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10 years since the tragedy/What remains of Sokol Olldashi?

2023-11-20 19:16:00, Opinione Ruben Avxhiu
10 years since the tragedy/What remains of Sokol Olldashi?
Sokol Olldashi

10 years ago, Sokol Olldashi, deputy, former minister, figure of the Democratic Party, died in a car accident.

For me, he was a colleague and friend from the years before he entered politics, when the future was still a bunch of white pages where we could write anything. In 1999, I packed up my blank pages and headed to New York.

The 14 years that followed were perhaps much more transformative for Sokol than for me. Although he may have had a different view. (It would have been a topic for one of our old debates, perhaps.)

10 years ago, I was in an Italian cafe in Philadelphia when I got a phone call that Sokol had been in an accident. It was not yet known what the situation was. It was shocking even though after a long silence I had written about it several times in the last few weeks. He had run for chairman of the Democratic Party. Blessed with the unjust loss, he was suddenly in an unusual position from which he had played an interesting role in the beginning of the revolt against the importation of Syrian chemical weapons for disposal in Albania. Right in the middle of life, when the white pages of the future are rare, Sokol had taken out of his pocket a bunch of others, promising and provocative. It seemed ready for a new beginning.

The news of the accident seemed unbelievable. In the following hours I did nothing. I was waiting. In my place, due to the time difference, it was still afternoon. On the other side of the Ocean, I didn't know it yet, but night had fallen forever for Sokol.

The next day I sat down and wrote the following note, which was published at the time in several newspapers.

What is left of Sokol?

I worked with Sokol Olldash for years, not just in the same newspaper, but also at the tables next to each other, discussing together everything we wrote, drinking at least one coffee a day together.

We were connected by age, world view, the music we listened to and the books we read. We were separated only by the basic concept of the relationship between journalism and politics.

I believed and still believe in the myth of an apolitical journalism, which has a duty to the reader to view all politicians with disbelief.

He believed that journalism remains inevitably political and it is up to the reader to tell him which politician is the best. Sokol was as much an optimist as I was a pessimist.

We were only in our twenties at the time and although we were relatively more mature than many of our peers, we did a lot of stupid things. What is youth without them after all.

Although Kozeta, his extraordinary mother, had done her best not to feel the discrimination that surrounded him while growing up, the phenomenon had left its mark on Sokol. And he was almost obsessed with giving time, speech, respect and attention to all those who seemed to him to be marginalized by society. He knew by name and life story, every doorman, driver, cleaner, and worker who wandered, even temporarily, in the institutions where he worked.

Aware of society's cruelty to those it chooses to isolate, he had made it a mission in himself to be there for them. Maybe that's why he was given to politics, leaving political journalism behind.

I didn't have the opportunity to meet the ruling Sokol, but I can say with full guarantee that he didn't go into politics to gain or stand out. Sokol believed he could transform the world. In those dreaming years, his incredible energy and confidence often clashed with my resignation and skepticism. Maybe that's why we got along very well in conversation and at work.

At some point we started to publish a magazine together. We left the job at the newspaper "Albania" and joined "Koha". It was a naive attempt, without the necessary tools, but it gave us a wonderful adventure for several weeks and months. In that period we were together all day. Many friends, journalists or not, came to help us.

Sokol had found in Kela a man who complemented him in many ways. Journalism easily turns into an obsession that leaves no time for anything else in life, but Kela had once told him, when they had just met, that "if a man loves you, he always finds time". It was one of those things that stuck in his mind and made him constantly create windows to meet him.

The 90s were in many ways the years of dreams. Most of the things that were happening around us were happening for the first time in the history of Albania and Albanians. There were also years of disappointments. In the end, it was clear that we read the history of the 90s differently. I as a reason to leave Albania. He as a call to go deeper inside her.

Unlike many Albanian politicians, Sokoli could have very successfully followed any other path in life. He was not there because he had nowhere to go. He was there because he didn't want to be anywhere else. He was one of the few who had enriched politics with his participation, when the opposite often happened.

His success in years, in his career and in his duties was in accordance with his vision. Changing Albania was possible. His two biggest defeats in politics and the sudden end of his life, then, coincide more with my gloomy imagination that a sick society cannot forgive those who want to do it well.

Kjo e fundit duket se ka qenë ndoshta vera më e keqe e jetës së tij si i rritur. Jo sepse humbi betejën për kryetar partie por se kuptoi që e vunë në një garë të pabarabartë, një garë për të cilën ishte i bindur se do të përsëritej në një kohë tjetër më të mirë. Një kohë që nuk do të vijë më kurrë.

Ajo që përjetoi si periudhën e tij më të keqe të jetës ishte, sipas meje, fillimi i vërtetë i rrugës së tij në politikë. I çliruar nga miti që ia përcaktonte pozicionet politike, Sokol Olldashi kishte shansin për t’u rifutur në politikë si një forcë transformuese.

Shenjat e kësaj u dukën në ditët e fundit të jetës së tij. Në kohën kur kryesia e PD-së, ndonëse ishte vënë në dijeni të propozimit për sjelljen e armëve kimike në Shqipëri, ishte në dilemë, Sokol Olldashi mori nismën për t’iu bashkuar protestave. Duke gjetur një jehonë të jashtëzakonshme te baza e partisë së tij. Mund të mos jetë rastësi që mobilizimi “pa leje” i bazës, solli vendimin e PD-së për të dalë kundra. Përfshirja e opozitës në protesta ishte pastaj këmbana e fundit të alarmit për apatinë e qeverisë që vendosi në fund të thotë “Jo”.

Aftësia e Sokolit për të dale në protesta si qytetar i thjeshtë, ishte shenjë sesa natyrshëm mund ta hiqte e zhvishte kostumin e politikanit, ishte shenjë se potenciali i tij si udhëheqës shkonte përtej vijave të partisë.

Sot, kur shoh radhën e mëkatarëve që shkojnë për t’i bërë homazh, kur thonë fjalët e bukura ata që në jetë u përpoqën ta sabotonin e ta izolonin, kur shoh sesi armiq e kundërshtarë, miq e të njohur, janë mbledhur të gjithë bashkë për ta përcjellë, nuk mund të rri pakujtuar sërish se ashtu siç mendonte ai dashuria dhe njerëzorja janë mbi të gjitha e mund t’i bëjnë njerëzit bashkë, e mund ta bëjnë armikun të thotë fjalët e mira. Por nuk mund të rri pa u ndjerë për fat të keq, i legjitimuar nga këndi im, se paturpësia e falciteti nuk mungojnë kurrë në paradën publike e se pseudo miqtë janë në qendër të kamerave e ata që vërtet e kanë dashur kanë mbetur në periferi të vëmendjes,ashtu si gjithë njerëzit për të cilët kujdesej e vinte re.

Unë nuk mund të rri pa besuar se po të ishte zgjedhur kryetar i partisë, nuk do të ishte duke udhëtuar në timon në orën e vonë të natës, mes rrebeshit. Nuk do të provokonte shpejtësinë e panevojshme. Do të kishte një tjetër timon në duar, atë të fateve të partisë që e deshi aq shumë.

Politika dhe qeverisja janë një “sport” kolektiv. Sado politikan apo qeveritar i mirë të jesh, do të përshtatesh me mesataren e ekipit. Sado parti apo qeveri të mirë të ndërtosh do të përshtatesh me nivelin e shoqërisë. Në këtë kuadër Sokoli nuk mund të bënte një përjashtim. Po ai mbeti një nga paktët me potencialin për të rrokullisur një gur që sjell pastaj ortek ndryshimesh. Ishte një shpresë e madhe që u shua, pikërisht në të dalë të tunelit.

Po ndoshta, këto që them shtrembërohen nga largësia, nga emocionet dhe trauma e ngjarjes. Nuk ka analiza të përkryera në raste të tilla. Janë të gjitha të nxituara dhe shpesh pa vend.

Somehow, I don't consider Sokol a politician now. I just imagine him sitting in front of me in the small cafe next to Lana, handing me a cigarette, watching the cars that run like life, talking without understanding yet whether we have started real life or we are still rehearsing.

That he was killed far away, that he was lost far away, that he could no longer live far away, my feelings are mixed. Like the feeling of liberation and the killing of the conscience, of the deserter who chose to run away from the common war. And also like the premonition of the fatalistic spectator who knows that he cannot change the end of the drama by dancing like a madman on stage. That it was written a long time ago and that the only choice was to become actors or spectators.

Yesterday we lost a man who sincerely believed that he could write the history of Albania and humanity differently. For such losses tears will never flow, just like the rain of the terrible night through which it broke for the last time and never returned.

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