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But the memory of all this has been suppressed, writes Alessandro Leogrande. Burgeoning, incoherent construction seems to have engulfed the city.The terrace of the Coin department store skyscraper is one of those places where – beneath the still-warm sun of late November – the new Albanian “high society” likes to sit and sip cappuccino.Everyone else wants to forget certain episodes, because they are associated with poverty, misery, chaos.Not just the nouveaux-riches: even the very small middle class, or the suburban population which is encroaching on the centre and can barely make ends meet.It offers a clear view of the capital’s tumultuous transformation. “With the influx of money from international organizations, firstly. Twenty years ago, Tirana had a population of 250,000.
We are no longer the promised land, and one is hard-pushed to find an Albanian under the age of twenty-five who understands Italian – something that was unthinkable until a decade ago.In general though, what jumps out is that the Albanians are a people of great translators.There is no more or less well-known European or American author who has not been translated.There is a whole universe between this, and images of the chaos of the early nineties. But now, after a prosperous fifteen years, their little empire is beginning to crack beneath the property crisis.The Italian Navy vessel Sibilia, which collided with the Albanian ship Kateri i Rades after it left from the Albanian port city of Vlore with 142 people on board. Many go under, while the most agile and rapacious manage to reinvest elsewhere.