Vandalised Albanian Monument Stirs Political Row

4 September 2014

News 04 Sep 14

The vandalising of a monument dedicated to the victims of Albania’s communist regime has sparked a political row between the government and its critics.

Belinda Dibra
BIRN

Tirana

A police officer guards the Post Bllok installation in Tirana following the attack | Photo by : LSA

The attack on the monument, which is located only metres away from the prime minister’s office, has prompted critics to accuse government officials of criminal indifference.

Over the weekend, unknown assailants cracked the see-through glass floor of the Post Bllok installation, which sits at the entrance to a neighbourhood where Albania’s Communist elite used to reside.

A slab from the Berlin Wall, a mushroom-shaped bunker surrounded by a glass floor and some of the concrete pillars from a notorious labour camp are all parts of the installation.

The 2.6-ton graffiti-covered piece of the Berlin Wall was donated by the German city. The concrete pillars come from a mine at Spac, where many alleged opponents of the Communist regime were incarcerated and had to do forced labour.

The creators of the monument, writer Fatos Lubonja and painter Ardian Isufi, said the attack was not just an act of random hooliganism.

“It’s an intentional act, because is one of the most visited monuments linked to a historical period,” Lubonja told reporters on Monday.

He said he was irritated by the “indifference” of the state to the momument, “because there is no single cop to protect it”.

Isufi explained that the glass floor had been built to sustain damage and the force used to crack it also suggested that the attack was not random and could have been politically motivated.

“There must be some political fervour behind this,” he noted.

The deputy mayor of Tirana, Enno Bozdo, said that the prime minister and the speaker of parliament, whose offices are close to the installation, were responsible for the damage.

“The damage has been done with the silent complicity of the [speaker of parliament] Ilir Meta and [Prime Minster] Edi Rama, whose offices are metres away and are protected by the Republican Guard and the state police,” Bozdo said.

However, the ministry of culture blamed the municipality for the damaged monument, arguing the installation was under their legal control.

“The ministry of culture only drafts policies to encourage citizens to be responsible,” spokesperson Milena Selimi told BIRN.

“We can’t place a cop at every monument,” she added.

Post Bllok is not the first monument to be vandalised in Tirana. A monument dedicated to Albania’s independence centennial has been stripped several times of its bronze panels by scrap metal scavengers since it was unveiled two years ago.

Countless others across the country have suffered the same fate over the past decade.

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