March 25, 2017 12:49:14 pm
A town in central Albania has renamed a boulevard in honour of Donald Trump, calling the US president “a revolutionary model” for the world. Kamza, a few miles north of the capital, Tirana, had already made Trump an honorary citizen after his election victory last year. “Donald Trump is a revolutionary model of the new democratic order, a great leader of modern times,” Mayor Xhelal Mziu, of the main rightwing opposition Democratic Party, told AFP. The party’s national leader, Lulzim Basha, attended the renaming of Liria (“Liberty”) Avenue this month, telling the crowd, “By electing Mr Trump, the US gave the world another lesson in democracy.” He also praised Trump’s victory as “act of love for the champions of freedom”.
The town’s admiration contrasts sharply with the opinion of Albania’s Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama, who made no secret of his preference for Hillary Clinton during the US campaign. She had won over many ethnic Albanians because of her husband Bill’s role in the NATO campaign against Serbia during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war.
Not all of the 100,000 inhabitants of Kamza were enthusiastic about the new street, even in a town known for bestowing similar honours on former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Italy’s ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and others. The town has grown sporadically in recent years as poverty in mountainous regions has led to an influx of newcomers.
“We gave a street to Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Bush, the World Bank, Paris and Tokyo, but why?” said Haxhi Hyra, 52, who supports his extended family of 12 by selling cigarettes and popcorn on a corner of what is now Donald Trump Boulevard.
“It serve us only for dreaming since the daily reality is nothing but a nightmare,” Hyra said.
“I only hope that if he visits Kamza one day he will buy my popcorn,” he said. “They will be fresh and at the right price.”
Compared with Paris Street, a muddy road littered with garbage, or Tokyo Street, barely more than a country track, Trump Boulevard is paved and clean, bordered by a groomed lawn.
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