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Democracy and civic awareness
Written by Artan Nati 8 Mars 2023
Walking the streets of Tirana, you hear that the conversations are focused on who will be the winner of Big Brother, or how beautiful the TV presenter was, etc. It seems like everything is fine. The argument is that instead of engaging in meaningful discussions and exchanging ideas, we have become more focused on consuming entertainment and visual media such as movies, TV shows, and social media. This has led to a shift from the exchange of ideas and opinions based on evidence and reason, to a culture based on superficial appearances and celebrity culture. When a population is distracted by trifles, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainment, when serious public conversation becomes a form of entertaining talk, when, in short, a people becomes an audience and their public business an act of entertainment, then a nation finds itself in danger; culture-death is a distinct possibility. At the time of the dictatorship we were deprived of our freedoms and rights and most of the books were banned and we were monitored at every moment by Big Brother which at that time was the labor party. It seemed as if we were living in the scenario of George Orwell's book "1984". Orwell's most famous work, "1984", describes a world where the government exercises absolute control over every aspect of the citizens' lives. The state maintains power through the use of propaganda, surveillance, and brutal violence, and even individual thoughts and emotions are subject to state control. Orwell believed that the greatest threat to individual freedom was the direct and open exercise of state power, and he saw the danger of totalitarianism as the result of people's willingness to submit to authority rather than resist it. After the 90s, the enthusiasm and hope among us was very great. As a result, we were free and could decide our own destinies, and we began to imagine our lives as in the West. But what actually happened? The facts show that we have become less interested in reasoned debate and discussion and more interested in appearances and superficiality. This can lead to a lack of critical thinking and a failure to engage with complex issues in a meaningful way. Aldous Huxley in his book "Brave New World" says that "A truly efficient totalitarian state would be one in which an all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who must not be forced, because they love their slavery". Huxley's most famous work, Brave New World, portrays a future society where people are conditioned from birth to be content with their assigned roles in a rigid social hierarchy. The state maintains control by manipulating citizens' desires and limiting their access to information that might challenge their worldview. Huxley believed that the greatest threat to individual freedom in the modern world was not violent oppression, but the subtle forms of social control that could they made people complacent and passive. In fact, isn't this happening in Albania? It seems as if the most famous person in Albania will be the winner of Big Brother, or show business characters and opinion leaders who speak with vulgar vocabulary to attract the attention of viewers. So it goes like the phrase "there's no business like show business" which means that the entertainment industry, especially live shows like theater and music, is unique and incomparable to any other industry. She suggests that the entertainment business is glamorous, exciting and has a certain magic not found in other businesses. The phrase is often used to emphasize the importance of entertainment and the value of the arts, and ignorance of the result is inexcusable. Doesn't this happen everywhere in our country? We have a real show in the parliament. All MPs try to be tough and strong in front of the cameras and behind them they try to make deals at our expense. We hear that Saliu says in front of the cameras that foreign ambassadors commit orgies, or that the American and English ambassadors are corrupt, and Edi Rama's puppets and his fanatical followers have fun and do not think that it was the USA and England that saved our nation from extinction and liberated Kosovo , while Saliu led Albania to disaster in 1997. Meanwhile, Edi Rama says that the media against him is a cauldron and has turned governance into a show business, while corruption is eroding this country and has depopulated the country, leaving it the poorest country in the region. The same thing happens with opinion pollsters on television. Andi Bushati and others appear on television and use vulgar language towards the American ambassador and the international community, creating a show in order to attract viewers and avoiding the essence of the problem. All this looks like a tragicomic show, where according to Andi Bushati and Fatos Lubonjës, the script was prepared by the American ambassador in cooperation with the British ambassador and directed by the European Community. Saliu is in the main role and determines the criminal Edi Rama who must be eliminated. Iliri enters the game, who thinks to cut in the middle of the strong Edi Rama, but he has a problem, he is too long. Maybe he will win it in the election, where according to Monika who has seen him in the cup, this is certain. Fatos Lubonja, who this time has decided to be in favor of Saliu, comes to Monika's aid, but the prediction does not come true, to declare the entire government cabinet a thief, which is not surprising. The same thing happens with news shows. I do not want to say that television news deliberately aims to deprive Albanians of a coherent and contextual understanding of their world. I mean, when news is packaged as entertainment, that's the inevitable result. And by saying that the TV news show entertains but does not inform, I am saying something much more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying that we are losing our understanding of what it means to be well informed. What is happening is that we get all the information from television and social media and we no longer talk to each other, we entertain each other. We don't exchange ideas, we exchange images. We do not argue with proposals; we argue with the beautiful view, and signature clothing and accessories. We have totally forgotten about books and we forget that books offer a depth of knowledge that is often missing from TV and social media. The books are written by experts and scholars who have spent years researching and writing about their topics. They provide a level of detail and nuance that is often not possible in a short television segment or social media post. Books can also provide a broader perspective on a topic, covering its history, context, and future implications. "A room without books is like a body without a soul", said Cicero. We are at a historical moment when we all have to ask ourselves: "Where are we going?". The time has come to create a culture of reading: