of them. Yet there are many reasons why the
outside world should be interested in Albania and concerned for its future. Albania is a
Balkan country and thus a crossroads of East and West, North and South; it is as rich in
history as it is in resources. When Albania achieved independence, nearly half its
population found itself outside its newly drawn borders, in what is now called "the former
Yugoslavia." But Albanians are not Slavs, and the Albanian language is not Slavic. Much
has been written about historic "transition" from communism, but Albania's transition is
ignored in most of these accounts. According to author Anthony Clunies, this is probably
because Albania's brand of communism was different from the others, and its society is
more difficult for a Westerner to understand, or maybe because people didn't pay much
attention to what happens in a small country in Eastern Europe (23).

The reputation for 50 years for being the hotbed of Europe's harshest brand of communism
is in the past, as it ended in 1991. Writing recent history is always

problematic; an objective account of the past fifty years in Albania, where extremes and
excesses of the communist regime are recent memory, is probably impossible. But
everyone agrees in one thing: Albanian communism was not like the others. It brought this
country overwhelming disasters and poverty. Albania's economy "changed drastically in the
early 1990s, as the government moved from a Communist system to a more democratic
organization" ("Real Adventures - Albania" 2). Albania emerged from the Communist era as
the poorest country in Europe. For the first time Albanians were granted the right to
foreign travel. The country still relied on tens of thousands of Albanians who work in
Greece, Italy, and Germany and send money home to support their families. Throughout 1990
thousands of Albanian citizens tried to flee the country through Western embassies. A
multinational relief operation "arranged for safe evacuation of more than 5000 Albanians,
and 20,000 more sailed illegally to Italy in vessels seized at civilian ports" (Clunies
54).

From 1944 to 1991 Albania's government was under the complete control of the
Communist Party, with strong influence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or
U.S.S.R. Power was consolidated in one man, Enver Hoxha, who ruled Albania

with an iron fist and stifled any dissent, much like Lenin and Stalin. After Hoxha's death
in 1985, Albania began to emerge from its isolation. As Communist rule in Eastern Europe
collapsed in 1989, some Albanians demanded extensive reforms. In 1990 the government
endorsed the creation of independent political parties. Albanian citizens had few of the
guarantees of human rights and fundamental freedoms that have become standard in Western
democracies. According to Anthony Clunies, Amnesty International "noted that political
prisoners were tortured and beaten by the Sigurimi during investigations, and political
detainees lacked adequate legal safeguards during pretrial investigations" (59). Most
investigations into political offenses lasted for several months. Alia's regime "took an
important step toward democracy in early May 1990, when it announced its desire to join
the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, while at the same time introducing
positive changes in its legal system" ("Real Adventures - Albania" 4). A prerequisite for
membership in the CSCE is the protection of human rights. According to Clunies, The United
Nations Human Rights Committee had severely criticized Albania for its human rights abuses
in 1989 and in May 1990 the secretary general of the United Nations visited Albania and
discussed the issue of human rights (64). The results of these efforts were mixed, but in
general the leadership "became more tolerant of political dissent" ("Real Adventures -
Albania" 4). The communist regime faced perhaps its most severe test in early July 1990,
when a demonstration by a group of young people in Tirane, the nation's capital, led about
5,000 to seek refuge in foreign embassies.

In order to resolve this crisis, in July 1990, the Central Committee held a conference
which resulted in significant changes in the leadership of party and state. The
conservatives in the leadership were pushed out, and Alia's position was strengthened.
Alia had already called for privatizing retail trade, and many businesses had begun to
operate privately. In a September 1990 speech to representatives of Albania's major social
and political organizations, Alia discussed the July crisis and called for electoral
reform. He noted that "a proposed electoral law would allow all voting to take place by
secret ballot and that every precinct would have at least two candidates" (Clunies 73).
The electors themselves would have the right to propose candidates and anyone could
nominate candidates for the assembly. Alia also criticized the bureaucratic "routine and
tranquility" of managers and state organizations that were standing in the way of reform.

Despite Alia's attempts to move forward with change on a limited, cautious basis, "reform
from above threatened to turn into reform from below" (Clunies 74), largely because of the
increasingly vocal demands of Albania's growing youth movement. On December 9, 1990,
student demonstrators marched from the Enver Hoxha University at Tirane though the streets
of the capital shouting slogans and demanding an end to dictatorship. By December 11, the
number of participants had reached almost 3,000. In an effort to quell the student unrest,
which had led to clashes with riot police, Alia met with the students and agreed to take
further steps toward democratization. The students informed Alia that they wanted to
Continues for 5 more pages >>




  • Mother theresa
    mother theresa Mother Theresa We all have our own heroes, people we admire and respect, people who made an impact on our life, that made us look at the world with a different eye, Mother Teresa is definitely the one for me. Although the world is full of good people, great humanitarians that really care, people who donate billions of dollars, people who raise their voice to make a difference, Mother Teresa stands out in the crowd, she is unique. "It is not how much we do, but how much love we put
  • Mother Theresa
    Mother Theresa We all have our own heroes, people we admire and respect, people who made an impact on our life, that made us look at the world with a different eye, Mother Teresa is definitely the one for me. Although the world is full of good people, great humanitarians that really care, people who donate billions of dollars, people who raise their voice to make a difference, Mother Teresa stands out in the crowd, she is unique. "It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing.
  • Irland and Albania
    Irland and Albania Comparing the electoral politics of most Western and Eastern European countries is like comparing night and day. While most of Western European countries have a strong political system, thriving economy, and a developed government&most Eastern European countries have just started this idea of a democratic nation. Most governments are corrupt and the political officials are not very trustworthy. The economy is also struggling and there is unrest with the people. This transitio
  • Irland and Albania
    Irland and Albania Comparing the electoral politics of most Western and Eastern European countries is like comparing night and day. While most of Western European countries have a strong political system, thriving economy, and a developed government&most Eastern European countries have just started this idea of a democratic nation. Most governments are corrupt and the political officials are not very trustworthy. The economy is also struggling and there is unrest with the people. This transitio
  • Comparison Of Electoral Politics
    Comparison Of Electoral Politics Comparing the electoral politics of most Western and Eastern European countries is like comparing night and day. While most of Western European countries have a strong political system, thriving economy, and a developed government…most Eastern European countries have just started this idea of a democratic nation. Most governments are corrupt and the political officials are not very trustworthy. The economy is also struggling and there is unrest with the people.
  • Comparison of Electoral Politics
    Comparison of Electoral Politics Comparing the electoral politics of most Western and Eastern European countries is like comparing night and day. While most of Western European countries have a strong political system, thriving economy, and a developed government…most Eastern European countries have just started this idea of a democratic nation. Most governments are corrupt and the political officials are not very trustworthy. The economy is also struggling and there is unrest with the people.
  • Greece
    Greece Greece has an area of 50,949 square miles and is located at the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. The area of Greece is approximately the same as that of England or the U.S. state of Alabama. Greece is located in Southern Europe between Albania and Turkey. The country is bordered to the west by the Ionian Sea, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea, and to the east by the Aegean Sea; only to the north and northeast does it have land borders. The basically Mediterranean climate of Greec
  • Italy
    Italy INTRODUCTION Italy is largely homogeneous linguistically and religiously but is diverse culturally, economically, and politically. Italy has the fifth-highest population density in Europe--about 200 persons per square kilometer (490/sq. mi.). Minority groups are small, the largest being the German-speaking people of Bolzano Province and the Slovenes around Trieste. Other groups comprise small communities of Albanian, Greek, Ladino, and French origin. Although Roman Catholicism is the major
  • Analysis on Bulgaria
    Analysis on Bulgaria External historical events often changed Bulgaria\'s national boundaries in its first century of existence, natural terrain features defined most boundaries after 1944, and no significant group of people suffered serious economic hardship because of border delineation. Postwar Bulgaria contained a large percentage of the ethnic Bulgarian people, although numerous migrations into and out of Bulgaria occurred at various times. None of the country\'s borders was officially dis
  • NATO
    NATO NATO After the Cold War and Changing Role OUTLINE 1. Introduction 2. NATO’s main functions 3. NATO’s new missions after Cold War 4. NATO in the 21’th century 5. Europe after the Cold War 6. NATO’s relations with OSCE and WEU 7. Conclusion 1. Introduction (1) After the end of World War II, all involved countries, with no exception of being victorious or defeated, have started seeking of the prevention of a new disaster by reconstructing and maintaining the security and peace primarily in Eu
  • Italy
    Italy History Italy\'s birth as a nation began in 1861 when the city/states of the peninsula and the islands of Sardinia and Sicily united under the regime of King Victor Emmanuel. Originally Greeks had settled in the southern tip of the Italian peninsula in the 7th and 8th century B.C. Etruscans and Romans populated the central and northern regions By the third century A.D. the peninsula had been unified under the Roman Empire along with the neighboring islands. The Empire dominated the Mediter