Analysis/ Is it "good to be Albanian", only in the stadium?

2023-09-11 14:13:15Pikëpamje SHKRUAR NGA ANDI BUSHATI
Jasir Asani/ Mirlind Daku

On Sunday at dinner, going down the stairs of the stadium, I was still ringing in my ears with the shouts of "Oh, how good it is to be Albanian" and the rhythm of the song: "You Albania gives me honor".

The chorus of fans continued to snort them like drunks, as if they wanted to prolong that delirium that can only be experienced in a football match.

Although, as much as others, I also had irritated vocal cords, especially after the goals of Asan and Daku, I caught myself uttering only the cries of oe, oe, oe, after the refrain "oh how good it is to be Albanian".

An inner feeling restrained me from declaring with conviction that it is better to be Albanian than German, Polish, or Eskimo.

In fact, I have never liked the folkloric patriotism that unfolds on the steps of the stadiums, where, according to the commercial model of Digitalb, the "most beautiful flag in the world" is sung, where enemy countries are insulted by sisters, even when they are not part of it at all. the race, where a hymn is woven to an ethnically pure construct, which only exists in the dreams of an Albanian nationalist-extremist minority.

But, regardless of these distractions, which at that moment, around here, no one cared, the choirs of several thousand continued to sing. Perhaps the stadium and the national team are the only unifying symbols that make the Albanian man proudly display his affiliation and boast of his identity.

At halftime we had a short chat and took a photo with an immigrant from Canada, who told me he had traveled all the way to support the Reds. He left and I saw him from a distance singing the same refrains after Dak's second goal.

I don't know, and I had no way of asking him, what were the reasons he left this country. Maybe it could be the regular ones. A better life, a safer future for the children, or similar motives to everyone else who decides to say goodbye.

I don't know how he felt when he left here, but I'm sure that most others like him, turn their backs with the expressions "we will never make it, there is no hope here, how can we let the toads grow here" ", etc. With this mindset, almost a third of the population has lost sight of their feet, perhaps once and for all.

Even those who continue to live have this kind of pessimistic psychosis stamped on them. But when it comes down to it, when they wear the red shirt of the Albanian fan, they suddenly transform. They instantly feel proud of who they are.

They paint their faces with the colors of a flag to which they are indifferent in everyday life. They buy the latest scarves, hats, red jerseys to feel good about the security that comes from being part of a community.

They pay money from their budget, possibly insufficient, to travel from far and secure a ticket, so that they belong to a choir that caress their origin, sedra and sense of belonging.

Later, when the people had dispersed and the noise had died down, I tried to compare that mass with the crowds that gather at demonstrations and party rallies. Even though they reward them for going there, promise jobs and legalization, give them money in exchange for handing over their cards, offer them tapi or deletion of obligations from the lists, you never see this genuine enthusiasm.

In these kinds of demonstrations, they pay them, lure them, and as soon as they leave, even if they catch something, the majority of the crowd repeats the usual under their breath: "it's useless, this place can't be done".

While on days like this and the Sunday of the fantastic victory against Poland, they went down the stadium steps singing how proud they were of being Albanian. And some are the same.

Of course, when you notice this difference and try to make this comparison, you cannot fall prey to clichéd conclusions about the miserable state our political class is in.

You can't even compare the rejection to it, with the emotions, passion or heartbreak that the magic of football forgives you, which is, somewhat less, or sometimes more, unrepeatable around the globe. But ama, the spark that ignites surprisingly, every success story of the national team, whenever it happens, is not a signal that can be ignored.

Beyond the prejudices that some people like me have for folkloric nationalism and for the naive use of patriotic feeling, the fact that even expressed in this form, the enthusiasm that the national team manages to arouse, constitutes a contagious virus, is significant.

It shows how thirsty this environment is for symbols of success, for victories that we share equally with everyone, for battles from which no one feels excluded, for a sense of community and values ??that unify us.

It shows what spark is enough to go from fatalism, that this country is not made, to feeling proud of the belonging you have.

All these were conceived together in a magical two hours, which would be extended a little more, when descending the stadium stairs, that large mass continued to spread the cry "oh how good it is to be Albanian", to which I I agreed only with the interjections "oe, oe, oe".

They would continue the party for a few more moments in the streets of the city, until their voices died away in the night. Everyone knew that tomorrow would be an ordinary day, where they would do and say the same things as always.