By Carlo Bollino
For days, the media have been discussing the giant tower called 'Tirana Mountain', which will be erected instead of what has been known for decades as hajdin Sejdisa's pit. And just as it happened with the pit, it is now up to the tower to raise great controversy.
So far no one has criticised the tower itself or the architectural value of that project, and in fact the controversy concerns its funders. Part claims that the berisha family's money is hidden behind this project and this suggests that Edi Rama, who signed a building permit, has actually signed an agreement with his ancient rival. The question to which no one answers with credibility is: but in exchange for what?
What would The Berry Family get in exchange for this? Conspiracy theorists answered: Power! Namely, Berisha would have divided the DP and given up winning elections, including the ones on May 14, by getting the right to invest in that billions project in return.
However, the hypothesis does not stand, for at least three reasons:
1) If this were the case, then it would be imagined part of the agreement, which declared the Berisha family 'non grata' but then also Lulzim Basha, whose reaction after the DASH decision prompted Berisha to split the DP. The fact that Basha today leads the campaign against the tower completely disproves this assumption.
2) Anyone negotiating for power in exchange for something is because they know they will lose it: but Edi Rama and the Socialist Party are super solid in their majority (and the PD and Berisha are weak as ever). Then if Berisha had only one chance to win the elections, he would play this possibility without hesitation even because with the method already experimented by his family, instead of one tower, being power, he would build 50. So even the hypothesis of negotiations with Corbyn to stay in government is ridiculous.
3) The tower permit was granted one year ago. If Edi Rama has given to buy Berisha and his 'Foltore', what was his and the government's report with Sali and 'Foltoren' and how was it with Basha this past year? Because it turns out that Rama and the government had battles with Berisha, while listening to his analysts, Edi Rama had his "political loves" with The Basha, not with Berisha! Therefore, the phantom political plan around the tower lacks a motive. But then what is the truth?
Since Edi Rama came to power in 2013, he has surprised everyone by immediately breaking a long-standing Albanian tradition of "not forgiving the enemy" – punishing all their opponents and supporters. Unlike others, Rama, as a "Balkan Thocristian," introduced a new formula: friends of my enemies can become my friends.
Many socialists were disappointed, and the debate about the goodness of this choice is still open today, 10 years later. But Rama has never been dual and this is not only seen in his political, media and personal relations, but above all in the class of entrepreneurs who are today among the most prominent in the country: many of them were born economically right at the time of Berisha and Rama never prevented them with any decision or action. Even for a simple pragmatic account that in politics is worth more than revenge: Do you have a greater interest in being against or against the enemy?
So seeing Rama at a dinner with Gimi e Redbull, who today appears among the investors of the super tower 'Mali i Tiranë', may not please any socialists who know his close and historical ties with the Berisha family, but it is not enough to legitimize the existence of a mysterious political pact about that project. It's not enough because Rama has always done this. It is his way of being liberal and free from personal prejudice, precisely the opposite of Sali Berisha, who is illiberal and closely associated with centuries-old prejudice. A characteristic that increases The Value of Rama compared to his rival.
Then, if after The Gimit of 'Red Bull' or Ilir Shtufi, the official owner of the building permit, the dirty money of Shkëlzen Berisha is really hidden, this not only can Edi Rama not know but above all cannot be the object of any pact. Because this would be a criminal offense and of course it will not be Edi Rama who will prevent SPAK from investigating and possibly finding out.
Edi Rama is right and is right to defend his choice to build that tower like many others who are changing the horizon of the capital, but it is wrong to be angry if one hypothesizes that the dirty money of the Berisha clan can be hidden behind that project. As Rama himself has repeated thousands of times, the responsibilities are personal and if someone borrows to launder dirty money, it is right that he is held accountable. The press has a duty to stimulate these controls, but it is wrong to fantasize about political pacts that exist only in the imagination of those who say them.