Albania: Hopeless Youth?

Albanian Blogger thinks that Albanian “young people do not see a clear future for themselves and that somehow the struggles of life seem to burden them.”


  • Amarildo Fecanji

    Realistically speaking the statement could probably tot up for a very modest outlook. If there is one characteristic to denominate the Albanian youth, the right word could be confusion, and in case more denominations are needed then you can add frustration and hopelessness too. I am not a connoisseur of the entire factors that have caused such confusion resulting in depressing truths, but being an Albanian myself and counting on my own experiences I could mention a few cause and effect reasons for why the situation of the Albanian youth and its view on the future is as it is.

    Albania is still one of the poorest countries in Europe, leaving behind only Moldova. Recent assessments from various institutions (international, regional ans domestic) reveal that even on a regional level i.e the Western Balkans, Albania lags behind its neighboring countries on the speed of economic development, political and institutional cooperation, speed of reforms, as well as the fight against corruption and organized crime. The seventeen years of fragile ‘democracy’ have been testimony of several economic and political crises which have yet to be assessed thoroughly. Even though the economy keeps on growing every year, Albania has a lot to achieve to be able to be compared even to its closest neighbors, i.e Montenegro or Macedonia.

    In the last 17 years, one third of the Albanian population has immigrated abroad (mostly Italy and Greece). It is believed that each Albanian family has at least one close relative who either alone or with his own family has immigrated abroad. For most of these years, data on immigration have been not sufficiently estimated since neither the exporting country nor the receiving one were able to make clear calculations on the mobility of the population or on the activities they were pursuing. For many years, (until the legalization process started) countries like Greece and Italy, were mostly preoccupied in turning Albanians back to their country rather than dealing with their requests for residence permits or other rights, which could have helped these immigrants integrate in the respective countries, hence make it harder for them to be involved into illegal or other disrespected activities It is obvious that in large part these immigrants were and are young people who either educated or not have spent most of their youth in the above mentioned countries or other ones. For many young people today, especially in the rural areas, immigration is still the only chance of changing life for good, even though the burden is greater because differently from 1992, today everybody knows that there are no promised lands but only harsh realities. Therefore, the chance of living abroad is not perceived anymore as a solution to the problem, but rather as a difficult and dangerous task, with hardly achievable goals. Thousands of young Albanians study and seek jobs abroad. Whether they are happier than their compatriots back home, it’s an issue which calls for a new topic.

    Demographics – Social & Cultural changes
    Until 1992, almost 70% of the Albanian population lived in the rural districts of the country. In 2007, even though there are no concrete data, the situation is entirely different. Tirana, once a city of almost 250.000 now together with the surrounding areas counts to almost 1.000.000 people, therefore transforming itself into the only city which Albanians can afford to call a “metropolis”. The phenomenon of abandoning villages for the city life, either for economic or other reasons has never been new to human history, and Albania makes no exception. Today, there are several cities which together with Tirana, have seen an incredible increase in population such as Fier, Durres, Shkoder and Vlora. Almost every day, entire families abandon their villages and move to the big city. Even though for many this could count as a positive step, in my view right now there isn’t much to cherish about. Most of the young people coming from the rural areas lack a proper education and you can hardly expect from them any enterprising initiative. The do count for a large part of that hopeless portion of youth, which has much to complain about and little space to afford any positive change.

    Traditionally speaking the Albanian youngster is not educated in the way that lets say Western European youngsters are. If in countries like the UK or France youth is taught from a very early age to pursue an independent and self-fulfilling approach towards life, in Albania, until very recently, especially in villages and small towns, children have been brought up under the repressive mentality of their own family and that of the rest of the community. This very depressing mentality, could count for a huge book worth reading, but trust me, it is one of the core reasons why most Albanian youth, is as “lost” as it is – if the word lost is the most appropriate.

    The sad truth is that our society has not had the fortune of experiencing any of the western revolutions of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and so on. Instead, our parents for the most part had to traffic forbidden books, and make love like criminals. It is our parents, who lived in a rigid environment, and it is us who have to pay for the harshness they had to go through. Their inability to protest, to search or ask why, has left this youth in the conditions that it is today. It is my personal view, for our youth to overcome these difficulties, there is only one solution: a complete divorce from the culture of “this is how things are, who am I to change this reality” to something like “I can change the situation, because my life is my own and I can do whatever I want with it”. Instead of looking for the liberty and glamour that some rich Blloku kids enjoy today (been there – done that), what young Albanian people should look for is responsibility and hard work. Otherwise we will be doomed in our almost last place in all standards when compared to the rest of Europe. And that should be the last reason why we should seek a brighter future, rather than expect it to be bright by itself.

    Poverty, immigration, and a weak civil society could be a good start to be able to assess why our youth is so hopeless, even though I admit there could be a lot of other reasons, so I will impatiently wait for other people to invest in the debate.


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