Wednesday, October 05, 2011
A "New" Challenge to the Status Quo in Montenegro
“Generation X” is all grown up in Malësia. Who, you ask? Simply put, if you ask this post-communist cohort of young intellectuals who Tito was, you may get a reply straight from a textbook. That is because most of these youth only know about the former Yugoslavia and her bloody wars and venomous demagogues through history books, YouTube, and Wikipedia. In other words, a new generation has emerged, and with it, a new taste for change. In the highlands of Malësia e Madhe a new group has organized under the label "Democratic Forum for Integration" (DFI). They believe that the current political representatives of Albanians work more for their personal interests than to improve the political, economic and social lives of their brethren.
As the newly appointed leader of this civic association, Anton Lulgjuraj offers the same warning that organizations preceding FDI have argued: the citizens of the predominant Albanian region of Malësia are dissatisfied with the general situation their social, economic and political lives.
The fault lies primarily on the political representatives of Albanians, who for the most part serve their own self-interests instead of the constituents they represent. Lulgjuraj cites the absence of a local municipality in Tuz/Malësia as the main culprit for this stalemate, and coupled with skyrocketing unemployment and unbalanced budget revenues have crippled the region.
The head of the Mission Club of Albanian parties in the Montenegrin Assembly, Vasel Sinishtaj, however, expressed skepticism in the objectives of the FDI.
Sinishtaj envisions an organization that will harvest all Albanian political parties into one unit and collectively engage the Montenegrin government for greater socio-political rights in Malësia and elsewhere. However, "yet another association is conceived without any real policy position or platform on real political issues." Sinishtaj is skeptical as to whether their goal is to unite Albanians or create cleavages between an already united front.
On the other hand, Political analyst Dritan Abazović supports the formation of the FDI. He asserts that any group organization that seeks alternative means of articulating their legitimate demands are rightly justified, especially if the status quo has not ushered in any change through the failure of their elected representatives.
Abazović maintains that, "It is especially important to raise awareness about the importance of participation in the social processes. Malësia has a legitimate reason to be dissatisfied and has regressed politically and economically. The political elites have failed to fulfill their requirements as elected representatives and articulate the demands of the citizens of Malësia. Therefore, it is quite logical that such an organization would take birth; it is definitely a welcoming sign, especially if the FDI is founded on democratic principles with the desire to achieve prosperity for all citizens."
Although the names of the members are being kept under tight wraps, it is expected that a press conference will soon identify the rest of the group and their roles thereafter. All we know now is that “a new group of young intellectuals will be seeking change for Albanians in the Malësia region.” A very common declaration that has been undertaken by previous groups, but with little success.
Immediate reaction to the FDI have been mixed. Some are criticizing it as an attempt to alienate the Albanian political parties and their deputies in Parliament. Others have claimed that the group is a collection of college students and young professionals that reside outside Malësia and are "out of touch" with the political process. On the other hand, the FDI is being welcomed as a potential new beginning for the future of Malësia. Many of the members are not tainted by communist-era propaganda and politics, such that have corrupted the current group serving in Parliament and in the Urban Municipality in Tuz. Numerous citizens argue that the self-serving interests of Malesia’s current and former politicians led to the embarrassing defeat of Albanian parties in 2010 that allowed the Slavic-run DPS to usher in their own puppet-masters to govern Malësia.
The FDI seeks to bring legitimacy to the political process and strengthen democratic principles while exploiting the self-serving interests of political elites. Although popularly elected, Malësia’s quasi-government is controlled by the ruling DPS in Podgorica, a strategy put in place by the Dukanovic regime in efforts to stymie any unified front from developing and politicizing. The battle is now two-fold: on one hand you have the DPS levying their political influence to maintain control in a region predominantly Albanian, and on the other hand you have corrupt Albanian officials regulating their egoism first and then the needs of their constituents second.
Posted by Conference Organizer at 11:50 AM