Edi Rama’s Double Standard in Facing the Pandemic

By Reza Alghurabi*

Due to the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s conflicting positions on health regulations since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Albania, a general feeling has been created within the country that his administration has put a political approach on the agenda in facing the pandemic. The Albanian government recently announced expulsion of a Russian diplomat because of failure to comply with health protocols.

It does not matter whether the Albanian government's claim is true or whether there were other issues behind it. What is important is that if adhering to the health protocols is really so important to the Edi Rama’s administration that it expels a foreign diplomat from Albania, why does it not react to the widespread non-observance of the laws by the terrorist group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) in Manez?

So far, a significant number of the MeK members have died due to coronavirus at the group’s base in Manez, and more have been infected. These people are hospitalized within the base without observing health protocols and lacking the governmental supervision. Also, those who die are buried in the local cemetery of Manez without death certificates issued by Albanian hospital officials.

This is while the group does not follow the simplest global health protocols, i.e., observing social distance and wearing a mask. The sum of gatherings and ceremonies held in this base in recent weeks and months show that this group does not have the slightest belief in observing hygienic points and acts as an autonomous island.

If the Albanian government really expels the Russian diplomat for not following health protocols, it is necessary to take a tough response to this terrorist group in order to keep its citizens safe, especially the people of Manez and Durres.

*Reza Alghurabi is an Arab journalist who lives in Iran. He is a former researcher at the Beirut Center for Middle East Studies and an independent researcher and journalist writing in Iranian newspapers including the Khorasan daily.