A Voice from the Past

Albanians came by the thousands to Italy in first years of the Nineties. When Nave Vlora reached the shore in Bari with its load of men, women, kids, babies, those of us who saw it on TV or in real, all wondered how it could still stay afloat. In the following days, there were Albanians everywhere. They looked dirty and dangerous: that kind of dirty and dangerous look that comes with years of dictatorship, hunger, suffering, struggle for survival. It was a better Italy: I don’t remember anyone suggesting to sink ships from Albania, back then. We rolled up our sleeves, fed them and cleaned them up. Some of the people that arrived on Nave Vlora, and their families and kids, still live in Italy today.

Sometimes a brain that can focus longer than a Tweeter message and a good memory can help putting things in perspective.

Today, as Coronavirus spread rages in Italy and kills hundreds every day, Albanian prime minister gave a simple speech surrounded by 30 doctors and nurses ready to leave to go and join Italian doctors in the areas that are suffering the most.

“I know that someone here in Albania will find strange that 30 doctors and nurses of our small army dressed in white are leaving today for Italian front line. I know that 30 doctors and nurses are far from enough to invert the balance of power between the invisible enemy and the white army that is fighting against it on the front line on the other side of the Adriatic sea. But I know that down there, it is also our home, since Italy and our Italian brothers and sisters saved us, hosted us, adopted us, in their homes while Albania was burning with immense pain. We are fighting the same invisible enemy and our human and logistic resources are not unlimited. But today we cannot keep our forces idle, waiting for them to be called to action, while in Italy, war hospitals are treating Albanians wounded by the enemy, too and desperately need help. Today all borders are closed and very rich countries are turning their backs to others. Maybe it is really because we are neither rich, nor deprived of memory, but we cannot avoid to demonstrate to Italy that Albania and Albanians never abandon friends in danger. In this war, no-one will win alone and you, courageous members of a life-saving mission, are leaving for a war that is also ours. Italy must win and will win this war for us, for Europe and for the whole world.”

Dear Edi Rama, Albania Prime Minister, this is a very touching gesture. Thank you.


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