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Interview on 05.06.1992 in “Voralberger Nachrichten”, Austria by Marlins Mohr

The communistic dictatorship, which was lasting for decades, is brocken down and Albania is on the way to a democratic future, at last they hope so. But the political and economical fragment, which was bequeath from the Stalinistic ruler, is big. Because of this, it is really important for the two student leaders Blendi A. Gonxhja and Arben Çokaj, to start tiding up. That’s why they went in the west and discovered many new things. Especially that economic know-how, which is necessary for Albania to come up. Both are convinced that only so the emigration could be stopped.

Blendi A. Gonxhja (djathtas) dhe Arben Çokaj

An informative travel to Austria:
Leaders of students in Albania Blendi A. Gonxhja (right) and Arben Çokaj

What was the reason for your visit in Austria?

At first we wanted to become acquainted with the Austrian University Students Association. In the middle of June will be held the first university students election in Albania and thatfore we like to organize the students as quick as possible. Besides, they offered us the opportunity to visit the Albanian community in Vienna as well we could talk to several important representatives of the UNESCO. In the conclusion of our visit we got an invitation from our good friends in Nenzing.

If everybody give his best, it is possible to live together in love and peace.
Blendi A. Gonxhja, Arben Çokaj

How do you judge the system of the Austrian University Students Association?

The intention and the purpose are good, the difference is that the groups are political bounded, whereas in Albania it’s not like that. But we surely have a political future. But for acting effective, it is important for us to unite all students in one organisation.

How many students are there in Albania?

There are circa 20.000 students. Until now the most of them behaved themself passive, because of the political situation. Only a small group of them is officially active.

Which part did the students play during the political change?

They gave rise to that revolution and so was Albania completly changed. We had chose that way, because we couldn’t simply believe, that in politics will change something automatically.

In which situation is the country after the election?

Except for that this election will go down in history as the first free election, it was really important for us. Everything is okay and the government is accepted from everybody. It is true that the situation is still a bit difficult, but not so problematic as for example in other countries of the past east-bloc. In many ways you
can say it is good, as well it is in many ways also confused. It would be easy to change this, if you could find several investors.

What for example is good?

Especially good you can name the moral of the population; the strength of the families. And the nature is really beautiful. This is like in Europe, but not so cold.

What is the most suffering?

It is bad that there are not so much jobs and the people are afraid to spend money. The influation amounts at present 700 %. It’s also bad, that there is still scarcely signs from Europe, even though all doors are open.

What is now the urgent necessity for the country?

At first we need a little calmness to set up a new legislation. Then, there are jobs and investments necessary to guarantee the new beginning. There is hardly a private enterprise. Therefore we don’t need so much material help. In the first place we need mental support, help in questions for economic, commerce and in the technical sector, as a foundatian on which the economy can be build. Only this can stop the exodus. And many Albanian will go back to their homeland. But to manage this, a real “relief-plan” would be good. It is true that already several association are working in Albania, but there is nothing really organized.

What is about the pollution in Albania?

Because of the traffic the pollution is enormous and also many buildings are destroyed. In this case we really have to start at the beginning.

Do you think that tourism could be a future prospect?

Thoroughly, Albania can offer several things, especially a lot of untouched nature. For this, we like to make some advertising. It is true that this is not our business, but nevertheless it’s also our interest.

Do everybody get now enough to eat?

Italy provide us with the important basic food, which we recieve with special rationcards. The government take the distribution upon oneself. And it can happen, that there is still not enough for everyone.

It would be important, to unite all students in one organisation.
Blendi A. Gonxhja, Arben Çokaj

Do you ever wanted to be a politician?

A student parliament, which setting up is at present our important concern, inevitable lock in political activities. Personally we believe, that it’s better to keep oneself out of the politics. In our position we should look for cooperation. Because we all are sitting in the same boat.

How do you imagine the democracy?

We wish that our country can be an example for living together in love and peace. If everybody really give his best, this can be reached for sure.

Published at:
Marlins Mohr, Voralberger Nachrichten, Österreich, 05.06.1992

Article in: Original and Albanian

Note: Translated from German to English by the wife of Mr. Lucciano (italian) – a friend of Blendi A. Gonxhja


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