The power of the individual

The power of the individual 

Tirana Times -

By Alba Cela 

A few weeks ago, a member of the DP parliamentary group, Gilman Bakalli resigned from the group and became an independent MP. The media storm that followed has abated now. The sensational and unexpected declarations of Bakalli and his meaningful departure from the DP parliamentary group were a real shock to most Albanian commentators at the time who dashed to analyze them in the context of eroding governing coalition and internal party disputes. Few were the people who went one step further in probing the significance of this gesture, which -needs to be stressed- has been by no means easy on Bakalli himself. In a TV program experienced analyst Mentor Nazarko briefly mentioned it, but rushed to peruse other aspects of the event. What he said though, that “the gesture of Bakalli reminds us of the amazing power of the individual”, deserves better scrutiny and more media exposure. 

The leader of the right wing governing coalition, the DP has traditionally shown signs of internal totalitarian mindset. Reading this gesture as a sign of diversification of the right, as Prec Zogaj in the same TV interview did, is clearly unjustified. Bakalli’s tone and statement showed clearly that he abhored “the communist system” (in his own words) installed in the decision making process of his party. What has provoked his extreme gesture, which puts in serious jeopardy his function as a representative of his electoral zone, is not the sudden diversification of thought in the DP, but its complete lack. Bakalli’s concerns were both of a local nature, the marginalization of Shkodra’s economic and social problems in the government’s agenda, and of a more general political one: the disfigurement of the DP’s character through its conduct and policies while in power. 

Bakalli sought the only remaining channel out of the gloomy box he found himself in: a party that was not responding to its promises, not responding to its electorate and not responding to his personal political beliefs and views. Since the group was not hosting his political persona any further, he chose to become an individual seeking on his own the fulfillment of his goals and of his personal responsibility towards the electorate that made him a MP. This explains also his following refusal to join any other parliamentary group. Becoming an individual Bakalli rediscovered the strength to blame every single one of these concern on specific names and last names, a gesture that will definitely cost him politically but that is to him as an individual no longer a liability. 

As part of a group that was no longer a framework of agreement and cooperation, a host to his ides and projects, Bakalli remained powerless. As an individual expressing his revolt he gained power from the very first move. He provoked a serious and engaging debate, he gathered the positive reaction of many member of his electorate and he was free to complete his term serving in an independent, though unfortunately by all odds not efficient, way. 

Last week the same person hit the news again by climbing the hill in Shkodra where the Top-Channel antennas were located and reactivating the TV signal for the audience in a clear defiance of the administration’s decision to deprive this part of the country from one f the most popular TV channels in the country. Hence there is an untold message that is left almost untouched by the crowd of media-s ad analysts, and that the Albanian public seems to be in danger of forgetting as well: the power of one individual to stand up to a system, to sacrifice some of career or his personal interest and disentangle himself by virtue of protecting some basic principles. We would need a few extra Bakalli-s in that case.