albanian protest Clem Onojeghuo

Like many others, I was at the Albanian protest against rape and corruption today. I prayed for that girl’s soul and her bravery to finally talk about being raped, abused, and dehumanized by the son of our MP. The MP’s son went to jail.

We chanted her name, considering her the Albanian Dr. Ford, hoping this would spark the same conversation for us. #MeToo, her too, so many of us too.

So many of us on the right side of history! I was there, overwhelmed by positive feelings I didn’t put into words and by negative feelings that I did.

Here are some of the conversations I eavesdropped on and some of the types of people at the 2018 Albanian protest.

The Types of People at an Albanian Protest: Performative Allies

Your performative allyship makes me sick.

You keep trying to take an aesthetically pleasing picture of your palm, where you’ve written: “I AM HER.”

Your work here is done and you leave soon after.

Politically Involved Spokespeople

You get up there to speak on behalf of our country, but unlike all the women before you, you scream and yell, Kanavaugh-style, you throw a tantrum.

When you get off stage, you’re surprisingly not angry anymore. You’re smiling and laughing. Is this funny to you?

This is all for show and it’s painfully obvious to whoever pays just a bit of attention.

You announce, “You might think we’re here to protest violence against women. No, this is political.”

No, you don’t represent us. We won’t accommodate you.

The Mansplainers and the Self-Haters

You’re here as one of the cameramen, just doing your job. You don’t get it: why is this needed?

Jokingly, you tell your female friends, “Yeah, right, violence against women. What all women need is some dick.”

They giggle.

“Well, you said it, we didn’t.”

They want to stand up for their rights, but not so much that they’re called Angry Feminists. So they agree with you, losing yet another small battle.

You carry on, playing poker on your phone, smug face and all, “I sure showed them.” Mansplaining domestic abuse and gender-based violence is one of your favorite activities.

The Ones That “Just Don’t Get It”

A woman sighs. “Are we done yet?”

She can’t wait for this to be over. She, for one, has never been oppressed. “What is the fuss about?”

Someone says, “Wow, look at that woman, she’s so pregnant. Look at her!”

Another person asks a couple, “Why have you brought your baby here?!”

So many people don’t seem to understand, and yet, they’re here.

Unknowingly, unwillingly, cluelessly.

And this is how you stay stagnant, moj Shqipni e mjera Shqipni.

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